06/26/20: FIFA announced that Australia and New Zealand will host the 2023 Women’s World Cup

 

Medias First Morning Read
Friday June 26, 2020

Please note that we will be dark next week for the holiday.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 punched its ticket for Australia and New Zealand, after a vote taken by the FIFA Council. According to FIFA, the joint bid submitted by Football Federation Australia and New Zealand Football received 22 of the 35 valid votes cast by the FIFA Council members in the first ballot, while the Colombian Football Association picked up 13. The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will mark the first edition to feature 32 teams and it will also be the first to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand and across two confederations (AFC and OFC).

PROGRAMMING

The Pro Football Hall of Fame scrapped this year’s annual NFL’s preseason-opening game, slated to feature the Cowboys and Steelers, in addition to postponing its annual enshrinement ceremony as a result of the pandemic. ESPN reports that the two teams will instead play in the 2021 Hall of Fame Game, and the enshrinement ceremony — originally slated for Aug. 8 — will be held next year. “The health and safety of our Hall of Famers, fans and volunteers who make Enshrinement Week so special remains our top priority,” David Baker, president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said in a statement. “The Hall will honor the Centennial Class of 2020 next August, along with what promises to be an equally spectacular Class of 2021, as part of a multi-day celebration of football with an atmosphere that will deliver for fans ‘Twice the Fun in ’21.'”

Also going dark as a result of COVID-19 will be the New York City Marathon, which would have been the 50th running of the iconic race in November. “Canceling this year’s TCS New York City Marathon is incredibly disappointing for everyone involved, but it was clearly the course we needed to follow from a health and safety perspective,” said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Runners. The marathon will now take run on Nov. 7, 2021.

Major League Soccer locked in its television plans when it returns with the MLS is Back Tournament that kicks off in July. On FOX, play begins on July 11 at 8p with Atlanta United/New York Red Bulls on FOX and FC Cincinnati/Columbus Crew SC at 10:30p on FS1. FOX Sports’ coverage of the all-new tournament includes nine group stage matchups, four knockout stage matches, two quarterfinals and a semifinal.

Around the dial, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will combine to carry 28 of the 54 total matches of the MLS is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida beginning July 8 and running through Tuesday, Aug. 11. In addition, ESPN will serve as the production services provider for the MLS is Back Tournament. ESPN will air 22 matches including the opener, all seven matches in the 9a window, and the Final while ESPN2 will televise six matches including one match in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. ESPN Deportes will carry Spanish-language telecasts of the 28 ESPN matches.

Turner Sports is opting out of its deal with the UEFA Champions League, according to SBJ. The company reportedly notified European football governing body UEFA that it will exercise an exist clause in its contract to forego the final year of its deal. The report states that UEFA “will look to re-sell English-language rights for the next two seasons over the next several weeks.”

Univision’s TUDN delivers all the action from the first-ever Copa por México featuring eight teams and 15 total matches. Beginning July 3, the tournament will signal the return to play for Mexico’s top club soccer league in Liga MX and will include fan-favorite teams such as Tigres, América, and Cruz Azul competing to be crowned the winner of the very first Mexican rivalry tournament. TUDN will provide pre-game insights as part of Fútbol Central.

Rounding out soccer news, CBS Sports HQ, the free 24/7 streaming sports news network, will deliver live pre and post-game coverage for every match in the NWSL Challenge Cup presented by P&G and Secret. Beginning Saturday at 12:15pm ET ahead of the opening match, and leading into every game in the tournament, CBS Sports HQ’s team of soccer experts, featuring analyst Sandra Herrera, former MLS Coach of the Year Thomas Rongen, and CBS Sports Digital writer Roger Gonzalez, will preview the matchup and give fans everything they need to know for the game and the rest of the tournament. Following each game, CBS Sports HQ will deliver highlights and analysis, including post-game reactions live from Utah.

FloSports will exclusively broadcast the 2021 Abu Dhabi Combat Club’s (ADCC) World Submission Fighting Championships in its entirety on the FloGrappling platform. The event returns to North America again next year and will take place on September 25 & 26, 2021 in Las Vegas.

On the ratings front, FOX Sports reports that Monday’s NASCAR Cup Race at Talladega on FOX delivered 3,356,000 viewers after being rained out on Sunday and rescheduled. That figure is 20% better than last week’s rain-impacted NASCAR Cup race and ranks as FOX’s best make-up Monday race since 2014 (excluding Daytona). On FOX Sports streaming services the telecast delivered an average minute audience of 43,909.

