03.16.17 Good morning. It’s Thursday March 16, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
The ACC Championship game between Duke/Notre Dame on Saturday handed ESPN with a total live audience (TV + streaming) average of of 3,695,000 viewers, to mark the most-watched ACC Tournament game in nearly 20 years and, overall, the second most-watched ACC Tournament game in history. The matchup grew 29% over last year’s game. Adding in the Championship game, the three-game ACC Tournament conclusion averaged a total live audience of 2,874,000 viewers, the most-viewed ACC Semifinals/Championship in ACC Tournament history and up 64% from the conference’s three-game finale last year.
Speaking of spikes, Saturday’s World Baseball Classic first round game between Team USA/Team Dominican Republic on MLB Network delivered 977,000 viewers to the channel, marking MLB Network’s most-watched non-Postseason game telecast ever. The program grew 11% over its previous record for a WBC game with Saturday’s game peaking with 1.2 million viewers from 9:45-10:00p.
Meanwhile, Layer3 TV signed on for MLB Network and MLB Network Strike Zone in HD. MLB Network will be included in the allHD Platinum package and available to all Layer3 TV subscribers in the Washington, D.C. metro and greater Chicago areas immediately.
Turner Sports and CBS Sports are recruiting head coaches Bruce Pearl (Auburn University) and Jimmy Patsos (Siena College) to serve as guest studio analysts for the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Pearl will join the Atlanta studio team host Casey Stern and analysts Brendan Haywood and Seth Davis on Thursday and Friday, while Patsos visits Atlanta on Saturday and Sunday.
BTN detailed its most extensive baseball and softball coverage ever in 2017, lining up over 400 games that will run across BTN/BTN2Go and BTN Plus during the upcoming season. Baseball programming begins with a conference showdown between Michigan/Maryland on March 25 at 7p while softball coverage begins March 24 with Rutgers/Indiana at 6p. Highlights and coverage of Big Ten baseball and softball will be featured on This Week in the Big Ten, which airs Sunday nights beginning April 2.
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.
Golf Channel will see Rory McIlroy (No. 3), Jordan Spieth (No. 6), Justin Thomas (No. 7) and Paul Casey (No. 15) join the live World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play Bracket Special on Monday at 7:30p. The 90-minute live primetime special will feature golf’s own version of a March bracket-style tournament selection format under the guidance of PGA TOUR competition officials. Ryan Burr hosts, with Brandel Chamblee and Tim Rosaforte offering insight and analysis on the field as each group is unveiled.
Meanwhile, NBC Sports locked in plans for over 100 hours of coverage of the 2017 World Curling Championships over the next month with more than 80 live hours, running across NBCSN, Universal HD, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Coverage includes the World Women’s and Men’s Curling Championships, beginning with the World Women’s Curling Championship on Friday at 1a. Jason Knapp (play-by-play), Steve Schlanger (play-by-play), Pete Fenson (analyst), and Kevin Martin (analyst) handle microphone duties.
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Mastercard, the PGA TOUR and Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation inked an extension of Mastercard’s sponsorship of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard through 2020. “We are extremely pleased to announce the continuation of Mastercard’s dedicated support as we begin a new chapter at Arnold’s tournament with these important enhancements and the celebration of his remarkable life and contributions,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “Arnold meant so much to so many people worldwide, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard is such an important part of his legacy. Through the ongoing support of Mastercard and our broadcast partners Golf Channel and NBC Sports, we will continue to honor Arnold’s memory throughout tournament week and all that he represented.”
Speaking of golf, the LPGA is launching a "Changing the Face of the Game" campaign ahead of this week’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup. The LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program, which began in Phoenix in 1989, specializes in providing a “girl-friendly” environment for juniors to learn and play the game of golf and the program has expanded to nearly 400 sites across the US. "We learned early on with Girls Golf that if you let young women come together in an all-girls environment, they begin to really enjoy the game and the retention rate is unbelievable," said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan.
