04/10/18: NBC Sports Group locked in channels for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs


CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Tuesday April 10, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Broadcast plans for the Stanley Cup Playoffs are locked and loaded for the NHL, with three first-round games hitting the ice tomorrow night on NBCSN and CNBC including a Game 1 doubleheader on NBCSN at 7p with Flyers/Penguins followed by Kings//Knights. CNBC’s Game 1 coverage also starts at 7p with Wild/Jets. In order to televise as many as five games on a given day/night during the first round, NBC Sports Group is adding Golf Channel to the mix, joining NBC, NBCSN, and NHL Network, as well as CNBC and USA Network.
 
“Since we began televising every game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2012, we have and continue to receive great cooperation from CNBC and USA Network, who will air several nights of playoff games this year,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports & NBCSN. “However, because of programming conflicts on Wednesday night, April 18, for the first time we will extend coverage to Golf Channel, our widely distributed 24/7 sports network.”
 
 
ON THE AIR

CBS Sports’ final-round coverage of the 2018 Masters on Sunday, saw an average audience of 13.027 million television viewers on the network, an uptick of 18% over last year’s final round, according to Nielsen live plus same day fast national ratings. Coverage earned an average national household rating/share of 7.9/18, an increase of 16% from last year’s 6.8/16 to mark the highest-rated and most-watched golf telecast since the final round of the Masters in 2015. Meanwhile, CBS Sports’ live streaming video coverage drew record viewership with 873 million total minutes of coverage streamed, an increase of 110% from 2017.
 
WWE announced records for WrestleMania 34 on Sunday, including the record for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s highest grossing entertainment event. WWE’s annual pop-culture extravaganza grossed $14.1 million, surpassing the venue’s previous record of $10.9 million set by WrestleMania 30 in 2014, as a sold-out crowd of 78,133 fans from all 50 states and 67 countries converged on the venue.
 
Speaking of WWE, HBO Sports and WWE present Andre the Giant, a JMH FILMS production in association with Ringer Films, tonight at 10p. The documentary examines the life and career of the WWE legend for the feature-length presentation, which combines never-before-seen footage and revealing interviews for a comprehensive and intimate portrait of the star.
 
The NBA on TNT wraps up the regular season with a doubleheader tonight starting at 8p with the Celtics/Wizards. Marv Albert will call the game alongside analyst Chris Webber and reporter David Aldridge. The action then shifts west with the Rockets/Lakers at 10:30p, with Kevin Harlan joined by Reggie Miller and reporter Kristen Ledlow to call the action. Following the end of the network’s regular season coverage, TNT’s 2018 NBA Playoffs coverage will begin Sunday and feature more than 40 game telecasts, including exclusive coverage of this year’s Western Conference Finals.
 
ONE Championship partnered with Japanese internet TV station AbemaTV. The deal will cover more than 20 live ONE Championship events in 2018, as well as offer a reality TV series called Surrogacy Battle”, which aims to discover fresh young Japanese martial arts talent. The program will run 12 1-hour episodes featuring young martial arts prospects no older than 22 years of age.
 
In local news, NBC Sports Philadelphia and Beasley Media Group will launch the simulcast of “The Mike Missanelli Show” on Monday. This will mark the first time the popular radio show will be available to TV audiences, running weekdays at 2p.
 

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing announced that SUM President Kathy Carter will depart her role overseeing the organization. “I would like to thank Kathy on behalf of our owners, clubs and staff for the significant contributions she has made to the sport of soccer in the U.S. and Canada while at SUM and MLS,” said MLS Commissioner and SUM CEO, Don Garber. “Kathy played a critical role in the development of our league and the growth of soccer in North America for many years. Her energy, leadership and strong relationships helped establish SUM as one of the leading commercial soccer companies in the world. We wish her the best of luck in the next chapter in her career.”
 