Today will see NHL Network’s airing of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery live at 8p with Kathryn Tappen hosting Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly at NHL Network’s studios in Secaucus. Immediately following the Draft Lottery, NHL Network’s Tony Luftman and Kevin Weekes will break down the results of the lottery on NHL Tonight: 2020 Draft Lottery Recap.

Mike Tirico hosts NBC Sports’ coverage of the historic NASCAR/INDYCAR crossover weekend on Fourth of July weekend, anchoring 10-plus hours of coverage from Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 4-5 on NBC. Tirico will be joined by special guests throughout the crossover weekend, including current and former INDYCAR and NASCAR drivers.

CALLING DIGITAL’S TOP INNOVATORS

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NOMINATE BY AUG 11th

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Amazon signed on for naming rights to the new home of Seattle’s upcoming NHL team and WNBA’s Seattle Storm, locking in a deal that will see the venue titled Climate Pledge Arena. The arena is expected to be the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world and will be funded with significant investment from Amazon and Oak View Group. “We’ve secured naming rights to the historic arena previously known as KeyArena. Instead of naming it after Amazon, we’re calling it Climate Pledge Arena as a regular reminder of the importance of fighting climate change,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “We look forward to working together with Oak View Group, a new Climate Pledge signatory, and NHL Seattle to inspire global climate action.”

The National Basketball Players Association and its for-profit arm, THINK450, announced a partnership with Opendorse that will provide NBA players and brand partners with a platform for easy content management and campaign execution on social media. The agreement aims to provide continual value and educational resources to help players build and monetize the value of their name, image, and likeness rights. The program aims to make collaboration and paid opportunities easier and more frequent for players. Each player participant can approve and publish content to their personal Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram channels with a single tap.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

FaceBank Group and Disney Media Networks announced a comprehensive distribution agreement to deliver Disney’s lineup of premier news, sports and entertainment content from ESPN and Walt Disney Television to live TV streaming platform fuboTV. Beginning this summer, customers who subscribe to fuboTV’s fubo Standard base package will have access to ABC, ABC News Live, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, in-market for SEC Network and ACC Network, FX, FXX, and National Geographic. Additional networks will also be available on fuboTV’s other packages including out-of-market for SEC Network and ACC Network, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, FXM, Fox Life, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo, and BabyTV. The deal includes both live television and VOD.

ROAR Digital, the joint venture between MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings, and Sportradar cemented a long-term extension of their US partnership through September 2026. Under the terms of the deal, Sportradar will continue providing data for all US sports plus a range of other events to ROAR Digital for use on BetMGM, its leading mobile sports betting app. As an expansion of the deal, BetMGM will also deploy Sportradar’s portfolio of live streaming sporting events on BetMGM in the US market.

FanDuel Group announced the official launch of their first FanDuel branded, standalone FanDuel Casino app in Pennsylvania for iOS and Android users. The standalone FanDuel Casino app will eventually have an expanded game library and at launch will feature some of the most popular and recognized table games and slots for customers to enjoy, including Blackjack, Roulette, and Video Poker.

ESPN Podcasts reports that it experienced 44.2 million downloads in May, the seventh month in the last eight with a total of 40 million or more. The number represents an 11% increase over the previous month and a year-over-year increase of 32%. In addition, the average ESPN listener downloaded 8.62 podcast episodes in May, up 40% over last year.

ESPORTS

David Beckham in investing in Guild Esports, where he will be co-owner. The London-based startup company plans to launch academies and initially focus on FIFA, Fortnite and Rocket League. “Throughout my career I’ve been lucky enough to work with players at the top of their game, and I’ve seen first-hand the passion and dedication it takes to play at that level,” Beckham said in a statement.

OpTic Gaming announced that SCUF Gaming signed on as the Official Controller and Gaming Accessories Partner of OpTic Gaming Los Angeles, which competes in the Call of Duty League. As part of the deal, SCUF and OpTic will collaborate on a custom controller. “The OpTic brand has deservedly earned its place in the Call of Duty history books and is a brand SCUF has worked with since the early days of esports” said Duncan Ironmonger, Founder and CEO of SCUF Gaming. “We’ve supported OpTic for years, and are excited to once again create something special for both their players and fans. This deal means that two companies that were there at the beginning of esports are set to continue their storied partnership.” SCUF Gaming also tied up a deal with the Chicago Huntsmen.

