|College athletics continued to determine their positions for the fall season as multiple conferences announced new plans to deal with competition during the pandemic, stating “that if the Conference is able to participate in fall sports (men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball) based on medical advice, it will move to Conference-only schedules in those sports.” In addition, the Conference announced that summer athletic activities will continue to be voluntary in all sports currently permitted to engage in such activities. The Pac-12 is reportedly looking to go down a similar path.
Elsewhere, the ACC will delay the start of play for all fall sports until at least Sept. 1, the league announced Thursday. Impacting sports such as soccer and field hockey, but not football. The Ivy League announced Wednesday that it has ruled out playing all sports this fall.
ViacomCBS and UEFA are commencing their partnership early, unveiling details of a multi-platform agreement for CBS All Access and CBS Sports to serve as the exclusive English-language home in the US of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League through 2024, starting next month. CBS All Access will stream every UEFA club competition match live each season, featuring all UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches, along with the UEFA Super Cup, and from 2021-2022 all UEFA Europa Conference League matches. CBS will air select marquee matches on the CBS Television Network and CBS Sports Network over the length of the deal, featuring the most UEFA matches ever on U.S. broadcast television.
The PGA of America, Ryder Cup Europe and the PGA TOUR announced that both the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup have been rescheduled and will now be played one year later than originally planned. The 43rd Ryder Cup, scheduled for September 22-27, at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, has been rescheduled for September 21-26, 2021. Meanwhile, the Presidents Cup, initially slated for September 30-October 3, 2021, at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, will now be played September 19-25, 2022.
Major League Baseball went early on its 2021 Major League regular season schedule, announcing plans early with all 30 Major League Clubs playing on April 1. Opening Day will feature 10 divisional match-ups among the 15 games in addition to three Interleague contests, featuring the Tampa Bay Rays at the Miami Marlins, the Minnesota Twins visiting the Milwaukee Brewers and the San Francisco Giants at the Seattle Mariners. Six games are scheduled for April 2, a full slate of 15 games will be played on April 3 and with April 4th will include 13 contests. Of note, the Mets and Yankees will play at Citi Field on Sept. 11, 2021, on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
NBC Sports announced that its full Premier League match and studio coverage on July 15 will be presented free to all fans on Peacock as part of its national launch celebration that day. The new platform will serve as the exclusive home for all free NBC Sports’ Premier League coverage featuring four matches and the full complement of studio programming including prematch, halftime and postgame. In addition, NBC Sports’ six hours of coverage, beginning at Noon, on July 15 will be presented without commercial interruption.
ESPN announced plans to exclusively reveal the player ratings for EA Sports’ Madden NFL 21, starting on Monday with players who are part of the Madden NFL 21 “99 Club” (those rated 99 overall, the highest rating possible in the game) will be revealed during Get Up throughout the week. First Take, SportsCenter and NFL Live will also take part in Madden Ratings Week on ESPN. In addition to the 99 Club reveals on Get Up, First Take will debate superstar ratings each day, SportsCenter will reveal positional rankings in each day’s SportsCenter Top 10 and NFL Live will present content in a unique way.
In ratings news, ESPN’s MLS is Back Tournament opening match averaged 492,000 viewers on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, according to Nielsen. This is the second most-viewed MLS regular-season telecast (over 64 matches) on ESPN networks since March 11, 2018. Season-to-date, Major League Soccer is averaging 489,000 combined viewers on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, a 27% rise compared to the first four matches in 2019.
CBS Sports reports that its Final-Round Coverage of Rocket Mortgage Classic scored a 56% rise in viewership over last year, notching 2.893 million viewers, according to Nielsen. Overall, CBS Sports’ four PGA Tour events since the return to golf in June is up 26% in viewership over the same tournaments last year, averaging 2.386 million viewers.
NASCAR cemented its schedule of events through the regular season finale at the end of August, highlighted by its Cup and Xfinity Series telecast schedule on NBC and NBCSN and a pair of races at iconic Daytona International Speedway on NBC. For the first time, the NASCAR Cup Series will race on the road course at Daytona on Aug. 16 at 3p on NBC. The NASCAR Cup Series regular season culminates on Aug. 29 at 7:30p on the network. NBC Sports will also present Cup Series doubleheaders on NBCSN from Michigan International Speedway (August 8-9) and Dover International Speedway (August 22-23).
