05/19/17: Facebook’s triple play; CBS gets Army/Navy orders; NASCAR bags a YETI

Good morning. It’s Friday May 19, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Facebook is getting in on the MLB action, locking in a deal with the league to showcase 20 live baseball games this season on the platform. Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. made the announcement at the MLB Owners Meetings with the partnership setting up a weekly national game telecast on the social network that will run on Friday nights this season with coverage set to begin tonight at 7:10p with Rockies/Reds. The feed will be delivered from a participating team’s local broadcast rightsholder and shown on the official MLB Facebook Page. 
“Baseball games are uniquely engaging community experiences, as the chatter and rituals in the stands are often as meaningful to fans as the action on the diamond,” said Dan Reed, Facebook’s Head of Global Sports Partnerships. “By distributing a live game per week on Facebook, Major League Baseball can re-imagine this social experience on a national scale. We’re thrilled to work with MLB to enable baseball fans on Facebook to watch live games and connect with friends and fellow fans around the action, no matter where they live in the U.S., and are excited to help the league continue to reach new audiences on our platform.”

CBS Sports will serve as home base for the Army/Navy game for the foreseeable future courtesy of a new 10-year extension that runs into 2028. Last year’s Army-Navy game was the most-watched in 24 years. Meanwhile, CBS Sports Network will televise extensive shoulder programming, including live on-site coverage of the March On as part of official pre-game coverage, archival programming and encore showings of the game. The deal also keeps the annual Army-Navy basketball showdown on CBS Sports Network.  “Army-Navy is more than a game, and it’s an honor to continue broadcasting this epic annual event,” said CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus. “Moving the game in 2009 allowed us to further shine a spotlight on Army-Navy, as we tell the compelling stories on and off the field of the young people at the Service Academies.  Army-Navy is a cornerstone of our college football programming and we could not be more proud to continue this relationship.”
The NBA reports that a record 24 teams will compete in NBA Summer League 2017, spanning July 7-17 from Las Vegas. For the fifth consecutive year, the 11-day, 67-game league will feature a tournament-style schedule, culminating in a Championship Game on the final day of competition. ESPN and NBA TV will showcase games during the month with a broadcast lineup set to be released at a later date.
Ahead of the Preakness Stakes this Saturday at 5p on NBC, NBC Sports’ Laffit Pincay offered Cynopsis his predictions for the second leg of the Triple Crown, having already correctly called Always Dreaming as the winner of the Kentucky Derby, noting that “A massive party looms in New York. Classic Empire will force Always Dreaming to work harder for this one.”
1) Always Dreaming, 2) Classic Empire, 3) Gunnevera.
ESPN made its game selection for the June 11 edition of Sunday Night Baseball telecast presented by Taco Bell, picking up the Tigers/Red Sox matchup for 8p. Karl Ravech will call the matchup with analysts Jessica Mendoza and Aaron Boone and reporter Buster Olney.
Golf Channel is lining up nearly 30 hours of the 2017 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championships from May 22-24, marking the the most number of live hours of the collegiate sport ever. Coverage starts Monday to crown the individual national champion, while Tuesday and Wednesday will be dedicated to all three rounds of the team match play. Golf Channel’s on-air team will see Karen Stupples as lead analyst and Bob Papa as play-by-play host. Curt Byrum will serve as hole announcer, with Billy Ray Brown, Kay Cockerill and Gail Graham reporting from the course.
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NASCAR , NASCAR Team Properties, and YETI announced multi-year agreements to designate the YETI brand as the “Official Outdoor Partner of NASCAR.” NASCAR Team Properties and YETI have developed a variety of NASCAR and team-licensed product for fans and, as part of this partnership, YETI joins the NASCAR Fuel for Business Council. “YETI is a dynamic and wildly popular brand that will be a welcomed addition to our industry and fans,” said NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Global Sales and Marketing Officer, Steve Phelps. “There continues to be great momentum surrounding our business as evidenced by nearly ten new brands entering the sport at the Official level this year.”
Ahead of the French Open finals next month, the French Tennis Federation is giving New York a taste of the City of Light. Organizers of Roland-Garros, in partnership with Swiss watch brand Longines and Lacoste, the promotional activation will offer “Roland-Garros in the City” to New Yorkers at the Brookfield Place Waterfront Plaza in Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park City, which will include screens to showcase the on-court action as well as areal, full size red clay Meanwhile, two French food trucks will travel around the city from June 3-8, offering free ice cream, information about the event and an opportunity to watch the matches, along with other activities.
ONE Championship announced a partnership with GoDaddy, that will see both companies work closely together to push MMA in Asia. GoDaddy branding will be featured at ONE: Dynasty of Heroes on May 26 as part of the partnership. “GoDaddy is committed to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs get online and grow their ventures,” said Roger Chen, Vice President of Asia, GoDaddy. “We have a successful track record of partnerships with global sporting bodies and we’re delighted to partner with one of Asia’s largest sports media properties, ONE Championship. ONE Championship provides a great opportunity for GoDaddy to build relationships with people across Asia and bring attention to the importance of having a strong online presence.”

