05/29/18: FOX Sports detailed plans for its coverage of the US Women’s Open Championship

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Tuesday May 29, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

 
FOX Sports detailed plans for this week’s 73rd U.S. Women’s Open Championship live from Shoal Creek. For the first time ever, viewers will experience an uninterrupted broadcast of the entire U.S. Women’s Open on FOX, FS1, FOX Sports GO and usga.org as part of the USGA Championships on FOX presented by Rolex with live competition starting May 31 on usga.org from 11a-1p while FS1 picks up the first and second round action from 3-8p. The third and final rounds air on the FOX broadcast network on Saturday and Sunday, June 2-3, from 2-7p On Thursday and Friday, Shane Bacon calls play-by-play alongside analysts Brad Faxon and Juli Inkster. Inkster is joined by Joe Buck and Paul Azinger in the 18th Tower for the third and final rounds. Digital broadcaster Michael Breed, play-by-play announcer Ned Michaels and on-course reporter Brett Quigley.
 
 
ON THE AIR

With the NBA Finals locked and loaded, ESPN scored its second-largest NBA audience ever for the Cavaliers victory over the Celtics in Eastern Conference Finals Game 7. The game averaged 13,305,000 viewers, according to Fast Nationals from Nielsen. The 2018 Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN averaged 8,449,000 viewers, up 34% from last year’s Eastern Conference Finals and up 29% from the 2017 Western Conference Finals on ESPN. Overall, the 2018 NBA Playoffs on ESPN (19 games) averaged 5,101,000 viewers, up 30% from 2017.
 
Around the dial, TNT reports that its presentation of the 2018 NBA Western Conference Finals Game 5 on Thursday night, averaged 9.2 million viewers. The telecast peaked with an average of 12.2 million viewers and was up 59% vs. the network’s coverage of 2017 ECF Game 5. Overall, TNT’s WCF coverage is averaging 8.3 million viewers, up 33% over last year’s Eastern Conference Finals airing on the network. Meanwhile, Inside the NBA is averaging a 2.7 metered market rating through its first five WCF telecasts, up 23% over last year.
 
Friday saw ESPN announce an expansion of its partnership with Keith Olbermann, who will now make additional appearances across ESPN platforms and programs in 2018 as part of a new agreement. Olbermann, who has contributed to various ESPN shows since January, will combine select studio assignments with on-site opportunities, including SportsCenter, MLB, and additional studio shows.
 
ESPN’s live telecast of the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday drew F1’s largest audience on cable in more than two decades, according to Nielsen Fast National data. With an average of 809,000 people watching, the telecast was the most-viewed Formula 1 race on cable since the 1995 Italian Grand Prix, while an encore presentation on ABC averaged 1.6 million viewers.
 
The Canadian Premier League confirmed that HFX Wanderers will be one of the founding clubs to play in the professional men’s soccer league set to debut in Spring 2019. HFX Wanderers will be the primary tenant at a new soccer stadium at Wanderers Ground in downtown Halifax.
 
AXS TV announced that it carry New Japan Pro Wrestling’s third US event—the G1 Special in San Francisco on July 7 at 8p. The telecast continues the network’s partnership with the fast-growing wrestling promotion and its Japanese broadcaster TV Asahi. “As New Japan Pro Wrestling continues their U.S. expansion, we are proud to provide a platform for NJPW and TV Asahi to bring their electrifying events to as many fans as possible through our live, primetime broadcasts,” said AXS TV Fights CEO Andrew Simon.
 
ESPN and ESPN+ will feature exclusive United States coverage of the 2018 Federation of International Lacrosse World Lacrosse Championships, running July 12-21. Overall ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise 14 matchups, with more than 160 games available on ESPN+. Anish Shroff and Chris Cotter will handle play-by-play duties for television games, alongside analysts Quint Kessenich and Paul Carcaterra.
 
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UFC unveiled an activation with AirAsia, presenting sponsor of UFC Fight Night Singapore: Cowboy vs. Edwards on June 23, that will see the first UFC-branded livery on an AirAsia Airbus A330-300. The aircraft will be the first of its kind in the world to feature UFC branding. “This exemplary partnership between UFC and AirAsia is a testament to the passion behind these two inspiring brands,” said UFC Vice President, International Marketing Partnerships, Rene Valencia. “Today is a momentous occasion, one that we are very proud of and we look forward as travelers embark on this magnificently branded AirAsia Airbus.” 
 
