|This week sees a new familiar new face hit the screen at FOX Sports as Emmanuel Acho joins the company as host of the network’s series Speak for Yourself. Acho joins from ESPN and drew massive audiences and acclaim for his YouTube series Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man and he will now debut as co-host with Marcellus Wiley on Wednesday. The former NFL player joined ESPN through The Longhorn Network in 2016.
Cynopsis caught up with Charlie Dixon, Executive Vice President of Content at FS1, to talk about Acho’s addition and the studio lineup.
Dixon on adjusting production during the pandemic: Our first priority is always the health and safety of our employees. Once we paused production of our daily FS1 studio shows on the FOX lot in March we were able to take a step back and figure out how to get back on-air from our homes. We worked closely with Brad Zager (Executive producer and EVP/Head of Productions and Operations) and David Katz (EVP Digital) who had experience producing live shows in non-traditional environments, and we were able to find solutions and get back on-air within a few days. Most of our talent were just in their house alone with a camera, feeding the streams though makeshift control rooms built in staff members’ garages or apartments. Ultimately, we were thrilled with the product and our ability to provide some normalcy for viewers during an uncertain time.
On lessons learned: As our shows gradually come back to the FOX lot, we continue to have strict health and safety protocols in place to comply with CDC guidelines and avoid unnecessary contact. There are lessons from remote productions that we hope to carry over into our day-to-day, primarily the ability to be nimble and adapt to new opportunities. One major silver lining to the quarantine experience has been the access to guests, whether it be by phone or video conference we’ve been fortunate to have some amazing guests drop in and we hope to see that flexibility and access continue in the future.
On looking for a co-host: We look for two things in all of our talent, they have to have a hunger to tell a story and an understanding of what kind of story they want to tell. The first time I met with Emmanuel he made it clear that he knew what message he wanted to get across, and he was eager to do that with us at FOX Sports. In general, our job is to listen to what goals our talent have for their shows and help them achieve that. With Speak for Yourself, we’re lucky to have the foundation built already, it’s just up to Marcellus and Emmanuel to take that opportunity and make it their own.
On adding Acho: Speak for Yourself has always been a show about sports, but also about how sports fit into society. It’s a perfect fit for Emmanuel with his extensive background in sports, and his willingness to engage in tough but important conversations. He’s a talented broadcaster with a wealth of knowledge that we have been excited to have on our team for a long time. Emmanuel and Marcellus are good friends who are going to have honest, passionate conversations about what’s going on in the world, and we are eager to showcase their voices every day.
After a weekend that saw multiple bumps in discussions to restart baseball, Major League Baseball and the union are reportedly getting closer on a deal. According to USA Today, the players postponed their vote Sunday whether to accept or reject MLB’s plan for 60 games that guarantees players about $1.5 billion. However, the recent surge of COVID-19 positive tests now is expected to delay the season. The resumption of spring training now likely will be delayed to about June 29, with the season starting July 26. Regular season games that enter extra innings will now start with a runner on base beginning in the 10th inning. In the postseason, games will revert to traditional rules.
The NCAA Board of Governors announced that the org had expanded its Confederate flag policy in order to block any NCAA championship events from being played in states where the symbol has a prominent presence, with Mississippi being the only state that would be affected by the policy. However, if a college or university team earned the right to host a championship game based on its tournament seeding or ranking — considered a nonpredetermined award — the team could host on its college campus or in its home territory. “Competing in an NCAA championship is a special experience for college athletes who compete at the highest level and we are grateful for the college athlete voice leading to this decision,” said Mark Emmert, NCAA president. “We must do all we can to ensure that NCAA actions reflect our commitment to inclusion and support all our student-athletes. There can be no place within college sports where any student-athlete is demeaned or unwelcome.”
