03/11/16: Yahoo’s icy destination; NBC Sports’ SXSW Lawn party; Turner is feeling Chatty


Road To The Final Four
Men’s College Basketball Conference Tournaments

Conference USA Today 4 & 6:30 ET
Mountain West Tonight 9 & 11:30 ET
Atlantic 10 Tomorrow 1:30 & 4 ET

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Good morning. It’s Friday March 11, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Yahoo continues to expand its sports offerings, locking in a partnership with the NHL to deliver free, live games to fans, in addition to on-demand, premium content. Through the deal, fans will be able to watch out-of-market hockey games on the platform sans cable subscription or authentication. The alliance will now see Yahoo Sports serve up four games a week with an NHL “Game of the Day” to US fans beginning tonight at 7:30p in addition to condensed games, “Best of the Day” and “Best of the Week” top plays and post-game highlights. Yahoo is also introducing new video advertising options that will run within commercial breaks during the live streams of live sporting events, which includes NHL and MLB games.


FOX Sports is ready for the MLB regular season, hitting its 21st round with the national schedule for FOX and FS1 set to include a minimum of 71 game telecasts, including at least 68 appearances by teams that participated in the 2015 postseason. The national slate combined with an approximate 2,260 games airing via the FOX’s RSN’s meanwhile will carry around 2,260 via their own team deals. FS1 is on deck for a 39-game slate this season, beginning April 7 at 10p with Rangers/Angels. FOX, meanwhile, airs as many as 32 games over 12 windows during the regular season, beginning with regionalized coverage of three games in primetime on May 21 at 7p. Spanish language audiences will see FOX Deportes pitch 30 national broadcasts during the 2016 regular season, in addition to coverage of the National League Division and Championship Series and the World Series.

ESPN will unveil the 64-team NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship field on Monday at 7p with an additional hour of analysis and discussion on ESPNU’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Special Extended Coverage Presented by Capital One at 8p. Creative elements for the 2016 Women’s Championship will feature the song “Strong Enough” by J’Kahi featuring Raign. ESPN networks will continue to carry all 63 games of the tournament, culminating with the NCAA Women’s Final Four on April 3 and 5.

Speaking of college basketball, the Ivy League has decided to go the tournament route, announcing that the league will add men’s and women’s basketball tournaments to its slate of conference championships beginning with the 2016-17 academic year. The League’s Council of Presidents approved four-team tournaments in the sports, with a one-game reduction for each team in the regular season. Tournaments will both be held over the same two competition days, March 11 and 12, at The Palestra in Philadelphia.

NBC Sports Group lines up a record amount of coverage – nearly 50 live hours  for the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard. Morning Drive will expand its coverage to three hours Monday-Wednesday at 7a, featuring daily guests on-set leading up to the start of the tournament. Golf Channel and NBC will then combine to air 20 hours of live tournament programming with Golf Channel offering a one-hour, pro-am special on Wednesday; eight combined hours of early round coverage on Thursday and Friday; and four total hours of coverage leading into NBC’s coverage on Saturday and Sunday. NBC will deliver a combined seven hours of live tournament coverage on Saturday and Sunday starting at 2:30p.

NBC’s upcoming series Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge has its faces, signing former NFL linebacker Dhani Jones and MLS athlete Kyle Martino to host the series. Evan Dollard and MJ Acosta will serve as course reporters. The series is executive produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions’ founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed, along with Anthony Storm.



Join Cynopsis Digital on March 24 at the Top Women in Digital Awards Breakfast from 8:15  10:30AM to celebrate this year’s talented honorees from companies such as DigitasLBi, Dunkin’ Brands, Google, Hasbro, Horizon Media, Hulu, Maker Studios and more. The awards presentation will be followed by a mimosa networking session with your top industry peers.

Register now to attend this can’t-miss event.


SXSW is getting a heavy dose of NBC Sports, with the company announcing the NBC Sports Lawn at SXSW, offering attendees free beer, lawn games, charging stations, live sports and programming throughout the weekend. Fans will also receive a preview of this year’s Rio Olympics coverage, with a discussion covering what it takes to cover, produce, market, and compete in the Games in the digital age. The initiative will be ppen daily at the Four Seasons from March 11-13. Events include the Rio Olympics Chat & Happy Hour, a Premier League Watch Party, CPTR’D Screening & Winner Presentation with Kyle Martino, and a NASCAR America Live Discussion.

