05/04/20: New Drone Racing League President Rachel Jacobson breaks down her goals.


Medias First Morning Read
Monday May 4, 2020

Last week saw the Drone Racing League announce the appointment of Rachel Jacobson as President of the organization with the former NBA SVP of Global Partnerships looking to scale DRL and develop landmark opportunities to engage league partners with more than 250 million global fans. Overseeing spearhead global partnerships and media rights deals, and leading the marketing and business development teams, Jacobson spoke with Cynopsis Sports about the position and her goals for the league.

Jacobson on taking the job: DRL is the Sport of the Future. It brings tech innovation with high-speed drone racing competition and the most visually immersive entertainment to tens of millions of fans around the world. When I was looking to get back into sports, I knew I wanted to help lead a global, professional sports property that already had an incredibly engaged fanbase, was on the cutting edge of what’s next, and was clearly on a growth trajectory. With DRL’s 200% uptick in viewership, 90% rise in pilot participation and a 60% increase in social media following over the past 12 months — I knew this was the league I wanted to help scale into the mainstream.

On discoveries: As a mom of ten-year old twins, I loved discovering how inclusive and educational the sport of drone racing truly is. DRL combines the high-tech elements of esports with the family-friendly fun of stick-and-ball sports to create a futuristic sport that provides incredible opportunities for STEM. DRL is growing with the next generation of tech-loving sports fans while giving kids a new, aspirational sport to look up to and learn from — you don’t need to be genetically gifted to participate and anyone can learn how to fly at a racing drone on our video game, the DRL Simulator. The DRL SIM, available on STEAM teaches players amazing new skills in technology and science that can help prepare you for the many diverse drone-piloting jobs of the future — including, of course, a pro pilot in the league. (Because the physics are one-to-one, we actually use the game to recruit new pilots into the league.)

On opportunities: The opportunities for brands to align with an innovative, tech-first sport and create turnkey and visually thrilling fan engagement platforms with DRL are endless. Unlike other major leagues, we can partner with companies to build an entirely new legacy together and architect their dream custom activations, integrating into our international broadcast distribution, digital channels, virtual drone racing video game, global live events in iconic venues (once it’s safe to do so) and more.

On challenges: The whole world is experiencing unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic. While DRL is uniquely positioned to continue scaling even during a time that most of the sports and entertainment industry is shutdown, leagues and brands across the board will need to continue to pivot and innovate to create new engaging content that brings fans together both virtually and eventually live in the safest way possible.

On early goals: I am incredibly excited to join a team of some of the world’s best engineers, content creators and event producers; I’m just a few days in and we’re already hitting the ground running. We’re laser focused on innovating and scaling DRL globally, bringing fans closer to our sport than ever before, hosting live, sold-out drone racing events in iconic venues worldwide, introducing new virtual drone racing series, and partnering with brands that are best-in-class to engage our millions of fans. We’ll continue to take a leadership role in developing unique STEM programs to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and drone pilots and support our community of tech-loving, adrenaline-junkies and contribute to philanthropic initiatives to support communities in need.


Friday saw the NBA announce the postponement of NBA Draft Lottery 2020 and NBA Draft Combine 2020. Both events were slated to take place later this month in Chicago with the league noting that “More information on each event will be shared at a later date as the NBA continues to closely monitor the coronavirus pandemic and consult with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government officials.”

Meanwhile, the NHL is reportedly looking to shift its 2020 Draft to early June in a virtual ceremony. ESPN reports that it obtained a memo sent by deputy commissioner Bill Daly to teams detailing the benefits of holding the draft in early June. The event is currently scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal, but with a resumption of play possibly on the docket, moving the Draft to an earlier date would theoretically be easier. NHL governors are scheduled to take part in a conference call today.

FOX Sports reports that its NASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series continues to deliver solid numbers, with an average of 1.135 million viewers through dive races, with each of the five ranking as the top % esports TV broadcasts of all time, lead by 1.353 million viewers for the virtual Texas race.

Universal Tennis announced the UTR Pro Match Series presented by Tennis Channel that will showcase top ATP and WTA players in tournament play. The event will be broadcast live on Tennis Channel and will be the first top tier professional tennis events televised internationally since the global health crisis put a halt to tennis in March. The first event of the series will be held May 8-10 with a four-player men’s round-robin event beginning at noon each day with 3 hours of live coverage. “We are excited to bring back the game to tennis fans and give players the opportunity to compete in a safe, competitive environment,” said Mark Leschly, Universal Tennis Chairman & CEO. “The world has changed and we must adapt and innovate. Local, individual and small group play will be the new normal for the foreseeable future. The UTR Pro Match Series showcases how tennis can be played locally, safely and have results count toward the UTR global rating.”

Wednesday will see Major League Soccer become the first North American sports league to allow its players to return to team facilities for individual workouts. Players will be able to conduct voluntary workouts beginning on May 6 dependent on state government and local guidelines. All clubs will be required to adhere to safety protocols for all voluntary workouts at team training sites, including restricting training facility to essential staff only, sanitization and disinfection plans for all training equipment and spaces, and staff will be required to maintain a minimum distance of 10 feet from players at all times.

NBC Sports lined up a “The Dog Days of Spring” primetime marathon that starts today and will feature more than 45 hours of dog show-related sports programming on NBCSN. Running through May 9, NBCSN will feature past competitions of “The Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented by Purina,” “The National Dog Show Presented by Purina” and “Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge.”

