08/21/19: MLS welcomes St. Louis as team 28; WWE pins NXT deal with USA Network; ESPN prepares for launch

Good morning. It’s Wednesday August 21, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.


Major League Soccer made it official on Tuesday: St. Louis was awarded an expansion franchise, which will become the domestic circuit’s 28 team in 2022. Flanked by the club’s ownership group, including Carolyn Kindle Betz and six other members of the Taylor family, MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced the franchise, the first in the league to have female majority ownership. The team will play in a new stadium in the Downtown West district of the city, which will feature 22,500 seats, each of which will be within 120 feet of the pitch and have a translucent canopy that will provide cover for fans while allowing for light to reach the field. MLS currently has 24 teams, including rookie FC Cincinnati. David Beckham’s Inter Miami squad and a new team in Nashville, Tennessee, will kick off next year, with a club in Austin, Texas, set to open in 2021, before the St. Louis entry make its debut.
Our ownership group has come a long way since we first announced our bid last October at Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club, and it’s an incredible feeling to now be able to say, St. Louis is home to the first official majority female-led ownership group in MLS,” said Carolyn Kindle Betz.  “Our MLS team and stadium will only add to St. Louis’ renaissance currently underway and will provide us with a great opportunity to bring together many different segments of the community, uniting people in their love for the game.”

WWE has pinned a new deal with USA Network that will not only boost revenues and profile of its NXT franchise, but provide competition for TNT’s upcoming weekly pro wrestling entry on Wednesday night. NXT will migrate from the subscription service WWE Network, beginning on Sept. 18, continuing to air in its 8 p time slot, giving USA Network, home to “Raw” on Monday, a two-week head start over TNT’s coverage of All Elite Wrestling, beginning Oct. 2. NXT is the most-watched show on the streaming service. Two days later, FOX will televise “SmackDown Live” for the first time, making the promotion the staple of the broadcast network’s Friday-night lineup, year-round.
When ESPN flips the switch on the ACC Network Aug. 22 at 7p, viewers across ESPN, ESPN2 ESPU and ESPNEWS also will get a look at the first 10 minutes of flagship news and information show, All ACC. The first night for the service, covering things all Atlantic Coast Conference, will also feature The Class That Saved Coach K, whichwillpremiere immediately after the two-hour bow of All ACC.  Conference commissioner John Swofford, Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney, Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and former North Carolina women’s soccer great Kristine Lilly, Notre Dame women’s basketball head coach Muffet McGraw and Deshaun Watson, the ex-Clemson quarterback, are among those slated to be on-air on launch night.
NBC Sports dropped the flag on viewership gains for its coverage of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series from Bristol and the NTT IndyCar Series from Pocono last weekend. Coverage of Danny Hamlin’s win at the NASCAR race on Aug. 18 on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app grew 8% over last year to a Total Audience Delivery of 2.53 million viewers, including 2.50 million on the former, making its most-watched sporting event on cable for the week. Despite a lengthy red flag and shortened race due to bad weather, the ABC Supply 500 attracted 553,000 TAD viewers, including 549,000 on NBCSN, on the afternoon of August 18, inching up from 548,000 the year. The race, won by Will Powers, is the most-watched IndyCar race on cable since 638,000 watched the 2018 from Sonoma last Sept.16.
NBC Sports announced plans to offer the most US coverage of the Rugby World Cup ever with play set to begin on Sept. 20 with Russia/Japan at 6a on NBCSN. Over the course of the six-week tournament, NBC Sports will present more than 250 hours of Rugby World Cup 2019 matches, original programming and additional Rugby World Cup content with all 48 tournament matches available live, commercial-free and on-demand on NBC Sports Gold, while 26 matches will be shown live on NBCSN. Team USA will compete in Pool C against Argentina, England, France and Tonga.
The clock’s ticking! Join us for some golf, games, gear and gab and get your tickets to the Esports Business Summit, running Sept. 10-12 in Las Vegas, and plug in to the biggest names in the industry, from media and streaming to brands and technology. Don’t miss it and get your tickets now!
NBC’s Sunday Night Football, primetime’s top show for a record eight consecutive seasons, will provide a sneak preview of its new show open during halftime of the Pittsburgh-Tennessee preseason contest Aug. 25. The fresh open, led by a new Carrie Underwood rendition of the “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night” music, will also feature the first-ever SNF appearance of Joan Jett, whose 1988 hit “I Hate Myself for Loving You” was adapted for the show’s open in 2006. Pepsi is the sponsor of the SNF open and will be integrated on-air each week.
Former super welterweight champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout will join hall of famer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and host Ray Flores in calling PBC Fight Night on Aug. 24. The trio will describe the action in the prelims, airing on Fox Sports 2 and Fox Deportes at 8 p, before collaborating on the main event, Brandon Figueroa versus Javier Chacon for the interim WBA Super Bantamweight Championship. The main event card starts at 10 p on Fox Sports 1, and will also on Fox Deportes.



