06/03/19: With the Olympics coming into focus, the AVP continues to grow as a lifestyle platform beyond the beach

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Monday June 3, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
 

This week the AVP brings the beach to the Hudson River, taking over the new Gansevoort Pier just off NYC’s High Line for the Manhattan Open. From coast to coast as we head into an Olympic year, the AVP continues to grow their business. We asked CEO Donald Sun to give us a breakdown.
 
On how the AVP stays relevant in a growing niche sports marketplace: We don’t see other sports as challengers, necessarily. We are all offering something different to show off the culture we live in and are proud to be part of. We are all about bringing the Southern California beach culture to other parts of the country. You can get close up and personal to the action and the athletes are pretty accessible to the fans.
 
On how the business leverages the Olympics: The Olympics is a key milestone and ultimate personal achievement for any athlete’s career and any sport – no question. However, it is every four years and cannot be the end all, be all for an athlete’s career. The AVP Pro Tour happens every year for the entire summer and there are year-round opportunities at the AVP for the athletes to be involved in and grow their exposure. The momentum we use to build the sport comes from the dedication and hard work from everyone who works on the brand to elevate the domestic tour, find sponsors and have opportunities to be sustainable for the long run – that’s the focus.
 
On a growing partnership with Amazon for broadcast: Amazon Prime Video has done a solid job in promoting the AVP Pro Tour and features us as one of the top shows to watch. They’ve really invested in working with us to bring on the right talent and bring their best production team to produce the best content that reflects and elevates beach volleyball the way we feel it should be. They have helped us reach the audience that linear isn’t reaching as much anymore and has put us at the forefront of that offering. And same goes with NBC – there is still an audience who has not converted to streaming and may never convert, so we feel like we are covering our bases as well as we can. The key is being flexible and identifying where our consumers interact and are engaged.
 
On the involvement of Kingston as the key investor in the business:  We are very fortunate to have Kingston as our parent company and partner in business. Our focus has been to steadily grow and elevate the AVP every year by offering new benefits and perks to the athletes who are committed to our brand and tour. Now with the support of Kingston, we have already been able to deliver the first tier of new benefits to 2019, which is increasing prize purse across the board and being able to help offset some expenses associated with travel. We are also able to take advantage of Kingston’s well-established infrastructure and team to take the AVP to that next level.
 

ON THE AIR
 
MLB Network will exclusively televise the 2019 MLB Draft from its Studio 42 in Secaucus, NJ, where the MLB Draft has been held every year since 2009. Beginning with a Draft preview show at 6:00 p.m. ET, MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger, Kelly Nash, Dan O’Dowd, Harold Reynolds and MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo will anchor live coverage including features and interviews with prospects and newly drafted players, interviews with Club front office personnel and representatives, and footage from Club draft rooms. Pat Casey, former head coach of the three-time national champion Oregon State Baseball team, will also appear as an in-studio guest analyst during the Draft on MLB Network. Coverage will include contributions from MLB Network analysts including Hall of Famers Pedro Martínez, John Smoltz and Jim Thome, plus Eric Byrnes, Sean Casey, Mark DeRosa, Cliff Floyd, Joe Girardi, Al Leiter, Mike Lowell, Kevin Millar, Carlos Peña, Dan Plesac and Bill Ripken, as well as MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis and Carlos Collazo of Baseball America. MLB Network will also feature exclusive content with the newly drafted players in attendance across its social media platforms.
 
Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors delivered a combined average audience of 3.5 million viewers across simulcast coverage on Sportsnet National+, SportsnetOne+ and RDS+, making it the most-watched NBA game ever in Canada.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Cynopsis Measurement & Data Conference
 
<< SESSION SPOTLIGHT >>
Taking it In-House: How Brands Are Measuring and Interpreting Data Themselves
Dive into case studies from USIM, Google, Publicis OneTeam, Omnicom and Valence Media. Hear what matters to brands, where they’re headed in 2020, and how networks can work with them so that both sides succeed. The conference is June 11 in NYC – just one week away!
 
 
Sponsored by: NCC Media, Videa, Tubular Labs, TVSquared, Tivo, Nielsen and Tunity
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
 
This June, in partnership with the You Can Play Project, the National Hockey League Players’ Association and National Hockey League joint Hockey Is For Everyone initiative will celebrate Pride Month. All 31 NHL Clubs, alumni, and current players will participate in pride events including parades across North America. The League will be participating in 2019 WorldPride – the largest pride parade in the world – in New York City. The month will also feature original programming and storytelling.
 