World Table Tennis entered into a broad, long-term strategic partnership with IMG. The alliance, which commences in January 2021, includes global media rights development and distribution, production oversight of WTT events, betting data and streaming rights for IMG ARENA, non-exclusive sponsorship representation, as well as the general mandate to grow the sport of table tennis globally. The events covered by the deal will include the World Table Tennis Championships and all tiers of the revamped WTT event structure: Grand Smashes, WTT Cup Finals, WTT Champions Series and WTT Contenders Series.
CBS Sports Network teamed up with former NBA players Ryan Hollins and Brendan Haywood to bring their Opinionated 7-Footers podcast to television, airing Thursdays at 6:30p throughout the summer. Recorded from home, the duo will offer their opinions on the biggest stories in basketball and the greater sports world and will feature special guests each episode.
ESPN Films is in production on an upcoming project centered on the 1986 Mets. Executive produced by Jimmy Kimmel, Sal “Cousin Sal” Iacono, Kimmelot’s Scott Lonker, ITV’s Jordana Hochman and MLB’s Nick Trotta, and directed by Nick Davis, the multi-part documentary will feature hours of never-before-seen footage of the ‘86 Mets team.
Meanwhile, ESPN’s weekday afternoon lineup returns Monday to its regular schedule, including the return to a full 30-minute presentation of Jalen & Jacoby (4p), Highly Questionable (4:30p), Around the Horn (5p) and Pardon the Interruption (5:30p). The lineup will continue to lead off with a two-hour SportsCenter at noon, followed by 60-minute editions NFL Live and The Jump leading into Jalen & Jacoby.
ESPN2 added 10 matches from World TeamTennis to its July schedule. The action will begin on the season’s opening day on Sunday with two matches: Orlando Storm and Tennys Sandgren facing the WTT two-time defending champion Springfield (Mo.) Lasers and 18-year-old American Caty McNally at noon ET with an 8 p.m. meeting of the Orange County Breakers and Steve Johnson and the San Diego Aviators featuring Americans Ryan Harrison and Coco Vandeweghe.
The NFL and free, ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV extended their programming partnership in a multi-year deal. New programming heading to the channel will see content to commemorate the league’s 100th anniversary season in 2019.
HBO Sports and Jigsaw Productions are teaming with Our Time Projects with for a production on a two-part documentary series about the rise, fall, and epic comeback of Tiger Woods. Alex Gibney executive produces alongside Sam Pollard, Stacey Offman, Richard Perello, Armen Keteyian and Jeff Benedict. Part one of TIGER will debut Dec. 13, with part two airing Dec. 20, exclusively on HBO.
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|SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
World TeamTennis announced category-specific sponsorship agreements for the 2020 season, GEICO returns as the league’s official auto insurance provider, DraftKings has signed on as WTT’s official daily fantasy partner, Wilson as the league’s official racket and ball, Har-Tru as the official playing surfacer, Shinola as the official timing partner, Weatherman as the official umbrella and Zenni as the official eyewear. Additional sponsors include UTR powered by Oracle, the USTA, Chosen Foods, Greenbrier Tourism and KT Tape. “We are excited that so many terrific brands have come aboard for what we feel will be the best season in World TeamTennis’ 45-year history,” said WTT CEO Carlos Silva. “Our field includes tons of Grand Slam winners, legends and rising stars and we look forward to helping bring tennis back in 2020.”
The Washington Redskins are reportedly poised to remove all Native American imagery from its branding as the team mulls a name change, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. However, the team will keep the colors burgundy and gold per John Keim.
Optical industry brand Zenni entered into an exclusive partnership with World’s Greatest to broadcast a USA Track & Field-sanctioned pole vault event on ESPN’s YouTube channel. The Livestream Games will take place on July 15 in Greenville, SC, where Morris recently built a runway approved for world-class events, and air live-to-tape the following day at 6p.
ESPN, meanwhile, entered into a multi-year agreement with music distributor UnitedMasters to expand ESPN’s growing reach to diverse audiences and relevance to sports fans through programming and promotional content. ESPN will curate music from the UnitedMasters “Select” artists to use within its sports programming and promotional content.
LA Bowl, the new annual college bowl game at SoFi Stadium, is teaming with three Los Angeles-based organizations to help aid families and youths in need. LA Bowl in collaboration with Worldwide Produce is giving 600 boxes, 21,000 pounds, of fresh produce and dairy to struggling families and those that have been affected by the global pandemic at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor locations. Additionally, LA Bowl is providing scholarships for students through Inglewood-based nonprofit, One For All.
