03/09/17: NASCAR renews SiriusXM subscription; Ratings updates; Wendy’s fuels up for road trip


Good morning. It’s Thursday March 9, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

NASCAR and SiriusXM are going another six laps, inking a six-year extension to their broadcasting and marketing agreement through 2022. The deal sees SiriusXM delivering 24/7 racing content, including live broadcasts of every race, plus daily NASCAR talk and interviews with voices across the industry through its exclusive SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel.

“We have more than a successful decade of partnership already under our belts with SiriusXM and look forward to continuing our relationship over the next six years,” said Steve Herbst, SVP, Broadcasting and Production at NASCAR. “SiriusXM provides robust coverage of both our live events and breaking news, acting as a trusted resource for our sport and helping NASCAR content to reach new, diverse audiences nationwide.”
“For the last 15 years we’ve proudly delivered the excitement of NASCAR to fans nationwide, providing them with a level of coverage unmatched by anyone in audio entertainment, and we are very pleased to continue our relationship for years to come,” said Steve Cohen, SiriusXM’s SVP of Sports Programming.  “NASCAR has always had one of the most loyal fan bases in sports, and it continues to innovate to constantly improve the racing on the track. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will continue to give fans, no matter where they are in the country, a terrific platform to follow and discuss the new format put in place this season, and stay connected with their favorite drivers as they vie for the championship.”


Following up on last weekend’s ratings news, ESPN now reports that its coverage of Duke/North Carolina on March 4 delivered a total live audience (TV + streaming) of 4,164,000 viewers, according to Nielsen, marking the most-watched regular season college basketball game in the last two seasons on any network. ESPN’s viewership for the game was up 28% over last season’s equitable battle between the two rivals. Overall, ESPN’s men’s TV schedule reached 107,134,000 viewers this season.

Elsewhere at ESPN, the company reports that Sunday’s season-opening Major League Soccer telecast on Sunday averaged 411,000 viewers for the network, rising 14% over the 2016 opener. The telecast averaged 50,000 Hispanic viewers (on ESPN, up 95%, and averaged 84,000 viewers among M18-34, up 50%. Streaming on WatchESPN and the ESPN App, the match had an average minute audience of 18,000 with a combined 2.8 million total minutes, for upticks of 25% and 26% respectively over the 2016 opener.

Meanwhile, Showtime Championship Boxing on CBS on Saturday scored 5.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen. That mark is up 30% over CBS’ June event with peak audience numbers ranking as the second highest for boxing on broadcast television since 1998 (including non-primetime), behind NBC’s August 2016’s Premier Boxing Champions event. The average viewership for the main event of Saturday’s telecast hit 3.74 million viewers, up 19% over June.

With NFL free agency unleashed today, NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and ProFootballTalk.com will surround the first day of the market with comprehensive linear and digital coverage on NBCSN, NBC Sports Radio, ProFootballTalk.com, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and the SNF on NBC Facebook page. Wall-to-wall coverage begins tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio with PFT Live hosted by Mike Florio, which will be simulcast on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app from 7-9a. 

Telemundo marks the countdown to the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 today with a lineup of content marking 100 days from the tournament’s kickoff. In addition to digital content, Titulares y Mas will feature special guests including former Mexico National team star Pavel Pardo to talk about his experience representing Mexico at the Confederations Cup, while special segments will also run on Un Nuevo Dia, Al Rojo Vivo and Noticias Telemundo.

The World Long Drive Association announced a new event in partnership with Golf Mesquite Nevada, dubbed The Clash in the Canyon, which will be held June 3-6 at the Mesquite Regional Sports and Event Complex in Mesquite, Nevada, culminating on June 6 on Golf Channel. The event will be the first of three Long Drive events airing live and in primetime on Golf Channel in 2017, the first time ever that multiple Long Drive events will air live on television in the same year.

ESPN is heading back to Africa, as Econet Media’s Kwese Sports launching the exclusive ESPN channel on the Kwese TV lineup. This collaboration marks the return of ESPN to the African continent and will introduce unique original programming including an African edition of SportsCenter. In addition to launching the ESPN channel, Kwesé and ESPN will launch an African edition of the ESPN website and mobile app later this year.

