06/12/17: Telemundo prepares for the Spotlight; Game 4 cements ABC’s numbers; FIFA’s next global game

Good morning. It’s Monday June 12, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

As the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 gets ready to run starting June 17, Telemundo is looking to maximize its role as the Spanish-language home of the tournament as the company amplifies its role with FIFA that will include the World Cup next year for the first time. Overall, Telemundo is shipping around 150 reporters, technicians, producers and other staff to Russia for the Cup this week, marking “the most significant commitment of resources the Spanish-language network has made to a soccer tournament in its 33-year history” and even launching a campaign for the tournament, titled “This is Only the Beginning,” to trumpet its investment. Overall, the tournament runs June 17- July 2 with all matches running live, with 14 on Telemundo and two on Universo, in addition to streaming via TelemundoDeportes.com and the Telemundo Deportes EN VIVO App. Broadcasts will be supplemented by special pre and post-game programming, daily editions of Titulares y Mas, and news and analysis on TelemundoDeportes.com.
With a huge year ahead, Cynopsis Sports spoke with Telemundo Deportes President Ray Warren about taking the position last year, expectations for its Cup broadcasts and the road ahead for the network.
Warren on moving to Telemundo: In May of 2016, I got a call from inside of NBC that said that a position as President of Telemundo Deportes would be opening up and they had the World Cup for the next three cycles. They wanted to build a brand and build a business, would I be interested. I said absolutely. When I met with Cesar (Conde), he asked why I was so interested in the position and I told him that the answer was “curiosity.” I already knew the power of sports, and I knew the power of fans of their teams, and I had always been interested in the World Cup. Fans of teams go crazy when their team is in the World Series, but entire countries go crazy when they team is in the World Cup. It is a bigger canvas that is the crown jewel of regional sports. Introducing the World Cup to the NBCUniversal company to me was a high honor. 
On the role of sports at Telemundo: The analogy that I use is that Telemundo Deportes has been a True Value Hardware store, a nice business with good quality. But when we got the World Cup, we are now going to be a Home Depot. We paid for the rights to be that big, and that’s part of what I’m working on, which is the transition from being a small, great part of a large company to a big, great part of a large company. When I got here, all the signs here said “World Cup Ready” but after a couple of weeks, I changed them to “World Cup Great,” because I believe that being great is what we need to be.
On the challenges of putting Telemundo’s stamp on the World Cup: Having been at NBC and Comcast for the nine years prior to joining, I have a really good understanding of how big this company is and how amazing the assets are and how cooperative every division is. One of the challenges is getting those assets in place, and from a marketing point of view, everything is clicking so there will be a very high awareness that we have not only the World Cup but also the Confederations Cup.
On the Confederations Cup: Speaking of the Confederations Cup is for us, but the only one I will accept is calling it off-Broadway. I’ve heard it called a dress rehearsal or a test run, but those are all without audiences. We are going to have an audience and being off-Broadway a place where you take your show out, you have an audience, you provide some entertainment and you learn from the experience so you are better when you get to Broadway. We are in great shape for the Confederations Cup, we have NBC Sports’ help, and their experience is already a big help for us.
On upfronts/advertiser reception: The one thing about sports is that the money follows the eyeballs and the eyeballs follow the event. So, I am confident – but not arrogant – about the fact that anyone who wants to watch the World Cup in the Spanish language will know that it is on Telemundo Deportes. Other companies that used to have the World Cup like to tout that more people think the tournament is on their network, but I guarantee you that when I leave this company, 100% of the people will know the World Cup is on Telemundo.

The Cavaliers first win in the 2017 NBA Finals on ABC continued the series’ torrid pace, which still ranks as the most-watched NBA Finals since 1998 through four games, according to Fast Nationals from Nielsen. The series is averaging a total live audience of 19,788,000 average viewers, up 12% last year’s slate, with ABC averaging 19,380,000 viewers with an average minute streaming audience of 408,000 viewers. Friday night’s Game 4 broadcast delivered a total live audience of 19,387,000 average viewers, up 15% over 2016. Game 5 takes place tonight at 9p on ABC.
The IOC executive board locked in its official Tokyo Olympic program, adding 15 more medal events to bring the overall tally to 339 medal events. Included in the mix will be three-on-three basketball along with six events that will involve both men and women competing on mixed teams with mixed-gender competitions that include swimming relays, track and triathlon, archery, judo and table tennis. “The fascinating new events that we approved today, together with the five new sports that were added to the Tokyo 2020 program last year, represent a step-change in the Olympic program,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “I am delighted that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be more youthful, more urban and will include more women.”
Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee’s executive board gave its formal recommendation on Friday that the IOC award both the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games this year, solidifying the bids from LA and Paris for the two Summer Games. The full IOC membership is expected to approve the recommendation next month for a joint 2024/2028 decision, setting up negotiations between the IOC and Los Angeles and Paris officials that are expected to result in Los Angeles agreeing to host the 2028 Games, according to the AP. Describing both cities as “great” and “enthusiastic” bid cities, officials called the 2024/2028 plan “a golden opportunity for the Olympic Games and for the IOC.”
FOX Sports lined up its crew of broadcasters for this week’s US Open, with over 45 hours of coverage on deck from June 15-18. New this year will be the addition of Darren Clarke as an analyst. Leading the coverage will be Joe Buck returning for his third US Open Championship, where he will be joined in the 18th Tower by lead analyst Paul Azinger and analyst Brad Faxon. Holly Sonders hosts studio coverage throughout the championship, while reporter Shane Bacon conducts pre and post round interviews. Gil Hanse provides course and design analysis David Fay on-board as rules expert. Play-by-play announcer Shane O’Donoghue will be joined by Clarke to call part of FOX Sports’ extensive live championship coverage.
Meanwhile, as FOX Sports winds down its NASCAR coverage for its portion of the season, the company announced that Austin Dillon and Regan Smith would serve as driver analysts for its two final NASCAR XFINITY Series races of the 2017 season. Dillon will help Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip call the race from Michigan International Speedway on June 17, while Smith offers analysis from Iowa Speedway on June 24 with Alexander and Phil Parsons.
Following a year that saw a slew of deals between sports and esports entities, how are these new partnerships actually benefitting the brands? What have these sports powerhouses learnt about esports fans? How is competitive gaming being leveraged? Hear from some of the innovators from the sports world, including the NFL, Big Ten Network, the 76ers and Mindshare, who took on esports and learn from their experiences at our latest webinarHow Sports Brands Can Leverage the Esports Explosion,” taking place on June 27. Book your spot now by clicking here .
College football national champions the Clemson Tigers will see their visit to the White House carries on SportsCenter on ESPN today at 3p. Prior to the team’s visit, ESPN reporter Marty Smith will have live updates from the North Lawn of the White House on SportsCenter between 8a-1p.

