08/21/20: The Breeders Cup cemented a deal with FanDuel for naming rights


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Medias First Morning Read
Friday August 21, 2020

Officials of Breeders’ Cup unveiled a deal with FanDuel Group to make the company the title sponsor of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile at this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships. In addition, two of FanDuel Group’s major charity partners will be incorporated into its naming rights for this year’s event — the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile presented by PDJF and the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

“We are excited that FanDuel will become the title sponsor of the Breeders’ Cup Mile and thank them for their commitment to the World Championships,” said Breeders’ Cup President and CEO Drew Fleming. “Since announcing our multi-year agreement last year, we have enjoyed an outstanding relationship with FanDuel and TVG as they have expanded and strengthened their support of the Breeders’ Cup and Thoroughbred racing.”


The Olympique Lyonnais/FC Bayern München semifinal match on Univision and simulcast on TUDN rolled in 963,000 Total Viewers and 501,000 Adults 18-49. The sets a new record for the company as the top-rated UEFA Champions League match ever regardless of language with Total Viewers 2+ and Adults 18-49. TUDN returns with coverage of the UEFA Champions League final featuring PSG/Bayern on Sunday at 1:30 p on Univision and TUDN.

Meanwhile, CBS Sports unveiled its UEFA plans with the UEFA Europa League Final and UEFA Champions League Final running live across multiple platforms, streaming on CBS All Access and airing on CBS Sports Network. The UEFA Europa League Final (Sevilla/Inter Milan) is today at 3p, with pregame studio coverage at 2p. The UEFA Champions League Final (Paris Saint-Germain/Bayern Munich) takes place Sunday at 3p. CBS Sports also announced that it will stream the 2019-20 UEFA Women’s Champions League Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Final live on CBS All Access. Coverage begins today with the Quarterfinals and runs through the Final on Sunday, Aug. 30.

In talent news, FOX Sports announced Monday will see six-time NFL Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall join First Things First on FS1 beside Nick Wright, Kevin Wildes and Jenna Wolfe. “Brandon is a rare talent that has achieved acclaim in both the NFL and the broadcast world at an early stage of his career, said Whit Albohm, Senior Vice President, Studio Production, FS1. “In the brief time I’ve worked with Brandon, it is already evident what made him such a successful athlete. He has an unquenchable desire to grow and succeed, which is the secret ingredient for excellent television.”

However, FOX Sports also announced that broadcaster Thom Brennaman will no longer be part of its NFL broadcasting team following the use of an anti-gay slur while on-air Wednesday night during a Cincinnati Reds broadcast. “FOX Sports is extremely disappointed with Thom Brennaman’s remarks during Wednesday’s Cincinnati Reds telecast,” the network said in a statement Thursday, per ESPN. “The language used was abhorrent, unacceptable, and not representative of the values of FOX Sports.” Brennaman had been a part of Fox’s NFL announcer lineup since it started televising the league in 1994.

Around the dial, the fifth annual ESPN Fantasy Football Marathon Presented by EA SPORTS NFL Madden 21 launches season-long, multi-platform programming that includes two SportsCenter Specials, with the first featuring fantasy draft preparation and the second spotlighting a 10-team draft, that will bookend this year’s 24+ hour programming block which begins Sunday at 8p and runs through Monday at 9:30p. In between, fantasy football news, rankings, analysis, predictions and insights will be intertwined throughout ESPN’s studio lineup, highlighted by senior fantasy football analyst Matthew Berry revealing his Love/Hate List during a special edition of The Fantasy Show airing Monday afternoon on ESPN2.

Sportradar announced a partnership with Marquee Sports Network to offer the media company with a range of broadcast services, including game notes, research support, the Radar360 analytics platform, and graphics.With the deal, Marquee will look to introduce a “unique experience” for Cubs games by utilizing official MLB data to deeply engage fans and bring them closer to the action. “We’re thrilled to partner with Marquee Sports Network in their inaugural season by supplying them with the data, technologies and insights to deliver a modern, engaging broadcast experience for fans,” said Brian Josephs, Vice President of Digital Sport, Sportradar. “We are particularly excited by Marquee’s technology prowess, which, when combined with Sportradar’s extensive data and insights, will unleash innovative content and captivate both long-time Cubs fans, as well as younger fans that prefer to consume games in different ways.”

