03/08/19: ATP Executive Chairman Chris Kermode is departing the org

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Friday March 8, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
 

ATP Executive Chairman & President Chris Kermode is ending his run at the organization, announcing that he will not extend beyond his current term which expires at the end 2019. Kermode became ATP Executive Chairman & President at the beginning of 2014 and, according to ATP, has a tenure that includes record prize money and commercial growth for the organization, while attendance and viewership of the ATP Tour has also climbed.
 
“It’s been a privilege to serve as ATP Executive Chairman & President since 2014 and I’m very proud of what we have achieved during this time. I would like to thank everyone at the ATP, and all the players and tournaments for the support over the years. I remain fully dedicated to the role for the remainder of my term and wish the organisation every success in the future.”
 
 
PROGRAMMING

Speaking of tennis, World TeamTennis and CBS Sports signed a multi-year television partnership spanning both broadcast and cable that will bring World TeamTennis back to television. The deal will start this summer, highlighted by CBS Television Network broadcasting the Philadelphia Freedoms facing the Vegas Rollers on July 21. CBS Sports Network will televise 15 WTT matches throughout the season, starting on July 15 in addition to the semifinals and finals from Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Aug. 2-3. The league features eight franchises across the United States including the New York Empire, Orange County Breakers, Philadelphia Freedoms, San Diego Aviators, Springfield Lasers and Washington Kastles. Earlier this week, two new franchises were announced in the Vegas Rollers and Orlando Storm.
 
CBS Sports Network is on deck to carry televise eight conference championship games – more than ever before – during “Bracket Week Presented by Kubota,” beginning on tomorrow, highlighted by three automatic bids to the Men’s NCAA Tournament, as the Colonial Athletic Association, Conference USA and Patriot League crown their conference champion on the channel, while women’s tournaments will feature Conference USA, Mid-American, Patriot League, Southland and the Mountain West.
 
NBC Sports Films celebrates the life of Mario Andretti with Drive Like Andretti – a documentary featuring “Andretti’s first-person account as a refugee, immigrant, cultural icon and racing legend” – ahead of NBC Sports’ presentation of the 2019 Indianapolis 500, which marks the 50th anniversary of Andretti’s victory at the Brickyard in 1969. Drive Like Andretti will debut on May 11, at 2p on NBC, leading into NTT IndyCar Series coverage.
 
FOX Sports announced that WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith Thurman will join Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and host Kate Abdo live in FOX Sports’ Los Angeles studios for coverage of FOX PBC Fight Night: Porter vs. Ugas through March 9. Calling the action live from Los Angeles on Saturday, on FOX will be Lennox Lewis, Joe Goossen and blow-by-blow announcer Chris Myers. Heidi Androl reports and interviews fighters, while Jimmy Lennon Jr. serves as ring announcer and Marcos Villegas is the unofficial scorer. On FOX Deportes, blow-by-blow announcer Adrian Garcia Marquez is joined by Jaime Motta to call the fights in Spanish.
 
Bryce Harper’s Spring Training game debut with the Philadelphia Phillies against the Blue Jays will be carried on MLB Network on Saturday, live at 1p. MLB Tonight, featuring highlights, news and analysis, will air Saturday live immediately following the conclusion of the Mariners/Dodgers game, which is set to start at 4p.
 
WWE made its official announcement that Raymond James Stadium will play host to WrestleMania 36 on April 5, 2020, with additional events held throughout Florida’s Tampa Bay area during WrestleMania Week. “For each of our fans, WrestleMania is a chapter or more in the history their lives,” said Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon. “People all around the world will be talking about WrestleMania 36 at Raymond James Stadium. Most importantly, our goal is to leave a lasting impression on the community.”
 
NFL Network’s NFL Free Agency Frenzy is slated to begin on Sunday and continue through March 14 as 33 on-air analysts, hosts and reporters provide the latest news and expert analysis of every roster move and transaction. Free Agency Frenzy airs at 1p on Sunday, and at 10a Monday-Thursday.
 
The Camping World Kickoff featuring Miami/Florida, in Orlando is moving to Aug. 24, up one week from its original scheduled date of Aug. 31. The now-Week 0 contest will be played at 7p on ESPN, and highlight a day of College Football 150 themed programming on ESPN, which includes the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff featuring Youngstown State and Samford, as well as ESPN’s opening College Football 150 documentary, Football is US: The College Game.
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The PGA Tour announced a five-year sponsorship extension for the Barbasol Championship that will keep the event in Kentucky through 2023. The event is in its fifth year this season and is slated to run July 18-21 at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville.
 
