04/08/19: Actress Kate del Castillo discusses her new MMA investment

Good morning. It’s Monday April 8, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.


Flush with a new equity infusion of $20 million, Hispanic MMA sports entertainment franchise, Combate Americas is prepping its next live television event, Combate de Reinas’ live television event at Galen Center in LA on April 26, serving up “the first time in history that a combat sports event will feature an all-women’s lineup on broadcast television.” Investors included actress Kate del Castillo, along with Joe Plumeri, Ambassador Cliff Sobel and Irving Place Capital CEO John Howard.
Cynopsis Sports asked del Castillo about her move into MMA.
del Castillo on MMA: Well, I grew up in Mexico City, and Mexico and other Hispanic countries have a great boxing tradition, which I love.  But I was not drawn by the violence and blood-sport action of MMA. I see Combate Americas as an empowering force and source of pride among Hispanic communities. Combate Americas and the sport of MMA, are both built on tradition – the tradition of honor, pride, respect and devotion to one’s country. 
On Combate Americas: I have been a fan of boxing for a while and have recently become more familiar with MMA. I attended my first Combate Americas event a couple of years ago, and knew immediately that I wanted to join the Combate family. I wanted to be part of a great company that authentically advocates for Hispanic pride and female empowerment
I also think Hispanic women continue to need our support in every single way and Combate Americas does more for female athletes than just about anyone else as the most diverse combat sports franchise. I am a big fan of Campbell McLaren and how he has built this brand to embrace and develop Hispanic athletes.
On the company’s biggest challenge and opportunity: Combate Americas has proven to be a disruptor in the world of Hispanic sports entertainment as well as in the combat sports industry. We are hopeful for the opportunity to bring more cachet to the MMA community and broaden its appeal among the Hispanic audiences.  I am committed to growing Combate Americas to be the #2 sport, after soccer of course, for Hispanic sports fans around the world
On female empowerment: I always surround myself with strong women and have been a champion for female empowerment my entire life. The moment I got to know these talented female fighters and their struggles, I knew I had to put in the time and commit to fight for them too. I want to see the athletes become the stars they deserve and have the potential to be.  “Reinas del Combate” is a testament to Combate Americas’ commitment to female empowerment.  This event in Los Angeles on April 26 at the Galan Center will mark the first time in history that an MMA event with all-women’s main-card will air live on broadcast television!


With Virginia and Texas Tech locked in to play for the NCAA Championship tonight at 9p on CBS, CBS Sports and Turner Sports report that the Semifinals on Saturday delivered an average of 8.8/18 in metered markets, according to Nielsen, for a rise of 13% over last year’s averages. NCAA March madness Live drew a 14% rise in live streams for the two games over last year as well.
The final round of the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur ranked as the highest-rated amateur golf telecast – men’s or women’s – in 16 years, with a .96 Overnight Rating on Saturday on NBC. The Augusta National Women’s Amateur began with a GOLF Films short, When I Grow Up, I Want To…, which has garnered nearly one million views on social media over the weekend.
Matchups and programming lineups for the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs are locked in. On Wednesday, the Blue Jackets/Lightning open play on USA at 7p, Stars/Predators at 9:30p. NBCSN serves up Penguins/Islanders at 7:30p, followed by Golden Knights/Sharks at 10:30p. The Blues/Jets series will begin at 8p on NHL Network. Thursday sees NBCSN carry Maple Leafs/Bruins at 7p, with Avalanche/Flames at 10p. The Caps will look to keep the Stanley Cup, opening against the Hurricanes at 7:30p on USA.
ESPN+ and U.S. Soccer cemented an exclusive, multi-year media rights agreement for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer’s national championship for clubs. All U.S. Open Cup matches from the First Round through the Final will air exclusively on ESPN+ and running through the 109th edition of the tournament in 2022. The deal, negotiated by Soccer United Marketing (SUM) on behalf of the U.S. Soccer Federation, includes rights in all languages. The 2019 U.S. Open Cup on ESPN+ kicks off May 7-8 with the First Round.
WWE’s Paul “Triple H” Levesque announced on Friday that FS1 will launch a new weekly WWE studio show that will debut this fall. Running on Tuesday evenings, the series will span Raw, SmackDown as well as NXT.
ESPN iced in production plans for the Frozen Four with the semifinals pitting Providence/Minnesota-Duluth at 5p on Thursday, followed by Denver University/Massachusetts at 8:30p, with winners moving on to the championship game on April 13 at 8p with all three games on ESPN2. ESPN will deploy more than 15 cameras, including the state-of-the-art All-Cam, for each of the three games and have more than 16 mics stationed around the arena, capturing the sounds on the ice and in the crowd. Once again this year, ESPN3 will also provide a complementary view to the traditional telecast. ESPN’s John Buccigross and Barry Melrose will call their seventh Frozen Four together in the booth,
Meanwhile, ESPN announced that former Clemson offensive guard Eric Mac Lain will join ACC Network on Fridays and Saturdays this fall to contribute to studio coverage with analysis of the conference’s season-long football action.
GLORY announced partnerships with two Philippine television networks to bring GLORY content to over 20 million households in 2019. Free-to-air network 5 PLUS reaches over 18 million homes nationwide while Cignal TV, through its One Sports Channel boasts a 49% market share via its two million subscribers. Both networks are owned by MediaQuest.
Back by popular demand, the Upfront/NewFronts Navigator is here to provide you with a convenient, easy-to-use resource center for the busiest time of the year. Sponsored by The Weather Channel Television Network, we provide coverage + access to the following:
-Network resource guides detailing programs, demo info, and more
-Calendar of the Upfront/NewFronts schedules
-Updates from the presentations, road shows & meetings
If you haven’t checked it out yet, what are you waiting for? Click here


