04/18/17: Joshua/Klitschko battle doubles down; The PGA TOUR’Ultra boost; The PLAYERS gets the Nick treatment


CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Tuesday April 18, 2017 and this is your your first early morning Sports briefing!

It’s a double play for the upcoming battle between IBF Heavyweight World Champion Anthony Joshua and former unified world champion Wladimir Klitschko as Matchroom Sport, Klitschko Management Group and K2 Promotions announced that both Showtime and HBO will carry the event on April 29 from Wembley Stadium. Showtime serves as the exclusive US home for Joshua, while HBO has an exclusive agreement with Klitschko. Each of the two networks will produce their own separate telecast of the main event match with Showtime’s version running live at 4:15p while HBO will feature the event at 10:45p.
 
 
ON THE AIR

Meanwhile, Showtime Sports also announced the network’s complete spring 2017 boxing schedule. In addition to the heavyweight championship above, the network also unveiled the Adonis Stevenson/Andrzej Fonfara rematch on June 3 will take place with Premier Boxing Champions. Other featured bouts include Andre Berto/Shawn Porter o Saturday and Kell Brook/Errol Spence Jr. on May 27, along with the May 20 telecasts of Gervonta Davis/Liam Walsh and Gary Russell Jr./Andre Dirrell. “Our 2017 schedule already includes some 17 live boxing telecasts, 15 world championship fights, with the top-rated fighters squaring off in boxing’s deepest weight divisions,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President & General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “We continue to break the glass ceiling on women’s boxing, deliver the biggest bouts from overseas and see champions take on champions to unify divisions.  We are proud to be re-shaping the boxing landscape both in and out of the ring.”
 
The first Sunday of the NBA Playoffs showed gains for the league’s broadcast partners. TNT’s coverage of the Bulls win over Celtics and the Rockets’ victory over the Thunder scored a 39% Nielsen ratings uptick over the equivalent primetime telecasts a year ago with the two games averaging a 3.4 household score. Meanwhile, the network’s telecast of the Wizards’ win over the Hawks earlier in the day generated a 1.8 overnight rating. Finally, ABC’s coverage of the Warriors win over the Trailblazers grew 10% to hit a 4.4 rating.
 
The WNBA announced that the league has entered its first collective bargaining agreement with the National Basketball Referees Association, which represents WNBA refs. The two-year agreement begins with the 2017 season. “We commend our officials for their hard work and dedication to the game and are very pleased to have reached an agreement,” said WNBA President Lisa Borders. “We now look forward to continuing to deliver the best basketball in the world to our fans as our 21st season tips off on May 13.” 
 
GolTV inked a multi-year deal to broadcast live matches from Liga NOS, Portugal’s top soccer league that gives the network exclusive rights to all of Liga NOS matches in both English and Spanish language, starting in August with the start of the 2017/18 soccer season. GolTV will now feature more live weekly matches — approximately 150 per season. “We are very excited about the new upcoming Liga NOS season and the expansion of our partnership,” said Rodrigo Lombello, CEO of GolTV. “Our viewers will soon be able to watch all of their favorite teams and match-ups on GolTV. We’ve become the go-to network for all Portuguese soccer fans.”
 
beIN SPORTS added The Sean Salisbury Show to its programming lineup, running Monday-Friday at 5p and simulcast live from the SB Nation studios in Houston. “beIN SPORTS is always looking for ways to expand its reach with the programming our viewers crave,” said Antonio Briceño, beIN SPORTS Deputy Managing Director. “‘The Sean Salisbury Show’ allows us the opportunity to enter the national sports conversation and feature one of the best and most passionate personalities in the business on our network.”
 
The NHL announced a trio of updates for the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs First Round schedule, with Game 5 of the Maple Leafs/Capitals set for 7p pm Friday, Game 5 between the Bruins/Senators locked in for 7:30p on Friday and Game 5 of the Flames/Ducks set for 10p on that day.
 
ESPN’s Sage Steele appears to be taking on the morning shift, as The Sporting News reports that the former NBA Countdown host will take on a morning anchor role for the company, potentially joining Mike Greenberg for a new morning show, or taking on a SportsCenter anchor slot for whatever programming replaces the current Mike & Mike in the Morning series on ESPN2. Mike & Mike would then become a radio-only show with Trey Wingo teaming up with Golic to replace Greenberg.
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The PGA TOUR and Anheuser-Busch locked in an extension that continues Michelob ULTRA’s designation as the “Official Beer Sponsor of the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions” through 2020. Michelob ULTRA will maintain “a significant presence” at more than 45 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions and Web.com Tour as well as expand its onsite fan engagement by adding more tournament stops for its mobile Build-a-Bar while the ULTRA Club will be activated at five tournament locations in 2017. “Through more than 15 years as a PGA TOUR sponsor, Michelob ULTRA has been extremely creative and effective in maximizing our relationship by developing consumer programs and campaigns that fully engage golf fans, both on and off the golf course,” said Brian Oliver, Senior Vice President of Sponsorship and Partnership for the TOUR. “We are extremely pleased to announce the extension of this terrific relationship and look forward to continuing our collaboration with such a valued partner.”
 