Elsewhere in international waters, Lagardere Sports secured an agreement for two FINA (International Swimming Federation) competitions to be broadcasted within Latin America by Claro Sports through its multimedia platform. As part of the agreement, beginning this year, the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup and the FINA/NVC Diving World Series will be broadcasted throughout Latin America, outside of Brazil, on Claro Sports. 

RIP to Bill Webb, the longtime television director who oversaw baseball telecasts for FOX Sports as well as Mets games for SportsNet New York, among other gigs. Webb passed at the age of 65 after a battle with throat cancer.


WEBINAR: What You Need to Know Now About the Hottest Social Media Platforms

The rapid-fire pace of the social media landscape (R.I.P., Vine, hello Houseparty) requires an ever-evolving social strategy for networks and brands. But staying on top of social is a real challenge. Music Choice and Octagon will offer insights on new platforms and features programmers and advertisers should be exploring, as well as what social media skills your team should focus on updating.



Wendy’s is getting in on March Madness action, with a new campaign that tips off on Selection Sunday.  The brand will serve up the first-ever bracket to be created entirely on Twitter that will allow sports fans to easily create brackets via Twitter’s Direct Message platform on @Wendys, and at any point throughout the tournament fans will be able to revisit their bracket and check on their progress. Scoring updates, prize giveaways, and redemption bracket opportunities will be offered throughout the tournament. In addition, the company is launching a three-week road trip celebrating the tournament, serving up food in addition to gift cards, upgraded game tickets along with experiences around the country.

NASCAR drivers are heading west with a mission to celebrate the sport’s annual stretch of races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Phoenix Raceway and Auto Club Speedway. Drivers will take in “the sights and sounds of the West Coast in conjunction with Whistle Sports and popular social influencers,” including Frisbee trick shot artist Brodie Smith, the Harlem Globetrotters and acrobatic fitness couple Austin and Julian. Fans can follow the drivers along their off-track adventures on Snapchat and Instagram, and across all social media platforms using #NASCARGoesWest.

Lagardere Sports signed rising women’s tennis star Ana Konjuh for management and marketing representation. The 19-year-old Croatian is currently the No. 33 ranked women’s player in the world.


CBS Sports Digital detailed plans for the NCAA Tournament, prepping experiences across CBSSports.com, the CBS Sports mobile app, 247Sports, Scout and SportsLine. Bracket games available on CBSSports.com and in the CBS Sports app include: the Conference Tournament Bracket Challenge, Bracket Manager, Bracket Challenge, and Round by Round. New this year will be a tournament Forecaster tool, powered by Microsoft Cloud, lets fans predict the winner of every game using bracketology data from Jerry Palm.


In this week’s edition of Cynopsis eSports & Gaming
·       CSL heads north of the border for the 2017 North American Collegiate Grand Finals
·       New recruit Marshall Zelaznik talks about the future of MLG.tv
·       Gfinity joins Street Fighter V wave
·       Twitch’s rapid Pulse
·       Sinclair’s TBD has an eye on gaming
·       Nintendo’s big Switch
·       World Esports Summit updates


Ryan Grab was named Senior Director of Communications and Athlete Strategy. Grab for Bellator. Grab most recently served as the Director of Communications for Phoenix International Raceway, will now oversee all communications and media relations for Bellator MMA and Kickboxing effective immediately.
CSN Philadelphia tapped veteran sports media executive Michelle Murray as Vice President of Content where she will lead the network’s comprehensive portfolio of multi-platform content including news and digital media, including online, mobile and social assets. Murray was previously Vice President, News Programming for CSN Philadelphia.


Duke/Louisville on ESPN at 2p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1995: The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are awarded a MLB franchise.

In The Know: Which school has won the Big Ten Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament the most times? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Martina Navratilova won 109 consecutive matches and 79 titles playing doubles with what athlete? Answer: Pam Shriver. Kudos: Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Media/NY; Matt Meachem-Gracenote/NY; Earl Black-Zenith Media/NY; Allison Roarty-NBCUniversal/NY; Rick Ramage-Bienstock/UTA/NY; Howie Schwab-Tandem Enterprises/Lakewood Ranch; Mike Wexler-Moroch/Atlanta; Pamela Wise-The E.W. Scripps Company/Cincinnati; Ken White/Charlotte; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Brad Brown-Nevco/St. Louis; Gretchen Brady-KTVT/KTXA/Dallas; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; JB John-Baptiste-SendtoNews/San Francisco; Peter Steckelman -Tennis Channel/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank .

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
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