04/05/21: FITE is banking on the Triller Fight Club

 

Medias First Morning Read

 

Monday April 5, 2021

As the streaming battles globally continue to escalate, FITE is leveraging Triller Fight Club from its arsenal of offerings that include streaming live pay-per-view events, subscription packages and thousands of hours of live and on demand free programs to millions of fans around the world. Triller Fight Club serves up a key entertainment and boxing event, as Jake Paul and Olympian Ben Askren lead the eight fight card on April 17. FITE also partnered with Triller Fight Club for their record setting initial PPV event featuring Roy Jones Jr and Mike Tyson in 2020, and will handle worldwide live pay-per-view streaming distribution online and on other digital platforms for the four-hour show, which will also have acts like Justin Bieber and The Black Keys as part of the event, which is spearheaded by Triller’s Ryan Kavanaugh and Snoop Dogg.

Cynopsis Sports asked FITE Chief Marketing Officer Kim Hurwitz about the property and its plans.

Hurwitz on how FITE punched above its weight: At its inception 5 years ago, FITE decided to go with global PPV streaming as it sits nicely with both SVOD and AVOD models. Boxing is arguably the grandfather vertical of PPV dating back to classic boxing matches on closed circuit TV; proving if you offer up fighters people want to see, they’ll come. We’ve streamed more than 5,000 events, so we’ve learned what works, and our tech, our growing fan base, our team is simply amazing. And we’re nice. Don’t underestimate nice.

On what resonates with their audience: During this last year we, like many entities offering live sports, pivoted to broaden our offerings. Our expertise is with combat sports, but we’ve made great engagement strides with soccer, motorsports, and music events, also by launching targeted SVOD bundles and a free FITE 24/7 channel. However, the sweet spots for us remain: boxing, MMA/grappling and pro wrestling which have grown to include greater global adoption and more demos. These event categories have been amplified by the cross pollination of major talent between them: boxers showing up at pro wrestling events, MMA stars entering the boxing ring. We work with everybody, so we welcome this evolution.

On how brands win the FITE battle: There are many ways for brands to engage with our fans. They can join us as event or promotional sponsors, whether it’s in venue, via social media or PR, added-value offers and contests and more. We endeavor to break the mold and are open to trying new things if there’s some data to support a positive outcome. One of the best ways to engage with our fans is to join our FITE affiliate program powered by CJ. It’s free to join and use and once signed up, can be activated to promote our events which earns the brand (or media outlet/influencer) a commission from sales made via their traffic.

On the success of a Triller Fight Club Partnership: The Tyson-Jones event presented by Triller was a game changer for everyone as it showed that rethinking the approach to a marquee event could resonate worldwide and bring in new audiences. The creation of Triller Fight Club headed by Ryan Kavanaugh and the phenom known as Snoop Dogg takes the concept to a whole new level. The April 17th Triller Fight Club event featuring Jake Paul and Ben Askren truly throw the gauntlet down in the PPV arena and FITE is so excited to be the exclusive digital partner for this event. The boxing talent is deep, the commentary team is surprising, the music is amazing and many surprises are in store. We’re also offering Golden Ticket giveaways, and a 4-language option.

On the evolution of streaming in combat sports: I do foresee more interactivity and gamification to adopt some of the things we see now on social networks: live chat and interaction, celebrity, charity, watch parties, live clipping, merch sales, contests, polls, betting, AR/VR experiences. It’s tremendously exciting and will be bigger each year, even as live in-person events come back. They will nicely co-exist as people seek the human connection of sport/music/film/art.

PROGRAMMING

Major League Baseball made headlines on Friday, announcing that the league will relocate the 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft, originally scheduled to take place in Atlanta, to a to-be-determined location due to the passage of the controversial voting law S.B. 202. Commissioner Rob Manfred noted in a statement that “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” he said. “In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour and PGA of America released statements on Saturday addressing their own upcoming events taking place in Georgia. The PGA Tour noted it would not remove the Tour Championship from the state, citing its financial commitment to charity and the local community. The org stated that “Our intention to stage an event in a particular market should not be construed as indifference to the current national conversation around voting rights.”

Dick Vitale in for another two years. The staple ESPN personality inked a renewal agreement to serve as an ESPN college basketball analyst through the 2022-23 season. His deal had been due to expire this year.

