05/31/19: Visa unveiled a major investment in women’s soccer

Good morning. It’s Friday May 31, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Just ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, Visa unveiled an expanded commitment to women’s soccer, “leveraging the brand’s sponsorship platform to inspire women athletes amidst the global gender equality and women’s empowerment movement.” The investment includes a five-year sponsorship agreement with the U.S. Soccer Federation, complementing the brand’s investment with UEFA Women’s Football and FIFA. Visa will be the presenting sponsor of the SheBelieves Cup, the four-team women’s international team tournament played in the United States each year. In addition, Visa is launching a new U.S. marketing campaign celebrating the U.S. Women’s National Team, spotlighting stars Mallory Pugh, Becky Sauerbrunn, Rose Lavelle, Jessica McDonald, Abby Dahlkemper and Adrianna Franch.
“Sport presents a huge opportunity for women to pursue their dreams on and off the field,” said Lynne Biggar, chief marketing and communications officer, Visa. “Women make the vast majority of consumer purchases and start millions of small businesses a year. By making a substantial investment in women’s initiatives, including soccer, Visa is celebrating this powerful global force.”

FOX Sports rolled out its college football broadcast plans for the upcoming season, with games coverage opening at 11a on Saturdays with a brand-new pregame show on the FOX broadcast network, analysts Urban Meyer, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Brady Quinn, led by host Rob Stone, and games set to start at noon. FOX Sports’ 2019 college football lineup includes games from the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences, including Ohio State/ Michigan, Oklahoma/Texas, the Big Ten Championship Game and more. Play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson, analyst Joel Klatt and reporter Jenny Taft return to the booth this season to lead FOX Sports’ game crews. Other company highlights include FS1’s lineup of Friday games, highlighted by Utah/USC (Sept. 20), Penn State/Maryland (Sept. 27), Colorado/Oregon (Oct. 11) and Ohio State/Northwestern (Oct. 18). Games get underway from Aug 29-31, highlighted by the beginning of the Ryan Day era at Ohio State, as the Buckeyes open at home against Lane Kiffin’s FAU Owls on Aug. 31, at noon.
Around the dial, CBS Sports Network’s 2019 college football schedule will see nine conferences represented – including the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference and Mountain West Conference – in addition to multiple bowl games and the Conference USA Championship Game. The slate kicks off on Aug. 24 at noon with Villanova/Colgate and culminates with the Cure Bowl on Dec. 21 (and the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Dec. 31. Once again, the network also will serve as the home of Service Academy football, televising eight Army games, six Navy contests and five Air Force games.
NFL Network also revealed its first lineup of Conference USA football games, with a 10-game slate that opens Sept. 7 with Grambling/Louisiana Tech. Kick-off time for all games is currently scheduled for 3:30p.  
GOLF Channel announced the addition of golf broadcaster Anna Whiteley to the network where she will serve as a full-time co-host for its daily news show, Morning Drive. Whiteley officially joins Morning Drive on June 3. Previously, Whiteley hosted the golf magazine television show Golfing World, taking viewers inside the ropes on the PGA TOUR, European Tour and LPGA Tour with player interviews, instructional tips and showcasing golf travel destinations. Whiteley will host Morning Drive Monday-Friday, joined by weekday regular co-hosts Robert Damron, Damon Hack and Lauren Thompson.
Mark Wahlberg’s Unrealistic Ideas and Peter Berg’s Film 45 have set a multi-series partnership with rising sports streaming outlet DAZN, according to Deadline. The report states that the pair will launch the venture by teaming for an edition of DAZN’s 40 Days tied to Gennady “GGG” Golovkin’s fight with Steve Rolls at Madison Square Garden on June 8.
Major League Baseball is once again bringing its All-Star Game to Atlanta, cementing plans for a 2021 appearance at SunTrust Park. The game had previously been played at Atlanta Stadium in 1972 and at Turner Field in 2000.
Stadium announced a new partnership with Major League Lacrosse to air twelve games throughout the 2019 season in addition to producing weekly segments featured in Stadium’s daily studio programming. “The sport of lacrosse has been an important component to Stadium since our inception and we’re excited to partner with Major League Lacrosse for the 2019 season,” said Stadium CEO Jason Coyle. “The experience and vision shown by the new leadership team at MLL has been a tremendous addition to the league and we’re all looking forward to the upcoming season.”
TNT and B/R Live will showcase this year’s UEFA Champions League FinalLiverpool vs. Tottenham – on Saturday at 3p. B/R Football Matchday presented by Pepsi will preview the action with a special 90-minute show, live from Estadio Metropolitano in Madrid at 1:30p, incorporating both a pitch view studio and on-field location with host Kate Abdo, and analysts Stuart Holden, Steve Nash and Maurice Edu. The NBA’s Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks will join the B/R Football broadcast as special guests.
FOX Sports announced that WBC World Welterweight Champion Shawn Porter will join Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and host Chris Myers to call FS1 PBC Fight Night: Devon Alexander vs. Ivan Redkach tomorrow night at 8p. In addition, Jordan Hardy reports and interviews fighters, while Ray Flores serves as host on the FS2 PRELIMS and is the FS1 ring announcer.
FloSports and the National Fastpitch Alliance unlocked a partnership designed to provide live and on-demand coverage of the first ever Schutt Sports NFA National Championships for 2019 and 2020 on FloSoftball.com. FloSoftball will provide comprehensive coverage of the 2019 Schutt Sports NFA National Championships on July 15-20, 2019 in Gulfport, Mississippi. The Championships will feature coverage of the 14U, 16U, and 18U age divisions, totaling more than 120 teams.
Meanwhile, CBC Sports and National Pro Fastpitch announced today a partnership that will see live coverage of 13 games played by Canada’s national softball team, known as the Canadian Wild, available on CBC Sports streaming platforms and on CBC Gem.
We’d like your opinion for our 2019 Readership Survey. Honestly, it shouldn’t take more than 3-4 minutes of your time and we’ll really appreciate it.
As a bonus, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card and a ticket to That Big TV Conference in September. There will be a total of 5 winners!


