05/25/22: Pepsi renewed its deal with the NFL but will no longer sponsor the halftime show

Medias First Morning Read
Wednesday May 25, 2022

Pepsi is bowing out of sponsoring the NFL’s Super Bowl Halftime Show, but renewed sponsorship rights with the league, allowing the company to use NFL premium rights for its brands, including Frito Lay and Tostitos. As part of the deal, Pepsi gets pouring rights at top NFL events, including the NFL Draft, while sports drink Gatorade maintains its role on the sidelines. In addition, Pepsi and the NFL are teaming up to unveil a Gatorade pre-workout product for players this fall. The Halftime Show is now reportedly poised to go to an open market for a new sponsor.

“Our priorities and their priorities have evolved, and we wanted to make sure that as we continue this partnership that we’re all working toward the same goal,” Tracie Rodburg, the NFL’s senior vice president of sponsorship management, told CNBC.

PROGRAMMING

Al Michaels is keeping his foot in the door at NBC Sports, where he was named to an emeritus role by NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua, despite his departure from Sunday Night Football to Amazon’s upcoming TNF coverage. Michaels will continue to broadcast and contribute across NBC Sports’ high-profile properties, including the NFL Playoffs and the Olympics. “Revered by viewers and colleagues, Al has been the soundtrack for many of the greatest moments in sports television history,” said Bevacqua. “We are thrilled that he’s staying in the family and raising the stature of our events for years to come.”

More than two million viewers watched ESPN’s live coverage of the second round of the PGA Championship on Friday, with the telecast averaging 2.1 million viewers. That was up 47% from the second round of last year’s tournament and marks the largest second-round audience for the PGA Championship since 2.4 million watched on TNT in 2009. Viewership increased for the second day of the new alternate telecast hosted by Joe Buck and Michael Collins as well, as it averaged 691,000 viewers for the 1-2p hour on ESPN, and 105,000 viewers between 2-5p on ESPN2.

TNT’s exclusive presentation of the 2022 NBA Western Conference Finals continues to rank as its most watched Conference Finals coverage since 2018, averaging 6.9 million viewers through three games. Viewership for this year’s series is up 39% over TNT’s 2021 NBA Eastern Conference Finals coverage through three games and 34% when compared with last year’s Western Conference Finals. Sunday’s telecast averaged 7.4 million viewers to garner the network’s most-watched NBA Conference Finals Game since 2018 and cable’s most-viewed game of the 2021-22 NBA season.

Similarly, ABC’s coverage of NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 on May 21, the most-watched Eastern Conference Finals Game 3 since 2018. The ABC broadcast averaged 6,805,000 viewers, up 19% from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals Game 3, and up 71% from 2020, according to Nielsen.

NBC Sports’ 2021-22 presentation of the Premier League ranked as the second-most watched season in US TV history (behind only 2015-16), averaging a Total Audience Delivery of 507,000 viewers per TV match window, up 21% from last season. In addition, a record 12 matches this season averaged a TAD of at least 1 million viewers – 50% above the prior record.

The WNBA’s Sky/Mystics matchup on ABC ranked as the most-watched league game on ESPN networks this season, averaging 603,000 viewers. Overall, WNBA viewership is up 15% across Disney Networks through the first six games.

Sports reality franchise Hark Knocks will debut a second presentation when HBO Sports and NFL FILMS team up for Hard Knocks in Season: The Arizona Cardinals this fall for an all-access primetime docuseries. “Last season Hard Knocks made an unprecedented leap, documenting an NFL regular season in real time for the first time ever with the Indianapolis Colts,” said Keith Cossrow, NFL Films Vice President and Senior Coordinating Producer. “It was a vivid and illuminating look at the life of an NFL team. This season, we are eager to build on that success and go even further with one of the most exciting teams in the NFL. We can’t wait to get to work in Arizona, and we thank Michael Bidwill, Steve Keim, Coach Kingsbury and the entire Cardinals organization for this opportunity.”

