05/07/15: Golden Boy cries foul; Whistle hits the NewFronts; eSports hits $621 million



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Good morning. It’s Thursday May 7, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The battle between Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and Al Haymon is now officially getting into the legal ring. Golden Boy is suing for $300 million against Haymon and affiliated companies claiming multiple violations of the antitrust laws and the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act. The charges stem from Haymon’s launch of Premier Boxing Champions, signing deals to bring boxing back to primetime network television with the likes of NBC, CBS, ESPN and Spike TV, with the lawsuit claiming that Haymon has acted as both a manager and a promoter for his fighters, which is prohibited. The case was filed in Federal Court in Los Angeles.

"During my 25 years in boxing, I have watched far too many fighters be chewed up, spit out and left with nothing to sit idly by while Mr. Haymon flaunts a federal law meant to protect those who put everything on the line to entertain fans of our sport," said Oscar De La Hoya, Founder and President of Golden Boy Promotions in a statement to media outlets. "The Muhammad Ali Act was passed to help fighters avoid the fate that bedeviled so many of our predecessors; and I will do everything in my power to ensure this crucial piece of legislation is upheld and followed."

The LA Times, however, interviewed Lou DiBella, a former HBO executive who said he helped write the Ali Act, who said that Haymon had not broken the principals of the Ali Act, stating, ““What is being done is fine. The Ali Act is supposed to be protecting fighters. The idea is that managers aren’t supposed to be co-opted by promoters. I’m humored by the whole thing. Do you believe any of these fighters promoted by the PBC aren’t getting the best money in the industry? They’re not complaining.”


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On to Tuesday’s Sports Emmys. The ceremony saw NBC and ESPN end up bringing home the most trophies, led by NBC’s coverage of the XXII Olympic Winter Games which drew seven Awards. In addition, NBC’s presentation of Super Bowl XLIX earned the nod for Outstanding Live Sports Special, while Cris Collinsworth and Mike “Doc” Emrick also walked out as winners. ESPN’s trophies included: a first-time win by ESPN Deportes in the on-air personality Spanish-language category, while E:60 nabbed a trio of Awards and George Bodenheimer also was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Other notables include FOX Sports/FOX Sports 1 winning for Outstanding Live Sports Series for NASCAR on FOX; Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel capturing Outstanding Sports Journalism; MLB Network’s MLB Tonight winning its fourth award for Outstanding Daily Studio Show, with Harold Reynolds landing Outstanding Studio Analyst, while  Ken Rosenthal won for Outstanding Sports Reporter for his work with MLB Network, FOX, and FS1; and Univision winning two honors for the first time in the company’s history.

Here’s the overall tally by network group according to the Academy:
·  NBC Sports Group 17
·  ESPN 15
·  FOX Sports Media Group 11
·  MLB Media 4
·  HBO Sports 3
·  Univision 2
·  CBS 1
·  NFL Media 1
·  Turner Sports 1

The Spanish Football Federation is going on strike over a dispute with the government concerning television rights, according to the AP. The laws were passed last week and were designed to offer “a more balanced distribution of rights money across the top-flight clubs” across Spain. Old laws saw powerhouses Barcelona and Read Madrid score three times as much as other clubs in the Primera Division due to the fact that they were able to negotiate the sale of their own broadcasting rights. Now, 50% of TV money will be distributed evenly across the 20 top-flight teams. The decision means the final two rounds of La Liga play are set to be suspended, along with the Copa del Rey final.

MLB Network reports that the first four weeks of the 2015 MLB season, spanning April 6-May 3, became the most-watched four-week period in channel history, with total day audience figures up 6% versus the same period a year ago. In addition, new weekday morning show MLB Central, is up 19% over its time period in 2014, while game telecasts in April averaged 290,000 viewers, a 9% rise.

FOX Sports 1 sets up the U.S. Women’s National Team just ahead of the World Cup with a pair of Send-Off Series matches. The series begins on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10, with a friendly against the Republic of Ireland, followed by a match against Mexico on Sunday, May 17. JP Dellacamera calls both matches on-site alongside analysts Cat Whitehill and Tony DiCicco.

The NCAA certified three new bowls to its lineup to swell the total number of postseason games to an all-time high of 42, according to multiple reports. New this season will be the Cure Bowl in Orlando and well as games in Tucson, Arizona, and Austin, Texas. The Austin and Orlando games will pair up teams from the AAC and Sun Belt Conference while the Tucson game will pit the Mountain West/Conference USA.

Tribeca Digital Studios is partnering up with The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation to produce a second documentary together with director Judd Ehrlich. The new documentary will spotlight the story of the Salmon River High School girls lacrosse team “as they fight their way back from a losing season” as the “young women of Salmon River High have to navigate playing the sport they love while challenging traditional views and facing the day-to-day struggles of high school.”




Assembling the world’s foremost authorities on Sports Business, Marketing, Production, Digital and Advertising from around the industry.


Tuesday, June 16  I  New York City


NAPA is heading back to NASCAR once again, inking a deal to serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 24 car of Chase Elliott with Hendrick Motorsports in 2016. “This is a very exciting time for the NAPA family,” said Gaylord Spencer, senior vice president of marketing for NAPA Auto Parts. “Chase continues to represent our brand in a terrific way, and we couldn’t be more pleased to take our association with him to the next level. We look forward to working with Chase, the No. 24 team and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports.”