The Cynopsis Best Of The Best Awards Featuring The Rising Stars


The Cynopsis Best Of The Best Awards salute excellence in national TV programming, from writing and directing to casting and hosting.Also, be sure to join Cynopsis as we honor stand-out performers, innovators and emerging leaders in the TV Media industry for the 7th Annual Rising Star Awards. These young professionals’ experience spans research, sports, digital, content and marketing. Enter before October 23!


RISING STAR INFO             BB CATEGORIES                 MORE INFO



The first serve on U.S. Open is less than a week away at Flushing Meadow, Queens and American Express, now in its 26th year of support, will again have a major presence at the final tennis Grand Slam event of the season. Card members visiting the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center can receive a complementary bag check, visit the card member lounge to relax and recharge themselves and their phones, and listen to radios providing live commentary and updates from rights-holder ESPN. There is a one-time “Spend $100, Get $20” offer for card members and networking opportunities for small and mid-size businesses
Lacoste, the official apparel provider of the Presidents Cuphas unveiled the uniforms for the biennial golf competition that this year will be held from Dec. 9-15 at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Victoria, Australia. The International side will sport don and green as their primary colors, with the U.S team’s outfit is inspired by the American flag and reflect its red, white and blue palette. Lacoste will be featured prominently in a 15,000-square-foot retail space in the official Presidents Cup Merchandise Shop.
The PGA Tour Championship will host the FedEx Junior Business Challenge finals on August 21, a “Shark Tank-style” event showcasing students from across the nation, pitching original business concepts to a panel of judges for the chance to earn a $75,000 donation from FedEx to their local Junior Achievement chapter. Qualifiers were hosted at PGA Tour events during the summer, and the presenters will now take their best shot with a panel, headed by golfer Tommy Fleetwood and basketball analyst Steve Smith.

Viacom’s ad-supported video on demand streaming Pluto TV has inked a deal with the NFL to create a new free-to-consumer channel on the platform, focusing on vintage gridiron action. The NFL Channel is serving up highlights and full reels of classic games, memorable seasons and archival installments of HBO’s docu-series, Hard Knocks. The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, further broadens the NFL’s outreach to younger consumers, while buttressing Viacom’s growing content arsenal on Pluto TV, whose active user base has jumped from 12 million in January, when the company announced its $340 million acquisition of the service, to 18 million at the end of July.
NBC Sports begins live coverage of all 21 stages of the 2019 Vuelta a Espana – the final Grand Tour of the season – on August 24, at 12:35 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold’s Cycling Pass. Coverage will include extensive data rich features in addition to its live, commercial-free coverage of the event, which concludes Sept 15, in Madrid with Stage 21 live at 10:45 a on the streaming service and at 1 p on the Olympic Channel. NBCSN will air encores of select stages throughout the race.

Activision confirmed two more city franchises for the upcoming iteration of its Call of Duty league, locking in both Florida as well as a second Los Angeles-based franchise.  Misfits Gaming, owner of the Florida Mayhem in the Overwatch League, will serve as owners and operators of the Florida squad. Meanwhile, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, owner of the Overwatch League’s Los Angeles Gladiators, picked up the second Los Angeles-based franchise for the league. Kroenke joins Immortals Gaming Club once again in sharing the market. Other cities include confirmed include a Minnesota franchise, Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Paris, and Toronto. An official start date for the franchised Call of Duty league has yet to be announced.
Overwatch League revealed its new city-based schedule for the 2020 season, which marks the first time that every team will host matches in their home markets. Details on 2020 playoffs, Grand Finals and All-Star events will be revealed at a later date. Play begins on Feb. 8 next year, as half of the league’s teams head to New York for the Excelsior’s homestand while the other half visit Dallas for the Fuel’s homestand. The regular season ends on Aug. 9 with homestands by the Toronto Defiant and Los Angeles Valiant. One big change will apparently see the end of Thursday and Friday matchups, with all games on the schedule listed for Saturdays and Sundays.
The World Showdown of Esports is teaming up with Method, a premier World of Warcraft esports organization, to produce the Classic Race to World First streaming 24/7 live from Aug. 26-Sept. 2. Play will take place at the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort and Casino in Las Vegas with fully interactive 24-hour coverage that will feature a mix of world-class speed levelers and content experts from the Classic WoW community, as well as some of the top WoW streamers on Twitch racing to achieve notable “firsts” in WoW Classic, which will be released in the US on Aug. 26.Participants in the Classic Race to World First will seek to be the first players to level their personal characters to Level 60, then attempt to lead their guilds comprised of players from around the world to be the first group of 40 players to defeat the legendary “end bosses” Ragnaros and Onyxia. Featured players include WoW legends Esfand and TipsOut, while thetalent desk will feature leading personalities Mike “Preach” Lamb, JB “Jdotb” Daniel, Sid “Supatease” Compton, Adam “Finalboss” Knych, Daniel Falcone, Daniel “MrGM” Carter, and Michael “Nano” Wilson.


