05/13/19: Feld Entertainment breaks down its experiential strategy

Good morning. It’s Monday May 13, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Coming off back-to-back mega weekends that included both the Monster Energy Supercross Finals in Las Vegas two weekends ago and the Monster Jam World Finals XX out of Orlando this past week, Feld Entertainment continues to build audiences for its “live touring family entertainment experiences “ that bring people together and uplift the human spirit and have now hit more than 75 countries and on six continents. Cynopsis Sports asked Juliette Feld Grossman, COO of Feld Entertainment, about the company’s growth, strategy and challenges ahead.  
Feld on goals: We are constantly innovating to exceed fans’ expectations by bringing immersive and interactive live family entertainment experiences closer than ever before.  We see across all of our brands that fans nowadays value engaging experiences with their children that make larger-than-life memories. We knew we had to build those into our motor sport properties, which is where ideas like Supercross FanFest and our Monster Jam Pit Parties were born.  For example, at both, prior to the event, fans are able to interact with our athletes and get autographs. In addition, fans can ride in a Monster Jam truck or sit on our virtual reality Supercross bike, allowing them to get the feeling of competing on the track. 
On challenges: When you’re in the live entertainment and sports business, you are bidding for families’ time, and everything becomes your competition, from Netflix to travel soccer to broadway. Our biggest advantage is having non-replicable can’t be missed motorsports properties with something for every family member to enjoy, no matter the age.  We also continue to expand our audiences. For Supercross, we are introducing ourselves to audiences beyond the action-sports fanbase. With Monster Jam, our focus on driver training at Monster Jam University has allowed us to increase the inclusiveness of our driver roster and show fans that regardless of who they are, we have someone on the track that they can connect with. We are on the only sport in the world where men and women are competing on the same track in the same competitions. I’m most proud of the opportunities we’ve provided new Monster Jam athletes through this program because it directly correlates to the increased performance skill level and quality of our fan experience. 
On partnering: At Feld Entertainment, we’ve grown over time by integrating more capabilities into our company from initial concept development through fabrication and production and continuing with routing & booking, logistics management, marketing and on-the-road quality control. We offer this full suite of capabilities, including complete corporate activation services, to our partners which makes us a fully turnkey operation. Our focus is on providing the best solutions for our partners, whether its increasing their retail distribution, maximizing consumer engagement or entertaining B2B clients – and we use our expertise in reaching audiences to tailor a custom program for each partner. In fact, over the past 3 years,  our Corporate Activation practice is even delivering consumer engagement activities outside of Feld operated live events. Current clients relying on Feld Activation include Spin Master, America’s Best Eyewear & Contact, BKT Tires and Kawasaki.
On the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross season: Weather is a major factor in outdoor stadiums and we faced some challenges this season with the torrential downpour in Anaheim, the historic rain in San Diego and snow in Denver. Like the weather can be, Monster Energy Supercross is completely unpredictable. Everyone had eyes on our past champion Jason Anderson and front-runners Marvin Musquin, Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen at the start of the 2019 season. However, the season quickly took a turn and Cooper Webb, who was not considered a contender for the championship, ended up leading the season and becoming our Supercross 450SX Class champion. It was only his third year racing in the premier class, proving that experience is only one factor of many in winning Supercross.