Speaking of golf, THE PLAYERS Championship is making a run for the young ones, teaming with Nickelodeon to bring new, family-friendly tournament activities to the McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation Kid Zone at TPC Sawgrass from May 9-14. The area will feature the Nickelodeon experience, an interactive destination for kids and families attending the event that includes the SpongeBob SquarePants mini-golf challenge and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Puttskee, the chance to get virtually slimed, meet characters and more. Meanwhile, Nickelodeon will showcase the fun as part of the “NickSports Presents Golf Rocks Weekend” from May 12-14 on Nicktoons and hosted by Nick star Breanna Yde.
 
In agency news, Creative Artists Agency is partnering with China’s CMC Capital Partners to create CAA China, described as a world-class media and entertainment platform that “combines the expertise and vast resources of CAA with the broad reach and network of CMC in Greater China.” The company will focus on new business and client opportunities in the growing Chinese market, ranging from talent representation, endorsements, and sports, to digital media, music, and original content production.
 
Meanwhile, CSE Talent acquired Arland Sports in a move to bolster its representation in the baseball ranks, naming Jason Wood as president. “Jason is a special talent who I’ve admired and watched voer the years as he’s grown Arland Sports,” said Danny Martoe, President, CSE Talent. “His approach to clients and how he handles himself has always made him stand out.”
 
Bloomberg writes that Amazon’s new deal to stream NFL Thursday night games includes as much as $30 million worth of marketing and promotion of the football league. Amazon will now promote the league across its platforms.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

Minor League Baseball celebrated the first group of Esurance #CallUpWorthy players of 2017 with a total of 30 players making their MLB debut between April 2 and are being featured on the branded website at MILB.com. The enhanced site includes new features for 2017, where fans can see real-time call-ups and read players’ stories as they follow the rising stars of baseball.
 
SKYY Digital Media Group announced that its sports vertical, SPORTTU will add Portuguese language capabilities for its platform. Portuguese speaking internet users total 150 million people worldwide.
 
 
ESPORTS

Esports are coming to the 2018 and 2022 Asian Games. The Olympic Council of Asia is aligning with Alibaba to include competitive gaming into the festivities in Indonesia and China, respectively as well as the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan. “OCA has always been committed to the inheritance, development, and improvement of Asian sports” said OCA President Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah. “And we look forward to the forward-thinking concepts of sports by Alisports, who will be helping us with their strength and experience in esports.”
 
Ninjas in Pyjamas announced a partnership the extension with Twitch to serve as the main streaming platform for the franchise. The partnership will bring the Ninjas in Pyjamas; Counter-Strike, DotA2 and Overwatch players streams to the platform for the next 18 months as part of a wider partnership agreement. “At Ninjas in Pyjamas we value long term partnership, and it is with this spirit we have decided to stay on Twitch with our live streaming content. The agreement gives us the opportunity to reach our established streaming audience for the Ninjas in Pyjamas brand and all individual players, as well as giving the opportunity to grow on the platform as we seek to expand the Ninjas in Pyjamas teams and titles in the future, said Hicham Chahine, CEO at Ninjas in Pyjamas.
 
Turner and IMG’s ELeague Street Fighter V Invitational continues its regular season play with live “Group B” coverage on TBS this Friday at 10p. Group B will feature Street Fighter V superstars Justin Wong, Hiroyuki “Eita” Nagata, Daigo Umehara, Yu-lin Bruce “GamerBee” Hsiang, Darryl “Snake Eyez” Lewis and Eduardo “PR Balrog” Perez as they square for two available spots in the playoffs, set to begin Friday, May 26.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Jazz/Clippers on TNT at 10:30p.

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ON THIS DAY in 1995: Joe Montana announces his retirement from the NFL.
 
In The Know: While Joe Montana wore #16 with the 49ers, what number did he wear with the Chiefs? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: In which sporting event is the Woodlawn Vase presented? Answer: The Preakness. Kudos: Marc Wollis-Cadent Network/NY; Ken White/Charlotte; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Red Bulls/Harrison; Brad Brown-Nevco, Inc./St. Louis; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tim Rank-Blueprint314/St. Louis; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Steve Bradbury-Deep Sports/Marina Del Rey; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank

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