02/17/17: NFL/CBS talk tightening; Special Olympics sees green with Go; ESPN gets Vivid view



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Good morning. It’s Friday February 17, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The NFL met with CBS to mull ways to shorten games in a move to lift viewership, according to CBS CEO Les Moonves, per CNN. During an earnings call this week, Moonves  who noted that he still viewed the league as television’s premier property – aid the two sides had met to see if advertising could be done differently to accommodate shortened contests. "We’re all looking at how the product can be more efficient, possibly speeding up the games," Moonves said. "So we’re looking at some reformat ideas. Obviously, we’re not planning on cutting advertising."


NBC Sports takes on Hockey Day in America on Sunday with NHL quadrupleheader on NBC and NBCSN that will be spiced with a slate of stories and features that explore the sport’s impact and influence across the country. Coverage begins at 12:30p on NBC with the Capitals/Rangers. NBC Sports’ studio team of host Liam McHugh and analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones, and Jeremy Roenick open pre-game coverage on NBC at noon and will anchor HDIA coverage throughout the day. Features are set to include: Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey & Kelsey DiClaudio; Nick Foligno and “Hockey’s Heartfelt Purpose”; St. Louis AAA Blues & the “Heartland of Hockey”; Tony Granato Goes Back To School in Wisconsin; U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Coach Bill Belisle and more.

Ahead of the Daytona 500, FOX Sports and NASCAR Productions are teaming up to showcase a behind-the-scenes look at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s first win in the “Great American Race” with “Refuse to Lose.” The documentary features interviews with Gordon and crew chief Ray Evernham, and debuts on Feb. 23 at 10p. 

Elsewhere in the doc category, Showtime Networks announced the premiere of Perfect in ‘76, which recounts the Indiana University Hoosiers’ 1976 undefeated men’s college basketball season under head coach Bob Knight. The film premieres on March 10 at 9p on Showtime and is produced by Ross Greenburg with narration from John Mellencamp.

NHL Network announced that Stanley Cup champion Alex Tanguay has joined the channel as an on-air analyst. Tanguay will appear across its studio programming and made his debut on NHL Tonight with Mike Rupp and Scott Braun last evening.

Northwestern’s upset win over Wisconsin handed BTN with a 0.63 HH rating in its 12 metered markets, marking the third-highest conference rating in network history, according to Nielsen.

SportsCenter on the Road powered by Ford launched its Spring Training bus tour on Saturday, offering on-site updates from around the league and interviews with key players. SportsCenter anchor Jay Crawford will be hosting the coverage throughout the day Saturday with Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza and reporters Tim Kurkjian and Pedro Gomez. Spring Training segments will air throughout the day on SportsCenter.

HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel returns on Tuesday with segments that include segments spotlighting Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft and Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon.

Philadelphia’s CSN announced that its Sixers game broadcasts this season are averaging a 1.9 household rating, up 111% over last season. Sixers Pregame Live ratings have increased 150% over last season, while Sixers Postgame Live is up 33%. 


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Special Olympics announced their first-ever social fundraising collaboration with GoFundMe that will see 500 GoFundMes created by teams, coaches, as well as by Olympians, top professional athletes, YouTube stars and other influencers to support the cause. The GoFundMes created for these athletes will share each of their personal stories and look to help them with expenses related to travel, training, equipment, coaching, and accommodations.

Ahead of NBA All-Star, get ready for the Bud Light Crew HQ. The brand announced that – starting Friday – the brand will be taking over 211 Royal Street in New Orleans to serve up a Beer Garden, arcade, retail space, NBA player appearances and musical performances. In addition, the space will also host special NBA All-Star Weekend editions of “Hot Ones,” the popular hot wing eating web series that will test the taste buds of some of music and the NBA’s favorite friend duos.

UCI Live, Univision Communications in-house experiential marketing unit, selected four communities as finalists in a bid to host the inaugural Prospects Cup. Contenders include Anaheim/Irvine; Ft. Lauderdale; Houston; and Kissimmee. The event will be held from Dec. 18-22 of this year, bringing 16 soccer teams from around the world to compete for the sport’s first youth world championship.

