05/15/20: NASCAR unveiled more races as it prepares to resume competition


Medias First Morning Read
Friday May 15, 2020

As NASCAR prepares to return to the track this weekend, the organization unveiled its installment of races in its return to racing, with events at Bristol Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. The slate of races includes events in the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series and the ARCA Menards Series. The slate begins in Bristol on May 30 and 31 and will run through the weekend of June 21 at Talledega. In addition, NASCAR today announced the postponement of events at Kansas Speedway (May 30-31); Michigan International Speedway (June 5-7), the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Mid-Ohio (May 30) and the Gander Trucks Series race at Texas Motor Speedway previously scheduled for June 5, as well as the cancelation of all NASCAR national series races and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event at Iowa Speedway for the 2020 season.

“As we prepare for our return to racing at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, the industry has been diligent in building the return-to-racing schedule,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “We are eager to expand our schedule while continuing to work closely with the local governments in each of the areas we will visit. We thank the many government officials for their guidance, as we share the same goal in our return – the safety for our competitors and the communities in which we race.”

Meanwhile, ahead of the return of live racing Sunday on FOX, three NASCAR Cup Series champions will take over Friday’s FS1 daily studio programming. Kevin Harvick appears on First Things First at 8:30p. NASCAR on FOX Analyst Jeff Gordon joins The Herd with Colin Cowherd at noon, while Speak for Yourself, at 3p, welcomes Kurt Busch.


Turner Sports unveiled commentators for Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Charity with Tiger Woods & Phil Mickelson joined by Peyton Manning & Tom Brady on May 24 at 3p across TNT, TBS, truTV & HLN. Microphone duties will include host Brian Anderson, analysts Charles Barkley and Trevor Immelman and reporters Amanda Balionis and Justin Thomas.

Meanwhile, GOLF Channel announced the next release from its GOLF Films unit, Tiger Slam, chronicling Tiger Woods’ feat of winning all four major championships in succession over a 10-month stretch. The film will premiere on May 24 at 8p and be presented by CDW and US Bank with limited commercial interruption. Michael Kenneth Williams narrates.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stated that the league intends to finish the remainder of the 2020 season, which was paused in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. He made the comments in a virtual town hall on Tuesday that was hosted by the San Jose Sharks. “Obviously we hope to be playing in front of fans by next season,” Bettman said. “But if we finish in August or September, there’s no magic to starting in October anymore. We can start in November. We can start in December. You’re going to be a little flexible with the schedule, because we want to be able to bring the game back, both to conclude this season on some basis and to have a full regular season next year. If that means we need to be more flexible, then that’s what we’ll do.”

The PGA of America is tapping Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte to host the PGA Championship in 2025. The venue previously hosted the men’s golf major tournament in 2017 and is scheduled to stage the Presidents Cup in 2021. “The PGA of America is proud to return the PGA Championship to Quail Hollow and the wonderful host city of Charlotte,” said PGA of America President Suzy Whaley. “Quail Hollow’s course has a well-earned reputation as a stern test for the world’s finest players, but what sets the club apart is its membership and the welcoming atmosphere that they promote. The state of North Carolina’s appreciation for the game and major championship golf is remarkable.”

NBC Sports personalities Mike Tirico, Al Michaels, and Dan Hicks are among the talent who will take a pay cut for the rest of the year, according to Variety. “Our on-air personalities reached out to see how they could contribute to helping our company at this difficult time, and all have voluntarily accepted temporary pay reductions,” said Pete Bevacqua, president of NBC Sports Group, in a prepared statement. “It’s another reminder of the truly great team we have at NBC Sports, and how we’re all working together to get through this immense challenge.”

Olympic Channel announced that its feature-length documentary, Rulon Gardner Won’t Die, will premiere worldwide on June 3. “This film is an honest look at not only the success I have achieved, but at the hardships that preceded and have followed my Olympic experience,” said Gardner. “I hope that people watching at home will find their own sources of motivation and determination – especially during tough and unpredictable times like we are going through now – and remember that when you get knocked down, you can always get up and persevere.”

Live soccer returns to this weekend to FOX Sports and TUDN. FS1 kicks off on Saturday at 9:20a with Borussia Dortmund/Schalke, while FS2 counters with RB Leipzig/Freiburg. TUDN’s coverage for the league’s return weekend will feature select matches telecast on UniMás and the TUDN network with RB Leipzig/Freiburg on TUDN, followed by Eintracht Frankfurt/Borussia Mönchengladbach at 11:30a.

