02/09/18: NBC Olympics laid out its influencer and celeb strategy for the Winter Games

Good morning. It’s Friday February 9, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

NBC Olympics laid out its social media gameplan for the Winter Olympics, lining up a bevy of partnerships that includes around-the-clock content across all of NBC Olympics’ social accounts and partnerships with celebrities, notable digital influencers, Musical.ly, Giphy, and more. In addition, NBC Olympics and Snap are teaming up to bring the first-ever live event coverage to Snapchat during NBC Olympics’ coverage of the Games.
NBC Olympics partnered with Stranger Things’ Gaten Matarazzo for content pieces, as well as YouTube beauty vlogger and fashion designer Jenn Im and YouTube sports and lifestyle vlogger Monica Church. Meanwhile, NBC Olympics spent time with nearly 100 members of Team USA creating custom social media content. NBC Olympics and Sesame Street also partnered to produce exclusive social content shared across several platforms in the months leading up to the Games as athletes including Lindsey Vonn, Lindsey Jacobellis, and Jamie Anderson were featured in the Sesame Street-themed content. NBC Olympics will also partner with Giphy to transform Olympic coverage and highlights into custom GIFs.
The Snapchat alliance sees the two bring the first-ever live event coverage to Snapchat during NBC Olympics’ coverage of the Games. In the premiere of Snapchat’s new “Live” feature, NBC Olympics will live stream a top moment each day on its Discover page to Snapchatters in the United States, beginning Saturday. In addition, the Snap and NBC Olympics partnership will include custom Context Cards in “Our Stories,” with information from NBCOlympics.com curated by teams of editors at Snapchat, while two original shows on Snapchat Discover – Pipe Dreams and Chasing Gold – will also debut.

The WNBA tips off season 22 on May 18, the league announced yesterday, with eight games on deck on opening weekend, and #WNBAAllDay on May 20, when all 12 teams will be in action.  The season open will see Dallas/Phoenix at 10p. Throughout the 2018 season, ESPN Networks will air up to 33 games, including 13 regular-season contests, Verizon WNBA All-Star and every game of the postseason.
Universo reports that its Spanish-language broadcast of Eagles/Patriots Super Bowl LII averaged 543,000 total viewers and 317,000 in the adult 18-49 demographic, ranking as the top Hispanic cable network during the telecast for Telemundo Deportes. Total viewership was up 48% vs. Super Bowl XLIX in Feb. 2015, the last time the channel carried that game.
NBC will feature The Fallon 5 during the Winter Olympics, a miniaturized version of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” that will air during the second week of the Games from Feb. 19-23 following the network’s Olympic primetime programming. The truncated five-minute version of the show will blend content that includes monologues, comedy segments and/or interviews from the show’s home studio. The company also announced that it would be celebrating tonight’s Opening Ceremony with an opening film narrated by Sterling K. Brown. The seven-minute opening film, titled “Always Start with the Dreams,” celebrates the world’s athletes coming together in South Korea, and will be the very first piece of content presented when viewers tune into coverage of the Opening Ceremony at 8p.
SiriusXM locked in its plans for daily coverage of the Winter Games with listeners able to hear live two-hour specials of Today in PyeongChang at 10p and 1a on SiriusXM Rush, courtesy of Westwood One. SiriusXM subscribers will get live play-by-play broadcasts of men’s hockey games, and listeners will have access to every game played by the Team USA Men’s Hockey team, the Team USA vs. Canada women’s game, as well as the Men’s Gold Medal game and Women’s Gold Medal game.
FOX Sports announced that Steve Matchett, a former Formula One race mechanic and F1 television analyst, will join FOX Sports as a host for multiple FIA Formula E Championship races in 2018, beginning March 17 with Round 6 from Uruguay. Matchett returns to FOX Sports after more than a dozen years with SPEED Channel as part of its Formula One broadcast team and, most recently, as part of NBC Sports’ coverage of F1.
Serena Williams returns to competition for the first time since winning the Australian Open last year, competing for the US Fed Cup team on Tennis Channel tomorrow and Sunday. The network will provide exclusive live coverage of the team’s first-round competition against the Netherlands in Asheville this weekend, with telecasts beginning at 1p each day.
In celebration of Black History Month, NFL Network examined the legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities within the NFL in Breaking Ground: A Story of HBCU Football and the NFL tonight at 8p. The one-hour documentary will see the likes of Jerry Rice, Doug Williams, Mel Blount and Marquette King pay homage to the HBCU experience. Breaking Ground is narrated by HBCU alum and actor Chadwick Boseman.
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NBC Olympics has officially topped the $900 million threshold in national ad sales for the Winter Games in PyeongChang. “We have surpassed $900 million in national ad sales for PyeongChang 2018, a Winter Games record,” said Dan Lovinger, EVP, Advertising Sales, NBC Sports Group. “Advertisers continue to support the Olympics because they recognize the unparalleled value and reach it provides over 18 days and nights. We look forward to adding to this milestone as the drama of the Games unfolds over the next few weeks.”
College football is getting a new look to celebrate its 150th anniversary complete with the release of the campaign logo. In addition, CFB150 has announced a partnership with The Marketing Arm to assist with all facets of the upcoming anniversary. The first college football game was played on Nov. 6, 1869 – between Princeton University and Rutgers University.
The Ivy League announced a multiyear relationship with Porsche to be an Official Partner of the Ivy League. JMI Sports, the official marketing rights agency of the Ivy League, negotiated the agreement with Porsche Cars North America and Excel Sports Management and the deal will see Porsche activate at major Ivy League events, including the Ivy League Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments on March 10 and 11. Leading up to and following the Ivy League Basketball Tournament, Porsche will have a year-round presence at championships and other Ivy League events. As part of the deal, Porsche will also be an Official Sponsor of Penn Athletics.
DRAGONFLi Media has opened its doors, led by a team that includes Adam Comey (MSI and MSI Live CEO/co-founder), Michael Jaquet (U.S. Ski and Snowboard former CMO) along with Adjacency Partners co-founders Bryan Johnston (GoPro, NIKE, UFC) and Tom Arrix (Facebook). The company will look to enable brands to “produce, manage, and distribute video content to targeted or highly-distributed channels.” Additionally, the company provides end-to-end solutions connecting clients with consumers through brand strategy, experiences, and engagement. Dragonfli Media’s array of vertically integrated services and platforms are currently contracted by clients including Facebook, Major League Rugby, Sony, Toyota, Red Bull, Burton, Lexus, and others.
All three of Chicagoland Speedway’s NASCAR races this year will be sponsored by Overton’s, the track announced. This year’s races will include the June 29 Camping World Truck Series race (Overton’s 225), the June 30 Xfinity race (Overton’s 300) and the July 1 Cup race (Overton’s 400).

