05/16/16: AEG’s experiential education; Will Millennials pay for sports?; eSports’ success launches WESA



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Good morning. It’s Monday May 16, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

With the 2016 Amgen Tour of California underway, last week’s announcement that NBC Sports Group and AEG locked in a three-year media rights extension for America’s largest cycling race proved to be another boon for the competition. The deal will serve up live coverage of the tour across NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra through 2019. Last year’s telecast averaged 194,000 viewers, for a 7% markup from the year before.

Blend the deal with AEG’s other recent projects, including Las Vegas’ brand new crown jewel in T-Mobile Arena, and the world’s leading sports and live entertainment company now owns, manages or consults with more than 120 preeminent arenas, stadiums, theaters, clubs and convention centers around the world including The O2 Arena, the Sprint Center and the Mercedes-Benz Arenas. Cynopsis Sports spoke with Nick Baker, SVP, AEG Global Partnership about how company’s strategies are evolving, its use of data as well as about the new Amgen deal with NBC. 

Baker on the Amgen Tour extension: It’s a very exciting testament to the partnership that we share with NBC and, of course, the race itself and the sport itself so we are thrilled to continue to the great coverage we’ve come to know, especially these past few years. We feel like the broadcasts have taken some steps and the numbers show that. We hope to see that continue. From a competitor standpoint, it allows the fans to track the events in the best way possible. From a sponsor and business perspective, it allows for great organic integration of our partners.

On AEG’s role in a changing sports landscape: Our role is to listen and provide solutions within our portfolio. Whether brands are specific to engagement, whether they are utilizing technology that they create, or utilizing technology of other to enhance the fan or customer experience, our job is to understand the changing objectives of the marketplace and find solutions within our portfolio. We have the edge because we have such a wide variety of assets in our portfolio so we can fit in front of any company and understand what they are trying to accomplish and find a match within our portfolio. There is also an increased association value. Brands now want to attach their brand to the brand of a music festival or a team or even a marketplace. That’s a little bit of going back to the old school thought process in this industry.

On the evolution of partnerships: We are taking a bit more risk in how we are going about making some of the decisions around a new venue, for example. We wanted to truly build that with our partners, for example in Las Vegas. Schneider Electric, Toshiba, Coca-Cola were part of that program before we even had a roof on the venue. They wanted to make sure that their products and services were going to be a part of that project even before day one. Our acceptance of that and putting our partners at the design table has increased over the last five years.

On leveraging data: We have a great sense of responsibility for the data that we hold. So we need to first make our decisions of how we utilize data with the fan’s perspective first, second it talent and third is our corporate partners. When you are looking to communicate with that data base through the corporate world, you want to make sure the message is true and sincere. We believe in what is being told to the fan and that it will enhance the experience. So we are selective but it is without a doubt a demand in the marketplace and it is only increasing. But it is, without a doubt, one of scenarios where I think at times that less is more and if you clutter that and infiltrate that fan’s mailbox or get in touch with them too often, it loses its relevancy. So we will certainly be responsible with how we communicate.

You can hear more about AEG’s strategy and how technology is changing sports when Nick Baker speaks at the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit on June 22. Get your tickets now by clicking here.



What’s the impact of the post-Millennial Generation Z demographic on the sports industry? The Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg and ThePostGame unveiled findings from their behavioral study of American sports fans: #SCORE 2016: The Impact of Changing Sports Fan Behavior on Media, Advertising and Spending. Among the findings were that nearly all Americans (86%), both male (92%) and female (80%), consider themselves sports fans. In addition, the study found that older Millennials with children in their household tend to consume sports content and that sports has gone from a local experience to a national one as 64% of fans do not live where their favorite team plays and 73% of sports fans do not live where their favorite athlete plays. For those looking to monetize, over 90% of sports fans are willing to pay something for sports programming with ages 15-36 willing to pay the most.

TNT serves up the 2016 NBA Western Conference Finals pitting the Thunder/Warriors tonight at 9p. Marv Albert will call the best-of-seven series with analysts Reggie Miller and Chris Webber and reporters Craig Sager and David Aldridge. Opening the night will be a one-hour NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader on-site pregame show at 8p with host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith. Production elements will include super-slow-motion cameras, the use of robotic cameras placed above each backboard and a "steady cam.”

NBC Sports’ Stanley Cup Playoff ratings update has now seen the 70 games carried on NBC/NBCSN/USA/CNBC score 905,000 average viewers, up 4% over the comparable period in 2015, including an average of 441,000 among P18-49 (up 2%), and 449,000 among P25-54 (up 5%). NBC Sports Live Extra has now seen 1.2 million unique visitors and 245 million minutes, up 26% and 99% respectively from the comparable period of the 2015 NHL Playoffs.

The United States and Mexico are mulling a joint bid for the 2026 World Cup. Football officials from the two countries told ESPN FC that initial discussions for a dual-bid have been held on the sidelines of the FIFA Congress taking place in Mexico City this week. "It could be a positive move for the game in both countries, and it’s also a very exciting proposition for FIFA,” said John Motta, a board member of the United States Soccer Federation. “We will now go away and formulate a timetable for further discussions.”

