06/13/16: FIBA’s Baumann benefits from ground game; Networks’ Copa overfloweth; EA revamps competition


Good morning. It’s Monday June 13, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

With the Olympics around the corner, global basketball association FIBA is harvesting the growth of the sport around the world, not only seeing record attendance and play in multiple continents, but also locking in new deals in recent weeks that include China’s Tencent and the IOC’s upcoming Olympic Channel. Cynopsis Sports spoke with Patrick Baumann, Secretary General of FIBA, about the sport’s surge around the world, his recent media deals and the challenges that still face the organization.

Baumann on the rise of basketball: We are extremely happy with how basketball is developing has been developing in the last decade. I think we are a truly global sport, which truly is rivaling with our good friends in soccer in many parts of the world. That’s something that the entire basketball family can be very proud of. Things starting accelerating after Barcelona and the Dream Team and I think we have benefitted from that. There are now 100 international players in the NBA and we are seeing record attendance in France and other countries, those are highlights for us. Whether you are in Africa, South America, Asia or Europe, we have a sport which is clearly dominating the scene and let’s face it; basketball is very exciting because every minute you have a basket, unlike other sports where you may go an hour and a half without a score.

On three-on-three play: Three-on-three play is also growing very quickly around the world since we established a number of rules and created a path from the streets to a world championship. We have close to 30 million views on the YouTube Channel. We can also be happy that we have been able to move three-on-three into communities that may not have been very strong with five-on-five, and they are now able to create some elite team that will hopefully play in Tokyo in 2020.

On challenges: Challenges are always present, especially when you are growing very fast because the structure can’t always follow as quickly as you would like. We are organized differently from the NBA, as we are a global, non-profit organization, that starts first with our communities. When you get up to our level of the organization, there are so many countries, it looks like a United Nations Security Council, with so many backgrounds and histories. So it is not always easy to bring ideas from the top down, when the local structures may not be able to follow at the speed that we are going right now. We also have challenges, because of the differences among us, in trying to grow the competitiveness in different countries, but the countries that are investing in the sport are starting to now see some success.

On new deals: With the Olympic Channel, we will be focusing very much with the exposure and development of three-on-three. The Olympic Channel will be an extraordinary platform, it will be showcasing a young, vibrant, urban sport and that’s exactly the population that the channel will be targeting. As it relates to the other deals, we are fortunate that there are so many ways that the media can bring games to fans. For example, our recent deal with Tencent in China allows us to tap into an incredible number of fans in the market that are crazy for the game. We have a deal with Perform, and they are terrific, and we will have more deals to announce as we start qualifying for the World Cup in 2019.


Univision Deportes’ coverage of the Copa America saw the Mexico/Jamaica match on Saturday average 5.4 million viewers and 3.1 million Adults 18-49. The Uruguay/Venezuela contest scored an average of 2.1 million viewers. To date, the tournament is outperforming the 2014 World Cup group stage by 7% among viewers and 12% among Adults 18-49. Through 14 matches, the tournament is averaged 2.8 million Total Viewers 2+ and 1.5 million Adults 18-49 per match. To date, the tournament has reached 30.7 million Total Viewers 2+.

The United States’ win over Paraguay propelled FS1 to an average of 2.061 million viewers on Saturday, according to Nielsen, to rank as the most-watched men’s soccer match in network history. Copa America has now produced three of the top four men’s soccer ratings in FS1 history. Viewership marked a 99% rise over the average for the U.S. group stage matches in last summer’s prestigious CONCACAF Gold Cup. The US quarterfinal match is set on the network for Thursday at 8:30p.

Game 4 of the NBA Finals averaged 16.4 million viewers for ABC. Meanwhile, WatchESPN scored a record number of unique viewers for an NBA game, generating 1,026,000 unique viewers, with 52,800,000 total minutes streamed and an average minute audience of 300,000.

NBC Sports reports that the Belmont Stakes on NBC posted 4.3/10 in overnight numbers; peaking at 5.1/12 from 6:30-6:45pm as Creator pulled the upset to win. While down from last year’s Triple Crown sweep, according to the company, that number marks the second best among the seven Belmont Stakes in the past 20 years without a Kentucky Derby winner.

Hey you! Does eSports still look like a typo? Are you under the impression that Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team Liquid and Machinima are shows on Adult Swim instead of powerful media brands? Do hundreds of millions loyal & engaged fans around the world with disposable income sound like a rather nice market? Then you can’t afford to miss the Cynopsis eSports Conference next week, run with our annual Sports Business Summit, on June 23. In fact, sign up now – and I mean right now  and get access to all 18 sessions at our events as well as complimentary passes to the ESL One NY Tournament on October 1-2 in Brooklyn to experience it for yourself. Don’t miss out!

The New York Racing Association and FOX Sports locked in a multiyear agreement to telecast NYRA racing live from Saratoga Race Course beginning this season on FS2 and stream live on the FOX Sports GO app and FOX Sports.com. The deal will see more than 80 hours of live racing coverage for the seven-week meet, the programs covering 40 stakes races.

CBS Sports is throwing the flag on Mike Carey before the new NFL season. The New York Daily News reports that the network will not bring the former referee back as its rules analyst for the 2016 season.

Pac-12 Networks announced that the national feed of the Pac-12 Network will shift to Comcast’s Digital Starter level of service in designated home markets of member schools in Comcast’s footprint this summer. The regional Pac-12 Networks channel in each market will shift to Comcast’s Sports and Entertainment Package starting July 21.

CSI Sports signed a multi-year carriage agreement for their 24/7 FIGHT SPORTS network to be carried on the Digicel Play platform throughout the Caribbean. The channel recently launched in several countries in the region, including Jamaica.