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH
NBC Sports and Peacock will deliver more than 175 exclusive Premier League matches on Peacock Premium in the 2020-21 season, In total, Peacock Premium will present more than 1,500 hours of Premier League live match and shoulder programming – the most robust offering ever available in the U.S. Included are full-event replays for all 380 matches on-demand. All content presented on NBC Sports Gold’s “Premier League Pass” will shift exclusively to Peacock Premium with the start of the 2020-21 Premier League season.
FanDuel Group and Pat McAfee inked “the first-ever official partnership between a legal sportsbook and a sports media personality” where FanDuel will become the full gambling category exclusive provider for Pat McAfee Inc. as well as distribute Pat McAfee content via FanDuel’s owned and operated platforms. The Pat McAfee Show will air nightly at 10p on SportsGrid. The show will also air on TVG.
DraftKings Inc. and Twin River Worldwide Holdings’ Mardi Gras Casino announced the opening of their temporary retail sportsbook at the Mardi Gras Casino in Black Hawk, CO. Guests will be able to begin placing bets at the DraftKings Sportsbook beginning today. The temporary sportsbook, located on the first floor of the casino, will feature eight self-service betting kiosks, a cashier window and several large flat screened TVs throughout the space.
Sportradar announced a multi-year partnership extension with FantasyPros for real-time data across all major US sports. With the extension, FantasyPros will continue utilizing Sportradar real-time data on FantasyPros properties for content analysis, insights, and matchup breakdowns to help consumers improve fantasy performance.
Drew Carey faces off against musician Slim Jim Phantom, when the two compete as managers of the American League and National League teams, respectively, when Strat-O-Matic simulates the 2020 baseball All Star Game on Tuesday. Carey and Phantom will appear live on video streaming on Wizard World’s Twitch, Facebook and YouTube channels beginning at 9p.
Upcoming gaming channel VENN released “Part One” of its lineup of creative programming and broadcast talent for its launch on Aug. 5. Programming is set to come from 50,000 sq. ft. Vista Studios in Playa Vista, with a flagship studio at New York’s Three World Trade Center to join in 2021. VENN’s Studio One at Vista will be outfitted with over 1000 sq. ft. and 30M pixels of LED walls and floors. Content is set to include: Venn Arcade Live w/ host James ‘Dash’ Patterson; Dare Package with host @AustinOnTwitter; Guest House, featuring performing artist and gamer @ChrissyConstanza; The Sushidragon Show; and Looking for Gains, hosted by NBA2K Pro @CashNasty.
Envy Gaming named Adam Rymer as its new CEO, starting July 13. He will oversee all business operations for the company and report to the Envy Gaming Board of Directors, which is led by Chairman Ken Hersh. Owner and former CEO, Mike Rufail transitions to the newly created full-time position of Chief Gaming Officer and will put his 15 years of esports industry experience to work scouting, recruiting and working with the organization’s competitive players and coaches, as well as oversee team operations staff. Rufail also retains his board representation.
Sony is investing $250 million for a minority piece of game developer Epic Games, best known for creating Fortnite. “Epic’s powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations,” Sony chairman Kenichiro Yoshida said. “There’s no better example of this than the revolutionary entertainment experience, Fortnite. Through our investment, we will explore opportunities for further collaboration with Epic to delight and bring value to consumers and the industry at large, not only in games, but also across the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape.”
Allied Esports inked a licensing and sponsorship agreement with Esports Entertainment Group for the inaugural VIE.gg Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Legend Series tournament, which kicks off on Aug. 31. The VIE.gg CS:GO Legend Series will feature 12 teams from multiple European countries competing online and l be produced by Allied Esports from its HyperX Esports Studio in Hamburg, Germany and broadcast live on Twitch.tv/AlliedEsports.
INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES
Nielsen Gracenote appointed David Faulknor to the key role of Senior Vice President, Product Management. Faulknor is responsible for bringing innovative insights, analytics and data offerings to market for Nielsen and Gracenote customers. Faulknor joins from NBCUniversal where he was responsible for defining, designing and executing product direction for the NBC Sports, NBC Olympics and Rotoworld digital properties.
