03/06/18: James Pitaro will take over ESPN as president of the company

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Good morning. It’s Tuesday March 6, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

ESPN crowned a new commander with an emphasis on the digital experience, naming James Pitaro as President of ESPN and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks. Pitaro has served as Chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media since 2016. “Jimmy is a talented and dedicated leader with the right strategic vision, relentless drive and passion for sports required to lead the stellar ESPN team at this incredibly dynamic time,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company.  “Jimmy forged his career at the intersection of technology, sports and media, and his vast experience and keen perspective will be invaluable in taking ESPN into the future. I also want to extend my utmost thanks to George Bodenheimer for serving as Acting Chair of ESPN these past few months; he is a true industry pioneer and helped make ESPN the undisputed leader in sports.”
“As a passionate and lifelong sports fan, I am honored to be joining the ESPN team during such a pivotal time in its storied history,” Mr. Pitaro said. “The appetite for quality sports content across platforms has never been greater, and I am looking forward to working with the talented ESPN team as we continue to redefine the future fan experience.” Mr. Pitaro’s appointment is effective immediately, and new leadership for Disney’s consumer products and interactive businesses will be named at a later date.

Turner Sports and CBS Sports unveiled their talent lineup for the 2018 NCAA Tournament this year, with new pairings for the 67 games that will name the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball champion. Coverage will span TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV – and via NCAA March Madness Live, beginning Tuesday, March 13, with the NCAA First Four on truTV presented by Northwestern Mutual. Longtime staple Verne Lundquist will not be a part of the coverage, as pairings will include: Jim Nantz/Bill Raftery/Grant Hill/Tracy Wolfson, who are also on deck to call the Final Four National Semifinals and National Championship. Ernie Johnson and Greg Gumbel will again host studio coverage from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City during the first full week of the tournament, joined by Charles Barkley, Clark Kellogg and Kenny Smith.  Other teams will include:
  • Brian Anderson/Chris Webber/Lisa Byington*
  • Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel/Allie LaForce*
  • Kevin Harlan/Reggie Miller/Dan Bonner/Dana Jacobson*
  • Brad Nessler/Steve Lavin/Evan Washburn
  • Spero Dedes/Steve Smith/Len Elmore/Ros Gold-Onwude
  • Andrew Catalon/Steve Lappas/Jamie Erdahl
  • Carter Blackburn/Debbie Antonelli/John Schriffen
In other talent news, Tennis Channel is reuniting with Entertainment Tonight host Kevin Frazier during its coverage of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells starting today. Frazier will anchor the network’s on-site studio desk as it begins month-long coverage of the Southern California event as well as the Miami Open. Overall, Tennis Channel will devote almost 570 hours and 27 days to the two tournaments, the longest and largest competitions outside the sport’s four majors. Frazier is joining an on-air talent team that includes Martina Navratilova, Jim Courier and Lindsay Davenport.
CONCACAF laid out initial plans for the new CONCACAF League of Nations tournament, which will begin with qualifying play in September of this year. Play will see the US national team and its five opponents in the hexagonal round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup will not have to play any qualifying matches and be automatically seeded into the top six spots in the federation’s new CONCACAF Ranking Index. The remaining 34 nations eligible for the tournament will play four qualifying matches during international windows between September of 2018 and March 2019. The full format of the CONCACAF Nations League will be revealed at the launch event at 10a on Wednesday.
Today will see NBCSN’s NASCAR America unveil the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2019 nominees at 5p. Tuesday’s 60-minute show will feature in-depth discussions and highlight reels dedicated to the 20 nominees who have made significant advancements to NASCAR. Coverage will also include the announcement of the five nominees for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR, honoring key individuals who have helped the growth and esteem of the sport. Krista Voda hosts.
Another Spring Break high for YES Network. The channel reports that Sunday’s Rays/Yankees telecast ranked as YES’ highest-rated, most-watched and most-viewed Spring Training telecast in five years, averaging a 1.61 TV Household rating, 114,000 Households and 145,000 viewers in the New York DMA.
As WWE heads to WrestleMania, the company announced multiple activations, including the addition of Hillbilly Jim to the WWE Hall of Fame where he will join Goldberg, The Dudley Boyz, Ivory, Jeff Jarrett and Warrior Award recipient Jarrius “JJ” Robertson as this year’s recipients. Recipients will be honored on April 6 in New Orleans during WrestleMania 34 Week. In addition, the company is bringing in Chloe x Halle, the sister duo signed to Beyonce’s Parkwood Entertainment, to perform “America the Beautiful,” kicking off WrestleMania 34 on April 8.
Speaking of WWE, the company will partner with the Saudi General Sports Authority to present the Greatest Royal Rumble event at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on April 27. For the first time ever, the Royal Rumble match will feature 50 WWE Superstars with ticket and broadcast information available in the coming weeks. This event is part of a 10-year strategic multiplatform partnership in support of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s social and economic reform program.
The Cynopsis Top Women in Digital Breakfast | March 14th | Espace, NYC
Sponsored by Horizon Media
“I’m thrilled to have been selected a Cynopsis Top Women in Digital. What an honor it is to be among this company of women!”Jennifer H| CI&T
 “So excited to be part of this amazing group.”Laura H| NBCUniversal
“I’m really honored and excited. Looking forward to the event.” Virginia J | Cobblecord
“I’m honored to be among such amazing women.” Laura R | SONY