NBC will be leveraging the Olympics to promote Superstore, according to Deadline. The comedy will receive a slate of promote and see a new episode of the show run during the Games. “We had an idea to do an original episode of that show and run it at some point inside the Olympics, during the 17 days of the games,” NBC Chairman Bob Greenblatt told reporters Sunday. “We think we can give that show an enormous amount of attention and just really say to the world that this is a show we love and will be there.”


Cynopsis Sports Business Summit
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Once again we are assembling the world’s foremost authorities on sports business, marketing, production, digital and advertising from around the industry at the 5th Annual Cynopsis Sports Business Summit. 

**Register today to join us and other major executives in the sports industry on June 22.


Adidas isn’t pulling out of its deal with FIFA, despite recent corruption allegations. "If you want to sell sporting goods, you have to have a good relationship with the people in the clubs and the associations. That’s part of our business," the group’s supervisory board chief Igor Landau said to Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, adding "Adidas is not involved in any scandals at all. Our ties are clean. We’ve examined every single deal. Everything is totally solid."

Microsoft signed on to become a Founding Sponsor of the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit. “Microsoft’s participation reinforces the stature of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in attracting global companies to be part of this major championship,” said Pete Bevacqua, PGA of America CEO. The event will be held on June 8 at Sahalee Country Club.

Bellator locked in an extension with Monster Energy. Monster will continue to own highly visible inventory inside the Bellator cage and sponsor concourse activations during events as well as additional off-site promotional activations. In addition, Monster and Bellator will engage in a multi-faceted activation plan intended to build customer loyalty and drive tune-in of the Bellator broadcasts on Spike and see the promotion continue to put on fights during the Monster Energy Cup.

Speedo International unveiled its lineup of federation swim suits ahead of the Olympics. The special edition versions of suit will be worn by Speedo sponsored swimmers and swim teams from the USA, Australia, China, Spain, Japan, Canada and Israel, including the USA’s Missy Franklin, Nathan Adrian, Natalie Coughlin. According to the company, the Speedo Fastskin LZR Racer suits have been designed to “create a powerful image with shading and contrast around muscle definition. For female swimmers, this is combined with a more feminine feel through a shaping aspect which is done through tones of color to create shadows and highlights.”


NBC Sports Group saw fashion and lifestyle correspondent Johnny Weir’s tweet-powered brooch during the Kentucky Derby generate more than 6 million activations. The company generated 10 million impressions on NBC Sports’ Facebook (up 372% compared to the 2015 Kentucky Derby), 1.5 million impressions for the @NBCSN Twitter handle (up 123%), and 1.1 million video views across Facebook and Twitter on Derby Day.


Competitive gaming is getting a governing body with the formation of the World Esports Association, created with the backing of eSports teams and ESL. WESA is designed to serve as “an open and inclusive organization that will further professionalize eSports by introducing elements of player representation, standardized regulations, and revenue sharing for teams” and offer predictable schedules for fans, players, organizers and broadcasters. A total of eight teams have contributed to the formation of WESA, with founding teams that include Fnatic, Natus Vincere, EnVyUs, Virtus.Pro, G2 Esports, Faze, Mousesports and Ninjas in Pyjamas. Pietro Fringuelli will take on the role of the Interim League Commissioner.

MLG is teaming with Gears of War and The Coalition to host the Gears eSports MLG North American Open in Columbus at the MLG Arena from July 30  31. Up to 32 Pro and Amateur teams will compete for a $30,000 prize pool. 30 teams from North America will qualify for the tournament by MLG Pro Points awarded per player via GameBattles Team Ladder and 2000 Series Weekly Online Tournaments.

Wanna dive 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, breaking down the data, marketing tactics and the future of the industry to get in the game. Don’t miss out and get your tickets today by clicking here!


Thunder/Warriors on TNT at 9p.



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 1985: Michael Jordan is named the NBA Rookie of the Year.

In The Know: Name a player who won both the MLB MVP and Rookie of the Year Awards in the same season. (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: In what popular sport could you see a “frozen rope”? Answer: Baseball, although there were references in other sports. Kudos: Jon Clateman-Frozen Ropes/Syosset; Joe Sikorski-Tennis Channel/NY; Matt Meachem-Gracenote/NY; Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Networks/NY; Richard Sanders-Visit Panama City Beach/Panama City Beach; John Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Willy Gibson-WTG Consulting/Columbus; Michael May-PHIT America/Wellington; John Ward-Tennis Channel/Chicago; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Tom Doherty-Starcom Media/Chicago; Bill Robertson-WCHA/Edina; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Jack Neumann-University of Calgary 5th Quarter football alumni/Calgary; Dave Sikula-Toovia.com/Sunnyvale; Neal Stevens-Stevens & Associates/Beverly Hills; Anne Wettig-Fox Cable Networks/LA; Bob Ramsey/Palm Springs.

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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