05/09/18: UFC and Disney locked up a multi-year deal to carry events on ESPN+

Good morning. It’s Wednesday May 9, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.


UFC is bringing its muscle to ESPN, locking in a deal with The Walt Disney Company’s new Direct-To-Consumer & International segment for a multi-year media rights agreement that will see exclusive live UFC content run on ESPN+, as well as across a variety of ESPN’s television, social and digital platforms, in English and Spanish, starting January 2019. The deal will see 15 live UFC events stream exclusively on the digital platform, with each event branded “UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night” with a full card of 12 UFC bouts. On the linear front, ESPN will carry a variety of UFC content including an exclusive, 30-minute special previewing upcoming bouts and breaking down match ups leading up to each UFC PPV.
“UFC is a premier global sports property with legions of incredibly avid fans,” said Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN President and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks. “We are excited to be able to bring their world-class events and content to ESPN+ and the ESPN networks.  This agreement shows the commitment we have to delivering fans the very best across our entire platform.” 
 “I couldn’t be more excited to partner with The Walt Disney Company and ESPN on an agreement that will continue to grow our sport,” said Dana White, UFC President. “UFC has always done deals with the right partners at the right time and this one is no exception. We will now have the ability to deliver fights to our young fan base wherever they are and whenever they want it. This deal is a home run for ESPN and UFC.”


We’ll tackle the Sports Emmys tomorrow…
Through Sunday’s Stanley Cup Playoff games, NBC Sports reports that coverage of the second round is ranking as the best on record and up 19% vs. last year, averaging a Total Audience Delivery of 1.547 million viewers across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. In addition, the TAD for the entire 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs continues to be the best in six years, up 10% vs. 2017. Monday night’s two Game 6s on NBCSN generated overnight rating increases vs. 2017 and local ratings milestones. The series-clinching Washington-Pittsburgh Game 6 delivered a 1.73 overnight rating, NBCSN’s second-best overnight for a Second Round game — excluding Game 7s — and up 14% vs. the comparable game last year. Nashville-Winnipeg produced a 1.04 overnight, up 55% vs. last year’s Second Round average for late games.
Speaking of which, the NHL unlocked the 2018 Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Final schedule and broadcast information for the series between the Capitals and the Lightning. Play begins on Friday at 8p on NBCSN. NBC Sports Washington will also surround all seven potential third-round games with more than two hours of live Capitals news, analysis and commentary. Coverage will include pregame and postgame live from Capital One Arena for Caps home games and from Amalie Arena in Tampa for Caps road games. In the west, the Golden Knights will open play at 4:30p on Saturday against either Nashville or Winnipeg with the game running on NBC.
The US/Canada/Mexico World Cup bid is touting that the united bid to host a North American 2026 World Cup would produce profits approaching $11 billion for FIFA. According to Inside the Games, Carlos Cordeiro, President of US Soccer and co-chairman of the United bid, said that revenues would top $14 billion for the event.
The World Long Drive Association season continues next week at the Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun. The inaugural event will feature a 36-person field with live coverage running in primetime on Golf Channel from 8-10p on May 15. The production centering around live coverage of the competition will utilize six dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including a SuperMo camera as well as two craned-positioned cameras that will track the ball in flight once it leaves the competitor’s clubface
Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 1:30PM EST
NBCU, Nielsen will explore and explain the types of metrics and data that can best optimize results for both networks and brands. Attendees will learn the latest methods for effectively targeting precision audiences and the best practices for combining first-party data with third party research to extend the reach of television campaigns.


