03/28/18: Turner Sports unveiled plans for new streaming service Bleacher Report Live

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Wednesday March 28, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Turner Sports opened the doors to its new premium live sports streaming service, Bleacher Report Live. The new streaming service will implement flexible pricing options, providing direct access to live games for purchase on an individual or subscription basis with content that will include live sporting events such as the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, NBA League Pass games, 65 NCAA Championships, PGA Championship, National Lacrosse League, The Spring League, Red Bull Global Rallycross, World Arm Wrestling League and more. B/R Live – powered by Turner’s iStreamPlanet – will initially launch with on April 7 and feature Johnny Manziel’s debut in The Spring League. Additionally, Turner Sports today announced its new B/R Live streaming service will distribute NBA League Pass.
 
“As viewing habits continue to evolve, Turner is well positioned to provide fans with direct access to premium live sports content that is highly coveted by audiences of scale, including a high concentration of millennials,” said David Levy, President of Turner.  “When we first acquired Bleacher Report in 2012, we knew the definition of a network was changing and we anticipated a time when B/R would become a virtual network. Today is a significant step in that direction and we will fully leverage the reach of B/R and its deep connection with passionate sports fans to provide compelling experiences for them across this new, exciting platform.”
 
 
ON THE AIR

ESPN reports that its coverage of the NIT through the quarterfinals has averaged 404,000 viewers, marking a 10% rise year-over-year across all networks, according to Nielsen. Individually, ESPN and ESPNU both score gains, up 8% and 88%, respectively, with the most-watched matchup of this year’s tournament being Louisville/Mississippi State on March 20 with 933,000 viewers. Louisville topped the charts with a 3.5 local market rating, followed by Tulsa (0.9), and Oklahoma City, Birmingham and Kansas City all averaging a 0.8 rating.
 
CBS Sports announced plans to take nationally televised all female weekly sports talk show We Need to Talk year-round. The series will now air monthly in primetime on CBS Sports Network beginning on Sunday at 7p with a special Final Four edition from San Antonio.
 
Jim Trotter is departing ESPN to join NFL Media starting April 1 where he will contribute to NFL Network and NFL.com in a multitude of roles. Trotter had covered the NFL for ESPN since 2014.
 
Speaking of NFL Media, Rams Owner/Chairman E. Stanley Kroenke and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that NFL Media will move to the LA Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park. The league will develop a 200,000 square foot space to headquarter operations for hundreds of employees at NFL Network, NFL.com, the NFL app and NFL RedZone.  In addition to office and studio space, the facility also will feature NFL Media’s first outdoor studio and space to host studio audiences with plans to open by the summer of 2021.
 
Join us on April 12 for the seventh annual Cynopsis Sports Media Awards Breakfast at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan! In addition to our categories, we will be honoring Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer of SiriusXM; Katrina Adams, Chairman of the Board & President for the United States Tennis Association; Showtime Network’s President of Sports & Event Programming, Stephen Espinoza; and Intel Sports as this year’s luminaries. Tickets are going fast so get your seats now as this event always sells out!
 
Golf Channel announced production plans for its live coverage of the 2018 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals on Sunday beginning at 8a. 80 national finalists from across the US and Canada will convene at Augusta National Golf Club to officially kick off Masters week. Rich Lerner and Peter Jacobsen will call the action from the booth, while Justin Leonard and Paige Mackenzie will report from the Tournament Practice Area, and Charlie Rymer from the 18th green. Steve Sands will handle interviews with special guests on-site at Augusta National during the telecast.
 
Speaking of the Masters, SiriusXM will offer audio coverage of the 2018 Masters Tournament, with Masters week coverage on SiriusXM radios (Sirius channel 208, XM channel 92. Listeners will hear live hole-by-hole commentary from Augusta National starting at 2p each day of play. In addition, SiriusXM will present a pair of Masters history specials: A Masters History: Anniversary Special and Masters History: Tiger at Augusta.
 
Mike Francesa serves as guest co-host MLB Network’s High Heat with Christopher Russo in-studio today 1p. The former iconic WFAN New York radio team will make their famous “over-and-under” team predictions, as well as analyze the major MLB storylines heading into Opening Day.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Results are in for the Cynopsis Short Form Video Awards!
*Thank you to our Video Partners: Procam & Situation Interactive*

The inaugural conference took place on Thursday, honoring outstanding work in the field, as well as offering insights and intel during panels with creators and buyers of this emerging format. After a noisy networking break, we got down to the task of honoring the best in the business. Our guest presenters kept things moving, naming the top three finalists in each category, including the winning entry. 
 
Click here to view the winning videos!
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Major League Baseball is renewing alliances with HBO for a partnership to bring specially customized “Game of Thrones” events, giveaways, ticket specials and experiences to participating MLB ballparks this Summer. Last summer’s events topped 20 MLB ballparks with activations that include MLB player and mascot bobbleheads, video board games, special food and drinks at concession stands, co-branded t-shirts and caps, GoT costume contests, Snapchat filters, and the appearance of the Iron Throne.
 