Continuing the theme, WWE is deepening its ties with SNICKERS for WrestleMania 34. SNICKERS’ presenting partnership of the event includes custom content produced by WWE for SNICKERS, which will feature WWE Superstars and the brand’s popular ‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ campaign. The creative will appear across WWE’s global digital and social platforms, on the WWE Network, and on WWE’s flagship TV programs Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live on USA Network. As part of the deal, SNICKERS will have promotional activity at WrestleMania Axxess– WWE’s four-day, interactive fan festival, and SNICKERS is also currently conducting a retail sweepstakes on U.S. military bases that will give 25 winners free access to stream WrestleMania on WWE Network.
The NHL is hitting SXSW Sports to host a panel on March 10, titled “The NHL’s Power Play in China.” The session will explore the League’s efforts in China and its work with partners across China to support hockey development at all levels and feature panelist Bill Daly, NHL Deputy Commissioner; David Proper, NHL Executive Vice President of Media & International Strategy; and Jessica Guo, Deputy GM of Bloomage International with NHL Network host Jamie Hersch.
Charlotte Motor Speedway locked in an entitlement sponsorship with Alsco for its May 26 race. The Alsco 300 coincides with the 40th anniversary of the inaugural running of the Xfinity Series race. In addition, Alsco – which also sponsors the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on July 13 at Kentucky Speedway – becomes one of only two companies to serve as entitlement sponsor of multiple Xfinity Series events.

Back to college basketball, this year, NCAA March Madness Live will offer fans multiple ways to engage with live coverage for all 67 games of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, running across 16 platforms this year – the most in the product’s history. In addition, the digital platform will introduce a new Fast Break feature offering continuous live streaming coverage throughout the first round of the NCAA Tournament, presented by AT&T and Lowe’s. The offering will include live streaming whip-around coverage of every tournament game during the first two full days of tournament action, switching from game-to-game with live look-ins, quick turnaround highlights, and commentary on behalf of all the games. NCAA March Madness Live will also continue to offer select NCAA Tournament games in virtual reality this year.
FloSports unlocked a multi-year agreement with the Amateur Athletic Union to live stream the AAU Boys National Championships and Super Showcases exclusively on FloHoops.com. As part of the agreement, FloSports will air the 12U – 19U Championships beginning with the AAU 14U Boys National Championships from July 5-9.

