06/11/21: The College Football Playoff committee is proposing an increase from four to 12 teams


Medias First Morning Read


Friday June 11, 2021

A sub-group of College Football Playoff’s management committee is proposing to change the current four-team postseason format to a 12-team event. The proposal was made to the full CFP management committee and serves as the first step in a process that will not conclude before this fall. The proposal calls for the bracket to include the six highest-ranked conference champions, as well as the six highest-ranked other teams as determined by the College Football Playoff selection committee. No conference would qualify automatically and there would be no limit on the number of participants from a conference. The four highest-ranked conference champions would be seeded one through four and each would receive a first-round bye, while teams seeded five through 12 would play each other in the first round on the home field of the higher-ranked team. Under the proposal, the quarterfinals and semifinals would be played in bowl games. The championship game would continue to be at a neutral site, as under the current format.

“The four-team format has been very popular and is a big success,” the members of the four-person working group said in a statement. “But it’s important that we consider the opportunity for more teams and more student-athletes to participate in the playoff. After reviewing numerous options, we believe this proposal is the best option to increase participation, enhance the regular season and grow the national excitement of college football.”


Brisbane is poised to be named the host of the 2032 Olympics when the IOC meets in Tokyo next month, according to ESPN. IOC president Thomas Bach stated that the Australian city could be awarded hosting rights at a July 21 meeting ahead of the Tokyo Olympics after being named the preferred candidate and without a formal opponent. Brisbane is set to be the first Olympic host selected unopposed under a new system to streamline bid campaigns to make them less costly and decrease the risk of vote buying.

Speaking of the Olympics, for the first time ever, NBC Olympics will provide live coverage of the NBC broadcast network’s Olympics primetime show in certain markets in the 4K Ultra High Definition format with High Dynamic Range and ATMOS sound. NBC’s primetime coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will also be presented in 4K HDR. In addition, live competition coverage of all Tokyo Olympic programming on GOLF Channel and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will be made available in 4K HDR throughout the Games, with events to be featured that include gymnastics, track & field, swimming, diving, beach volleyball, golf, tennis and other sports.

In addition, NBC Olympics continued to shore up its talent roster for the Summer Games. The company announced hosts for the Tokyo Olympics on CNBC, NBCSN, and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. CNBC welcomes as hosts two commentators making their NBC Olympics debuts – its own weeknight host Shepard Smith, and Meghan Triplett. NBCSN will feature a pair of hosts from GOLF Channel, as Cara Banks makes her NBC Olympics debut and Damon Hack earns his second NBC Olympics assignment. Carolyn Manno will serve as a host on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. In addition, the company announced that Tony Hawk, Steve Kornacki, Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir will serve as NBC Olympics correspondents this summer in Tokyo.

The Sports Emmys wrapped up with TNT taking home the most awards for any single platform, landing seven while ESPN garnered the most for any company with nine. Winners were announced in 46 categories by the National Academy of TV Arts and Sciences in a virtual ceremony on Tuesday night, with individual sports personality winners that included TNT’s Ernie Johnson as studio host; FOX’s Joe Buck for play-by-play, CBS’ Nate Burleson for studio analyst; FOX’s John Smoltz for sports event analyst; NBC’s Michele Tafoya for sports reporter; and FOX’s Emmanuel Acho for emerging on-air talent. The full list of winners can be found here.

The NFL is reportedly looking to expand its International Series into Germany with the Washington Post writing that the city is the process of identifying a partner city to host games.

ESPN and the Big Sky Conference cemented a new multi-year, multi-platform media rights agreement, adding hundreds of Big Sky live events to ESPN’s college sports portfolio. More than 600 Big Sky events in both men’s and women’s sports will stream on ESPN+ and the ESPN App. ESPNU will also carry two football games each year, in addition to a regular season men’s basketball game, and the championship games for the Big Sky Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments are slated for ESPN networks. “The Big Sky Conference consistently delivers compelling storylines and high-caliber competition across all 16 of its sports, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to further highlight the student-athletes and member institutions as we showcase hundreds of matchups each year across our ESPN platforms,” said Dan Margulis, ESPN senior director, programming and acquisitions.