Nielsen named Matthew Yazge as the company’s new Head of Esports in North America where he will be charged with leading commercial sales and client service for Nielsen’s Esports business following the departure of Nicole Pike. He will also lead the Nielsen Esports Advisory Board.

Dignitas announced that RESPAWN, the Razer-owned mental performance consumables brand, was named an official Dignitas Team Partner. This partnership will allow RESPAWN and Dignitas to co-develop new products, lifestyle content, and exclusive digital events for fans.

ReadyUp, an interactive platform enabling gaming communities to find, follow and join events, officially launched its service with partners that include esports companies ESL Gaming, GEEX, NACE, and Unikrn along with gaming lifestyle media orgs SLAM and Topgolf among others. “Events–whether they’re online, or in person, global or grassroots, in-game or real life–bring the gaming community together,” said Jonathan FATAL1TY Wendel, Co-Founder and Chief Gaming Officer of ReadyUp. “Events that spark our shared passion, and compel us to join in are defining the modern gaming experience.”

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

ACC Commissioner John Swofford announced Thursday he will retire following the 2020-21 athletic year. The announcement will end his 24 years of service with the league and he will continue in the Commissioner’s chair until his successor is installed and will assist with the transition as needed. “It has been a privilege to be a part of the ACC for over five decades and my respect and appreciation for those associated with the league throughout its history is immeasurable,” said Swofford. “Having been an ACC student-athlete, athletics director and commissioner has been an absolute honor. There are immediate challenges that face not only college athletics, but our entire country, and I will continue to do my very best to help guide the conference in these unprecedented times through the remainder of my tenure. Nora and I have been planning for this to be my last year for some time and I look forward to enjoying the remarkable friendships and memories I’ve been blessed with long after I leave this chair.”

Zinc Agency, an agency focused on curating experiences that leverage the power of talent in sports, music, and beyond, and WCPG, an award-winning cause agency, are aligning for a strategic partnership that will put their core services alongside one another to create “virtual experiences with social impact.”

SPORTS BROADCAST JOURNAL w/David J. Halberstam

There are reports that Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit might be assigned to Monday Night Football if college football is cancelled across the board or schedules are pared significantly. The two have been the lead college football team for the network. Financials are likely the key consideration. Revenue is a challenge for a network built around live programming. Fowler and Herbstreit would serve in a stopgap role, now that Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland are being reassigned. There would be no need to add to payroll. When college football reemerges in full blossom at some point, the two can go back to their comfort zone.

Halby’s Morsels: ESPN’s MNF, Fowler and Herbstreit?; Jack Buck and more

Steve Herz, President of The Montag Group, one of the bigger talent agencies, says that Tony Romo is worth every penny of the $17 million per year that CBS will pay him. Romo is represented by CAA. “Nobody held a gun to CBS’ head. If CBS had not signed Romo and it caused them to lose the NFL, it’s possible that even more people would have been unemployed there,” Herz says.

Agent, Steve Herz: Romo worth every penny; Pandemic similar to the Industrial Revolution

There have been many, many events over the last century that have caused the cancellation of sporting events, including assassinations, health scares, war, an earthquake, unrest on the streets and of course, labor strife. Here’s the full log (1918-2020):
Labor strife, war, riots, an earthquake, a virus and more: A 100-year log of cancelled sports

Happy Birthdays and many happy returns:

Woody Paige, June 27, Longtime columnist and ESPN commentator
Kevin Calabro, June 27, Portland Trailblazers TV
Jim Spanarkel, June 28, CBS TV and Brooklyn Nets
Dan Dierdorf, June 29, Michigan, formerly CBS and ABC TV
Peter Vecsey, July 1, former NBA columnist and NBC TV
Clark Kellogg, July 2, CBS TV college basketball
John Sterling, July 4, NY Yankees radio
Norm Hitzges, July 5, Longtime Dallas sportscaster
Paul Keels, July 5, Ohio State football and basketball
Ted Leitner, July 9, San Diego Padres radio
Scott Van Pelt, July 9t, ESPN

Sports Broadcast Journal

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