02/20/18: NBA All-Star made gains across multiple categories for Turner Sports

Good morning. It’s Tuesday February 20, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The 2018 NBA All-Star Game handed Turner Sports with boosts across all platforms – television (TNT and TBS), digital and social, including a 4.3 household rating and 5.1 million household impressions – both up 2% over 2017 and marking the best for the event since 2013, based on Nielsen Fast Nationals. In addition, the telecast generated double-digit growth across all core demos including increases of 11% among People 18-34, 10% in Men 18-34 and 6% in People 18-49 when compared with 2017. Meanwhile, TNT’s coverage of the NBA’s Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars averaged 1.4 million viewers last week was up 21% vs. last year’s comparable coverage and delivered double digit gains across all key demos, along with ranking as the net’s most-viewed Rising Stars telecast since 2015. 
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that the All-Star player draft could likely be televised moving forward. “When we sat with the union and we came up with this format, we all agreed, let’s not turn something that’s 100 percent positive into a potential negative to any player,” Silver said. “But then … maybe we’re overly conservative, because then we came out of there, and the players were, ‘We can take it. We’re All-Stars. Let’s have a draft.’ So it sounds like we’re going to have a televised draft next year.”

Meanwhile, Sunday saw FOX’s telecast of the Daytona 500 take a dip in Nielsen metered market numbers, averaging a 5.1 in the category with an 11 share. That is down 22% from last year’s numbers, and is on pace to mark a new low for the event when final numbers come in later this week.
In other ratings news, NBCSN reports that the channel’s first-ever live nightly Winter Olympics coverage has pushed the network to its most-watched, seven-day primetime stretch in the platform’s history, averaging 2.4 million viewers during the stretch, per Nielsen live plus same day fast national data. In addition, NBCSN ranked as the most-watched cable network in primetime from last Saturday, Feb. 10 through Thursday, Feb. 15. Meanwhile, at the midpoint of the PyeongChang Olympics, Salt Lake City now leads all US TV markets in primetime rating, with a 22.6 local Nielsen rating across NBC and NBCSN and a 41 share. Next up with the highest local ratings are Denver, Milwaukee, Seattle, Kansas City and San Diego.
ESPN says that its presentation of this season’s College Football Playoff saw significant boosts with Nielsen’s “out-of-home” and complete streaming data reported. The additions resulted in a complete total live audience figure, both the College Football Playoff National Championship and the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game historic audiences have increased their audiences by 1.5 million viewers, meaning that the CFP National Championship now netted 29,932,000 viewers (including out-of-home), up from 28,443,000, while the semifinal now tallied 28,311,000 viewers (including out-of-home), up from the 26,826,000 viewers reported on Jan. 2.
BTN announced its first ever 4K productions will be available on DIRECTV, Dish and Layer3 TV for all 10 broadcasts of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament presented by SoFi. Game Creek Video, which facilitated FOX Sports World Series broadcasts in 4K, will assume the same role in providing the technology necessary to produce games and on-site studio coverage in 4K throughout the tournament. The network also locked in on-air talent for the tournament, highlighted by Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery. The first game tips off at 5:30p on Feb. 28.  
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced that ESPN basketball analyst Doris Burke and longtime NBA photographer Andy Bernstein would be the 2018 Curt Gowdy Media Award recipients. The two will be acknowledged for their contributions to basketball media during the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement events September 6-8 in Springfield.
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FOX Sports announced that the road to Russia for the World Cup will now go through Austin, as the company will host the FOX Sports House from March 9-12 at the 2018 South by Southwest Conference and Festivals. The activation will feature expert panels connected to social media, technology and viewership in sports and serve as a hub for some of FOX Sports’ innovative brand partnership announcements ahead of the World Cup this summer with the venue located in downtown Austin within walking distance of the Austin Convention Center at 318 Colorado Street. As a part of the house programming, Rachel Bonnetta will host a daily streaming FOX Sports show — a precursor to her Twitter show that’s set to air in Moscow during the World Cup this summer.
BTN is launching a new campaign centered on the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament Presented by SoFi through the guidance of creative and media agency of record Fallon, and the creative work of Van Orton Design. Among the activations will be a pair of super towers, located at West 33rd Street and 7th Avenue, that showcase a design that blends “a distinctive Big Ten look and vibrant color scheme.” In Midtown, an “All Signs Point to BTN” art installation created by Fallon will reside in the plaza at West 48th Street and 6th Avenue, standing 20-feet high and displaying the distance to all 14 Big Ten Schools participating in the tournament on BTN. Throughout the week a branded double-decker bus will traverse New York City with official Big Ten Mascots as well as life-sized bobbleheads representing each university.
NASCAR and Axalta inked a multi-year agreement making Axalta the “Official Paint Partner of NASCAR.”As part of the partnership, Axalta joins the NASCAR Fuel for Business Council, bringing together an exclusive group of more than 50 Official NASCAR Partners to buy and sell products and services from one another. “Axalta is a category leader and we’re pleased to welcome them back to our diverse portfolio of Official Partners,” said Daryl Wolfe, Chief Sales and Partnership Officer, NASCAR and ISC. “This new agreement is largely in place due to the strong return on investment Axalta receives in the sport. This partnership will further complement that integrated approach and drive business for years to come.”
Roger Federer signed a multi-year extension of his personal endorsement deal with Mercedes-Benz. According to Forbes, the new deal is estimated to be worth $5 million. The tennis staple first partnered with the brand in 2008.

