03/15/17: BBC extends Masters marriage; ESPN’s newest Bracket; NLL adds a new home


Real Madrid and FC Barcelona will play in International Champions Cup’s El Clasico Miami, presented by Heineken on July 29, 2017. The matchup, featuring soccer’s best players, is an old rivalry between the two teams brought to the new world. The full schedule will be announced on March 21, 2017. For sponsorship opportunities, contact Bruce Bundrant. [email protected]. Office: 646.767.3209. Mobile: 646.831.1200. Elclasicomiami.com.


Good morning. It’s Wednesday March 15, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The BBC has lined up a golden anniversary with the Masters. The company inked an extension to continue its deal to broadcast the staple golf tournament with the agreement including highlights of the opening two rounds of the tournament, as well as live coverage of the decisive Saturday and Sunday rounds. Further offerings include an additional four digital feeds, bringing audiences all the action from the Masters across four screens – PC, tablet, mobile and connected TV.

“We’re extremely proud of our partnership with the Masters Tournament, and this new deal highlights our longstanding commitment to bringing world-class golf to the widest possible audience on free-to-air TV,” said Barbara Slater, Director of BBC Sport. “In addition, our radio and digital offerings will bring audiences closer to the action than ever before. The Masters remains one of the standout events on the sporting calendar, bringing together the world’s best players in a truly unique setting.”


ESPN is teaming up with Intersport to bring Bracket Genius to its network lineup. The new quiz show will be hosted by ESPN personality Trey Wingo and debut today at 6:30p on ESPN2. The series pits university academic teams, consisting of three undergraduate students, against one another in a bracket-style competition for the chance to have their team crowned the inaugural Bracket Genius Champion and share the prize of $100,000, answering questions spanning history, geography, politics, literature, science, pop culture, the arts and sports in a race to score as many points as possible against the clock and their opponent. Sponsors include GEICO, Devour Frozen Meals and College Ave Student Loans.
Meanwhile, ESPN hits the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship beginning with the first round on Friday with four matchups at noon on ESPN2. All 63 games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2, in addition to WatchESPN. Kara Lawson moves from studio analyst to game analyst for this year’s coverage, joining Dave O’Brien and Doris Burke for the first round in Louisville, Ky. Holly Rowe will join them in Bridgeport, Conn., for regionals, and the team will continue onto Dallas to call the semifinals and championship game of the Women’s Final Four. Host Maria Taylor and analyst Andy Landers will also make their women’s championship studio debut, providing coverage alongside Rebecca Lobo throughout the entire tournament.

Tennis Channel announced that the network added 7.8 million homes in its most recent Nielsen universe estimate, to rank as the fastest growing network in TV from the February-to-March universe calculations. The additional subscribers in the new March universe estimate bring the channel’s overall distribution reach to just above 52 million homes across the US.

The San Diego State University Athletic Department locked in a deal with FOX Sports to exclusively oversee its multimedia rights and sponsorship sales via FOX Sports College Properties and includes athletics-related radio, corporate hospitality, in-venue signage, social media integration, and more. The school now joins other partners within the FOX Sports’ multimedia rights portfolio, including Auburn, Michigan State, Georgetown, Southern California, Villanova and the Big East Conference.

Congratulations to all of our nominees for the Cynopsis Sports Awards! As usual, the competition was tough but a record number of entries only made the voting more difficult but resulted in a sterling class of contenders. Click here for the full list of finalists.

FOX Sports will unveil the US Men’s National Team roster for the FIFA World Cup Qualifier between the United States and Honduras today on FS1. US MNT head coach Bruce Arena will join Rob Stone, Alexi Lalas, Eric Wynalda and Warren Barton during the UEFA Champions League pregame show at 3p.

Correction: NHL Network’s presentation of The Boys on the Bus documentary will take place tonight at 7:30p.




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AT&T/DIRECTV has fully embraced the Madness, hitting the NCAA Tournament with a slate of seven new ads designed to showcase “those real-life moments that may cause you to miss your team’s big shot.” All ads will feature CBS’ Greg Gumbel and comedian Dan Finnerty, noting that fans who don’t want to miss the action can stream everything to their devices by signing up for DIRECTV with the new AT&T Unlimited Plus Plan. In addition to the campaign, AT&T is also serving up Bracket App on DIRECTV channel 701, while a mosaic of games run on 702.
Toyota locked in additional partnerships for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, agreeing to deals with both US Figure Skating and US Speedskating. In addition, Toyota extended and expanded a partnership with USA Hockey that began in 2012. "We are committed to making an impact with our winter sports presence in the United States," said Jack Hollis, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. "With the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games less than a year away, Toyota looks forward to supporting the NGBs and athletes on every step of their journey as they move toward achieving their dreams."

The World Surf League has a deal with Visa to serve as the official payment partner of the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast, the first stop on the 2017 WSL Championship Tour. In addition to being the official payment partner at this event, Visa will launch a new and unique wearable product at the event in payment-enabled sunglasses as well as integrate technology and branding at the point-of-sale for fans attending the competition.