The NBA locked in the competition structure for the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2021, which will take place Aug. 8-17 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the campus of UNLV. The 16th annual MGM Resorts NBA Summer League will feature all 30 NBA teams playing five games apiece during the 10-day, 75-game event. After every team plays four games, the two teams with the best records from the first four games will meet in the Championship Game on Aug. 17.

ESPN is reporting that Sunday Night Baseball is now up 31% over its 2020 full season average, according to Nielsen. The franchise is averaging 1,621,000 viewers so far this year, which is also up 7% over 2019’s score through ten weeks.

Univision’ TUDN revealed programming plans for this year’s CONMEBOL Copa América on the company’s linear networks, including 26 of the 28 matches on Univision and UniMás, plus select pre-game coverage throughout the tournament. TUDN’s exclusive Spanish-language coverage gets underway Sunday at 4p with pre-game show Fútbol Central, followed by Brazil vs. Venezuela (Univision) and Colombia vs. Ecuador (UniMás).

ESPN announced that longtime SportsCenter anchor Stan Verrett signed a new, multi-year deal to remain with the network. In addition to continuing to anchor the 1a edition of SportsCenter from Los Angeles, Verrett also will begin a schedule of anchoring the 11p edition as well.

FOX Sports serves up full coverage of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Saturday and Sunday on FOX, FS1 and FS2, highlighted by more broadcast television coverage than ever before. The Masters Agility Championship returns to FOX, while Best in Show is crowned live on broadcast television for the first time in at least 30 years. Anchoring the weekend’s primetime coverage, Chris Myers joins Gail Miller Bisher, the voice of the Westminster Kennel Club, and veteran judge Don Sturz in the booth. Jenny Taft returns as the event’s host, while Sara Walsh makes her Westminster debut, interviewing judges and handlers. Primetime coverage begins with Group Judging on FS1 at 7p on Saturday, continuing Sunday at 7p with Group Judging and the crowning of Best in Show live on FOX.

Billy Corgan announced that NWA will move all of the promotion’s PPV events to St. Louis going forward starting with the 73rd Anniversary event on Aug. 27. In addition, Aug. 28 will see NWA will have an All Women’s Event on PPV with Mickie James Aldis serving as Executive Producer for the event. Both events will be carried on FITE.

NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook and The Incubation Lab unveiled, WHY NOT?, a new short film that “showcases the culture of Crenshaw and aims to expose youth in marginalized communities to the ever-growing technology space.” The film tells the story of a top High School basketball player that finds another way to impact his community when basketball is taken away from him by teaming up with a misunderstood neighborhood teen tech wizard.

The NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers locked in a local broadcast partnership with Root Sports. Starting with the 2021/22 season, the multi-year deal will see Trail Blazers fixtures not aired nationally broadcast on Root Sports. The team had seen NBC Sports Northwest serve as its home for the past 14 years.

Meanwhile, VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, and WBRZ Channel 2, entered into a content distribution agreement to deliver credible sports betting information to the Baton Rouge market. This deal with family owned WBRZ continues the expansion of VSiN’s broadcast footprint and marks the first time the network’s unique sports betting content will be broadcast over-the-air.

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USA Basketball and MGM Resorts International inked an expanded, multi-year partnership that will begin this July in Las Vegas. As part of the partnership, MGM Resorts will be the Official Training Camp Home of the USA Basketball Men’s and Women’s National Teams, as well as an Official Integrated Resorts Partner of USA Basketball and an Official USA Basketball Exhibition Tour Partner. MGM Resorts, in partnership with USA Basketball, will host four additional countries in Las Vegas, creating an international basketball competition prior to the teams’ departure for Tokyo. “USA Basketball is proud to expand its partnership with MGM Resorts. We’re excited to bring our national teams to their properties as we prepare for the challenging competition that lies ahead this summer,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO. “Training camps are such an important foundation for our preparation and having such a strong commitment from MGM positions us for great success.”

