04/16/21: NFL wins big with first sportsbook partnerships

Medias First Morning Read

 

Friday April 16, 2021

The NFL revealed the league’s first-ever U.S. sportsbook partnerships, wrangling Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel to new agreements to become Official Sports Betting Partners of the NFL. As part of these multi-year agreements, all three partners will have the exclusive ability to leverage NFL marks within the sports betting category and activate around retail and online sports betting. They will also engage with fans through NFL-themed free-to-play games. In addition, Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel will have the right to integrate relevant sports betting content directly into NFL Media properties including NFL.com and the NFL App. DraftKings and FanDuel will enhance their fan experiences with NFL highlights, footage and Next Gen Stats content. Caesars and the NFL will collaborate on integrating NFL content into Caesars platforms as well. Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel will all use the NFL’s official League data feed. Finally, all three partners have agreed to adhere to the NFL’s core integrity policies, and will collaborate with the NFL on intelligence sharing, advocacy efforts, and responsible gaming education.

“As the sports betting landscape has continued to evolve in the United States, we have been thoughtful with our strategy and are excited to announce three partners who share the NFL’s vision and goals,” said Renie Anderson, Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Vice President of NFL Partnerships. “Working closely with Caesars, DraftKings and FanDuel, we will provide fans new and different ways of interacting and engaging with the sport they love.”

PROGRAMMING

CBS Sports and Concacaf announced details of a multi-platform agreement for exclusive U.S. English-language rights to Concacaf national team properties including Concacaf Qualifiers for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, the Concacaf Men’s Nations League and the Concacaf Women’s Nations League. Paramount+ will showcase more than 200 Concacaf national team matches live, including at least 80 Concacaf Women’s World Cup Qualifying matches and more than 100 Concacaf Women’s Nations League contests. Select matches will be available to air on CBS Sports linear platforms. “We are excited to continue the expansion of CBS Sports’ soccer portfolio across both the men’s and women’s game, and look forward to delivering competitive Concacaf national team action on Paramount+ and CBS Sports platforms,” said Jeffrey Gerttula, Executive Vice President and General Manager, CBS Sports Digital. “Paramount+ has truly become a year-round soccer destination, attracting a growing fanbase that’s hungry to watch the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams along with a variety of international soccer competitions.”

CBS Sports also lined up its announce team for the inaugural Superstar Racing Experience season, which debuts this summer airing live on the CBS and streaming on Paramount+. The brand-new racing series will run across six consecutive Saturday nights in primetime beginning June 12 at 8p. Lindsay Czarniak, Allen Bestwick, Brad Daugherty and Matt Yocum will work all six races on the SRX schedule and bring viewers inside the made-for-TV racing series. Czarniak serves as host of the series, with Bestwick providing play-by-play of each race. Daugherty serves as a roaming analyst, and Yocum is the series’ pit reporter providing behind the scenes content with the drivers and crewmembers telling their stories at the track and beyond. Each race will also feature a driver analyst, with Danica Patrick, James Hinchcliffe and Dario Franchitti each joining the broadcast team for two races on the schedule.

TrillerNet continues to make headlines with the acquisition of FITE, the global live-event and Pay-Per-View, SVOD and AVOD and streaming platform for sports and entertainment. The deal gives Triller a foothold in the live-event PPV and streaming space, greatly expanding the reach of Triller’s fast-growing AI-powered content and distribution ecosystem and allowing the company to continue to invest in new lifestyle and entertainment programming. FITE has been a fantastic partner, and the synergy between the two businesses and teams was clear from day one,” said Bobby Sarnevesht, Chairman and Co-owner of Triller, and Ryan Kavanaugh, Co-owner of Triller, jointly. “With our acquisition of FITE, we bring into TrillerNET their stellar technology, valuable customer and content partner base, and one of the most experienced executive teams in this space. The deal represents our ambitions to not only expand Triller Fight Club and grow FITE’s distribution relationships, but also to reimagine what, how and when premium music, sports and entertainment is delivered to today’s audiences.”

ESPN’s coverage of Major League Soccer’s 26th season kicks off this weekend with a full slate of MLS Live on ESPN+ out-of-market matches, ABC’s broadcast of Inter Miami CF vs. LA Galaxy, and the first-ever MLS preview special on ESPN+. Before calling Sunday’s match on ABC, ESPN’s lead MLS commentator team of Jon Champion and Taylor Twellman will host the 2021 MLS Preview Show on Friday, April 16, at 7 p.m. ET, exclusively on ESPN+.

Thanks to our terrific partners at Sneaky Big Studios, this year’s Sports Media Awards Gala will raise your virtual events’ experience standards. On April 21 at 3:00 PM ET, you’ll want to grab some popcorn and start streaming to your TV as we unveil winners and celebrate industry excellence.

