06/18/18: Despite the lack of a US team, FOX and Telemundo report millions tuning in to the World Cup

Good morning. It’s Monday June 18, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. Thanks to Mike for covering for me while I was on vacation.

While the lack of a US team has clearly left a mark on FIFA World Cup viewership, the battle between Argentina and Iceland on Saturday still handed FOX Sports with an average of 2,973,000 viewers on the FOX broadcast network according to Nielsen, ranking as the most-watched game of the tournament for FOX and FS1, and the most-watched English-language soccer telecast in the U.S. since 2016. The match totaled 3,127,000 viewers across FOX and FOX Sports streaming and was up 15% from the 2014 Group Stage average in preferable time slots and excluding U.S. matches.
Meanwhile, the battle between Spain and Portugal handed FOX Sports with more than 3.2 million viewers across its platforms on Friday, according to Nielsen. The linear telecast on FOX reeled in 2,924,000 viewers, peaking at 3,660,000 viewers from 3:30 to 3:45p with average viewership rising 13% from the 2014 Group Stage average, not including US matches.

Around the dial, Telemundo reports that Saturday’s full-day coverage of the World Cup delivered the network’s best-ever Saturday daytime viewership, with four-match coverage notching a Total Audience Delivery average of 1.9 million viewers across Telemundo, TelemundoDeportes.com, and the Telemundo En Vivo and NBC Sports apps. The TV-only viewership average of 1.7 million viewers from 6a-5p ranks as the most-watched Saturday daytime in Telemundo history, nearly doubling the prior record. Telemundo also posted its best-ever day on digital platforms, with 3.5 million uniques, generating 14.5 million livestreams and 184 million total minutes viewed.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Open also drove viewership for FOX Sports platforms, with second round coverage on Friday averaging 1,573,072 viewers on its platforms for a markup of 7% year-over-year. On the broadcast channel, the round drew an audience of 2.090 million, up 9% over 2017, and ranked as the most-watch second round for the tournament since 2013.
Golf Channel saw the U.S Open boost Golf Central’s Live From the U.S. Open to a .23 rating, up 92% over 2017 numbers and marking the highest-rated Saturday night telecast for the show in seven years.
ESPN reports that 2018 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship coverage from June 8-11 saw the 2018 Super Regionals become the most-watched round-of-16 since the network began covering every game from the round nearly 10 seasons ago. The eight, best-of-three series averaged 449,000 viewers a game, setting a new viewership record and boosting viewership 40% from the same round a year ago. Game 3 between Southeastern Conference rivals Auburn and Florida on June 11 averaged 891,000 viewers, the most-watched Super Regional game in nine seasons. ESPN’s coverage of all rounds of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship is up 34% from last season heading into the College World Series, including the regional round viewership, which was up 9% on ESPN’s rated networks from last season’s regional round.
Turner and the NBA announced that Oscar Robertson, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and 12-time NBA All-Star, will be honored by the NBA with its Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 NBA Awards on TNT presented by Kia. TNT will televise the second annual NBA Awards, hosted by Anthony Anderson, on June 25 at 9p from Barker Hangar in Los Angeles.
Heading into the second year as a host city for the Road to X Qualifier event, ESPN and the City of Boise inked an extension to host the Road to X Games: Boise Qualifier through 2019. “The fan response from the city of Boise was overwhelming in 2017,” said Ryan McGuinness, director of event development, X Games. “The event and team at Boise Parks and Recreation provided an incredible fan experience, and we look forward to building on that this year and in 2019.”
ESPN announced that Jake Wood, the co-founder and CEO of Team Rubicon, will receive the Pat Tillman Award for Service sponsored by Bonobos when The 2018 ESPYS presented by Capital One  airs on July 18 at 8p on ABC.
On the local front, Thursday’s battle between the Padres/Braves handed FOX Sports Southeast with a 4.54 HH rating in the Atlanta DMA, marking the highest-rated Braves telecast on FOX Sports South and FOX Sports Southeast since April 14, 2017.
October 1-3 | Caesars Palace, LV
Meet the top partners from key Esports segments including distribution, leagues, venues, streaming, licensing, consulting, agencies and more. Booths and sponsorships are limited, so don’t get shut out – lock in now for prime locations & activations!
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Budweiser signed on as the new official domestic beer partner of the White Sox. The multiyear deal with Anheuser-Busch hands the beverage brand with a long-term presence at Guaranteed Rate Field. Activations include the logo on the video boards, game-day event sponsorships and being able to put use their logo on home game giveaways.
Soccer club Las Vegas Lights signed on bookmaker William Hill as a sponsor that will see the company promote its Nevada mobile betting platform to fans of the USL club. Lights fans will also be able to activate their own mobile sports account at William Hill syndicated sports betting properties across Nevada.

