05/02/19: MLB locked in new deals to showcase games in the UK

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Thursday May 2, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
 

Major League Baseball continued it string of partnership announcements, reaching new multi-year rights agreements with UK broadcasters BT Sport – which extends its current agreement to show regular season and postseason games including the pay-tv rights to broadcast Mitel & MLB Present London Series in the UK – while the BBC has acquired the rights to stream the London Series across all its digital platforms. BT Sport extends their agreement with MLB through 2021 as part of their long-term relationship with ESPN with rights currently consisting of up to 12 live MLB regular season games per week and all jewel events including the All-Star Game, World Series and now the London Series games.
 
ESPN will also produce a weekly MLB show titled, “Caps Off”, created specifically for the U.K. and Ireland to be shown on BT Sport’s social media and TV channels. The show will leverage ESPN’s talent, infrastructure and storytelling expertise around MLB.
 
 
PROGRAMMING

ESPN firmed up its new Monday Night Football team, locking in play-by-play voice Joe Tessitore, analyst Booger McFarland and reporter Lisa Salters to make up the commentator crew when Monday Night Football kicks off season 50 this fall. The trio will kick off coverage on Sept. 9 with the Texas/Saints at 7p as part of ESPN’s opening-night doubleheader. “Booger’s insight, personality and passion for the game make him the right person for the job. He and Joe have been close friends since they helped ESPN launch the SEC Network five years ago. Their chemistry together in the booth – and with Lisa – will give us a team that fans want to spend Monday nights with this fall,” said Stephanie Druley, ESPN Executive Vice President, Event and Studio Production.
 
Terry Collins, a former manager of the New York Mets, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels, is joining FOX Sports as a studio analyst for the 2019 MLB season. He makes his broadcast debut on FS1’s MLB Whiparound alongside host Kevin Burkhardt and Frank Thomas today.
 
Speaking of talent, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now confirmed to participate in NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2019 Kentucky Derby on Saturday at 2:30p on NBC. In his role, Earnhardt Jr. will work with NASCAR on NBC colleague Rutledge Wood and serve as “the eyes and ears of fans experiencing a day at the iconic venue, visiting the infield, Millionaires Row, and experiencing the walkover.” Meanwhile, NBC Sports also announced its first-ever Kentucky Derby Day betting show – NBC Sports Bet: Derby Specialfor Saturday at 5p on NBCSports.com/Bet and the NBC Sports app. The 30-minute show will serve as a companion to the live Kentucky Derby television broadcast. In addition, NBC Sports Radio’s The Daily Line will present a special pre-race show this Saturday from 3-5p, focusing on betting the Kentucky Derby.
 
Stadium inked an exclusive partnership with the 2019 Cal Ripken Major/70 World Series, a tournament of champions for players aged 12 and under. Stadium will air thirty-four live games over eight days, including the International Championship, US Championship and World Championship on August 10.
 
FloSports and National Pro Fastpitch announced a partnership to provide live and on-demand coverage of 134 NPF regular season games to air exclusively on FloSoftball.com. FloSoftball will provide complete coverage of the league’s 16th season with regular season games beginning on May 28 when the Canadian Wild visit the Beijing Shougang Eagles.
 
Bellator MMA announced a new partnership with Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment to create a new in-arena experience for its live events. Beginning with Bellator 221: Chandler vs. Pitbull, on May 11, Bellator fans will experience a newly designed live event presentation, including video content, promotional packages and additional production elements.
 
NBC Sports is teaming up with PGA TOUR winners Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas to offer fans a behind-the-scenes look at college golf programs – Alabama, Auburn and Oklahoma State – on the second season of Driven, premiering on GOLF Channel on Monday at 9p. GOLF Channel also will premiere College Golf 101, immediately following Driven at 9:30p, expanding the network’s May college golf programming heading into the 2019 NCAA Golf National Championships.
 
NBC Sports’ inaugural season as the exclusive home of Monster Energy Supercross concludes on Saturday with coverage of the season finale in Las Vegas at 10p on USA Network.  Following coverage on USA Network on Saturday night, the season finale will air Sunday at 12:30p on NBC. Ralph Sheheen handles play-by-play with Ricky Carmichael, host Daniel Blair, and reporter Will Christien to call the action.
 
The New York Post reports that Disney’s sale of 21 regional sports channels has a new player with Byron Allen joining forces with Sinclair Broadcast Group to bid on the regional sports networks.
 
HBO acquired the exclusive US television and streaming rights to the feature-length film Diego Maradona, executive produced and directed by Asif Kapadia. Drawing on more than 500 hours of never-before-seen footage from the Argentine icon’s personal archives, the documentary debuts Sept. 24 at 8p.
 
The WNBA announced its schedule of 20 live regular-season games to be streamed on Twitter during the 2019 season, marking the third consecutive year that the league’s games will be available on the platform. Twitter’s schedule features appearances by all 12 teams, starting May 25 with the Washington Mystics and Connecticut Sun at 7:30p. The schedule includes 14 games on Tuesdays.
 
Verizon’s NewFront event saw an announcement that – in addition to NFL live streaming on the Yahoo Sports mobile app – Yahoo Sports will be extending NFL streaming rights into the Yahoo Fantasy Football mobile app for the first time ever.
 
