03/11/22: MLB and the MLBPA approved a new CBS to end the lockout

Medias First Morning Read
Friday March 11, 2022

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association finally struck a deal for a new collective bargaining agreement on Thursday, which would allow the 2022 regular season to begin on April 7. The mandatory Spring Training report date for all clubs is Sunday, with exhibition games beginning on March 17 or 18. With the agreement, a full 162-game schedule will be played, and the four series that were previously removed from the calendar will be rescheduled.

The revised five-year CBA includes increased minimum salaries, a new pre-arbitration bonus pool, a raise in competitive balance tax thresholds, the introduction of a universal designated hitter, a Draft lottery, a system to prevent alleged service-time manipulation and limits on the number of times a player can be optioned in a season in addition to an expanded 12-team postseason format.

PROGRAMMING

The WNBA Draft 2022 is slated to be held on April 11, where WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert will announce draft picks live on ESPN with exclusive coverage beginning at 7p, returning to an in-person event for the first time since 2019, with the Spring Studios in NY serving as the venue for the evening’s events. “With the continued support of ESPN, our draft presenting partner State Farm and associate partners, Beats by Dre, SAP, and U.S. Bank, we look forward to what will be a truly memorable evening for WNBA teams and fans and, of course, for the elite athletes for whom this night will mark the realization of a dream come true and the launch of the next phase of their basketball journey,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert

NFL Network kicks off NFL Free Agency Frenzy with coverage 2022 NFL free agency period on Sunday and running through March 17 with a slate of 32 on-air analysts, reporters and hosts providing the latest news and expert analysis of every roster move and transaction. NFL Free Agency Frenzy airs at 1p on Sunday and Thursday, and at 11a on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Of course, this weekend sees conference tournament finales and selections for the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship tournament. CBS Sports Network announced plans to offer live studio programming, exclusive encore showings of top tournament games, highlights and more throughout March, anchored by NCAA March Madness Bracket Breakdown and NCAA March Madness 360 recapping the action from all 67 NCAA Men’s Tournament games with highlights, news, interviews and analysis. Coverage begins on Sunday, with a three-hour edition following the Selection Show on The CBS Television Network. Coverage throughout the tournament will be anchored by Adam Zucker, Brent Stover and Sherree Burruss, alongside analysts Pete Gillen, Steve Lappas, Shelvin Mack, Renee Montgomery, Wally Szczerbiak, Chris Walker, as well as insiders Jon Rothstein and Gary Parrish.

Meanwhile, SiriusXM will offer listeners nationwide extensive coverage of NCAA March Madness, carrying play-by-play of the entire 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, as well as expanded play-by-play coverage of this year’s NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. All Men’s and Women’s NCAA Tournament game broadcasts are provided to SiriusXM by Westwood One, the official network radio partner of the NCAA.

DraftKings is revving up to offer extensive sports betting coverage of the tournament brackets that are accessible via DraftKings’ YouTube Channel and Vegas Sports Information Network (VSiN) Specialty tournament p will include: Line Drop: The Bracket presented by KFC and VSiN’s Tournament Betting Breakdown.

ESPN re-signed SportsCenter anchor and college football/golf commentator Matt Barrie to a new, multiyear contract to remain with the company. Barrie is the regular co-anchor of the noon edition of SportsCenter and leads ESPN’s studio college football coverage on Friday and Saturdays. He also calls college football play-by-play on game telecasts.

Boxing TV launches this week, offering a library of 1200 events from the “most memorable bouts of all time.” A partnership among Triple-B Media, Main Events and Payne Boxing, Boxing TV’s goal is to “become the free, go-to destination for everything boxing, including classic bouts, live events and news and information programming.” At launch, Boxing TV will be available on Local Now, Distro TV, SPORTS.TV, SelectTV and on Triple-B’s Streamstak platform at www.watchboxing.tv.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The NHL released activation details for the upcoming Heritage Classic PreGame fan festival, which the league says will be sporting a 55% uptick in official NHL partner activation vs. the equitable 2019 event. New partners activating this year are set to include OLG’s (Ontario and Lottery Gaming Corporation) PROLINE+, Chipotle, Clorox, Fastenal, Olymel, and SkipTheDishes while veterans such as Fanatics, Honda, and Kruger return to the foray. The sold-out 2022 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic outdoor game between the Maple Leafs and Sabres on Sunday will also honor members of the Canadian Women’s Hockey Team gold-medal performances in the 2021 World Championship and 2022 Winter Olympics and feature performances by Alessia Cara, Willow and Lindsay Ell. The game will be broadcast live at 4p on TNT, Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

The PGA TOUR and THE PLAYERS Championship announced that Optum will extend its commitment as Proud Partner of THE PLAYERS Championship through 2028. Optum will continue to partner with THE PLAYERS Championship and 2019 PLAYERS Champion and Optum Health Ambassador, Rory McIlroy to showcase the importance of helping people live healthier lives and work to improve health equity in the Jacksonville community and beyond.

Unilever’s Dollar Shave Club brand is taking on collegiate basketball by becoming the Official Razor of the NCAA and March Madness and locked in an NIL deal with Gonzaga University star Drew Timme. “March Madness is a tournament unlike any other – the school spirit, the fan traditions, the student-athletes, the passion. It all adds up to one of the most memorable sports moments of the year,” said Kerry Sullivan, Chief Marketing Officer at Dollar Shave Club. “So, where better for the Club to show up and help fans make the most of what makes them unique.”