Whistle Sports and go90 announced that the Dunk League series will return for another season this fall. Dunk League Season One saw eight dunkers compete for $20,000, with content reaching more than 55.5 million fans across various social channels and on the go90 app. Season two will see over 26 episodes culminating with the Semifinal and Finals in New York City for an even bigger cash prize. Additionally, season two opens up with a four-city, regional tour in search of top dunkers across the country.
In addition to the MLB deal, Facebook also announced that partnership to showcase all heats and divisions from Regionals for the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games, which begin today. CrossFit’s Regional coverage on Facebook will focus on the competition and include exclusive live behind-the-scenes access with certain top athletes on the platform. The finals will be held Aug. 3-6 in Madison, Wisconsin, and will include exclusive live behind-the-scenes content, and fully produced competition coverage for the Teams, Masters and Teenage Divisions on Facebook. CrossFit’s collaboration with Facebook also calls for as many as 40 live studio shows throughout the year.
Sports Illustrated Play has been named the Official Technology Partner of the American Amateur Baseball Congress where it will supply its suite of tools to the AABC and its 240,000 members in a wide-ranging technology and development partnership.

Completing today’s Facebook trifecta, ESL announced that it will live stream exclusive esports events and original content on the platform. The esports league will stream content that includes Rank S competitions, an elite ladder for the CS:GO community, as well as an exclusive weekly 30-minute CS:GO program that showcases the best players, upcoming talent and competition highlights. Meanwhile, all ESL One and IEM events will also stream globally on ESL’s Facebook network in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and German, with more than 5,500 hours of esports content headed set for Facebook. “With over 1.94 billion monthly active users on Facebook, this is a huge step toward expanding the reach of esports among mainstream audiences,” said Johannes Schiefer, Vice President of Social Media and Editorial at ESL. “Last year, ESL content generated over 2 billion impressions and reached over 200 million users on Facebook globally. Now, with the addition of live streaming for all major ESL events, as well as exclusive content around CS:GO and ESEA, we are excited to expand our reach to more audiences and build strong local communities of highly engaged esports fans.”
ELeague prepares for the playoffs with the Street Fighter V Invitational Playoff Countdown on TBS on Friday at 10p. The one-hour show will be hosted by Richard Lewis along with analysts Steve “Tasty Steve” Scott, Reepal “Rip” Parbhoo, Stephen “Sajam” Lyon and Zhi “Zhieeep” Liang Chew, with discussion on the top storylines heading into the playoffs.
Sport1 GmbH and EA Sports announced plans to showcase the season finale of the FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Championship Series live on its digital platforms on Saturday. In addition, SPORT1 will also present the highlights of the tournament on free-TV . With the addition to its global lineup, broadcasters around the world that also include ESPN, BT Sport, Movistar, and MTG will all deliver the action, in addition to fans being able to watch every goal throughout the entire event on YouTube, Twitch and Facebook. The US telecast airs live on Saturday at 11a on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. .
Amazon’s mobile department locked in a one-year sponsorship deal with NRG Esports. The deal marks Amazon’s first sponsorship in the category, with its App Store platform and Coins virtual currency serving as title sponsor for NRG’s Hearthstone and Vainglory teams. The deal will also see NRG teams do a roadshow of Amazon-hosted events.

Cavaliers/Celtics on TNT at 8:30p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1935: The NFL announces plans to host an annual college draft to begin in 1936.
In The Know : Completing music week: The biggest hit from the Jerry Maguire soundtrack was Secret Garden, performed by which artist? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Bull Durham featured this baseball-themed tune from John Fogerty. What was the name of the song? Answers: Centerfield. Kudos: Lori Paterson-Spectrum Reach/NY; George L. Sauli-US International Media/NY; Rob Casalaina-ITN/NY; Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Media/NY; Jon Miller-NBC Sports/Stamford; Jeffrey Ward-Deloitte Services LP/Philadelphia; Erica Childs-Viamedia/Bethlehem; William Graff-beIN Sports/Miami; Lucie Prann-The Richards Group/Dallas; John Ward-Tennis Channel/Chicago; Suzy Shoup-Neptune Network/Dallas; Dory Petsrillo-Cox Reps/, Dory Petsrillo-CoxReps/Dallas; Jack Neumann-Alumni Development University of Calgary/Calgary; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Steve Morrow-Eclipse TV/Mill Valley; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Greg Dudsic/Venice; Don Surath-KPIX-TV/KBCW-TV/San Francisco

Later — Chris

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