The Ivy League is partnering with financial services provider, TIAA, to serve as the presenting sponsor of the 2019 Ivy League Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments held March 16-17 at John J. Lee Amphitheater on the campus of Yale University. JMI Sports, the official marketing rights partner of the Ivy League, negotiated the agreement. TIAA will have a significant presence throughout the Ivy League Basketball Tournaments—on television and radio with the Ivy League’s media partners ESPN and Westwood One, respectively, as well as on-site at Yale and on the Ivy League on ESPN for coverage on the ESPN+ new digital platform. As part of the agreement, TIAA will also be an official sponsor of the Ivy League and of other marquee events like the Ivy League Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse Tournaments that will take place on May 3 and 5 in New York City.
 
 
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

NBA China and Alibaba Group announced an expansion of their partnership that will bring NBA content to Alibaba’s platforms for the first time, along with an enhanced online shopping experience for consumers in China. An “NBA Section” will be launched across Alibaba’s platforms, allowing fans in China to enjoy personalized and engaging content, in addition to shopping for NBA merchandise all in one ecosystem. Meanwhile, NBA game highlights, original programming, and classic NBA games will be offered to nearly 700 million consumers across Alibaba’s platforms, including leading B2C marketplace Tmall, social commerce destination Taobao, video-streaming platform Youku and browser and content platform UC.
 
 
ESPORTS

Gaming industry management firm Loaded announced that it had re-signed Tyler “Ninja” Blevins to an exclusive multi-year management deal. In addition, the company signed key talent Jack “CouRage” Dunlop and Ben “DrLupo” Lupo. In total, the trio represents more than 2 billion combined views across Twitch and YouTube in 2018. Under the agreement, Loaded will continue to manage the key areas of Ninja’s career, including entertainment opportunities, digital distribution, partnerships, endorsements, personal appearances and touring, book publishing and more. Armed with names such as Shroud, TimTheTatman, LIRIK and more, Loaded created a list of brand and digital marketing campaigns for its talent, including Gillette, The Hershey Company, Capitol Records, Coca-Cola, Samsung, Activision, and Red Bull.
 
Tencent announced plans for the PUBG MOBILE Club Open 2019, a competitive year-long event featuring both semi-pro and pro teams playing PUBG MOBILE and $2 million on the line. Beginning this March, players from around the world can register, with PMCO 2019 divided into Spring Split and Fall Split, each with separate prize pool and a Global Finals. The Spring Split Global Finals will take place in July 2019.
 
A new report from the Video Advertising Bureau, titled The Esports Report: The ‘Area of Effect’ For Marketers, found that 65% of people participating in esports are hard-to-reach, millennial males who are very receptive to brand advertising. meanwhile, the global esports audience is soon expected to grow to over 500 million people and is projected to reach 654 million in 2022. Esports sponsorship, advertising and media rights revenues are projected to reach $1.5 billion by 2022, a 67% rise over 2019 projections. Meanwhile, 43% of fans have an annual household income of over $75,000, with 31% having a household income of over $90,000
 
 
INDUSTRY/ROSTER MOVES

Fan Controlled Football League announced today that NFL Pro Bowl wide receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson has joined the league as a team owner and Fan Captain. Ochocinco joins an expanding lineup of celebrity Team Owners including current NFLers Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman, and recording artist Prince Royce. Fan Captains will be responsible for building their team’s brand, voice and personality, as well as handling key front office decisions.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Saturday sees Duke/North Carolina on ESPN at 6p.
 
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Announcing the Top Women in Sports Honorees!
 
The Cynopsis Top Women in Sports Awards shine a light on female trailblazers who are pushing the industry forward, while empowering and inspiring others with their drive for innovation and inclusion. We’re thrilled to honoree these women in the areas of Esports, Marketing, On-AIr Talent, Operations, Production, Social, Sports-Centric Brands and Technology. Honorees will be celebrated at the Top Women in Media Awards, taking place this August in NYC.
 
 

ON THIS DAY in 1971: Joe Frazier ends Muhammad Ali’s 31-fight winning streak at Madison Square Garden.
 
In the Know: What was Joe Frazier’s nickname? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which school has won the most Big South men’s basketball conference tournaments? Answer: Winthrop. Kudos: Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Ken White-Kwtv/Charlotte; Wayne “World B.” Otto-Pro-Am Sports/Boone; Matt Marini-NFL/NFL Films/NJ; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank
 
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