05/07/19: XFL struck deals with ESPN and FOX to carry games in its inaugural season

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Tuesday May 7, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
 

The XFL welcomed its new media homes on Monday, announcing multi-year agreements with ESPN and FOX Sports to televise XFL games beginning with the inaugural 2020 season. XFL games will air weekly on broadcast TV (ABC and FOX) complemented by games on cable (ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2), featuring back-to-back games starting Saturday afternoons at 2p as well as two additional games on Sunday afternoons.

“We look forward to showcasing the XFL on ESPN and ABC, including the kickoff game and championship during the league’s inaugural season,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling. “Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck are two of the sports industry’s most creative and experienced leaders, and they have exciting plans for this league. We believe in their vision for the XFL, which will be a great addition to our year-round commitment to football.”

“We welcome the XFL to the FOX Sports Family and are pleased to expand our relationship with Vince McMahon,” said Eric Shanks, FOX Sports CEO & Executive Producer. “Football is in FOX Sports’ DNA and a key component of our programming strategy. Alongside Oliver Luck and his incredible team, we’re excited for the debut of the XFL on FOX Sports.”

“We are thrilled to partner with ESPN and FOX Sports, two innovative media companies with extensive experience in world-class football production that will undoubtedly help us reimagine football,” said Vince McMahon, XFL Founder & Chairman. “The XFL broadcast schedule provides us with incredible reach and makes it easy for fans to watch our games consistently every weekend.”

 
PROGRAMMING

The Colonial Athletic Association scored a new partner, announcing a deal with FloSports for a four-year, seven-figure annual partnership designed to provide live and on-demand coverage for the league’s 22 sponsored sports, highlighted by extensive coverage of the conference’s football and basketball programs. The CAA now becomes the first college conference to select a streaming OTT, direct-to-consumer company as their primary media partner. In addition, the CAA becomes the first comprehensive college conference partner for FloSports. More than 300 games will air annually across the FloSports network beginning in the 2019-20 season. Institutions will have the flexibility through their partnership with FloSports to retain local linear exposure.
 
Turner Sports and the NBA announced that Robin Roberts will be the recipient of this year’s Sager Strong Award at the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia on TNT, airing June 24 at 9p. The Sager Strong Award is presented annually to an individual “who has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion and grace.” The awards will be presented live from historic Barker Hangar in Los Angeles.
 
In ratings news, with more numbers in the books, NBC Sports’ presentation of the 145th Kentucky Derby saw Country House’s win reel in a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 16.5 million viewers across NBC and NBC Sports Digital platforms – up 10% from last year’s race. NBC Sports has now averaged at least 15 million viewers for the Kentucky Derby for seven consecutive years.
 
The UEFA Champions League semifinal telecast from Wednesday’s Barcelona/Liverpool match on Univision/UDN, with viewership hitting 763,000 and ranking as the most-watched UCL Semifinal match ever in the US. The other semifinal, Ajax/Tottenham, pulled 597,000 on Tuesday at 3p.
 
Combate Americas saw numbers for the Cricket Wireless Presents Combate Americas: Reinas event, the first all-women’s Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight lineup to be broadcast live on network television, notch more than 500,000 viewers on Univision in its midnight time slot on April 26. Viewership among adults 18-49 shot up by a margin of 28% from the previous Combate Americas event.
 
FOX Sports announced that former WBC Super Welterweight World Champion Jermell Charlo joins Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and host Kate Abdo live in FOX Sports’ Los Angeles studios for coverage of FOX PBC Fight Night: Jarrett Hurd vs. Julian Williams on Thursday and Friday. Calling the action live on FOX and streaming on the FOX Sports app on Saturday will be Lennox Lewis, Joe Goossen and blow-by-blow announcer Chris Myers.
 
ESPN exclusively carries the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery event on May 14, starting at 8:30p in Chicago. The 30-minute NBA Draft Lottery telecast will include the revealing of the NBA Draft Lottery selection order, in-depth analysis and interviews with NBA personnel throughout the evening. Rachel Nichols hosts her first ESPN Draft Lottery telecast and will be joined by the likes of Jay Bilas, Zach Lowe, Bobby Marks and more.
 
Mets broadcaster Ron Darling announced that he has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, noting “After the removal of the mass on my chest along with further tests, I have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. My doctors have said they are optimistic that the cancer is treatable and that I would be back on air talking baseball in the next month or so. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their continued support.”
 
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[Sponsored by: The Weather Channel Television Network]
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

MLB laid out promotional plans for the London Series 2019, with eyes to highlight the growth of baseball & softball in the UK as the Red Sox face the Yankees on June 29 and 30. Activities include a baseball cultural festival, known as “London Yards,” that will include music, baseball virtual reality interactives, Boston & New York cuisine, and, a live screening of the game. PLAY BALL Park will serve as the hub for all youth-focused baseball & softball activity and include a temporary baseball/softball diamond, pitching tunnels, batting cages, and baseball virtual reality portals. MLB and Little League International have additional invited four Little League U13 baseball teams based in London to compete in a small, friendly tournament at PLAY BALL Park.
 
