07/20/16: The NBA’s Tweetstorm; The ACC prepares for a national grandstand; USA Basketball powers activate


Good morning. It’s Wednesday July 20, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The NBA is doubling down on Twitter, announcing plans for an expanded content partnership that will bring original live programming and more video to the platform as well as Vine and Periscope. Details will see the league, through its NBA Digital partnership with Turner, serve up a free live stream of a new weekly NBA pregame show with “first-of-its-kind elements created specifically for integration with Twitter conversation.” The NBA also will announce an additional to-be-determined show that will also stream exclusively on Twitter. In addition, the partnership also includes an extension of the NBA and Twitter’s Amplify program.


Meanwhile, details for the long-awaited ACC Network are expected to be announced later this week, with the channel set to launch by August 2019, according to ESPN. Gearing up for launch, the ACC and ESPN agreed to a 20-year deal and rights extension through the 2035-36 academic year, while the league extended its conference grant of rights deal by nine years through 2035-36. Ahead of the launch of the linear network, the ACC Network’s digital channel will start this fall, according to the report.

Speaking of the ACC, Showtime Sports follows up its season with Notre Dame with A Season with Florida State Football. The second installment of the series brings audiences behind the scenes weekly 30-minute episodes throughout the 2016 season starting Sept. 6 at 10p. Showtime Sports utilized a social media campaign teasing this year’s team ahead of the announcement across the network’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook platforms.

NFL Network will debut a new daily morning show, entitled Good Morning Football, on Aug. 1. The program will be hosted by Kay Adams, Nate Burleson, Peter Schrager and Kyle Brandt, and Executive Produced by Michael Davies, running live Monday-Friday at 7a on the channel from CBS Broadcast Center in New York City. The three-hour live show is NFL Network’s first show to originate from New York City in the network’s nearly 13 year history. In addition, the series will offer audiences an accompanying podcast, newsletter and original content produced specifically for digital platforms and social media consumption.

The NCAA is changing its March madness bracketing by letting the top overall seed in the men’s NCAA Tournament select its location to play for the first and second round and regional sites. The AP writes that the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee determined that the geographic preferences would be made by teams in contention for the overall No. 1 seed far in advance of Selection Sunday with teams able to choose from eight assigned cities for the first and second round.

MP & Silva locked in German football’s Bundesliga (first and second division) in 34 countries for the 2017/2018 through the 2020/2021 seasons. Territories include: Albania (incl. Kosovo); Bosnia & Herzegovina; Bulgaria; CIS-Non-Stan’s: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia & Moldova; CIS-Stan’s: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan; Croatia; Cyprus; Denmark (including the Kingdom of Denmark: Faroe Islands & Greenland); Finland; Greece; Iceland; Macedonia; Malta; Montenegro; Norway; Portugal (incl. Madeira & Azores); Romania; Russia; Serbia; Slovenia; Sweden; Turkey and Ukraine. MP & Silva will be the exclusive distributor of Bundesliga rights across all platforms.

An NHRA event will run live on broadcast television for the first time with FOX carrying the Mopar Mile-High Nationals from Denver’s Bandimere Speedway on Sundayat 3p. Dave Rieff and Tony Pedregon call the action with Jamie Howe and Bruno Massel reporting from the pits.
Brazilian supermodels/actresses Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima will represent Team NBC for its coverage of the Summer Games. The pair will deliver features and offer commentary on the Olympics in their native Brazil during the company’s late night coverage, hosted by Ryan Seacrest. They will also contribute to NBC Olympics’ coverage across various networks and platforms.

Speaking of the Olympics, OWN is getting in on the action and will offer a night of programming featuring athletes from past games as well as a two-hour film documenting the rise of swimmer Missy Franklin on July 24. The world broadcast premiere of Touch The Wall runs at 8p, followed by a special edition of “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” at 10p.

MLB Network’s telecast of the Rangers/Cubs battle on Saturday ranked as the network’s most-watched game of the 2016 season to date, generating 567,000 viewers. The telecast also marked MLBN’s most-watched regular season game since Derek Jeter’s final home game on September 25, 2014. Tonight, the channel serves up Rangers/Angels at 10p.

The PBR 2016 Built Ford Tough Series has its cities and dates for the first half of the 2017 BFTS schedule, hitting 16 cities next year before its summer break. The season kicks off with a PBR Major at Madison Square Garden, which will host the Monster Energy Buck off at the Garden on Jan. 6-8. 2017, while AT&T Stadium plays host to the second PBR Major, Iron Cowboy on Feb. 18. Last Cowboy Standing will once again headline Las Vegas Helldorado Days from May 12-13.