The Big 12 Conference is turning to FloSports to live stream the 2018 Big 12 championships for swimming & diving on FloSwimming.com, indoor and outdoor track & field on FloTrack.com, wrestling on FloWrestling.com, and gymnastics on FloGymnastics.com. The deal is an expansion of FloSports’ current agreement with the conference. Programming begins Feb. 21-24 with the Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championship in Austin.
Secret Golf launched a Player Channel for Brian Harman, currently sitting 21st in the Official World Golf Ranking. Harman, becomes the first southpaw on the Team Secret Golf staff. “With Brian’s win last year and almost a U.S. Open trophy as well, he has quickly become a crowd favorite for his toughness and incredible consistency. He is regarded on TOUR as a short game master and there is so much to hear and learn on his Player Channel,” said Steve Elkington, Secret Golf Co-Founder and 10-time PGA TOUR winner. “Brian was taught by a noted instructor, Jack Lumpkin who is an old school coach. He has amazing focus and clarity of his swing as well as his overall game and I think people are really going to like his channel.”

Capcom mapped out the road ahead for the Capcom Pro Tour, with plans set to include the debut of Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition as the primary title for the tour. Pro Tours will be divided into three categories: Ranking, Premier, and Evo with players get gaining points as they advance in each tournament, with Pro Tour point values now adjusted to reward winners of Premier events over those who attend Ranked events, with the first set to take place at Final Round 20 in Atlanta from March 16-18.
Team Dignitas is reportedly overhauling management, with ESPN writing that parent company Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment bought out David and Michael Slan, who remained with the team after HBSE acquired their Apex Gaming in September 2016, in addition to CEO Jonathan Kemp. Kemp was hired when the organization was acquired by HBSE in October 2016. 76ers Innovation Lab managing director Seth Berger will oversee the squad as their search for a new CEO.
The Olympic Channel will be turning its eye toward esports following the Winter Games. Executive Director Yiannis Exarchos told Reuters that the channel would work with partner Intel to expand the presence of esports. “We want to explore this direction. We have now a major player as a top partner of the IOC — Intel Corp — very much into esports precisely because Intel has a vision of seeing the Games delivered in a new, smarter and more engaging way.”

Women’s Downhill Skiing on NBC at 8p.

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ON THIS DAY in 1998: Tara Lipinski wins the gold medal in Olympic figure skating.
In the Know: What is the name of Charlie Sheen’s character in Major League? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who holds the record as the youngest winner of the Daytona 500? Answer: Trevor Bayne. Kudos: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Rich Boland-Oath/NY; Tom Wetzel-MMSI/Warwick; Jonny Codalata-CSM Sport & Entertainment/Zionsville; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Nick Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego

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JOB OPENING: STUDIO PRODUCER/MLS/NYC: Oversee all video content prod for shows & various other video content for dist across mult MLS Digital a special emphasis on matchnight content. 5+ yrs of exp creating compelling & engaging digital video content, incl 2+ yrs of exp in studio prod. Full info/apply HERE (2/27)

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JOB OPENING: TV HOST/QVC/Westchester PA: Credible while entertaining candidate w/exp hosting TV, digital, radio, spokesperson or live events. Intelligent, enthusiastic & a love for products a must. Must be quick on their feet w/ability to improv & engage as well as have an elevated sense of style. Resume HERE  [email protected] (2/27)

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: DIGITAL CONTENT PRODUCER/Capitol Broadcasting/Raleigh NC: Are you a digital storyteller looking for a new creative outlet? CBC Audience Development is an innovation lab seeking a digital producer to produce WRAL.com originals and create new forms of storytelling for our digital properties. Apply HERE (2/23)

JOB OPENING: COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR/PAC-12/SF: In this critical role, you will drive corporate communications, executive communications and internal/stakeholder communications efforts for the Pac-12 Networks. Min 10 yrs exp in strategic communications, including corp comm. Full posting/apply HERE (2/23)

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