04/11/18: Monster extended its NASCAR run another year

Good morning. It’s Wednesday April 11, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Monster Energy is ordering another round of NASCAR, announcing a deal that will extend the entitlement sponsorship of NASCAR’s premier series running through 2019. As part of the agreement, the brand also continues as the Official Energy Drink of NASCAR. “NASCAR and Monster Energy enjoyed a productive first year and both parties have benefited significantly from the partnership,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer. “Monster Energy successfully utilized our sport as a platform to elevate its brand and drive business, while introducing NASCAR to new audiences. With this renewal, we look forward to building upon our early success.”

NBC Sports’ coverage of Manchester United’s win over Manchester City in the Manchester Derby on Saturday, notching a Total Audience Delivery average of 1.72 million viewers across all platforms. That ranks as the most-watched Premier League match in US history, according to Nielsen and Adobe Analytics with NBC delivering 1.35 million viewers for the Manchester Derby, with 309,000 on Telemundo, and an Average Minute Audience of 59,800 across NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
As the NBA regular season concludes, ESPN reports that the NBA on ABC averaged 3,818,000 viewers across 17 games during the regular season, marking a rise of 17% from last season, according to Nielsen. ABC also experienced double-digit increases in several key demos for its NBA coverage, including 21 percent (M18-49), 17 percent (P18-49), 17 percent (M18-34) and 14 percent (P18-34).
Golf Channel is “modernizing” its daily evening news show, Golf Central, expanding it from a nightly newscast to a day-long platform, serving golf fans throughout the day with updates across linear, digital and social media platforms, officially starting this week with TaylorMade, as the presenting sponsor of Golf Channel’s new Golf Central content platform, which offers enhancements that include: Golf Central Updates within Morning Drive; news updates throughout the day; Facebook Live and Twitter video updates with hosts and analysts, leading into evening newscasts; utilization of the “Playing Through” commercial format in Golf Central pre-game coverage; and TaylorMade-sponsored features and content integrations.
The Breeders’ Cup and NBC Sports Group announced the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, presented by America’s Best Racing television schedule, serving up 11 live programs of more than 20 automatic qualifying races, The series launches on Belmont Stakes Day, June 9, with the Metropolitan Handicap (G1), the Ogden Phipps (G1) and the Jaipur Invitational (G2) and continues with live telecasts of American fixtures throughout the summer, including the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs.
In fighting news, EPIX announced that undefeated boxing champion Andre “Son of God” Ward will host the new version of the seminal The Contender boxing franchise with legendary boxing trainers Freddie Roach and Naazim Richardson joining as trainers. The all-new 12-episode season will begin this Spring 2018 in Los Angeles.
The International MMA Federation and the World Mixed Martial Arts Association announced an amalgamation that will see the “global unification of the sport of MMA” is a move to boost the sport’s bid for sport recognition that one joint application will now be made to the Global Association of International Sports Federations and the agreement also strengthens MMA’s application by delivering the required number of an organization’s member federations to be recognized by their sports ministry or national Olympic committee.
Meanwhile, FOX Sports announced talent for FOX UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Gaethje on April 14 on FOX and FOX Sports GO. UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz join blow-by-blow announcer Jon Anik to call all the fights on FOX. Victor Davila and Marlon Vera have the call in Spanish on FOX Deportes. UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and former middleweight champion Michael Bisping work as desk analysts alongside FOX host Curt Menefee, and lead UFC host Karyn Bryant on FS1 and FS2.
The Coastal Collegiate Sports Association and Eleven Sports announced a broadcast partnership for beach volleyball. With this partnership, Eleven Sports will broadcast the 2018 CCSA Championship Semifinals and Final on April 22
Monster Jam detailed its growth following Monster Jam World Finals, pointing to digital reach, attendance, licensing, sponsorship and international expansion. The brand played in 56 international cities and 30 different counties to date and is also looking to expand into a sixth continent, with eyes toward South Africa in the near future. The company notes that it has added almost half a million new followers and subscribers this year and, on average, 200,000 weekly viewers are tuning in to watch Monster Jam on FS1.
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For the first time in more than 20 years, the PGA TOUR is launching a new ad campaign designed to capture and celebrate “the energy and spirit of today’s TOUR.” Titled “Live Under Par,” the campaign plays on golf’s unique scoring language to showcase the pursuit of excellence by players, both competitively and in how they embrace the values of the game like sportsmanship and respect, as well as the PGA TOUR’s ingrained mission of giving back. Developed in collaboration with new roster agency Troika of Los Angeles, “Live Under Par” becomes the TOUR’s first new theme and tagline since “These Guys Are Good,” the longest-running advertising campaign among major sports, debuted in 1997.
With ESPN+ poised for launch tomorrow, the company announced that American Express will serve as the official launch sponsor of the platform. ESPN+ backed by American Express will offer both cardholders and non-cardholders an extended 30-day free trial subscription during the first week of launch (April 12-18). As part of its sponsorship, American Express will also be the presenting sponsor of the entire 30 for 30 library.
Major League Baseball detailed plans for Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, including new ‘42’-logoed batting practice attire and other uniform elements added as a complementary feature to players and all on-field personnel. Additional elements include home clubs hosting pregame ceremonies, special coverage via MLB Network and MLB.com, background and data on diversity throughout Baseball, and more. Clubs playing at home that Sunday will commemorate Jackie Robinson Day with special on-field, pregame ceremonies in their ballparks, while MLB Network & MLB.com will have complete coverage of the day’s events.
The World Curling Federation and sports marketing company Infront extended their partnership by four years to 2022. The new extension will enable curling to increase its exposure in new Asian territories, according to announcement,  and to further build on its strong presence in Europe and North America.
The University of Washington is switching gears, announcing a deal with Adidas after a 20-year run with Nike. Adidas will now serve as its official apparel partner, contingent upon approval from the board of regents. The deal kicks in during summer 2019 and will reportedly be worth around $12 million annually.