FOX Sports and The Spring League announced the complete television schedule for the 2021 TSL season. For the first time ever, TSL football will run on broadcast television, with six regular season games as well as its championship matchup airing on FOX. The season’s remaining 18 regular season games will air in primetime Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays on FS1 and FS2. Play begins with a doubleheader on May 6 on FS1, when the Alphas take on the Aviators at 7p, followed by the Conquerors versus the Linemen at 10p.

Through two weeks, ESPN reports that its 2021 Sunday Night Baseball viewership average is up 33% from the 2020 full season average, according to Nielsen. Sunday Night Baseball is generating an average of 1,585,000 viewers, compared to 1,191,000 viewers in 2020. Several key demos are experiencing double-digit audience increases, including P18-49 and P25-54, up 54% and 50% respectively, from 2020. Additionally, ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball telecasts have seen a 33% increase in viewership among women 18+, as well as a 74% increase in the young female demo of 12-17.

Charlie Rymer, former professional golfer and now a television personality, will debut his new show, the Charlie Rymer Golf Show, on Monday at 8:30p as part of CBS Sports Network’s new Monday night block of golf programming. The show features Rymer as he interacts with celebrities and hometown neighbors, with the half-hour show running for 16 episodes, with the first eight airing this spring and the second eight running this fall.

SHOWTIME Sports and Premier Boxing Champions laid out a five-month boxing schedule of nine high-stakes world championship events that begin May 15 on the channel with the schedule delivering two events per month through August. Thirteen matchups have been announced thus far with no less than seven world title fights, and 12 fighters defending undefeated records.

Athletes Unlimited announced its inaugural Lacrosse League, featuring 56 players competing in the Washington, DC Metro area at Maureen Hendricks Field in Boyds, Maryland from July 19 – August 22. In addition to professional competition, Athletes Unlimited will also host its three-day National Summit for top elite middle and high school female lacrosse players from across the country during its pro league season.

Ahead of the NFL Draft, B/R Gridiron debuts B/R Gridiron Draft Night and B/R Gridiron Draft Saturday (working title), both presented by Rocket Mortgage. The two live stream events will feature a lineup of analysts and pro football insiders to provide viewers a traditional draft show experience. B/R’s coverage will kick off on Thursday, April 29, at 8p with host Adam Lefkoe. Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks will make her debut covering the draft in B/R Gridiron Draft Saturday presented by Rocket Mortgage as she, Connor Rogers and a lineup of guests breakdown and recap the first two days of the draft.

SiriusXM today lined up season-long coverage for the 2021 NTT Indycar Series season, featuring live broadcasts of every race all season long, as well as shows and podcasts hosted by active drivers. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season begins with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday at 3p. In addition, Tony Kanaan will host SiriusXM’s exclusive INDYCAR show, Brick by Brick, with veteran motorsports broadcaster Jack Arute throughout the season. INDYCAR fans can also tune in to the podcast Off Track with Hinch & Rossi, hosted by Andretti Autosport teammates James Hinchcliffe and Alexander Rossi.

ESPN rolled out plans for its premier coverage of the NCAA National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championships (beginning with Semifinal I today at 1p on ESPN2). The event sees analysts Bart Conner and Kathy Johnson Clarke team up to call the action on ESPN2 and ABC on Friday and Saturday, with 18 total live streams set for the weekend on ESPN3 and the ESPN App. In 2018, ESPN introduced new scoring graphics with enhanced scoring breakdowns, and continued to utilize quad-boxes and replay machines to show as many routines as possible. The scoring graphics, which will be used for NCAA Championship coverage again this weekend, cycle overall team totals, individual averages and team differentials to inform viewers and provide even greater insight into both the team race and technical aspects of each routine. In addition, the network continues to employ its “Tech Tools” to bring the technique and skill of the gymnasts into perspective for the viewer.

VYPE Media is partnering with FloSports to bring Texas high school sports to nationwide audiences. The 4-year deal will feature 900 games and 6,000 hours of live programming annually on FloSports award-winning digital platform. The partnership begins with the 2021 Fall school year and includes several Texas high school sports categories including, but not limited to, football, volleyball, basketball and baseball spanning over 160 teams.

ESPN Films will debut its latest documentary “144” about the 2020 WNBA season in the bubble May 13 on ESPN. Premiering at 9p on ESPN, the film will be made available on ESPN+ immediately after its premiere, along with the ESPN Films and 30 for 30 library.

