07/26/17: Spieth win Opens big numbers for NBC Sports; ESPN’s college course; NFL revamps digital play

Good morning. It’s Wednesday July 26, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Jordan Spieth continues to drive viewership numbers, as NBC Sports Group’s coverage of The 146th Open wrapped up with a Total Audience Delivery of 4.97 million average viewers across NBC and NBC Sports Digital, with a 3.2 U.S. household rating according to Nielsen Fast Nationals. The TAD number marks a rise of 1% over last year’s figures and marks the most-watched telecast of The Open since the 2009 Final Round at Turnberry on ABC. TV-only viewership on Sunday peaked with 7.33 million average viewers as Spieth clinched the Claret Jug with his winning putt.

ESPN and family formalized its college football talent lineup for the new season, revamping the ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 pregame, halftime and postgame commentator lineup to include named such as Booger McFarland, Jesse Palmer and Chip Kelly as analysts. McFarland will team up with Mack Brown on ABC, with Kevin Negandhi hosting the three-man network studio coverage. Jesse Palmer shifts to being a regular studio analyst this season after calling ESPN’s Thursday night prime time game for nearly a decade and will team up with Joey Galloway and Adnan Virk in the ESPN studio on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays this season. Kelly will join ESPN2’s studio coverage on Saturdays, while also appearing on SportsCenter on Fridays and Sundays offering insight to college and NFL games.
FOX Sports serves up the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final as the US Men’s National Team faces Jamaica today at 9p on FS1. Rob Stone anchors studio coverage with Alexi Lalas, Aly Wagner and Fernando Fiore. Lead play-by-play announcer John Strong is on the call with Landon Donovan, and Stu Holden, with Jenny Taft reporting. In addition, teaming with LiveLike and presenting sponsor Buffalo Wild Wings, FOX Sports offers the match in virtual reality.
The Aug. 26 bout between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor is hitting the box office with movie theaters showing the PPV card courtesy of a partnership between Fathom events and Mayweather Promotions. Tickets will cost $40 with a list of participating theaters found at www.FathomEvents.com.
In partnership with New York Road Runners and USA Track & Field, NBC Sports Group will showcase the 2017 New Balance 5th Avenue Mile live on NBC on Sunday at 1:30p. “We are thrilled to partner with NBC Sports Group and USATF. Having the New Balance 5thAvenue Mile broadcast live nationally on NBC is a great opportunity to support the sport of running and is fantastic exposure for its professional athletes,” said Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. “Many of the world’s best athletes, led by the amazing five-time event champion Jenny Simpson, will join us this year as they use this race to close out the tremendous seasons they’ve had.”
The NASL and beIN Sports announced their national TV schedule for the upcoming fall season, with 21 games set to run on either beIN Sports USA, beIN Sports En Espanol or both channels. The action begins on Saturday with New York/Miami at 7p.
Pac-12 Networks announced plans for its 2017 fall programming, which will feature a return of series such as The Drive: Pac-12 Football, while expanding its flagship program Pac-12 Sports Report and returning Inside Pac-12 Football to the lineup. In addition, Pac-12 Networks will also introduce a new series with The 12 Greatest to premiere as the start of Football Kickoff Week coverage on Aug. 26.
Speaking of football, t he 2017 SiriusXM NFL Radio Training Camp Tour is slated to launch on July 27, featuring live shows from all 32 NFL teams’ training camps that will see hosts 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 starting with the Cowboys with hosts Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt.
SiriusXM also announced that musician Darius Rucker (of Hootie & the Blowfish fame), an avid golfer, will host a new monthly show on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. On Par with Darius Rucker will debut July 26 at 3p and feature Rucker’s perspective on the game.
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For the next three weeks, Kids Drive NASCAR will celebrate and engage a new generation of NASCAR fans by engaging children and their families. Kids will go head-to-head with some of the sport’s top drivers in Kids vs. Drivers, a series of timed activity challenges on social media. Parents can share their children’s video responses to Busch, Kyle Larson and Joey Logano via Twitter or Instagram tagging #KidsDriveNASCAR and #Promotion, or upload them to the web site for a chance to have the drivers share the content.  Meanwhile, kids attending NASCAR national series races will take part in live Kids vs. Drivers challenges, attend driver and crew chief meetings and autograph sessions, and receive behind-the-scenes garage tours.
Land O’Lakes unveiled the Land O’Lakes Farm Bowl, a collaboration as part of its Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee programming to inspire “the next generation of young leaders to consider careers in food and agriculture.” Activation will pit teams of current and former professional football players and Land O’Lakes farmers against each other in a series of on-farm experiences and farm-themed challenges to demonstrate the skill, determination and grit required to succeed as a farmer today. Minnesota Vikings’ tight end Kyle Rudolph, Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis and former players Greg Jennings and Jason Brown are just a few of the players lending their talents to the effort on Feb. 1.

