05/01/20: NASCAR will return to the racetrack starting May 17


Medias First Morning Read
Friday May 1, 2020

NASCAR has booked its return ticket, announcing that May 17 will see the sports crank up seven races over an 11-day span starting May 17 at Darlington Raceway with an official NASCAR Cup Series race. The race at the historic South Carolina track will be held without fans in attendance and is slated to be NASCAR’s first on-track action in more than two months, with the first race running at 3:30p on FOX and MRN. It also is the first of three races at the track, including a second Cup Series race held midweek under the lights three days later. The May schedule also includes the crown jewel Coca-Cola 600 in its traditional Memorial Day Weekend home for the 60th consecutive season, plus midweek races in prime time.

Other races include a May 19 Xfinity Series race, May 20 Cup Series race, a May 24 Cup Series race, with Xfinity running May 25, Gander Trucks on May 26 and a Cup Series on May 27.

“NASCAR and its teams are eager and excited to return to racing, and have great respect for the responsibility that comes with a return to competition,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “NASCAR will return in an environment that will ensure the safety of our competitors, officials and all those in the local community. We thank local, state and federal officials and medical experts, as well as everyone in the industry, for the unprecedented support in our return to racing, and we look forward to joining our passionate fans in watching cars return to the track.”


The NFL and Amazon reached a multi-year agreement to renew their exclusive partnership to deliver a live digital stream of Thursday Night Football Presented by Bud Light Platinum. Amazon Prime Video and Twitch will stream the 11 Thursday Night Football games broadcast by FOX, which will be available to more than 150 million paid Prime members worldwide, and in over 200 countries and territories on the Prime Video and Twitch sites and apps. Additionally, the NFL and Amazon announced an agreement to exclusively stream one regular season game globally on Prime Video and Twitch, which will be played on a Saturday in the second half of the 2020 NFL regular season. In keeping with the NFL’s long-standing commitment to make its games available on free, over-the-air television, the game will also be televised in the participating teams’ home markets.

Veteran ESPN producer Phil Dean has been tapped as the new producer of Monday Night Football starting with the upcoming season. Dean has served with the company for 28 years, and has worked on college football for the past 15 years, including an annual national semifinal game each season since the College Football Playoff’s inception in 2014, and most recently produced ESPN Saturday Primetime games. In addition, Dean has produced NBA games for the past seven years and was ESPN’s lead college basketball producer for 12 years, overseeing Saturday Primetime games and 12 ACC Tournament Championships.

Sad news as this year’s Little League World Series was cancelled, along with the championship tournaments in six other Little League divisions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Little League President Stephen Keener announced the cancellations in a Facebook Live broadcast Thursday afternoon, noting that it would be “impossible” to hold the events amid ongoing restrictions. The Little League World Series has been held every August since 1947 and had never been canceled before.

After almost two months without professional tennis, Tennis Channel will bring live matches back to viewers this weekend, running May 1-4. Based in Germany, the Tennis Point Exhibition Series will feature eight men’s tour players in a 32-match, round-robin competition with prize money and playoffs on the last day of play. The event is the first to include professional players since the men’s and women’s tennis tours went on hiatus in March.

Athletes Unlimited announced expanded plans to “reinvent professional sports” with the launch of an indoor women’s volleyball league and creation of an all-star advisory board. The new volleyball league will follow the same innovative model of competition the company unveiled when it announced its inaugural softball league in March, located in one city with all matches played in one venue over the course of the season and featuring 48 of the world’s best players including members of the U.S. National Team, accomplished professional players and recent NCAA graduates. Play will begin in February 2021. Athletes Unlimited is proud to announce its first three signings are U.S. National Team members Jordan Larson, Foluke Akinradewo and Molly McCage. Athletes Unlimited also unveiled its Advisory Board comprised of high-profile contributors from sports, business and entertainment. Members include Abby Wambach; Kevin Durant Rich Kleiman; Caroline Wozniacki; Jessica Mendoza; Jordan Larson; Karch Kiraly; Angela Ruggiero and Katrina Adams.