Meanwhile, the NCAA Division-1 Council approved a plan to lay out preseason work for college football programs ahead of the 2020 season. Schools may conduct up to eight hours of weight training, conditioning and film review per week (with not more than two hours of film review per week) from July 13-23. Afterward, through Aug. 6, schools can conduct up to 20 hours of countable athletically related activities per week (not more than four hours per day.
NFL Network and NFL RedZone are no longer available to DISH and Sling TV subscribers, with the channels dropped from the lineup over the weekend. In a press release, the league said, “NFL Media remains committed to negotiating an agreement and has offered terms consistent with those in place with other distributors.”
DAZN Group landed more soccer broadcasting rights, picking up rights to stream Bundesliga matches on Friday and Sunday in Germany from next year through mid-2025, according to Bloomberg. DAZN expanded its package from one game that was sublicensed to three exclusive games per week, all in separate primetime timeslots.
The French Open has been pushed back another week amid organizer plans to allow fans to attend the annual Grand Slam tournament, which will now take place on Sept. 27-Oct. 11. The announcement comes as the ATP and WTA fine tune their own updated calendars. “We are delighted that consultation with the various international tennis authorities has enabled the 2020 edition of the Roland-Garros tournament to be extended to three weeks,” said French tennis federation president Bernard Giudicelli, per reports.
The AVP announced a new event series, the AVP Champions Cup Series, starting July 18 in Long Beach, CA. The three-part cup series will replace the 2020 AVP Pro season as restrictions and regulations have banned any fan-attended events for the remainder of the summer and be held over the course of three weekends — July 18-19, 25-26 and August 1-2. The slate will see an eight-team main draw with a 12-team qualification cap. Each event will be run separately with a $200,000 purse plus a $100,000 bonus pool up for grabs for the teams with the top finishes. Amazon Prime Video will offer comprehensive live coverage beginning on July 18 and stream matches throughout the entire event series. NBC will present an early round men’s match on July 18 (2-3p) and the women’s final on July 19 (1:30-3p). NBCSN will present one finals match in the second and third weekends, respectively, which will also be simulcast on Amazon Prime Video.
HBO Sports, NFL Films and the two Los Angeles-based NFL franchises are teaming up for Hard Knocks: Los Angeles, a five-episode season this summer. Season 15 will kick off on Aug. 11 at 10p with other hour-long episodes of the first sports-based reality series debuting subsequent Tuesdays at the same time, culminating in the Sept. 8 season finale spotlighting both Los Angeles NFL teams: The Los Angeles Chargers of the AFC West and the Los Angeles Rams of the NFC West.
All Sports Television Network (ALL SPORTS) officially announced its introduction into the marketplace as a national sports network available on over-the-air television. Scheduled to launch on September 1, 2020, the network expects to initially reach 40 million households throughout the United States over the broadcast airwaves and offer coverage of national and international sporting events, which include football, baseball, basketball, track & field, tennis, softball, soccer, swimming, wrestling and volleyball. In addition to broadcasting live and delayed events, ALL SPORTS will showcase sports-related movies, talk shows, in-depth athlete and team profiles, as well as highlights from leagues, events and tournaments around the world.
|The adtech community is stepping up to the plate…
The Cynopsis Adtech Awards
Enter By June 24th
During a time when in-person events have been cancelled, the adtech community is stepping up. They’re helping to guarantee marketers upfront inventory and preserve revenue for media owners by using breakthrough approaches and solutions. Adtech providers are a group that lives on the cutting edge of innovation, which is why we are celebrating their platforms, campaigns, and strategies in more than 20 categories. View them all here.
|SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
The Charlotte Sports Foundation and Duke’s Mayonnaise announced a multiyear partnership to take over the college postseason bowl game formerly known as the Belk Bowl. In addition, the deal covers an early-season college football game that will be known as the Duke’s Mayo Classic, with the first game set to feature Wake Forest and Notre Dame on Sept. 26 at Bank of America Stadium. “Of course they are a national brand but their core is in the mid-South and Southeast,” Danny Morrison, executive director of the Charlotte Sports Foundation, told CBS Sports. “Part of the partnership would not only reinforce that core 11 states plus D.C. area, but also grow the brand throughout the country. And this creates tremendous brand recognition.”
