05/11/16: CONCACAF wants SUM; ESPN/Verizon sign truce; Twitch gets to Dew drones


Good morning. It’s Wednesday May 11, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football is turning to Soccer United Marketing to market and service the Confederation’s worldwide sponsorship rights through the end of 2021 following a Request for Proposal process conducted. The commercial arm of MLS will now represent national team championships, including the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the CONCACAF Cup and the Women’s World Cup Qualifying Championship, as well as youth championships and club championships. The confederation has been without a marketing partner since last July, when it terminated its contract with Traffic Sports USA following federal indictments of its officials. 

“CONCACAF is delighted to have reached this agreement with SUM, one of the most highly recognized marketing companies within the sport,” said CONCACAF Acting General Secretary Ted Howard. “We are confident that SUM’s global network and expertise will play a vital role in negotiating innovative sponsorship opportunities for our tournaments and events. This partnership will bring the Confederation’s major competitions closer to fans, while expanding the reach of CONCACAF football throughout the region and the world.”


Nyquist’s run to history at the Kentucky Derby averaged 15.5 million viewers for NBC Sports, slightly off-pace from last year’s run but still marking the fourth consecutive year the “Run for the Roses” has topped 15 million viewers on NBC, according to final data from Nielsen. Viewership peaked with 17.9 million viewers when Nyquist crossed the finish line, equaling the peak for American Pharoah’s run a year ago. In addition, the network’s carriage of a Stanley Cup Playoff game in primetime after the race drummed up 4.164 million viewers to rank as the second-most watched non-Stanley Cup Final game in 23 years.

FOX Sports served up details for its upcoming Colin Cowherd/Jason Whitlock-anchored series Speak for Yourself, which will debut on FS1 at 6p. The hour-long show will cover “all of the headlines from across the world of sports,” and offer “uniquely differing viewpoints in a thoughtful, conversational one-hour format.” Content includes an opening discussion of top news and headlines each day, along with other segments such as “Read Between The Lines,” where contributors present the day’s most provocative stories from different angles, a one-on-one interview portion and a “Good Bet/Bad Bet” feature addressing daily stories with a gambling twist.

TNT’s coverage of the Warriors/Trail Blazers telecast on Monday averaged 6.2 million viewers for the network to rank as its most-viewed NBA Playoff game since the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 4. Overall, the doubleheader averaged 5.1 million total viewers for the night, up 26% over last year’s comparable numbers.

Ian Darke and Fernando Palomo have been tapped to lead ESPN’s match commentator teams in English and Spanish languages, respectively, during this summer’s UEFA European Football Championship. Darke will be joined by English-language voices Jon Champion, Derek Rae and Adrian Healey, with Max Bretos and Mark Donaldson also taking part.English-language match analysts include Taylor Twellman, Steve McManaman, Stewart Robson, Alejandro Moreno, Tommy Smyth, Paul Mariner, and former U.S. Women’s National Team defender Kate Markgraf. Palomo leads play-by-play voices Ricardo Ortiz; Omar Orlando Salazar, Emilio Fernando Alonso and Jorge Ramos with Tato Noriega, Mario Kempes, Roberto Gomez Junco, Ricardo Mayorga and Hernan Pereyra as analysts.

Meanwhile, ESPN2 delivers the 2016 NBA Draft Combine tomorrow from 3-7p, offering whip-around coverage from the two scheduled five-on-five scrimmages on both Thursday and Friday, in addition to the regular set of drills: max vertical leap, no-step vertical leap, court sprint, shuttle drill, bench press and shooting drills.

Don’t miss our session, Punch Your Ticket to VR, to learn how to leverage your brand in this hot space with speakers that include Oculus, FOX Sports, Livelike and more! Sign up early before prices spike and claim your sport to the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit on June 22. Get your tickets now by clicking here.

The NFL announced that 19 current and former NFL players will take part in the tenth annual NFL Broadcast Boot Camp next week starting May 16 at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, NJ. This year, six Broadcast Boot Camp graduates will participate in the "Advanced Broadcasting" program. The camp is co-directed by the NFL Player Engagement and NFL broadcasting departments, and features instructors from top broadcast and radio networks, including Big Ten Network, CBS, ESPN, FOX, NBC, NFL Network, SiriusXM, and Westwood One Radio. Participants will also have the opportunity to earn a guest host spot with one of the league’s United Kingdom broadcasting partners during the 2016 season.


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The PGA TOUR, LPGA and Topgolf Entertainment Group formed a strategic alliance designed to create new fans, participants and enthusiasts for the sport as well as enhance the playing and fan experiences through event and media initiatives. The four primary areas of focus: linking PGA TOUR and LPGA tournament activities to local Topgolf venues; reciprocal distribution of content from both Tours through Topgolf platforms; Grow the Game initiatives supported by Topgolf venues; and exploring opportunities for PGA TOUR and LPGA-related experiences on the World Golf Tour digital game.

USA Today Sports and Mazda North American Operations locked in a new partnership surrounding the USA TODAY Sports Active Alliance  a network of independent marathons in a move that makes the auto brand the Presenting Sponsor of the slate. “Mazda is an emotion-invoking company that attracts customers who are very engaged in the things they do,” said Russell Wager, VP of Marketing, Mazda North American Operations. “Our customers tend to lead an active lifestyle and we want to be there to support them in their endeavors, but do it in an organic way. Running is one of those passions and we are proud to be part of the USA Today Sports Active Alliance.”