NBA Hall of Famer and Krispy Kreme franchisee Shaquille O’Neal is marking the the launch of Krispy Kreme’s all-new coffee, Shaq with a “No Contest Taste Test.” In a video, Shaq surprised coffee drinkers with a choice  a leading coffee solo, or a cup of Krispy Kreme’s new blend paired with an Original Glazed doughnut.


ESPN is teaming with online ticket marketplace Vivid Seats to offer fans access to the company’s ticket services. Vivid Seats’ branding, links and promotions will be seamlessly integrated across all ESPN’s digital platforms allowing users to access and purchase tickets to sporting events.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, locked in a strategic investment in digital sports video distribution company Sportsrocket. “I have always been a fan and participant of niche sports such as kitesurfing and invested in Sportsrocket to help connect enthusiasts like me with others around the world who share similar passions,” said Branson.

Bleacher Report is honoring Black History Month by teaming with artist Hebru Brantley to redesign logos for every NBA team. Brantley looked to the history of every NBA city to find inspiration for each re-imagination. Beyond the cities’ obvious historical references, Brantley also “looked again toward history for aesthetic inspiration, looking at old Negro Leagues logos in addition to refashioned logos over the years stretching from the high school to the professional levels.”


ESL and SLIVER.tv are launching the first virtual esports stadium experience for fans worldwide at the Intel® Extreme Masters World Championship 2017, which runs on Feb. 25-26 and March 3-5 in Katowice, Poland. The new virtual esports stadium experience “captures the excitement of being at the event with thousands of fans and brings that energy into an immersive 360° VR space” and will offer dynamic lighting that is synchronized and changes as the game is played, capturing the mood of the match. Online viewers will see their avatars in the 360° VR stadium, interact with other live viewers through emoji’s, view each other’s gamer profile via integration with Valve’s Steam API and access live stats, replays and scores in real-time.

Game recording platform Plays.tv, led by Dennis “Thresh” Fong, has raised $15 million in funding as a startup, the company announced Thursday. Funding for the company comes from from Silicon Valley-based venture capital company Shasta Ventures as well as NBA Player Jeremy Lin along with the “owners and executives” of the San Francisco 49ers.
Endemol Shine UK and OP Talent announced that – following the sell-out success of his UK and Australian performances  gaming personality Dan TDM’s live tour will be extended to include North America, in collaboration with Live Nation Entertainment, across 21 cities this spring. With more than 16.5 million subscribers and nearly 10 billion views across his two award-winning YouTube channels, Dan ranks as of the most viewed YouTube creators on the planet. Cities are set to include; New York, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Dallas and Los Angeles and launched March 24 in Boston.

G2 Esports unveiled a partnership with HyperX, to serve as the official SSD and memory partner of G2 Esports throughout 2017. “HyperX is proud to continue our commitment to the eSports community and welcome G2 to the HyperX family,” said Daniel Kelley, director of corporate marketing, HyperX. “G2 has a great track record of success, and we’re looking forward to supporting them with elite HyperX gaming gear to compete at the highest possible level.”


NBA All-Star Game on TNT and TBS on Sunday at 8p.


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Space is limited and tables are selling out quickly. Register yourself and your team today!

ON THIS DAY in 1998: Team USA’s women’s ice hockey team beats Canada to win its first Olympic Gold medal.

In The Know: This Philly legend still holds the record for most points in a single NBA All-Star Game, set in 1962. Who is he? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which NBA legend has the most All-Star appearances? Answer: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports Network/NY; Andreas Droste-Time Inc/NY; Charmaine Leary-NBCU Content Distribution/NY; Matt Meachem-Gracenote/NY; John Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Gretchen Brady-KTVT/KTXA/Dallas; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Jason Kleinhein-CoxReps/LA; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City; Miguel Velasco-FOX Sports/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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