Sports Business Summit Featured Keynote: Intel
The Digitization of Sports:
Transforming Experiences for Athletes, Media & Fans
Hear from VP, New Technology Group (Strategic Relationships & Business Development),New Devices Group, Intel, Sandra Lopez,who will discuss how digitization is empowering athletes to achieve their goals & maximize performance.

In addition, hear from Twitter, NextVR, New Era, Octagon& more.
Register today for the June 23 conference in New York City.
Sponsors: NeuLion – Phoenix – Sportradar-  rEvolution


FOX Sports reeled in Lexus for a partnership to offer  through its FOX Sports Lab initiative and NextVR  expanded VR offerings from the US Open Championship, taking place June 16-19. Lexus serves as presenting sponsor of a live, multi-camera VR that includes cameras stationed at holes 9, 17 and 18, with roving capability between neighboring holes 10 and 12. As part of the VR lineup, packaged VOD is also slated to feature players on the practice range each morning, narrated content on the history of Oakmont, two-minute“golf tips” and pre-produced features of each hole.

NASCAR and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) unveiled a new campaign over the weekend to promote diversity, inclusion and equality within and outside of sports. A PSA featuring several NASCAR drivers will encourage fans to take the pledge to end racism at RISEtoWin.org, including Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Kyle Larson and Darrell Wallace Jr. “Discrimination has no place in our society, which is why we have partnered with RISE and Stephen Ross to help put an end to intolerance in sports,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “With the help of our talented drivers who support this important message, we want to reinforce our sport’s unwavering commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion.”


The NBA revealed the launch of the NBAmoji App, offering fans access to a series of emojis beginning with The Finals 2016 to download now for free via the App Store and Google Play. The emojis were developed in partnership with YinzCam and include all players in The Finals 2016, logos for the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and NBA Finals, as well as the Larry O’Brien Trophy and select animations.

NBC Sports Digital saw its best month ever for video-on-demand views, delivering 60 million views across all platforms, anchored by the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs and Triple Crown horse racing. Top videos includes Nyquist’s win in the 2016 Kentucky Derby.


Electronic Arts unveiled a new eSports infrastructure and weekly competitions, offering new competitive modes, weekly online contests, and new ways to compete via Challenger events, Premier events, and EA Major events. Challenger events allow gamers to host and oversee their own tournaments. EA’s Premier series will involve outside partners and leagues for large-scale live events, while the EA Major events will be run by EA on a “global stage,” with “the best players competing for the biggest prizes,” starting with the weekend’s Madden NFL ’16 championship.

More than 800 million hours of eSports content were viewed on Twitch in the past 10 months, according Newzoo. Overall, 231 million hours were rebroadcast content with over 71% of that content coming from tournament organizers, with League of Legends developer Riot Games and third-party organizer ESL accounting for a majority of that number.

ESL is adding a $75,000 Street Fighter V tournament, aka “The Brooklyn Beatdown,” to its lineup at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center alongside the announced ESL One New York Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competition. The Brooklyn Beatdown will be an open bracket tournament with space for 1,024 players.

In addition, ESL is launching the Overwatch Atlantic Showdown at ESL gamescom, described as the first international competition featuring Blizzard Entertainment’s new team shooter to offer $100,000. The main event will take place this August 2021 at gamescom, Europe’s largest trade fair for interactive games and entertainment. The first of four open qualifiers for the tournament will begin on June 27.


Golf Channel announced five personnel announcements to its programming, digital, marketing, lifestyle and franchise development platforms. Announcements include Phil Piazza as SVP, Programming; Jon Kropp as VP, Digital Strategy; Mary Stack as VP, Marketing Strategy; Kevin Endsley as Senior Director, Franchise Development & Innovation; and Kevin Schultz as Senior Director, Lifestyle Content.


Cavaliers/Warriors on ABC at 9p.


This is what it meant to our 2015 STARS, what will it mean to you? [SUBMIT]

“It’s great that Cynopsis is taking the lead to recognize young industry leaders & helping bring like-minded achievers together.” J Chenn – Sizmek

“To be included in this impressive group of future leaders was truly an honor & privilege. Thank you Cynopsis for the great experience.” A Tew – Litton Entertainment

“Winning the Rising Star was a wonderful reminder of the success from my overall body of work & contribution to my agency & clients.” T Aquel – Optimedia

ON THIS DAY in 2012: The Giants’ Matt Cain pitched a perfect game against the Astros.

In The Know: RIP Gordie Howe. What must a player accomplish to earn a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick”? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: In MLB history, only once has a father simultaneously managed his two sons as players. Who was he? Answer: Cal Ripken Sr.. Kudos: Dave Ridpath-Ohio University/Germany; Ed Jones-Katz Media Group/NY; Tony DeSanti-BTN/NY; Nick Gaetano-MLB Advanced Media/NY; Russell Sargeant-NBC Sports/NY; G. David Brown-FOX Sports/Charlotte; Tim Buckman-NBC Sports/Stamford; Richard Sandes-Visit Panama City Beach/Panama City Beach; Randy Ingram-WBTW-TV/Myrtle Beach; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Dean Lamb-CDW/Chicago; Tom Doherty-Starcom Media/Chicago; Steve Hebel-Milestone Internet/Chicago; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Rhonda Stokes-Goode Ski Technologies/Ogden; Steven Gold-Nielsen Sports/Las Vegas; Dave Sikula-Toovia/Sunnyvale; Anne Wettig-Fox Cable Networks/LA; Don Surath-KPIX-TV KBCW-TV/San Francisco.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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