The Steward Family Foundation will fund a marketing campaign for the Petty family’s Victory Junction camp, while giving the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 and driver Bubba Wallace “consistent funding.” The camp’s marks will appear on the hood of the car for numerous races during the ’19 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. David Steward is Founder & Chair of World Wide Technology, an RPM sponsor since ’18. WWT has been the No. 43’s primary sponsor for six races so far this season; Wallace’s car has had seven primary sponsors over the first 13 races.
 

DIGITAL AND STREAMING
 
ESPN Digital ranked as the No. 1 U.S. digital sports property in April across every key metric. ESPN reached 89.9 million unique visitors (up +11% YOY) for its largest April on record. The ESPN app was once again ranked as the No. 1 sports app in the U.S., attracting 19.2 million unique visitors and 1.8 billion minutes, up +22% and +31%, respectively YOY. ESPN Digital also was No. 1 in total minutes with 5.5 billion, with an average minute audience of 127,000.
 
Katie Nolan, Jay Williams, Snapchat “SportsCenter” host Gary Striewski and Mike Korzemba, a YouTube influencer who specializes in basketball-related content, held a special NBA Game Two Finals stream available only on the ESPN App. Viewers saw various emoji-like symbols pop up during game play – like a ‘fire’ graphic if a shooter has a hot hand – or data nuggets about steals, assists, rebounds and more. It is ESPN’s latest attempt at finding a wider audience for traditional sports engagement.
 
Thuuz Sports announced their May Top 10 most exciting games, using their algorithms to measure real-time event excitement. The game excitement ratings are measured on a 0 to 100 scale and take into consideration game pace, team parity, play novelty, momentum shifts, social buzz, and historical context. The algorithms behind the excitement ratings are statistically calibrated to insure the appropriate distribution of ratings across the duration of a season or course of a tournament.
The top ten most exciting games were:
1) Portland 140 Denver 137 (NBA): 5/3
2) Toronto 118 Milwaukee 112 (NBA): 5/19
3) Toronto 92 Philadelphia 90, (NBA): 5/12
4) Boston 4 Columbus 3 (NHL): 5/4
5) Golden State 118, Houston 113 (NBA): 5/10
6) Colorado 4 San Jose 3 (NHL): 5/6
7) Golden State 110, Portland 99 (NBA): 5/17
8) San Diego 8 Los Angeles 5 (MLB): 5/5
9) Toronto 105, Milwaukee 99 (NBA): 5/23
10) Golden State 119, Portland 117 (NBA): 5/20
 

ESPORTS
 
Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans became the first organization to serve as presenting sponsor of the 2019 League of Legends Championship Series Summer Finals. The 2019 LCS Summer Finals presented by Rocket Mortgage will be held in Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena on August 24 and 25, and is expected to attract more than 15,000 esports fans.
 
Cloud9 and Microsoft are entering a partnership to co-innovate new technologies in esports. Throughout the multi-year partnership, Cloud9 and Microsoft will dedicate resources to develop new tools and technologies that will enable Cloud9 players and staff to uncover game-changing insights across a variety of titles in which Cloud9 competes. Microsoft becomes an Official Technology Partner and the Official Performance Analytics Partner of all Cloud9 branded teams, including the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) team and the Counter Strike: Global Offensive team.
 

ROSTER MOVES
 
Penn Mutual announced Kraig Puccia of Fordham University as the fifth annual “Life of Significance” Award Winner. The award goes to the top collegiate rugby player who has excelled in the field, classroom and community.
 
Tennis Channel has announced an extension with veteran announcer Ted Robinson through 2021.  Robinson has been with the network since 2007 and has become a staple inside the booth for Tennis Channel at Grand Slams, in studio and other tournaments during the season.
 

THE MAIN EVENT
 
The 2019 Stanley Cup Finals Game 4 between the Bruins and Blues is at 8:00 on NBC.
 


ON THIS DAY in 1991 Thomas “Hitman” Hearns captures WBA light heavyweight title.
 
In the Know: With the NCAA Baseball Regionals underway, what school, who returned to postseason this year, has the most wins in NCAA Baseball history? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.).

 Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who is the only member of the 76ers to win what is now known as the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award? Answer: Moses Malone. Congrats: Jim DeLorenzo, JHD Enterprises, Philadelphia, Scott Running, Stafford (Ct.) Motor Speedway, Rick Ramage United Talent Agency, Matt Sautter WideOrbit Harrisburg, David Westberg SAG•AFTRA Federal Credit Union, Anne Wettig Fox/Fox Sports S&P, Los Angeles, Cal., Greg Moloznik GLM Media, Tom Moore Kalt Productions, Joe Lyons ESPN Dallas,  Kathi Gillin Comcast Spotlight, Michael Ritz Northwestern Mutual, Andy Pittman TAMU, Willy Gibson WTG Sports and  Randy Ingram WISH/WNDY-TV, Indianapolis, IN 
 
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