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott told Sportcal that the league’s platform positioned is poised to pay off as the media landscape continues to change. While the Pac-12 Networks carries a minimum of 850 live events a year, Scott noted that the league will look to take advantage of the rise of media rights players such as Amazon, Facebook and Google moving forward. “There’s a toggle between maximizing your revenue and control. We saw significant non-financial benefits by being able to control our programming and have a distribution platform, and in the future we would develop this know-how, expertise and the relationships so that when our rights do become available [in 2024] and we’re weighing up the different approaches, we are going to be far ahead of the game compared with others that do not own their own content.”
Stadium’s telecast of ODU/LA Tech on Facebook this Saturday will see former Florida State WBB player Angel Gray become the first woman to work as an analyst for Stadium on a men’s basketball event. Gray will join play-by-play announcer Chris Hassel and sideline reporter Laura Britt at 7p on the platform.
The Men’s League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and UNRL are opening the Official WCHA Online Store. The new online shop will offer fans exclusive, co-branded headwear and apparel featuring the logos and colors of all 10 WCHA Men’s League member institutions. “We are extremely pleased to bring the terrific craftmanship and inspired design of UNRL merchandise to WCHA fans,” said WCHA President and Men’s League Commissioner Bill Robertson. “Locally, we have watched UNRL grow and thrive with its ‘State of Hockey’ line. Partnering with them for participant gifts at the 2017 WCHA Championship, we saw how well the UNRL aesthetic resonates with men and women of all ages. Now, it is thrilling to bring their spin on athletic clothing to all of our fans.”

100 Thieves named John Robinson as the team’s first President and Chief Operating Officer. Robinson will be charged with growing monetization capabilities and partnerships for the organization.
ELEAGUE offers fans access to six elite Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams with the debut of ELEAGUE | Road to the Boston Major tonight at 10p on TBS. The five-part documentary series will provide a unique look at player and team dynamics as it follows each squad throughout their training for and competition at The ELEAGUE Major: Boston.

WWE promoted George Barrios and Michelle Wilson to Co-Presidents with both executives appointed to WWE’s Board of Directors. Barrios and Wilson will continue to report directly to McMahon. “The successful transformation of our business model has put us in a position to capitalize on all that the changing global media landscape has to offer,” said WWE Chairman & CEO, Vince McMahon.  “I am confident that our executive management team, led by Michelle and George, will achieve continued success across key strategic initiatives and ensure our long-term growth.”

Mike Tirico and Katie Couric host coverage of the Opening Ceremony tonight at 8p on NBC.
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ON THIS DAY in 1895: Volleyball is invented in Massachusetts.
In the Know: Name a country south of the equator that was won a medal (any medal) in the Winter Olympics. (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

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