07/08/20: MLB unveiled its broadcast scheulde as it resume play

 

Medias First Morning Read
Wednesday July 8, 2020

MLB laid out its programming plans for its upcoming shortened season. ESPN will open the season on July 23, with two exclusive Opening Night presented by John Deere game telecasts, including the Yankees visiting the Nationals at 7p, followed by the Giants/ Dodgers at 10p. ESPN’s MLB season-opening slate continues on July 24, with an Opening Day presented by John Deere tripleheader. 4p sees the Braves/Yankees, with the Brewers/Cubs on deck for 7p and the Angels/Athletics at 10p.Sunday Night Baseball highlights include multiple appearances by the Braves, Red Sox, Cubs, Yankees, Phillies and Cardinals.

Around the dial on FOX Sports, the company celebrates its 25th season starting July 25 with its first-ever quadruple-header. The daylong marathon begins with pregame coverage at 12:30p, with the Brewers/Cubs at 1p, Giants/Dodgers at 4p, the Yankees/Nationals on FOX at 7p and Diamondbacks/Padres at 9p on FS1. Highlighted by 22 total games on broadcast, regionalized action on FOX begins July 30 with a pair of games featuring the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets in addition to the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins at 7p.

PROGRAMMING

The Walt Disney Company locked in an overall first-look deal with Colin Kaepernick’s production arm Ra Vision Media. The partnership will focus on “telling scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social injustice and the quest for equity, and will provide a new platform to showcase the work of Black and Brown directors and producers.” The first-look deal will extend across all Walt Disney Platforms including Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Hulu, Pixar, and The Undefeated. Kaepernick will work closely with The Undefeated, which is expanding its portfolio across Disney, to develop stories from the perspective of Black and Brown communities. The first project in development as part of this deal is an exclusive docuseries chronicling Kaepernick’s journey.

NBC Sports’ first NASCAR Cup Series race of the 2020 season served up strong upticks over 2019, as the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered by Big Machine Records at Indianapolis Motor Speedway averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 4.370 million viewers – up 46% over the same same race in 2019, which ran in September – according to Fast National data by Nielsen and digital data from Adobe Analytics. That race was also up 32% compared to last year’s NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on the comparable weekend.

The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association entered into a memorandum of understanding for a four-year extension of the NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, through the 2025-26 season. In addition, the sides also agreed to resume play on Aug. 1 as part of protocols for Phases 3 and 4 of the NHL Return to Play Plan. The opening of training camps in the teams’ local markets begins July 13, with teams then traveling July 26 to one of two hub cities, where they will begin Phase 4, the resumption of play, with the Stanley Cup Qualifiers starting Aug. 1. The current CBA, ratified in January 2013, was scheduled to expire Sept. 15, 2022. With this extension, it would expire Sept. 15, 2026.

ESPN unveiled plans to produce the two-hour ABC special, NBA Countdown presented by Mountain Dew: NBA Restart on Saturday, July 25, from 8-10p,, led by host Maria Taylor and featuring analysts Paul Pierce, Jalen Rose, Jay Williams and ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski. The show will preview the restart of the season and the NBA seeding games, while also discussing news from around the league since the March 11 season stoppage. Additionally, the NBA Countdown team will examine the current climate in the sport amidst the social justice movement and how the NBA, NBPA and NBA player leadership is responding.

NBC Sports Group and the Premier Lacrosse League revealed its media schedule for the PLL Championship Series, a two-week quarantined and fanless tournament running July 25 – Aug. 9. Throughout the first week of the PLL Championship Series, the league’s seven teams will compete in a 14-game group play format to determine seeding for the following week’s single-elimination tournament. The winner of the tournament will be crowned the 2020 PLL Champion. All 20 league games will be presented live across NBC, NBCSN, or NBC Sports Gold, with all televised games also streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

ESPN Radio unveiled a new weekday lineup that will kick in on Aug. 17 and will see Mike Greenberg return to host The Mike Greenberg Show from noon-2p. The lineup begins with Keyshawn, Jay and Zubin at 6a, followed by The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz at 10a. After Greenberg’s show will be The Max Kellerman Show at 2p and Chiney and Golic Jr. at 4p. Spain and Fitz will begin at 7p, with Freddie and Fitzsimmons at 9p.

