05/20/20: Belmont Stakes stakes out late June run

 

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Tennis Channel’s (RE) OPEN TOUR continues as four of the top women in the world return to action for the first time in over two months
Amanda Anisimova, Alison Riske, Danielle Collins, & Ajla Tomljanovic will battle it out on court in sunny West Palm Beach, Florida
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This Friday, May 22nd – Sunday, May 24th 12 – 3pm ET

TENNIS CHANNEL l TENNIS.COM l TENNIS MAGAZINE

Medias First Morning Read
Wednesday May 20, 2020

The 2020 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York has now been pushed by two weeks from June 6 to June 20, making it the first leg of the famed Triple Crown series. In addition, this year’s race will be 1 1/8-miles (9 furlongs) instead of its traditional 1 1/2-miles. There will be no spectators at the venue. Overall, the 25-day Belmont spring/summer meet will be run Thursdays through Sundays starting June 3 and wrapping up on July 12. “The resumption of live racing at Belmont Park on June 3, with all appropriate health and safety protocols in place, will support the hundreds of small businesses, family-owned farms and thousands of hourly workers who form the backbone of thoroughbred racing in New York,” said NYRA President & CEO Dave O’Rourke. “The return of live sports, especially New York institutions like the Belmont Stakes, is a welcome sign of progress that will bring some sense of normalcy back to our everyday lives.”

PROGRAMMING

We finally get to open with a bevy of ratings news, led by NASCAR’s return on Sunday which drummed u 6.32 million viewers for FOX for The Real Heroes 400 from Darlington. That viewership tally was good enough to rank as the most-watched non-Daytona 500 NASCAR Cup Series race since 2017, according to Nielsen.

ESPN wrapped up The Last Dance with episodes 9 & 10 averaging 5.6 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN2. That was up 10% from the previous week with episode nine reeling in 5.9 million to rank as the third most-watched episode of the run. The original airings of all ten episodes of the series also averaged 5.6 million viewers within the same day, cementing “The Last Dance” as the most-watched documentary content ever on ESPN.

Live golf’s return on Sunday pushed NBC Sports’ coverage of TaylorMade Driving Relief to a Total Audience Delivery of 2.35 million average viewers across NBC, GOLF Channel, NBCSN, along with NBC Sports and PGA TOUR streaming platforms. Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson defeated Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff in a charity skins match that has raised more than $5.5 million for COVID-19 relief efforts.

TUDN and UniMas saw the return of Bundesliga’s telecasts over the weekend score, led by Sunday’s Union Berlin-Bayern Munich match, which delivered 222,000 total viewers. That performance was up 155% and 224% versus current season Bundesliga matches simulcast on TUDN/UniMas among Total Viewers 2+ and Adults 18-49, respectively.

The NHL is looking at “probably eight or nine different places” that can play host to “a dozen or so teams in one location” as the league looks to resume play, Commissioner Gary Bettman said on Monday.”I don’t think anybody has a fixed timetable, particularly in North America right now,” Commissioner Bettman said. “We have been working very hard since we took the pause on March 12 to make sure that whatever the timing is, whatever the sequencing is, whatever physical ability we have in terms of locations to play, that we’re in a position to execute any or all of those options. There is still a great deal of uncertainty.”

ESPN lined up Game 6: The Movie, described as a cinematic production of 1998 NBA Finals Game 6, that will air tonight at 9p on ESPN. ESPN’s Game 6: The Movie telecast will feature “exclusive, never-before-seen game footage captured by five different NBA Entertainment cameras, presenting new and innovative views of the historic game. It will feature the original commentary provided for the live game telecast by Bob Costas, Isiah Thomas, Doug Collins, Ahmad Rashad and Jim Gray.”

As the sports industry struggles to find a way forward in these unprecedented times, Cynopsis Sports is honored to welcome an incredibly strong lineup of voices and authorities who are guiding the way forward to navigate not only the pandemic but also the groundbreaking changes that are forever changing the pillars of traditional sports. Register for free for our June 9th virtual conference “The Great Sports Disruption: Preparing for Success in a Post-Covid World.” New speakers continue being added!