SPORTS BROADCAST JOURNAL w/avid J. Halberstam
Lots of talk about how the NBA will proceed with its broadcasts given the fact that announcers will call games from their studios and the Disney facility in Orlando will be void of fans. Should the NBA, ESPN and Turner pump in crowd noise? Voices around the league are split
Jeff Van Gundy: ESPN: “Pump in crowd noise and there’s going to be some criticisms. Don’t pump it in, there will be some criticisms.”
Kevin Harlan: Turner: “We may now have to drum up our calls to fill in where the crowd usually took us. Perhaps show greater emotion or let the sounds of the game play out. Out of every challenge comes a different answer.”
See 20+ voices chime in on how they feel about this unprecedented challenge:
NBA Voices on whether to pump in crowd noise, what it’ll be like calling games remotely from home studios
The Albert Brothers, Marv, Al and Steve, are all in the “Top Dozen Broadcasters” who started in the NBA between 1961-76. See entire list of voices you grew up listening to on radio or watching on TV:
NBA broadcast legends who started decades ago
Halby’s Morsels: Bob Uecker begins his 50th season broadcasting baseball. Uke might have been a lifetime .200 hitter at the plate, yet at the microphone he’s been Ted Williams. Great comedian too, a frequent guest on late night TV and more. Bob Costas and Tom Verducci hosted an MLB Network special on him on Tuesday and said his timing on game-calls and comedy is impeccable!
Halby’s Morsels: Uecker; Marty Glickman; ex-Fox’ Clay Travis; Talking too much on TV
Fox’ Joe Buck opens up about social media, PC and his dad Jack Buck. Joe on dad Jack Buck: “I often wonder how all of his generation would handle this ‘cancel culture’ notion. I know this, he wasn’t scared of too much.”
Joe Buck opens up
Happy Birthdays and many happy returns to:
Stu Lantz, July 13 Analyst, Los Angeles Lakers, TV
Tony Kornheiser, July 13 ESPN, Pardon the Interruption
Steve Stone, July 14 Chicago White Sox, TV
Mike Shannon, July 15 St. Louis Cardinals, Radio
Barry Melrose, July 15 ESPN, NHL analyst
John Ireland, July 15 Los Angeles Lakers, Radio
Jimmy Johnson, July 16 Fox Sports, NFL analyst
|CALLING DIGITAL’S TOP INNOVATORS
We’re searching for the most innovative executives in digital media who excel in digital content, marketing, advertising, social media to take their place on Cynopsis Digital’s “It List.” These are the people who shake up the status quo and are shaping digital media’s future.
NOMINATE BY AUG 11th
|On this Day
2016: Andy Murray wins Wimbledon.
In the Know
Actor Tom Selleck had an athletic scholarship at USC for what sport? (Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
The tag team of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard were known by what name while in the WWE? Answer The Brain Busters. Kudos: Michael Dittelman-Dedicated Sports Marketing/NY; Scott Jenkins-Gracenote/NY; Matthew Willence-ITN Networks/NY; James J. Pepe-Villain Barbecue/Bethlehem; Christopher Kull-The Nielsen Company/Oldsmar; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Greg Molozik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Albert Acosta-Endeavor/Beverly Hills
|ON-AIR MEDIA STRATEGY MGR, MARKETING
New 24/7 streaming network aimed at gaming and pop culture audiences is seeking a candidate to plan, schedule and analyze promos and graphics across linear platform. 5+ yrs in broadcast field, media scheduling and analytics perf’d. Full info HERE (7/24)
VP, TALENT ACQUISITION & CULTURE >>
A+E/NY: Leads all aspects of the recruitment function for the enterprise. Works in tandem with sr. mgmt to understand the company’s current and forecasted business priorities. 10+ yrs TA exp, pref within a media envir. Full info HERE (7/22)
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MGR >>
Ring2Media: Highly motivated & self-starter type candidate with guerilla mktg mentality & strong tech ability to fully mng/grow our outbound mktg efforts & dvlp new relationships. Strong comm skills are a must to fully understand our data-driven business model & communicate that to prospects. Full info/apply HERE (7/18)
CAMPAIGN OPERATIONS MGR >>
Ring2Media: Great opportunity for a passionate person to learn how TV advertising works from ground up. Having strong analytical skills, you will own the day-to-day operations of our insurance-focused TV ad campaigns airing nationally. Highly organized & able to multi-task in fast-paced environment a must. Full info HERE (7/18)
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC: Resp for working with show hosts, preparing the rundown of new stories, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the production of key video and graphic elements. 3+yrs exec producing exp or overseeing newscast prod. Full info HERE (7/18)
