08/08/18: ESPN orders Italian

Good morning. It’s Wednesday August 8, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.


ESPN and ESPN+ locked in an exclusive, multi-year rights agreement in the US for Italian soccer league Serie A TIM. The deal will bring more than 340 matches per season to ESPN+ with an average of nine matches live each week from August through May, while ESPN networks will televise a Serie A TIM Match of the Week and close to 40 matches per season. Most telecasts will air on ESPN and ESPN2, and the Match of the Week will also be available in Spanish on ESPN Deportes. Coverage of Serie A TIM will also feature year-round news and highlights content across ESPN platforms. Additionally, ESPN+ will exclusively feature one-hour season preview and review programs, a weekly preview and highlight shows and a Serie A TIM goals of the week program.


The NBA and Zignia Live announced that the NBA Mexico City Games 2018 will feature the Orlando Magic playing regular-season games against the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 13, and against the Utah Jazz on Dec. 15 at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City. The contests will mark the third consecutive season the NBA will play two regular-season games in Mexico City, with coverage on ESPN. As part of today’s announcement, the NBA and Zignia Live have also forged a multiyear partnership to collaborate on future games over the next several years in Mexico.The NBA Mexico City Games 2018 will be supported by a full roster of marketing partners, including Nike, SAP, Gatorade and Tissot with additional partners to be announced in the coming months.
In other NBA news, NBA TV will unveil the 2018-19 NBA regular season schedule today at 2p. Coverage will begin with the announcement of the nationally-televised Opening Week, Christmas and Martin Luther King, Jr. Dayslate of games. HostCasey Sternwill be joined by Dennis Scottand additional Turner Sports NBA analysts for instant commentary on these marquee game matchups.
Stan Kroenke is reportedly on the verge of taking full control of Arsenal after minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov accepted a buyout offer of his 30% stake, according to ESPN. Kroenke currently holds just over 67 percent of shares, but buying up Usmanov’s stake means he can force the remaining individual shareholders to sell their combined three-percent stake as well. “We at KSE are moving forward with this offer leading to 100 percent ownership of the club,” Kroenke said in the statement. “We appreciate Mr. Usmanov’s dedication to the Arsenal Football Club and the storied ethos and history the club represents.”
ESPN announced the addition of the Red Sox and Astros for the September 9 edition of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell at 8p. Matt Vasgersian, analystsAlex Rodriguezand Jessica Mendoza, and reporter Buster Olneyprovide commentary.
MLB Network reports that it scored its best 7-day stretch during the regular season in three years, anchored by the 2018 National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, the 2018 trade deadline, and two Yankees at Red Sox game telecasts on MLB Network Showcase. The span also ranked as itsthird-best 7-day regular season stretch ever. The 2018 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on July 29 averaged 340,000 viewers, up 31%, while the 2018 MLB trade deadline on July 31 led to increases in viewership across MLB Network’s programming over 2017.
SEC Network’s traveling pregame show, SEC Nation, will officially kick off its fifth season two stops in less than 48 hours. Aug. 30 at 7p will see the show take on Northwestern State/Texas A&M before heading to Romare Bearden Park in Charlotte to highlight the Belk College Kickoff between West Virginia /Tennessee on Sept. 1.
The Cynopsis Digital Model D Awards
Celebrating the Best in Online Video Content & Advertising
An annual must for all digital innovators, entries for the 6thAnnual Cynopsis Model D & Digital “It List” Awards are ramping up. And with over 50 categories to choose from, teams are shining a light on new technology, fresh formats and a pioneering spirit in the digital media landscape. The awards luncheon will take place on NOV 9 in NYC.



United Entertainment Group is launching its first-ever offering in Asia where industry veteran Toru Fumihara has been hired as the Managing Director of UEG’s new office in Tokyo, which will serve as a hub for the Asian marketplace. UEG is expanding its global footprint into the fast-growing Japanese market as the city prepares to host two of the biggest sporting events in the world, the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Olympic Games in 2020. This marks the third international office the agency has opened in the span of one year, starting with London in 2017 and Hamburg, Germany earlier in 2018. 
Betting and gaming operator William Hill locked in British pro boxer and heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua as a global brand ambassador for the company. Joshua signed an initial one-year deal with William Hill and will feature in the operator’s new integrated advertising campaigns over the next twelve months.


USA TODAY announced that fans can now download the SportsWire app that brings together 50+ vertical sports sites such as CowboysWire, GiantsWire, PatriotsWire, For the Win, Golfweek, etc. into one mobile application that allows audiences to personalize their experience. Highlights of the app include: aggregation of all SportsWire content and delivers a personalized experience with the ability for users to receive content related to their preferred teams as well as sleek design, easy customization, and highly shareable features.
Yahoo Sports’ Fantasy Football site unveiled new updates ahead of the start of the season. League members will receive a detailed recap of their game match ups each week. As an added bonus, the app will feature “a special celebration if you win your matchup and a little bit of razzing if you lose.” Users will also be able to chat live with their league through the mobile app and desktop and the ability to use GIFs.
SHOWTIME Sports will offer Carl Frampton’s interim featherweight title defense and the second comeback fight of lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on August 18 live from Belfast, Northern Ireland. SHOWTIME Boxing International will stream live exclusively to U.S. audiences on the SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page and SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel beginning at 4p with an encore presentation later that evening on SHOWTIME EXTREME at 10p.


ReKTGlobal and NBC Sports Group are fueling a renewed partnership for season two of the Universal Open Rocket League. The deal sees that will see ReKTGlobal produce cross-platform exclusive content for Universal Open Rocket League, including player profiles, behind the scenes content, social engagements and more. The content will examine the lives of top gamers, their unconventional paths to stardom in the esports world, family lives and in-depth coverage of their road to the $100K prize. ReKTGlobal is also tasked with securing sponsors for the season, and has finalized a corporate sponsorship deal with State Farm.
ESL is planning a shift to its annual November IEM event, and will move from Chicago to Oakland, according to a report from VPEsports. ESL hosted an IEM CS:GO event in Oakland for past two years, with both played in the Oracle Arena.


ESPN8 “The Ocho” is back for round two all day today via ESPN2.




Tuesday, October 2 | Las Vegas


Presented by Cynopsis, Chief Marketer and Event Marketer

The Tempest Awards celebrate the brands, teams, leagues, players and business leaders driving the competitive gaming industry. Join us as winners will be celebrated live on-stage at the Esports Arena at the Luxor in Las Vegas during day 2 of the Esports Business Summit.

Finalists to be announced in late-August





ON THIS DAY in 1900: The first Davis Cup begins play.
In the Know: Other than the US, which country has won the most Davis Cup championships? (Email chris-sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who ranks as the Cleveland Browns’ all-time career leader in receptions? Answer: Ozzie Newsome. Kudos: Sandy Haberman-Sojern/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; John Regula-Manhattan Sports Business Academy/NY; Josh Duboff-Reuters Sports/Boston; Rich Dubroff-BaltimoreBaseball.com/Baltimore; Ken White-KWTV/Charlotte; Joe Schreiber-3 Penny Films/Bethesda; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Anne Wettig-Fox Cable Networks S&P/LA
Later – Chris


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