Telemundo Deportes is set to offer fans special, pre- and post-fight coverage of Saturday’s anticipated match between Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs with extensive coverage across Telemundo Deportes digital platforms and on Titulares y Mas all week leading to Saturday’s big fight. As part of the special coverage, Telemundo Deportes’ app and the Telemundo Deportes Facebook page will live stream the undercard event in Spanish-language on starting at 9p.
 
Carson International and Eclipse TV cleared the Incredible Dog Challenge presented by Purina Pro Plan in 88% of the US in all the major station groups including WCBS, KCBS, WBBM, WPVI and KXAS. The series offers five one hour specials in syndication stretching from May, 2019 to January 2020. 
 
SiriusXM serves of coverage of the Kentucky Derby with all Triple Crown races coming through SiriusXM’s agreement with Horse Racing Radio Network. The wire-to-wire race broadcast of the Kentucky Derby is provided by NBC Sports Radio and produced in partnership with HRRN and Westwood One. On Saturday, SiriusXM will air more than 11 hours of programming that will provide listeners with day-of news and pre-race analysis, and interviews with jockeys, trainers and owners.
 
Integrated Sports Pay Per View announced plans to offer five live international soccer friendly matches during the June FIFA window. Programming begins with Ecuador/Venezuela on June 1 at 8p and continues with Colombia/Panama on June 3. Integrated Sports Media will distribute all of the matches live in the US on cable and satellite PPV via iN Demand, Vubiquity, DIRECTV and DISH for a suggested retail price of $24.95.
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Little League Baseball and Softball inked a multi-year partnership with adidas that will see the brand become the official uniform, footwear and coaches apparel supplier for the Little League World Series and an Official Sponsor of Little League. Beginning this season, adidas will design and create all official on-field uniforms for all seven of the Little League World Series events throughout the United States. Additionally, adidas will outfit all teams with adidas cleats, training apparel and accessories and all coaches will be supplied with athletic footwear and apparel. To kick off the first season of the partnership, adidas will create brand and marketing activations at both the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa. and the Little League Softball®World Series in Portland, Ore.
 
Cage Fury Fighting Championships announced that Bodybuilding.com will serve as the Official Supplement Store and Fitness Solution Partner of CFFC. CFFC and Bodybuilding.com will partner on a variety of content campaigns showcasing the innovative evolution of the Bodybuilding.com platform, from behind-the-scenes footage featuring CFFC athletes, to training segments and other digital features.
 
 
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

IMPACT Wrestling announced the launch of IMPACT Plus, a multi-platform digital subscription video-on-demand service featuring live monthly premium network specials, access to the 3,000-plus hour IMPACT Wrestling library, original series, reality shows and documentaries, exclusive events from international promotional partners and historical content from old territories. The service is now available on all major over-the-top platforms and devices.
 
The XFL selected Elevate Sports Ventures to “guide and support” ticket sales for the league’s eight teams. The two-year agreement also sets Elevate as the league’s first Business Solutions Partner. Elevate will design, implement and manage database marketing and ticket sales strategies for the XFL’s teams in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington D.C. The XFL launches the weekend of February 8-9, 2020.
 
 
ESPORTS

In this week’s edition of Cynopsis Esports
  • Immortals gets an injection
  • Le Mans Esports revs up
  • Asking Alexandria has a BLAST
  • Measuring MOBA
  • Fnatic’s new approach
  • Foot Locker makes an esports play
  • Capcom restructures
 
INDUSTRY/ROSTER MOVES

VSiN named Dan Mason as the company’s Chairman. Formerly President and CEO of CBS Radio, Mason will work closely with VSiN’s management team to capitalize on the emerging growth and partnership opportunities in the sports betting and media space. The network recently extended its agreement with SiriusXM, where its sports betting content broadcasts 24/7 on a dedicated channel on SiriusXM radios (channel 204) and on the SiriusXM app. 
 
Private equity firm Granite Bridge Partners announced that veteran sports agency, media and private equity executive Chris Lencheski has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of its sports licensing and marketing portfolio company, Winning Streak Sports
 
The WNBA and the National Basketball Referees Association entered into a new two-year collective bargaining agreement, commencing with the 2019 season. “We are pleased to extend the WNBA’s partnership with the NBRA for two more seasons,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO Mark Tatum. “WNBA officials are part of our world-class referee program which features state-of-the-art development and training. We are fortunate to have this excellent group of referees representing our league.”
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Raptors/76ers on ESPN at 8p.
 
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A panel of industry leaders from Discovery, Meredith, and Publicis will present the biggest issues and top trends you need to leverage now and into next year. From programming to measurement and game-changing innovation, this conversation will set the stage for the rest of your BIG TV experience.
 
 
a
ON THIS DAY in 1970: Diane Crump becomes the first female jockey to compete in the Kentucky Derby.
 
In the Know: Who was the last jockey to win the Kentucky Derby in back-to-back years? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What was Cy Young’s first name? Answer: Denton. Kudos: Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Michael Ritz-Northwestern Mutual/NY; Randy Ingram-WISH/WNDY-TV/Indianapolis; Willy Gibson-WTG Sports/Columbus; Larry Kahn-GOLF Channel/Orlando; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; Matt Fumagalli-NBC & Telemundo Chicago/Chicago; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Rich Greene-Casa Del Verde Entertainment/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank
 
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