|SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
ESPN celebrates 25 Years of the famed “This is SportsCenter” spots on Sunday with three specials starting at noon on the channel. SportsCenter anchors Steve Levy and Elle Duncan host the programs, “guiding viewers through the history and memorable moments while also sharing some of their own TISC memories.” The programs will have three different areas of focus: The Best of This is SportsCenter: 25 Years and Counting; The Best of This is SportsCenter: The Superstars; and The Best of This is SportsCenter: Mascot Mayhem
Sunday sees four sporting legends tee off in Capital One’s The Match: Champions For Charity with Michelob ULTRA serving up new ads, beer and merchandise giveaways for the occasion, including Peyton Manning in Caddyshack-inspired digital content and additional support of The Match’s charitable efforts. “The Match represents a special moment for our national community as it reintroduces the joy of watching live sports from our homes, all while bringing together some of the world’s greatest athletes for a charitable cause,” said Ricardo Marques, Vice President, Michelob ULTRA. “We believe that golf is best enjoyed with a beer in hand, which is why we’re excited to help fans celebrate this moment in sports history.”
The Premier Lacrosse League is launching Virtual Senior Day presented by Chipotle, a social initiative that recognizes high school seniors who missed out on their final season of lacrosse due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the partnership, the PLL and Chipotle are teaming up and sending video messages from the game’s top stars to high school seniors who are playing for their respective alma matters. Over twenty five PLL stars are slated to participate in Virtual Senior Day, including Paul Rabil (Atlas LC), Trevor Baptiste (Atlas LC), Rob Pannell (Atlas LC), Myles Jones (Redwoods LC), and Connor Farrell (Chrome LC).
Herbalife Nutrition is serving up a global cooking competition between its sponsored soccer teams from around the world starting May 26 on the Company’s Instagram account. Participating teams include the LA Galaxy, Sporting Kansas City, FC Millionarios (Colombia), CD Municipal (Guatamala), Muangthong United F.C. (Thailand), Sydney Wanderers (Australia), Club Atletico de Madrid Femenino (Women’s Spain), and BSC Young Boys (Switzerland). A grand prize of $7,500 will be awarded for charitable donation to charity of winning player’s team located in the team’s community. A second award of $2,500 will be given to a fan vote winner of the final round.
The New Orleans Saints confirmed that their naming rights agreement with Mercedes-Benz for the Superdome will not be renewed after it expires next year. The team told told Forbes that the team is seeking a new partner that will not only lend its name to the legendary venue.
After launching the Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher program in January, the NHL, NHLPA and EVERFI surprised the winner and two finalists with a donation from SAP for classroom tech devices and a special virtual hangout with one of their favorite team players. Last month, the NHL and NHLPA announced they would provide free remote access to Hockey Scholar, the hockey-themed STEM curriculum for elementary and middle-school-aged students – part of the NHL & NHLPA Future Goals Program. The recent reliance of remote learning has shone a light on the critical value access to technology and talented teachers play in education..
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH
NASCAR announced that IMG ARENA has licensed official assets to create a virtual sports betting game that replicates some of NASCAR’s most iconic tracks, including Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Watkins Glen International. The virtual product, created by Leap Gaming, will be offered to sports betting operators around the world. Additionally, NASCAR and IMG ARENA formed a long-term partnership that will provide international sports betting operators the ability to live-stream NASCAR Cup Series races for the first time.
SIDEARM Sports and VenueNext announced a new solution for athletic departments to help improve the overall fan experience and social distancing on game days, enabling intercollegiate athletics departments the option to embed a new fan-centric platform directly into their existing mobile apps and offer fans access to contactless payment, in-seat ordering and ordering ahead to help schools comply with new safety standards surrounding in-venue concessions and merchandise.
With sports returning in part this past weekend, data from ISpot and Inscape offered viewership insights, noting that the most popular live sports that were on TV this weekend by share of all TVs, auto racing (NASCAR) was tops (10.01%), followed by golf (7.31%), Saturday soccer (1.44%) and Sunday soccer (1.30%).