UFC star Ronda Rousey entered an exclusive multi-year memorabilia agreement with Fanatics. Fanatics Authentic, the company’s memorabilia division, will now serve as the only distributor of authentic Ronda Rousey signed memorabilia, with Rousey joining the likes of Steph Curry, Peyton Manning, David Ortiz and more.

The Pac-12 Conference named Cooper as the official tire partner of the 2016 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament, which runs through March 12. The deal includes television commercials, digital and social media assets, in-arena and courtside signage, as well as activation at the tournament. Cooper will also have use of the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament logo for its marketing campaign.

The Collegiate Licensing Company nabbed a five-year extension of its global partnership with the University of South Carolina to continue managing the school’s successful trademark licensing program. CLC began partnering with South Carolina in 1983.
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts is entering the MLB draft by offering fans “an elevated experience that will lift them out of basements, and into upgraded suites and unique meeting spaces with everything they need to host an amped up fantasy drafting party.” Select Sheraton properties in North America will offer the “Ultimate MLB Fantasy Draft” package which will include a private, interactive drafting room, big screen TVs and power outlets, free Wi-Fi, baseball-themed décor, whiteboards and an MLB-themed gift.


Turner Sports is teaming with Snapchat via a multi-year content deal that leverages Snapchat’s Live Story product with the goal of “enhancing fans’ storytelling and viewing experiences through Snapchat’s coverage of major sporting events, including year-round NCAA Championships.” The partnership debuts during the NCAA Tournament. Snapchatters will have access to a variety of official brand marks, imagery and behind-the-scenes Snaps to better the storytelling while brands will have the opportunity to align with the viewing environment through various advertising products, such as Snapchat’s 3V ad product.

Whistle Sports got a heavy dose of capital, thanks to Series C funding from the likes of TEGNA Inc., NBC Sports Ventures, Sky and Emil Capital. “Whistle Sports has successfully captured the imaginations, attention and engagement of millennial sports fans, and consistently delivers compelling content and options to brands and agencies eager to connect with that critical and growing demographic,” said Rick Cordella, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Media, NBC Sports Group. “Whistle Sports has proven to be a reliable source of original and creative content, and their data-driven approach to developing new audience insights sets them up for an even stronger future.”

Monumental Sports & Entertainment is giving an overhaul to Monumental Network, which will now be known as Monumental Sports Network. The digital platform will relaunch on Monday with a new URL, extending its content offerings across desktop, tablet, mobile and other OTT streaming devices. Monumental Sports Network will then deliver content to mobile apps and streaming devices on Android, iOS, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire and Roku. In addition, MSE announced the acquisition of an Arena Football League team, which will play at Verizon Center starting in spring 2017 and stream over the platform.

Live stream provider Simplestream entered a strategic partnership with sports distribution experts MP & Silva to support MP & Silva’s Technology Services Ecosystem, “enabling its sports federations, clubs and media clients to maximise audiences through multiscreen and OTT video services.” Simplestream will support the company through the development of the full range of multiplatform video distribution including live streaming, real-time highlights clipping, catch-up, social syndication and subscription management services whenever needed.

CBS Sports.com, along with the CBS Sports mobile app, 247Sports and SportsLine, will take on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship with up-to-the-minute game coverage and letting fans easily fill out and follow their brackets in multiple bracket games. Throughout all conference tournaments and the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, fans can follow a live updating scoreboard as well as live blogs, real-time highlights, and analysis of the action from CBS Sports writers on the scene. 


ELeague, the upcoming eSports league established in partnership between Turner and WME/IMG, announced the first six teams to participate in its inaugural season.   Cloud9, Renegades, Counter Logic Gaming, Astralis, Ninjas in Pyjamas and mousesports for its May 24 debut. The inaugural 10-week season will feature Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive title, with a prize pool of $1.2 million.

YouTube Gaming is making its mobile app available on iOS and Android in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland and is updating the platform to offer a simplified homepage navigation, game and channel browsing, a dedicated live destination, Android live playback as well as a Pop-out player.

eSports live streaming platform Azubu is partnering up with ESL for a two-year worldwide partnership that adds Azubu to the roster of ESL’s streaming partners. Azubu will also receive exclusive content and marketing collaborations, such as licensing, distribution and sales representation with the two companies working together to develop exclusive marketing and content programs worldwide. The terms of the deal also make Azubu a non-exclusive streaming partner at ESL events, such as ESL One, IEM and ESL Pro League. Effective immediately, ESL’s 4 Media Network will be the sole sales representative for Azubu in Europe and will work directly with Azubu’s sales team to develop regional and global brand relationships.