IMG College Licensing locked in an extension of its partnership agreement with the University of Minnesota to continue to manage the school’s trademark licensing program, which is housed in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. The renewed partnership will continue to give Minnesota access to IMG College Licensing’s tools and systems, as well as customized retail strategies and national brand protection network, to continue to elevate the Minnesota licensing program. 
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

As ESPN+ prepares for launch this week, ESPN and Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International announced a lineup of exclusive boxing programming for the platform, which opens its doors on Thursday. Additionally, through an expansion of ESPN’s agreement with Top Rank, ESPN+ will add 12 exclusive world-class Top Rank on ESPN cards to the annual line up. The  monthly live ESPN+ events start June 9 and ESPN+ will also exclusively stream six international Top Rank on ESPN cards per year.  Subscribers of ESPN+ will also have access to a variety of new and existing boxing content throughout the year, including a studio show covering all the latest news, results and storylines, on-demand options for the greatest fights of all time, and all Top Rank on ESPN undercard fights, among other content.
 
PBR is gearing up to showcase its first rodeo on its new OTT this weekend from Denver. RidePass, the company’s new western sports digital streaming network, serves up Rodeo All-Star from April 13-14, followed by the platform’s second rodeo event with the WCRA Rodeo Showdown from The Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on May 5-6. Andy Seiler, who announces at PRCA rodeos nationwide, will be calling the play-by-play on RidePass with Amy Wilson serving as sideline reporter.
 
 
ESPORTS

Blizzard unveiled the dates for its slate of world championships taking place at BlizzCon 2018 at the Anaheim Convention Center on Nov. 2-3. Once again making its stop in Southern California will be the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship (also Oct. 25–28), StarCraft II World Championship Series (also Oct. 26–28), the World of Warcraft Arena Global Championship (also Oct. 29), the Overwatch World Cup and the Hearthstone Global Games.
 
Quake Champions laid out its esports slate at PAX East, hosting two Major and two Minor tournaments for professional competitors, as well as additional online events. The first tournament will be at Dreamhack Tours in May with a prize pool of $50,000. For the first time in Quake history, there will be no prior qualifiers – all players at the event can register to compete for the title. Additional events in 2018 include a major event, the QuakeCon Open at QuakeCon 2018 in August; a minor event at PGL in October; and a final major event, the Quake Champions Invitational, to be held at Dreamhack Winter in December. In addition, the Collegiate Star League will begin competition in Quake Champions in June, and additional online tournaments will occur weekly and monthly with varying prize pools via the ESL Go4 League, through BattleFy, and through the Quake Champions Open League.
 
Red Bull announced a new travel and lifestyle streaming series, Game Changers, featuring Twitch personality and Hearthstone player Reynad, who trek across Europe as part of Red Bull’s “Can You Make It?” challenge. Episodes will air on Reynad’s Twitch channel.
 
Cinedigm announced the launch of the free 24/7 digital-first gaming and esports-centered WHAM Network, which is now running across XUMO, Twitch, and web and mobile devices. Programming includes original content such as UMG Gaming – showcasing thousands of hours of game tournaments and highlights; Clip Blip’ and esports Central Live, broadcasting esports news, industry developments, new releases, and tournament results live from WHAM’s studio in Las Vegas.
 
 
ROSTER MOVES

Bleacher Report announced that Ed Romaine has joined the company as Senior Vice President, Chief Brand Officer, a newly created role that will build on investments to grow the preeminent sports culture brand. Romaine will lead the entirety of B/R’s marketing efforts, including sales and revenue-based marketing, as well as brand marketing.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Celtics/Wizards on TNT at 8p.

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ON THIS DAY in 1993: The Pittsburgh Penguins set a record by winning their 17th consecutive game.
 
In the Know: Defunct team week: The California Golden Seals played what sport? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: The defunct team Shreveport Steamer played what sport? Answer: Football, in the WFL. Kudos: John Ferlazzo/London; Mark J. Burns-Sports Business Chronicle/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Rich Boland-Oath/NY; Todd N. Teitel-Spectrum Reach/Louisville; John Langermann-WINK-TV/Fort Myers; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Wayne “World B.” Otto -Pro-Am Sports/Boone; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas-Fort Worth; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank

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