05/03/26: NBC gives Derby a social rush; NASCAR’s Krabby move; Raycom Sport’s new CEO


Good morning. It’s Tuesday May 3, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

NBC Sports Group is running its “most comprehensive social media plan ever” for the 142nd Kentucky Derby. The plan kicks in starting today and will feature the likes of a  tweet-powered brooch worn by fashion and lifestyle reporter Johnny Weir, live streams of Churchill Downs via Periscope’s GoPro integration as well as Facebook Live chats on the red carpet with event reporter Rutledge Wood. Weir’s tweet-powered brooch will gallop and illuminate as more conversation is generated on Twitter while the Peacock Paddock will go live on Facebook and feature a 55-inch touch screen monitor to showcase social media trends, Kentucky Derby parties around the country, and assist Weir and Tara Lipinski’s fashion segments. Other elements will be housed at a “social center” NBCSports.com/Derby to allow fans to access and sort social media content from Instagram, Twitter and Vine via various streams including horse racing experts, horses, and more.


ESPN tapped seven Big Ten Conference college football games for Saturday primetime on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2 during the upcoming season. The slate includes eight Big Ten teams in the spotlight, with Ohio State showcased for four consecutive weeks in the schedule — Oct. 15 and Oct. 22 (at Wisconsin, at Penn State) and Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 (vs. Northwestern, vs. Nebraska). Michigan opens the slate at Rutgers on Oct. 8. 

The PGA TOUR will offer 12 original 30-minute programs, produced by PGA TOUR Entertainment, which will run starting this month on CBS Sports Network. The programs include The 9, a series counting down the Top-9 finishes, rivalries, seasons, moments and more in PGA TOUR history, as well as PGA TOUR Portraits, which focuses on the careers of current stars on the TOUR. The slate begins on May 4 at 7p and runs Wednesdays through August.

On the talent front, Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski will also serve as a staple for NBC’s coverage of the Olympics, with NBC naming the pair as correspondents this summer in Rio where they will explore “the rich culture, sights, sounds and, of course, fashion, of Rio.”

Elsewhere, former Ohio State and NFL running back Robert Smith signed on to join FOX Sports and BTN this fall for college football programming. Smith teams with host Rob Stone and analysts Dave Wannstedt and Matt Leinart for pregame, halftime and postgame coverage on the FOX broadcast network and FS1 and will appear on BTN studio shows throughout the week. He also hosts a weekly Sunday program on FOX Sports Radio during the football season.

Finally, Trent Dilfer is reportedly departing ESPN, ending his run as a NFL analyst and member of the Monday Countdown crew, according to the New York Daily News. The report also states that ESPN college football and basketball talent Brad Nessler will also leave to join CBS to work NFL games.

NBCSN nabbed its best Premier League rating ever with a .83 Nielsen overnight score for Sunday’s Leicester City/Manchester United match. Top markets included Austin, West Palm Beach, DC, Kansas City and Chicago.
The NHL updated its 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for the weekend, announcing that Game 5 of the Second Round series between the Stars/Blues will take place at 1p on Saturday on NBC. Game 5 of the Caps/Penguins runs at 7:15p that day on NBC, while Game 5 of the Sharks/Predators airs at 10p on NBCSN. Sunday’s actions will see Game 5 between the Lightning/Islanders set for 3p on NBC.

ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 series returns Saturday, May 14, with Believeland at 9:30p on the flagship channel. The documentary will “chronicle the struggles of Cleveland’s major sports franchises over the past 50 years and the impact it has all had on the psyche of a typical Cleveland sports fan” and is directed by Andy Billman.


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NASCAR and Nickelodeon are doubling down on their partnership, launching a new line of SpongeBob SquarePants-themed fan merchandise including apparel, lanyards, beach towels, flags, koozies and more. Merchandise if available now at the NASCAR.com Superstore while this summer will see the addition of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles merchandise as well. Of course, as previously announced, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway will kick off of the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

MLS is teaming up with Neutrogena for May’s Skin Cancer Awareness Month. The Neutrogena Choose Skin Health campaign will be anchored by the #ChooseSkinHealth hashtag and will see the color orange displayed around the league to promote the Choose Skin Health campaign in-stadium during the entire. Official MLS match balls will have a unique Choose Skin Health decal and players will be provided with orange sweatbands and Neutrogena Cool Dry Sport sunscreen to wear on-field while MLS ball kids will be outfitted in campaign T-shirts.

UFC renewed its partnership with the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation to support the safe practice and promotion of amateur mixed martial arts. IMMAF and its global activations will continue to be integrated across UFC social and digital platforms, as well as select events being added to the UFC FIGHT PASS library. “We are excited to provide our continued global support to IMMAF,” UFC Vice President of Government Relations and Corporate Communications Mike Britt said. “IMMAF has done a tremendous job of bridging the gap between amateur MMA organizations throughout the world while providing a universally integrated set of procedures and measures to keep athletes of all levels safe.”
FC Barcelona named Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment as its exclusive partner to manage worldwide naming rights and sponsorship for its new Espai Barca development project. VWSE will feature a new European office to manage the project through the firm’s consultancy  VWSE Team and Venue Services Division  led by Senior Vice President Chris Allphin.“Our business is built to meet this type of global challenge. This isn’t about brokering a deal and moving on to the next  it’s about working with FC Barcelona to ensure that a rights package can add to the overall fan experience,” said Richard Schaps, CEO of Van Wagner Group.