FedEx replaced its logos on Denny Hamlin’s ride for NASCAR’s race at Talladega Superspeedway to spotlight the National Civil Rights Museum. The company also donated $500,000 “in support of the museum’s mission,” which chronicles the history of the civil rights movement in America.
Manscaped unlocked a partnership with PBR to become an Official Partner of the PBR Monster Energy Team Challenge. “PBR Monster Energy Team Challenge is an incredible tournament – bringing the excitement and drama of PBR events to new levels, and we’re really happy to be a part of it,” said Joey Kovac, Senior Director of Marketing at Manscaped. “No one needs to take care of themselves below-the-waist more than a bull rider, so the partnership was a no-brainer and has been resonating with PBR’s huge fanbase.”
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH
FanDuel Group and Sportradar announced an extension of their current partnership, giving FanDuel access to the use of official NFL league data. FanDuel now has access to all major U.S. sports data from Sportradar. “We’ve been long-time partners with Sportradar, a company that shares a unique vision of engaging with sports fans, so extending the depth of our partnership with Sportradar was a natural next step,” said Niall Connell, General Manager of FanDuel Sportsbook. “Continuing to use Sportradar stats will allow us to further deliver on our promise of improving the experience for our customers.”
T1 Entertainment & Sports and Nerd Street Gamers announced the T1 x Nerd Street Gamers Valorant Showdown, the first North American event in Riot’s VALORANT Ignition Series that runs June 26-28. Nerd Street Gamers is powering the event and partnering with T1 on the production, which will feature world-renowned players, streamers, and influencers, as well as special programming elements such as exclusive interviews with Riot and T1 personnel. “It is incredibly exciting to see publishers like Riot Games embrace the amateur community by empowering Nerd Street Gamers and T1 to host tangible path to pro events like our upcoming qualifiers,” said John Fazio, founder and CEO of Nerd Street Gamers. “Riot has acted on their commitment to support the competitive gaming scene, and we are looking forward to supporting both pros and amateurs for the Ignition Series in North America.”
The ESL Mobile Open season five finals are locked in to run July 11-13, played online due to the pandemic. This year’s Mobile Open showcases Asphalt 9: Legends, Clash of Clans, PUBG Mobile, and Auto Chess. Teams and players from across North America competed in several rounds of qualifiers and a playoff to reach the finals.
eMLS announced that its 2020 champion will be crowned via the eMLS Cup event taking place on June 28, with Coca-Cola and PlayStation on-board as the presenting sponsors. The eMLS Cup was initially set to take place at the South by Southwest festival in Austin in March.
Formula 1 revealed that the F1 Esports – Virtual Grand Prix series, notched 30 million views across TV and digital platforms during the lockdown period, which spanned eight Virtual Grands Prix, Pro Exhibition races and #Challenge events. The Virtual Grand Prix races alone reached 21.8 million views on digital platforms alone, including the official Formula 1 YouTube, Twitch and Facebook channels as well as Weibo and Huya channels in China.
Meal replacement startup brand CTRL announced that FaZe Clan has taken an ownership stake in the company. The deal marks the first time that FaZe Clan is taking a co-owner position with another brand. “This deal represents the next step in the evolution of esports,” said Sundance DiGiovanni, co-founder of CTRL and Major League Gaming. “A few years ago, nobody believed that esports was ready for prime time. Now, it’s a major force in both culture and business.” As part of its ownership, FaZe Clan will leverage its marketing skills to grow the brand globally. In the future, CTRL will collaborate with FaZe Clan on new flavors for its meal replacement shakes.
ESL named former ProSiebenSat.1 executive Stefan Beitz as its new chief financial officer. Beitz replaces Arne Anders in the role at the league.