Outdoor Channel and Universal Music Group Nashville are teaming up to bring live concerts on the outdoor lifestyle network beginning May 1 with Country Outdoors LIVE. Universal Music Group Nashville country music stars Jon Langston, Caylee Hammack, Travis Denning, Jordan Davis and Brandon Lay will fill the month of May every Friday at 7p.

The PacWest Conference and FloSports announced a three-year deal to broadcast live and on-demand coverage of the conference’s complete men’s and women’s basketball season as well as the women’s volleyball season. The partnership extends through the 2022-23 season and includes streaming rights across the conference’s 11 membership institutions in California and Hawaii.

Additional talent has been announced for the upcoming COV-AID event, a one-day online charity event running May 5 at 1p. The event will feature more than 10 hours of content showcasing popular gamers, athletes, artists and other personalities streamed across top social game-streaming platforms. Talent will include Lil Jon; Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski; Rapper Waka Flocka Flame; Call of Duty champion SiLLY; esports organization SoaR Gaming; actor Donavan Carter (HBO “Ballers”); Rapper Slim Jxmmi; Michele Morrow; DJ Babey Drew; MLB players including former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Harrison Bader; DJ Infamous; actress and singer Lea Salonga; streamer Sam Seum; and esports organization Ghost Gaming.

ESPN is adding five more Monday Night Football games to its schedule, running May 4-June 1. from the past 15 years every Monday night at 8 p.m. ET since March 30, and the schedule will continue. In addition, Hey Rookie: Welcome to the NFL debuts Monday at 7p before the Packers/Seahawks matchup.

Celebrating the tech that powers media…

The Cynopsis Adtech Awards
Enter By May 28th

During a time when in-person events have been cancelled, the adtech community is stepping up. They’re helping to guarantee marketers upfront inventory and preserve revenue for media owners by using breakthrough approaches and solutions. Adtech providers are a group that lives on the cutting edge of innovation, which is why we are celebrating their platforms, campaigns, and strategies in more than 20 categories. View them all here.


The NCAA’s governing body came out in support of a proposal to allow college athletes to sign endorsement contracts
and receive payment for other work and appearances, with the requirement that the universities they attend are not involved in any of the payments. The recommendations included changes to current restrictions while also leaving room for the NCAA and schools to regulate the types of deals athletes might be allowed to sign in the future as well as the monetary value of individual contracts. The NCAA’s news release said athletes will be allowed to appear in advertisements and can reference their sport and school, but they would not be able to use school logos or branding in those advertisements.

Sports Innovation Lab launched the Power Play Index, a decision making tool that “empowers brands to understand which companies are best positioned to enable the fan behaviors that matters most.” Each Power Play Index has four different categories – Game Changers, MVPs, Challengers, Prospects – where companies fall based on Sports Innovation Lab’s proprietary technology that factors in industry validation and alignment with technology.

Fight Network announced today a partnership with Everlast Worldwide to serve as the exclusive presenting sponsor of the all-new Protect Yourself at All Times program. The weekly series is set to debut later in the year and will air on Fight Network in the U.S. and Canada, and globally across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.”

While the Kentucky Derby has been postponed, Old Forester Mint Julep – the Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby – is continuing the tradition and will host the 2020 Old Forester Kentucky Turtle Derby. Saturday will see eight turtles squaring off in the “Slowest Eight Minutes in Sports” at 7p on Old Forester’s YouTube channel. Triple Crown horse racing announcer Larry Collmus calling the race remotely and Steve Buttleman, who has been the race bugler at Churchill Downs for 23 years, serenading viewers.

The Los Angeles Football Club announced a multi-year partnership with Farmer John, making the specialty meat brand the “Official Packaged Meat Partner of LAFC” beginning with the 2020 season. To kick off the partnership, Farmer John will serve as the presenting partner for an upcoming episode of “Max Live” on Instagram, featuring LAFC lead broadcaster Max Bretos and two-time MLS Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Roofclaim.com will serve as the sponsor
for Daytona International Speedway’s Throwback Thursdays, which showcase past DAYTONA 500s on the Speedway’s digital platforms. Daytona International Speedway is adapting and continuing to provide some racing entertainment each week, digitally, through Throwback Thursday presented by RoofClaim.com.

