02/28/18: Verizon tied up American rights to CONCACAF matches

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Good morning. It’s Wednesday February 28, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Verizon and CONCACAF locked in a multi-platform media rights deal to distribute CONCACAF tournaments across Verizon’s digital media platforms. The deal gives Verizon exclusive English language rights to distribute multiple Confederation Championships, including the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League and the CONCACAF League in the US. Verizon and its family of media properties, including Yahoo Sports, go90 and Complex, adds CONCACAF to its robust digital sports offering with vast reach across platforms.  “As the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League continues to gain attention as the region’s most important club tournament, this partnership with Verizon offers a great opportunity for fans who will now be able to follow their favorite teams live as they fight for the Confederation crown,” said CONCACAF Chief Commercialization Officer Jurgen Mainka.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM ACA
ACA’s #Summit25 will be the Biggest & Best Ever!
Speakers include FCC Chairman Pai, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Comcast’s David Cohen, FCC Commissioners Clyburn and O’Rielly, Rep. Greg Walden, and several industry trailblazers. Registration includes admission to ACA’s 25th Anniversary Dinner at the US Institute of Peace, a moonlit monument tour, the exhibit hall, all general sessions, meals and networking events. The event will take place on March 20-22 in Washington, D.C. Details and online registration at www.ACASummit.org .
 

ON THE AIR

Canada saw coverage of the Winter Olympics hand CBC/Radio-Canada with 31 million fans tuning in, representing 85% of the country’s population. CBC’s English-language primetime coverage across all broadcast networks throughout the Games garnered a 2+ average minute audience of over 3 million viewers, with CBC alone capturing a 24% primetime audience share. “Canadians love their winter sports and CBC/Radio-Canada’s coverage of PyeongChang 2018 brought them every breathtaking medal moment on the platform of their choice, no matter what schedule they were on,” said Greg Stremlaw, executive director, CBC Sports, and general manager and chef de mission for CBC/Radio-Canada’s coverage of PyeongChang 2018.
 
Meanwhile, Discovery is reporting that its coverage of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games saw approximately 58% of the population watch the event on free-to-air and pay-TV in Discovery’s top ten markets in Europe, on its own channels and those of its partners, according to Variety, The company said 76 million users watched the tournament online, on social media and the Eurosport app.
 
Back home, NBC Olympics announced 12 commentators who will anchor its 250-plus hours of coverage of the 2018 Paralympic Games Presented by Toyota from PyeongChang. Coverage will air across NBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app, beginning with the Opening Ceremony on Friday at 6a. Carolyn Manno returns for her third consecutive assignment as host and will be joined by play-by-play commentators Todd Harris, Jason Knapp and Steve Schlanger who will call alpine skiing and snowboarding, sled hockey, biathlon and cross-country skiing, respectively. Chris Vosters serves as as play-by-play commentator for coverage of wheelchair curling. Taylor Lipsett will join Knapp for coverage of sled hockey, while Kelly Underkofler will join Schlanger for biathlon and cross-country skiing. Other names will include Chris Waddell, Tina Dixon, Pete Fenson, Mallory Weggemann, Tanith White and Lewis Johnson.
 
The NBA on TNT is hitting Studio 8H for a special Inside the NBA presented by Kia on March 1, as Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley join the cast of Saturday Night Live for a special appearance from Rockefeller Plaza. Later in the week, Barkley will serve as host of SNL for the fourth time
 
ESPN and ESPN Deportes will carry MLB regular-season games in Puerto Rico and Mexico this season as part of its 100-plus game schedule, the company announced yesterday. April 18 sees the Twins/Indians from Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan during a special edition of ESPN’s Wednesday Night Baseball presented by Hankook Tire. Eduardo Perez, who was raised in Puerto Rico, will serve as the analyst, while Marly Rivera, who was born in San Juan, will be one of ESPN’s reporters for the game. The duo will join play-by-play voice Karl Ravech and reporter Tim Kurkjian on commentary. May 6 then sees the Dodgers/Padres on ESPN from Monterrey, Mexico. Adan Virk will provide commentary with analyst Eduardo Perez.
 
NBC Sports Group tees off on its broadcast coverage of the 2018 golf season this week on NBC at the WGC-Mexico Championship. NBC’s coverage in 2018 will feature more than 160 tournament hours across golf’s worldwide professional tours. In total, Golf Channel and NBC will combine to air more than 2,200 live tournament hours in 2018, the most hours of live golf coverage for any media company ever. This week sees the group launch a stretch of five consecutive weeks of exclusive PGA TOUR tournament coverage, comprised of six events. Overall, NBC Sports will air live coverage of six golf major championships in 2018, including theKitchenAid Senior PGA Championship (May 24-27); KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1); The 147th Open (July 19-22); The Senior Open (July 26-29); The Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug 2-5); and The Evian Championship (Sept. 13-16).
 