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Catching up on social good stories, the NFL announced that the 2021 NFL Draft will again host Draft-a-Thon, a fundraiser that drives awareness and action to close critical gaps at the intersection of pandemic recovery and our hardest hit communities. Draft-a-Thon will raise funds on behalf of four national nonprofit organizations that are supporting underserved communities in these areas: The Digital Divide in education, health disparities, food insecurity and mental health. Similar to last year, the Draft-a-Thon will be featured across the live Draft coverage on ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio and NFL Network April 29-May 1 and will showcase the efforts of the four nonprofit organizations that support pandemic recovery in these areas.

To kick off 100 Days Out to the Tokyo Olympic Games, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee unveiled the new “We Are Team USA” campaign, which celebrates the diverse backgrounds of Team USA athletes and rallies fans in support of the upcoming Games. “We Are Team USA,” which will be live across Team USA and USOPC social, digital and OOH channels starting today through the Games, “puts our country’s elite squad of athletes front and center by highlighting the wide spectrum of diversity that is the DNA of Team USA.” “Team USA athletes are widely celebrated for their amazing achievements,” said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland. “As we honor them for their perseverance and commitment to excellence in sport, we also honor them for their contributions off the field of play. Team USA reflects the best of America and brings ambition, dedication and bravery to everything they do.”

Focused on representing the city’s food culture, SoFi Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams, partnered with James Beard award-winning chefs, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo to reimagine the stadium culinary experience. “Jon and Vinny are well-known for their thoughtful and flavorful food, and we are thrilled for them to extend their legacy to SoFi Stadium,” said Jason Gannon, managing director, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. “Los Angeles’ food culture is celebrated for its creativity, and our goal is to build a culinary experience for fans based on high-quality, fresh ingredients and inspired by the many cuisines you can find throughout the city.”

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

WWE reports that WrestleMania saw WWE-related content score nearly 1.1 billion video views across YouTube, WWE.com and social media (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok) during WrestleMania Week, for a markup of 14% year-over-year. WWE content on YouTube, WWE.com and social media was viewed for more than 31 million hours during the week of WrestleMania, up 9%, while WWE-related content had 115 million engagements on social media during the week of WrestleMania, up 102%.

Screenvision Sports announced its entrance to college athletics via an alliance with Learfield IMG College. The multi-year agreement, which will kick off during the 2021 fall football season, will introduce first-of its-kind in-stadium content and enable SV Sports to serve as an in-venue media partner for more than 100 schools. SV Sports will produce a three-minute segment that includes contextually relevant content and advertising to entertain fans pre-game or at half-time, which will be broadcast in stadiums and arenas nationwide. The participating universities will also have access to advertise on Screenvision’s sprawling exhibitor network, which spans more than 2,300 locations and 15,000 screens.

VUit locked in a partnership with the ACC Digital Network and Raycom Sports to create ACCDN Confidential, a new 24/7 channel featuring highlights and athlete spotlights from the Atlantic Coast Conference. ACCDN Confidential will shine the spotlight on one of college sports most dominant conferences through an array of highlight driven-programming featuring unforgettable moments and legendary players. The channel will launch on April 15 with a special event series tied to the upcoming NFL Draft.

Sportradar announced a multi-year sports betting partnership in the US market with TwinSpires, the online sports betting arm of Churchill Downs Incorporated. The TwinSpires sports and online gaming brand launched in Michigan in January 2021. Under the terms of the deal, Sportradar provides TwinSpires access to its pre-match betting services, live betting services, and content solutions across a range of US sports.

The Phoenix Suns and FanDuel Group unlocked a multi-year market access partnership designating the sportsbook operator as the Suns’ Official Sportsbook and Daily Fantasy Sports Partner. As part of this new commercial arrangement, FanDuel will open a luxury sportsbook retail location inside the Phoenix Suns Arena. In addition to a full-service ticket window and self-service kiosks within the sportsbook, fans will be able to place bets throughout Phoenix Suns Arena on their mobile devices during game days and other hosted sporting events.

Meanwhile, the PGA TOUR and DraftKings Inc. will expand their existing commercial relationship to provide DraftKings market access for retail and mobile sports betting in Arizona, pending regulatory approvals. As part of this agreement, the PGA TOUR and DraftKings have also announced plans to operate a premium retail sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale. The PGA TOUR and DraftKings plan to create a “19th hole” experience at TPC Scottsdale where fans can gather year-round to place wagers, watch sports and enjoy quality food and beverage options. Pursuant to the expanded agreement, DraftKings will also become the exclusive sports betting partner of the Waste Management Phoenix Open hosted annually at TPC Scottsdale.

