03/14/18: The NFL named Maryann Turcke as its new COO

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Wednesday March 14, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The NFL named Maryann Turcke as the league’s new Chief Operating Officer replacing Tod Leiweke, who has left the league after three years in the job. Turcke has overseen NFL Network in the last year and will lead the marketing, communications, human resources, international and events and technology departments. “Since joining NFL Media last year, Maryann has distinguished herself by leading NFL Network to a record-setting year,” said Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We look forward to Maryann building upon this success, and her previous achievements as president of Bell Media, as she steps into this larger role. I expect her leadership, vision and corporate governance experience to help evolve our organization and take it to a higher level.”
 
 
ON THE AIR

Major League Soccer and Liga MX locked in a long-term partnership, bringing together the three nations involved in the United 2026 FIFA World Cup hosting bid. The alliance will focus on creating new competition to extend the rivalry between the countries that will include an annual Campeones Cup between the champions of each league with this year’s edition pitting Toronto FC against either 2017 Apertura champion Tigres UANL or the winner of the current 2018 Clausura Liga MX season at BMO Field on September 19. In addition, a future MLS All-Star Game presented by Target will feature players in both leagues squaring off in a match while the annual MLS Homegrown Game presented by Energizer will include a Liga MX Under-20 club team as the annual opponent.
 
The Pac-12 Conference unveiled recommendations from its Task Force to reform collegiate basketball. In a 50-page report, “Men’s Basketball Task Force Report & Recommendations,” available at Pac-12.com/taskforce, the proposals have been sent to the NCAA Commission being chaired by Condoleezza Rice. Recommendations include: an end to “One and Done,” and preserving eligibility of athletes who are drafted but don’t sign; creating a new enforcement unit independent of NCAA; taking control of and regulating recruitment process; fully disclosing shoe/apparel deals; providing access to professional agents and strengthening education.
 
NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalry between the Penguins/Rangers tonight will see Susan Sarandon join Pierre McGuire ‘Inside the Glass’ at 8p. “We’re excited to have Susan go ‘Inside the Glass’ to watch her New York Rangers battle the defending Stanley Cup champs on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer and President, Production, NBC and NBCSN. “We are always looking to grow the game of hockey, and this approach provides us another opportunity to broaden the reach of this great sport.”
 
Following Alex Ovechkin’s 600th career goal, NHL Network will serve up a new one-on-one interview with Ovechkin and NHLN’s Kevin Weekes tonight at 8p. Taped in January, Ovechkin discusses reaching the 600-goal mark, approaching 1000 career games, his early hockey influences, and his charitable work off the ice in the 30-minute special.
 
Telemundo is bringing Exatlon, the sports and reality survival competition, the US for the first time. The format sees two teams compete in different challenges that will “test their physical, mental and competitive skills” through a combination of extreme circuits and 10 different sports.  
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
**PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE BELOW**
Thursday, March 22nd  | 9am – 3pm| SVA Theatre, NYC
In addition to the awards program and winner screenings, hear from Attn:, CDW, Crowd Tangle, The Dodo, eshapTV, Facebook, Limbik, Lyft, NBCUniversal, State Farm, Time, Viacom Velocity and Volvo in these thought-provoking panels:
The Brands Speak
Building your Blueprint for Revenue Success
Short Form Behind the Scenes
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Major League Baseball is ordering up the first-ever MLB FoodFest. Running April 21-22, the indoor food festival in NYC will feature selections from each of the 30 Clubs served under one roof. Every Club designated one concession item to represent them at MLB FoodFest including Cleveland’s Flamethrower pulled pork sandwich, Gioia’s Hot Salami Sandwich from St. Louis, Milwaukee’s Cheddar Beer Bratwurst, the Monte Khrush Davis Cristo sandwich served in Oakland, the South Side Horseshoe sausage sandwich from the White Sox and the Adobo Bao bun available at Yankee Stadium.
 
Buffalo Wild Wings detailed its activation plans as the “Official Hangout for NCAA March Madness,” via in-restaurant, online and Final Four touchpoints. Final Four activations in San Antonio will include a  B-Dubs Sports Lounge and  Tender by B-Dubs – helping wing-lovers find their perfect sauce match. In-restaurant and online activations include ticket giveaways.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

NCAA March Madness Live VR – developed by Turner Sports, in partnership with CBS Sports and the NCAA –  is slated to feature expanded live game coverage in virtual reality. The March Madness Live VR app, powered by Intel True VR, will deliver select games beginning with the first and second rounds and continuing throughout the Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four and National Championship. Virtual reality coverage will be available this year for 21 games – the most ever in tournament history – including first and second round games in Dallas and Charlotte, Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games, along with the NCAA Final Four National Semifinals and National Championship in San Antonio. A VR Ticket will cost $2.99 per game to VR Tournament Pass for $19.99.
 
ESPN ordered an untitled documentary series that will follow select members of the NBA’s 2017-18 rookie class, according to Variety. Over eight episodes the players will be featured from preparation for draft night through Summer League competition and run exclusively on streaming service ESPN Plus.
 
