03/22/16: Amazon gets NFL inventory; Tournament updates; Citigroup adds Gabby to its portfolio


Good morning. It’s Tuesday March 22, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Amazon has drafted NFL Films to create its new series All or Nothing, offering fans “a glimpse into the week-to-week drama that unfolds within the lives of players, coaches and owners of an NFL franchise during the course of the regular season.” The series will debut exclusively on Amazon Video with the inaugural season spotlighting the 2015 Arizona Cardinals later this summer. Overall, eight hour-long episodes will be produced.

“All or Nothing will deliver the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at America’s most popular sports and entertainment media property  the NFL’s regular season  and we couldn’t have asked for a better franchise for our inaugural season than the Arizona Cardinals,” said Jordan Levin, Chief Content Officer, NFL Media. ”We’re thrilled to team up with Amazon on this new series, providing fans even more ways to engage with award-winning NFL programming over a variety of digital channels.”


Turner Sports and CBS Sports locked in tip times and announce teams for the Regional Semifinals of the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship on Thursday and Friday with all remaining games available in their entirety across TBS and CBS. Jim Nantz/Grant Hill/Bill Raftery/Tracy Wolfson will handle microphone duties for Villanova/Miami and Kansas/Maryland on Thursday on CBS starting at 7:10p. TBS sees Verne Lundquist/Jim Spanarkel/Allie LaForce call Oklahoma/Texas A&M and Duke/Oregon beginning at 7:37p. Friday’s action at 7:10p sees Kevin Harlan/Reggie Miller/Dan Bonner/Lewis Johnson tackle Virginia/Iowa State and Syracuse/Gonzaga on CBS. TBS will see Brian Anderson/Steve Smith/Dana Jacobson work Notre Dame/Wisconsin at 7:27p and North Carolina/Indiana afterward.

More fallout from Indian Wells as more names called for the resignation of Raymond Moore, CEO of Indian Wells Tennis Garden, following controversial comments about female tennis players. Meanwhile, Steve Simon, who became the WTA’s CEO last fall, responded by noting "The WTA stands on its own and was founded on the principles of equality and empowerment. I am proud of all the strong athletes on the WTA who put in hard work and sacrifice every single day. Tennis as a whole is enriched by the contributions and accomplishments of every player, both male and female." According to the AP, USTA President Katrina Adams opined "There is no place in this sport for antiquated, sexist or uninformed ideologies," she said in a statement, "and the comments made yesterday in no way reflect the beliefs of the vast majority of those in the tennis world."

The Manchester Derby scored for NBC, as the Manchester United’s victory over Manchester City on Sunday averaged 1.17 million viewers to rank as the most-watched Manchester Derby in US history, according to Nielsen fast national data. In addition, Premier League Live host Rebecca Lowe checked out for the season as she begins maternity leave. Overall, more than 4.4 million live minutes of the Manchester Derby were streamed via NBC Sports Live Extra.

CBC Sports and Infront Sports & Media locked in a new comprehensive media rights agreement that includes live, delayed, repeat and video-on-demand coverage of flagship International Ski Federation and International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (events across CBC Sports’ TV, online and mobile platforms over the next five years. The deal offers up to 250 individual FIS World Cup events each season.

We are under a month, get your tables now! The Cynopsis Sports Awards honors the best in the business on April 21 in New York. Click here to claim your spot now.

WWE will see Fifth Harmony perform “America the Beautiful” to kick off WrestleMania on April 3. “WWE has a long tradition of attracting the world’s most popular artists to perform at our biggest event of the year,” said Neil Lawi, Senior Vice President and General Manager, WWE Music Group. “Fifth Harmony will continue this great tradition as we look forward to their much-anticipated performance at this year’s WrestleMania.”
The NFL continues to survey international waters and is now adding China to the mix for a potential regular-season game, according to the AP. The game would be played as early as the 2018 season. China and potentially Germany would be on deck to join London and Mexico City as hosts in coming years.

Continuing the international theme, Discovery Communications locked in a deal with Dutch broadcaster NOS to carry the 2018 and 2020 Olympic Games. NOS will sub-license the television and radio rights, as well as digital rights to content on its linear TV platform. “This agreement with NOS marks another important Olympic Games partnership deal by Discovery, bringing Discovery another step closer on our ambition to deliver more coverage across more screens than ever before,” said Discovery Networks International president JB Perrette in a statement. “Most importantly, this is a big win for Dutch viewers who will be able to enjoy all the action, whenever and wherever they choose to watch it.”

FS1 lined up a two week slate of UFC action, launching the UFC 10 Day Takedown marathon. The schedule began last night, anchored by nine show premieres and 35 hours of UFC-specific programming on the channel. Notable premieres include UFC Main Event: Weidman vs. Rockhold on Friday at 10p, UFC 1 on 1: Robbie Lawler on Monday at 7:30p and UFC Main Event: Velasquez vs. Werdum on April 1 at 7p.

MLB Network will televise at least one live regular season game for 20 straight days in April, starting with a 2015 World Series rematch between the Kansas City Royals/New York Mets on Tuesday, April 5 at 4p. Programming will see five MLB Network Showcase games beginning with Bob Costas, Jim Kaat and Tom Verducci on the call for the Red Sox/Blue Jays on April 8 at 7p. Overall, the April that features at least five games per week as well as five home openers will air on the channel.