FaZe Clan is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a countdown to May 30th, via “Ten Days of FaZe,” and culminating in a virtual birthday party on May 30 at noon, streaming live on its YouTube channel. Over the next 10 days, FaZe Clan will make a new announcement each day, including exclusive merchandise, brand collaborations, fan tournaments and challenges, and more. Fans will need to stay tuned to FaZe Clan’s social channels each day to see what’s next in the FaZe X celebration. FaZe Clan will continue to celebrate this historic milestone throughout the year. “It’s wild to think that FaZe Clan started ten years ago with a few friends meeting online playing Xbox,” says Lee Trink, CEO, FaZe Clan. “Their love for gaming and creative ideas, along with a dynamic roster of talent has ignited an immensely passionate global fanbase. With a formidable FaZe staff behind the scenes, FaZe Clan has helped bring gaming to the intersection of entertainment, sports and pop culture.”
Nerd Street Gamers and the Immortals Gaming Club are teaming up to help kids stay engaged and entertained while staying home, offering Immortals Gaming Camps, multi-day online esports camps focused on League of Legends and Overwatch. Each day, professional instructors, ranging from coaches and players to industry veterans and content creators, will guide campers through the fundamentals of competitive gaming, map and game strategy, team dynamics, effective communication skills. “IGC is excited to partner with Nerd Street Gamers to bring gamers this unique opportunity to learn from our professional players, have fun and connect with new friends in a positive, structured environment,” said Jon Tuck, Chief Commercial Officer at Immortals Gaming Club. “This is a unique moment in time and we believe the camps will serve gamers and their parents well while establishing a format that we plan to replicate for years to come.”
Tonight see FS1 carry the second EA SPORTS Madden NFL 20 Invitational at 10p featuring NFL stars competing for a good cause. The first FOX Sports Madden NFL 20 Invitational took place in March to raise awareness for CDC Foundation’s COVID-19 relief efforts and saw LA Chargers’ safety Derwin James crowned champion.
PUBG Mobile Pro League South Asia signed on Mountain Dew as part of its relaunch efforts with play slated to resume today following a suspension of play. The deal sees Mountain Dew serve as a “platinum sponsor” of the league, with the Mountain Dew logo prominently featuring on newly-released PMPL South Asia branding.
INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES
New sports fan data from Kantar revealed that while 26% of sports fans indicate that they’ll go to sporting events as soon as it’s allowed, two-thirds of sports fans say they’ll only do it if they’re sure it’s safe (45%) – or won’t go until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed (20%). An additional 8% of sports fans say they won’t go to sporting events anymore. That said, 62% of sports fans agreed that “No matter what the product is, I will pay more if I know it’s clean and sanitized” (vs. 53% of non-sports fans). 68% of sports fans believe it’s somewhat/very likely in five years that “Facemasks will be a normal part of public life in America”
SPORTS BROADCAST JOURNAL W/ David J. Halberstam
NBC’s Michele Tafoya, sideline reporter on The Peacock’s Sunday Night Football told us, “I think the distinction between men and women in sports media is old and tired. I am asked this question a lot and I have been doing this for 25 years plus. I guess my advice to anyone, male or female, would be not to worry about it. We are all people.”
Sports Broadcast Journal: Michelle Tafoya
The broadcast world paid respects to pioneer Phyllis George who passed late last week. She was 70. Of the who’s who of voices and executives who heaped praise on George was longtime broadcaster Tim Brando who worked with Phyllis at CBS. He said:
“She was a Beauty Queen a Miss America (and what’s really wrong with that?) But more serious female journalists were critical of her and didn’t like her for it. Even worse, there were men in television who cringed over her invading their space in sports. She dealt with petty jealousies with dignity and grace.”
George joined The NFL Today in 1975. Her studiomates included Brent Musburger and Jimmy the Greek.
Phyllis George: Colleagues, others weigh in on the pioneer’s passing; Joined CBS’ NFL Today in 1975
LeBron James’ The Decision on ESPN in 2010 averaged 9.9 million viewers. Michael Jordan’s The Last Dance averaged 5.6 million viewers over five weeks. But ESPN’s polling of viewers after the docuseries ended Sunday night, clearly and overwhelmingly demonstrated that fans consider Michael the better player.
Happy Birthdays and many happy returns:
Mike Breen 5/22 ESPN/NBA
Dan Hellie 5/23 NFL Network
Mitch Albom 5/23 Various-Author, Broadcaster
Lauren Shehadi 5/23 MLB Network
Dave Johnson 5/25 Various – Horse Racing caller
Brent Musburger 5/26 VSiN, ex-CBS, ESPN
Cliff Drysdale 5/26 ESPN – Tennis
Kevin Kennedy 5/26 ex-Fox, Dodgers radio
Beth Mowins 5/26 ESPN, football/basketball
Pat Hughes 5/27 Chicago Cubs radio
Sports Broadcast Journal