07/24/18: Final Round of The Open soared for NBC Sports

Good morning. It’s Tuesday July 24, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Sunday’s Final Round of The Open on NBC hand the channel with a 5.0 overnight Nielsen score to tie for the highest-rated Final Round Overnight at The Open since Tiger Woods completed the Career Grand Slam with his win in 2000 on ABC. Coverage was up 38% vs. 2017 and ranked as the highest-rated Final Round for any major championship since 2015, excluding The Masters. On the digital front, Sunday’s Final Round saw 33.9 million minutes streamed, up 67% vs. 2017. Across four days of coverage, the tournament saw 125 million total minutes streamed , up 24% vs. 2017.
“In 2016, we made a commitment to our partners at The R&A to help elevate The Open, golf’s original championship, with U.S. sports fans,” said Mike McCarley, President, Golf, NBC Sports. “Therefore, we’re thrilled with this Sunday’s tremendous display of drama from the greatest golfers in the world. This was a great day for golf. Congratulations to Francesco Molinari, the Champion Golfer of the Year.”

WWE will – for the first time in company history – serve up an all-women’s exclusive PPV event, titled Evolution. The event takes place on Oct. 28 at 7p , will take place on Sunday, October 28 at 7 p from NYCB LIVE in NY. The event will stream live on WWE Network and be available on pay-per-view around the world, featuring Women’s Championship matches from Monday Night Raw, SmackDown Live, NXT and NXT UK, as well as the finals of the all-women’s tournament, Mae Young Classic 2018. “Three years ago, our fans demanded a change with the hashtag, #GiveDivasAChance, and an evolution started,” said Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President, Talent, Live Events & Creative. “Since that time, our female Superstars have overdelivered in every opportunity presented to them, and I expect nothing different during our first-ever all-women’s pay-per-view event.”

ESPN announced that – starting Sept. 3 – First Take will permanently move to ESPN’s New York Seaport District Studios. The debut will showcase an updated look, while production for the program will continue out of ESPN’s Bristol headquarters. “First Take’s consistent success is largely due to a team on air and behind the scenes committed to seizing every possible opportunity to be the best,” said David Roberts, vice president, Network Content. “This move to a state-of-the-art studio in New York underscores our commitment to achieve our primary mission – serving the sports fan through excellence on all fronts.”

ESPN also lined up an inside look at the Alabama Crimson Tide football team with Training Days: Rolling with the Tide, a four-part series on the team being filmed throughout the summer. The all-access programming will go inside practices and closed door meetings, and expore the effort of head coach Nick Saban, the assistant coaches and players as they prepare to defend their College Football Playoff National Championship. The series is produced by JM Associates and Sport & Story in association with ESPN and debuts Aug. 9 on ESPN2.
World Arm wrestling League struck a partnership with AEG as part of its effort to expand the league’s reach. The AEG partnership is the second major collaboration WAL has forged in 2018, after signing a multi-year deal with Turner Sports to broadcast WAL events on its new BR Live platform. In addition, WAL announced a new addition to its i leadership team, tapping former FOX Sports Co-Founder and Vice Chairman Ed Goren to serve as an Executive Producer and Senior Advisor for the league.
Meanwhile, ESPN showcases highlights from the Sports Humanitarian Awards presented by ESPN and Bristol-Myers Squibb tonight at 7p. The fourth annual event, held last week at the L.A. LIVE’s The Novo, celebrated and honored leagues, teams, individuals and members of the sporting community that have used the power of sport to make a positive impact on society. Presenters included actress Emmy Rossum, ESPN SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi, and actors and comedians Justin Long and Tony Hale.
SeventySix Capital laid out a strategic investment in Vegas Stats & Information Network, the first media network dedicated to sports betting information. The deal, led by SeventySix Capital partners, former MLB superstar Ryan Howard, Wayne Kimmel and Jon Powell, will help VSiN create and distribute “compelling and actionable sports gambling content across a growing number of platforms” The funding will also allow VSiN, co-founded by acclaimed sportscaster Brent Musburger, to expand its video capabilities and data offering.
Speaking of Brent, the Oakland Raiders made their new broadcast teams official, unveiling revamped lineups for the team’s 2018 television and radio broadcasts. As expected, Brent Musburger joins the radio team as the Silver and Black’s new play-by-play voice for 2018, where he will join Lincoln Kennedy, who moves to the booth to handle color analyst duties, and Chris Townsend, who will report from the sidelines. Rich Gannon will join the television booth for the team’s four preseason games, linking up with play-by-play voice Beth Mowins and Matt Millen, both of whom return for their fourth season broadcasting the Silver and Black’s preseason slate.
In other talent news, ESPN’s Jemele Hill reportedly told audiences at OzyFest2018 that she will leave the network, and sports media in general, once her contract with the company is up. Hill’s contract is not up for two more years, however.
AUG 2 | 9:00AM – 3:30PM | NYC
Measurement and data are transforming both agency and client approaches. This session will feature agencies and brands talking about what they want and need around consistent, transparent measurement, the benefits and risks of programmatic, and more.