The NHL launched “Off the Ice” – a four-part content series that “explores the dynamic relationship between on-the-ice action and off-the-ice technology and how they have made the fastest game even faster.” The episodes are now available on Verizon’s Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for four weeks and features interviews with current and former NHL players, super fans and NHL personnel.

DraftKings will collaborate with the American Gaming Association to promote the AGA’s Have A Game Plan. Bet Responsibly public service campaign. DraftKings committed to apply the campaign to many of the company’s owned channels, including at DraftKings’ retail gaming properties, to promote safer play. This collaboration marks the first time in the industry that the Have A Game Plan campaign will be comprehensively rolled out across a national retail sportsbook footprint. The campaign will appear in all ten DraftKings retail sportsbooks across the country.

With less than 50 days to go before the start of its inaugural lacrosse season, Athletes Unlimited today announced a multi-year partnership with Nike Lacrosse. The agreement designates the apparel company as the official supplier of uniforms, footwear, sticks and protective equipment for the league. The maiden Athletes Unlimited professional lacrosse season will take place at Maureen Hendricks Field in the Washington, D.C. metro area from July 23-August 22.

The National Lacrosse League, in conjunction with June’s Indigenous History Month in Canada, announced the launch of a pop artist initiative featuring three standout Indigenous pop artists and a player discussion with Georgia Swarm forward Randy Staats, highlighting and celebrating their contributions to the sport and authentically representing unity and inclusion. The league has commissioned artwork by Yul Baker, Tracey Anthony, and Jordan Thompson and will feature the artwork highlighting the artist’s unique journeys and stories via its digital platforms and social media.


The Professional Fighters League entered a partnership that designates BetMGM as a “US Authorized Gaming Operator of the PFL.” Fans across the country will be able to wager on fight lines. As part of the partnership, BetMGM will also have rights to PFL logos and marks as well as VIP events and will be offering BetMGM users unique PFL related promotions. “Professional Fighters League is excited to partner with BetMGM to evolve our premium MMA betting experiences for the millions of passionate sports fans across the country ahead of PFL 4 on June 10th,” said PFL CEO, Peter Murray. “Our fighters are facing win-or-go-home matchups in the remaining Regular Season events and expanding our sports betting offerings delivers another thrilling component to our league.”


Twitch Rivals landed its first captains for the upcoming World Series of Warzone event, designating FaZe Swagg, DanDangler, Nadeshot, TimTheTatman and Aydan as the initial announced captains who will draft their teams for the Call of Duty: Warzone tournament, which features a prize pool of $300,000 per event.

FaZe Clan made history as the team landed the July cover of Sports Illustrated, which features a story that explores the cultural convergence of the gaming scene and traditional sports, and includes interviews with FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink, founders FaZe Banks and FaZe Temperrr, investor Jimmy Iovine, member/investor FaZe Simmo (aka Ben Simmons) and Paul Hamilton, Co-Owner of Atlanta FaZe and CEO of Atlanta Esports Ventures

XSET and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) allied on a new partnership designed to provide Little Brothers and Sisters with a chance to “not only enjoy the fun of gaming but learn behind-the-scenes details and connect with experts to learn about potential career opportunities in the gaming industry.” As part of the partnership, XSET professional gamers will include the BBBSA logo on their jerseys, and Big Brothers Big Sisters will be featured during live streaming events, social media activations and other marketing initiatives. In addition, $5 from every purchase of BBBS/XSET co-branded merchandise will go to BBBSA.

DreamHack Beyond, the upcoming free, new hybrid festival and online multiplayer game, added several tournaments to the event offerings, including the “Stream Beyond Invitational”, Rocket League Boost Cups, Hearthstone Challenge, Community Clash, Fighting Games Championships and more. In total, over $100k will be awarded across more than 20 different game titles from July 24-31.