Ahead of Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Charity on Sunday at 3p TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN, leacher Report will run a livestreamed pre-show event exclusively on the B/R App at 2p. The hour-long show, titled Capital One’s The Match: Beat B/R, will be hosted by Bleacher Report personalities Adam Lefkoe and Kelly Stewart and feature interactive games, giveaways and a look at prop betting information provided by DraftKings as it leads into the highly-anticipated live sports competition.

Memorial Day Weekend will again see Charlotte Motor Speedway pay tribute to the men of women of the U.S. Armed Forces ahead of Sunday’s 61st running of the Coca-Cola 600. Features will include an address from U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation conducting a live flyover; active duty servicemen and women will offer video messages of support on behalf of each branch of service for Memorial Day Weekend and as part of the 600 Miles of Remembrance, each driver in the race will carry the name of a fallen service member across the windshield of their car.

Ice Cube’s Big3 basketball league will cancel its 2020 season as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic, according to reports. The three-on-three pro league will look to return in 2021 with CBS Sports remaining as broadcast partner.

WHICH SOFT BENEFITS MATTER MOST?
In Cynopsis’ Workplace Satisfaction Survey, 92% of respondents report that their employers offer soft benefits that they feel are important.

Find out what ranked as #1: cynopsis.com/2020-workplace-satisfaction-survey

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The World Poker Tour announced a new event and partnership with Budweiser
to produce and launch a new celebrity special event for charity: The King’s Celebrity Poker Challenge on ClubWPT will feature “A-list celebrities and all-star athletes competing remotely in tournaments that will take online poker to a new level by integrating video conference technology and the WPT’s sweepstakes-based online poker platform, ClubWPT. In the first episode, WPT and Budweiser bring together World Central Kitchen founder, Chef José Andrés, NBA all-star and champion Pau Gasol, Hollywood star Jon Hamm, comedian and actor Jason Alexander, comedian and actor Kevin Pollak, and 11-time surfing champion Kelly Slater, competing at the same table. Budweiser is donating $15,000 on behalf of each of the six players to World Central Kitchen, with an additional $35,000 donated in the winner’s name, to make up a grand total of $125,000 donated to World Central Kitchen.

Bic signed on to serve as the official razor of USA Swimming, and has signed individual deals with United States Olympic gold medalists Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel. The deal will see Bic host activation rights at major USA Swimming events through 2021, including the Tokyo Olympics. “I’m proud to partner with Bic and my teammate, Simone, to discuss how important it is that women have confidence in themselves and not be afraid to show it,” Ledecky said. “There’s no telling how many people we can inspire through our actions; whether competing for medals on a global stage or conquering our everyday responsibilities at work or at home. Confidence is key and the ripple effect can be massive.”

Oakley announced plans to launch its new Clear Collection with NFL star and Oakley athlete JuJu Smith-Schuster. The company notes that “While the future of sports remains uncertain at this time, the Clear Collection was designed in response to athlete demand and insights on how sports will adapt to the new norm in the coming months.”

The National Women’s Hockey League expansion team based in Toronto will be known as the Toronto Six, inspired by the city’s telephone area code of 416 with the team also becoming the sixth team in the NWHL, while teams sport six players on the ice. They will join the league n the 2020-21 season.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

Learfield IMG College announced the launch of Fanbase, described as a comprehensive, fan-centric data and analytics platform. Combining behavioral data sets from official athletics sites with other sources of fan data – including ticketing, digital media, social media and third-party appends – Fanbase will serve as the engine for university-specific databases and help universities better understand their fans’ behaviors and how they live their digital lives – including how they use social media, where they shop and how they consume content – through a comprehensive set of analytics dashboards, marketing solutions and media offerings.