A digital draft left some NFL hopefuls as winners, and some with “better luck next time.” The same, it would appear, can be said for brands. NFL Draft sponsors Bud Light, Verizon, and Pizza Hut’s optimistic approach to the pandemic, such as encouraging fans to still boo the commissioner from home or enjoy the tradition of ordering pizza for the draft, proved to resonate, as all three brands experienced a surge in Twitter followers. The same cannot be said about Lowe’s, which went with a traditional COVID-19 advertising campaign centered around happiness within the home. The data shows content fatigue from solemn, boilerplate COVID-19 advertising, and instead, proves consumers’ need for fresh, uplifting advertising. Source: Fan.ai


PBR reported a surge in fan interest on social media during the sport’s return to action last weekend in a closed, no-fan event at the Lazy E Arena in Oklahoma. Total PBR social media impressions hit 12.3 million, up 86% over Little Rock (March 7-8). Total video views from the no-fan event in Oklahoma were 2.09 million, +78%. On Facebook, PBR generated 6 million total impressions, a 100% markup, and 929,000 video views during the weekend, +79%.

The Women’s Professional Lacrosse League unveiled WPLL+, a virtual online training platform created for and focused on young girls and women lacrosse players. The league unveiled its first line up of athletes with more sessions and formats to come. “We are super excited about being able to connect with fans and young athletes – especially during these difficult times. We know that sharing an hour with a mentor can mean the world to these young athletes who have been stripped of their spring opportunities.” said CEO, Michele DeJuliis. “We’ve been consulting with youth and club colleagues in the industry and there’s a lot of excitement around what we have planned. Our athletes love giving back to the next generation of talent and WPLL+ was designed as a means for our athletes to engage with our fans”.

The K LEAGUE, South Korea’s professional football league, and WSC Sports, the AI-driven video production and distribution platform, partnered to innovate the K LEAGUE’s use of digital video within South Korea’s new media landscape. WSC Sports’ platform allows the K LEAGUE to automatically create short-form videos in real-time.


EA SPORTS wrapped the FIFA Stay and Play Cup, carried in over 100+ countries worldwide and drawing 3.8 million in total U.S. TV viewership on ESPN with 66,549 total digital average minute audience – a 62% improvement YOY to the April FIFA 19 FUT Champions Cup event.

Overwatch League’s Dallas Fuel and the Houston Outlaws are launching an esports skills and team competition series on television stations throughout Texas. The Lone Star Showdown presented by Samsung will feature three weeks of Dallas v. Houston challenges to determine who are the best esports players in Texas and crown either the Dallas Fuel or Houston Outlaws as the top Overwatch team in the state. TEGNA Inc., which owns television stations in 12 top markets in Texas covering 87 percent of the state, including WFAA-TV Channel 8 in Dallas and KHOU-TV 11 in Houston, will broadcast a weekly docuseries of original episodes chronicling the competition. Viewers will go behind-the-scenes with the Dallas Fuel and Houston Outlaws to see what life is like as a professional esports player or coach competing at the highest level in a global sports league. Overwatch League professional broadcasters Jake Lyon and Mitch “Uber” Leslie will serve as commentators for all challenges and the penultimate best-of-seven Dallas Fuel v. Houston Outlaws match. Sponsors that have signed on to support the Dallas and Houston series include Samsung, H-E-B, Favor, Jack Link’s and Acer’s Predator gaming line.

After announcing the PUBG Continental Series, PUBG Corporation detailed the first event – the PCS Charity Showdown. The event will consist of four regional online tournaments taking place throughout the month of May across Asia (Korea, Japan, China and Chinese Taipei), Asia Pacific (Southeast Asia and Oceana), Europe and North America. Play begins with the Europe West Open Qualifiers starting May 2.


