05/06/19: Sinclair emerged as the new owners of FOX’s former RSNs

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Monday May 6, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
 

Sinclair Broadcast Group said on Friday that the company emerged as the victor to buy 21 former FOX regional sports networks from Walt Disney Co in a deal valued at $10.6 billion. Reuters reports that Chris Ripley, Sinclair’s chief executive, said that the company was well positioned to manage the networks. “This is a very exciting transaction,” he said in a statement. “While consumer viewing habits have shifted, the tradition of watching live sports and news remains ingrained in our culture.”
 
 
PROGRAMMING

NBC Sports reports that its coverage of the 145th Kentucky Derby on NBC followed immediately by the primetime Columbus Blue Jackets-Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Playoff Game 5 on Saturday notched multiple overnight rating records, according to data provided by Nielsen. Country House’s victory in the “Run for the Roses” delivered a 10.9/25 overnight rating – matching 1992 as the best overnight for a Kentucky Derby since 1990. In addition, the 10.9/25 for the Kentucky Derby (6:30-7:30pm ET race portion) was up 20% from last year’s race (9.1/21). Game 5 of Columbus/Boston on NBC then drew a 3.22 overnight score, to rank as the second-highest overnight for a Stanley Cup Playoff game on record (since 1994), excluding Stanley Cup Final games. Game 5 between Colorado and San Jose delivered a 0.75 overnight rating, up 75% vs. the comparable game last year.
 
The Arena Football League and ESPN locked in a media rights agreement for all of the AFL’s 2019 regular-season games. Effective immediately, all regular-season games will be available onESPN3 and the ESPN App. In addition, ArenaBowl XXXII will be carried on ESPN2.
 
ABC saw its highest-rated primetime NBA Conference Semifinals game broadcast since 2011 on Saturday, according to Nielsen, with coverage of the Rockets’ win over the Warriors rising 20% from last year’s comparable window and averaging a 5.5 metered market rating. In the San Francisco-Oakland market, the broadcast delivered an 18.2 rating, while in the Houston market, the telecast delivered an 11.8 rating. Through six games, ESPN and ABC’s NBA Conference Semifinals coverage is averaging a 4.1 metered market rating, up 21% over last season.
 
Triple-A Baseball announced that FOX Sports will serve as the new exclusive television home of the Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game Presented by Ephesus Sports Lighting. This year’s contest takes place on Set. 17 at 8p. George Grande and Jim Kaat will call the game.
 
As sports wagering continues to spread around the country, the NCAA is formally ending its long-standing policy that prevents championship events from being held in states that have legalized sports gambling. The move was announced the move on Friday
 
Combate Americas locked in June 7 for its return to Tucson, carried live on television in Spanish in the U.S. on both Univision and UDN (12a) and in English in the U.S. and Canada on DAZN (10p). “Combate Americas: Tucson Unbreakable” will be headlined by the return of former world champion Jose “Pochito” Alday (12-4-1), who will square off with fellow Combate Americas veteran and prolific striker Irwin “The Beast” Rivera (7-4).
 
The Orioles-controlled Mid-Atlantic Sports Network has bene ordered to pay the Washington Nationals tens of millions of dollars more in broadcast rights fees from previous years following an arbitration panel’s sealed ruling, according to the Baltimore Sun. The decision awards the Nationals nearly $100 million — about $20 million a year — in additional fees for 2012 through 2016,
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
“We don’t have enough female role models. We don’t have enough visible women leaders. We don’t have enough women in power.”  – Muffet McGraw | Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Head Coach (April 2019)
 
We want to hear about your game-changing colleagues and companies. Submit your nominations for the Cynopsis Top Women in Media Awards by May 8th.
 
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
 
FOX Sports and the NFL are reportedly giving an overhaul to commercial inventory for Super Bowl LIV. According to Variety, FOX will cut one commercial break from each quarter in its February 2020 broadcast of the game in a move designed to eliminate some of the interruptions to the flow of play. “We’re proud to pioneer this effort together with the NFL,” said Seth Winter, executive vice president of ad sales for Fox Sports, with FOX chopping the number of Super Bowl commercial breaks per quarter to four from five, although the game will still host the same number of commercials overall as past championships, although they will be organized differently.
 
MLB Network launched a Country Music Awards Fest sweepstakes that runs through Friday. The promotion sees viewers who watch MLB Network’s weekday morning show MLB Central receive a secret code for a chance to win. The winner will receive a trip for two to CMA Fest 2019, a meet and greet with MLB Network analyst and World Series champion Ryan Dempster.
 
In brand activation news, ASICS is debuting of a new integrated marketing campaign, #WinTheLongRun, focused on “telling the authentic story of the runner,” with nearly a dozen featured creators from all over the US being tapped to develop custom content for ASICS social channels ripped directly from their rhythm that dictates their runs, their mood and their mindset. The campaign begins with the launch of ASICS’ latest performance running shoe, the GEL-CUMULUS 21.
 
Michelob ULTRA is giving Brooks Koepka a shot to win beer for New York City, Brooks will warm up by hitting the #ULTRAShot from Governors Island onto a floating barge in the middle of the Hudson. If he makes the, the beer is on ULTRA and consumers in NYC will be able to redeem their beer on May 16, which is the first day of the PGA Championship.
 