Snapchat vs. Instagram Stories: A How & When Guide

Join Cynopsis Digital’s webinar, Thursday, June 29 as agencies Laundry Service & Cycle, Giant Spoon and more cover:

  • How to generate programming and marketing content that feeds brand awareness
  • Strategies for creating content for the features that are unique to Snapchat and for those that are unique to Instagram
  • Best practices for buying and selling ad inventory on both platforms
  • Expert projections on what the future user bases for Instagram and Snapchat will be

Register your team


Taco Bell’s NBA Finals promotion, “Steal a Game, Steal a Taco,” is officially locked and loaded for a payout, courtesy of the Warriors. The marketing tactic, which promises US residents a free taco if a road team steals a game during the NBA Finals, kicked in with the Warriors win, and restaurants will now provide one free Doritos Locos Taco tomorrow from 2-6p.

Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Predators/Penguins pushed live streaming for the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs to 2 million unique devices and more than a half-billion live minutes (hitting 507.8 million). Both numbers mark all-time records.

With E3 announcements off and running, Electronic Arts unveiled the launch of the largest EA SPORTS FIFA competition ever for this fall, as players from around the world will compete as part of a major expansion on EA’s existing partnership with FIFA. The competitive ecosystem will offer players the opportunity to represent their favorite real-life club through official league competitions, the FIFA Ultimate Team Champions Cups as well as a new FIFA Interactive Club World Cup, serving as an All-Star tournament featuring players signed to clubs. More info will be shared later this summer.
Speaking of FIFA, the Portuguese Football Federation is set to become the newest org to offer a new FIFA esports league. Competition will be known as the Allianz Challenge, according to Dot Esports, and dangle a €20,000 prize pool to its competitors. “This joint initiative with FPF Esports, the Allianz Challenge, will bring together players who have the same interests, the same passion, and the same desire to win like any other athlete in another sport,” Teresa Brantuas, CEO of Allianz Portugal, told the site. The league will also be sponsored by the likes of HP, Red Bull, and Moche.
MediaMation is debuting its esports “theater-to-arena” concept at E3 this week, with the MX4D Esports Gaming Theatre being showcased at the expo. The venue is described as a first of its kind, combining MX4D motion EFX seats and new pro modular gaming desk technology that allows spectators to feel the action on screen, as well as enjoy a fully immersive 4D movie-going experience at night. The MX4D Esports Gaming Theatre is slated to open at the TCL Hollywood Chinese Theatre in Q3 of this year.
ePlay Digital announced plans for a new fantasy esports app called ePlay Now!, covering leagues that include League of Legends, Counter Strike and Dota2. The apps will launch this summer and feature athletes, tournaments, and real-time scores, where users can pick winners, choose eSports athletes for their fantasy team, and predict real-time results.

Game 5 Cavaliers/Warriors on ABC at 9p.

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ON THIS DAY in 1939: The Baseball Hall of Fame opens in Cooperstown.
In The Know : What actor coached Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee Hardaway in the movie Blue Chips? ( Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Outside of the Lakers/Celtics pairings, this is the most common matchup in the NBA Finals, squaring off six times. Which two franchises are they? Answer: Lakers/76ers. Kudos: Mike Polvere-Optimum Sports/NY; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Steve Bradbury-Deep Sports/Marina Del Rey

Later — Chris

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JOB OPENING:  SOCIAL MEDIA MGR/ CNBC.com/East Coast: set and execute our social strategies for CNBC Digital. Supervise our social media team to increase our footprint across all platforms. Min 3yrs working in social media at a news operation or an agency with a focus on news and storytelling. Full info/apply  HERE (6/17)

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