GOLFPASS debuted a new season of Lessons with a Champion Golfer instructional series premieres, featuring 2019 Open Champion Shane Lowry. Hosted by Martin Hall and produced on location at The Club at Ibis in West Palm Beach, Fla., the new season of Lessons with a Champion Golfer will be a 14-episode deep dive of instruction, providing an insider’s look into Lowry’s practice regimen.

Andrew D. Bernstein entered a partnership to co-produce the Legends of Sport podcast with the Los Angeles Times. The show’s third season will be available to download through the L.A. Times App, and will continue streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other listening platforms.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The WNBA and Women’s National Basketball Players Association announced the launch of a new platform, titled The Justice Movement, as well as the creation of the WNBA/WNBPA Social Justice Council in a move to “represent an unprecedented and bold new commitment to advancing social justice by the longest standing U.S. sports league for women, as well as the first labor union for professional women athletes.” The mission of the Social Justice Council is to be a driving force of necessary and continuing conversations about race, voting rights, LGBTQ+ advocacy, and gun control amongst other societal issues. The WNBA will begin its season later this month with a weekend of competition centered around the Black Lives Matter movement, during which teams will wear special uniforms to seek justice for the women and girls, including Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Vanessa Guillen and many more who have been victims of police brutality and racial violence.

Five-time Major Golf Champion Phil Mickelson and VistaJet entered into a new multiyear partnership that will make the World Golf Hall of Famer an ambassador for the brand. The relationship will see Mickelson now use VistaJet’s private aviation services for all of his professional and personal flying needs. As an ambassador, he will engage with the VistaJet community through various events and opportunities.

All Sports Television Network announced plans to support not-for-profit organizations that focus their efforts supporting minority or women’s issues. ALL SPORTS has pledged to donate 10% of sponsorship and advertising revenue generated by the network for a period of one year. Furthermore, the network plans to establish a foundation that will continue contributing to nonprofit organizations after the first year.

Champions + Legends, a manufacturer of CBD-based sports supplements for athletic preparation, performance and recovery, named James Harrison and Thor “the Mountain” Björnsson as founding athlete partners. “Champions + Legends impressed me with their ability to create strong products that are effective at helping my body recover between workouts. With Champions + Legends, I am able to stay in the gym longer and more often,” said Harrison. “As I get older, the recovery process is just as important as pushing weights and Champions + Legends products help me take my fitness to even higher levels.”

Audi and MLS debut a new spot to officially kick off the return of the League’s 25th season and the second season of “Audi Goals Drive Progress.” Shot on location at Washington, D.C.’s Audi Field, the spot features four rising stars from D.C. United’s U-12 and U-18 Academy teams. Debuting in both English and Spanish during the opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament on July 8 in Orlando, the commercial will run on MLS partner networks (ESPN, FOX Sports, Univision, TSN, and TVA Sports), on regional sports networks, and across international broadcast partner platforms, as well as on the League’s own digital channels.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

ONE Championship and Microsoft Corp. unlocked a strategic partnership to leverage the Microsoft cloud, including Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365, to transform digital fan experiences and enhance collaboration for employees. Microsoft now serve as ONE’s preferred cloud and data services provider, and together the companies will look to offer a digital fan experience transformation. ONE will enhance its over-the-top platform by leveraging Azure to accelerate its world-class streaming services and personalized content offers for fans around the world. AI-powered recommendation engines and analytics on fan behavior and viewing habits will allow ONE to better engage fans across all touchpoints and provide them with reimagined, tailor-made experiences.

Real Madrid CF announced an expansive omnichannel retail program that includes an all-new official online store, the relaunch of three official stores in Madrid, and a new Flagship Megastore at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. Real Madrid has partnered with Legends to manage all merchandise operations. This new partnership between Legends and Real Madrid will further “develop relationships with fans and deliver a seamless and integrated experience that truly represents the Real Madrid brand across all online and retail physical touchpoints.”

Spotify and Formula One announced a new podcast that will bring fans the news, stories, and updates from the world of F1 racing. Hosted by F1 insider Will Buxton, Paddock Pass will take fans to the middle of the action each race day with episodes releasing three times a week (Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays of Grand Prix weekends).

