04/19/18: FOX Sports lined up its talent for the Thursday Night Football Pregame show

Good morning. It’s Thursday April 19, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Michael Strahan are officially booked to headline a new Thursday Night Football Pregame Show that will run live from NYC for the 2018 NFL season. Beginning in Week 4, the new program will air at 7:30p on the FOX broadcast network and NFL Network, taking viewers up to kickoff. All three will remain analysts on FOX NFL Sunday.
“Securing this trio of hall-of-famers to lead our inaugural Thursday Night Football Pregame Show was paramount in continuing the NFL’s goal of establishing this night as appointment viewing,” said Eric Shanks, President and Executive Producer FOX Sports. “Terry, Howie and Michael, along with our partners at NFL Network, will set the weekly tone with expert analysis and special guests for a dynamic lead-in to each Thursday Night matchup.”

In other NFL news, the league unveils its 2018 schedule on Thursday. NFL Network carries the news at 8p with 2018 NFL Schedule Release Presented by Verizon, a two-hour special hosted by Scott Hanson and featuring analysts Steve Mariucci, Kurt Warner and Maurice Jones-Drew. The special will break down the entire 2018 NFL regular season schedule, division by division, analyzing the top matchups and primetime games, including the 18-game Thursday Night Football schedule on FOX and NFL Network.
Around the dial, ESPN will air SportsCenter Special: 2018 NFL Schedule Release on Thursday at 8p, with Trey Wingo as host, accompanied by analyst Darren Woodson and NFL Insiders Louis Riddick and Adam Schefter, who will breakdown team-by-team schedules, preview ESPN’s Monday Night Football matchups and other primetime games, and offer predictions on the upcoming season.
Meanwhile, ESPN and FOX Sports could be poised to partner for UFC rights. Variety reports that the two companies recently proposed to split the promotion’s TV package in a move that would bring as many as 15 fight events to new subscription streaming service ESPN+. The report states that ESPN would be willing to pay $120-180 million per year to add the league to its collection of live-event rights while FOX would be willing to pay a little more than $200 million.
Speaking of ESPN, the company’s Little League World Series coverage will be expanding this summer to offer more than 150 games available exclusively on ESPN+, for an overall – and record-breaking – 233 Little League International Tournament games available across ESPN’s services and ABC. The ESPN+ schedule will include expanded coverage of the Little League Softball and Little League Baseball U.S. Regional Tournament games, the early-round games of the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Ore., and the semifinals of the Little League Intermediate (50/70) Baseball Division World Series in Livermore.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs continue to deliver for NBC Sports, which now reports that – through seven days – the company is marking its best delivery through the first week in four years, hitting 743,000 viewers and up 6% over 2017. Tuesday’s Capitals/Blue Jackets matchup bolstered numbers as Game 3 drew a TAD of 919,000 to rank as NBCSN’s most-watched Round 1 Game 3 on record.
In other ratings news, Sportsman Channel reports year-over-year gains in primetime on Tuesday (up 12%), Friday (up 9%), Saturday (up 13%) and Sunday (up 43%) in the Men 25-54 demo during the first quarter of 2018 compared to one year ago.
FOX Sports announced the world premiere of the soccer documentary mini-series, Phenoms, at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, in its Tribeca TV section. The network will showcase the FOX Sports Films series’ third episode, “Goalkeepers,” on April 25 at 8:30p.
FIFA opened the door to replace the Confederations Cup with an expanded Club World Cup that would be held once every four years starting in 2021, a source told AFP. The move would make last year’s Confederations Cup in Russia win by Germany the last champion of the event.
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SB Nation’s Outsports revealed the first wave of confirmed speakers for the 3rd annual Outsports Pride Summit, which will take place during New York City Pride this year from June 21- 24. San Francisco 49ers coach Katie Sowers and former NFL player Ryan O’Callaghan will speak at the event, with other speakers that include: Former Villanova basketball player Will Sheridan, High School track coach Jarrin Williams, ATP Tennis radio host and reporter Nick McCarvel, Univ. of Nebraska athlete Jace Anderson, journalist Dawn Ennis, with additional speakers to be announced in coming weeks.

The NBA Awards Presented by Kia on TNT, running June 25 at 9p, will now incorporate fan voting across a number of categories that include Best Style, Dunk of the Year, Block of the Year, Clutch Shot of the Year, Assist of the Year and Handle of the Year.  Fans can pick their favorites through voting across NBA.com and Twitter. Fan-voted awards will be announced in addition to all of the NBA’s traditional end-of-season awards including Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Kia NBA Sixth Man Award, Kia NBA Most Improved Player, NBA Coach of the Year, NBA Basketball Executive of the Year, NBA Sportsmanship Award, Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award and the Season long NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente.
FloSports locked in another deal, this time with Beat The Streets Wrestling to air its annual Beat The Streets New York City event May 17 at Pier 17/Seaport District in lower Manhattan. Coverage will be available live and on-demand exclusively on FloWrestling.com for the fourth consecutive year.

In this week’s edition of Cynopsis Esports & Gaming…   
  • NBA 2K League feels the Twitch
  • ESL One New York books 2018 plans
  • Splyce win adds Turtle Beach jewel to crown
  • NRG fuels partnership with University of California, Berkeley
  • Overwatch League eyes European stay
  • Publishers book E3 slots
  • H1Z1 Pro League takes its shot

STATS promoted Ryan Paterson to Chief Global Officer. Ryan most recently served as the Managing Director of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions for STATS.

76ers/Heat on TNT at 7p.

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ON THIS DAY in 1897: John J. McDermott wins the first Boston Marathon in 2 hours, 55 minutes, 10 seconds.
In the Know: Who was the first person to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500? (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: Which team did Notre Dame’s Joe Montana beat to win the 1977 college football national championship?  Answer: Texas. Kudos: Ken White-KWTV/Charlotte; Kevin McIntyre-Amayse Inc./Boston; Pat Scanlon-Shamrock Communications/Tinton Falls; Chris Hall-St. Petersburg/Valpak; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; 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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