07/26/18: The Pac-12 is expanding plans to shorten its college football games

Good morning. It’s Thursday July 26, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The Pac-12 Conference is moving forward on an expansion of its pilot program to shorten the length of football games. The conference announced that year two of the initiative will be feature not only in non-conference games on Pac-12 Networks, but also select Conference and ESPN and FOX Sports televised games. Overall, at least 30 games are expected to be included in the program for the 2018 season, up from 15 games in 2017. The initial test resulted in an eight-minute reduction in average broadcast window and five-minute reduction in average game time in the games participating in the pilot.
“Improving the fan experience is a critical priority for the Pac-12 and we believe that taking steps to shorten the length of football games is one way to meet that objective,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.  “We are very pleased that as we continue to pilot innovative ways to shorten the game that this coming year we will be able to include some Conference games as well as certain games televised by ESPN and FOX Sports.”

Multi-platform sports network Stadium detailed plans to carry 22 high school football games featuring some of the country’s top teams and players this season. The move marks the channel’s first season of televising high school football, as well as one of the largest number of games in a single season a sports network has televised. The 11-week schedule will begin on Aug. 16 at 9p with a “Thursday Night Lights” matchup between Utah state powerhouses Bingham High School and Orem High School. The slate wraps up the season on Oct. 26 at 7:30p with a “Friday Night Rivals” showdown between Pennsylvania defending 6A state champion PineRichland High School as they face North Allegheny High School. Overall, schools from a dozen states will be showcased, including Alabama, California, Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin  Stadium will also debut a new 30-minute, Monday through Friday show titled EMERGE, beginning on Tuesday, September 4th at 2p to spotlight the best high school talent across the country.
The Verizon WNBA All-Star Game 2018 is on deck for ABC on Saturday at 3:30p, serving up a new format with the 22 selected All Stars chosen by fans, WNBA players and head coaches, and media. Ryan Ruocco will call the game alongside analyst Rebecca Lobo, with reporters Holly Rowe and LaChina Robinson. In addition, ESPN2 will televise the hour-long All-Star Friday Night special tomorrow night at 9p in which the team captains, the Los Angeles Sparks’ Candace Parker and Washington Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne, discuss their starting lineups. ESPN will use 13 cameras during the game, the most ever for an All-Star event, to capture the action on the court.
HBO signed up Bill Simmons in a new deal, where he will continue to focus on creating and producing sports-themed content across the portfolio. “I’m thrilled to keep going with the HBO family and can’t wait to get started on a couple of the more ambitious projects we’ve hatched,” said Simmons, per THR. “I witnessed it firsthand with our Andre doc — when you create something unique for HBO, they’ve built so much trust and equity in their audience over the years that it’s always going to be seen. Every single time. If it’s good and it’s on HBO, it will stand out.
The induction of Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Jack Morris, Jim Thome and Alan Trammell into the National Baseball Hall of Fame will be carried exclusively on MLB Network on Sunday. Peter Gammons, Harold Reynolds, Mark DeRosa, Sean Casey, and hosts Greg Amsinger and Fran Charles will be on-air for MLB Network’s live on-site coverage of the ceremony with programming beginning at 11a. MLB Tonight will include the acceptance speeches by 2018 Ford C. Frick Award winner and MLB Network host Bob Costas and 2018 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Sheldon Ocker. The Induction Ceremony will also feature the speeches by Guerrero, Hoffman, Jones, Morris, Thome and Trammell, as well as the introductions of the more than 50 Hall of Famers scheduled to return to Cooperstown this weekend, including 2015 inductees and MLB Network analysts Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz.
Speaking of baseball, MLB on TBS’ weekly game coverage will showcase National League Postseason contenders with the Dodgers and recently acquired star shortstop Manny Machado visiting the Braves aon Sunday at 1:30p.Brian Anderson and Ron Darling will provide commentary for the telecast, which will not be available locally in the L.A. market.
ESPN’s serving of Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet is reporting a spike of 17% this season, according to Nielsen. The pre-game show is averaging 591,000 viewers in 2018, up from 507,000 viewers last season.
Are you a sharpshooter? We need a few more eagle eyes to help judge The Tempest Awards, honoring the best in esports. Contact [email protected] if you are interested. Meanwhile, the deadline has been extended and all entries are now due by Aug. 2 (no more extensions beyond that!!!). Meanwhile, keep up to date on our latest speakers for the Esports Business Summit, including keynotes from Intel, HP and a special session featuring DrLupo! Click here for info.
The 2018 SiriusXM NFL Radio Training Camp Tour is ready to roll, with programming beginning Friday and a lineup of live shows from all 32 NFL teams’ training camps to prepare fans for the 2018 NFL season. SiriusXM NFL Radio hosts will broadcast live on location from each training camp site, giving listeners around the country an in-depth look at their favorite teams and players as they prepare for the coming season. Hosts on the SiriusXM NFL Radio Training Camp Tour include former NFL team executives Gil Brandt, Pat Kirwan and Phil Savage, former players Erik Coleman, David Diehl, Torry Holt, Brad Hopkins, Ed McCaffrey, Jim Miller, Ross Tucker and Solomon Wilcots, plus John Clayton, Jeff Joniak, Mike Keith, Alex Marvez, Bruce Murray, Bob Papa and Jeff Rickard.
The Esports Tempest Awards
Be Recognized as an Esports Innovator
The Tempest Awards celebrate the brands, teams, leagues, players and business leaders driving the competitive gaming industry, with categories that span production, marketing, talent & technology. Winners will be announced live on stage at Esports Arena at Luxor Las Vegas during the Esports Business Summit.


The Madison Square Garden Company and PepsiCo unlocked a new, multifaceted partnership that makes the beverage and food company one of MSG’s official signature marketing partners, beginning Sept. 1. PepsiCo will become the exclusive non-alcoholic beverage and salty snack partner across various MSG properties as well as for its sports franchises the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, Westchester Knicks and esports squad Counter Logic Gaming. The partnership will give PepsiCo and its brands a broad presence and affiliation with MSG’s marquee assets. PepsiCo’s exclusive marketing rights to MSG properties will include mobile, TV and digital assets, in-venue signage, as well as the right to create retail promotional opportunities at external points of sale.
The NBA recognized the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers for their excellence in team marketing and business operations at the 2018 NBA Team Business Awards during the league’s ticket sales and sponsorship workshop in Atlanta. The Atlanta Hawks were presented with the NBA Team Partnership of the Year award for their health and wellness campaign with Sharecare. The Philadelphia 76ers were honored with the NBA Team Event of the Year award for their “Hardwood VIP Dinner presented by Firstrust Bank” featuring a basketball strategy session with Head Coach Brett Brown.

VSiN launches its first NASCAR show today titled Gone Racin’. The series will run Thursdays at 2p and be hosting by Ron Flatter, professional NASCAR driver, Brendan Gaughan, and Jeff Motley from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The team will discuss odds around which drivers will win each week’s race, driver vs. driver match ups and will look out to future race odds. The show will air on VSiN.com, the VSiN app and its SiriusXM channel.

In this week’s edition of Cynopsis Esports & Gaming…       
  • Domino’s gives Gfinity a special order
  • Overwatch League Grand Final rolls out the red carpet
  • EVO’s hot tickets
  • Mountain Dew’s new Fuel
  • FanAI’s crossover appeal
  • Crackle gets Hook’d
  • Army’s Twitch mission

Diamondbacks/Cubs at 2p on MLB Network.

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