CBS Sports carries a special 30-minute interview show, In The Huddle With Tony Romo, on May 24 at 2p on CBS. The show will see Tony Romo huddle up with New York Jets’ Sam Darnold, New York Giants’ Daniel Jones and Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen to discuss the X’s and O’s of the position, the difficulties of preparing for next season in a “virtual off-season” setting, making the leap from being a first-year quarterback to the second year, and more.

Count Amazon Prime Video as a carriage partner for Sunday’s TaylorMade Driving Relief charity golf event, as Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson face off against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in a $3 million charity skins match. The event will stream, for free, to all Amazon customers in the US.

Ready to get back to the business of sports? Join Cynopsis for free The Great Sports Disruption: Preparing for Success In A Post-COVID World on June 9 from 1-5p. This VIRTUAL event will give you the chance to interact with your peers and hear from A-List speakers as they break down the new ways of doing business and how these methods will shape the risks and rewards that lie ahead. Learn more and register here. Speakers are set to include:
· Sarah Hirshland, CEO – USOC
· Larry Scott, Commissioner – Pac-12 Conference
· Chris Davis, Chief Marketing Officer and SVP Merchandising New Balance
· Craig Neeb, EVP & Chief Innovation Officer – NASCAR
· Naz Aletaha, Head of Global Esports Partnerships – Riot Games
· Cole Gahagan, President & CEO – Learfield IMG College
· Kathryn Tappen, Host & Reporter – NBC Sports Group
· Sam Flood, EP & President, Production – NBC Sports Group
· Jon Patricof, CEO & Co-Founder – Athletes Unlimited
· Gwen Svekis, Softball Player/Executive Committee – Athletes Unlimited
· Foluke Akinradewo, Volleyball Player/Executive Committee – Athletes Unlimited

La Vida Baseball announced that they are expanding their coverage to include a weekly Spanish language offering. Polvora, Voz Y Diamanté which will run every Thursday at 1p, hosted by Polo Ascencio, Pliego Villarreal and Jesse Castillo. This show features baseball conversation, with pop culture sensibilities all wrapped in a love and appreciation of all things Latino baseball.

The Las Vegas Raiders locked in KVVU FOX5 as the Official Broadcast Home of the Las Vegas Raiders. FOX5 will have the exclusive market rights to carry the Raiders pre-season games, and will produce and showcase pre-game shows for those matchups. During the NFL’s regular season, FOX5 will have the same market exclusivity to air the Raiders post-game-shows and Jon Gruden’s weekly press conferences. In addition, FOX5 will air the Las Vegas Raiders Season Preview Show.

Celebrating the tech that powers media…


The Cynopsis Adtech Awards
Enter By May 28th

During a time when in-person events have been cancelled, the adtech community is stepping up. They’re helping to guarantee marketers upfront inventory and preserve revenue for media owners by using breakthrough approaches and solutions. Adtech providers are a group that lives on the cutting edge of innovation, which is why we are celebrating their platforms, campaigns, and strategies in more than 20 categories. View them all



The NBA and Wilson Sporting Goods Co. announced a multiyear global partnership
that makes Wilson the official game ball of the NBA, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), NBA G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League (BAL). The partnership will tip off at different times by league. The NBA Wilson game ball will first be used during the league’s 75th anniversary season in 2021-22. The other debuts will be during the 2022 WNBA season, 2021-22 NBA G League season, 2021 NBA 2K League season and the inaugural BAL season.

With NASCAR returning, Busch is introducing a #YourFaceHere Contest – where ten lucky fans will have their face “prominently” featured on Kevin Harvick’s #4 Busch Light car during the NASCAR Cup Series Race at Charlotte this May. Winner will also receive a pair of tickets to attend a 2021 NASCAR race. Starting May 13 through May 17, consumers can Tweet a picture of themselves with a Busch Light logo using #YourFaceHere and #BuschContest to enter.

EVERFI, Inc., a social impact education innovator, announced that it is joining forces with six sports leagues to launch an education challenge for students who are homebound during the COVID-19 pandemic, with MLB, MLS, NFL, NHL, NLL and the Premier League signing on.. Running May 18-29, students will have the opportunity to experience the digital courses co-created by EVERFI and the professional sports leagues and submit responses to various prompts based on the course(s) taken in order to be eligible to win an academic scholarship or other prizes.