Swiss watchmaker Rolex is now officially a sponsor of the US Open and will serve as the tournament’s Official Timekeeper and Official Timepiece starting immediately. At this year’s tournament, Rolex timepieces and clocks will be visible throughout the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, including the signature clock that is affixed to the outer façade of Arthur Ashe Stadium. In addition to its new US Open sponsorship, Rolex will sponsor the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, completing its sponsorship of all nine Masters Series events.
NASCAR is bringing back Kids Drive NASCAR, beginning this weekend at Iowa Speedway and Pocono Raceway and running through the Aug. 12 at Michigan International Speedway where children attending NASCAR national series races will take over certain race event responsibilities usually reserved for adults. NASCAR and participating tracks – which also include Watkins Glen International and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – will host children as honorary pit crew members, green-flag wavers, media reporters and national anthem singers, among other roles. NASCAR’s social media channels will share Kids Drive NASCAR content throughout the three weeks, including Kids vs. Driver Challenges where young fans go head-to-head with some of the sport’s top drivers.
The Football Writers Association of America and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases locked in a new partnership to present the 2018 Outland Trophy as part of a public awareness campaign focused on the importance of influenza (flu) prevention during the 2018-2019 flu season. Selected by FWAA, the trophy is awarded annually to the top interior lineman in college football. As part of the public awareness campaign to help #FightFlu, the award will be rebranded as the Outland Trophy presented by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. The social media hashtag #FightFlu will be visible on all advertising, marketing, social media and PR materials.
Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment and Valparaiso University Athletics locked in a long-term agreement granting VWSE Collegiate Services exclusive rights to represent Valpo Athletics for corporate sponsorships, media sales and more. In addition to selling and managing Valpo’s local broadcast and digital media assets, VWSE will negotiate and execute corporate partnerships around properties including the Crusaders’ in-venue signage, gameday promotions, rights to athletic marks and in-venue hospitality packages.

NBC Sports Digital’s Playmaker Media drummed up 4.37 billion live streaming minutes for the three biggest digital events of 2018: Super Bowl LII, the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, according to the company. For the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Playmaker-powered digital presentation for Telemundo delivered 1.96 billion live minutes and reached 15.5 million unique users, generating a record-setting 130 million live streams. The PyeongChang Olympics delivered 1.86 billion live minutes and was consumed across 32.8 million unique devices, while Super Bowl LII notched an in-game average minute audience of 2.02 million viewers on its platforms.
SHOWTIME Sports will offer live streaming of undercard fights and analysis on the network’s social platforms ahead of Saturday’s Mikey Garcia vs. Robert Easter Jr. Lightweight World Championship Unification. SHOWTIME Championships Boxing Countdown, the fifth digital presentation of live boxing in 2018, will stream on the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page beginning at 8p.

Mobile games publisher and developer Com2us is teaming with esports events production company Ultimate Media Ventures to host the Summoners War World Arena Championship Americas Cup, described as a new live gaming experience inspired by Korean mobile RPG title. The event will take place on Sept. 8 at the Los Angeles Waterfront in San Pedro, in a move to “bring the magical game universe to life featuring live gaming, music, food, cosplay and more as top players battle for their spot in the upcoming Summoners War World Finals.”
Spirit Halloween and Spencer’s scoped out a new partnership with Epic Games to create a range of officially licensed Fortnite costumes, cosplay, accessories and gear, in a deal brokered by IMG. The new Fortnite branded collection will feature costume skins and accessories. Fans can also snag  game-replica weapons and gear to complete their look.
ESL announced that Jonas Vikan will depart the company, where he served as Tournament Director, with Alexander Nehr tapped to take over the role. Nehr has been with the company for 11 years, taking on various positions in league operations and product.

Dodgers/Phillies on MLB Network at 7p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1983: The Pine Tar Incident makes history in a battle between the Royals and Yankees.
In the Know: Whose bat was implicated in the Pine Tar incident mentioned above? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who was the last NFL RB to break 2000 yards in a season? Answer: Adrian Peterson. Kudos: Andrew Feingold/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Mike Polvere-Optimum Sports/NY; Tim Morrison-SendtoNews/NY; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Red Bulls/Harrison; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Matt Deprey-CSPAN/DC; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; JT Ward-NBCU/Chicago; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank
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