Phoenix Raceway announced a partnership with Portacool, a manufacturing leader of portable evaporative coolers, to serve as the official outdoor cooling provider for the track and allowing fans to take advantage of Portacool evaporative coolers throughout the facility.


The National Lacrosse League is bound for XUMO, a live and video-on-demand (VOD) OTT service to provide smart-TV owners with free access to NLL recorded games and highlights. NLL content will be available via the XUMO platform through its integration on Magnavox, Panasonic, Philips, Sanyo and VIZIO smart TVs; via Roku; and on XUMO iPhone and Android apps.

FloSports announced a new agreement with the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) to live stream major IBJJF events and championships through 2018 exclusively on FloGrappling.com. The new agreement will stretch FloSports’ partnership with the IBJJF to four years.

Campus Insiders launched its “68 in 60 Presented by Yahoo” video series to help fans make their bracket selections this week. The digital slate features basketball analyst (Jordan Cornette breaking down every each of the 68 tournament teams in 60 seconds or less, featuring key players, key matchups, and invaluable predictions for filling out brackets.

WWE announced that Xavier Woods’ YouTube video gaming channel UpUpDownDown has now surpassed one million subscribers since launching in June of 2015. The two-time WWE Tag Team Champion is known by his gamer tag Austin Creed, which is home to popular shows like Gamer Gauntlet and Superstar Savepoint.

Loot Crate announced the launch of Sports Crate and its first line of subscription products exclusively for baseball fans, marking the company’s first foray into sports fandom, courtesy of licenses from Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, that makes Sports Crate the Exclusive Licensed Subscription Box of MLB. Sports Crate will launch with 10 teams initially, providing fans of the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers with exclusive apparel, collectibles, experiences and more every month. Sports Crate will roll out additional teams later this year.


WESA unveiled a slate of regulations as it continues to help mold the esports industry, including standards for multi-team ownership prohibition, a personal code of conduct and sanction regulations. “At WESA, we are committed to creating industry-wide standards in esports that benefit member teams, their players and the esports industry at large,” said Ken Hershman, Executive Chairman and Commissioner of WESA. “These new standards and regulations will further our goal of better professionalizing esports and ensure that all of our organizations are operating on the same level playing field.”

Hi-Rez Studios is hitting DreamHack Valencia with a lineup of SMITE, Paladins and SMITE Tactics esports events on July 13-15. The gaming festival will mark the Studio’s largest-ever esports event in Europe, anchored by the first-ever Paladins Console Wars, which will dangle $50,000 by squaring off the top Xbox One and PS4 teams from both Europe and North America to crown the top Paladins team across console platforms. The announcement comes on the same day that Paladins enters closed beta on both PS4 and Xbox One. “While Paladins is new on console, we thought it was important to reward our early competitive players with a unique and fun event,’ said Todd Harris, Hi-Rez Studio Chief Operating Officer. “As far as we know, no major multiplayer shooter has ever had their best players from both PS4 and Xbox One play one another in this type of venue. We can finally settle the Blue vs Green debate once and for all.”

A new study from Juniper Research projects that consumption of eSports and streamed games content will drive $3.5 billion in revenues by 2021, up from $1.8 billion anticipated in 2017. The report, eSports, ‘Let’s Play’ & ‘Watch Play’: Competitive Tournaments & Content Streaming 2017-2021, found that whilst the subscription model, as seen on platforms such as Twitch, will contribute significant revenues to the industry, it will be advertisers who reap rewards; with almost 90% of eSports & ‘Let’s Play’ viewers also watching ad-supported casual games streams in 2021.


WWE announced the appointment of Joaquin Del Rivero as Vice President & General Manager, Latin America, and Mauricio Ramírez Cuesta as Marketing Director, Latin America. Both will be based in WWE’s Mexico City office.


USC/Providence at 9:10p on truTV.


The advanced rate for our Cynopsis World eSports Summit ends on March 22. With no sign of slowing down, enthusiasm & engagement for competitive gaming is on the rise and smart marketers around the world are paying close attention. With over 30 expert speakers, we’ll cover the current climate, what it takes to launch an eSports event, the future of this ever-changing industry + much more.
Sponsors & Partners: Go To Team, PromaxGAMES, Polygon, Bruin Sports Capital, theScore, eSports Ad Bureau, rEvolution, rEvXP.

ON THIS DAY in 1912: Cy Young retires from baseball.

In The Know: Which current NCAA Tournament team was also the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Champion? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which school in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is known as the Blue Raiders? Answer: Middle Tennessee. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports Network/NY; Lewis Blaustein-GreenSportsBlogger/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Mike Polvere-Optimum Sports/NY; Spencer Wood-ICF International/DC; Ken Nice-TeamPeople/DC: Tom Lopez-UPS/Atlanta; Mark Lehman-Atlanta Braves/Atlanta; Brad Brown-Nevco/St. Louis; Brad Carson-Entercom/Memphis; Gretchen Brady-KTVA/KTXA/Dallas; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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