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC: Write for fast paced prime time and overnight newscasts. You are an exceptional storyteller with a dedicated command for news and cultural trends. At least 3 years of national or large market local news exp. Full info HERE (7/18)
LINE PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC: Responsible for the production of live newscasts and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3 years’ experience line producing a newscast. Full info HERE (7/18)
Newsmax Media/NYC: Responsible for the production of live newscasts, news shows and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. BA Deg pref’d. Full info HERE (7/18)
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT >>
Newsmax Media/NYC: Responsible for the administration, organization and secretarial work involved in producing a television program. At least 1 yr of news prod. Full info HERE (7/18)
BRAND INTEGRATION SALES EXEC >>
Identify, negotiate, and secure product placement and brand integration deals across The Weather Channel and Entertainment Studios live and long-form original programming. 7-10 years in Product Integration or Branded Content. Full info HERE
M & A and INT’L PARTNERSHIP COUNSEL >>
A+E/NY: Support the Int’l, Corp Dev & Corp Divisions, incl domestic & int’l mergers & acquisitions and general corporate matters. Min 7 yrs legal exp at a major law firm or in-house counsel at a media co., exp in an active M&A practice, content licensing exp & strong negotiation & drafting skills. APPLY HERE (7/16)
PROGRAMMATIC SPECIALIST >>
Insight TV Studios US/NYC: Ambitious candidate to leverage their own ntwk of ad and media agencies as well as direct advertisers to expand our reach. Oversee campaign executions w/support teams incl mktg, acct mngmnt, Insights, OTT Programming & Media Plan’g. 5 yrs exp OTT sales and/or multi-platform dig. Full info HERE (7/16)
BRAND INTEGRATION SALES EXEC >>
Weather Channel: Identify, negotiate, and secure product placement and brand integration deals across The Weather Channel and Entertainment Studios live and long-form original programming. 7-10 years in Product Integration or Branded Content. Full info HERE (7/16)
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER PRIMETIME >>
Newsmax Media/NYC: Responsible for working with show hosts, preparing the rundown of new stories, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the prod of key video & graphic elements w/guidance from the EP. 3+ yrs EP exp or overseeing newscast production. Full info HERE (7/15)
Sr NEWS PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC: Responsible for the production of live newscasts, news shows and recorded video segments for TV & digital platforms. Strong understanding of Newsmax brand and talent. Strong writing & organizational skills req’d as is the ability to produce content under heavy deadline pressure. Full info HERE (7/15)
DIRECTOR, DIGITAL AD >>
Ladders/NYC: Responsible for developing and executing new business opportunities. Sell digital inventory sponsorship to brands and advertisers (i.e. d aily newsletter, direct display, mobile and on-site). Min 10yrs exp; 5+yrs in a digital sales capacity. Full info HERE (7/15)
EXEC DIRECTOR, SCHEDULING & ACQUISITION >>
GSN/Santa Monica: 10+ yrs. Oversee day-to-day scheduling of channels. Mng linear & VOD closely ensuring brand integrity. Managing monthly content selection. Evaluating acquisitions for networks. Working w/content licensors & negotiating terms, deliverable, & windows. Full info HERE (7/14)
DIRECTOR, DEVELOPMENT >>
GSN/Santa Monica: 5+ yrs Help originate & develop show concepts. Contribute to show workshops. Identify cultural trends. Interact w/the prod community. Work on current productions in preproduction, in studio & during the post review process. Must have strong industry contacts and a love of game shows. Full info HERE (7/14)
COORDINATOR, ON-AIR SCHEDULING >>
GSN/Santa Monica: 1+ yrs. Schedule all promo elements under guidance. Perform data entry. Create tags and tune-in info. Execute log changes due to inventory changes. Coordination and revision of promo schedules. Attention to detail. Coordinate w/Ad Sales and Marketing on initiatives. Full info HERE (7/14)
PROMO PRODUCER/WRITER >>
Vice Media Group/Brooklyn NY: Write and produce promos for VICE TV and all of its programming, including image spots, series trailers and cutdowns, episodic promos, tentpole/event promos, interstitials, brand spots. 5+ years of promo producing experience in a cable network. Full info HERE (7/14)