ESPN received its highest-rated NBA Western Conference Semifinals telecast ever on Friday, courtesy of the Warriors eliminating the Rockets Game 6 of their Western Conference Semifinals series. The telecast drew a 5.8 metered market rating, according to Nielsen. Overall, ESPN and ABC 2019 NBA Playoffs metered market ratings are up 3% from 2018, through 23 games, averaging a 3.3 rating. ESPN and ABC’s coverage of the 2019 NBA Conference Semifinals is averaging a 4.1 metered market rating, up 17% from 2018.
Meanwhile, Univision Deportes’ simulcast of the UEFA Champions League Semifinals averaged 695K viewers for the network, ranking as the largest average audience ever for a UCL Semifinal round with an average of 340K in the A18-49 demo, the best since 2012. Viewership was anchored by the May 1 broadcast of Barcelona/Liverpool, which was the most-watched UEFA CL Semifinal match of all-time delivering 789K Total Viewers.
Rounding out ratings numbers, the INDYCAR Grand Prix – the first-ever INDYCAR race on the NBC broadcast network – scored a 0.85 overnight rating for the channel. That scores as the highest overnight delivery for the race in five years with the event up 31% over last year’s race on ABC.
UFC mapped out its dates for the rest of 2019, with seven UFC Pay-Per-View events schedules from July through December that will be available via ESPN+ including UFC 239 on July 6; UFC 240 on July 27, UFC 241 on Aug. 17, UFC 242 on Sept. 7, UFC 243 on Oct. 5, UFC 244 on Nov. 2 and UFC 245 on Dec. 14. ESPN+, will feature 11 third and fourth quarter events, beginning with “UFC Fight Night on ESPN+” on July 13 in Sacramento while ESPN’s linear networks will air four events in the final two quarters of 2019, including three events on ESPN and one on ESPN2.
Olympic Channel opened up a slate of events for the World Rowing Federation 2019 World Rowing Cup series, with the next event set for run from June 21-23 in Poznan, as well as July 12-14 out of Rotterdam.
Rip to Harold Lederman, who lost his battle with cancer at 79. The former boxing judge was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2016. Lederman worked his first HBO card in 1986 as an analyst. “Harold Lederman had a lifelong love affair with the sport of boxing,” HBO Sports executive vice president Peter Nelson said in a statement. “Over the past 50 years, he was universally respected and celebrated by the many people who make the sport what it is. Harold was happiest when seated ringside, studying the action and scoring the fight.”
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Mother’s Day saw Budweiser use its full minute spot during an MLB game to show a screen with a 60-second countdown timer and urging viewers to go call their mothers during the break. The commercial syncs with the brand’s recent videos featuring the MLB stars’ mothers, with included a 30-second ad featuring a clip of New York Yankees player Luis Severino pitching his first shutout, and audio of him calling his mom.
Telemundo unveiled a new ad promoting the network as the Spanish-language home of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 and revealing “the achievements and also the obstacles women around the world overcome to not only play soccer but compete at the highest level.” Featuring elite soccer stars expected to compete in France, and under the tagline “If they fought to play it, watch what they are going to do to win it,” the ad highlights the competitive nature – on and off the field – of these players. It brings to life their journey to play at the highest level and on the largest stage: the FIFA Women’s and includes U.S. Striker Christen Press, , Chilean Defender Su Helen Galaz, Brazilian Defender Érika Dos Santos and Argentine Goalkeeper Vanina Correa.

The United States Soccer Federation inked a multi-year extension with official ticketing partner Ticketmaster, which will continue to offer primary and secondary ticketing services for the US men’s and women’s national teams. As part of the extension, Ticketmaster will roll out its new identity-based ticketing platform, Presence, which is set to be installed in more than 500 venues by the end of 2019.
DAZN officially launched in Brazil, offering a content lineup that includes Conmebol Sudamericana, Campeonato Brasileiro Série C, Serie A TIM, Serie BKT and Supercoppa Italiana, FA Cup, Ligue 1 Conforama, Domino’s Ligue 2 and Coupe de France, MLS, J-League and AFCON. Other sports include: the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and British All-Star Championship basketball, Matchroom Boxing USA and Italy, WTA tennis, NTT IndyCar Series, Professional Fighters League and Glory Kickboxing.

DreamHack Dallas, slated for May 31-June 2, detailed its tournaments and plans that will equate the company’s largest DreamHack festival in North America to date. Set to compete will  be 16 world-class Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams who will battle for more than $250,000 in prizes during the CORSAIR DreamHack Masters as well as a Madden NFL 19 tournament, the DreamHack Pro Circuit for Rocket League teams, the DreamHack DreamHack Fighting Game Championships: which will include BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle; Brawlhalla; Mortal Kombat 11; Soulcalibur VI;  Street Fighter V Arcade Edition; Super Smash Bros. Melee; Super Smash Bros. Ultimate; Tekken 7. In addition, we’ll see the Halo Championship Series Grassroots and the DreamHack Mobile Series featuring two games; Brawl Stars and Clash Royale.
Epic Games is opening the doors to the Fortnite Summer Block Party, a two-day event on June 15-16 celebrating the Fortnite community and featuring key creators and celebrities like Ninja, Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco, Dillon Francis, KittyPlays, Cray and Jordan Fisher. The event will take place at the Forum in Inglewood. Among the activations, fans can watch celebrities, YouTubers and their favorite streamers battle it out in the first-ever Creative tournament. Teams will fight for fame on a new player-made game designed specifically for this event. On June 16, the Celebrity Pro-Am will return for its second year. Fans will find out which team will take home the Victory Royale.

The Atlanta Hawks saw recording artist Tauheed “2 Chainz” Epps agree to join the ownership team of the Hawks’ new NBA G League affiliate, the College Park Skyhawks. Born and raised in College Park, 2 Chainz will join an ownership group led by Principal Owner Tony Ressler and Vice Chair of the Board and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Grant Hill.

Blues/Sharks at 9p on NBCSN.
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ON THIS DAY in 1997: Eddie Murray becomes MLB’s sixth player to play 3000 games.
In the Know: Name three MLB players (other than Eddie Murray) who played more than 3000 games for the league. (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: The Atlanta Hawks relocated from which city?  Answer: St. Louis. Kudos: Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Michael Ritz-Northwestern Mutual/NY; Peter Lasser-Lasser Productions/Atlanta; Mike Seidel-CSI Sports/Jersey City; Art Salisch-SMRC/East Windsor; Michael Goodman-Radio One/Atlanta; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente; Dan Weiner-Condé Nast/LA
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