Elsewhere, the Dallas Marathon board of directors inked a multiyear title sponsorship agreement with BMW of North America and the Dallas-Fort Worth Area BMW Centers for the Dallas Marathon. The event will now be known as the BMW Dallas Marathon, Half Marathon and Behringer Relay. Activations will see BMW serve as the official automobile partner of the Dallas Marathon and participate in year-round Dallas Marathon-organized events including the RunDallas Race Series, Oncor Mayor’s Race 5K, the Pro Relay Challenge and monthly BMW Dallas Marathon social runs held throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. BMW also plans to launch exclusive contests for BMW Dallas Marathon participants.
TomTom locked in a deal to sponsor NBC’s upcoming series, Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge, which will see the TomTom Spark Fitness Watch give viewers a look at athletes’ actual vitals as they compete. The show debuts on June 13 and see competitors outfitted with the watch to help them train while their biometric data will be broadcast during the show. TomTom, of course, is also the official Fitness Watch of the Spartan Race.

Brooklyn-based sports technology start-up Storelli is tapping the talents of international soccer players Iker Casillas and Oscarto topline its new campaign that “reimagines what soccer gear looks like, enabling players to withstand the physicality of the modern game without compromising on speed and performance.” The campaign kicks-off with “The Dark Side of the Beautiful Game,” a film featuring the two athletes participating in a “fight club-esque” soccer training session in the early hours of the morning as the recruit and coach a crop of players.


ESPN and Verizon called a truce to a lawsuit, reaching a settlement over Verizon’s Custom TV packages that didn’t include ESPN, which the sports network said violated its contract. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed. In February, Verizon revamped its base packages to offer an option of sports channels like ESPN.

A congressional subcommittee is set to explore the daily fantasy sports industry today in Washington, D.C., according to ESPN. The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will hold a hearing dubbed "Daily Fantasy Sports: Issues and Perspectives" designed to focus on the legal controversies surrounding daily fantasy sports, the key consumer-protection issues and whether federal oversight is needed.


eSports stalwart Twitch is adding a new twist to its collection of gaming and other videos. Mountain Dew is unveiled a global partnership with DR1 Racing that will stream on the platform for a new drone racing series that marks the first branded partnership and national broadcast for the fledgling sport. The DR1 Invitational presented by Mountain Dew will air this August in a one-hour broadcast special. In addition to the partnership with DR1, Dew unveiled its new TV and digital spot "Drone Hunting" to anchor year two of the brand’s global "Do The DEW" marketing campaign. Additional PepsiCo brands supporting the DR1 Invitational presented by Mountain Dew include Amp Energy and Doritos. In addition, Mountain Dew signed and sponsored a drone racing pilot: DR1 drone racing pilot Tommy "Ummagawd" Tibajia from Huntington Beach.

ESL locked in a deal with Pilgrim Media Group to create and distribute original eSports entertainment content for television and digital platforms. "Pilgrim has a long history of creating competition programming that taps into the passion of fans  whether the playing field is the Octagon, the wilderness, on a fishing boat or in an arena,” said Pilgrim Media Group CEO Craig Piligian. “We’re extremely excited to bring the power, scope and mental muscle of gaming to television in a way that helps these loyal fans experience esports as never before."

Wanna dip your toes into eSports but don’t know where to start or how to engage? The solution lies at the Cynopsis eSports Conference on June 23 in NYC. Hear from the leagues, players, platforms, owners and brands that have spawned hundreds of millions of fans around the world who will break down the data, marketing tactics and the future of the industry. Don’t miss out and get your tickets today by clicking here!


NFL Media promoted David Nickoll and Rick Qualliotine to newly-designed roles with Nickoll now serving as the Executive Producer of NFL Now and Alternative Programming, while Qualliotine becomes the Vice President of Emerging Production Platforms and Systems. Nickoll and Qualliotine were previously with the NFL Media team on a freelance basis.


Trail Blazers/Warriors on TNT at 10:30p.



eSports is on the verge of exploding & competitive gaming is taking center stage as communities of Millennials convene to interact, engage & compete in global tournaments.
This sector is projected to top 335MM fans worldwide with revenues exceeding the $1Bn by 2017. That’s why the smart marketers, brands & agencies will be joining Cynopsis Sports on 6/23 to learn how to understand & leverage this market at our info packed conference.

Sponsored by Magid and rEvolution

ON THIS DAY in 2003: Rafael Palmeiro knocks his 500th HR.

In The Know: What was the name of Reebok’s “Office Linebacker”? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: The first full season of Sunday Night Football was split between which two channels? Answer: ESPN, TNT. Kudos: Aymon DeMauro-Discovery/NY; Ken Posner-ASSI/NY; Jay Goldstein-AdMore/NY; Michael Strauss-COXREPS/NY; Peter Lasser-Lasser Productions/Atlanta; Jon Miller-NBC Sports/NY; Rich Dubroff-CSNmidatlantic.com/Baltimore; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Joe Lyons/Dallas; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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