03/07/18: FOX Sports and Telemundo Deportes celebrated 100 days until the World Cup

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Good morning. It’s Wednesday March 7, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

As we pass the 100-day mark leading to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, FOX Sports and Telemundo both unveiled promotional plans leading into the tournament. FOX Sports, the official English-language broadcaster of the event, unveiled its original theme song “Where Angels Fear to Tread,” and announcing that Russian musician, producer and DJ, Leonid Rudenko will also join FOX Sports for the tournament as the resident DJ of World Cup Tonight, the nightly recap show hosted by Fernando Fiore. Meanwhile, FOX Sports’ will produce 100 FIFA World Cup features, and video essays, premiering on June 14 during coverage of the opening match.
 
In addition, FOX Sports’ digital team kicks off a campaign with the “100 Most Memorable FIFA World Cup Moments” countdown and a weekly minute-long Road to Russia segment featuring this year’s FIFA World Cup hopefuls. Key digital highlights for the month-long tournament will include, for the first-time ever, instant native highlights on Twitter for every single goal of the FIFA World Cup, plus a live show every match day from Red Square hosted by Rachel Bonnetta. Additional offerings include, Snapchat FOX Sports Publisher Stories and a series of Our Stories. Other initiatives include a World Cup dedicated promo that ran across FOX, FS1, FS2, FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic, National Geo Wild, FOX Deportes, Regional Sports Networks, and FOX affiliates.
 
 
ON THE AIR

Around the dial, Telemundo Deportes’ 100-day countdown to the 2018 FIFA World Cup included a line-up of top-tier advertising partners, digital partnerships and more. The company announced plans to team with Coca-Cola, Sprint and Volkswagen for the network’s exclusive Spanish-language coverage of the tournament. Match halftimes and post-games will be presented exclusively by Sprint and Coca-Cola, respectively, and Volkswagen will present the network’s primetime show. Coca-Cola will be the presenting sponsor of the Telemundo Deportes Post-Game, “El Resumen del Partido,” for all 64 World Cup matches as well as the in-game match clocks. Powerade will have brand exposure during the tournament window with socially-led activations. The network is also partnering with VICE to produce short-form features and stories of the interesting, contagious aspects of the culture and fandom that the World Cup brings around the world. The content will air exclusively across Telemundo Deportes’ television coverage as well as with NBCU Digital Lab to create “Somos el Mundial,” a digital docu-series to be featured on TelemundoDeportes.com and Telemundo Deportes’ YouTube page.
 
CBS Sports and Turner Sports detailed plans for the 2018 NCAA March Madness Selection Show on TBS on Sunday at 6p. The two-hour Selection Show, produced in partnership between Turner Sports and CBS Sports, will be televised in front of a live audience from a newly designed studio on Turner’s Atlanta campus for the first time and switch up formats be beginning with the announcement of all 68 tournament teams, followed by the release of the brackets and match-ups, with analysis, discussion, interviews and reactions. Hosts Ernie Johnson and Greg Gumbel will be joined by analysts Clark Kellogg, Charles Barkley, Seth Davis and Kenny Smith in Atlanta. Ahead of this year’s selection show, Turner Sports and CBS Sports will produce a special four-hour March Madness Selection Countdown social media preshow, running exclusively on official March Madness handles across YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, along with NCAA.com and Bleacher Report beginning at 2p.
 
CBS Sports and Turner Sports also detailed broadcast plans for the tournament. Production will include on-site Final Four studio coverage airing on TBS March 31 and then the National Championship on April 2, with on-site Final Four studio coverage airing on TBS starting at 3p with At the Final Four presented by Infiniti. Additionally, Turner Sports and CBS Sports will offer team-specific, originally produced telecasts of the National Championship and Final Four National Semifinals with the return of “TeamCast” presentations on TNT and truTV.
 
Grammy Award-winning band Imagine Dragons will be delivering the theme for the ACC Network telecasts of the 2018 New York Life ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament, with the group’s song “Whatever It Takes” featured in the opening video montage to lead into each syndicated game.
 
The National Hockey League and NHLPA, in conjunction with Live Nation, announced dates, local start times, locations and ticketing information for the 2018 NHL Global Series and the 2018 NHL Global Series Challenge. In January, the NHL announced that the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils and Winnipeg Jets will play regular-season games in Europe as part of the slate. The Oilers and Devils will play their 2018-19 season-opening game against each other in Gothenburg, Sweden on Oct. 6 while the Panthers and Jets will face off in a pair of regular-season games in Helsinki, Finland on Nov. 1 and 2. Prior to the New Jersey-Edmonton season-opening matchup, the Devils and Oilers will complete their training camps in Europe and will each play in an exhibition match as part of the 2018 NHL Global Series Challenge.
 
The March 3 edition of NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC, which saw the Rockets top the Celtics, drew 3,193,000 viewers, up 91% over last year’s comparable broadcast. Through six games, viewership for NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC is up 9% from 2017, averaging 3,703,000 viewers.
 
Saturday’s battle between UNC and Duke scored a Nielsen audience of 3,369,000 viewers for ESPN, making the rivalry the most-viewed game of the season across all cable and broadcast networks.
 