CBS Sports will bring its studio coverage to Paris for the network’s coverage of the UEFA Champions League Final on Saturday at 1:30p, carried live on CBS and Paramount+, featuring Liverpool/Real Madrid at 3p. Kate Abdo hosts the 90-minute pre-match show with analysts Thierry Henry, Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards. Clive Tyldesley will serve as the match commentator, with Rob Green as analyst on-site at Stade de France.

Concacaf and TelevisaUnivision agreed to a multi-year rights renewal covering several of the region’s official club and national team competitions. As part of this new agreement, TelevisaUnivision will have the exclusive Spanish language rights in the US for the 2023, 2024 and 2025 editions of the Concacaf Champions League. The deal also includes this summer’s much anticipated Concacaf W Championship.

The NBA announced that the NBA Draft 2022 presented by State Farm will be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The event will run on June 23 at 7:30p with ABC and ESPN providing coverage for the first round while ESPN will air the second round.

Meanwhile, the NFL awarded Indianapolis with the 2023 and 2024 NFL Combine. This was the first time the NFL put the Combine out for bid. “After close review by our internal team, the Fan Engagement & Major Events Advisory Committee, and the National Invitational Camp staff, Indianapolis remains the best city to host and grow the NFL Combine in 2023 and 2024,” said Peter O’Reilly, NFL Executive Vice President of Club Business & League Events. “Indy’s vision brings together its long legacy of successfully hosting the Combine and executing the evaluation process, with an exciting focus on innovating and further growing the event from a fan and media perspective.”

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, CBS Sports is honoring the landmark law on the network’s We Need to Talk brand. In June, CBS Sports will kick off two months of special programming with Title IX content and events, sponsored by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. The campaign will be highlighted by an on-site event and show at American University in DC on June 16 and a new episode of the show on June 19 at 1p on CBS and Paramount+, originating from both American University and the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City. The show will also air a four-part interview series on CBS Sports Network from June through July, with first-hand anecdotes and cross-generational conversations about the impact of Title IX.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The Hershey Company is on board with a new partnership with the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games as an official supporter and its first domestic food partner. Hershey also renewed their partnership with Team USA. “We’re proud that our iconic brands will continue to be a part of celebrations and the moments of goodness for both athletes and fans supporting Team USA through the LA28 Games,” said Vero Villasenor, vice president of confection, The Hershey Company. “Our employees, partners and consumers who love our brands all share a passion and pride in celebrating our U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes.”

The NFL announced four new International Home Marketing Areas that have been approved with the Los Angeles Rams adding New Zealand as their fourth IHMA and the Philadelphia Eagles granted access to Australia, New Zealand, and Ghana – the first NFL club to enter a market in Africa. The expanded program now includes 19 teams granted access to 30 International Home Marketing Areas across 10 different countries.

Spire Motorsports and Corey LaJoie will partner with the USO and The Coca-Cola Company for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “This Memorial Day weekend, we’re proud to partner with The Coca-Cola Company, as well as Corey LaJoie and Spire Motorsports, to honor our military service members and pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives protecting our freedoms,” said Brian Cowart, Chief Development and Marketing Officer of the USO, the nation’s leading military nonprofit organization. “Together, we’re driving support and building connections between the public and the military community to keep our heroes in uniform strong and resilient.”

Pocono Raceway and Mars announced that M&M’s will become the title sponsor for July’s NASCAR Cup Series race, titled the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400. “We are honored to celebrate alongside M&M’S after 32 years of supporting NASCAR, by partnering together to show our appreciation for the greatest fan base,” Pocono Raceway President Ben May said. “Creating lifelong memories and exciting experiences for Pocono Raceway and NASCAR fans is a passion for our team and to do it alongside one of the worlds iconic brands is a tremendous joy.”

The BIG3 announced the renewal of their partnership with Microsoft, extending their integral role as the Official Technology Partner of the league in a multi-year deal. Microsoft will continue to be the official jersey patch partner for all 12 BIG3 teams and support the league with technology enhancements including Surface devices on the courtside for game planning and preparation. In addition, the 2022 BIG3 Draft will be hosted at the Microsoft Lounge on tonight at 8p in LA. New for this season, Microsoft will deploy a data analytics platform to measure player shot performance on the court and Microsoft will continue as the presenting sponsor of Young3, the BIG3’s youth program.

