05/12/17: The ACC extends Irish stay; NBCSN’s seventh heaven; WNBA gets in the fantasy game

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Good morning. It’s Friday May 12, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Notre Dame and the Atlantic Coast Conference are taking their football partnership into the next two decades, announcing a deal that will see the two orgs play five football games annually from 2026 through 2037 in a contract extension. The agreement continues a deal that began in 2014, after the school joined the league for its other sports. Highlights include Labor Day Monday night games at Clemson on Aug. 30, 2031 and at Virginia Tech on Sept. 1, 2036.
“The ACC’s football partnership with Notre Dame has been extremely successful throughout our first four seasons,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “As we look to the future, these games will continue to enhance the experience for our players, schools and fans.”

A pair of Stanley Cup Playoff Game 7s pushed NBCSN to its most-watched NHL doubleheader in network history, anchored by the Penguins/Capitals which averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 2.569 million viewers to rank as the fourth-most watched second round game in NBCSN history. The TAD was up 87% over last year’s equivalent and became the most streamed game in NHL history, delivering 15.3 million minutes and an Average Minute Audience of 88,300 viewers. Meanwhile, the TAD for Game 7 Oilers/Ducks series averaged 1.408 million viewers for a doubleheader TAD average of 1.990 million viewers, per Nielsen and Adobe, easilt besting the prior record of 1.717 million.
Speaking of the NHL, the league announced the dates, starting times and networks for the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs Conference Finals. The Eastern Conference Final pitting the Senators/Penguins begins on Saturday at May 13 at 7p on NBC, while the Western Conference Final featuring the Predators/Ducks starts tonight at 9p on NBCSN.  
UFC and FOX Networks Group Latin America locked in a multi-year deal that will see FOX carry over 160 hours of live UFC content annually, including PPV events, UFC Fight Nights, and The Ultimate Fighter. The partnership kicks off on Saturday with UFC 211: Miocic vs. Dos Santos 2 in Dallas. UFC content will also be available on Fox Sports and FOX Premium App & TV, FNG Latin America’s entertainment experience.
ESPN is going deep for Derek Jeter Night as his number is retired by the Yankees. Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown from Yankee Stadium will begin at 6:30p on ESPN with on-site with the ceremony shown live on Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown.
El Rey Network hits its first year as the television broadcast partner of SCORE International with two one-hour specials surrounding the four-race 2017 SCORE World Desert Championship. The first show runs on May 31 and will look to “introduce audiences to the sizzling speeds and daring drama that bond the multi-generational families who race in the world’s foremost desert racing organization.” The second show runs on June 18 and will spotlight race coverage of the season-opening 31st SCORE San Felipe 250. Gustavo ‘Tavo’ Vildosola Jr, Mike Escamilla and Cherry Martini host, with the race airing on June 18 at 5:30p.
Telemundo took on the upfronts detailing plans to carry the Spanish-language broadcast of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia next season. Overall, Telemundo Deportes will showcase more than 700 hours of coverage, slating  56 matches on Telemundo with eight matches on Universo and the entire lineup of shows produced from a center stage in Moscow, On the digital front, the network will offer the first-ever virtual reality (VR) experience for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
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Major League Baseball and Church & Dwight renewed their sponsorship agreement that will see ARM & HAMMER continue to be designated the Official Laundry Detergent of MLB, while OxiCleanT remains the league’s Official Stain Fighter. Church & Dwight will focus a majority of their promotional activity online with multiple digital campaigns as part of this agreement, with campaigns that include the sweepstakes “All-Star Mom” and “Clean Up & Win,” and a presenting sponsorship of MLB media assets’ coverage related to National Food Days during the season.
LA2024 brought out the heavyweights while hosting a 70-member IOC delegation examining the city as a potential Olympic host. LA2024 welcomed the officials, according to the AP, with celebrity guests that included Kobe Bryant, Placido Domingo, Sylvester Stallone, Gustavo Dudamel and Bob Iger. The group visited potential venues yesterday, including Stapes Center, the Rose Bowl, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the campuses of Southern California and UCLA.
GEICO has been named title sponsor of the inaugural High School Lacrosse Nationals. The event pits the top high school lacrosse teams across the US and Canada and will be televised on ESPNU and streamed on ESPN3, with the quarterfinals slated to begin on May 28.

The WNBA and FanDuel locked in a new partnership that makes FanDuel the official, one-day fantasy partner of the league. With play set to tip off on Saturday, fans will be able to access the “Official One-Day Fantasy Game of the WNBA” and compete for daily WNBA prizes, including courtside tickets to regular season games, unique WNBA experiences, WNBA merchandise and memorabilia. “We are constantly looking to innovate by finding new opportunities to engage with our passionate fans and introduce the WNBA to wider audiences,” said WNBA President Lisa Borders. “This partnership with FanDuel and our new one-day fantasy game will be a fresh, unique way for fans to further connect with their favorite WNBA players and teams throughout our season.”
Sports Illustrated Play and US Futsal formed a wide-ranging technology and development partnership, that marks SI Play the Official Technology Partner of USFF, its leagues and more than 110,000 members nationwide. SI Play’s Tourney Machine will now organize and manage all USFF-sanctioned events and SI Play will develop the official US Futsal website which launched yesterday.

Following reports that a high entry fee was stalling progression for the upcoming Overwatch League, Blizzard Entertainment issued an official statement to the news, telling Yahoo that, “First, we want to be clear that our ultimate goal is to create an exciting Overwatch esports ecosystem, the pinnacle of which will be the Overwatch League, that’s accessible to a wide audience, sustainable, and rewarding for everyone involved,” and adding that “The league is built upon the best elements of endemic esports programs and traditional sports, and we’re in active discussions with many teams and owners from both worlds because it will take a village to stand up a league with such an unprecedented structure.” The company added, “We look forward to officially sharing real details about the league and the ecosystem as a whole as we continue the development process. In the meantime we are staying focused on our goal of creating an awesome Overwatch esports experience for players, partners, and fans, and we want to thank everyone for their continued support.”
Newzoo unveiled its newest esports research with the report stating that 191 million consumers will watch esports frequently in 2017 while another 194 million will watch esports “occasionally” across the countries of the US, Canada, Germany, U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden. Meanwhile, the study found that 42% of League of Legends, Dota 2, or CS:GO viewers do not play the game and that 70% of fans exclusively watch one of the big three esports titles.
SK Gaming announced partnership plans with Razer to serve as the exclusive audio partner. The deal will see Razer provide SK Gaming team members with the pro-audio products while players will support Razer during product development and validation processes. “We are truly excited to work with an esports powerhouse like SK Gaming,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “We both have a hunger for winning and a deep love for competitive gaming in our DNA, and together we will set new milestones in esports.”

Celtics/Wizards on ESPN tonight at 8p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1985: Chris Evert’s 125-match winning streak on clay comes is broken.
In The Know : How many points was a field goal originally worth in American football (talking pre-1904 here)? (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 is sported by “race car” Herbie the Love Bug? Answers: 53. Kudos: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Tim Gardner-WME/IMG/NY; Bruce Jackson-Disney and ESPN Media Networks/NY; Ken White-KWTV/Charlotte; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Red Bulls/Harrison; Randy Ingram-WISH-TV/myINDY-TV/Indianapolis; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Andy Nelson-Heartland Industries/Richland; John Kukla-KDFW FOX 4/KDFI my27/Dallas; Will Allmendinger-Clear Channel Outdoor/Chicago; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

Later — Chris

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