07/14/15: NASCAR gets Furious; Univision, FOX & NBC get weekend upticks; MLB gets filthy


Good morning. It’s Tuesday July 14, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Movie franchise Fast & Furious is now running with the pros. Distributor Universal signed on to have the film serve as sponsor of a NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 19. The Furious 7 300 will feature cast member Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as Grand Marshal. “As we saw first-hand with our ground breaking Fast Five partnership back in 2011, UPHE understands the thrills that come along with great racing and the power that can be harnessed through NASCAR Nation,” said Scott Paddock, President of Chicagoland Speedway. “We’re looking forward to giving Furious 7 and its home entertainment release the national platform that a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend can uniquely deliver.”


With American competitor Tejay Van Garderen only a dozen seconds out of first place on the Tour de France, NBCSN is reporting that its first week coverage of the famed race (through stage 7) reeled in the best viewership for its live morning telecasts since 2010 (Lance Armstrong’s last year). Coverage is averaging 311,000 viewers for a 16% rise over the same block a year ago. In the Adult 18-49 demo, NBCSN’s live morning viewership is up 31% from last year (98,000 vs. 75,000). Through the first nine stages, fans streamed more than 21 million minutes of live Tour de France action on NBC Sports Live Extra  up 32% over last year.

Univision Deportes’ coverage of the USA/Haiti Gold Cup matchup on Friday night averaged 1.3 million Total Viewers 2+ and 713,000 Adults 18-49 for its channels. Through 6 days and 12 matches of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament, Univision Deportes is averaging 1.5 million Total Viewers 2+ and 883,000 Adults 18-49 per match, out-delivering coverage from 2013 41% among Total Viewers 2+ and by 48% among Adults 18-49.

Around the dial, Team USA’s win over Haiti in CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage action on Friday handed FOX Sports 1 with 1,035,000 viewers, recording the most-watched non FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer match in FOX Sports 1 history.

Showtime Sports and CBS Sports hit the weekend with a trio of different boxing series beginning with ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday. The next day will see a special afternoon-evening PBC on CBS doubleheader at 4p and a Showtime Championship Boxing tripleheader on Saturday at 10p. “SHOWTIME Sports and CBS Sports are excited to offer fans an unprecedented weekend of boxing featuring at least nine fights, including two world championships and a world title eliminator,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Showtime Sports.  “From boxing’s biggest stars on our Showtime Championship Boxing franchise and undefeated prospects on our critically acclaimed ShoBox series, to working with our colleagues at PBC and CBS Sports, we are the destination for fight fans this weekend.”

Bellator MMA and Spike named the current voice of the Boston Celtics, Sean Grande, as the promotion’s new play-by-play announcer. Grande teams up with color analyst Jimmy Smith on Friday for “Bellator 140” at Mohegan Sun Arena on Spike at 9p. “Sean Grande is an incredibly talented and well-accomplished sports announcer with a passion for mixed martial arts,” said Scott Coker, President, Bellator MMA. “He has been behind the microphone for many championship events and we look forward to him bringing his enthusiasm and energy to Bellator as our league continues to grow.”   

Just ahead of the 2015 FINA World Aquatics Championships, Universal Sports Network hits the pool for its newest episode of Beyond the Medals  The Business of Sport tomorrow at 7:30p. Host Rick Horrow joins Missy Franklin, USA Swimming CMO Matt Farrell and USOC President Scott Blackmun in the episode to examine the sport outside of the pool and the factors which contribute to its success.
With Charter onboard to carry SportsNet LA, the channel is reporting that the 30 Dodger games that have aired since Charter started carrying the network have pushed ratings up 81% to a 1.14 Nielsen household score. In addition, the platform rose 77% in Total Viewers to 80,531. On June 23, SportsNet LA posted its highest rated telecast ever on June 23, 2015 (Dodgers-Cubs) when the network garnered a to nab a 1.57 household rating.

The NBA and Euroleague Basketball are pitting the Boston Celtics against Euroleague team Real Madrid in a preseason game on Oct. 8 as part of NBA Global Games Madrid 2015 presented by BBVA. Prior to the game in Madrid, the Celtics will play three-time Euroleague Champion and 26-time Italian League Champion Olimpia Milano on Oct. 6 at Milan’s Mediolanum Forum. NBA Global Games Europe will also feature a variety of interactive fan activities and NBA Cares community events that will bring the NBA experience to fans in both cities.  The game will air live in Spain on Canal+. 


MLB is making history with the Maytag brand, announcing a deal that makes Maytag the official washer and dryer of MLB for the first time in company and league history. Maytag and MLB will partner up throughout the remainder of the 2015 season to offer fans new programs and launched yesterday with the "Filthiest Plays of the Week," where Maytag and MLB will ask fans nationwide to vote to determine the filthiest play in baseball each week. In addition to the national MLB partnership, Maytag has also teamed up with four MLB teams – the Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers in a deal that will see, at each of the four ballparks, a Maytag Top Load Washer installed in the bullpen or outfield stands and remain in place for the rest of the regular season and the Postseason. If a player, either from the home or visiting team, hits a home run and the ball lands inside the washer, Maytag will donate $1 million to the local Boys & Girls Clubs in that city.