Budweiser unleashed its new global campaign, “Light Up the FIFA World Cup,” designed to showcase the “energy of the world’s biggest sporting event and Budweiser’s passion for energizing fans as they watch and celebrate their favorite players, moments and teams throughout the tournament.” Major highlights of the campaign include global advertising featuring the largest beer delivery to date, the deployment of eight million noise-activated Red Light Cups that light up in response to fan cheering, and a variety of integrated experiential, digital and social programs launching in more than 50 countries.
Matchpoint Agency is taking root under the Lagardere Plus umbrella where it will now serve as the charity events and management arm of the company and offer additional event and production capabilities alongside Rooftop2 Productions. The group will also provide expertise to Lagardére Sports’ more than 250 athlete clients looking to build or enhance their charitable activities.
The New York Jets are trying to tap the talents of local small businesses as part of the first ever New York Jets Small Business Showcase presented by M&T Bank. Five small business finalists will be invited to attend Pitch Night at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center during the week of July 9, where they will present to a panel of Jets and M&T Bank executives for final consideration. The winning small business will receive a $100,000 sponsorship with the New York Jets for the 2018 football season.


Telemundo Deportes is partnering with Panini America ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia with the launch of Telemundo’s first-ever augmented reality experience for all things World Cup. The collaboration launched with the new 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Sticker Collection by Panini with the AR content live in the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app, featuring new posts on a weekly basis for fans to enjoy. The AR experience will include 10-second videos highlighting Telemundo Deportes talent, historic moments and most memorable goals in World Cup history as well as features on this year’s host cities and stadiums.
The National Basketball Association and Intel Capital today announced a sports and entertainment technology innovation collaboration called the “NBA + Intel Capital Emerging Technology Initiative.” The multiyear alliance will look to foster the identification, formation and growth of technology companies that have the potential to impact the future of the NBA, sports and entertainment. Among the companies that the NBA and Intel Capital will assess will be those with new technology solutions that can enhance the NBA game on the court, the overall fan experience and the sports industry worldwide. In addition, the NBA and Intel Capital will provide mentorship, strategic planning and business development support for the selected companies.


The Call of Duty World League now has an official TV brand, inking a deal with TCL designed to help promote its 6-Series TVs. As an official partner, TCL will be featured in tournament broadcasts, as well as have branding in original Call of Duty World League programming. TCL will also engage with fans through on-site gaming lounges at the CWL Anaheim Open and at the 2018 Call of Duty World Championship, showcasing televisions for competition playback allowing fans to watch and interact with TCL’s latest products.


Former ESPN chief John Skipper landed a new role as executive chairman of Perform Group. “John is one of the most significant leaders in the history of our industry, and I am delighted that he has agreed to join me and the team to help take Perform to the next level of our ambitions,” Perform Group CEO Simon Denyer said in a statement released Tuesday morning.
The WNBA promoted Bethany Donaphin to Head of WNBA League Operations.  Donaphin, who has been serving as Associate Vice President, NBA Basketball Operations, will start her new position May 14 and oversee all on-court basketball operations, including playing rules, scouting, scheduling and venue compliance.  She also will oversee the management of referee operations and the administration of player-related policies and programs.
CBS Sports named Randall Liu as Vice President, Communications where he will work on the overall publicity and communications efforts for CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network. Liu was most recently the NFL’s Senior Director of Football Communications.


76ers/Celtics on TNT at 8p.
The Cynopsis Measurement & Data Conference
Thursday, August 2nd | 10am – 3:30pm | Dream Downtown, NYC
Sponsored by TV Time
Consistent measurement in the video world, regardless of device, remains the single most difficult puzzle in today’s media landscape, and is far from being solved. That’s why the Measurement & Data Conference will advance the conversation by having leading thinkers and doers examine the thorniest points in the discussion so we can all move forward – successfully.
ON THIS DAY in 2010: The A’s Dallas Braden becomes the 19th pitcher to throw a perfect game.
In the Know: Who was the only person in NBA history to be named Most Valuable Player, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year? (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 the all-time career scoring leader for the Denver Nuggets? Answer: Turns out they were the fourth. St. Louis Blues and Minnesota North Stars in 1968 and Toronto Arenas in 1918. Kudos: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Art Salisch-Hearst Television/NY; Troy Perlowitz-ESPN/Bristol; Bruce Bernstein-Freelancer/West Hartford; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Chris Maathuis-KLAS- 8 News Now/Las Vegas

Later – Chris
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Diane K Schwartz
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