Little League World Series: South Riding, Va. vs. Wailuku, Hi. on ESPN at 7:30p.


The emergence of ‘audience graph’ within the OTT space (similar to what FB relies on or what’s in existence on the Data Management side) will be the single most impactful enhancement to audience measurement. 


Albert Thompson – Walton Isaacson

(Featured speaker at That Big TV Conference on Sept. 9 – 10 in NYC)



Sponsors: Gamut – Sinclair – NY Interconnect – FriendMTS – iSpot.tv – ListenFirst Media – NCC Media – TV Time – Tubi – a4 – Simpli.fi – TVsquared

ON THIS DAY in 2008: Japan tops the U.S. 3-1 to win the gold medal in the women’s softball tournament at the Beijing Olympics.
In the Know: Which nations won the gold, silver and bronze medals the last time baseball was an Olympic sport? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your company and city).
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Four teams were originally represented in the establishment of the American Profession Football Association (eventually the NFL), with each of the teams coming from a single state. Which state was it? Answer: Ohio. Kudos: Traci Liner-Endeavor/NY; Michael Ritz-Northwestern Mutual/NY; Davis Haney-Bosack & Co./Pottsville; Wayne Otto-Pro-Am Sports/Boone; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/ Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Kyle Krebs-NBC5/Telemundo 39/Dallas-Ft. Worth; David Hauptman/Denver ; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell
Kerry Smith
Division President
Access Intelligence

Roberta Caploe
Cynopsis Ad Sales
Mike Farina

Albert Nassour

Cynopsis Job Listings Sales
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Director of Operations

Check out more jobs in Cynopsis Classifieds »
Job of the day
Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family
Tech-savvy, self-starter professional, exp’d in SM to support strategic social media initiatives set in place. Able to multi task many projects; 1-2 yrs SM exp w/previous writing/editing/creating exp; strong knwlg SM platforms & social community mngmnt. Full info HERE   (8/29)


The CW Network/NYC:
The CW Network seeks an Executive Assistant for their Media Sales & Planning department. Must have 2+ years of professional administrative experience, preferably in advertising or entertainment. Full info and how to apply HERE (9/4)

Quantitative thinker who will partner with Depts to provide analyses and dev. reporting dashboards and learnings in support of Showtime’s acquisition and retention goals. Effective storyteller and communicator who is able to craft data and insight-driven narratives required. Full info HERE (8/31)

Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family/LA: Tech-savvy, self-starter professional, exp’d in SM to support strategic social media initiatives set in place. Able to multi task many projects; 1-2 yrs SM exp w/previous writing/editing/creating exp; strong knwlg SM platforms & social community mngmnt. Full info HERE  (8/29)

Fremantle, Canada International:
Maximize revenue across Canada for all Fremantle Int’l proprietary programs towards the achievements of targets. Proven/ demonstrable exp of Sales exp w/in TV licensing enviro, either working within brdcst or wider ent industry/competitor. Full info HERE (8/28)

GSN/Santa Monica: 
10+ yrs. Lead & manage infrastructure & applications teams. Active Directory, Azure, VMWare, AWS, SQL Server, Citrix, Telephony, storage, networking. OS: Server 2012, 2016, Windows 10, Mac OS. Manage SOX-404 audits. This is a hands-on technical position. Full info HERE (8/23)

MLB/Secaucus NJ: 
Spearhead affil tech/operational efforts (incl launch authorizations, blackout implementation, VOD & TV Everywhere +) for MLB & NHL Networks. Able to work w/prod, engineering & brdcst depts; Min4-6 yrs exp cable affil sales & mktg, sports media, &/or media ops req’d. Full info HERE (8/23)
A+E/NY: Manage the day-to-day recruitment function for a defined set of clients to identify, acquire, assess and hire candidates to fill roles required to meet company business goals. 5+ yrs hands-on recruiting exp, preferably within a media environment; strong HR network of recruiters  Full info HERE (8/23)

Exceptional candidate with broad, hands-on operational skills to lead our US company through our next stage of growth. Min 10+ yrs of operational exp; proven operational success in gaming, sports or technology sectors a +. Strong written/comm skills. Full info 
HERE (8/22)

Work w/Business Operations & Strategy group & impact new rev generation across the NBCU portfolio by identifying growth opps; 8 yrs work exp; this could incl professional services (e.g., consulting, investment banking) or media exp at a large network/publisher/agency. Full info HERE (8/22)

 Design/execute strategic sales initiatives in the NBCU Digital Partnerships team along w/the wider Ad Sales org. Min 2 yrs exp @ either a leading investment bank, mngmnt consulting firm or in strategy/finance role at a major TMT corp. Full info HERE (8/22)


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