03/25/20: The IOC postponed the Summer Games until 2021

 

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Wednesday March 25, 2020

The IOC didn’t need four weeks after all, announcing a decision that the 2020 Summer Games would be postponed this year as a result of the coronavirus. IOC President Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community. The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo “could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present,” with the Olympic flame staying in Japan. In addition, they agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Stateside, NBCUniversal commented on the postponement. “NBCUniversal is actively working with our advertising partners to navigate this postponement, and we’re exploring all options to best serve their brands and our consumers this year, and into 2021,” the company said in a statement.

PROGRAMMING

After NASCAR, iRacing and FOX Sports teamed up last Sunday to deliver the first-ever eNASCAR iRacing Pro invitational Series event, FOX Sports is going all in with coverage of the remainder of the season, beginning Sunday at 1p live from virtual Texas Motor Speedway. Entitled FOX NASCAR iRACING, the races will be simulcast on the FOX broadcast network*, FS1 and the FOX Sports app. Last Sunday’s inaugural event drew 903,000 viewers on FS1, according to Nielsen Media Research to rank as the most-watched telecast on FS1 since the pandemic-induced sports shutdown began on March 12 and Sunday’s most-watched sports telecast on cable television, as well as ranks as the highest-rated esports TV program in history. Additionally, according to rankings by Twitter interactions, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series on FS1 was the #1 most-social TV program overall on Sunday.

ESPN is rolling out a lineup of boxing stars, announcing that Terence Crawford, Tyson Fury, Teofimo Lopez, Michael Conlan and the 2015 super-fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao will be showcased on ESPN2 today as part of a five-hour fistic marathon. The action starts at 7p with WBO welterweight world champion Crawford’s April 2019 tour de force over former unified super lightweight world champion Amir Khan.

ESPN also announced that it will launch a multi-platform Major League Baseball content initiative this week, highlighted by a Home Run Derby Classics marathon on Thursday on ESPN2. The eight-hour marathon begins at 6p and will include encore presentations of the 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2015 Home Run Derby events. ESPN MLB analyst Tim Kurkjian will debut a new content series on March 26 called Baseball Fix” where he will reflect on the best classic baseball story per day tied to that date in history, in vintage Kurkjian form.

Speaking of baseball, on what would have been Major League Baseball’s 2020 Opening Day, MLB Network announced it will air a marathon of memorable Opening Day games on Thursday, beginning at 1p with Derek Jeter’s performance for the New York Yankees against the Cleveland Indians in his first career Opening Day in 1996. MLB Network’s MLB Tonight with Robert Flores, Matt Vasgersian, Dan Plesac and Harold Reynolds will air at noon leading up to the first game.

HBO Sports documentary film The Scheme “telling the revealing, no-holds-barred tale of Christian Dawkins, convicted in federal court in the biggest criminal case in collegiate sports history” on March 31 at 9p on the HBO. The film chronicles the two-year undercover FBI investigation into college basketball corruption that came to a dramatic climax on September 26, 2017, when Adidas executives and assistant coaches at major college programs were arrested in a pay-for-play scheme.

YES Network upgraded its social media offerings to engage fans amidst the COVID-19 crisis announcing three daily series as part of its “YES, We’re Here” social media initiative. YES talent will host interviews three times a day and post new episodes daily of all three shows on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and YESNetwork.com.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

With the news that the Olympics would be delayed by a year, some of the Games’ biggest sponsors were quick to comment on their position and roles as the event looks to 2021. “As the longest standing sponsor of the Olympic Games, we remain committed to working together with the IOC and TOCOG to create a successful and safe event,” said a Coca-Cola spokesman to Reuters.

New Balance Foundation announced that it has committed $2 million in non-profit grants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to support local, regional and global communities. “We firmly believe it is our civic duty to support our communities in need around the world,” said Anne Davis, managing trustee New Balance Foundation. “As we witness the growing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are inspired by the acts of humanity, kindness and compassion that have emerged in support of one another during this health crisis. Guided by our values, NB Foundation will remain generous, flexible and responsive recognizing the uncertainty created by these challenging times.”

Tennis star Madison Keys, two-time U.S. Olympic medalist/alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, and U.S. Olympic medalist/Nordic skier Jessie Diggins are teaming up with Kindness Wins to launch the “Kindness In Crisis” relief initiative, designed to benefit families and communities impacted by COVID-19. They will participate in an online auction with Kindness Wins via Charity Auction Today. Relief organizations benefitting from the KINDNESS IN CRISIS fundraising include The American Red Cross, Feeding America, No Kid Hungry, and the United Way.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

DraftKings s getting creative while major sports leagues at a standstill, and announced plans to offer a number of free-to-play pools that include tonight’s episode of CBS’ Survivor (8p) for $2,000 in prizing. A comprehensive list of available pools contests can be found here.

ESPORTS

La Liga’s charity FIFA 20 tournament delivered audiences, reeling in more than one million viewers across YouTube, Twitch, LaLigaSportsTV with a broadcast on Movistar+ via Deportes 1 in Spain as well as on Eleven Sports in Belgium and Portugal. The tournament was a result of a partnership between the league, sponsor Santander and FIFA series developer EA Sports.

YouTube creator Keemstar announced plans to launch a creator and community event space titled KeemPark. Created in partnership with content creation services Greenlit Content and eFuse. Competition began Tuesday with a slate of Call of Duty: Warzone tournaments and every subsequent Wednesday that will feature other personalities that include Ninja, Nickmercs and Nadeshot of 100 Thieves, as well as artists such as Lil Yachty. “We are excited to usher in Warzone Wednesday to one of the most engaged fanbases in all of gaming,” said John Benyamine, CEO of Greenlit. “We are looking forward to participating in even more with Keemstar and LFM Management in the coming weeks.”

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

Fight Network announced that Ariel Shnerer has been appointed its new General Manager. Shnerer has held various positions at Fight Network since joining the company in 2007, including producer, programming and content manager, editorial supervisor and executive producer of FN Originals, Fight Network’s original production group. More recently, Shnerer served as Senior Director of Programming, Global Distribution & Communications for Anthem.

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On This Day
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