Hulu inked a deal with the NHL to sponsor the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The deal launches today and will see the streaming service serve as an official NHL partner for the entire 2018 postseason, serving up a national marketing campaign across the league’s digital and social channels, as well as camera-visible, in-stadium inventory within all U.S. venues. In addition, Hulu also partnered with the NHLPA to produce video content showcasing NHL athletes to drive awareness for Hulu as a streaming option” for the playoffs.

SAP unlocked a three-year partnership with Team Liquid to become the team’s Official Innovation Partner. This marks SAP’s first partnership in esports, where they will work with the team to develop software based on in-game data, that helps Team Liquid analyze and improve team performance in training, scouting new talent and during competition. SAP will support Team Liquid by implementing a range of innovative technology solutions that deliver cutting-edge analytics to the team to improve overall performance in training and in competition.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment announced the 2018 Injustice 2 Pro Series Presented by Samsung and SIMPLE Mobile, marking the second season of the global esports program for the title. The 2018 series has Intersport teaming up with Samsung, SIMPLE Mobile, Gamestop, Northern Arena, Gamelta and a to be named European program to offer players a chance to compete in different programs for a slice of the $150,000 prize pool. Overall, the series will feature five live competitions throughout North America and Europe, in addition to three online cups where competitors can earn points to qualify for 12 spots in the Injustice 2 Pro Series Grand Finals. Four spots in the grand finals will be reserved for winners of different programs: Canada’s Northern Arena Injustice 2 Elite Circuit, Latin America’s Liga Latina, a European program with more details to come, and a last chance qualifier spot.

The Western & Southern Open today announced that Chief Executive Officer Elaine Bruening will retire effective April 13. Bruening assumed a full-time role with the event in 1988 after a career at Procter & Gamble.
Learfield named four individuals to a newly created position of Vice President, Market Director. Britt Oligschlaeger, Landon Day and Tony Soares were promoted to the new role within the regional structure, having served with Learfield for 12, 11 and seven years respectively. Mike Haake, new to Learfield, will hold the same position and brings 30 years of media and sales experience to the collegiate marketer.

The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and Philips Arena announced the hiring of David Garcia as Vice President of Guest Experience. In his new role, Garcia will spearhead all guest service and hospitality initiatives for the organization, which is undergoing a $192.5 million transformation. 

Stanley Cup Playoffs get underway with Flyers/Penguins on NBCSN at 7p, followed by Kings/Knights at 10p.
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ON THIS DAY in 2003: The Heat retire Michael Jordan’s jersey.
In the Know: Defunct team week: The Kentucky Colonels played in which pro sports league? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: The California Golden Seals played what sport?  Answer: Hockey. Kudos: David Kopelman-NYXL/NY; Traci Liner-Endeavor /NY; Holli Sarner-Home Team Sports/NY; Rich Boland-Oath/NY; Larry Kahn-Golf Channel/Orlando; Jim Snider-jVISION/Toronto; Jay Rossi-DICK’s Sporting Goods/Coraopolis; Andy McGowan-Watkins McGowan Communications/Atlanta; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Mark Stulberger-Stully’s Broadcasting School/Houston; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; David Hauptman/Denver; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Jack Neumann-University of Calgary Dinos 5th Quarter Alumni Development/Calgary; Dave Sikula-San Francisco State University/San Francisco; Howie Schwab-FOX Sports/LA; Jeff Mirkin-Atari Studios/Santa Monica; Alex Falk-Endeavor/LA

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EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT/KCRA TV/Sacramento CA: Develop new non-news local programming. Idea generator w/strong visualization/conceptual skills. Writing skills, comprehensive production expertise & know-how to craft/manage a compelling first class project from conception to final distribution. Large market producing experience req. Full info/apply HERE (4/13)
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