The NFL rebooted its digital strategy, unveiling a relaunch of NFL.com that offers a “sleek, intuitive design informed by extensive fan research and powered by a completely new back-end infrastructure “ with technology that improves speed and performance across all devices. “From an enhanced NFL.com fan profile page, optimized video across devices and easier access to live streaming video of NFL games, fans will notice a more robust experience whenever and wherever they interact with the League’s digital properties during the 2017-18 season and beyond,” the company told fans.
Twenty-five years after the Barcelona Olympics, the Olympic Channel will mark the occasion including full event replays of iconic moments, revisiting the city as it celebrates, an interactive retro game and robust social media activity.  The retro 8-bit game allows fans to join the Olympic Torch Relay, where they must pass numerous obstacles related to the Barcelona 1992 Opening Ceremony and light the Olympic cauldron.
FOX Sports announced that Big Ten Network content is now available through the >FOX Sports GO app. All shows, games and content will be offered to stream on the app.
Professional Bull Riders and Ultracast are teaming up to stream this weekend’s PBR Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event (July 28-29)  in 360˚ and Virtual Reality from Big Sky, Montana. Both nights of competition will stream at 9p, exclusively on the Ultracast App.

Bluehole, developer and publisher of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is partnering with ESL for a tournament set to take place atGamescom. The Gamescom PUBG Invitational Presented by Bluehole and ESL will run Aug. 23-26 and feature eighty of the world’s top PUBG players and influencers competing at the game’s first LAN event with a prize pool of $350,000. “From very early on we knew that the success of PUBG was reliant on the passion of its community. We want to celebrate this by inviting eighty of the top players from around the world to compete in the first offline invitational,” said Chang Han Kim, VP and Executive Producer, Bluehole Inc. “It’s been incredibly rewarding to see how quickly our community has grown, and can’t wait to hear about everyone’s experience this summer.”
Blizzard announced that it is teaming with Twitch for the Heroes Global Championship to launch a Cheering program that lets HGC fans support their favorite teams and organizations, while simultaneously unlocking loot for use on Twitch and in Heroes of the Storm. Fans who Cheer for teams can eventually access unique Twitch emotes along with in-game banners and other team-specific items for use in the game.
Millennial Esports is claiming a stake in Alt Tab Productions, a Paris-based esports company and the owner of OGaming.TV (“Alt Tab”). The deal will see the company own 38.46% of the platform with a call option agreement to purchase the remaining Alt Tab. ” As the global leading French-language Esports group, tournament organizer, content creator and broadcaster, Alt Tab is at the cutting edge of all things esports and is extremely well positioned in the esports ecosystem in continental Europe and elsewhere,” said Alex Igelman, CEO of Millennial.
Machinima announced details for BCF2 with Body Count Fighting featuring a series of Street Fighter V, Injustice 2, and Tekken 7 show matches. BCF2 will be held at Machinima Studios in Burbank today at 6p with Krizz Kaliko hosting and feature:
  • Injustice 2 Title Match: Slayer (Champion) vs. Han Rashid
  • Street Fighter V Title Match:Commander Jesse (Champion) vs. LPN
  • Injustice 2 Feature Match: Awesomo vs. Krayzie
  • Street Fighter V Feature Match:LowTierGod vs. KillerMiller
  • Tekken 7 Feature Match: Princess Ling vs. SperoGin.

CSE Talent tapped industry veteran Dave Riggs as EVP of Talent Marketing for the company. Riggs will oversee the company’s expanding efforts in talent marketing, talent sourcing, corporate outreach and brand management. He joins CSE Talent after spending the last two years as a sports talent marketing agent at WME/IMG.

The CONCACAF Gold Cup Final sees US/Jamaica on FS1 at 9p.

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ON THIS DAY in 2005: Greg Maddux becomes the thirteenth member of the 3000 strikeout club.
In the Know : Both the Braves and Cubs retired what number in honor of Greg Maddux… (Email [email protected]  with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What is the name of the fight song for the Minnesota Vikings? Answer: Skol Vikings. Kudos: Katie Cifarelli-ESPN/NY; George McCartney-CBS/NY; Ken Nice-TeamPeople/DC; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Ken White-KWTV/Charlotte; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Jack Hodgson-Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; Bill Robertson-WCHA/Edina; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Steve Bradbury-Deep Sports/Marina Del Rey.

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