Twitter reports that there were more than one million Tweets about the final episode of The Last Dance on Sunday, making the total volume of Tweets throughout the season at over 11 million. At the conclusion of the final episode, 20 of the 30 trending topics on Twitter were related to The Last Dance.

WWE announced that the company’s official YouTube channel surpassed the 60 million subscriber milestone to rank as the top Sports channel on YouTube. WWE’s YouTube channel is also the fifth most-viewed channel in the world with 43 billion video views.

MAVTV Motorsports Network and Altice USA renewed their distribution agreement to remain part of the Optimum and Suddenlink channel line-ups. MAVTV offers its race fans a lineup of exclusive and prestigious motorsports racing content.

ESPORTS

Riot Games announced the Mid-Season Streamathon, a global marathon live stream designed to celebrate the League of Legends community and raise funds for COVID-19 relief. The multi-day, continuous broadcast will feature a slate of content from regions around the world, including competition between leagues, exhibition matches, and more. The event begins on May 29 and will be supported by League of Legends esports partners like Mastercard, State Farm, Red Bull, and Secretlab with a broadcast that will feature over 48 hours of scheduled programming from around the world, including a continental battle of teams in Europe, an influencer battle between Yoda and Kami in Brazil, and a Mid-Season Cup showdown between the top teams in the LPL and LCK.

Activision Blizzard is tweaking its Call of Duty League Championship Weekend format, announcing that all 12 teams will now compete at the event while viewers will be able to unlock in-game rewards. In addition, four players from each team will compete in a $10,000 Call of Duty Warzone match, titled Warzone Weekends.

Blizzard laid out details for the Arena World Championship, running exclusively on YouTube.com/Warcraft starting May 22, along with a new World of Warcraft Esports Twitter account. Play will be held entirely online with eight tournaments, four in Europe and four in North America. The lineup of casters will include Elliot “Venruki” Venczel, Sid “Supatease” Compston, Mohamed “Ziqo” Beshir, Gillian “Eiya” Long and Rich Campbell.

Team Rival saw its SMITE team roster and SMITE Pro League franchise slot picked up by Ghost Gaming. The team will now compete in the 2020 SMITE Pro League season under the Ghost Gaming label, with Rival stating that the move will allow it to “bring more people on board, and provide resources for current players and staff.”

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

The NFL announced that Jeff Miller will now serve as the league’s new Executive Vice President of Communications, Public Affairs and Policy. Miller will be responsible for managing the league’s communications and public affairs. He will maintain his health and safety portfolio in addition to taking on his new role. Miller will continue to report directly to Commissioner Goodell.

The Great Sports Disruption: Preparing For Success in a Post-COVID World
Virtual Event: June 9 | 1 – 5PM ET

Join Cynopsis for this virtual event and interact with your peers as A-list speakers break down the new ways of doing business and how these methods will shape the risks and rewards that lie ahead for all segments of the sports sector. Hear from leaders at: Athletes Unlimited, Learfield IMG College, NASCAR, New Balance, NBC Sports Group, Pac-12 Conference, Riot Games, United States Olympic Committee and more.

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On this Day
1991: Michael Jordan named as the NBA’s MVP.

In the Know
Which sports movie had the tagline “His whole life was a million to one shot”? (Email cpursell@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Which famed composer was hired to create the Olympic Fanfare & Theme that resonated from the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles? Answer: John Williams. Kudos: Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/NY; Ken Nice-TeamPeople/Falls Church; Peter Lasser-Lasser Productions/Atlanta; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Kyle Krebs-Intersection/Dallas; Dory Petsrillo-CoxReps/Dallas; Jack Hodgson-Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; Lisa Fikeys-NissanUnited/Chicago; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; Wendy Holmes-KCNC-TV/Denver; Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo; Anne Wettig-FOX/FOX Sports S&P/LA; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA; Brian McAloon-FOX Sports/LA; Jacob Ullman-FOX Sports/LA

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