06/08/16: The NBA’s 2 billion barrier; FOX’s VR foursome; ELeague grows


Good morning. It’s Wednesday June 8, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The NBA became the first organization to surpass two billion loops on Vine, according to Twitter, with the milestone coming six months after the league hit one billion loops in December. The most-looped Vine to date during the 2016 NBA Playoffs is the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant embracing after the Western Conference Finals, with more than 7.8 million loops. In addition, throughout the rest of the Finals, when fans like a post from @NBA by double tapping on the Vine, they will receive a basketball icon instead of a heart, marking the first customization of this kind in Vine’s history. It will change to a Larry O’Brien Trophy during clinching games.


FOX Sports officially detailed its tech plans for the US Open with an “expanded offering of in-broadcast innovations and enhancements designed to maximize the viewing experience.” This year’s telecast will now include four full holes in virtual reality, the continued use of aerial drones for course-mapping, tee box shot tracers, radio-frequency fairway rangefinders, microphones in all 18 holes (we detailed some of this in Monday’s issue) and patented green-shading graphic overlays. The four-hole multi-camera offering will be sponsored by Lexus and offers 360-degree views of the tee boxes and greens at Holes 9, 17 and 18, in addition to roving capability between neighboring Holes 10 and 12. NextVR’s platform also includes live look-ins at Oakmont’s driving range and video on-demand U.S. Open themed features. Overall, there will be 202 microphones, 156 channels recording simultaneously, 99 cameras and 2 4K servers for the tournament.

ESPN and the Southeastern Conference released the game times and network designation of 30 SEC football games during The Paul Finebaum Show on SEC Network, including ESPN’s selections for the first three weeks of the season, in addition to a week 13 matchup of LSU/Texas A&M on Nov. 24 at 7:30p on ESPN o Sept. 1. ABC opens play with LSU/Wisconsin on Sept. 3 at 3:30.
NBC Olympics lined up its on-air teams for Golf Channel’s coverage of the men’s (Aug. 11-14) and women’s (Aug. 17-20) golf competition at this summer’s Olympic Games. Johnny Miller will lead the network’s live tournament coverage of the men’s competition, rotating lead analyst roles with Nick Faldo in the 18th tower. David Feherty will split time as a tower analyst and on-course reporter, while Peter Jacobsen serves as a second tower analyst. Roger Maltbie and Curt Byrum join as on-course reporters. Terry Gannon and Steve Sands will join Miller and Faldo in the broadcast booth, rotating play-by-play duties. Gannon and Sands also will handle play-by-play during the women’s competition, where they’ll be joined by Annika Sorenstam, who will rotate lead analyst duties with longtime golf broadcaster Judy Rankin.

Speaking of Olympic personalities, Today anchor Savannah Guthrie is opting out of this year’s Olympics due her pregnancy with her second child. Guthrie announced her plans Tuesday morning on Today.

In other talent news, Don Cherry reupped with Rogers Sportsnet via a multi-year deal to continue serving as the face of Hockey Night in Canada, according to The Canadian Press. The 82-year old hockey staple’s two-year deal was set to expire after the Stanley Cup Finals.

Tackle tech opportunities before they tackle you! The Cynopsis Sports Summit is just two weeks away on June 22 and you are at risk of missing out on our lineup of presenters who will help bring you and your company to the next level with key insights and data presented exclusively to our conference. Companies are set to include ESPN, NBC Sports, FOX Sports, BTN, Tennis Channel, NextVR, Intel, Oculus, NeuLion, MLB, the PGA TOUR, International Speedway Corporation, FIBA, the Atlanta Braves, Twitter Instagram, Vice Sports, Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, Octagon, Bruin Sports Capital, New Era, AEG, CSE, Campus Insiders, World Surf League, Perform, LiveLike, Sportradar, Phoenix Marketing, Whistle Sports, Eversport, comScore and more! Don’t miss out on learning from the best in the business, honor our 2016 Hall of Fame Class and network with your peers. Get your tickets NOW. (Special perks for group sales! Contact [email protected] for details.)

Belgium National Team and Manchester City FC captain Vincent Kompany joins ESPN as a studio analyst for the UEFA European Football Championship 2016 starting Friday. Kompany joins a studio ensemble that includes Frank Leboeuf, Michael Ballack, Roberto Martinez, Steve McManaman, Craig Burley, Abby Wambach, and more

The Virginia Pilot writes that the quartet of new broadcast deals for Conference USA will see the league receive around $2.8 million in TV revenue in 2016-2017 from its networks. That equates to around $200,000 for each school, down from $1.1 million for the conference from its previous TV contracts.