The National Football Alumni Association is expanding its relationship with Anthem Sports & Entertainment and its IMPACT Wrestling brand. The partnership helps advance the NFL Alumni’s “Caring for Our Own” and “Caring for Kids” initiatives across its 35 regional chapters, while offering charities unique access to IMPACT Wrestling’s events across the country. Through the partnership, IMPACT Wrestling will help drive fundraising initiatives for local charities supported by NFL Alumni, in addition to hosting NFL Alumni-supported local charities at future IMPACT Wrestling events.
 
 
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH
 
NASCAR and Genius Sports inked a deal that will see Genius Sports develop an official NASCAR gaming offering for legal sportsbooks. The new agreement marks the first step toward creating an advanced live betting product that will drive fan interest and deepen engagement around NASCAR race events. Genius Sports will utilize NASCAR’s official data feed to build a “high-end live betting product to be sold to legal sportsbooks around the world.” As a result of the agreement, Genius Sports becomes the exclusive provider of NASCAR data to licensed sportsbooks. The new data partnership marks NASCAR’s first in the growing U.S. sports betting sector.
 
 
ESPORTS
 
Complexity Gaming is getting a facelift, announcing an organization-wide shift designed to reflect “its continued commitment to the advancement of the esports industry and its push towards ‘Esports 3.0,’ where esports athletes are treated like professional sports athletes.” The move creates a new logo, color scheme, and website aligned with their sister team, the Dallas Cowboys. According to the team, As represented by Complexity’s new logo design, the five points of the star are used purposefully to articulate the company’s five C’s brand pillars, Competition, Community, Culture, Cause and Convergence.
 
Electronic Arts announced that the culminating EA SPORTS Madden NFL 19 Championship Series event, Madden NFL 19 Bowl, broke franchise media consumption records, noting that its Twitch audience peaked at 97,000 viewers, to mark a rise of 650% over the previous year with the stream generating more than 2.5 million views, up 850%. Meanwhile, the ESPN2 broadcast of the one-hour final had a total reach of 805,000 viewers, and combined Madden NFL 19 Bowl Twitch and ESPN2 broadcasts secured a 208,000 average minute audience during the final, which tracks average minute-by-minute viewership.
 
Super League Gaming is teaming up with Capcom to forge a new partnership designed to create official community-driven amateur esports competitions and leagues for Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition players across the US, along with live and VOD content, as well as community-led local events. The deal will include the creation of a national city-vs-city tournament for Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition in which teams of players in major markets across the country will compete to be the Amateur-US City Champion.A core component of the program will be run by SuperLeagueTV, which will be producing, broadcasting and distributing live streams of competition. “The competitive fighting game community is among the most vibrant and passionate in esports,” said Andy Babb, executive vice president, Super League Gaming. “Being able to launch Super League’s fighting game business with such a globally renowned title in Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition is a privilege. We are excited to collaborate with Capcom to ensure we deliver premium events, engaging content and reliable tools that honor their community and deepen our own commitment to providing positive, inclusive, player-first experiences.”
 
Wizards of the Coast launched a new Twitch series on Day9tv titled “What the Deck.” Sean “Day9” Plott hosts with the program spotlighting fans submitting their unique pre-constructed decks through MTG Arena to determine the gurus of Magic: The Gathering. The series will run biweekly with five episodes overall.
 
 
INDUSTRY/ROSTER MOVES
 
The AP reports that former FOX Sports and ESPN executive Jamie Horowitz is reuniting with John Skipper and will serve as the new exec VP of content for DAZN. Horowitz has been a consultant for DAZN since November and will now oversee all content for North America, including live production, original programming and social content.
 
Antwon Burton has been tapped as Executive Director of the PBR Sport Performance Center, a new state-of-the-art facility providing sports development, training, fitness and recovery programs for athletes. The former NFL defensive tackle oversees operations, athlete training recruitment and camp scheduling for the 18,000 square-foot facility, which officially opened today within the newly expanded Pueblo Convention Center.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Two potential series closers, with Bruins/Blue jackets at 7p, followed by Sharks/Avalanche on NBCSN.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Esports Tempest Awards

The only recognition program that shines a spotlight on the industry’s most innovative esports companies, with categories that span production, marketing, talent, and technology.
 
Winners will be announced live at the HyperX Esports Arena during the Esports Business Summit and promoted across social media, and digital assets—reaching over 300k key Esports business industry players.
 
a
ON THIS DAY in 1997: Rick Pitino becomes coach of the Boston Celtics.
 
In the Know: What is the name of the official mascot of the Miami Marlins? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which beverage is considered to be the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby? Answer: The mint julep. Kudos: Katie Cifarelli-Disney/NY; Michael Brown-UEG/NY; Justin Marko-Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; Josh Trager-Univision/NY; Roger Furman-Sports Marketing Communications/Greentown; Willy Gibson-WTG Sports/Columbus; Russ DelCore-a4 Media/Oakland; Brian Bonder-a4 Media/ Piscataway; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; Barb Throm-True Media/St. Louis; Dory Petsrillo Sales Associate-CoxReps/Dallas; Aimee Clark-Tony Fay PR/Dallas; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; Peter Steckelman-Tennis Channel/Santa Monica; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; Anne WettigFox and Fox Sports S&P/LA; Andy BabbSuper League Gaming/Santa Monica
 
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