04/12/17: AEG’s brand plan; Golf Channel’s new tour; USA Luge wecomes new slider


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Good morning. It’s Wednesday April 12, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

AEG announced the launch of AEG Studios, an in-house branded content division. The new division will work as an extension to AEG’s Global Partnership group and “supports the creation, production and development of innovative, original content for the company as a whole as well as its numerous brand partners.” Raymond Leon Roker will oversee the new initiative as head of the division, which will work with partners to conceive, produce and deliver content across digital, print, video and mobile.

“Our partners are asking for great storytelling through original content; we have listened and are now building a world-class production company with the most innovative creators in the sports and entertainment business,” said Andrew Klein, senior vice president, AEG Global Partnerships. “We’re known for bringing our partners’ messages to life through cutting-edge campaigns. AEG Studios will amplify our ability not only to solve our brand partners’ needs, but also help them engage with their target audiences by bringing them the one-of-a kind pieces of content and creativity that only our network of talent, assets and resources can provide.”


2017 Cable Hall of Fame Celebration
Presented by The Cable Center
April 26, 2017 at the Grand Hyatt, Washington, D.C.
2017 Honorees
Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal
Jill Campbell, EVP and COO, Cox Communications
Michael T. Fries, CEO, Liberty Global
Ken Lowe, Chairman, President and CEO, Scripps Networks Interactive
“The Sopranos,television drama series; David Chase, creator; HBO
David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications
www.cablehalloffame.com, 720-502-7500.


NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway laid out format plans for the 2017 Monster Energy All-Star Race, with this year’s race featuring four stages (20 laps / 20 laps / 20 laps / 10 laps) with racers vying for a slot in the final 10-lap, 10-car stage. The winner of each of the first three stages will lock up a spot in the final stage, as long as they remain on the lead lap after the third stage and the cars with the best average finish in the first three stages making up the remaining spots needed to fill the 10-car final stage. The winner will be awarded $1,000,000. “The Monster Energy All-Star Race is designed to be fun for fans, showcasing the best drivers and race teams in NASCAR,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “With the effort that Goodyear has put into this race with multiple tire compounds, I am excited to see how the stages play out, especially the final 10-car, 10-lap sprint to the checkered flag.” The Monster Energy All-Star Race and Monster Energy Open will air live on FS1 starting at 6p.

ESPN will, for the second consecutive year, carry the Women’s National Collegiate Gymnastics Championships live on national television with the first Team Semifinals, All-Around and Individual Event running on ESPN2 on Friday at 1p. The second session begins on ESPNU at 8p before finishing live on ESPN. Both days of coverage will also offer a customized second-screen experience available on WatchESPN and the ESPN app with viewers able to stream each individual apparatus or a quad-box view called “All-Around.”

The National Hockey League announced that the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery will be held on April 29 in Toronto with results showcased after 8p on NBC. For the first time, participants in the Draft Lottery include the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who begin play in the 2017-18 season, which will be afforded the exact same lottery odds as the team with the third-worst regular-season record for a 10.3 of claiming the first overall pick.

NBC Sports and The Breeders’ Cup unveiled the lineup for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In, presented by Lane’s End Farm and America’s Best Racing” series. The schedule features 11 live programs featuring 17 qualifying races and other major stakes on the road to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. This year’s series will now see the addition of the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) from Churchill Downs on June 17, the first U.S. “Win and You’re In” for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic; the Arlington Million (G1) from Arlington International Racecourse in suburban Chicago on August 12, and the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic (G1) from Del Mar race track of San Diego on August 19.

We are now sold out for our Cynopsis Sports Media Awards, taking place on Thursday. A big thanks to this year’s lineup of presenters, which include NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross, NASCAR’s Steve Phelps, NBC Sports’ Paul Burmeister, LSC Communications’ Tim Quinlan, NHL Network’s Michelle McMahon, Monumental Sports Network’s Zach Leonsis, ViewLift’s Rick Allen, NBC Sports Radio’s Seth Everett, Walk Swiftly Productions’ Bonnie Bernstein, and CBS Sports Radio’s Damon Amendolara. We look forward to seeing you there. (And don’t forget about today’s Cynopsis World Esports Summit!)

Eleven Sports continues to move quickly, picking up rights to carry the Legends Football League. Programming will include the weekly broadcast of LFL Football Night, starting April 22 at 10p. The channel will carry all 19 scheduled games of the season, including two conference championships and Legends Cup 2017.


With our webinars available on demand, YOU’LL BE COMPLETELY PREPARED!
We assembled a panel of top-level executives and hiring managers who provided insight into how to develop the most effect strategy in order to make a smart, successful switch from linear TV to Digital Media.


Golf Channel is revving up for the 146th Open at Royal Birkdale in July with a coast-to-coast tour of the famed Claret Jug. In partnership with The R&A, the Claret Jug tour launches tomorrow at Universal Hollywood and will include stops at sporting and cultural events, golf venues and other locations in more than a dozen cities across the country before concluding at Universal Orlando two weeks ahead of The Open. Events include the Great American Foodie Fest, Texas Scottish Festival, Lincoln Park Wine Festival, Taste of Charlotte, MLB games, MLS games, and a number of stops at Topgolf locations nationwide.

