07/30/21: NBCU execs report that the Olympics will still be profitable for the company

 

Medias First Morning Read

 

Friday July 30, 2021

Even with ratings down for the Olympics, NBCUniversal executives told investors that the company would still be profitable for the extravaganza. With CEO Jeff Shell noting that the broadcast “had some bad luck,” and that linear ratings for the Olympics “are probably less than we expected.” Meanwhile, NBC Olympics’ primetime coverage highlights are averaging a Total Audience Delivery of 17.5 million viewers through Tuesday night, while NBC Sports Digital delivered an Average Minute Audience of 571,000 viewers on Tuesday night, highlighted by Peacock’s most-consumed Tuesday ever.

PROGRAMMING

On Telemundo, the channel’s Olympics’ coverage ranked as the top Spanish-language network on last Saturday and Sunday in the 6a-6pm Olympic daypart across broadcast & cable for adults 18-49 and total viewers. Saturday delivered 267,000 total viewers and 100,000 adults 18-49, while Sunday delivered 390,000 total viewers and 174,000 adults 18-49.

The NBA revealed the game and broadcast schedules for MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2021, which will run Aug. 8-17 at Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the campus of UNLV. All 75 games of the 10-day competition will air live on television on ESPN networks or NBA TV in addition to streaming on the ESPN App with the Championship Game on Aug. 17 at 9p on ESPN. MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2021 will tip off on Aug. 8 with eight games, highlighted by appearances on ESPN2 by the four teams that hold the first four overall picks in NBA Draft 2021 presented by State Farm. The Detroit Pistons, who have the No. 1 overall pick in the July 29 draft, will face the Oklahoma City Thunder (No. 6 pick) at 8:30p. The Houston Rockets (No. 2 pick) will meet the Cleveland Cavaliers (No. 3 pick) at 6:30p, which follows a matchup between the Toronto Raptors (No. 4 pick) and the New York Knicks at 4:30p.

Hulu announced today the addition of NFL Network to its Live TV streaming lineup, in addition to a new Sports Add-On package that includes NFL RedZone. “We are excited to bring NFL Network and NFL RedZone to Hulu + Live TV subscribers,” said Hans Schroeder, EVP and Chief Operating Officer of NFL Media. “One of our top priorities as a League remains broadening the distribution platforms for NFL content, and so we’re very pleased to bring our lineup of award-winning shows and live games to Hulu’s live subscribers.”

Crystina Poncher and Mikaela Mayer are on deck to make history next month,
becoming the first all-female broadcast team to call a boxing match when they call the international broadcast of the Joshua Franco-Andrew Moloney card Aug. 14. “We’ve both worked extremely hard to raise the profile of women in our sport,” Mayer said in the announcement. “And this is proof that our hard work has not gone unnoticed. I would like to thank Top Rank and ESPN for supporting the growth of women in boxing and helping us to break more boundaries.”

CBS Sports and Infront announced a multi-year agreement for CBS Sports and Paramount+ to become the exclusive U.S. home of the Scottish Professional Football League. CBS Sports will offer fans at least 85 matches annually through 2024-2025 from the cinch Premiership as well as the second-division cinch Championship and the Premier Sports Cup. Coverage begins on Saturday with select matches throughout the deal streaming exclusively on Paramount+. As part of the multi-platform deal, CBS Sports will feature every Old Firm match between Rangers and Celtic, as well as a weekly program with highlights from across the league.

ESPN issued a response on Thursday to Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby’s allegations that they company is attempting to destabilize the conference. “The accusations you made are entirely without merit,” ESPN executive Burke Magnus, president of programming and content, stated in a letter to the Commissioner. The Big 12 sent a cease-and-desist letter to Magnus on Wednesday, claiming that ESPN was pushing conferences to raid the league in a move to let Texas and Oklahoma enter the Southeastern Conference early.

Meanwhile, Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reports that the AAC is looking to take all eight remaining members of the Big 12.

Saturday sees The Walt Disney Company will celebrate what the company described as a “new, major tentpole NFL event” in Training Camp: Back Together Saturday. The day will feature a full day of cross-platform coverage, including 11 hours of original, live programming across ESPN and ABC documenting all 32 NFL teams as they hold practices and fan events, The Walt Disney Company’s coverage spans the entire day with SportsCenter shows throughout the morning, afternoon and evening hours, two unique editions of NFL Live: Back Together Saturday, and digital and social content.

The WTA released an update to the 2021 WTA Tour calendar, outlining the final regular Tour events of the season from mid-September through October. The updated calendar features four new fall tournaments in Portoroz (Slovenia), Chicago (USA), Tenerife (Spain) and Courmayeur (Italy), as well as the return of the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) following its cancellation in 2020. Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO, stated, “This latest phase of the Tour calendar will deliver our tournament offering this year to over 50 events as the WTA continues to provide a global platform to promote women’s tennis and reach our worldwide fanbase. We are excited about the conclusion of the 2021 season and look forward to providing further information about the WTA Finals in due course.”