Saturday also delivered a record to MLB Network, which saw the Yankees/Red Sox rank as the most-watched Spring Training telecast ever on MLB Network, with an average of 322,000 viewers.
 
CNBC primetime special, Back in the Game, will air on March 13, featuring host Alex Rodriguez, helping former NBA star Joe Smith, who has lost almost all of the $60 million, get back on his feet. The series comes from executive producer Michael Strahan, and airs at 10p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
**RESCHEDULED DUE TO SNOW STORM**
Thursday, March 22, 2018 |9am – 3pm | SVA Theatre – NYC
Incredible screenings, interesting panels & networking all in one afternoon… Contact Cathy Pearson at [email protected] with any questions on the event. 
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Pepsi is kickstarting a soccer campaign, titled Pepsi Generations, that will feature the tagline, “This Is The Pepsi That Moves Every Generation” in the US and feature global soccer players that include Leo Messi, Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Carli Lloyd, Dele Alli and Giovani dos Santos. Promos will run alongside the brand’s official UEFA Champions League partnership, as the athletes “show off their skill and agility as they race through the bustling crowd to dodge paintballs coming from every direction.”
 
The BIG EAST Conference, in conjunction with FOX Sports Media Group, announced new and returning partners for the 2018 BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Tournament and beyond, led by the Jeep Brand, who returns as the presenting sponsor for all 22 BIG EAST championships. In addition to Jeep, returning sponsors include Nike, Gatorade, Geico, Primesport, SUNKIST, Continental Tire, Westwood One and Sirius XM Radio. Other sponsors include: SoFi, as the official financial partner of the BIG EAST, renewed their sponsorship of the league and elevated their position this year by becoming the first-ever presenting sponsor of the league’s digital network, BEDN; the Libman Company as  the ‘official hardwood floor care provider for the men’s basketball tournament; Budget Rent a Car System and GEICO.
 
Printing and marketing solutions company Franklin Group inked partnerships with two Major League Soccer clubs – Philadelphia Union and the New York City Football Club. New York City Football Club named Franklin Group the club’s Official Local Premium Provider with the Union will make Franklin Group the preferred promotional printing partner for Keystone Sports & Entertainment.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

Eleven Sports is heading to Twitch, launching Eleven Prime on the platform as a 24/7 network that will offer fans a variety of live sports including basketball, baseball, football and hockey, as well as coverage of sports with dedicated, underserved fan bases such as darts and drone racing. “Sports on Twitch is a very nascent, yet well-received category by our community,” said Jane Weedon, Twitch’s director of business development. “Eleven Sports is tapping into the current appeal by offering up one of the first channels on Twitch dedicated to broadcasting sports content 24/7. Given the diversity of their programming from football to darts, and everything in between, this is an exciting time for sports fans looking for a more interactive viewing experience.”
 
ESPN Digital reports 115.9 million unique global users in January, with 7 billion total global minutes and 1.1 billion total global visits.
 
Wasserman is launching Unlock, a proprietary social audience platform that “utilizes real-time data to track over 200 variables across more than 330 million social profiles worldwide and provide actionable insights into today’s consumer behavior.” The Unlock platform will be used to not only profile audiences, but to understand them on a deeper human level and then match those audiences with the best partnership opportunities for talent, brands and properties.
 
 
ESPORTS

Twitch and BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, publisher of TEKKEN 7, are bringing back the TEKKEN World Tour this year with Twitch serving as the exclusive streaming destination and managing partner for TEKKEN 7 league operations, circuit events, and content on a global scale. The series kicks off on March 16 at Final Round in Atlanta, and will see additional North American based stops in California, Texas, Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Toronto, Canada. Additional international tour stops include Thailand, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Korea, Italy, Australia, Peru, United Kingdom, and more.
 
aXiomatic Gaming announced that Bruce Karsh, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, has joined the company as investor and Co-Executive Chairman. He will serve alongside: Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment and Co-Owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers and MLS’s Los Angeles Football Club, Peter Guber; Majority Owner and Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment Ted Leonsis; and former hedge fund manager and current Owner and Chairman of NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, Jeff Vinik.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Patriot League Men’s Tournament Final on CBS Sports Network at 7:30p.

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Registration is Open
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. Category finalists will be announced this week and – In addition to our phenomenal category finalists, we’ll be awarding these sports media leaders with the annual Luminary Awards. See you in April!
 

ON THIS DAY in 1982: The NCAA Tournament Selection is televised live for first time.
 
In the Know: 1984 saw the Chicago Bears lose to one team on their way to becoming Super Bowl XX Champions. Who beat them? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who was the first fighter to beat Muhammad Ali? Answer: Joe Frazier.  Kudos: Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Networks/NY; Steve Stander-A+E Networks/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Brian Ricco-BOXTV- The Boxing Channel/NY; Ken White-KWTV/Charlotte; Randy Ingram-WISH/WNDY-TV/Indianapolis; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Tony Reyes-Walt Disney Imagineering/Glendale; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Don Surath-KPIX-TV  KBCW-TV/san Francisco
 
 
Later – Chris
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