Meanwhile, GOLF Channel announced the continuation of Big Break marathons airing on Mondays through June as a result of the viewership and social media engagement successes of the series’ return to television. Since the marathons began on March 30, the marathons have notched a 15% increase in Monday total day viewership compared to February, 2020; 53% increase in Monday total day viewership increase with ages 25-54 compared to February, 2020; and a 700% increase in week-over-week social media engagement.

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MX Sports announced that Monster Energy signed on as the title sponsor
of the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship, the world’s largest amateur motocross event. The Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship is set to take place August 3-8 at the Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. “Monster Energy was founded around motocross and the brand is permanently woven into the fabric of our sport,” said Tim Cotter, MX Sports Event Director. “We are extremely excited to have them as our title sponsor. Their commitment to the sport is going to be amazing with many upgrades to the events and more exposure for our athletes.”


Ahead of November’s World’s Strongest Man 2020 competition, the organization launched its first Snapchat Show, titled World’s Strongest Man: Home Edition, and running every Monday on Snapchat’s Discover page for the next 11 weeks. Eight of the world’s most popular strongmen will each compete in two rounds of unique and entertaining feats of strength. Each match-up will consist of a determined strength move (such as deadlifts, overhead press, and farmer’s walks) which competitors are encouraged to complete with imaginative items that can be found at home, like a couch, a car, or a pet. Contestants include Eddie Williams, Robert Oberst, Rob Kearney, Luke Stoltman, Adam Bishop, Nick Best, Rongo Keene, and Evan Singleton. Eddie Hall will host each episode.

With sports betting now legal in Colorado, DraftKings debuted its digital sportsbook in the state, providing sports fans ages 21 and over in the Centennial State with the sports betting platform to wager on their favorite leagues, players, and sporting events. Colorado marks the seventh state to offer DraftKings’ mobile and online product.


Epic Games shut down plans for The Fortnite World Cup for 2020, announcing that all remaining Fortnite events for the year will now be hosted online as a result of the pandemic. “Physical Events – For the rest of 2020, all Fortnite competitions will be held online,” the company announced via the Fortnite Competitive, Twitter account. “Due to the limitations of cross region online competition, there will not be a Fortnite World Cup in 2020.”

Meanwhile, Valve and the Defense of the Ancients team are postponing The International due to travel concerns due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The International main event was set to run Aug. 18-23 in Stockholm, Sweden. “We have been exploring various date possibilities, but it is likely that the event will need to happen in 2021,” the company said in a blog post. “Given the highly volatile landscape for local gathering restrictions, virus trajectory, and global travel policies, we don’t expect to have enough confidence to communicate firm dates in the near future.”

Also going fully online this year will be EVO, the biggest fighting game events in the world, which was set to return to Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas starting July 31. “The health and well-being of our community is our highest priority,” the Evo team announced in a statement Friday. “We hope everyone stays safe during this time.”

Finally, DreamHack confirmed the postponement of four upcoming festivals: DreamHack Valencia, DreamHack Dallas, DreamHack Summer, and DreamHack Montreal. The company noted that “We are currently exploring new dates in 2021 for DreamHack Dallas, DreamHack Summer, and DreamHack Montreal and are looking forward to sharing more information with you on our plans as soon as possible.” DreamHack Valencia will now take place October 8-12, 2020.
All DreamHack Starcraft 2 Masters and DreamHack Warcraft 3 Open stops of 2020 will be moved online, including the previously-announced stops at DreamHack Valencia, DreamHack Summer, DreamHack Dallas, DreamHack Rotterdam, and DreamHack Montreal. DreamHack is working together with ESL on a redesigned ESL Pro Tour for both Starcraft 2 and Warcraft 3 which is soon to be revealed for fans.

Estars Studios unveiled a new online adaptation of its classic World Showdown of Esports competition series, WSOE Online. The six-event series will run May-September and feature titles that include Hearthstone, Tekken and Soulcalibur, with additional titles to be announced at a later date. The first event, WSOE Champions for Charity: 16 v. 18, takes place today. “We are thrilled to launch WSOE Online with the Champions for Charity event,” said Estars Studios Vice President David Lee. “Esports is a powerful method for raising awareness of and money for charitable causes—which is more important now than ever before.”


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On this Day
1990: Oriole Gregg Olson sets a record for a relief pitcher with 41 consecutive scoreless innings.

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In 1987, Astros outfielder Bill Hatcher shattered his bat, to reveal a hollowed-out portion that illegally contained what substance? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Bud Light ran an ad in Super Bowl XXI that introduced the world to a bull terrier by what name? Answer: Spuds MacKenzie. Kudos: Tim Hardin-Discovery/NY; Barbara Capella Loehr-Equal Opportunity Publications/NY; Scott Jenkins-Gracenote/NY; Joe Brucia-AMC Networks/NY; C.J. Bottitta-Big Picture Productions & Consulting/Apex; Mark Lehman-Braves/Atlanta; John Hayden-WSVN/Miami; Christian Matthews-Washington Redskins/DC; Kathryn Kieser-Haworth Marketing and Media/Minneapolis; Dory Petsrillo-Cox Reps/Dallas; Barb Throm-Stealth Creative/Saint Louis; Lisa Fikeys-NissanUnited/Chicago; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; Wendy Holmes-KCNC-TV/Denver; Jim Seifert/Denver; Dave Sikula-San Francisco State University/San Francisco; Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo, Zack Smith-Zack Smith PR/Portland; Stacy Adams-Warner Bros./Burbank

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Partner with Ad Sales on both digital and linear Insights and industry materials, act as a liaison for Digital Ad Operations, Programming, Marketing, Promo Scheduling, and News division. Provide insightful reporting and data analysis. BA degree & 2+ years of Media research experience at a broadcast or cable network, agency or vendor. Full info HERE (5/9)

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