Evolve Labs, with 2 million members on its social network and collaboration, is launching Evolve Arenas, a suite of eSports gaming sites offering instant bracketless player vs. player and team competitions that could give them cash. Additionally, Evolve Arenas has developed a proprietary matchmaking system and a player quality “Q” score to facilitate fair matches and honest outcomes. “We created Evolve Arenas to remove the significant overhead and intimidation factor that is inherent in bracketed tournaments,” said Adam Sellke, CEO and co-founder, Evolve Labs.  “By creating high integrity, low risk competitive arenas like Rocketeer and BlackFlag, we are enabling a huge segment of the eSports fanbase to progress from mere spectators into active competitors.”


Sports Illustrated announced a slate of promotions that include naming Steve Cannella as an Executive Editor, while Stefanie Kaufman will become an Assistant Managing Editor for the company.


Who is in? The NCAA Basketball Championship Selection Show on CBS at 5:30p on Sunday. 


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ON THIS DAY in 1986: The NFL adopts instant replay.

In The Know: Who portrayed Babe Ruth in the movie The Pride of the Yankees? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson announced his retirement on Tuesday and was the second overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Who was selected before him that year? Answer: JaMarcus Russell. Kudos: Alexander Khilnani-NBC Sports/NY; David Kalan-MLB Advanced Media/NY; Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Todd Singer-American Banknote/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Jeff Mirkin-2:25 Engagement/Santa Monica; Greg Dudsic/Venice; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
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JOB OPENING: DIR, CORP COMMUNICATIONS/NBCU/NYC: Responsible for managing internal and external communications strategies in support of NBC Universal’s corporate functions. 5+ yrs experience in communications or media relations Full info/apply HERE (3/18)

JOB OPENING: COMP AND BENEFIT ANALYST/Crown Media Family Networks/LA: Analyze comp data, evaluate jobs classification/salary. Administer employee insurance and savings plans. 5 yrs exp in comp and benefits. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. Apply HERE (3/17)

JOB OPENING: DIGITAL EDITORIAL DIRECTOR/The Franklin Institute/PHL: For leading US science ctr. Revolutionize online sci. comm & play lead role on digital team. Plan/dvlp/implement creative content across mult platforms. 6+ yrs dvlpg/mngng dig editorial exp. Full info/apply HERE (3/17) 

JOB OPENING: REGIONAL ACCOUNT DIRECTOR/NCM/Seattle: Maintain level of visibility in regional ad comm. Identify/source clients to advrts in NCM locations. 3 yrs of media sales exp’ pref’d. Ability to work efficiently/independent fast-paced environment. Full info/apply HERE (3/15)

JOB OPENING: ACCOUNT MGR/Digital Lion Marketing/Beverly Hills: Serve as day-to-day point of contact for assigned client accounts & provide support on other accts as needed 1-2 solid yrs exp, ideally in an agency environment. BA degree, detail oriented & orgnz’d a must. Resume HERE (3/15)

JOB OPENING: AD SALES DIR/MGR/Zliving Communications/NYC, LA, CHI, PHL: Work closely w/Ad Sales GM & SVP for brand activations assignments, qrtly projects as well as assigned clients. 5-7 yrs media-related exp w/sales mktg ideation & execution exp in TV ntwk sales & digital. Resume HERE (3/12)

JOB OPENING: CREATIVE DIR ON-AIR PROMOS/Crown Media Family Networks/LA: Manage the Creative Srvs team of Writer/Producers. Oversee execution and delivery of standout promo for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. 10 yrs exp in cable/ent and 5 yrs supervisory exp. Apply HERE (3/12)

JOB OPENING: MGR DIGITAL ANALYTICS/HBO/NYC: Mng analytic workflow for HBO GO & HBO NOW. Effectively communicate findings to support data driven bus. decisions. Supervisory exp & 5+ yrs using Adobe Analytics req’d. Media & ent exp pref’d & advanced excel skills req’d. Apply HERE (3/12)

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JOB OPENING: SR LOCAL MEDIA BUYER/ICON International/Stamford CT downtown (convenient to Metro-North): 10+ years’ Local Buying experience, negotiate & steward schedules for several markets, proficient in MS Office. Resume to: [email protected] (3/12)

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