04/20/18: The USTA stuck a deal with Amazon Prime for the US Open in the UK

Good morning. It’s Friday April 20, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Amazon Prime Video continues to bolster its sports rights portfolio, locking in a deal with the USTA to snag the exclusive live telecast rights to the US Open Tennis Championships for the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. The five-year agreement, which begins with the 2018 US Open, will bring live and on-demand content to Prime members in both territories at no additional cost. Prime Video will also provide access to on-demand match highlights and other content and prime members in the U.K. and Ireland will be able to watch US Open content across more than 600 devices on the Prime Video app for TVs, game consoles, set top boxes and connected devices, including Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV, mobile devices and online.
“This new partnership allows the USTA to showcase our live and on-demand content to Amazon Prime members throughout the U.K. and Ireland,” said Lew Sherr, USTA Chief Revenue Officer. “We are excited to market the telecasts via Prime Video and provide fans more ways to watch tennis matches.”
Armed with its new Thursday Night Football package, FOX kicks off its coverage of the regular season with Week 1 as a national weekend on Sept. 9 pitting the Cowboys/Panthers and the Seahawks/Broncos at 4:25p while Thanksgiving will see the Redskins/Cowboys on the channel. This year’s Thursday Night Football package on FOX begins in Week 4 with the Vikings/Rams on Sept. 27 at 8:20p. Overall, FOX will broadcast 11 Thursday Night Football games between Weeks 4-15 (excluding Thanksgiving night), with those games also being simulcast via NFL Network and distributed in Spanish on FOX Deportes.
In addition, NFL Network will exclusively televise seven games this season, beginning in week 2 with Ravens/Bengals on Sept. 13 and FOX producing the full slate of 18 games, beginning with
CBS Sports’ NFL lineup this season will be anchored by Super Bowl LIII from Atlanta on February 3, marking the 20th time the channel has carried the event. The regular season will kick off on Sept. 9 with a broadcast slate that features 10 appearances by AFC powerhouses New England, Pittsburgh and Denver, and nine appearances by Oakland with the first national 4:25p game taking place in week two with Patriots/Jaguars. In addition, this network’s Thanksgiving game this year will feature the Bears/Lions. Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and Tracy Wolfson serve as the NFL ON CBS’s lead announce team.
NBC’s Sunday Night Football package this season will showcase 19 NFL games during the 2018 regular season beginning with NFL Kickoff 2018 on Sept. 2 pitting the Falcons/Eagles followed by the SNF season opener on Sept. 9 with Bears/Packers as the franchise begins a new, earlier kickoff time of 8:20p, 10 minutes earlier than last year. Every 2017 division winner makes an appearance on the series this season and features three games each for the Eagles, Patriots, Steelers, Cowboys, and Packers. Thanksgiving features the Saints hosting the Falcons in the first-ever NFL T-Day game in New Orleans.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football lineup will open with a familiar face as former MNF analyst Jon Gruden makes his NFL coaching return in ESPN’s coverage of the Rams/Raiders as part of the season-opening doubleheader game on Sept. 10, with Jets/Lions the early game. ESPN will again televise the NFL International Series game in Mexico City when the Chiefs play the Rams on Nov. 19. Making multiple appearances on the franchise this season will be: Broncos, Chiefs, Rams, Saints, Giants, Raiders, 49ers, Seahawks, Titans and Redskins. Beginning in week 2, MNF games will kick off at 8:15p, with Suzy Kolber hosting the Monday Night Countdown pregame show throughout the season, as well as halftime and post-game SportsCenter coverage.
ESPN carries – for the third consecutive year – the Women’s National Collegiate Gymnastics Championships this weekend with coverage beginning today at 1p on ESPN2 with the Super Six Finals slated for Saturday at 7p on ESPNU. Bart Conner and Kathy Johnson Clarke are calling the action, with Laura Rutledge handling reporting duties on the telecasts. New to this year’s coverage will be that ESPN will feature commentary on each apparatus stream on ESPN3 and the ESPN App for a unique second-screen offering surrounding the championship.
In ratings news, Combate Americas presentation of Combate Estrellas I last week, which marked the first event of the new long term partnership with Univision and Univision Deportes drew a total of 583,000 P2 + viewers, including 296,000 in the 18-49 year old category in America. Meanwhile, undercard fights were streamed on Facebook and registered over 270,000 views. In Mexico, more than four million viewers tuned in on Azteca7.
NBCSN presents the 2018 Notre Dame Football Blue-Gold Game on Saturday at 12:30p. Coverage will once again feature “enhanced production elements to give viewers access to additional sights, sounds and aspects of the scrimmage, including player and alumni interviews, and in-game audio from head coach Brian Kelly.” Paul Burmeister will handle play-by-play duties for the game alongside 1984 Heisman Trophy winner and analyst Doug Flutie.
The World Long Drive Association will stage its first of five televised events in 2018 with the Clash in the Canyon on Golf Channel on April 24 at 7p. The event will feature a 36-man field competing in the Open Division along with a Women’s Division field of 18 competitors. Production centering around live coverage of the competition will utilize six dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including a SuperMo camera as well as two craned-positioned cameras that will track the ball in flight once it leaves the competitor’s clubface. New to 2018 will be an overlaid graphic line on the grid, the “DXL Big Drive to Beat,” displaying the longest drive during a given match to signify the driving distance an opposing competitor will need to surpass to take the lead.
The New York Racing Association and MSG Networks locked in a multi-year extension of their long-standing agreement for MSGN’s telecast of NYRA’s thoroughbred racing programming, including NYRA’s flagship ‘Live’ shows while MSG+ will continue to be the regional home for NYRA racing from Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. In 2018, MSGN’s coverage of NYRA racing will expand to include more than 225 hours of live racing and analysis, including all 40 days of Saratoga Live.
The Cynopsis Social Good Awards
May 22nd | 8:30am – 10:30am |The Yale Club | New York City
The Cynopsis Social Good Awards proudly recognizes excellence in the area of social good in the TV and entertainment industry, honoring everything from sustainability partnerships and PSA’s, to diversity campaigns, environmental initiatives, and more. Join us on May 22nd when we announce the winners from 8:30am-10:30am at the Yale Club in NYC. Click here to see the full list of finalists and register before May 11th to save $100 on your ticket!