Attend Cynopsis and Discovery’s Diversity & Inclusion Virtual event on September 13 from 1-3:30 PM ET. The program features sessions like DEI: The Activation Conversation, where executives unpack how to embrace diversity and inclusion in a way that effectively resonates with your audiences. What’s a conference about inclusivity without FREE registration? There’s no reason not to attend this day of essential conversations. Grab your virtual pass now!

Athletes Unlimited announced that TSN, FreeSports and W-Sport have been added to the previously announced network of broadcast and streaming partners that include CBS, Sports Network, FOX Sports, Facebook and YouTube for its inaugural lacrosse league. The agreements will provide live coverage in North America, Africa and the Middle East, and a combination of live and near-live coverage in Europe.

And the honorees are…

 

See the full list of Cynopsis Top Women in Media honorees and join us for a special in-person Awards Gala October 27 in NYC. We’ll be recognizing and toasting the individual leaders and distinguished companies moving our industry forward. Secure a table for your team before it sells out.

 

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

 

Newly drafted NBA player Jalen Suggs inked a multiyear footwear and apparel deal with Adidas. According to Yahoo, along with outlining product plans for Suggs in both basketball and lifestyle footwear categories, the brand committed to funding a court refurbishment in his hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and mapped out a pathway to a potential signature shoe down the road.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) and Elevate Sports Ventures partnered up to support premium sales and services for the 2021 U.S. Open, which runs Aug. 30 through Sept. 12. The deal will see Elevate deliver support in hospitality sales and services, offering insights and guidance in the areas of pricing, lead generation and consumer profile analysis.

The Professional Fighters League agreed to a deal with HotelPlanner, a travel technology company and provider of sports league accommodations, to become the Official Hotel Booking Partner of PFL. Under the terms of the multi-year partnership, HotelPlanner will host a discounted booking engine for PFL’s roster of talent, as well as PFL executives and staff. Additionally, HotelPlanner will build travel packages for PFL fans to travel to league events in the United States and then to global competitions.

Triller announced its entry into NASCAR with a partnership with driver Toni Breidinger, the 22-year-old rookie driver who made history as the first Arab-American female driver in the circuit’s history. The partnership will begin this Saturday with the ARCA Menards Series race at Winchester Speedway in Winchester, as Breidinger drives the #25 Triller Toyota Camry. “Toni Breidinger is the perfect fit for our entry into NASCAR and all forms of racing for Triller,” said Bobby Sarnevesht, Chairman and Co-Owner of Triller. “She is a disruptive, smart, highly competitive, socially conscious and engaged athlete who our millions of followers are just starting to learn about. We look forward to helping to elevate her story and her platform and to connecting her with the stars who are already deeply involved in Triller, as well as giving our followers a first look into NASCAR and helping to grow the sport with a younger and very engaged and loyal audience.”

Panini America officially announced their first three exclusive NIL athletes: Miami QB D’Eriq King, Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz and Ole Miss QB Matt Corral. As part of the agreement, Panini will work with all three student-athletes to maximize their individual autographed memorabilia through public memorabilia signings on products including footballs, helmets, custom prints and mail-in memorabilia.

Taymar Sales U. and Texas A&M University-Commerce signed a multiyear agreement for the firm to handle outbound ticket sales, corporate partnerships and assist in partner fulfillment for Lion Athletics. Texas A&M-Commerce is the first NCAA Division II institution to engage Taymar and represents the company’s entry into Texas.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

iHeartMedia and the NBA are forming a duet, courtesy of a multi-year podcast partnership, according to Forbes. The collaboration will feature the launch of over 20 new iHeartRadio-NBA co-produced podcasts. The new slate of NBA podcasts will be distributed widely by the iHeartPodcast Network with the first show set to debut this Fall.

DraftKings and Sports & Social announced a strategic new relationship to create upscale Sports & Social/DraftKings sports bars beginning in the Nashville and Detroit markets, pending regulatory approvals. The Sports & Social/DraftKings venues will be designed by ICRAVE. “Today, so much of sports betting is focused on the mobile-technology aspect, however the in-person experience is an integral layer that we look forward to advancing alongside Sports & Social’s premier dining and entertainment offerings,” said Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer at DraftKings. “By aligning with one of the fastest-growing entertainment concepts in the country, we now have the opportunity to bring our world-class products to life by offering engaging, interactive and fan-first destinations to skin-in-the-game customers.”

The Boston Red Sox and DraftKings announced a deal making DraftKings the official Daily Fantasy Sports provider of the franchise. The agreement reinforces DraftKings’ existing relationship with one of the most storied teams in baseball. “We are thrilled to team up with a historic franchise like the Red Sox and bring DraftKings closer to this passionate fanbase, which is even more special given our hometown Boston roots,” said Ezra Kucharz, chief business officer of DraftKings. “As a Boston-born company, we are well-acquainted with the devotion of Boston sports fans, and we believe the engagement possibilities of this integration are only just beginning.”