Buffalo Wild Wings unveiled a sting of activations for March Madness, launching a new marketing campaign called “We Do It For You.” Utilizing national ads, social media, in-restaurant activations and on-site experiences, the brand’s promotion include ads playfully fantasizing about removing a hot player from a game or controlling an opposing player using Foodoo, and, whenever a tournament game goes into OT, B-Dubs will immediately air a spot called “Overtime Time” that encourages fans to enjoy the five extra minutes of free basketball and not question who or what might have caused it. “For years, fans have pointed a finger at Buffalo Wild Wings on social media when an unexplained event happens, a game goes into overtime or they want us to intervene in the outcome,” said Bob Ruhland, vice president of marketing for Buffalo Wild Wings. “This year, we wanted to continue to extend this popular idea that Buffalo Wild Wings can make games more exciting and if our fans want something to happen from rallying their team from a deficit to leveling the playing field we would find a way to make that a reality.”
DuPont Protection Solutions entered a two-year global agreement for DuPont Kevlar with Nitro Circus that will see the company work with Nitro Circus athletes, innovators and gear providers across several action sport disciplines globally and at the Nitro World Games in Salt Lake City on June 24. “We’re thrilled about the opportunity to collaborate with Nitro Circus,” said John Richard, global business director, DuPont Protection Solutions. “Kevlar is growing into new and exciting consumer applications such as high-performance athletic equipment and apparel, electronics and luggage.”
Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment and Santa Clara University Athletics announced a long-term agreement naming VWSE as the Athletic Department’s exclusive multimedia rights partner and sales agent for the department’s corporate sponsorship program. As part of the multi-year pact, the VWSE Collegiate Services division will oversee the locally based operation, “Santa Clara Athletics Sponsorships,” which is committed to enhancing the in-venue experience for sponsors, business partners and a growing and dedicated fan base.
German automotive lubricants and chemicals specialist LIQUI MOLY is expanding its hockey partnerships to include the Los Angeles Kings and the Ontario Reign. The multiyear global agreement, brokered by AEG Global Partnerships, comes on the heels of the Kings extending their operations presence globally to include Eisbären Berlin in addition to the Reign of the American Hockey League.
Another deal for the National Lacrosse League, locking in a two-year live streaming partnership with Twitter. As the NLL’s exclusive live streaming partner, Twitter will distribute a free live broadcast of an NLL Game of the Week, as well as playoff and Champion’s Cup games and league-wide highlights, on its platform for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Games will also be simulcast on NLLTV.com.
ESPN’s inaugural 24-hour Tournament Challenge Marathon saw the company collect more than 10 million brackets overall this year, including the company’s largest one-day total ever with 4,211,200 on Tuesday.
In this week’s edition of Cynopsis eSports & Gaming…
The first round of the NCAA Men’s Tournament gets underway across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV beginning with Notre Dame/Princeton on CBS at 12:15p.
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Tuesday, March 21 I 8:15 – 10:30 AM I Sponsored by FreeWheel
Join Cynopsis Media in honoring this year’s Top Women in Digital at an awards breakfast celebrating the exceptional, the creative and the bold in the digital media industry. See the list of honorees here:http://www.cynopsis.com/event/2017-top-women-digital-awards-breakfast/
ON THIS DAY in 2012: India’s Sachin Tendulkar becomes the first cricketer to score 100 international centuries.
In The Know: This school –currently in the NCAA Tournament – saw former player Austin Carr set a record for most points in a single tournament game, scoring 61. Which university did he play for? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which current NCAA Tournament team was also the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Champion? Answer: North Carolina. Kudos: John Ferlazzo-Media Consultant/London; Ben Sturner-leverage Agency/NY; Traci Liner-WME/IMG/NY; Halter Cunningham-WME/IMG/NY; Alex Randall-FOX/NY; Larry Gallo, Jr.-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill/Chapel Hill; Ken White/Charlotte; John Langermann-WINK-TV/WXCW-TV/Fort Myers; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Jerehmy White-BusyBuddy Books/Glen Rock; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank.
Later — Chris
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