ESPN X Games teamed with MasterCraft Boats to televise MasterCraft Throwdown and Real Wake Driven by MasterCraft as part of the World of X Games series on ABC. The competition will mark the return of wakeboarding to the X Games franchise and take place on Aug. 8 and will be featured in a 90-minute live telecast at 2:30p on the network.

The NBA debuted a new spot for the Conference Semifinals ad as part of its “Lessons in Storytelling” playoffs campaign directed by Kathryn Bigelow and featuring Common. The showcases Common’s monologue of “incredible in-game moments throughout the ongoing series and highlights the excitement of intense playoff competition between the league’s most dynamic teams.” The ad can be found here.

Canon USA extended its multi-year partnership with Little League Baseball and Softball to serve as the official camera and printer sponsor of the organization. As part of the partnership, Canon and Little League are teaming up to present the "Picture Perfect Season,” a initiative kicking off this month with the Canon Little League Photo Contest powered by PIXMA Printers.

The 2015 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship launched an initiative to enhance the sports of football and rugby, setting up an open clinic for both youth football and rugby players to discuss and demonstrate safe tackling techniques. The clinic is led by Hollis Thomas and Ike Reese and take place at the new Academy Fields located on the grounds of PPL Park, and all players and coaches will be able to stay for the day’s final Rugby 7’s Championship match that day.


Whistle Sports made its NewFront debut Wednesday, looking to share its growth with agencies, announce its content lineup and introduce new communities aimed at fitness and soccer. Short-form video shows will include Faceoff, an ongoing head-to-head competition against digital star Dude Perfect; The Ultimate Tour, which features Ultimate Frisbee star Brodie Smith as he travels the world; Challenge Accepted, which has pro athletes such as the NBA’s Jeremy Lin and lacrosse champ Paul Rabil competing in various contests; and Next Trick Shot, in which the company leverages its reach of 72 million to find the next great trick-shot artist. Whistle says that its reach grows by 2 million each week, its YouTube subscribers currently stand at 16.8 million and its more than 75,000 videos have been seen more than 3.1 billion times.
Learfield Sports is buddying up with Snapchat, looking to “leverage Snapchat Live Stories, which allow Snapchatters at the same event to contribute their personal perspectives through video and photo Snaps to one collective story.” “This is a unique opportunity to help our school partners bring the incredible college sports experience to millions of hard-to-reach millennials on one of the most popular and fastest growing mobile platforms,” said Learfield Senior Vice President/Chief Content Officer Joe Ferreira. “Live Stories deliver a sense of community and excitement in a timely manner, a feeling no other medium can emulate,” added Ferreira.

The Atlanta Hawks released a new official team mobile application, ofering users with the first custom emoji keyboard in professional sports, as well as special access to seat upgrades and traffic alerts around Philips Arena. The downloadable custom keyboard was developed by Snaps and includes Hawks-themed emojis ranging from electronically-generated images of player logos and gear, to distinguishing features of players and Harry the Hawk.



Intelligence company SuperData Reseach reports that eSports are now a $621 million business. The report also says that there are now around 134 million eSports fans around the world with stateside fans typically being 87% male, with an average household income of $76,000. “Brand owners and advertisers are expected to adapt to emergent forms of entertainment, which will grow sponsorship deals across the segment,” the report says of sponsorship opportunities. “We anticipate an increase in ad spending by consumer packaged goods, automotive and technology brands.”


Broadcast TV viewer engagement company iPowow is set to continue its run with the Stanley Cup Playoffs, leveraging a new agreement with Rogers Sportsnet in Canada to provide its viewer engagement and participation platform to company telecasts of NHL matches through the remainder of the season. The platform enables TV viewers to interact with programs, engaging them through polls, games, quizzes, and other participation experiences. The iPowow broadcast tool has already been implemented on Rogers Sportsnet in a dedicated segment called “To the Point” while hockey fans have cast more than 3.1 million votes so far on the Rogers Sportsnet integrated platform. Its “Participation TV” platform is also being used on NBC Sports’ telecasts of the sport stateside.

Fluendo, an international company that enables multimedia and video on a variety of devices and operating systems, signed on for a new partnership with Truth Media LTD, to introduce LongoMatch, Fluendo’s video analysis software tool for sports, in Asia. The deal will see the LongoMatch developed and made available to coaches, athletic teams, and sports production professionals in China for sports that include soccer, basketball and badminton. LongoMatch will be available in local languages and will support coaches and local teams to improve technique, tactics and strategy.


Disney and ESPN Media Networks upped James Rollins to Vice President of Digital Video Distribution where he will be responsible for identifying and cultivating new product opportunities as well as driving the distribution of digital products and services with affiliates


Blackhawks/Wild on NBCSN at 9:30p.

ON THIS DAY in 1982: The Oakland Raiders to move to LA.

In The Know: How long (measured in distance, not time) is the Kentucky Derby? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What pitcher has the most wins for the Toronto Blue Jays? Answer: Dave Stieb. Kudos: Joel Lewin-Warner Bros./NY; Joe Brucia-NBC Universal/NY; Lon Samuelson-Hospital for Special Surgery NY; Aymon DeMauro-Discovery Communications/NY; Michael G. Hawkins-Francis Marion University/Florence; Rich Dubroff-CSNBaltimore.com/Baltimore; Steve Walker-Saatchi & Saatchi/Toronto; Alan Maynes-Bell Media/Toronto; Greg Dudsic/Venice; Robb Rothfarb-AdMore/Temecula; Neal Stevens-Stevens & Associates/Beverly Hills; John Mazur-KCET/Burbank.

Later — Chris
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