NBA TV reports that it saw its total day and prime viewership last week grow 22% and 11%, respectively, over the same period for the NBA Playoffs last year.


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LGBT Pride Month will see the NBA partnering with on-demand commerce platform, Teespring, and LGBT advocacy group, GLSEN, for a two-week campaign. Teespring will offer PRIDE shirts featuring the logos of all 30 NBA teams “emblazoned in a rainbow design and set on a black background” with all proceeds from the sale of the shirts benefiting the organization.

Meanwhile, for the third consecutive year, the WNBA tackles LGBT Pride Month with the launch of WNBA Pride presented by Aquafina. The campaign will feature four nationally televised games on ESPN2 with each telecast offering in-game Pride-related content and the WNBA Pride logo on courtside signage. Beginning in June and continuing through the season, the WNBA will host league and team Pride events on WNBA.com/pride and share Pride moments on the league’s social media channels with the hashtag #wnbapride.

PHIT America released Physical Activity Council’s top sports, fitness and exercise activities in the US in 2015, revealing the number of Americans who are active at least once a year in 111 sports, fitness or exercise activities. Topping the list with the top three spots were Walking for Fitness (with nearly 110 million participants), treadmill and running/jogging. Bowling took up the #4 spot, followed by free weights. Showing the most growth in 2015 was target shooting.


AT&T and the Chernin Group are reportedly preparing to unveil a new video subscription bundle targeting viewers interested in anime, video games, and action sports, according to Variety. The new platform is being developed by Ellation.

NeuLion acquired Saffron Digital Limited, a privately held company headquartered in London that helps its customers “build multi-platform digital video services for entertainment delivered over-the-top to internet connected devices.” The combined synergies will look to help challenges by decreasing the number of vendors involved in their projects, reducing time to market for new OTT and TVE, supporting all video formats up to 4K Ultra HD, and more.

Skratch unveiled its latest content series, Adventures in Golf, which explores the game of golf in “extraordinary places.” All 10 episodes of season 1 are available at AdventuresInGolf.SkratchTV.com or on Skratch’s social channels will stories from Mumbai, India; Portland, Ore.; Tokyo; Dubai, Compton and more.


ELeague announced that  through two weeks  the league has reeled in over 276 million gross minutes of video consumption on Twitch and TBS, averaging over 50K concurrent streams on Twitch. The tournament notched average primetime delivery of more than 500,000 viewers on TBS for each of its first two Friday night telecasts, including 516,000 total viewers last Friday, for a 0.3 rating and 386,000 total viewers for the night, up 53% and 51% over the previous week. Through two weeks, ELeague on TBS has generated double-digit increases in all core male demos (including Men 18-34) over the network’s comparable delivery in the telecast window over the previous month.

Turtle Beach locked in a deal with eSports organization FaZe Clan for its Elite Pro line of tournament-grade gaming audio gear. FaZe Clan, as well as fellow Turtle Beach partner OpTic Gaming will be competing in this weekend’s Call of Duty MLG Anaheim Open, and fans attending the tournament who visit the Turtle Beach booth will be able meet members of the teams.

Valencia CF became the first La Liga club to have their own eSports team, announcing the sister squad yesterday. “This is a very interesting project and a challenge for Valencia CF to enter a sports sector with such a marked growth,” said Valencia CF Marketing director Peter Draper. “It puts Valencia CF in the vanguard of the sector that is causing most interest throughout Europe.”

Everything you wanted to learn about eSports but were afraid to ask! Join brands, platforms, teams, leagues and players for the Cynopsis eSports Conference on June 23. Don’t miss the “Nielsen Games Presentation: Who is the eSports Fan?” detailing its latest findings on who the fans are, how they behave as consumers and how to engage with them featuring Michael Flamberg, VP/GM of Nielsen Games. Click here now for tickets.


ESPN promoted Sean Hanrahan, who has overseen ESPN’s Marketing Solutions group since 2008 and will now oversee brand marketing as well. According to the company, the move is designed to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of both groups and is part of an alignment of the overall sales and marketing functions at ESPN.


Warriors/Cavaliers on ABC at 9p.


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