Speaking of golf, the PGA TOUR announced an hour-long special titled “PGA TOUR 2018: Mr. Palmer’s Legacy presented by Mastercard” that will look at the legacy of golf’s greatest ambassador, Arnold Palmer. Produced by PGA TOUR Entertainment, the special will explore Palmer’s greatest attributes and highlight five areas of Palmer’s life that helped create his legacy and airs Sunday, March 4, at 1p.
 
SiriusXM tips off games from 24 NCAA Division I college basketball conference tournaments this postseason, with live play-by-play of 134 men’s and women’s conference tournament games to a nationwide audience including every Men’s tournament game from the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, American Athletic, and Mountain West conferences, and select games from the Ivy League Tournament. Listeners also get every game of the Women’s ACC and SEC Tournaments. In addition, SiriusXM will air the Women’s tournament championship games from the Big East, Ivy League and Pac-12 Tournaments, as well as the Men’s championship games from the America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Metro Atlantic, Patriot League, Southern and West Coast Tournaments. Conference tournament broadcasts heard on SiriusXM are produced by ESPN Radio, Westwood One, IMG, Learfield, and Compass Media and starts today with the Big Ten Tournament on Sirius 134/XM 195.
 
The 2018 Carabao Cup Final telecast – which saw a 3-0 Manchester City FC victory over Arsenal FC on Sunday – averaged 789,000 viewers across ESPN and ESPN Deportes, up 50% over 2017 numbers last year. Sunday’s telecast marked the first English Football League final on an ESPN network in the United States.
 
Meanwhile, CBS Sports now reports that its 2018 coverage of the PGA TOUR has delivered the highest viewership and ratings in five years, averaging 3.3 million viewers, up 14%, and a national household rating/share of 2.1/5, up 11% from last year’s first four PGA TOUR events. CBS Sports’ final-round coverage of the PGA TOUR’s The Honda Classic on Sunday was the most-watched in six years averaging 4 million viewers, up 43% from last year.
 
FOX Sports offers its latest documentary The Maestro: The Rollie Massimino Story tonight at 11p on FS1. The special chronicles former NCAA Champion coach Rollie Massimino’s final season with Keiser University, an NAIA Division II program, while he battled brain and lung cancer.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
TODAY IS THE DAY
[Ticket Prices Increase Tomorrow]
March 7, 2018 | SVA Theatre, NYC
 
Be in the theatre when winners are announced and screen the winning videos chosen by our expert panel of jurors. Enjoy thought-provoking and idea-rich panel discussions, including: The Brands Speak, Building Your Blueprint for Revenue Success, Measuring Up: A Facebook Short-Form Analytics Briefing and a special discussion on Time’s Person of the Year Video.
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Nationwide and Pepsi have both signed on to return as national sponsors of the Professional Women’s Bowling Association for the 2018 season. The deals each see the brands serve as a title sponsor of a PWBA Tour event. Pepsi, the official soft drink of the PWBA, will be the title sponsor of the Pepsi PWBA St. Petersburg-Clearwater Open taking place Aug. 2-4. Meanwhile, the Nationwide PWBA Columbus Open is set for Aug. 16-18 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.
 
Celsius Holdings, makers of the fitness drink, CELSIUS, will become the Presenting Sponsor of the 2018 Tough Mudder North America Challenge event series which includes Tough Mudder Half, Tough Mudder Full and the newly launched Tough Mudder 5K. The Presenting Sponsorship secures the brand with a position in a logo lockup across the Tough Mudder franchise and will active via sampling opportunities, consumer engagements and sponsored branding on Everest, across all event formats.
 
The Men’s League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and SPIRE Credit Union unveiled a partnership for the remainder of the 2017-18 season and include the 2018 WCHA Playoffs and the 2018 WCHA Championship. Additionally, fans can watch the League’s top goals, plays and saves each Wednesday with the “WCHA Plays of the Week, Presented by SPIRE Credit Union.”
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

Formula 1 is giving its content an overhaul, announcing yesterday the launch of F1 TV, which will serve as the sport’s OTT platform and mark F1’s largest investment to date into its digital properties. Audiences will be able to receive ad-free live streams of each race with multi language commentary to addition to access to all 20 driver on-board cameras throughout every race session. Meanwhile, the upgraded F1 TV Pro (at $8-12 a month) will feature unique feeds not available on any other platform. Content will include all practice, qualifying and races, offered live, along with press conferences and pre and post-race interviews. Subscribers will be able to watch live races of the main support series, the FIA Formula 2 Championship, GP3 Series and Porsche Supercup, among others.