Streaming sports video service DAZN launched its biggest marketing campaign thus far, spotlighting the Canelo Alvarez/Daniel Jacobs boxing match set for May 4 in Las Vegas. To promote the card, the platform tapped the talents of comedian and boxing fan Tracy Morgan to serve as the face of the new campaign with the first spot running last night at WrestleMania. The full campaign features a 30-second, 15-second and six-second video spots that will run on linear and digital outlets.
The NY Jets revealed their rebrand on Thursday night, replacing the traditional hunter green and white combo from the  past20 years, with “Gotham Green” and “Spotlight White,” in addition to a Stealth Black” alternate uniform. In addition, the team revealed a tweaked logo on the team’s all-green helmets. “We wanted to create something that we think today’s fans and traditional fans will like, and something that the players will like,” team president Neil Glat told the AP. “And we also kind of were looking for that gritty, resilient New York City-area look. So, you’re trying to accomplish a lot of different things.”
Speaking of WWE, the company locked in a partnership with gaming platform Roblox for WrestleMania, allowing players to pick up skins for various WWE Superstars, including: Becky Lynch, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Xavier Woods. In addition, users can limited-time, exclusive virtual items for their avatar, including a WWE championship title, hat, and backpack. “We are always looking for fun, imaginative ways to engage our fans across a variety of platforms, and we are excited to partner with Roblox as we head into WrestleMania,” said Jayar Donlan, Executive Vice President, WWE Advanced Media. “Roblox is also a unique way to immerse a new generation of fans into WWE as they can create, share, and bring Superstar avatars and experiences to life.”


With Season 7 of the Rocket League World Championship underway, publisher Psyonix announced that this year’s title will be decided at the Prudential Center in Newark from June 21-23. Plus, for the first time in RLCS World Championship history, play will feature a new Group Stage to Single-Elimination format.
Riot Games continues to add advertisers to the LEC, announcing deals for the LEC Spring Finals with both Sanquin and GoDaddy. The pair of brands now join last week’s announcement of Beko as a partner for the league with Sanquin, a Dutch non-profit blood institute, returning as an LEC partner for the Spring Finals following the success of their 2018 Summer Finals partnership which saw over 5,000 people register to donate blood. Sanquin will be integrated into the broadcast every time ‘First Blood’ is secured during the Spring Finals, and every attendee at the Spring Finals who signs up to donate blood and has it tested will unlock Vladimir in-game as a gift. Meanwhile, new LEC sponsors GoDaddy will see more information about their activation released at a later date.
In other sponsorship news, Chase locked in a three-year partnership with the Golden State Warriors‘ NBA 2K League team, Warriors Gaming Squad. The partnership sees the Warriors’ Gaming Squad’s home court sport Chase branding as well as digital signage around the arena. In addition, the partnership will also see collaborative video content produced throughout the second season while Chase customers will have the opportunity to visit where the home of the Warriors Gaming Squad.
Luminosity Gaming named Mark Thomas as Vice President, Head of Marketing for the team. Thomas joins the organization following a run on CBC’s Sports Partnerships team and will overseeefforts to grow the Luminosity brand globally, while building out its brand partnerships team.


THE PLAYERS Championship announced Marsha Oliver, formerly Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s Director of Public Affairs, as the event’s new Senior Director of Community Outreach.


Virginia/Texas Tech on CBS at 9p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1966: The AFL names Al Davis as Commissioner.
In the Know: Masters week! Who was the last back-to-back champion of The Masters? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which city (not venue) has hosted the most men’s Final Fours? Answer: Kansas City. Kudos: Tim Overmyer-20th TV/Atlanta; Kathi Gillin-Comcast Spotlight/Langhorne; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA
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