USA Luge and White Castle are teaming up for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in a two-year deal of “the nation’s two foremost slider experts.” “We have been serving The Original Slider® for nearly a century and pride ourselves on knowing a thing or two about sliders,” said White Castle VP of marketing Lynn Blashford. “When we discovered that USA Luge was looking for the next generation of sliders, we knew that White Castle could help fuel their efforts and hopefully help them bring home coveted medals for many Winter Games to come.”

What was once known as the Russell Athletic Bowl will now be known as the Camping World Bowl. Florida Citrus Sports and Camping World announced the moniker change courtesy of a multi-year deal as title sponsor of the postseason bowl game, pitting teams from the ACC and Big 12.

Major League Baseball unveiled a lineup of special event uniforms that will be worn during spring and summer holiday weekends as well as special MLB events during the 2017 Championship Season. Holiday’s will include Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day and Independence Day. The league worked with its Authentic Collection partners Majestic, New Era and Stance to create cohesive looks for each event, which will mark the first year players have the option to wear uniquely designed athletic socks for the special event holiday games.


MANDT VR and College Football Playoff released two new virtual reality and 360-degree videos showcasing content from the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship. The content marks CFP’s first venture into virtual reality as part of their partnership, with the first video, CFP National Championship Recap, available via Facebook and YouTube. “VR provides an elevated, imaginative level of engagement for college football fans,” said Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff. “We are delighted to enter into this space and share insights into the CFP experience.”

Sina reached long-term strategic relationships with the PGA TOUR and the LPGA, locking in full highlights and special video content including player interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, tournament recaps, and more throughout the tour calendar. As part of the relationships, the LPGA, PGA TOUR and Sina Sports will work together to further promote the content and the game of golf through special interaction on Sina Weibo between each party’s respective official Sina Weibo accounts. Furthermore, Sina Golf will continue to serve as the official Chinese website of the LPGA.

The National Women’s Soccer League agreed to a three-year partnership with Opta to serve as the league’s Official Data Partner. The deal will provide teams, fans and media with more tracked, recorded and databased action with Opta set to manage and deliver live statistical analysis for all NWSL matches, including regular season and playoff games. Opta has also collected full data from the 2016 NWSL season. The complete suite of data feeds and widgets will be available to fans on the brand new NWSL website and app, including live match centers as well as player and team seasonal analysis.


Hyundai doubling down on esports, announcing a deal to serve as the main partner of the 2017 eSports WRC Championship. The tournament will be contested on WRC 6, the official FIA World Rally Championship game and Hyundai, which operates a three-car team in the WRC, will offer a premium Hyundai i20 to the winner of the competition. “After a first year of partnership, we are really excited to be part of the eSports WRC adventure for a new year,” said Scott Noh, Director of Hyundai Motor’s Overseas Marketing Group. “The eSports WRC championship is the perfect way for people around the world to be part of the WRC family by competing in online rallies in parallel to the official ones. Last year the tournament gathered thousands of virtual drivers for a year of competition which ended with an amazing live event in Wales. With the new format this year, it’s interesting to follow drivers from January to November and we can already see an intense battle on the podium which sounds exciting for the coming months.”

Allied Esports and Esports Arena are opening a new dedicated esports venue that will be developed at Luxor Hotel and Casino. The new Esports Arena Las Vegas is slated to open in early 2018 and serve as the first permanent esports venue on The Strip and “will be the center of Allied Esports’ growing global network of esports properties spanning North America, Europe and China.” Esports Arena will work with Luxor and design firm YWS Design & Architecture to transform the space currently occupied by a 30,000-square-foot nightclub into a multi-level arena complete with a competition stage, LED video wall, telescopic seating, daily gaming stations, a food and beverage offering, and state-of-the-art streaming and television-quality production studios.

ESL announced its first championship in Africa. The ESL African Championship will be presented by Kwese Sports with a focus on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Hearthstone. The inaugural series runs from April to June and then will be followed directly by the second series starting in July with the grand finals of series two held at the rAge Gaming Expo in the Ticketpro Dome of Johannesburg in October.


Octagon named Lauren Tietjen as Vice President, Global Communications. “Lauren is a proven communicator who continuously creates opportunities to promote our network of agencies across earned and owned media,” said Lisa Murray, Global CMO, Octagon Sports and Entertainment Network. “Her ability to strategically share our agency stories with the right audience and on the right platforms puts us in the best position to grow and succeed.”


Blue Jackets/Penguins on USA at 7:30p.




ON THIS DAY in 1980: The USOC endorses a boycott of the Moscow Olympic games.

In The Know: With the Red Wings out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which NHL franchise now holds the longest active streak of postseason appearances? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which goaltender has appeared in the most NHL Playoff games? Answer: Patrick Roy. Kudos: John Ferlazzo/London; Marc Wollis-Cadent Network/NY; Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Traci Liner-WME/IMG/NY; Ken White/Charlotte; Scott Leslie-UPS/Atlanta; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Red Bulls/Harrison; Tony Ferranti-MMSI/Warwick; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Gretchen Brady-KTVT/KTXA/Dallas; Eric Jackson-DFW Flycasting/Dallas; David Hauptman/Denver; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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