04/18/22: Strat-o-Matic breaks down its new map

Medias First Morning Read
Monday April 18, 2022

When one thinks of the word “gaming” these days, two areas typically come to mind – gambling and esports. However, one area that saw a boom during the pandemic was in traditional games, from board games to chess, an area that has continued to expand as the digital space continues to deepen its roots. One notable pivot has come from Strat-o-Matic, serving as a traditional board game for a host of professional sports, but has now evolved into collectables and the new world of predictive gaming with its deep data outputs, while increasing its core fanbase. With Star’s core tied to baseball, we asked Adam Richman, Board President of Strat-O-Matic Media, to take us through gaming growth.

Richman on Strat-o-matic’s continued evolution: The Pandemic brought not just lapsed players but younger players who now really love analytics, back to the game. We have also reinvented our classic model in many ways from predictive gaming, to a continued enhanced online version to special projects with media companies and NFT’s, few of which were on our radar when sports stopped. We are curious and resilient, and as a result of being able to push the envelope, our business has never been stronger or more diverse in content than ever before.

On how traditional games have grown: The boom we saw in games of every kind has continued to grow over the past few years. What we learned during The Pandemic was that multiple generations of families found board games as a common ground of fun, and some have also ventured into esports and gaming, and that trend shows no signs of slowing down. We have certainly benefited from that trend, as our demo continues to be more and more multigenerational and younger, but also we see more girls playing with their families. Games brought, and will continue to bring, a sense of normalcy to community, especially the sports community, and we have every indication that will continue.

On how the idea of predictive gaming can grow the business: One thing that players new and old have always marveled at is the way our games can actually come very close to actual events playing out. When there was no MLB season during the Pandemic, or when the NBA season was on hiatus—we saw that the simulations we ran with such detail were so close to real that media outlets and fans were treating the sims as real. That opened a window for us…what if our deep data dives in sports could lead to not just advance results of events on a schedule, but to recreating with great certainty results of the past that never happened, but that fans were interested in? This idea of predictive gaming is really starting to catch on, especially with the deeper interest in sports gambling, and we are proud to be able to help ride that crest of that interest.

On how predictive gaming can gain partners: We have already seen this with media outlets like NBC Sports Boston, Marquee Sports Network, La Vida Baseball and others. We have worked with them on looking back into history and creating compelling and very realistic and detailed scenarios as content for matchups that never happened with great accuracy…If Tom Brady doesn’t leave the Patriots what would that season have been? If Steve Bartman doesn’t touch a Cubs ball in fair territory, how does that playoff series play out? What if Buck Leonard had played in the Major Leagues instead of just the Negro Leagues, how could the path of baseball been changed? Because of our ability to run simulations with deep data, we can now help create some very compelling scenarios that may help answer, and pose some amazing questions and answers for fans die hard and casual, in any of the four major sports, and even for select colleges as well.

On the growth of the Negro Leagues Museum partnership. Strat has a long relationship with Bob Kendrick and the Negro Leagues Museum, similar to what we have with the Halls of Fame in all the major sports. We have been able to work with Bob and his staff on several really compelling recreations, and through the estates of some of the greatest Negro League players of all time, we will soon co-launch a compelling NFT product with some deep data dives tied to the Negro leagues. We know this will again link a younger generation tied to the digital space to a traditional audience, and as a result everyone interested in history or baseball wins. And coming soon, we will also be dropping small batch, old-school physical collectables with some of these partners as well.

PROGRAMMING

The NHL is slating the 2023 Discover NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park, lining up a battle between the Bruins and Penguins for Jan. 2, broadcast nationally on TNT. The game will mark the fifth NHL regular-season outdoor game for the Bruins and the second time the game has been hosted at Fenway Park.

Another new face is set for Sunday Night Football. The New York Post reports that Melissa Stark will become the franchise’s new sideline reporter. She joins Mike Tirico as a new face of the tentpole, along with the returning Cris Collinsworth. Stark replaces the departing Michelle Tafoya on the broadcast.

Speaking of new faces (at least temporarily), another talent being tapped will be FOX Sports broadcaster Gus Johnson, who is on deck to call NBA playoff games for TNT this year, partnering with Greg Anthony on tonight’s Raptors/Sixers Game 2 as well as the Bulls/Bucks Game 2 on Wednesday. TNT staples Brian Anderson, Kevin Harlan, Ian Eagle and Spero Dedes will work the remainder of the playoff play0by-play slate.

