07/06/20: NBC Sports broke ground on its new Camp initiative

 

Medias First Morning Read
Monday July 6, 2020

Last week saw NBC unveil the launch of NBC Sports Camp powered by Chelsea Piers, a free, virtual summer program for 7-to-12-year-old athletes to learn and play a variety of sports. The four-week online VOD program starts this week, offering immersive instruction across more than 10 sports and is hosted by NBC Sports Correspondent Corey Robinson. Athletes range from AJ Mleczko– NHL on NBC Analyst and 1998 Olympic gold medalist – to Christian Vande Velde – NBC Cycling Analyst and two-time Olympian (2000, 2008) to Erinn Smart – 2008 Olympic silver medalist in fencing and beyond. Overall, ten sports will be offered: soccer, basketball, hockey, track & field, gymnastics, field hockey, volleyball, baseball, fencing and tennis. Cynopsis asked Will McIntosh, EVP, Digital & Sports Consumer Business, NBC Sports Group, about the move and how it fits into the brand.

McIntosh on launching the camp: COVID-19 has impacted how kids will be able to spend their summers, as well as camp operators who are operating camps at reduced levels to maximize safety and maintain social distancing. Chelsea Piers, our Stamford, CT next door neighbor, came to us to discuss how we might partner to help kids stay active this summer and to provide the service at no cost to parents and kids this summer, given the magnitude of people impacted by the pandemic. Our core values are built on the importance of not just sports, but play in all its forms. NBC Sports Camp powered by Chelsea Piers can play a role in providing a wide range of children throughout the country a free platform to help make up for many of the opportunities lost due to COVID-19.

On goals: We’re looking to get as many kids as possible to stay active, play, maybe learn a new sport, and have fun with the expert instructors at Chelsea Piers and our roster of NBC Sports on-air talent, Olympians, Paralympians, and world champion athletes!

On deciding sports: We looked to strike a balance between well-known, popular sports as well as introducing kids to new sports they might not otherwise try. We also made sure the exercises were simple enough that kids could practice at home. So all of the lessons are tailored so that if kids are missing sport specific equipment, they can use alternative items found within their home to help them learn and practice. Hockey – for instance, will be on turf – so it shows kids skills they can do from their living rooms.

On its role in the brand: Through our SportsEngine business, we strive to make youth sports a more rewarding experience for athletes, parents, and volunteers. During the pandemic, we’ve had to pivot to continue to provide positive youth experiences for all kids when they can’t physically play together. NBC Sports Camp powered by Chelsea Piers is a new idea that allows us to continue to serve kids in a new way. We’re excited and hopeful that many kids can try this virtual camp, on their own time and schedule, and just as important, at no expense to their parents.

On recruiting talent/athletes: We are so proud of our on-air talent team, who all happily signed on to help. All of them come from experiences as elite athletes competing at the highest levels, and they are so gracious to share their knowledge and insights. Kids can say that these are their camp counselors… it doesn’t get any better than that!

PROGRAMMING

After the NFL opted to shorten the preseason from four weeks to two as a result of the pandemic, the NFL Players Association voted to recommend cancelling all 2020 preseason games, according to ESPN, which stated that the subject came to a vote during Thursday evening’s conference call with NFLPA player reps, with a unanimous vote. Training camps for most NFL teams are set to begin July 28, with the preseason plan slated to remove the first and fourth games on the preseason schedule.

NBC Sports’ IndyCar/NASCAR Xfinity crossover on Saturday from Indianapolis Motor Speedway delivered viewership milestones for both series, according to Fast National data by Nielsen and digital data from Adobe Analytics. The IndyCar GMR Grand Prix averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 1.145 million viewers, making it NBC Sports’ best-ever afternoon race and second-most watched IndyCar race overall. The race delivered a 0.77 HH rating. Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Pennzoil 150 averaged a TAD of 1.692 million viewers, making it the most-watched Xfinity race from the Brickyard in three years, up 21% vs. the series’ four races on NBC in 2019 and the most-watched Xfinity race on a broadcast network since Darlington last August.

Meanwhile, NBC Sports also announced its television schedule for the 2020 MotoGP season across NBC and NBCSN, beginning with the Spanish Grand Prix from Circuito de Jerez on Sunday, July 19 at 8p on NBCSN. Overall, four races will air live on NBCSN, while two races are slated to air on NBC: the Teruel Grand Prix on Oct. 25, at 4:30p, and the Comunitat Valencia Grand Prix on Nov. 15 at 2:30p. In addition to its MotoGP coverage, NBC Sports will present seven races of the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) on NBCSN in 2020, which began in early March.

