03/02/18: ESPN and the Sun Belt blazed a new rights deal

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Friday March 2, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

ESPN and the Sun Belt Conference are going long, announcing a new long-term rights agreement that extends ties through the 2027-28 college season. ESPN will become the exclusive media partner of the Sun Belt Conference, delivering coverage of more than 500 conference-controlled events, across the conference’s 18 sports, each season on ESPN’s linear television networks and ESPN+. Beginning in the 2020-21 season, a minimum of 15 of those events will air on ESPN’s linear networks with hundreds of additional events available exclusively on the new digital platform.
 
“The continuation of our agreement with ESPN marks one of the most historic announcements since the Sun Belt’s founding in 1976,” said Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson. “This is truly an ‘all in’ collaboration with ESPN, the Sun Belt, and our member institutions and the volume and accessibility of our games will have a profound impact on the future of the Sun Belt. We have enjoyed a long relationship with ESPN since its founding in 1979 and we look forward to being featured on its newest platform, ESPN+, which promises to revolutionize how fans of the Sun Belt and all of college sports watch their favorite teams in action.”
 
 
ON THE AIR

SiriusXM detailed its plans for new college conference-dedicated networks launching on its lineup. ACC Radio will launch Monday as a 24/7 channel, with series that include: ACC This Morning, hosted by Mark Packer and Wes Durham, will air live every weekday morning from 7-10a. Chris Spatola and Jac Collinsworth will host the afternoon drive time show, ACC Today, every weekday from 3-6p. Additional hosts and analysts who will be a part of SiriusXM ACC Radio include former Notre Dame All-American Aaron Taylor, former Miami All-American Jonathan Vilma and former Georgia Tech quarterback Tom Luginbill.
 
Next up will be SiriusXM Pac-12 Radio, also launching Monday with Pac-12 focused sports talk and news, plus an extensive schedule of Pac-12 games, including every game of next week’s 2018 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament from Las Vegas. Among the new shows will be Pac-12 This Morning, hosted by Guy Haberman and Ryan Leaf, airing live every weekday morning from 10:00a-1p. Kate Scott and Sean O’Connell will alternate as hosts alongside Geoff Schwartz on the afternoon drive time show, Pac-12 Today, every weekday from 6-9p.
 
Finally, SiriusXM SEC Radio wraps up the trio launching on Monday and will offer exclusive new shows that will cover various sports and are hosted by former SEC athletes and conference insiders. Among those are: SEC This Morning, hosted by Peter Burns and Marcus Spears every weekday morning from 7-10a; Chris Childers and Chris Doering hosting the afternoon drive time show, SEC Today, every weekday from 3-6p. Listeners will also hear a replay of SEC Network’s popular The Paul Finebaum Show every weekday evening from 6-10p.
 
NBCSN saw the most recent Nielsen report showing an increase of 646,000 NBCSN television homes following its extensive coverage of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. “We are pleased that this report amplifies NBCSN’s best month ever,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Broadcasting and Sports. “With hundreds of hours of Winter Games coverage along with our other valuable programming, our business continues to grow and the Olympics prove once again to be dominant and powerful.”
 
The Sporting News’ Mike McCarthy laid out a story yesterday detailing how FOX Sports was preparing “a major push to take WWE TV rights away from USA Network,” and could include the benefit of airing WWE Raw on the FOX broadcast channel, while SmackDown Live would shift to FS1. The company plans to announce its US TV partner between May and September of this year with WWE’s current deal with USA expiring on Sept. 30, 2019.
 
CBS Sports Network tips off the channel’s most-ever conference tournament action starting Saturday with “Bracket Week Presented by Kubota.” Coverage will include three automatic bids to the Men’s NCAA Tournament, including the Colonial Athletic Association, Conference USA and Patriot League. On the women’s side, Conference USA, Mid-American, Patriot League and Southland conference award automatic bids to the Women’s NCAA Tournament on CBS Sports Network. First up, the CAA Men’s Championship on Tuesday at 7p.
 
Olympic Channel announced a new partnership with the Japan Consortium covering linear and digital platforms. The deal runs through 2024, encompassing the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and includes linear programming blocks and digital presence, including embedded video across the networks within the Japan Consortium under the “Olympic Channel” brand.
 
Meanwhile, Pac-12 Networks and DAZN Canada inked a multi-year partnership to make a significant number of Pac-12 Networks events available to DAZN’s Canadian subscribers, along with highlights and original programming. The partnership allows Canadian DAZN subscribers to receive Pac-12 Networks content, an offering that will comprise live events from all 12 universities, including a host of football games, men’s and women’s basketball games, Olympic events and Pac-12 Championships as well as a number of games from the Pac-12 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. In addition, DAZN subscribers will also have access to Pac-12 Networks’ original programming including “The Drive: Pac-12 Football” and “Inside Pac-12 Football.”
 