HBO is gearing up for Legacy on the Line: From Bradley to Pacquiao ahead of their battle on April 9. The special runs March 26 at midnight, “chronicling the lessons and controversies Bradley has endured in his high-profile rivalry with the boxing legend from the Philippines.”

Turner Sports’ Craig Sager is once again facing cancer. The reporter will be featured in an interview on HBO’s Real Sports tonight, noting that his battle with leukemia has returned for the third time since he was first diagnosed with the disease in 2014. Sager is still slated to be part of Turner’s NBA on TNT broadcasts through April, according to Yahoo Sports.


“Everything that happens in the presentation: the way the audience engages, the way they feel, the manner in which they are responding – is all in the speaker’s control. Most speakers just don’t know it or don’t take personal responsibility for the control they have. This webinar will teach you why you’re in control & ways you can command and control the environment in the room." -Tracey McCormack, Founder & President- McCormack Media Services

Register to learn more on March 30th at our Presentation Webinar!


Citigroup hits the Rio Games this year with a slate of athletes that are set to include gymnast Gabby Douglas and beach volleyball’s Kerri Walsh Jennings, according to Reuters. Citi announced its Olympic lineup on Monday, along with an investment in rugby, with a sponsorship of Carlin Isles. Other U.S. athletes Citi will back include track and field’s Allyson Felix, swimmer Nathan Adrian and paralympians Brad Snyder, Rudy Garcia-Tolson and Scout Bassett.

WWE unveiled the launch of this year’s Superstars for Hope, a global online auction on Charitybuzz.com, offering unique experiences to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Through April 5, fans can big on a range of packages involving John Cena, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and packages with the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, New York Yankees and more. "WWE is dedicated to using the power of our brand to give back to the community in as many ways as we can,” said Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer. "I am proud that this year’s Superstars for Hope campaign will support Boys and Girls Clubs of America to further enhance their efforts to build future leaders and positively affect the lives of our youth.”
Speaking of the WWE, Petmate locked in a partnership with the company featuring pet beds, collars, leads and assorted rubber and plush toys. The collection features mega-themes within WWE, as well as fan-favorite Superstars such as Cena, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Bella Twins.

Toyota and Competitor Group announced that the auto brand will again serve as the official vehicle of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series and title sponsor of the Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series. As part of the agreement, Toyota will continue to host the “Toyota Ride and Drive” at select pre-race Health & Fitness Expos, giving marathon runners an exclusive opportunity to experience a Toyota vehicle.


Top moments of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship according to Twitter:
1.  #15 seed MTSU knocks of #2 seed Michigan State 90-81
2.  #12 Yale defeats #5 Baylor 79-75.
3.  Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig’s buzzer-beater three pointer sends Wisconsin to Sweet 16
4.  Reggie Upshaw dunk puts MTSU up 83-76 on Michigan State with 39 seconds left in game.
5.  Northern Iowa’s Paul Jesperson hits half court buzzer-beater to beat Texas 75-72.


The country’s two largest daily fantasy sports sites, FanDuel and DraftKings, will stop taking paid bets in New York through the end of baseball season in September as the companies work to find a happy medium with the state legislature. The companies had been allowed to continue operating in New York after an appeals court stayed a lower court judge’s finding that the contests violated state law.


The US Supreme Court on Monday turned down Electronic Arts’ move to resurrect its free speech argument in a lawsuit filed by former NFL players who stated the company was using their likenesses in Madden without permission or proper compensation. Lawyers for the former NFL players stated that while the company did pay a license fee to use the likenesses of current players, there was no equivalent fee paid to former players showcased in 2001-09 versions of the game.

ESL saw almost 10 million hours of content watched at the $250,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive World Championship at Intel Extreme Masters 2016, making it the most-watched non-major tournament the title has ever seen. “We’ve had a season filled with some absolutely fantastic Counter-Strike action – from NA contenders facing off with home ground advantage in San Jose to local teams giving established ones a run for their money in Taipei,” said Michal Blicharz, VP of pro gaming at ESL. “Katowice was no exception and as a result we see the CS:GO competition there become by far the most-watched non-major of all time. To have that happen the year the game returns to Intel Extreme Masters is phenomenal.”


Rockets/Thunder on TNT at 8p.

ON THIS DAY in 1994: Magic Johnson begins a short run as coach of the Lakers.

In The Know: Who holds the Marlins’ single-season record for home runs? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What movie features a Troy Aikman acting cameo? Answer: Jerry Maguire. Kudos: Michael Dittelman-Dedicated Sports Marketing/NY; Joel Maxwell/NY; Jackie Mahon-UM/NY; Art Salisch-Hearst Television/NY; Randy Ingram-WBTW-TV/Myrtle Beach; ; Joe Lyons/Dallas; Newy Scruggs-NBC 5/NBC Sports Radio/Dallas-Ft. Worth; Clark Haptonstall-Rice University/Houston; Jason Morrow/Houston; Willie Price- American Forces Network/Riverside; Sean Boardman- Q13 FOX/Seattle; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA; Scott Brofman-Renegade83/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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