FC Bayern Munich locked in a deal with Las Vegas-based brand management and licensing agency One Entertainment for a licensing partnership designed to accelerate the club’s branded merchandising strategy in North America. One Entertainment will work with FC Bayern to market, promote and license the team across a wide range of product categories, including apparel, accessories and housewares.

GMS Racing announced that Weber, manufacturer of charcoal, gas and electric grills, grilling accessories and other outdoor room products, will serve as primary sponsor for Ben Kennedy in the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado for select races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The deal will mark Weber’s first primary sponsorship in the NASCAR realm.


ESPN is offering a half season package of the 2016 VIVO Indian Premier League season via ESPN Cricket Pass. Live and replay streaming for the half season in English (30 matches: 26 regular season, four post season) is now available to purchase for $14.99 on the site.



Twitter reports that eight million Tweets about the NFL Draft were seen 4.2 billion times on and off Twitter between April 28-20.

In addition, Twitter announced that fans of the Olympics can now access exclusive emoji about the Summer Games using hashtags #OlympicFlame /#ChamaOlimpica (Portuguese) as well as #RoadToRio /#RumoAoRio (Portuguese) and #RumboARio (Spanish).


Sportradar unveiled the launch of new deep data coverage for eSports via its API, offering a data feed that provides key data points such as stats and results leading game titles and tournaments, including CS:GO, Dota 2, League of Legends and StarCraft II. The move is designed to ensure media companies have the tools to cover eSports in the same manner as they would traditional sports utilizing the likes of scores, statistics, X/Y positioning, standings, leaderboards and schedules. “The rise of eSports in every facet, from the quality of the competitions to the shear growth of the sport, is tremendous. What stands out to us is the number of digital media companies looking to acquire data and content that will allow them to provide in-depth coverage on a day-to-day basis. Sportradar is truly unlocking the power of eSports data for our clients and partners across the globe.” said Will Thornton, Business Development Manager, US at Sportradar. For more, be sure to read Thursday’s eSports edition. 

Team EnVyUs is plotting a new home in Charlotte, announcing plans to build an all-inclusive facility targeting interactive entertainment that will include a studio, arena, offices, LAN center, and training facility, according to Yahoo eSports. The venue will also be used to host eSports tournaments and technology camps.


Hunter Nickell was named CEO for Raycom Sports, bringing in experience that includes Sports South, FOX Sports, SPEED, IMG College and Mulberry Street Media Company, LLC. “Hunter brings a wealth of experience to Raycom Sports.” said Paul McTear, President and CEO of Raycom Media. McTear continued, “We just couldn’t pass on the opportunity to have a leader with his experience take the helm of our very successful team at Raycom Sports. We look forward to his insights and leadership over the coming years.”

Disney Media Distribution and Disney and ESPN Media Networks promoted Mia Rondinella to Senior Vice President, Global Distribution and Strategy. Rondinella will oversee Disney & ESPN Media Networks’ domestic affiliate sales and marketing business strategy group and manage the global distribution business operations and strategy team for Disney Media Distribution. 

NFL Media Chief Digital Officer and head of media operations Perkins Miller is heading to StubHub to serve as general manager for North America. In this role, he will focus on growing StubHub’s business in North America and exploring new ways of partnering within the events and experiences industry.

ONE Championship announced the addition of three key senior hires to join its executive leadership team: Pithambar Gona as ONE Championship’s Chief Financial Officer, Kevin Sim as Head of Media Rights Sales, and Kevin Matas as Head of Marketing.


Heat/Raptors on TNT at 8p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1992: Eddie Murray becomes the 24th MLB player to hit 400 HRs.

In The Know: What number did the Orioles retire to honor Eddie Murray? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who is known as “Mr. Cub”? Answer: Ernie Banks. Kudos: Josh Lappin-MLBAM/NY; Josh Santry-IF Management/NY; Ben Osborne-SLAM Magazine/NY; Steve Stander-A+E Networks/NY; John Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Chris Kiernan-MVPindex/Southport; Barb Throm-True Media/Columbia; Rick Hensley-WCYB-TV/Bristol; Kevin R. Morris-Morris Marketing & Communications/Glenview; Jay Goslee-FOX17/Nashville; John Ward-Tennis Channel/Chicago; Randy Artcher-FOX Home Team Sports/Dallas; Scott Sarra-NBC Sports Group/Denver; David Hauptman/Denver; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Michael Jaquet-U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association/Park City; Scott Brofman-Renegade83/LA; Bruce Trotter-CoxReps/LA; Bob Ramsey/Palm Springs; Jeff Mirkin-Telescope/2:05 Engagement/Santa Monica.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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JOB OPENING: CULTURAL ANALYST, TV & MEDIA/TruthCo./NYC: Use semiotic methods to analyze and decode media. Capable of synthesizing research findings and articulating cultural insights. Understanding of critical theory and semiotics. Client presentation skills are a must. Full info/apply HERE (5/4)

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