Just Women’s Sports is partnering with DICK’S Sporting Goods to award $150,000 to the winner of the 2022 Just Women’s Sports x DICK’S Bracket Challenge, which – according to the announcement – would rank as the largest first-place prize ever awarded in women’s college basketball. In addition to the grand prize, $250 DICK’S gift cards will be awarded for second through eleventh place.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

NCAA March Madness Live is back for the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship this year upgrading to offer the debut of a new multi-game viewing feature across select connected devices and introducing a new interactive team management game titled Starting Lineup Challenge. NCAA March Madness Live is managed by Turner Sports in partnership with the NCAA and CBS Sports and is available to download across 18 mobile and connected devices including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Xbox, Google TV and select LG Smart TV devices.

The United States Football League is partnering with FOX Entertainment’s Blockchain Creative Labs to launch an NFT marketplace for digital collectibles. BCL will mint and sell official digital tokens for the League, its teams, players, and coaches. Players and coaches will have the opportunity to work directly with BCL to create bespoke tokens. “Our partners at Blockchain Creative Labs are building a cutting-edge marketplace for digital collectibles that will create a unique experience for USFL fans, players, and coaches,” said Edward Hartman, USFL Executive Vice President of Business Operations.

OneTeam Media announced the official rebrand of AthleteAnd as “a player-driven storytelling content platform showcasing the off-field passions and interests that define the athletes of its six partner players associations.” “The NFLPA started AthleteAnd to further empower its player members and encourage them to explore their gifts beyond the playing field. We believe in the mission that athletes define themselves as more than just the sport they play and can benefit from opportunities to live out their ‘And.’ We are excited OneTeam shares our mission and will continue to grow the AthleteAnd platform through storytelling while extending it to players from our sister and brother player associations,” said George Atallah, Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs at the NFLPA.

General Sports Worldwide acquired sports career development platform theClubhouse as part of its Executive Search and Team Consulting Division. “Mentorship and career development are key components of our leadership mantra and adding theClubhouse® will allow us to share those with a larger audience and have a broader impact on the sports and entertainment industry,” said General Sports Worldwide Managing Director Lou DePaoli. “Bob’s vision, values, and approach are in sync with ours, and we look forward to consulting with him on growing and expanding theClubhouse®.”

Genius Sports Limited secured a sports data, fan engagement and integrity partnership with the Mid-American Conference where the company will capture, manage and distribute official MAC statistics. Genius Sports will also provide the MAC with access to its cutting-edge optical data tracking and video augmentation solutions for its Men’s Basketball Championship and offer a suite of customized free-to-play games, live data integrations and dynamic widgets to enable new levels of gamification into the MAC fan experience.

ESPORTS

Complexity Gaming secured an extended partnership with Miller Lite to develop a limited-edition merchandise capsule and expand the scope of its current content offering. With the deal, the pair will design a co-branded merchandise capsule that will include a jersey, hoodie, t-shirt, hat, and more. Complexity and Miller Lite will also introduce a new initiative designed to support diverse gaming communities.

Misfits Gaming Group selected blockchain Tezos as its Official Blockchain in a multi-year technical partnership. The deal will encompass marquee branding and sponsorship rights, integrated business practices, and community-building content, as well as providing the launchpad for the new Misfits Gaming Group blockchain gaming platform, Block Born. Misfits will also refocus its $10 million gaming incubator MSF/IO, to become the MSF Tezos Gaming Incubator.

Esports tournament organizer and media network BLAST named Charlotte Kenny as Manager Director for BLAST Premier. She joins after seven years working in the world of football with Arsenal FC, Club Affairs and LTT Sports.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

The XFL announced three new additions to its team, adding Paul White and Anthony Zucconi as Vice President, Consumer Product Group Operations and Licensing Partnerships and Vice President, Marketing and Brand respectively. Amanda Yan joins the league as Controller.

The Premier Hockey Federation announced that the Boston Pride has named Hockey Hall of Fame member Willie O’Ree to the organization’s ownership group. “This is a really exciting day for the Boston Pride and we are honored to welcome Willie, an iconic hockey pioneer, to our ownership group,” said Miles Arnone, Chair and Principal Owner of the Boston Pride. “Willie is a true hockey trailblazer that has given so much of his life to the sport. His mission is reflected in our values as an organization and as a league that strives to grow the game for everyone.”

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ON THIS DAY in
1986: The NFL adopts instant replay.

IN THE KNOW
What is the name of the fight song used by the US Naval Academy? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
What was the name of the chimpanzee in Speed Racer? Answer: Chim Chim. Kudos: Aileen Larsen-PHD/NY; Doug Fields-DAZN/NY; Ranfi Rivera-Paramount/NY; Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Networks/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Roger Furman-Sports Marketing Communications/Greentown; Rick Dascher-WarnerMedia Studios/Atlanta; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Charlie Conner-KOKI/KMYT/Tulsa; Kyle Krebs-CBS 42/Birmingham; Jim Bernard-Admire Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo

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7+ yrs. Detail oriented is a must. Tracking status on contracts, liaison for prog. & fin., sourcing stages, hiring production staff, securing vendor bids, supervising production covid depts, tracking payment for talent, managing all production requests from internal depts, series deliverables and all production data. Point of contact for vendors. Full info HERE (3/25)

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