The BIG3 revealed that its fourth season will tip off on July 10 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The 2021 season will feature ten weeks of play with players competing in Las Vegas and one of the country’s premier HBCUs, Xavier University of Louisiana, in New Orleans. Each game will be broadcast live, with the majority airing exclusively nationwide on CBS, with all CBS broadcasts also streaming live on Paramount+.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 locked in the nine host cities and 10 stadiums in Australia and New Zealand that will host matches during the tournament, which will be the first-ever co-hosted FIFA Women’s World Cup and the first edition to feature 32 teams. Host cities will include Adelaide, Auckland/T?maki Makaurau; Brisbane; Dunedin/?tepoti; Hamilton/Kirikiriroa; Melbourne; Perth; Sydney; and Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara. FIFA also announced today that Eden Park in Auckland will host the opening match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 with Stadium Australia in Sydney selected to host the Final.

Major League Baseball is expanding its deal with Tencent, providing them with rights to continue streaming MLB games in China until 2023. Additionally, the contract will allow Tencent to broadcast MLB games in other Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, through its international service WeTV, according to Yahoo.

ACC Network will present more than a dozen hours of programming highlighting the work of retiring North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams. Roy Williams Retirement Tribute begins today at 1p.

The YES Network generated record viewership for its Blue Jays-Yankees Opening Day telecast on Thursday in addition to Nets viewership numbers. The MLB game averaged 543,000 Total Viewers on YES in the New York DMA, making it YES’ most-viewed weekday afternoon Season Opening telecast ever and was also YES’ second most-viewed weekday afternoon telecast ever. In addition, 72,739 unique viewers streamed the game live on the new YES App, making it the most-streamed YES game ever on either the YES App or its predecessor, FOX Sports GO.

MASN locked in a multiyear renewal agreement with DIRECTV to continue carrying the regional sports network. “We believe in the power and emotional engagement of live sports, and are excited to bring AT&T TV and DIRECTV customers their live, local sports through this agreement with MASN,” said Rob Thun, Chief Content Officer, DIRECTV.

Measurement & Data Virtual Conference

 

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

 

Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star pitcher Trevor Bauer launched a season-long giveback initiative, titled Ks for a Cause to support local nonprofit organizations focused on STEM and/or youth programming in the greater Los Angeles area. Bauer will donate $1,000 per strikeout throughout the regular season. Each month, a different nonprofit organization will be designated.

Aflac’s March Madness campaign hits its apex as the tournament comes to a close, with the brand releasing its home-delivery trash talking collective on YouTube. Actors/comedians Rob Riggle and Lil Rel Howery played host to the activation throughout the event. “Some lucky fans tuned in to March Madness received a great roasting this year. Aflac’s Post-Pain Trash Talk Deliveries made it easy for fans to get involved in the celebration of the tourney’s return and stay connected with friends, even if they couldn’t trash talk them in-person,” said Riggle. “With last year’s tournament cancelled, it was awesome to drum up excitement for this year’s tournament with Aflac while helping spread the word on how so many Americans experience unanticipated medical costs.”

The NHL and MassMutual collaboration, the 2020-21 Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award presented by MassMutual, is off and running. The two orgs revealed that the initiative was now accepting nominations through April 25. The Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award presented by MassMutual honors former NHL forward Willie O’Ree, who on Jan. 18, 1958, became the first black player to compete in the League.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

FOX Sports signed on to carry this year’s Women’s Six Nations Championship, which will be featured on FOX Soccer Plus. According to Six Nations Rugby, the deal was brokered by Pitch International and the event will now be broadcast in 130 territories with the reach stretching over 100 million households.

ESPORTS

The NBA 2K League locked in a multiyear partnership with Sony Interactive Entertainment to make PlayStation 5 the official console of the NBA 2K League. Beginning this month, the 23 NBA 2K League teams and 138 players in the league will compete on PS5 during games and events. To tip off the partnership, PS5 will serve as the presenting partner of the upcoming “NBA 2KL Three for All Showdown,” which will take place April 9-10 at 8p. “NBA 2K League players are the best in the world at what they do, so it’s only fitting that they compete on the best gaming equipment in the world,” said NBA 2K League President Brendan Donohue. “PlayStation is a long-standing global leader in interactive entertainment, and we are thrilled to be able to leverage their gaming expertise and technology to create the optimal experience for NBA 2K League players and fans.”

The Global Esports Federation named Paul J. Foster as Chief Executive Officer. Foster will assume the role as the org’s first CEO. Foster said, “The GEF offers a global, inclusive, and connected platform. When we began this journey, we had a framework for potential, a bunch of ideas. We simply said, everyone is welcome, a notion of radical inclusivity. We engaged constantly, guided only by a set of values. From that naturally came a spirit of boundless innovation. That drives our work.”

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On this Day
1984: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar becomes the all-time NBA regular season scoring leader.

IN THE KNOW
Which driver boasts the most pole positions in F1 history? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Which MLB club has a mascot known as DJ Kitty? Answer: Tampa Bay Rays. Kudos: Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisor/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Jason Wilmoth-Learfield IMG College/Winston-Salem; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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