03/29/21: Sinclair breaks down the nuances of relaunching their RSNs under the Bally’s brand

 

Medias First Morning Read

 

Monday March 29, 2021

This week will see the end of the longtime RSN staple in FOX Sports Regional Networks, as Sinclair officially rebrands 19 channels under the umbrella of Bally Sports Regional Networks. The switchover will take place on March 31, with the facelift really kicking in the next day as stations begin coverage of MLB Opening Day. Impacting logos, ballpark/arena signage, and more, elements of the rebrand was spearheaded by Dana Feldman, SVP, Marketing and Promotions for Sinclair Broadcast Group. We asked her about the undertaking.

Feldman on the rebrand: The rebrand was a massive undertaking, by far the most comprehensive and exciting project I have worked on. It is not an exaggeration to say it took a village. The collaboration was second to none as we enlisted an incredible team internally across every touchpoint and brought on some very talented vendors to deliver thousands of assets. We didn’t simply replace the former logo with the Bally Sports logo, we had to completely overhaul ALL elements – both on and off air and digitally – at every location across the country. But we are incredibly proud of the finished product and we can’t wait for it to debut on March 31, just ahead of Major League Baseball’s Opening Day on April 1.

On challenges: The biggest challenge we faced was the limited turn-around time we had to complete the rebrand. We planned to tie the launch to the return of live sports (which in 2020 was a moving target) and our partnership with Bally’s was finalized in November, giving us only four months to complete the rebrand. Of course there were a few things we could do in advance of securing a naming partner…identifying our brand voice and brand pillars and the exploration of music, etc., but the vast majority of elements needed to wait for the partner announcement…including the name and logo!

Once Bally’s came on board, we moved very quickly together. ALL of these changes were made concurrently. Typically, a rebrand/redesign is done one at time. Laura Mickelson, VP Production of Bally Sports Networks likens the rebrand to “not just remodeling one home but remodeling an entire neighborhood that is spread across the country all at the exact same time.” Every single element is a custom installation with various measurements, dimensions and sizes, in every single market!

Covid also affected production. Due to the pandemic, our production team wasn’t able to be in-market for extensive on-site surveys, so everything happened with a compressed timeline or virtually. We also faced delays in the shipping of materials, but in the end it all came together and we are thrilled with the new look and feel.

On leveraging Sinclair’s full library of owned media assets: The rebrand is a priority across all business units. We are fortunate to have a large footprint, 186 television stations in 87 markets across the U.S., networks like Comet, Charge! and TBD; free streaming services such as STIRR and NewsOn; and sports properties like Stadium and Tennis Channel to truly leverage and help promote the Bally Sports brand.

On the Bally’s branding: As Chris Ripley, our company CEO stated in the initial partnership announcement, Sinclair is “developing an innovative experience that changes the way people think about and view live sports across all our platforms. Bally’s, with its strong brand name, premier sportsbook technology platform and expansive market access, is the perfect partner to help us change the paradigm of sports viewing.”

Since our acquisition of the RSNs, the strategy has been to change the way people think about and view live sports. Our partnership with Bally’s affords us a very unique opportunity that will only further our ability to grow and strengthen our connection with the fan, keeping them engaged with our local broadcasts for longer.

On markets: The regions have fully embraced this new chapter. They know their markets best and we wanted to ensure they had the tools and flexibility to deliver on that customization while staying within the new brand guidelines. The RSNs have done an incredible job at the local level to ensure their new regional brand is well positioned come March 31st.

PROGRAMMING

Turner Sports, CBS Sports and NCAA will present a special Tribute to Frontline Heroes performance featuring Miley Cyrus during the 2021 NCAA Men’s Final Four. Cyrus will perform on Saturday, during the Capital One Tournament Central show on CBS in between the first and second National Semifinal games with frontline heroes in attendance. Fans will also be able to enjoy the performance via NCAA March Madness Live and view unique camera angles via the Final Four App presented by AT&T 5G.

Meanwhile, CBS Sports and Turner Sports have announced tip times and commentator teams for the Regional Finals of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship today on CBS. Oregon St. faces Houston at 7:15p, followed by Arkansas playing Baylor at 9:57p.