CSE entered into a strategic partnership with Richard Petty to lead the marketing and licensing efforts for the NASCAR icon. “For over 30 years, CSE has been building and managing the personal brands of our clients,” commented Danny Martoe, President of CSE. “Richard Petty is an icon whose career transcends the sport, and we’re excited for the opportunity to expand his brand even further.”


NextVR confirmed reports that the VR streaming sports company had been acquired by Apple. According to CNBC, the purchase is “further evidence of Apple’s plans to enter virtual reality and related augmented reality technologies as a new product category.”

2K revealed that PGA TOUR 2K21 is currently scheduled for worldwide release on Aug. 21. Featuring Justin Thomas as the cover athlete, PGA TOUR 2K21 was developed by HB Studios and will include 15 licensed PGA TOUR courses. “Being chosen to be the first-ever cover athlete for the premiere PGA TOUR 2K game is a tremendous honor,” said Justin Thomas, 2017 FedExCup Champion, PGA Championship winner and former World #1 on the Official World Golf Ranking. “I’m excited to join the 2K family and challenge players everywhere on the digital links.”


Global esports media network BLAST announced the closing of an investment round of $13.5 million. The round was led by Johan Gedda, global technology entrepreneur and co-founder of Rocket Software, and Vækstfonden, a financing and investment vehicle. In 2019, BLAST delivered 7 events across 5 continents with 1 billion minutes of broadcast in 19 different languages. In 2020, BLAST has expanded into DOTA 2 alongside its Counter-Strike: GO tournament series.

EVO’s switch to online play this year will be spanning five consecutive weekends, from July 4-5 through July 31-Aug 2. In a video posting, organizers also stated that “special exhibitions and content for EVO 2020’s original lineup” while titles will include Street Fighter V: Champion Edition, TEKKEN 7, Samurai Shodown, Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st], Granblue Fantasy Versus, Soulcalibur VI and DRAGON BALL FighterZ. Four open online tournaments in Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath, Killer Instinct, Them’s Fightin’ Herds and Skullgirls 2nd Encore are also on the docket.


The great Jon Miller, who spent 21 years as the Voice of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, says the next critical step for baseball to effectively pick up the pace of the game is to slap hitters with a strike if they step out of the batter’s box.
Jon Miller: When a hitter leaves the box, he gets warned. If he leaves again, it’s an automatic strike!

Steve Levy, play-by-play, and Brian Griese, analyst, are the top prospects for ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth, now that Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland are out. See full list of other prospects:
Monday Night Football Dismissals: ESPN’s in-house options; Lisa Salters back on sideline

In 1997, Film Producer Andy Thompson was responsible for convincing Adam Silver, then head of NBA Entertainment, to collect the precious off the court footage of Michael Jordan’s 1997-98 championship drive. Adam then pitched the idea to Jordan and assured him that he, Michael, would have the right to approve any use of the film for a series. Andy Thompson is the brother of retired Laker Mychal Thompson and uncle of current Golden State star Klay Thompson
The Last Dance and the last word: Michael Jordan is more than a logo on a shoe; Nothing breaks his will

Happy Birthdays:
Joe Tait, 5/15 Beloved and retired Voice, Cleveland Cavaliers
Dan Patrick, 5/15 Television and radio talk show host
John Smoltz, 5/15 Hall of Famer and Fox commentator
Tim Ryan, 5/16 Retired and longtime network announcer
Ken Schanzer, 5/16 Retired President, NBC Sports
Eric Nadel, 5/16 Radio Voice, Texas Rangers
Jim Nantz, 5/17 Face of CBS Sports
Glen Kuiper, 5/20 TV Voice, Oakland A’s
David Hill, 5/21 Retired Chairman, Fox Sport
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Shop LC/Austin TX: Resp for launching our Shop LC brand on new and emerging media platforms outside of just cable and DISH television. 3+ yrs of exp in advanced media sales &/or digital advertising incl online media buying, campaign management and performance analysis is a must. Full info HERE (5/28)

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Playstation/San Mateo CA: Build a strategy and a team of developers to evolve SIE’s marketing data infrastructure to align with and accelerate our marketing strategy for the next generation of gaming 10+yrs mktg tech exp. Full info HERE (5/27)

Partner with Creative Production. Assist Strategy Planning & Analysis team to shape strategy and inform important business decisions with actionable data-driven insights. 10-15yr exp in highly analytical envir – top management consulting firm, investment bank, corporate strategy. Full info HERE (5/26)

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