Expected top NBA Draft pick Zion Williamson selected talent and sports agency Creative Artists Agency to be his representative with Austin Brown and Lisa Joseph-Metelus repping the former Duke player, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Golden State Warriors, Chase Center and Williams-Sonoma, Inc. announced a partnership for Williams-Sonoma to be the Official Furniture and Home Design Partner of the NBA team. Under the partnership, Williams-Sonoma will furnish multiple areas at Chase Center, including courtside lounges, multiple bar spaces, the club suites and the Warriors Corporate Offices. The Williams-Sonoma Inc. Family Lounge, designed for the family and friends of Warriors’ players, will feature a curated collection of furniture and décor from Williams-Sonoma’s family of brands, with exclusively designed pieces that showcase the company’s leadership in product innovation and sustainability.
The NHL announced that indie pop band Echosmith will headline the 2019 Stanley Cup Final concert and viewing party on Market Street in St. Louis before Game 3 on Saturday. The sibling trio will take the outdoor stage in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final Party before the Blues face the Boston Bruins at Enterprise Center at 7p.

With the NBA Finals officially underway, Facebook and Instagram announced fan engagements that will run throughout the series, include Facebook Stories contribution stickers, Fan stickers and Polling on Facebook, while Instagram will serve up Instagram Shopping, and an Instagram Story takeover, that will see the NBA partner with the official @Instagram account to help generate Instagram Stories content from Game 2 of the NBA Finals, which will be shared with the account’s more than 302 million followers.
Meanwhile, NBA Finals official sponsor YouTubeTV is offering its own twists on the series for streamers, including the availability of the “Hide all scores for this team/league” feature in YouTube TV to hide the score and prevent spoilers. In addition, audiences can access team and player stats linked to the exact moment they are watching.

ReKTGlobal added another voice to its lineup of investors, announcing the addition of Latin music producer Tainy and music executive Lex Borrero as investors. Fresh off the esports entity’s Series A announcement that raised $10.8 million in funding, Tainy and Borrero will now join EDM staple Steve Aoki and Billboard Award-winning Imagine Dragons as co-owners of the organization, the parent company of professional global esports organization Rogue. As co-owners, Tainy and Borrero will support the growth of ReKTGlobal and Rogue in Latin America through strategic partnerships. They will also create and deliver creative streaming content alongside Rogue players and strengthen awareness around the team’s Junior Rogue program for amateur gamers and enthusiasts.
ELEAGUE is set to showcase the Grand Final of its inaugural EA SPORTS FIFA 19 Major – where the world’s top-ranked FIFA player Donovan “F2Tekkz” Hunt faces emerging star Diogo Eurico Fidalgo ‘tuga810’ Pombo on Sunday at 2p on TBS. The show will look back on the high-stakes showdown, which saw the winner earn a majority of the event’s $100,000 prize pool to go with the 1,500 EA SPORTS FIFA 19 Global Series Points awarded to both finalists.

XFL announced a slate of new hires at the XFL HQ, XFL Los Angeles, XFL Seattle and XFL New York. At the league headquarters, Paul White has joined the XFL as Director of CPG, Licensing & Partnerships and will oversee the XFL’s consumer products business including setting strategy for both league and team e-commerce and stadium merchandising operations. In Los Angeles, the company announced the hire of Steven Graciano as the Head of Marketing for the LA team. In NY, the team sees Anthony Zucconi join as Head of Marketing. Finally, XFL Seattle named Chris Savio as Senior Director of Corporate Partnerships, and Jim Christman as Team Director, Communications and Media Relations.


Bruins/Blues in Game 3 on NBCSN at 8p.

ON THIS DAY in 1983: The Sixers sweep the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

In the Know: Who is the only member of the 76ers to win what is now known as the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What number did the Yankees retire to honor Whitey Ford? Answer: #16. Kudos: Rob Casalaina-ITN/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY Danny Turk-Tough Mudder/NY; Barry Katz-NEP Studios/NY; Joe Brucia-AMC Networks/NY; Peter Lasser-Lasser Productions/Atlanta; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA
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