The Olympic Channel announced that it will now offer all the inspiring moments, heart-stopping action and every competition from the 2018 Games including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies on the site. In addition to the 355 full replays covering every event, fans can also check out “PyeongChang 2018 Rewind” for all of the individual gold medal performances, highlights packages from each day and “Moments to Remember” covering the biggest stories and trends from PyeongChang.
 
Speaking of the Olympics, Twitter reports that the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games saw 103 million Tweets sent about the Games and in total, led to 33.6 billion Impressions (views on and off Twitter) of Tweets. The top Tweeted moments during the Games was led by Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu wining gold medal in the men’s singles figure skating competition, that was followed by Japan’s  women’s curling team defeating Great Britain 5-3 to win bronze medal; Japan’s  Yuzuru Hanyu completing his free skate performance, scoring 206.17 to put him in first place of the competition; Shaun White winning the gold medal in the men’s halfpipe event; and fans throwing Winnie the Pooh stuffed dolls on the ice as Yuzuru Hanyu completed her short program performance. Stateside, the most mentioned athletes were Shaun White, Adam Rippon and Chloe Kim.
 
 
ESPORTS

The National Association of Collegiate Esports inked a partnership with the High School Esports League, which features thirteen different games and has over 5,800 students participating. The partnership between NACE and HSEL will “create a stronger path for high school esports athletes to move into the collegiate ranks as scholarship athletes” with coaches and esports directors at NACE member colleges and universities gaining access to HSEL’s Discord server in order to communicate directly to students interested in competing in college. Additionally HSEL will promote the use of NACE’s recruitment platform for all of its users.
 
Millennial Esports Corp. announced that subsidiary Stream Hatchet completed the roll-out of a new offering that, for the first time, “provides sponsors of esports events and leagues with an analytics solution that utilizes image recognition technology to mine, measure, and monetize sponsor exposure.” “We developed this offering to provide valuations of traditional sports sponsorship to the world of Esports where advertisers and sponsors don’t yet have clarity,” said Jake Phillips, President of Business Development at Stream Hatchet. “This tool also offers event organizers and tournament hosts, like ESL, a way to accurately price the sponsorship packages they’re creating.”
 
Spain’s LaLiga is getting into esports with an eye to expand the brand and reach new audiences. The league launched LaLiga Esports in a move to offer the gaming community its experience within the sports industry with the first phase rolling out nationally across Spain before expanding internationally. The league said that the decision was prompted by sponsors who had expressed a desire to invest in the esports sector.
 
League of Legends locked in locations for this year’s lineup, announcing that the World Championship will move to South Korea. Meanwhile, Riot Games also announced the locations for the Mid-Season Invitational with the play-in and group stages taking place May 3-6, 8-9 and 11-15 at the EU LCS studio in Berlin, Germany. The knockout stage will take place May 18-20 in Paris, France. In addition, five Rift Rivals events will run from July 2-8  in NA, China, Brazil, Australia and Vietnam.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

WPT Enterprises, Inc., creator of the World Poker Tour, inked a four-year contract extension for CEO Adam Pliska. Pliska is responsible for the entire WPT portfolio, including live events, televised broadcasts, international distribution, online products/services, and strategic partnerships.
 
Combate Americas appointed Jessica Mata, a 20-year veteran of international media sales as its Director of Integrated Partnerships, Mexico. She will be responsible for spearheading Combate Americas’ brand partnership sales efforts in Mexico.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Warriors/Wizards on ESPN at 8p.

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
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 [Event: April 12 at the New York Athletic Club]

We’re ready to celebrate the work of the most talented producers, hosts, sponsors and executives in the sports industry, saluting the initiatives that drove audiences and turned sports viewers into fans. So mark your calendar –

We’ll see you in April!

 

ON THIS DAY in 1940: The first televised basketball game sees Pitt beat Fordham.
 
In the Know: What is the name of Mr. T’s character in Rocky III? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: The Washington Capitals retired #11 in honor of which player?  Answer: Mike Gartner. Kudos: Pete Gautieri-A&E Networks/NY; Chris Long-DraftKings/NY; Bob Dudelson-Leverage Agency/NY; Rich Boland-Oath/NY; Mike Doyle-NCM/Madison; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Joe Schreiber-3 Penny Films/Bethesda; Christian Matthews-Washington Redskins/DC; Tony Wilkins-KFXA/KGAN/Cedar Rapids; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Mark Stulberger-Stully’s Broadcasting School/Houston; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank
 
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