VR exercise company VirZOOM announced its latest fitness app, VZfit for Oculus Quest 1 & 2, extending workouts to “anyone who wants to experience the world and get fit from the comfort of their own home.” VZfit takes users to anywhere they want to go, traveling through the world’s mountains, countryside or cities with the option of either standalone headset full-body workouts or by connecting to most smart bike devices and trainer sensors. with the limitless possibilities of VR,” said Eric Janszen, Co-founder and CEO, VirZOOM. “Take a selfie at the Coliseum or in front of the Sydney Opera House, or simply take a trip down memory lane – whatever location you choose, with VZfit a world of adventure is literally at your fingertips. Our experiences have always been an exhilarating mix of the real world and the fantastical, but this is the most accessible VR fitness app that uses global exploration as a key motivator, making it so fresh and engaging that exercise almost becomes the side product. Especially in a time when none of us can travel in reality, it already has our community completely hooked.”

ESPORTS

Chinese live-streaming platform Bilibili and Activision Blizzard locked in a multi-year strategic partnership that includes Bilibi landing Overwatch League production and broadcasting rights in China, as well as additional development of commercial interests and support for promotion of OWL in the region, according to multiple reports.

State Farm signed on as an Official Marketing Partner of Twitch Rivals North America. Tapping into Twitch’s community, State Farm will rollout new elements to the service such as: State Farm Spotlight – bringing the hosts and casters to analyze gameplay and player strategy in this branded broadcast integration; and Entitlement Event – a special Twitch Rivals stream, featuring State Farm as a presenting sponsor.

Super League Gaming cemented a slate of content distribution partnerships that continues to expand the Company’s existing audience reach. The expansion into OTT includes partnerships with the following companies: Tempo Storm; Harena Data; Aggregated Media: and Mobcrush. “The growth of Super League’s content business is fueled by two energizing sources – the talented, passionate producers on our team and the players and creators within our community,” said Matt Edelman, Chief Commercial Officer, Super League Gaming. “We’re thrilled to be working with such a diverse collection of partners who believe that our video programming can contribute to the success of their OTT channels.”

Misfits Gaming Group announced their ‘Women of Misfits’ platform with the focus on four core pillars: Mentorship, Development, Network and Advocacy. The platform will include a series of monthly guest speakers with the first being Chris Evert, GloZell Green, Bianca Smith, Angela Ruggiero, and Maya Enista Smith The Women of Misfits platform includes a monthly speaker series with industry leaders and visionaries which will air on MGG’s YouTube channel.

SPORTS BROADCAST JOURNAL w/ David J. Halberstam

Lots of nuggets including the White Sox announcer’s superstitious call of Carlos Rodon’s no-hitter; Tokyo Games; Was ABC/Cap Cities bias, not bidding for NBA rights in 1980s?; Masters’ poor TV ratings; Death of Slick Leonard + much more
Halby’s Morsels: Sox’ Len Kasper didn’t utter ‘perfect game’; NBA bias; Masters; Olympics; Slick Leonard +

John Madden and Don Meredith brought pioneering styles to NFL network booths. Their broadcasts transcended football.
Sharing the same birthday, John Madden brought novelty and Don Meredith levity to NFL booths

Columnist Dan Mason breaks down the great, good and not so good of CBS’ Masters coverage. The graphics and optics were different. Sellers Shy took over for Emmy Award winning producer Lance Barrow. A tough act to follow!
CBS’ coverage of the 2021 Masters had new wrinkles; Voices were solid; Production was ho-hum

Happy Birthdays and many wonderful returns:
Steve Somers, 4/17 WFAN Radio
Wayne Larrivee. 4/17 Green Bay Packers
Boomer Esiason, 4/17 CBS Sports
Tony Boselli, 4/17 Jaguars radio
Bill Raftery, 4/19 CBS/Fox
Kent Pavelka, 4/19 Nebraska hoops
Tommy Hutton, 4/20 Marlins TV
Steve Bornstein, 4/20 Former NFLN president
Ralph Lawler, 4/21 retired-Clippers
Spencer Tillman, 4/21 Fox Sports
Tony Romo, 4/21 CBS Sports
Sports Broadcast Journal

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NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP/NY: Development of Pacing report for Digital & Linear Ad Sales. Assist in maintaining & developing day to day Digital Reports/statistics. Assist/development Custom Digital Ad Sales Decks and/or materials. BA in business, marketing, communications/media or related field, or equivalent education and experience. Min. 24 months related experience in Digital Research. Full info HERE (5/01)

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THE PALEY CENTER FOR MEDIA/NYC/NY: Develop events, series, festivals, exhibits that are topical, culturally relevant, impactful and inclusive. In depth knowledge of history and current trends to conduct research and generate weekly reports. 8+ years managerial experience of a content collection in a research library, archive, museum, or related setting. Full info HERE (4/23)

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