Cynopsis Sports/Esports detailed plans with Chief Marketer and Event Marketer for the launch of the Esports Business Summit (EBS)—a “first-of-its-kind conference, exhibition and networking experience for those interested in pursuing or expanding business opportunities in the burgeoning esports industry” and will include a dedicated evening for the industry’s top esports awards. The event runs from Las Vegas from Oct. 1-3 and features an unprecedented board of advisors that include executives representing publishers, leagues, platforms, teams, brands and talent, including: Activision Blizzard; ELEAGUE/Turner Sports; ESL, Psyonix, ESL, WESA, Nielsen, Intersport, Comcast, NBA 2K League, Microsoft, Twitch, and more. More information can be found at EsportsBizSummit.com.
Blizzard laid out plans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of StarCraft, rolling out a slate of activations surrounding the event that includes: StarCraft is Life: A 20th Anniversary Celebration, a short film featuring StarCraft players from around the world sharing how the series has impacted their lives; a StarCraft Anniversary Live Stream; a Party Across Games; StarCraft Remastered; and salutes in other Blizzard games.

Pac-12 Networks announced the hiring of veteran sports media executive Larry Meyers to the newly formed role of Executive Vice President, Content. Meyers will drive Pac-12 Networks’ content and production efforts across all platforms, bringing Pac-12 fans closer to their favorite universities, wherever and whenever they want to consume Pac-12 content. In addition, Pac-12 Networks announced the promotion of Sam Silverstein, who has served as head of digital content for six years.

CAA Men’s Championship on CBS Sports Network at 7p.
The Cynopsis Short Form Video Festival
March 7, 2018 | SVA Theatre | New York City
Screen the winning videos chosen by our expert panel of jurors, and enjoy thought-provoking and idea-rich panel discussions with producers, directors, actors, marketers, and more. Panels will address topics including: Building an effective distribution strategy, Monetization for maximum ROI and more. Interested in submitting for the festival?

ON THIS DAY in 1964: Cassius Clay changes his name to Muhammad Ali.
In the Know: Who was the first fighter to beat Muhammad Ali? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Before moving to Safeco Field, the Mariners played at what venue? Answer: The Kingdome.  Kudos: John Ferlazzo/London; Keith Marder-Halstead Real Estate/NY; Christopher Long-DraftKings/NY; Andrew Feingold-Fox News/NY; Art Salisch-Hearst Television/NY; Joe Schreiber-3 Penny Films/Bethesda; George Ameer-PGA TOUR/Ponte Vedra Beach; Rick Wiener-Allebach Communications/Philadelphia; Mark Lehman-Atlanta Braves/Atlanta; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Matt Fumagalli-Levy/Chicago; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Tom Doherty-Starcom Media/Chicago; Tony Reyes-Walt Disney Imagineering/Glendale; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; John Baghdassarian-Olympusat/LA; Randy Hastings-360i/LA; Tom Tyrer-Circle Change Media/LA

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Resp for providing strategic leadership & direction for building the Newsy brand as a leader in cable & over-the-top news ecosystems. If you enjoy setting revenue targets & leading a team to meet (or exceed!) those goals apply.

Full info/apply HERE

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, MARKETING/GSTV/NYC: Responsible for helping to define/mng execution of GSTV’s industry mktg strategy, incl: optimizing reach/engagement. 4-yr deg in PR, comm, mktg or journalism from an accredited college/university. 5-7 yrs of progressively resp mktg comm/PR work exp. Resume/cvr: [email protected] (3/14)

VP SALES/Newsy/NYC: Resp for providing strategic leadership & direction for building the Newsy brand as a leader in cable & over-the-top news ecosystems. If you enjoy setting revenue targets & leading a team to meet (or exceed!) those goals apply. Full info/apply HERE (3/13)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR OF GROWTH/Mashable/NYC: Drive growth/monetization strategies across commerce, SEO, newsletters & FB. Oversee team of growth producers. Work closely w/our SR editorial leaders & video team to grow audience. 6-8 yrs exp leading a growth team. Strong familiarity w/Mashable. Full info/apply HERE (3/10)

