Nielsen released its Year in Sports Media 2017 report, with the usual roundup of goodies and informational nuggets for those of us in the space. Among the data found in the report, Nielsen reports that sponsorship across the “Big Four” leagues, PGA Tour, NASCAR and INDYCAR accounted for $7.35 billion in QI Media Value in 2017, marking a $54 million increase over the last year with banking, financial services and healthcare collectively averaging 8% growth per year over the last three years. In addition, the report states that if the US Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey and gives individual states a say in sports betting, the category will become a major new advertising and sponsorship category for the leagues and networks. Using the ad/sponsorship spend by sports betting companies in the UK and Australia where sports betting is legal, Nielsen projects that the category will generate over $2.6 billion for US-based leagues, teams and media companies if the majority of states pass sports betting legislation. The full report may be downloaded here.
LiveLike announced a $9.6 million Series B round, featuring new investors that include Greycroft Partners and Lepe Partners. The Series B investors will join existing backers including David Stern, Commissioner Emeritus of the National Basketball Association, Evolution Media, Courtside Ventures, Elysian Park, Dentsu Ventures, and the GC VR Gaming Tracker Fund. “LiveLike has been successful because we have built a platform that connects with younger generations seeking a more non-traditional experience,” said Andre Lorenceau, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of LiveLike. “Thanks to our investors, we are now in a position to hire for key positions and continue delivering a premier next-generation sports OTT platform.”
USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Mars Reel, a leading provider of premium coverage of the top athletes and teams in high school basketball, have formed a content distribution partnership which includes USA TODAY High School Sports’ online and social platforms, reaching a combined audience of 60 million annually. “Our high school sports sector has grown exponentially over the past year and with partners like Mars Reel, we will leverage differentiated highlights and create unique branded video content for our voracious high school basketball fans,” said Chris Pirrone, General Manager, USA TODAY Sports.
Overwatch Contenders are locked and loaded for 2018, with this year’s lineup set to include leagues operating in North America, Europe, South Korea, China, the Pacific region, Australia, and South America, according to Blizzard. Competition begins March 11. There will be three Overwatch Contenders seasons during 2018, with a total prize pool of more than $3 million to be won worldwide.
Ahead of showcasing the Orlando Open for the first of six HCS World Championship tournaments this year, Twitter reports that 2017 saw more than 218 million tweets about gaming globally. Rishi Chadha, head of gaming content partnerships at Twitter, published a blog post about the sector, stating that there were 218 million gaming Tweets in 2017,
The PAX brand is going French, announcing a new gaming festival as part of the PAX brand: PLAY Paris Powered by PAX. The event will be held at the Grande Halle de la Villette on April 21-22, designed to “give a voice to the French gaming community by bringing them together in the one convention that celebrates video games, PC games, and tabletop games.” Esports tournaments will include the world finals of StarCraft II (Nation Wars V), exclusive panels and ceremonies including the Retrogaming Awards & The Indies Conference, as well as live concerts featuring The Toxic Avenger and the Neko Light Orchestra.
Alliance MMA named Ira S. Rainess as President of the company, effective immediately. “This is a remarkable opportunity to develop the Alliance MMA brand, while honing the Company’s operations in our efforts to attain profitability,” said Rainess. “Our talented team of promoters at Alliance is committed to producing exciting, high-profile MMA events, and I look forward to helping them succeed at the highest level.”
Good golly, this weekend is too tough to pick a side. We have nightly primetime Olympics coverage on NBC, Sunday sees the Daytona 500 at 2:30p on FOX as well as TNT hosting the NBA All-Star Game at 8p.