The Players’ Tribune and Toyota are partnering for an original, three-part video series titled Off the Track. The series will showcase the lives and journeys of three Toyota drivers from different professional racing circuits: Daniel Suárez (NASCAR), Antron Brown (NHRA) and Fredric Aasbo (Formula Drift). The series premieres today with the two remaining videos are slated to air in May and will run on The Players’ Tribune and its social channels.
IMG and NBC Sports announced that The PNC Financial Services Group has extended its contract as title sponsor of the PNC Father/Son Challenge, the tournament that pairs the games’ legends alongside their sons, daughters and grandchildren. PNC’s multi-year extension as title sponsor keeps the PGA Tour Challenge Event in Orlando.
Colorado State University announced a $37.7 million deal with official credit union partner, Public Service Credit Union. The agreement brings the total naming rights revenues at Colorado State to $57 million for the stadium. The Colorado State agreement with PSCU is for 15 years and includes annual escalator clauses for inflation, as well as a signing bonus.

Formula One picked up a stake in PlayON as part of a strategic partnership that will see PlayON become Formula One’s official fantasy gaming partner along with the live integration of F1 TV across PlayON’s streaming service. PlayON will enter the U.S. market this year following the F1 partnership. “Formula One is continuously looking for ways to engage with new audiences, particularly in the digital space,” said Frank Arthofer, Formula One’s director of digital and new business. “Fantasy Sports is an exciting industry and offers us the opportunity to engage with a young and vibrant fan base.”
The Olympic Channel reached cooperation agreements with the international governing bodies for kickboxing, SAMBO, and squash, and the Federation Internationale Cinema Television Sportifs to collaborate on content for the multi-platform global media destination. That brings the the number of partners who have announced similar agreements with the Olympic Channel to 67.
Bleacher Report detailed plans to tackle the NFL Draft, where during the first three rounds, B/R NFL experts Chris Simms, Matt Miller, and Adam Lefkoe will provide fans with “free-flowing, off-the-cuff analysis on the Draft via Facebook Live.” The trio will also tape 2-3 minute packaged analysis segments after each pick for distribution in the NFL team channels of B/R’s award-winning mobile app.

PlayVS, the venture-backed startup building the online and offline infrastructure for high school esports, locked in an exclusive partnership with the National Federation of State High School Associations and the NFHS Network. PlayVS will collaborate on the national rollout of esports in high schools, creating a scalable program that allows the 14.5 million high school students to compete in various esports on behalf of their school, culminating in state championships. PlayVS’ inaugural season will commence October 2018, with an initial rollout in at least 15 states with two seasons each school year. 
Nitro Circus and video game developer and publisher Psyonix locked in a deal to make Rocket League an official partner of Nitro Circus globally for 2018 with the game integrated into all of Nitro Circus’s live shows worldwide. “We are excited to form this custom partnership with Rocket League, which will see a host of exciting initiatives and content rolled out on a global platform.” said Nitro Circus’ Chief Commercial Officer, Brett Clarke. “Both audiences, ours and Rocket League’s, are very synergistic. More importantly, our athletes are avid Rocket League enthusiasts and we look forward to giving our fans the opportunity to compete against them throughout the year.”
Esports Arena Las Vegas named HyperX as the venue’s official peripheral and arena partner, featuring HyperX gaming headsets, keyboards, mice and mouse pads for their esports tournaments, events and gaming stations. HyperX gaming peripherals will also be available in the arena’s merchandise store. “Our vision for Esports Arena Las Vegas was to create the ultimate interactive entertainment experience for casual and competitive gamers,” Simon Temperley, CMO of Allied Esports, said. “Providing HyperX peripherals to our customers and competitors will ensure we are offering an elite gaming experience that delivers superior performance to all in the arena.”
The Collegiate StarLeague locked in its the top teams competing for the 2018 North American Grand Finals on April 28-29. The two day tournament will feature a first-of-its-kind collegiate Fortnite tournament, an Overwatch invitational, Vainglory invitation, open beta access to Quake Champions and Super Smash Bros for Wii U and Melee West Divisionals. It will also include teams from:
  • Dota 2: McMaster University, Rochester Institute of Technology, UC Davis and Stony Brook University
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: Virginia Commonwealth University, Robert Morris University, CUNY Baruch and UCLA
  • League of Legends: Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, Robert Morris University and University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Flyers/Penguins on NBCSN at 7p.
The Cynopsis Upfront / NewFronts Portal includes updates from the presentations, road shows, & meetings. It is the ultimate online guide and research tool for the media buying community looking for the who, what, where, when of the 2018-9 Upfronts & NewFronts.
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ON THIS DAY in 1986: Michael Jordan sets an NBA Playoff record by scoring 63 points.
In the Know:  For the one season that the Eagles merged with the Pittsburgh Steelers, what was the team name? ( Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who was the first person to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500? Answer: Most popular answer is AJ Foyt, but it looks like the answer is actually Dan Gurney, who completed it in 1962. (Foyt didn’t run Daytona until 1963). Kudos: Tom Moore -Kalt Productions/LA

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