June 12 saw both NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports Washington combine to provide 10 hours of live coverage of the Golden State Warriors’ and Washington Capitals’ championship parades, respectively, with more than five million minutes streamed of the two events. NBC Sports Bay Area delivered more than five hours of live coverage from the Warriors’ championship parade in Oakland and saw nearly two million minutes streamed, a 69% increase over last year’s parade. NBC Sports Washington delivered five hours of live onsite coverage and drew a record 500,000-plus viewers, who consumed a record 3-plus million minutes of content.

Legendary motor race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and its organizer the Automobile Club de l’Ouest formed a joint venture dedicated to esports with Motorsport Network for the Le Mans esports series. The online series will be launched online on August 18 to coincide with the FIA World Endurance Championship round at Silverstone with offline qualifying events at WEC rounds in Fuji, Japan in October (Asia qualifier), Autosport International Show, Birmingham in January (Europe & Middle East qualifier) and Sebring, Florida in March (US & Lat Am qualifier). “We are delighted to be able to launch this new esports series at our British round in August,” says Gerard Neveu, CEO FIA WEC. “We know from the worldwide fan survey we carried out last year that we have a growing number of younger fans following us on social media. This series allows us to create and grow an esports community of gamers specific to endurance racing.
Blizzard Entertainment is launching the Korea StarCraft League, an official Blizzard-operated StarCraft league based in Seoul. Korea StarCraft League will become Blizzard’s flagship esports tournament for the real-time strategy game, with online qualifiers starting June 28 and a prize pool of around $150,000. 
Red Bull announced plans for Red Bull Rise Till Dawn, a dusk to dawn Fortnite Battle Royale duo competition on July 21, taking place on the 99th floor of Chicago’s famed Willis Tower. The tournament will start as soon as the sun sets at 8:21p and continue throughout the night as teams battle to accumulate the most points possible before the sun rises over Lake Michigan at 5:35a. One hundred teams of two will embark on their overnight mission competing for points based on end game placement and eliminations of other players and feature streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and a teammate of his choice.
Meanwhile, Red Bull also locked in a deal with Cloud9 to extend their ties in a move that will see the energy drink brand get its logo on the jerseys of all Cloud9 teams. Red Bull will also collaborate with Cloud9 on social media and video content.

The World Cup sees England and Tunisia face off on FOX and Telemundo at 2p.

Thursday, July 12th at 1:30PM
Millennial and Gen Z men are an elusive group for networks and marketers, but a valuable one. A report from Engagement Labs, “The Remarkable Influence of Millennial Men,” shows they’re 50% more likely than millennial women to be word-of-mouth influencers. During our upcoming webinar on July 12, “Connecting with the New Young Male Demo,” our experts will share how to align your marketing efforts with millennial male interests, at a time when the definition of masculinity is undergoing a major shift. 

ON THIS DAY in 1972: Jack Nicklaus wins the U.S. Golf Open at Pebble Beach.
In the Know: Which country was the only host nation to be eliminated in the first round of the FIFA World Cup? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: How many times has Mickelson finished as the runner-up at the U.S. Open, the only one of golf’s four major tournaments he hasn’t won? Answer: 6. Kudos: Todd Hinckley-Major League Soccer/NY; Ken White-KWTV/Charlotte; John Langermann-WINK-TV/Ft. Myers; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Joe Lyons-Back Nine Productions/Dallas; Aimee Clark-Tony Fay PR/Dallas; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Jeff Mirkin-Atari Studios/Santa Monica; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank
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JOB OPENING: PRODUCT SUPPORT SPECIALIST/WOT/SAN FRAN OR BIRMINGHAM AL: Partner with our customers and support with how-to questions regarding the use of WO Traffic. 2+ yrs of exp in a Digital ad serving envir & 2+ yrs exp at a TV, radio or cable station in the traffic or operations dept. Full info/apply HERE (6/23)
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JOB OPENING: COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR/PAC-12/SF: In this critical role, you will drive corporate communications, executive communications and internal/stakeholder communications efforts for the Pac-12 Networks. Min 10 yrs exp in strategic communications, including corporate communications. For full posting/apply HERE (6/23)
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JOB OPENING: EDITOR/PR News/NYC: For The Social Shake Up Show. Resp for event content creation, prgrmng, writing agendas & on-site mngmnt for conferences, awards prgrms & webinars. Write/edit articles for website related to industry. 3+ yrs writing, editing & social media exp in deadline-oriented envir. Full info/apply HERE (6/22)

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