The United States Hockey League announced a three-year partnership with ShortSide, which becomes an official off-ice accessories partner of the USHL. “The United States Hockey League (USHL) is excited to partner with ShortSide and their passion for providing quality hockey products,” said USHL President and Commissioner Bill Robertson. “We are also proud that USHL alumni and current NHL player Nate Schmidt is involved in the organization as we know Nate and ShortSide will provide top quality tape and additional products to our great league and Member Clubs.”

Ladies’ golf-lifestyle apparel brand Lohla Sport will partner with Stefan Wilson and Cusick Motorsports at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. For the second consecutive year, the brand’s logo will be displayed as the title partner on the No. 25 DragonSpeed / Cusick Motorsports Chevrolet, driven by Stefan Wilson and now in partnership with AJ Foyt Racing.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

SailGP and T-Mobile announced a new partnership designed to bring 5G technology to the competition. As the exclusive U.S. 5G partner of SailGP, the brand will deploy brand-new Hybrid 5G Mobile Networks in key racing locations, including during the United States Sail Grand Prix at Chicago’s Navy Pier from June 18-19. The duo will develop 5G technology applications designed to reduce global data and video latency. T-Mobile will also team up with the United States SailGP Team, led by Jimmy Spithill to activate at U.S. events and within the U.S. broadcast on CBS.

All Elite Wrestling is bringing PPV Double Or Nothing to Bleacher Report via the Bleacher Report app, bleacherreport.com and connected devices for $49.99. The event will stream live from Las Vegas on Sunday at 8p.

STN Video inked a multi-year renewal of their exclusive partnership with the PGA TOUR to distribute digital video highlights to news publishers. “The PGA TOUR produces the very best in professional golf content,” states STN’s CEO Matthew Watson. “We are extremely pleased to provide one of the largest digital distribution platforms in all of sports to not only display this world-class content, but to offer unique and incremental opportunities for the premier brands supporting the PGA TOUR.”

ESPORTS

ESL Gaming revealed details about the Intel Extreme Masters Rio CS:GO Major Championship, the first-ever Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major to take place in Brazil. The competition is set to take place Oct. 31-Nov. 13, 24 of the world’s best CS:GO teams will face off for their share of $1 million. “We couldn’t be more excited to finally bring the Major to Rio de Janeiro,” said Ulrich Schulze, SVP Product Management at ESL Gaming. “The ever-growing and passionate Brazilian esports community is amazing and for the past couple of years we have been hoping to provide the fans with one of the greatest esports experiences ever. Now the time is finally here and we can’t wait for the world’s best CS:GO teams to ultimately enter the Jeunesse Arena and have it shake to its foundations from the excitement from Brazil and beyond.

FaZe Clan announced a year-long apparel collaboration with Disney that will run throughout the rest of this year. As part of the special collaboration, FaZe will introduce Mickey Mouse as a newly tech-vamped “Mickey On The Grid.” The first Disney capsule collection from FaZe Clan will be available in-store on May 28 at The Armory and online on May 30 at FaZe’s newly launched web store powered by Shopify FaZe Shop. The “Mickey On The Grid” collection, which includes tees, sweatshirts and hats, was designed by FaZe Clan lead designer James Casper Vine and Creative Director Jay ‘JVY’ Richardson.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

FanDuel Group appointed Andrew Sheh as Chief Technology Officer. Sheh will be responsible for oversight of FanDuel Group’s customer facing engineering and platform development teams, as well as all IT architecture and personnel. Sheh joins FanDuel Group most recently from Compass, the real estate technology brokerage firm that is building the first modern enterprise real estate end-to-end platform for agents and their clients

Diamond Sports Group named Michael Schneider as Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of Bally Sports+, its new direct-to-consumer sports division. In this newly created role, Schneider will have operational oversight over the Bally Sports+ participatory DTC sports platform, anchored by Bally Sports’ live event programming. Prior to joining Bally Sports, Schneider was the Vice President of Brand and Content Marketing at Hulu.

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