Preliminary numbers from Nielsen report that the simulcast USFL kickoff game on Saturday on FOX and NBC drew nearly three million viewers combined. Although numbers are not yet adjusted, the early breakdown saw the league’s return score 1.43 million on FOX and 1.52 million on NBC. The Stallions victory over the Generals peaked with nearly 3.5 million viewers at 10:45p.

Tomorrow! Don’t forget to join us for the Sports Media Awards at New York Athletic Club! Dress code is mandatory at the venue so please arrive accordingly. See you then.
Turner Sports, in association with BRON Studios, debuts the two-night special, The Pathway, tonight and tomorrow during TNT’s first round coverage of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Hosted and executive produced by Inside the NBA’s Kenny “The Jet” Smith, The Pathway follows emerging basketball prospects –­ Jonathan Kuminga, Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd, and Daishen Nix – “as they bypass college to go all in with NBA G League Ignite, with their eyes set on the ultimate prize of playing in the NBA.” Each hour-long episode will air following TNT’s Inside the NBA postgame each night at approximately 1:30a.

The YES Network reports that its 2021-2022 Brooklyn Nets regular season games averaged 78,000 Total Viewers in the New York DMA. The score marks a 95% increase from the 2018-2019 season, which was the last pre-pandemic NBA season prior to this year and the last NBA season with a traditional schedule prior to this year.

2022 SPORTS MEDIA AWARDS
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

With Vegas on deck to host the 2022 NFL Draft starting April 28, the NFL laid out a lineup of activities and activations designed to support the annual event. To kick off the celebrations, attending prospects will walk the NFL Draft Red Carpet presented by Gillette Labs, constructed within the Fountains of Bellagio. The NFL Draft Red Carpet will begin at approximately 1:45p and portions will be televised as part of NFL Network’s NFL Draft Kickoff show. Melissa Stark and Michael Irvin will anchor NFL Network’s Red Carpet coverage and interview prospects as they begin their Draft Night journey. The Academy Singers will perform Lift Every Voice and Sing live from the Red Carpet Stage, while Kodi Lee will sing the national anthem from the Draft Theater as part of opening festivities. Following the attending prospects walking the Red Carpet, performances on the Red Carpet Stage on Day One will begin at approximately 5:30 PM PT and include Absinthe, Jabbawockeez, and Mad Apple by Cirque du Soleil.

NASCAR lined up a five-year extension with Pinty’s Delicious Foods to serve as entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Canada’s largest national motorsports series. Pinty’s, which took over naming rights of the series in 2016, also remains an Official Partner of NASCAR in Canada. “Pinty’s has been a tremendous partner as we work together to grow racing in Canada,” said Chad Seigler, NASCAR Vice President, International Business Development. “Their commitment to both the racing industry and the fan experience has elevated the NASCAR Pinty’s Series over the past six years. The future is bright for NASCAR in Canada, and this continued partnership will further increase fan interest and the competition level in Canada’s premier racing series.”

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

Blockchain.com sealed a partnership with the Dallas Cowboys in a move that will launch the first cryptocurrency partnership for an NFL team, according to the announcement. Through the partnership, Blockchain.com has been given exclusive rights to advertising spaces, including the club space inside AT&T Stadium, rights to social and digital integrations, highly visible signage within the stadium bowl, extensive TV, radio, and digital advertising, event opportunities with the Cowboys, and more.

The Kyle Larson Presents FloRacing Late Model Challenge Powered By Tezos fired up a big weekend of racing in Tennessee last night. The inaugural race became the most-watched single day event in FloSports history with nearly 5 million minutes consumed landing in the platform’s Top 10 events by unique viewers across all sport vertical categories including combat, rugby, cycling and more.

ESPORTS

HyperX extended its sponsorship and relationship with New Meta Entertainment, the gaming and entertainment organization that includes Dignitas and new women in gaming media platform Raidiant. HyperX is also becoming the official peripheral partner of Raidiant, with focus on desktop microphones, supporting Raidiant’s content creator activations. HyperX also signed Dignitas pro player Emmalee Garrido, known as “EMUHLEET”, as the latest HyperX Hero and content series, “HyperX Voice Comms,” will resume production for 2022.

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