Madison Square Garden Entertainment and MSG Networks are pairing up, reaching a definitive agreement for MSG Entertainment to acquire MSG Networks in an all-stock, fixed exchange ratio transaction with an eye to “create a leading entertainment and media company with a more diversified revenue base that would be well positioned to deliver innovative experiences across all of its assets.” With the acquisition of MSG Networks, MSG Entertainment anticipates it would capture more of the emerging revenue opportunity related to the potential expansion of legalized sports gaming in its market.

UniMás’ broadcast of the U-23 Olympic qualifier clash between Mexico and the United States laid claim to an average of 1.2 million Total Viewers P2+ and 648,000 Adults 18-49 on Wednesday night to rank as UniMás’ most-watched live event since the network’s telecast of the November 11, 2019 Concacaf Nations League contest featuring Mexico vs. Bermuda, according to Nielsen.

AXS TV and IMPACT Wrestling are serving up ‘Wrestle Week on AXS TV,starting April 20, and leading into the ‘Rebellion’ PPV event on April 25, offering a lineup of in-depth profiles, classic IMPACT content, and more. Programming will begin with the premiere of IMPACT In 60: Title Vs. Title at 8p.

April 21-22 will see this year’s Sports & Esports Brand Activation takes place (virtually) as some of today’s hottest properties reveal some of the unique opportunities to brands and agencies to partner for this year and beyond. Brands are invited to attend this is a can’t miss event to engage with their elusive demos! Request an exclusive invite to the Cynopsis Sports & Esports Brand Activation now.

FOX Sports is expanding its digital offerings with two new podcasts launching this week: Out of Character with Ryan Satin and Flippin’ Bats with Ben Verlander. Out of Character debuts today while Flippin’ Bats opens tomorrow. “We are excited to expand our original digital programming lineup and bring fans closer to WWE and MLB,” said David Katz, Executive Vice President and Head of Digital, FOX Sports. “Ryan and Ben have a special ability to create communities around their engaging content, which our fans will enjoy across our social channels and our all-new app and website.”

DAZN locked in rights to Italian soccer’s Serie A in a deal worth $2.95 billion, according to multiple reports. The deal, which runs for the next three seasons, spans all Serie A matches between 2021 and 2024, including exclusive rights for seven out of ten fixtures per match day.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

 

The PGA TOUR saw Comcast Business sign a multi-year deal to sponsor the Comcast Business TOUR TOP 10 starting with the current 2020-21 PGA TOUR Season. The initiative emphasizes player performance by rewarding top players in the FedExCup standings at the end of the FedExCup Regular Season. “We appreciate the support of Comcast Business in highlighting the PGA TOUR’s top 10 performers from the FedExCup Regular Season and recognizing the hard work players put into every PGA TOUR season to play their best,” said Andy Pazder, PGA TOUR Chief Tournaments and Competitions Officer. “Navigating the FedExCup Regular Season is extremely challenging as players get into the best position possible for the FedExCup Playoffs. Our ‘super season’ of 50 events features more FedExCup points than ever before, which raises the importance of every event and every shot. Finishing within the Comcast Business TOUR TOP 10 means you were able to rise to the top as a result of exceptional performance throughout the Regular Season.”

The New York Giants are partnering up with Univision New York, expanding their alliance through a series of year-round multiplatform initiatives designed to reach Latino fans. To kick-off the new partnership, Univision will lead the search for the area’s first-ever Spanish-language “Team Correspondent” to join the Univision New York “Giants en Español” broadcast team. In addition, Univision Radio will continue to broadcast all Giants preseason, regular season, and any postseason games in Spanish on WADO-1280 AM.

LAFC launched a multi-year partnership with FLEX, making the brand division of global power tool manufacturer Chervon their official jersey sponsor. The deal also makes FLEX the “Official Power Tool Partner of LAFC” and the “Official Construction Tools” of the club. It also includes exclusive content pieces, media, signage and a co-branded retail promotion. “We are proud to have FLEX Power Tools on the front of our jersey,” LAFC co-president Larry Freedman said in a release. “FLEX is an exciting and ambitious brand that will work with us to be a force for good in our community.”