 
ESPORTS

The BIG EAST Conference and ESL are joining forces to launch the BIG EAST Esports Invitational Powered by ESL, starting March 19 with finals broadcast on April 14-15 on Twitch. Participating colleges have the option to compete in Rocket League and League of Legends by Riot Games as ESL conducts matches online on ESL Play. “ESL’s extensive experience in esports will be a major asset as we begin to build an exciting new student program under the BIG EAST umbrella,” said Val Ackerman, BIG EAST Commissioner. “The BIG EAST has a strong, deep sports culture, and the integration of esports on our campuses will only fuel that passion.”
 
In other collegiate esports news, the National Association of Collegiate Esports locked in a partnership agreement with the National Junior College Athletic Association, the governing body of athletics for 500 two-year colleges and universities in the US. The partnership recognizes NACE as the governing body of collegiate esports and marks the second endorsement by a traditional governing body of collegiate athletics with the first coming from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. “The needs and challenges that exist in collegiate esports are the same for two and four year institutions,” said Michael Brooks, NACE Executive Director. “The partnership with NJCAA will allow NACE to provide support and resources to two year institutions with an interest in offering esports.”
 
Mavs Gaming drew the lucky ball in the first NBA 2K League Draft Lottery and will have the No. 1 overall pick in the inaugural draft, taking place on April 4 at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden’s Lobby at 1p. “We are very much looking forward to putting together the best possible team and organization for the first game in May.  We think the NBA 2K League is going to have an incredible first season,” said Mark Cuban, owner of Mavs Gaming and the Dallas Mavericks.
 
Spain’s La Liga isn’t launching its first esports competition alone, announcing a partnership with McDonald’s for McDonald’s Virtual La Liga eSports. The first stage of the online qualification process begins March 19 and will be played on ArenaGG, a gaming platform from LVP, while stage two begins on April 16. The 32 participants who qualify will compete each week until they’re knocked out of the tournament.
 
In other sponsorship news, Overwatch Contenders NA landed Old Spice as an official partner. The brand subsequently ran a new spot that aired on the Contenders stream.
 
DreamHack extended its partnership with Monster Energy for another two years. The deal sees the energy drink brand will serve as the Global Strategic Partner to DreamHack through 2019 along with sponsoring each festival and esports tournament produced by DreamHack.
 
Rounding out sponsorship news, Turtle Beach inked a new partnership with Gfinity to become the official audio partner of the Gfinity Elite Series for Season Three and Season Four. Ten pro teams will be using Turtle Beach’s Elite Pro Tournament Gaming Headset and Tactical Audio Controller.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

The BIG EAST Conference announced that Commissioner Val Ackerman entered into a three-year contract extension that runs through June 30, 2021. “We are fortunate to have someone with Val Ackerman’s leadership abilities and acumen at the helm of the BIG EAST Conference,” said Providence College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., who also chairs the BIG EAST board of directors.  “Val understands the business and marketing aspects of sports at all levels, and how they intersect with the product on the court.  Based on the popularity of and attendance at the most recent BIG EAST Tournament this past week.”
 
ONE Championship announced that Saurabh Mittal, Founder and Chairman of Mission Holdings, has joined ONE Championship and has been appointed the role of Vice Chairman. Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, stated: “I am thrilled that Saurabh Mittal has joined ONE Championship as Vice Chairman. Our mission is to unleash superheroes across Asia to ignite inspiration, hope, strength, and dreams across all segments of society. I am confident that Saurabh’s vast expertise and experience will contribute significantly to ONE Championship’s success.”
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Syracuse/Arizona State finish off day two of the Final Four on truTV at 9p.

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
The Results Are In
The Cynopsis Sports Media Awards Finalists Have Been Announced!

Our finalists are a talented group of professionals crossing the spectrum of television, radio, and online platforms; encompassing all the corners of the industry, and we are pleased to recognize their achievements over the past year at the 7th annual Sports Media Awards Breakfast.

VIEW FINALISTS                       REGISTER YOUR TEAM
 

ON THIS DAY in 1961: George Weiss becomes President of the NY Mets.
 
In the Know: Which two teams in the NCAA Tournament are known as the Bulldogs? (Note: Georgia is not in the tournament). (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Name two schools in the NCAA Men’s Tournament who are known as the Aggies. Answer: Texas A&M & New Mexico State. Kudos: Joe Isabella-WCBS TV/NY; Tamarah Strauss-M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment/NY; Corey Goldstein-Turner Sports/NY; Paul Crevier-BBC America/NY; John Miller-NBCUniversal/Stamford; Mark Lehman-Atlanta Braves/Atlanta; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Chris Hall-Valpak/St. Petersburg; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Kyle Krebs-KXAS-TV/Dallas-Ft Worth; John Tingue-CBS/Chicago; Mark Stulberger-Stully’s Broadcasting School/Houston; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Rick Blakely-Casa Del Verde Entertainment/LA
 
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