Major League Baseball officially pulled the plug on the 2020 All-Star Game on Friday. The game was set to take place in LA on July 14, with the league announcing that the 2022 game would now be played at Dodger Stadium. “Once it became clear we were unable to hold this year’s All-Star festivities, we wanted to award the Dodgers with the next available All-Star Game, which is 2022,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “I want to thank the Dodgers organization and the City of Los Angeles for being collaborative partners in the early stages of All-Star preparation and for being patient and understanding in navigating the uncertainty created by the pandemic. The 2022 All-Star celebration promises to be a memorable one with events throughout the city and at picturesque Dodger Stadium.”

In basketball, the NBA released its full seven-day exhibition schedule taking place in Orlando before the regular season resumes. Each team will play three scrimmages before the games top off which will feature a shortened eight-game finish before potential play-in tournaments for the final seeds and a standard postseason. The regular season will start back up July 30, two days after the completion of the exhibition games, and run through mid-August.

Meanwhile, Integrated Sports pay-per-view serves up an exclusive 3-on-3 format in the inaugural 5 Tournament here in Las Vegas, running July 19-29 from The Orleans Arena. Competitors include Mario Chalmers, James “Flight” White, Mike Bibby, and more as rivalries are renewed. “Growing up as a fan of the Knicks vs. Heat, Knicks vs. Bulls knock down, drag out fights for a title, I am excited to bring this event to the public” said event CEO Jerry Castello.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

With partners that include Pepsi, FedEx and Nike applying pressure to change the team name, the Washington Redskins announced on Friday that the team will undergo a thorough review of its moniker. Team owner Dan Snyder in a statement said that the process “allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise, but also input” from alumni, sponsors, the National Football League (NFL) and local community.

The Basketball Tournament locked in its slate of partners for this year’s event, running July 4-14. Puma, Zelle, and Air Force Reserve all return, along with seven new sponsors that include E&J Gallo, American Eagle, FanDuel, Addaday, Vault Health, Ready, and OhioHealth. The year will see an event that featuresa 24-team single-elimination tournament featuring former National Basketball Association players, college stars, and international standouts who will compete for a winner-take-all, $1 million prize.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

The Detroit Tigers became the first MLB team to partner with a sportsbook after locking in a multiyear deal with PointsBet that will begin this season. PointsBet receives television broadcast-visible branding at Comerica Park and will be featured on the Detroit Tigers Radio Network in addition to a presence on the Tigers’ digital platforms and be regularly featured on The Word on Woodward, a twice-weekly live streaming show.

NBC Sports brought back NASCAR Pick ‘Em, its free-to-play game available exclusively on the NBC Sports Predictor app for the 2020 NASCAR season. Fans can pick the driver that will have the best finish from a group of four featured drivers for each race stage. Then, out of the entire field, fans will pick which drivers will finish the race in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place – in exact order.

ESPORTS

Multiple sexual misconduct allegations against EVO co-founder Joey “MrWizard” Cuellar saw the company dismiss him in addition to cancelling its upcoming annual event, which would have run online this year amid the pandemic. After the allegations were revealed, multiple publishers – such as NetherRealm Studios, Capcom, and Bandai Namco – pulled their titles from the event, while a number of high-profile players also stated that they would not be taking part in the event. Tony Cannon was tapped to run the company in the interim.

The Call of Duty League confirmed that the remainder of its season, including the 2020 Season Playoffs and Championship Weekend, will be held online. With plans locked in, the company also unveiled “new technology improvements and measures we will be taking to further monitor for competitive integrity.” Changed will include a universal camera setup that will be active throughout all matches. The cameras will provide visibility for league officials to view and check each competitor’s console, controller, and monitor as needed. For each CDL Home Series, teams are provided a list of three servers (from a pool of nine) to test and determine which servers they prefer to veto. During the Playoffs and Championship Weekend, the league will increase the veto server options to five for each match. Finally, the CDL will bulk up production, technical, and officiating staffing teams.

DreamHack inked a one-year agreement for 2020 with recycling company Pantamera. As part of the renewed partnership, the two organizations will collaborate with Samuel “SampeV2” Stronegger and Yacine Laghmari to create a new talk show format, which will be produced in the DreamHack Studio in Stockholm. A total of eight episodes will be released beginning on Aug. 4 , and continuing through October 2020.. In addition, Pantamera will attend DreamHack Winter (December 2020) where they will host a booth, and feature the new talk show live on stage.

USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Super League Gaming partnered up for a collaboration that kicks off with the premiere Madden NFL 20 Tournament where players will go head to head in a bracket-style competition, with the top 10 finishers sharing a cash prize. “The partnership with Super League enables USA TODAY Sports Media Group to bring its audience of over 60 million sports fans the opportunity to compete in online esports competitions,” said Chris Pirrone, General Manager, USA TODAY Sports Media Group. “Together, USA TODAY Sports and Super League are excited to provide a platform for mainstream video gamers to battle for supremacy in their favorite games, starting with Madden NFL 20.”

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