The Atlanta Tipoff Club, administrators of the Naismith Trophy, announced the creation of a new college basketball award, and formed an agreement with a new presenting partner, Bona. The Naismith Defensive Player of the Year presented by Bona will annually recognize the most outstanding men’s and women’s college basketball player who excels on the defensive end of the court. 
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

NBA Digital formally detailed plans for NBA League Pass to provide a first-of-its-kind experience that will allow fans to purchase and watch live NBA games in-progress at a reduced price. The new offering will be available for all NBA League Pass games beginning with the 2018-19 regular season and made available to all fans via the NBA App and NBA.com, as well as B/R Live. “This offering is a new and exciting way for fans to experience live NBA action,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.  “Turner Sports shares our commitment to innovation and to making our games even more accessible.”
 
ESPN appointed Ricardo Zuniga as Deputy Coordinating Editor for ESPN’s global digital content team.  He will now help drive a wide variety content coverage across ESPN’s digital properties in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America and other territories. He will also work closely with the ESPN Deportes team on editorial integration of the U.S. Hispanic content.
 
 
ESPORTS

Riot Games is bringing franchising to the European League Championship Series, according to ESPN, with buy-in prices at 8 million Euros ($9.93 million) for existing teams who currently participate in the league, and 10.5 million Euros ($13.02 million) for non-endemic teams who wish to enter the league for the first time. The league will remove relegation completely, and offer a revenue pool that will be distributed to Riot Games, European League Championship Series teams and players. The report states that the minimum salary for players will increase from the current $29,791 to $74,749 yearly in 2019, and Riot will also introduce some form of a development system — which will include topics such as guidance for personal finance healthcare — for European players.
 
The Overwatch World Cup will return in 2018, with play wrapping up this November in Southern California. Blizzard will monitor the average skill rating of each country’s top 150 players with the top 20 countries at the end of this period invited to compete in the tournament. This year, the four Group Stage host countries will be France, South Korea, Thailand, and the United States with those countries automatically qualifying into the tournament for a total of 24 teams.
 
ESL announced that Katowice brought in 169,000 fans for ESL One Katowice and IEM Katowice for the weekends of Feb. 24-25 and March 3-4. In addition, the Dota 2 tournament for the ESL One Katowice 2018 title saw over 2 billion minutes of competition were watched, showing a 232% increase from last year’s event. Meanwhile, the IEM World Championship Katowice saw viewers consuming more than 1 billion minutes.
 
Turtle Wax is going deeper into esports, locking in new partnerships that will see the brand become the premier sponsor of Splyce’s European-based Call of Duty and League of Legends teams. In the U.S., the brand is partnering with OpTic Gaming CEO and founder Hector Rodriguez as well as other top competitive gamers to showcase how Turtle Wax complements their areas of interest. “Partnering with a premier brand like Turtle Wax is really exciting for us,” said Marty Strenczewilk, CEO and co-founder of Splyce. “We take great care in selecting the partners we work with. Turtle Wax is exactly the type of top-tier global brand that we’re proud to have the Splyce snake associated with.” Dylan “Madcat” Daly and Tom “Tommey” Trewren will serve as Turtle Wax ambassadors throughout the partnership.
 
Caesars Entertainment and Sidekick Productions LLC announced the second Gears Pro Circuit Las Vegas Open, taking place April 6-8 at Caesars Entertainment Studios. The Gears Esports teams from around the world will compete head-to-head in Gears of War 4 for a prize pool of $150,000 USD.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

Major League Baseball named Tony Reagins as Executive Vice President of Baseball & Softball Development. He will oversee the growth of youth and amateur levels of the sport, both domestically and internationally and be charged at the professional level for streamlining amateur scouting around the world and operations of the Arizona Fall League.
 
Ann Rodriguez, Senior Vice President, WNBA League Operations will be promoted to COO following the announcement that Jay Parry will step down as WNBA Chief Operating Officer on April 30.
 
AEG Global Partnerships announced that Matt Lawler will join as director of digital and be responsible for the execution of strategic digital media initiatives, including the development and management of digital and social marketing campaigns, community engagement, and original partner and fan-generated content.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Rangers/Capitals on NBCSN at 8p.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
April 12 at the New York Athletic Club in NYC
Sponsored by Showtime
We’re ready to celebrate the work of the most talented producers, hosts, sponsors and executives in the sports industry, saluting the initiatives that drove audiences and turned sports viewers into fans. Click here to view our phenomenal category finalists, as well as recipients of our annual Luminary Awards. See you in April!
 
 

ON THIS DAY in 1977: The Marquette Golden Eagles win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
 
In the Know: The NFL’s supplemental draft has produced one Pro Football Hall of Famer. Who is he? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which NFL team won the Super Bowl with its Doomsday Defense? Answer: The Dallas Cowboys. Kudos: Pete Gautieri-A&E/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Art Salisch-Hearst Television/NY; George Sauli-USIM/NY; Ken White-KWTV/Charlotte; Willy Gibson-WTG Sports/Columbus; Joe Schreiber-3 Penny Films/Bethesda; Tony Rizzuti-MRN/Charlotte; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Gretchen Brady-KTVT/KTXA/Dallas; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; Jaymz Wooden-Bottelsen American Dart Lines/Santa Maria; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente

Later – Chris
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JOB OPENING: SVP CONTENT/Universal Kids/NYC: Resp for creating/executing a content strategy, leading development, co-productions, current production and acquisitions. Min 15 yrs exp leading content production and/or acquisition for children’s programming. Full info/apply HERE (3/31)

 
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