The espnW Summit NYC, set to kick off tomorrow, unveiled its roster of sponsors for the kickoff event: Rothy’s, Gatorade, the New York Mets and CAA Sports. Rothy’s joins as a first-time partner of espnW and will be gifting attendees a pair of its slip-on sneakers. Gatorade will receive onsite branding and unique social media extensions and provide guests with hydration and sports fuel products. The New York Mets will offer attendees a special ticket offer to attend an upcoming Mets game and gift official team gear. CAA Sports joins as a first-time partner of espnW.
 
 
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

NASCAR cemented a new content partnership with The Action Network, as part of the sport’s recent push to educate and engage fans around legalized sports betting. Each week, NASCAR.com will feature editorial content and analysis from The Action Network including expert PJ Walsh’s picks for NASCAR’s new props game, the NASCAR Props Challenge. The Action Network will also share recommended picks and value bets for race winners and head-to-head driver matchups via race-day content published on NASCAR’s digital platform.
 
The International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Channel reached cooperation agreements with the international governing bodies for billiards, cheerleading, minigolf, savate and sleddog sports. The five new agreements bring the number of the global platform’s federation partners to 83. Orgs include: World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS) and International Cheer Union (ICU), along with the Alliance of Independent recognised Members of Sport (AIMS) federations of World Minigolf Sport Federation (WMF), Federation Internationale de Savate (FISav) and International Federation of Sleddog Sports (IFSS).
 
Tunity Analytics’ Top 5 Out-of-Home Sports Programs for the week of April 29. The 2019 Kentucky Derby led the pack with the full race averaging 3.1 million out-of-home viewers, up nearly 15% over last year, according to Tunity Analytics. The race’s OOH audience skewed heavily male at 69% versus 31% female. Nearly 58% of the total OOH viewership came from adults 25-54 and 68% of OOH viewers watched the race from a bar or restaurant. Similar to the OOH phenomenon of Tiger Woods’ Masters Championship win, during the final hour of the Derby, 95% of the total OOH viewing that took place was watching the race on NBC.
Show/Network/Data/(OOO’s)
  1. The Kentucky Derby: NBC on May 4 – 3071
  2. NBA Rockets/Warriors : TNT on April 30 – 2919
  3. NBA Warriors/Rockets: ABC on April 4 – 2516
  4. NHL Blue jackets/Bruins: NBC on April 4 – 2417
  5. NBA Bucks/Celtics: ESPN on May 3 – 1832
Source: Tunity Analytics. Viewing estimates are derived from Tunity mobile app usage for May 4, 2019.  OOH Viewer impressions are calculated using Tunity Analytics proprietary estimation model.
 
 
ESPORTS

Hershey’s continues to dive into esports, this time announcing a partnership with the Los Angeles Valiant in a deal that will see Kit Kat serve as the new official candy of the Overwatch League squad, as well as the entitlement partner for the Kit Kat Rivalry Weekend. Working with parent company Immortals, the Kit Kat Rivalry Weekend, will run from August 24-25 at LA Live and feature branded activations and events alongside competitive Overwatch League matches. Inside the arena, fans will receive exclusive seating in the Kit Kat Team Lounges separated by team affiliation. The brand will now also collaborate with LA Valiant on original digital and social content for fans to experience, and to highlight the partnership.
 
 
INDUSTRY/ROSTER MOVES

FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Southeast, FOX Sports Carolinas and FOX Sports Tennessee named James Shapiro as executive producer for the networks. Shapiro will oversee live event and studio production as well as original content for Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta United, Carolina Hurricanes, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Nashville Predators and select Atlantic Coast Conference telecasts.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Game 7 of Stars/Blues on NBCSN at 8p.
 
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a
ON THIS DAY in 1994: The Denver Nuggets become the NBA’s 1st #8 seed to beat a #1 seed (Seattle).
 
In the Know: The Denver Nuggets retired #55 in honor of which player? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What is the name of the official mascot of the Miami Marlins? Answer: Billy the Marlin. Kudos: Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Networks/NY; Cory Angerthal-AMC Networks/NY; Justin Marko-Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; Michael Ritz-Northwestern Mutual/NY; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; John Hayden-WSVN/Miami; Bill Graff-BeIN SPORTS/Miami; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Tingue-hulu/Chicago; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank
 
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SR MGR, CONSUMER MARKETING/TV One/Silver Spring MD: Resp for dvlpng/mngng our consumer mktg & promotional campaigns w/goals of driving awareness, reach, and ratings for network initiatives. Strong knwlg of media plan’g w/keen eye for African-American viewers. Exp managing at least 1 person prior. Full info HERE (5/21)

VP STRATEGIC INSIGHTS & RESEARCH/Discovery/NYC or LA: Thought leader & strategist to connect research methods w/new data analytics. Utilize primary research, Nielsen data & consumer databases to develop programming, scheduling & marketing strategy for Discovery & Science Channels & stay competitive in industry trends/changes. 10+ yrs media exp req. Apply HERE (5/17)

 
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SR MGR, CUSTOM PORTFOLIO RESEARCH/Turner/NYC: Help develop and implement a suite of research tools designed to measure, inform and evangelize Turner’s suite of non-traditional advertising products. 8+ yrs exp custom research design and execution at a brand, research supplier, ad  or media agency Full info HERE (5/8)
 

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