RealResponse, a feedback, monitoring and anonymous reporting platform for athletic teams, organizations, and over 50,000 athletes, announced an expansion of their agreement with the NFL Players Association. Last season, players used RealResponse to communicate COVID-19 health and safety questions and violations to the NFLPA; now, all players and clubs will have the ability to anonymously and securely report any and all issues with regard to player health and safety to the NFLPA in real time for everything from training camp issues, drug policy infractions, social injustice concerns, medical issues, COVID-19 policy violations, misconduct, hazing, harassment, and more as well as using the system to highlight successes and best practices which might go otherwise unnoticed.

ESPORTS

Riot Games’s LOL Esports is giving a facelift to the European Regional Leagues, Europe’s minor league infrastructure. The company announced that it had extended license deals with almost all of its current European Regional Leagues (ERLs) beginning in 2022. With teams in place, changes will include ERLs being grouped into one of two categories – Accredited ERLs and Non-Accredited ERLs, starting in 2022. While Riot will select which tier they are categorized as to begin with, every Non-Accredited ERL can apply to become an Accredited ERL at any time, provided they meet the relevant criteria. In addition, some leagues will become unified, with the Baltic league merging into the Polish ERL (Ultraliga) and the Dutch and Belgium leagues merging to form a new Benelux league. The company is also standardizing the prize money for both the accredited and non-accredited leagues and are increasing team subsidies in all ERLs while all ERL partners receive the right to enable co-streaming for all teams participating in a first division of an ERL provided it is during their own games and within Riot regulations.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

Combate Global and Univision Communications announced that Univision acquired a “significant” equity stake in the Hispanic Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) sports franchise with the deal formally aligning Combate Global’s talent with Univision’s promotional and production capabilities, positioning the fight organization for international expansion. “Since teaming up in 2018 Univision and Combate Global have created an entirely new audience for MMA. Today, those content hungry fans, combined with our dynamic athletes, represent the future of the sport. This announcement underscores Univision’s commitment to Hispanic MMA and we could not be more excited to further strengthen our successful partnership with them,” said Combate Global CEO Campbell McLaren.

Logitix announced that Stuart Halberg has been promoted to CEO, while Kurt Schneider has been named Executive Chairperson. Additionally, Logitix furthered its leadership team with the hirings of Eric Ingram as CFO and Trent Stewart as Head of Engineering.

SPORTS BROADCAST JOURNAL w/David J. Halberstam

Where’s play-by-play sports heading? Remotes, sterile voices, political correctness and cancel-culture are making it difficult for announcers to demonstrate any personality. Today, voices have to guard their target. Any slip and you’re out the door!
Dim future for sports on-air due to remotecasts, sterile voices, cancel-culture, PC and indistinct talent

A tumultuous week! The Olympics, of course, have been in the news. There’s been talk about the production of the telecasts, the ratings and more. The potential move by Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC though stole the spotlight. Broadcast veteran Tim Brando shared his thoughts about the dramatic move and some of the history leading about it. Brando has called college football nationally through four decades. Interesting thoughts about where it could lead:
Veteran college football voice and host Tim Brando takes us through the likely OU-Texas move to the SEC

Fifty years ago, Bill White was the first Black to be appointed a play-by-play announcer for a professional team. I had the opportunity to interview Bill, 87. He was hired by the Yankees in 1971 and spent 16 seasons with the club. “Hey, White,” Rizzuto would yelp on-air They were an excellent duo.
Bill White, hired 50 years ago by the Yanks, was the first ever Black play-by-player for a pro team

Happy Birthdays:
Mike Emrick, 8/1 Retired longtime NHL voice
Dale Hansen, 8/2 Dallas sports anchor
Mike Parker, 8/3 Or. State Ftbl/Bsktbl
Mike Gimiski, 8/3 ACC basketball analyst
Dave O’Brien, 8/3 Red Sox TV/ACC Network
Mel Proctor, 8/4 Retired voice, Orioles/Wizards
Mike Pratt, 8/4 Kentucky hoops, analyst
Vince Welch, 8/4 Fox Sports
Ryan Russillo, 8/4 The Ringer
Sports Broadcast Journal

New Trends, New Categories
The 9th Annual Cynopsis Digital Model D & It List Awards reflect the evolution of the industry in this year’s categories. Show us your best work and plan to celebrate with us in November… but you can’t win if you don’t enter.
One week left to save $150!

 

ENTER BEFORE 8/3

ON THIS DAY in
1932: The X Summer Olympic Games open in Los Angeles.

IN THE KNOW
In the movie Draft Day, what team did Kevin Costner work for? (Email cpursell@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Who was the last American to win the US Open men’s singles championship in tennis? Answer: Andy Roddick. Kudos: Rick Ramage-UTA/NY; Joel Maxwell/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Kathi Gillin-Comcast/Philadelphia; Louis Lewow-FIte/Atlanta; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas-Fort Worth; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Nick Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Peter Steckelman-Tennis Channel/Santa Monica

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Build outstanding sales pitches and build equity with all external stakeholders to drive incoming briefs and pitches. Own all North & South America’s music responses and liaise internally to bring the best commercial propositions to market. Align on corporate messaging and own activation and launch. 5+ yrs of working in a business development req. Full info HERE (8/12)

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