At the Vive Ecosystem Conference in Shenzhen, HTC reveals new VR partnerships with MLB and Formula One’s McLaren Racing, according to multiple reports. The deal will see the HTC/MLB initiative see two fan engagement activations in China, including the Chinese-language reality TV show Perfect Pitch to the Tencent video network, and a Baseball Park roadshow to 10 major cities across the country. The McLaren alliance, meanwhile, will see a joint-production of VR products and VR/AR content.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

SportsEngine is partnering with Telemundo Deportes to promote participation in youth soccer programs across the US. During the World Cup this summer on Telemundo, SportsEngine’s youth sports directory, will dedicate its homepage to soccer programs. The site will feature local programs from across the country and resources to help families find clubs in their area that are the right fit for their children who are interested in soccer. Additionally, SportsEngine is launching its first bilingual advertising campaign, in partnership with Telemundo, to promote the sport of soccer to youth across the United States.
 
Iron Dragon TV signed a deal with martial arts league Karate Combat to feature content on the Iron Dragon TV channels. The platform will now exclusively feature Karate Combat events in 4K Ultra HD with the events being remastered by 4K Studios and streamed on the Iron Dragon TV channel on the UltraFlix network.
 
 
ESPORTS

The North American League of Legends Championship Series will now be carried on newly launched streaming service ESPN+ starting with the summer split in a multiyear deal. The nonexclusive agreement will not affect services that currently broadcast League of Legends such as Twitch, YouTube and Riot’s in-game player. According to ESPN, Riot Games stated that the new ESPN+ partnership will replace the previous deal between BAMTech and Riot Games, which was a seven-year agreement beginning in Dec. 2016 in which BAMTech agreed to pay Riot $300 million through 2023.
 
ReKTGlobal unlocked strategic investment in OverPowered Network, an esports company dedicated to promoting the growth of gaming and esports in the Gulf Cooperation Council and greater Middle East and North Africa region. In addition to the investment, ReKTGlobal will work closely with OPN founders and members of the Royal family, Ali Al Khalifa, Ahmed Al Khalifa and Abdulla Hamad Al Khalifa, open an office in the capital and recruit and sponsor MENA-based gamers for ReKTGlobal’s esports organization Team Rogue.
 
Grizz Gaming inked a sponsorship with FedEx that will include presenting entitlement for the team’s virtual court and FedEx presenting custom-branded digital content features to be pushed through social and digital channels, along with a weekly social-based feature among other opportunities. “Esports and competitive gaming are rapidly evolving and offer engaging digital opportunities for the FedEx brand to reach new audiences,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, senior vice president of Integrated Marketing and Communications, FedEx. “We’re proud to be able to enter this new dimension in sports sponsorship by building on one of our most successful sports sponsorships and teaming up with the Memphis Grizzlies and Grizz Gaming for its inaugural season.”
 
In other partnership news, SteelSeries tied up a deal with FaZe Clan that make the company the exclusive peripheral partner of the team and includes sponsorship of all eSports teams including Counter-Strike Global Offensive, Call of Duty, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite, Rainbow Six Siege and FIFA.
 
Turtle Beach announced a new multi-year partnership with Overwatch League outfit the Houston Outlaws that will see the team will use Turtle Beach’s Elite gear in training, streams, and practice, and the two organizations will collaborate to bring Outlaws fans closer to the pro players with behind the scenes content and activations.
 
 
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ON THIS DAY in 1980: Larry Bird wins the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.
 
In the Know: The 2009 film Whip It marked Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut and was about what sport? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which Bruce Springsteen song recounted a meeting with “a big baseball player” who “could throw that speedball by you”?  Answer: Glory Days. Kudos: Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Networks/NY; Len Appel-TMZ/TMZ Sports/NY; Paul Crevier-BBC America/NY; Chris Long-DraftKings/NY; Paul Brewer-TV Talent Agents/North Augusta; Tom Wetzel-MMSI/Warwick; James Stuart-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Paul Kelly-MLB Networks/Secaucus; Jason Brist-Outdoor Sportsman Group/Chicago; Chris Doelle-Lone Star Gridiron/Austin; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Kyle Krebs-KXAS-TV/Dallas- Fort Worth; Greg Dudsic/Venice; Jacob Ullman-FOX Sports/ LA; John Baghdassarian-Olympusat/LA; Bruce Trotter-Cox/LA

 
 
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