Tennis Channel will carry the Match for Africa 5 Silicon Valley, featuring Roger Federer and Jack Sock, live from San Jose on Monday at 10:30p. The event includes a one-set doubles event with Federer and Microsoft founder Bill Gates taking on Sock and NBC’s Today host Savannah Guthrie. The exhibition will include fundraising efforts, with all proceeds benefiting the Roger Federer Foundation and children living in poverty in Africa.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Announcing Luminary Award Honorees!
April 12 at the New York Athletic Club in NYC
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. In addition to our phenomenal category finalists, we’ll be awarding these sports media leaders with the annual Luminary Awards.
So, mark your calendar – We’ll see you in April!
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The Madison Square Garden Company signed streaming service Hulu to a multi-faceted marketing partnership that includes naming rights to The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The venue will now be known as The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, with Hulu branding and content fully integrated across the venue, as well as MSG’s digital and promotional platforms.
 
ExxonMobil unlocked new, multi-year marketing partnerships with the Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, and Houston Rockets, extending ExxonMobil’s status as the “Official Motor Fuel of the National Basketball Association” in those markets. To tip off the team partnerships, ExxonMobil is conducting a sweepstakes for the 2018 NBA Finals and will host an official 180-degree photo experience event March 6 at the Charlotte Hornets’ Spectrum Center, and March 20 at the Boston Celtics’ TD Garden.
 
The PGA TOUR announced that Cologuard, an at-home colon cancer screening test manufactured by Exact Sciences, signed on for a three-year marketing agreement to become the Official Colon Cancer Screening Sponsor of the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions. The partnership includes global rights through 2020.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

YouTube TV locked in another deal with a MLS club, this time with the Seattle Sounders. The multi-year agreement sees the platform become the official streaming option for all Sounders games with 20 regionally-broadcast games carried online.
 
IMPACT Wrestling is entering a co-promotion with Lucha Underground for WrestleCon weekend scheduled for April 5-8 in New Orleans. IMPACT stars will face off against Lucha Underground on April 6 at 10p, with the events carried live exclusively on IMPACT Wrestling’s Twitch channel.
 
FloSports announced the hiring of David Thorpe as NBA editor-at-large on FloHoops.com. Thorpe will lead the development of in-depth written content and provide premium NBA content for the remainder of the 2018 season and postseason.
 
Amazon announced that season three of docuseries All or Nothing will launch on April 27. All or Nothing: The Dallas Cowboys will once again be narrated by Jon Hamm and follows the Cowboys through their tumultuous 2017 season.
 
 
ESPORTS

Get ready for Red Bull Conquest, a new fighting game tournament circuit that will kick off on April 28 in Chicago with 15 qualifiers overall planned across the United States, as well as one additional online qualifier, to determine which region has the best players in Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition, TEKKEN 7, and Guilty Gear Xrd REV2. The circuit will culminate with the top regional champions facing off in a final showdown at the Red Bull Conquest National Finals in Washington, D.C. from Nov. 16-18, where one region will emerge victorious and claim victory as the best fighting game region in the nation. Red Bull Conquest Qualifiers will take place in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle.
 
Upstart streaming platform Caffeine announced a deal with ESL to bring live events, highlights, replays, as well as a brand new ESL talk show to the platform beginning with IEM World Championship Katowice, which will be livestreamed on Caffeine.tv/ESL_Live from March 2-4.
 
The National Association of Collegiate Esports signed a partnership agreement with Gamer Sensei to connect competitive collegiate esports players with a curated collection of professional coaches. The partnership between NACE and Gamer Sensei will better enable colleges and universities launching esports departments or expanding the number of games they compete in to find qualified coaches to lead these collegiate teams to victory.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

Learfield made a slate of moves to its Campus+ team, including the addition of Andrew Kossoff, Owen Shull and Mark Winneker as Campus+ VPs. Collectively they bring “significant expertise in areas of sports marketing, sales, corporate relationships, strategic leadership and revenue growth having served with iconic brands within intercollegiate athletics and reputable Fortune 500 corporations.”
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Today sees Wisconsin/Michigan State in Big Ten quarterfinal action on BTN at noon.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
The Cynopsis Top Women in Digital Awards Breakfast
Sponsored by Horizon Media
Wednesday, March 14th | 8:30am – 10:30am | Espace, NYC
At a time when it is more important than ever to shine a light on the incredible accomplishments of women in every field, we are proud to honor excellence in digital content, marketing, advertising, social media and online content. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with digital’s game changers, rising stars, corporate visionaries and industry leaders!
 

ON THIS DAY in 1962: Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points
 
In the Know: Who did Hulk Hogan team up with (forming the Mega Powers) to battle the “Mega Bucks” at Summerslam 1998? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who has played the most NBA games as a member of the Nets? Answer: Buck Williams. Kudos: Marc Wollis-Cadent Network/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Keith Marder-Halstead Real Estate/NY; David Scherzer-Sizzle Sports Media/Westfield; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA
 
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