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USA Basketball announced its slate of activations for will join various partners during an eventful summer schedule to provide fans unique its run of nine exhibition games in eight markets, where the men’s and women’s national teams will play in preparation for the Olympics. Among the bevy of partners, key elements include: Budweiser hosting mobile Build-A-Bar setups; Baron introducing a co-branded digital vignette highlighting the legacy of USA Basketball; Cisco producing original content, focusing on the team “Getting Ready for Rio”; Jeep debuting a vignette series spotlighting Paul George’s USA Basketball journey; and Nike launching a USA Basketball-themed spot uniting members of the men’s and women’s teams as well as a vignette series highlighting the legacy of the 1996 USA Basketball Women’s National Team and its influence on the 2016 squad.


Bellator 158 generated record conversation for the promotion on social media. According to NUVI, the company generated over 90,000 total social media mentions, the most ever for a Bellator event. On Facebook, its MVP KO post became its most viewed FB video ever, approaching 3 million views and 33,509 shares. The event pushed Bellator to an addition of 31,241 page likes for a 406% weekly increase. The MVP KO also scored on Twitter to rank as its best performing tweet ever, while its YouTube post reeled in 2,124,777 total views and become the promotion’s most watched video in the first 48 hours.


US Soccer is getting animated for the USWNT, unveiling a new WNT Animated project, on its website. Content was created in partnership with Chicago’s Calabash Animation, and features a series of 19 animated videos, each one featuring one of the 18 players on the team’s roster for next month’s 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro plus one for head coach Jill Ellis.

ESPN Digital Media drew 111.8 million total unique global visitors, with 1.0 billion visits and accounting for 6.6 billion minutes in May, according to the company. Stateside, its digital content reached 77.3 million users.

espnW added Kavitha Davidson and Katie Barnes to its team where Davidson will serve as a writer for the platform and contribute to ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com out of New York while Barnes joins espnW as a Bristol-based writer/reporter.

The Players’ Tribune is turning to VR, announcing a new content collaboration with Samsung to produce athlete-driven, short-form 360-degree videos and photography using Samsung Gear 360. Contributors will include Von Miller and Hassan Whiteside and be published on The Players’ Tribune platforms and social channels, as well as Samsung VR.

Ultrasonic audio technology company LISNR unveiled a partnership with the Indianapolis Colts that will see the technology offer “contextual enhancements to the gameday experience.” The technology allows teams to push relevant content to smart devices through high frequency, inaudible Smart Tones that can be played by any speaker and picked up by any microphone.


Lima Sky is launching an alternative eSports league dedicated to its Doodle Jump game, partnering with Skillz for the new tournament style gameplay. The game currently boasts 10 million active users a month. "There are three key elements for a game to become a sport: players, leagues and spectators." said Skillz CEOAndrew Paradise. "Doodle Jump already has hundreds of millions of players and a ravenous fan base. With Skillz, it will now have organized, broadcasted tournaments and competitive leagues to transform it into a full-fledged eSport."

Psyonix proclaimed via Twitter that Rocket League has toppled its previous player count of 14 million, and now claims 19 million players.

HyperX unveiled its second official Xbox licensed gaming headset, CloudX Revolver Gears of War. The headset is co-designed with Microsoft and The Coalition and offers additional compatibility for Windows, letting “you hear your opponent more accurately from further away, making it ideal for FPS and open environment gameplay.” Fans attending Comic-Con International: San Diego will get a first look at the headset starting Preview Night, July 20, at the Xbox (Booth 100) and at the NERD HQ event being held at the New Children’s Museum in San Diego.


Here we go again. Mets/Cubs on ESPN at 2p.



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ON THIS DAY in 1976: Hank Aaron hits his 755th, and final, HR.

In The Know: Yale became the first university in the US to adopt a mascot, known as… (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What was the name of the Whitney Houston song used as an anthem for the 1988 Olympic Games? Answer: One Moment in Time. Kudos: Traci Liner-WME/IMG/NY; David Stern-BARD Entertainment/NY; Adam Shuler-Nielsen/NY; Lindsay Codd-GMR Marketing/NY; John Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; James Taguchi-WTVR/Richmond; Mark Darnell-Golf Services/Augusta; Michael G. Hawkins-Francis Marion University/Florence; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Julie Kikla-GoPro/San Francisco; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside; Wendy Simmons/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

Later — Chris
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