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

Formula One secured Zoom Video Communications as the official unified connections platform of the series. The multi-year partnership will begin with several activations throughout the upcoming 2021 Formula One season, with Zoom providing the series with communications services for business and hospitality both during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

Players Media Group revealed new partnerships with star female athletes A.J. Andrews, Natasha Cloud, Angel McCoughtry, and Aerial Powers, and sports media platform ClutchPoints. ClutchPoints becomes PlayersTV’s latest strategic investor and brand partner and will share resources and build larger, more engaged audiences while serving both athletes and fans. As part of the partnership, ClutchPoints will launch a dedicated PlayersTV channel on its platform featuring a variety of multimedia content developed by PlayersTV. Additionally, PlayersTV and ClutchPoints will co-produce original programming for both platforms.

ESPORTS

Ubisoft revealed viewership surges for the beginning of the 2021 Rainbow Six Siege esports season. The North American League kicked of Wednesday, notching over 115,000 concurrent viewers, for a 318% uptick over its most viewed playday during the 2020 season. Overall, the regional leagues each scored record-breaking peak concurrent viewers and average minute audience results with North American leagues’ retention metrics also up versus the 2020 season seeing an AMA increase of 337% with 94K.

100 Thieves cemented a multiyear partnership with beverage brands Truly Hard Seltzer and Twisted Tea Hard Iced Tea to become the official hard seltzer and hard iced tea of the team. 100 Thieves will now integrate Truly and Twisted Tea across platforms to produce co-branded content, social challenges, livestreams and giveaways to interact with fans across gaming, entertainment, sports and beyond while the brands will collaborate with 100 Thieves on new content broadcasted across team and brand channels to engage with the passionate gaming community.

US Soccer announced that the 2021 U.S. Soccer eNational Team will be determined during the U.S. Soccer eNT Open, a fully online qualifying tournament which will be played from April 1-9. The 2021 U.S. Soccer eNT Open will be the first, official selection tournament to select the U.S. eNational Team representatives that will compete in the FIFAe Nations Online Qualifier 2021, which will occur later this spring.

Gen.G and Toyota announced “Toyota Sienna Dream Builds,” a week-long Minecraft build competition centered around the theme “Let’s Go Places in Your Dream Ride”. The theme of the build competition encourages players to build their ultimate dream ride heading to their favorite destinations with builders who embrace creativity and think outside the box being rewarded. “I’m excited to be a part of the Sienna Dream Builds competition, and it’s so awesome to see companies like Toyota recognize the value that gaming has to connect such a broad audience,” says Gen.G Creator Jessica Kim, who will host a live stream exploring the Sienna Dream Builds world in Minecraft with her viewers.”

Apex Legends Global Championship are locked and loaded, set to wrap up the game’s first Global Series season on June 13. EA and Respawn announced that the event will feature a franchise-record $1 million prize pool for teams across North America, South America, Asia-Pacific North and South, and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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On this Day
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Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
In volleyball, how many times in a row can a team hit the ball on their side of the court? Answer: Three, not counting a block. Kudos: John Lappas-Playfly Home Team Sports/NY; Cindy O’Connor-CoxReps/NY; Marc Goldstein-Marc Goldstein Media Solutions/NY; Cory Angerthal-AMC Networks/NY; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Sam Pittman-Juniper & Berkeley/Raleigh; Matt Deprey-C-SPAN/DC; Brianne Maciejowski-Miles/Sarasota; Will Allmendinger-EV Energy Group/Chicago; Tom Doherty- T-Mobile Marketing Solutions/Chicago; Barb Throm-Stealth Creative/Saint Louis; Kyle Krebs-Limestone Minerals/Dallas; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica; Greg Dudsic/Lancaster; Larry Hutchings/San Luis Obispo

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PROJECT MANAGER, CREATIVE MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
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TEMP COORDINATOR, ON AIR >>
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DIRECTOR OF CONTENT DEVELOPMENT & PRODUCTION
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ORIGIN MEDIA/REMOTE: Oversee administrative tasks, work with Sales to assist in the production, maintenance, and delivery of sales materials and RFPs from advertisers. Manage contracts with in-house legal counsel and organize and manage all company contracts and documents. 1-3 years of experience in sales or operations and familiarity with the Google Suite of products. Full info HERE (3/29)

HEAD OF GLOBAL PROCUREMENT
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