Evolution Development Group announced that Ivan Lendl, the former top-ranked tennis player in the world, will join EVO as its newest advisory board member. In his role, Ivan will lend his expertise and perspective as an elite world class athlete and coach to focus on elevating the performance of all EVO athletes

Elevate Sports Ventures announced the formation of a new, global brand consulting practice, and appointed Cameron Wagner as Chief Client Officer to lead the vertical. Elevate’s brand consultation group will offer sponsorship strategy, platform development/management, and event activation; as well as portfolio valuations, measurement/performance evaluations, talent negotiation, and more.

WME Legends announced a worldwide representation deal with JLMP to co-represent The Estate of Charlie L. Sifford, aka “The Jackie Robinson of Golf”. Charlie L. Sifford was the first African American to earn a PGA Tour card and was the first Black golfer to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame (2004). The team will represent the Estate’s assets including name, likeness, memorabilia, life and IP rights worldwide with a focus on growing the Estate’s legacy with a new generation.

Former ESPN senior executive Pete Derzis has accepted a new role to serve as Senior Advisor at Bespoke Sports & Entertainment. “We have worked alongside Pete for many years as we continued to expand our college sports partnership business,” said Bespoke CEO Mike Boykin. “We are committed to offering our clients senior-level counsel and we look forward to Pete’s unique insight and approach having an immediate impact. Pete was instrumental in the expansion of ESPN’s college sports events and content distribution business and we hope his strategic advisement will have a similar impact on our agency.”


Where’s Al Michaels headed after his NBC contract ends in February? MSG missed a golden opportunity to honor Marv Albert who did his last game in the building last week. More nuggets.
Halby’s Morsels: Not sure that Al Michaels is headed to Amazon; Marv dissed by MSG; NBA’s best TV trio

The talented Bob Wischusen is not a cookie-cutter announcers. He has a distinct voice and natural sound. A Boston College grad, Bob has also done the New York Jets radio broadcasts for years.
ESPN’s Bob Wischusen: One of the BC trio; Classmates, Boog Sciambi, Joe Tessitore and he made it big

They don’t come like Al McCoy. He’s 88 and still able to paint the description of a rapid-fire basketball game on radio. Al has been the Voice of the Suns since 1972. This is his 49th season.
Al McCoy, iconic Voice of the Suns, won’t decide whether to return for a 50th season until after the playoffs

Happy Birthdays:

Laura Okmin, 6/11 FOX Sports
Marv Albert, 6/12 Turner Sports
Tony Bruno, 6/13 Ex- FOX Sports
Sal Paolantonio, 6/13 ESPN
Hannah Storm, 6/13 ESPN
Len Berman, 6/14 WOR Radio, NY
Terry Smith, 6/14 LA Angels, Radio
Eddie Doucette, 6/15 Ex- Milw Bucks
Holly Rowe, 6/16 ESPN
Eric Collins, 6/16 Charlotte Hornets

Sports Broadcast Journal


Check out the importance of single-market media buying in our 12-page report co-produced with our partners from New York Interconnect.



On this Day
1955: A crash during the 24 Hours of Le Mans sends chunks of debris into the crowd, killing driver Pierre Bouillin and 83 spectators.

June 11 also saw the debut of the 1914 movie The Knockout, in which Fatty Arbuckle faced off against what movie legend? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
What was the name of the LA team in the original USFL? Answer: The Express. Kudos: John Ferlazzo/London; Rick Ramage-UTA/NY; Aymon DeMauro-ADM Media & Marketing/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Bob Dudelson-Leverage Agency/NY; Louis Lewow-FITE/Atlanta; Mike May-R2 Innovative Technologies/Wellingtonl Jason Brist-Outdoor Sportsman Group/Chicago; Chris Quinn-Austin FC/Austin; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Creed Heilskov-ImOn Communications/Cedar Rapids; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Nick Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credir Union/Burbank; Dominick Latorre- Sinclair Broadcasting Group/Simi Valley

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