VP, CONSUMER MARKETING/The First Tee/East Coast: Oversee mgmt & dev of mktg plans & advertising from ground up. Sprvs creation/delivery of: live events, co. initiatives & projects connected to its affiliate ntwk. mktg the brand to generate exposure & increase engagement. 10+ yrs exp. Full info/apply HERE (3/10)

JOB OPENING: VP, CONSUMER RESEARCH/The First Tee/East Coast: Lead team to support quantitative/qualitative rsrch to help org understand lifestyles & behaviors of our target aud to inform bus strat. Resp for conducting rsrch & relevancy of our brand, its affiliates among kids & key insights about golf. Apply HERE (3/10)

JOB OPENING: SALES PLANNER/MUSIC CHOICE TV/NYC: Resp for development/fulfillment of integrated media plans & proposals across all Music Choice television platforms for advertising clients. 1-2 yrs media or sales plan’g/assistant at an agency or ntwrk. Solid understanding of media math. Full info HERE (3/10)

Manage the communication, design, implementation & administration of A+E Networks’ comp prgms inc: job evals, salary surveys, merit plng & yr end process. 3-4 yrs comp exp with emphasis on Workday exp. Apply HERE (3/9)

DIR, PAID SOCIAL MEDIA/A+E/NY: Develop & manage all paid SM campaigns to drive engagement & increase visibility of series across all platforms. 5+ yrs digital media plng exp w/emphasis in SM. Apply: HERE (3/9)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, DIGITAL AD SALES/NASCAR/NYC: Mng significant territory/client base & monetizing NASCAR’s digital properties. Identify a digital ad sales strategy/business plan for their territory & sell programs to existing & new clients. 5 yrs of current ent or media ad sales exp. Full info/apply HERE (3/9)

JOB OPENING: SALES PLANNER/FUSETV/NY: Create proposals in Ad Sales sys, monitor/steward accounts, support Nat’l Account Exec w/mktg and rsrch projects. BA, 2+ yrs media/sales plan’g req’d. Click on our career page HERE (3/8)

JOB OPENING: MANAGER, PROGRAMMING ANALYTICS/Spectrum/Stamford CT: Designed to strategically inform decisions surrounding prgm choices & costs in support of contract negotiations while also serving the long range analytics & data strategy needs as they relate to programming. Full info/apply HERE  #213478 (3/8)

JOB OPENING: COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR/World Golf Hall of Fame/FL: Develop/implement a high-impact comms to build profile, strategy and reputation.  Oversee dept including creating content, media relations, digital/social distribution channels to elevate awareness of the Hall of Fame. Apply HERE (3/8)

NON-SCRIPTED DEVELOPMENT SALES EXEC/JUMA ENTERTAINMENT/Bucks County, PA: Lifestyle & Ent Specs Prodco expanding east coast  operation. Position will lead creative process from concept development to sale. Multiple years experience necessary w/track record and sales results. Apply HERE (3/7)

JOB OPENINGSALES DIRECTOR/Seedbox/Europe: Sell the co. brdcst service to cable, satellite and telco operators across all of Europe, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. 10+ yrs relevant sales exp selling sales to cable and satellite operators in Europe. Able to speak mult languages. Full info/apply HERE (3/7)

JOB OPENING: SR ANALYST/MSG Networks/NYC: Assist insights dept w/all aspects of quant & qual rsrch analysis incl maintenance of large data sets, data prep & analysis of TV & digital viewership trends. 2+ yrs mkt rsrch exp pref’d. Strong knwldg of Nielsen data & some exp w/digital metrics. Full info HERE (3/7)

JOB OPENINGPRODUCER/MSNBC Hardball/East Coast: Join the Hardball team as a segment producer and contribute daily by writing exceptional, compelling segments regarding political insight and newsworthy events of the day. 5+yrs TV production, including at least 2 yrs as a segment producer. Full info/apply HERE (3/7)

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