U.S. Integrity and Superbook agreed to a partnership. U.S. Integrity will provide the Superbook with reporting and information to help identify wagering abnormalities and ensure sports betting integrity. “We are looking forward to working with the exceptional team at the SuperBook,” said Matthew Holt, President and CEO of U.S. Integrity. “All of our partners are committed to the highest integrity standards and the SuperBook is no exception. These types of partnerships help ensure sports betting integrity and strengthen the unique reporting tools we’ve developed at U.S. Integrity.”

ESPORTS

ESPN Esports and esports and gaming platform eFuse teamed up for a Call of Duty: Warzone event, titled Women of the eRena, which will feature 32 women competing in a four-part series starting Thursday. The quads tournament will include eight teams comprised of streamers and celebrities, including U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and OL Reign midfielder Allie Long, Aerial Powers of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, esports hosts and streamers Erin Ashley Simon and Katie Bedford; and popular community personalities including AnneMunition, G2 Esports content creator Athena, Cloud9 streamer C9EmZ and former OpTic Gaming streamer and current Minnesota RØKKR director of content Ashley “MiDNiteMN” Glassel. Competition will begin at 4:30p on the ESPN Esports Twitch channel.

FaZe Clan announced a new capsule collection commemorating the late Juice WRLD and honoring the artist’s first posthumous album, Legends Never Die. Th collection pays tribute to the significant impact he left on the gaming community. In close collaboration with Juice WRLD’s camp and Quantum PFS, FaZe Clan’s in-house design team created the capsule drawing inspiration from Juice WRLD’s new project, his legacy and the moments he created together with FaZe Clan. Along with several graphic tees and a hoodie, the collection uniquely features a paintball jersey with matching mesh shorts, drawing from memories Juice made with FaZe Clan during a paintball game last year.

Dignitas announced that online privacy and security firm ExpressVPN was named an Official Team Partner and the Exclusive VPN Provider of Dignitas. Through the partnership, ExpressVPN will provide Dignitas esports athletes with a secure online environment and ultimate protection from DDoS attacks for online competitions and live streaming. The partnership will provide Dignitas fans with unique, high-engaging YouTube content that shows off the skill and personality of Dignitas esports athletes while also highlighting the benefits of using a VPN for gaming and live streaming.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

The Performance Research and Full Circle Research Co. summarized findings from its NASCAR & Confederate Flag Ban Study, noting that NASCAR’s decision to prohibit the display of Confederate flags from events is supported by about half (53%) of their fan base over 40 years old, while over three-fourths (76%) of fans under 40 years old support the ban. Just under 20% of older fans say NASCAR’s stance would discourage their viewing of and attendance at NASCAR races, but those numbers are strongly offset by two-thirds of younger fans claiming they are now more likely to watch in the future.

Sinclair Broadcast Group named former Universal Studios executive Steve Rosenberg as its president of local sports. Rosenberg will be tasked with overseeing all of the company’s regional sports networks, the Stadium digital and internet sports channel and the high school sports division that operates in local markets throughout the U.S. Rosenberg will officially join Sinclair on July 20.

WWE announced the appointment of Kristina Salen as Chief Financial Officer reporting directly to WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon, effective August 3. Salen served as the first CFO of Etsy, where she grew the business from $895 million in gross sales to $3 billion in four years, led and executed the company’s IPO offering, and built and managed its Business Development, Strategic Planning, Investor Relations, Accounting, Tax and Data Analytics functions.

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On this Day
1984: John McEnroe claims another Wimbledon crown, beating Jimmy Connors.

In the Know
The tag team of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard were known by what name while in the WWE? (Hint: not Horsemen.) (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question ‘The Victors’ is the fight song for which university? Answer Michigan. Kudos: Keith Marder-Halstead Real Estate/NY; Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/NY; Marc Goldstein-Media Solutions/NY; Aymon DeMauro/NY; Christian Matthews-Washington Redskins/DC: Rick Rosenfelt-New York Red Bulls/Harrison; Alex D. Smith-ESPN/Bristol; Christopher Kull-The Nielsen Company/Oldsmar; Kyle Krebs-Intersection/Dallas; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Dory Petsrillo-CoxReps/Dallas; Chris Zamzow-Learfield/IMG College/Plano; David Hauptman/Denver; Jack Neumann-University of Calgary Dinos 5th Quarter/Calgary; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; Dave Sikula-San Francisco State University/San Francisco; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank

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