Twitch announced that it would be pulling the plug on TwitchCon San Diego this September due to restrictions and safety concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic. The company suggested that if would be “exploring wats that it could join forces in an alternate dimension later this year.”
|“The Cynopsis Sports Awards continue to recognize the passionate stories coming from both behind and in-front of the camera. We are honored to continue that tradition and thank the industry for their continued support.”
– Chris Pursell | CYNOPSIS Director of Content
Virtual Awards Celebration: August 12th – Stay Tuned For Details!
|On this Day
1994: The Rockets beat the Knicks in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
In the Know
Which NFL team originally drafted Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell? (Email email@example.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Throughout his MLB career, Ted Williams mainly played at which position? Answer Left Field. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Pete Gautieri-A&E Networks/NY; Ron Simon-Paley Center for Media/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Mark Lehman-Braves/Atlanta; Mike May-R2 Innovative Technologies/Wellington; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Bill Robertson-WCHA/Bloomington; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; Jack Neumann-University of Calgary Dinos 5th Quarter/Calgary; Dan Harrison-FOX/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank
Vice Media Group
Write and produce promos for VICE TV and all of its programming, including image spots, series trailers and cutdowns, episodic promos, tentpole/event promos, interstitials, brand spots. 5+ years of promo producing experience in a cable network. Full info HERE (7/10)
9 Story Media
Remote for now & eventually NYC office. Exp’d producer for an iconic, high profile preschool series that combines 2D, 3D and live action. 5+ yrs production exp, children’s content exp, animation req’d. Strong storytelling skills w/understanding of preschool audiences. Full info HERE (6/28)
VP GROWTH MARKETING >>
Jersey City, NJ: Lead/develop, and deploy enhancements to PointsBet’s growth marketing strategies including performance media, SEO, Conversion Rate Optimization, MarTech, and more. 10+ yrs of exp in relevant growth marketing roles, ideally for digital/app based product(s). Full info HERE (6/26)
DIRECTOR OF SALES >>
RNN/Rye Brooke NY: Responsible for growing and managing its Diginet business across all of its TV stations. Minimum of 5 yrs exp in sales in the TV industry and experience in Diginet/multicast/D2 business required. Exp’d networking & establishing new relationships with key players at agencies and advertisers. BA deg Full info HERE (6/25)
SR PODCAST PRODUCER >>
Glass Entertainment Group/Philadelphia: Story producer to help lead a new episodic podcast. You will be involved in episode dvlopmnt, rsrch, interview prep & prod episodes (both during actual record & in post). Background in storytelling & min 5yrs exp making audio, pref w/proven field reporting exp. Full info HERE (6/25)
PRODUCER, BROADCAST LIVE >>
AccuWeather/State College PA: Produce compelling live video segments for the national network on a daily and as-needed schedule. Put together the rundown for each individual segment and work with a team. Entrepreneurial spirit & working knwldg of non-linear editing suites req’d. Full info HERE (6/25)
MARKETING MANAGER, SVOD >>
AMC Networks’ Acorn TV/Silver Spring, MD: Plans, implements, evaluates performance/KPIs of multi-territory subscriber acquisition campaigns; acts as creative lead and agency POC. Spanish fluency required; marketing exp, 5+ yrs. Full info/apply HERE (6/24)
MGR/DIRECTOR, MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS >>
ISE/LA: Passionate, innovative & driven candidate to support planning, development & execution of marketing, brand building & PR initiatives for the company’s Football & Basketball clients. 5+ yrs comms, sales, superior marketing & athletic brand building skills a must. Full info HERE (6/24)
PUBLICIST, COMMUNICATIONS >>
Earth Day Network/DC: Help support the dvlpmnt/ execution of multi-channel, integrated communications and engagement strategies. 3+ yrs of communications planning and execution exp. Superior communication skills a must. Full info HERE (6/24)