FaceBank Group announced that its Board of Directors appointed Edgar Bronfman Jr. to the Board of Directors and has named him Executive Chairman. As Executive Chairman of the Board, Bronfman will help advise on the strategic direction of the live TV streaming platform.


The NFL was forced to radically alter the format of the draft. Lots worked. Let the wave of success continue going forward by maintaining these elements from this year’s novel execution:
· Informal setting. Viewers didn’t feel intrusive while looking into tens of living rooms of players, coaches and executives. Watching administrators execute their picks, draftees’ families fidget and text while waiting anxiously for their names to be announced made for good TV. The raw responses were natural.
· Charity tie-in The Draft-A-Thon raised well over $6 million to support covid-19 relief efforts. It reinforced a strong message subtly. Help one another during this difficult fight. Work collectively against the pandemic.
· The remote presentation allowed fans to capture a friendlier side of Roger Goodell. There’s something human about watching a big-timer devour a large jar of M&M’s over three days.
· This inside peek into where families live had its fascinating moments too. It connected viewers and participants. Arizona Cardinals Coach Kliff Kingsbury’s Paradise Valley home showed us a beautiful view of his backyard.

Did Roger Goodell get any tips from wife Jane Skinner Goodell? Did you know that Jane was a news anchor for 20 years, 10 on Fox News? Each of their fathers were steeped in politics. Charles Goodell served as a senator from New York and Sam Skinner was Chief of Staff at the White House under the first President Bush.

The NFL should maintain four successful elements of this year’s virtual draft; They resonated on TV

What are sports announcers doing with their unwanted time off? Syracuse University is the citadel of sports broadcast training and ESPN’s Sean McDonough shared this: “Mike Tirico was nice enough to organize a virtual cocktail party on Zoom for a bunch of us WAER (Syracuse college radio station) alumni.”

Syracuse alumni calling MLB games wait for cry of ‘Play Ball’; Until then, they stay engaged uniquely

Jon Miller was the voice of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball for 21 years. He still calls Giants baseball games in the Bay Area on radio and TV. To pick up the pace of the game, he suggests: “If a hitter leaves the box, give him a warning. If he leaves it again, it’s an automatic strike. Period. 2-2 count, step out of the box for better concentration, focus…Stee-rike 3! Do not leave the batter’s box!”

Jon Miller: A golden MLB voice; Still fresh on Giants games after 21 years of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball

Happy Birthdays and many happy returns:

Gene Deckerhoff May 2 Popular Voice of the Tampa Bay Bucs and Florida State
Greg Gumbel May 3 CBS Sports, play-by-play and studio host
Jimmy Dykes May 3 ESPN college basketball analyst
Erin Andrews. May 4 FOX Sports reporter
Tom Hedrick May 5 Only surviving broadcasts of Super Bowl I, CBS Radio
Charrisa Thompson May 4 FOX Sports

Cynopsis Presents A Virtual Conference…
The Great Sports Disruption:
Preparing For Success In A Post-COVID World
JUNE 9 | 1 – 5PM ET

The sports industry is eager to get back to business but the challenges brought on by the Cov-19 pandemic are already leaving their imprint on audiences, sponsors, and budgets. Join us on June 9th as A-list speakers break down the new ways of doing business and how they will shape the risks and rewards that lie ahead for the sports sector.

Registration will open soon. Questions? Contact [email protected]

On this Day
2012: Guggenheim Partners buys the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2.1 billion.

In the Know
Bud Light ran an ad in Super Bowl XXI that introduced the world to a bull terrier by what 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 NBA player to score 2,000 points in a single season? Answer: George Yardley. Kudos: John Ferlazzo/London; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA

Cynopsis Team

Chris Pursell
Kerry Smith
Division President
Access Intelligence

Roberta Caploe

Cynopsis Ad Sales
Mike Farina

Albert Nassour

Cynopsis Job Listings Sales
Trish Pihonak
Director of Operations

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