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association appear to have locked in a number for advertising space on player jerseys at the upcoming World Cup of Hockey. TSN writes that the organizations will be asking for $8 million for the rights to all eight teams in the tournament. The report states that while some sponsorship deals have been agreed to, no company has been willing to meet the asking price for jersey ads at the Toronto-based event scheduled for September of 2016.



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Twitter unveiled its top Tweets and data from Wimbledon, as Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic claimed the women’s and men’s singles titles. The tournament, which spanned June 29-July 12, generated 8 billion impressions (views) about Wimbledon on Twitter and across the web.
Top Tweeted moments of the 2015 men’s Wimbledon on Twitter:

1.   @rogerfederer wins second set tiebreaker over @DjokerNole in final

2.   End of match: @DjokerNole defeats @rogerfederer in final

3.   End of match: @rogerfederer defeats @andy_murray in semi-final

And here are the top Tweeted about women’s Wimbledon moments:

1.   End of match: @serenawilliams defeats @GarbiMuguruza in final

2.   End of match: @serenawilliams defeats Heather Watson (@HeatherWatson92) in third round

3.   @HeatherWatson92 breaks for a 5-4 lead in second set against @serenawilliams in third round


Bob Bowman, President of Baseball and Media for MLB told CNBC that the league’s digital media arm, aka MLBAM, will not go the IPO route and see shares to the public. Other reports had stated that an IPO was on the way, but Bowman said they were pursuing other avenues. "There probably won’t be an IPO," said Bowman, who noted that a private buyer was more likely to get a share of the business. "We’re going to carve out our technology business, and we’re talking to about dozens of strategic investors."

Streaming on ESPN Radio Network generated more than 2.5 billion total listening minutes in the second quarter of 2015, up 31% over 2014. In the category, ESPN On Demand (podcasts) netted more than 90 million downloads in the same quarter, marking an uptick of 27% over last year.

120 Sports unveiled its first-ever, sport-specific index: “MLB 25 & Under,” showcasing the top 25 MLB players 25 years of age and younger in the sport. To determine the top 25 athletes, 120 Sports turned to six baseball writers, insiders and analysts from Sports on Earth, Sports Illustrated and 120 Sports, as well as the results of a fan poll in partnership with popular polling website, Ranker.com, surveying Millennials (defined as 18 to 34-year-olds). Top five: Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, Manny Machado and Anthony Rizzo.


The Pittsburgh Pirates turned to Sony to bring in a new A/V system. With Sony’s Solutions Development & Integration group serving as the prime contractor, the club worked with system integrator Alpha Video Sports & Entertainment Group to design and install a new video control room using Sony HD broadcast technology that offers the Pirates additional elements to the game presentation. The control room now features a Sony MVS switcher fed by four Sony HDC-2570 HD camera systems and two Sony PDW-850 XDCAM Camcorders. “The new control room brings an essential refresh to PNC Park,” said Chris Sullivan, National Sales Manager, Public Venues, for Sony Electronics. “Pirates fans, like all consumers, are now accustomed to a high quality experience, so it’s critical that the in-person experience is as immersive and memorable as possible.”


AEG’s Staples Center and DraftKings entered a long-term marketing partnership that will establish DraftKings as the exclusive Daily Fantasy Sports Partner of the venue and create the DraftKings Fantasy Sports Bar & Lounge on the Main Concourse of the Downtown Los Angeles sports and entertainment arena. The outlet is set to open in Sept., offering at least 35 Toshiba smart televisions, 6 Toshiba Virtuoso Screens, 15 Microsoft Surface Tablets and 4 iMacs, while ordering from an exclusive menu featuring signature food and drink choices. In addition to establishing the 4,400 sq. ft. location of the DraftKings Fantasy Sports Bar & Lounge, the first-ever arena-based DraftKings branded hospitality space of its kind, DraftKings will also receive premium exposure throughout the AEG owned and operated STAPLES Center including digital signage within the arena,  concourse presence and customized digital exposure including official web-site and social media presence. 

SiriusXM plays host to the sixth annual SiriusXM Celebrity Fantasy Football Draft at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe tomorrow. The event sees a slew of celebrities and SiriusXM personalities gather to draft their fantasy football teams for the 2015 season, with personalities that include Cris Collinsworth; Dennis Haysbert; Rob Riggle; Brandi Chastain; Jay DeMarcus; John O’Hurley; Ty Dillon; and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio hosts John Hansen, Pilar Lastra and Lisa Ann. The event will begin at 4p and will take place in front of a live audience at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe.  SiriusXM hosts Bruce Murray and pro Football Hall of Famer James Lofton will emcee.


MLB All-Star Game on FOX at 7p.



Tuesday, July 21, 2015  I  1:30PM to 3:00PM (ET)

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BabyFirst TV and Moderator Cathy Olson, Editor for Cynopsis Kids

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ON THIS DAY in 2004: Utah is awarded an MLS expansion team.

In The Know: What was the name of Alex Karras’ character in the movie Blazing Saddles? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which five events comprise the modern Olympic pentathlon? Answer: pistol shooting, epee fencing, 200 m freestyle swimming, show jumping and a 3 km run. Kudos: Lewis Blaustein-Lewis Brand Solutions, Inc./NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; J Barry McMullin-WWE/Stamford; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner & Triathlete magazine/Houston; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/LA; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc /Santa Monica; Willie Price-American Forces Network (AFN/Riverside).

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