IMG announced the launch of two new magazine shows for rallycross and speedway fans, ‘RX Aftertrack’ and ‘Talking Dirt’, fuelled by Monster Energy. The 30-minute shows will be broadcast on FIA World Rallycross (World RX) and FIM Speedway Grand Prix (SGP) 2020 Championship weekends, on the series’ Facebook and YouTube channels. ‘RX Aftertrack’ will be fronted by TV personality and former skateboarder Matthew Pritchard and also feature World RX pit reporter Neil Cole’s insights from inside the paddock. ‘Talking Dirt’ will be hosted by FIM SGP commentary duo Nigel Pearson and Kelvin Tatum, with SGP reporter Kiri Bloore at trackside.

Superstar Racing Experience announced the addition of Hélio Castroneves to the inaugural SRX driver lineup. Castroneves joins Tony Stewart, Tony Kanaan, Paul Tracy and Bobby Labonte as the fifth confirmed driver for the series that will air Saturday nights in primetime on CBS in the Summer of 2021. “I am so excited to be joining the SRX series. I look forward to competing with legendary drivers at historic short tracks and bringing the fans an awesome racing product. Evenly matched cars, elite driving talent and a primetime window on CBS – this will be fun,” said Castroneves.

Army and BYU locked in a home-and-home football series on Wednesday morning, with the first game being played on Sept. 19, 2020 at Michie Stadium. Kickoff for that contest is set for 3:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on CBS.

The Cynopsis Adtech Awards


In the face of surprising acquisitions, privacy concerns, and drops in ad spend, we at Cynopsis are blown away by the incredible work we see the ad tech community producing – and we want everyone to hear about it. See who made the cut and stay tuned for ceremony details coming on early December.



NBC Sports is launching “Message In A Milk Bottle” – a time capsule at Indianapolis Motor Speedway designed to commemorate The 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday at 1p on the broadcast channel. The initiative captured drivers’ thoughts and sentiments at Media Day before Sunday’s race, with fans around the country able to participate by submitting their own messages via social media using #MessageInAMilkBottle. The messages will be opened next year around The 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Customized lockers for all 33 drivers have been placed on Pagoda Plaza – one for each driver – with an empty milk bottle inside.

Speaking of the Indy 500, Fernando Alonso and his No. 66 McLaren SP car will be sponsored by Progressive Insurance with the brand receiving TV-visible placements on Alonso’s car, overalls, and helmet as part of the sponsorship. This is the first time Progressive has been a high-profile sponsor of a car for the Indy 500. “We’re thrilled to be teaming up with Fernando Alonso at the Indy 500” said Jay VanAntwerp, Media Business Leader at Progressive. “Racing fans around the world look forward to the Indy 500 each year, and we’re proud to be part of one of the sport’s marquee events. Progressive’s competitive spirit and dedication to excellence align with Fernando’s drive, determination and will to win. We wish him the best of luck as he competes for victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and a historic Triple Crown.

The NFL announced the launch of the ‘Fan of the Year’ program, which recognizes the “unyielding passion and constant support of fans nationwide.” Set to be crowned at Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay on February 7,, the program is designed to spotlight fans who have a special affinity for their local team, provides inspiration to others and showcase how football unites their family, friends and local communities. Throughout the regular season, all 32 ‘Fans of the Year’ selected will also receive a series of prizes/virtual experiences, recognizing their loyalty to the League and the Club they represent.

Fastenal Company and the NHL iced in a multiyear global partnership, naming Fastenal the official Maintenance, Repair and Operations partner of the league through the 2023-24 season. The partnership is focused on creating an efficient and reliable MRO supply chain for ice rinks across North America. The agreement provides Fastenal a presence at future NHL tentpole events including corner in-ice advertising positions and in-arena branding at the NHL Winter Classic, NHL All-Star Weekend, NHL Global Series and NHL Stadium Series.

Oakley announced the signing of Lamar Jackson, quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, to an endorsement deal with the brand welcoming Lamar to the team with a short film, featuring league players, football personalities and Team Oakley athletes answering the question: “How would I describe Lamar Jackson?” As part of his Oakley partnership, Lamar will continue to rely on the brand’s products and technologies, on-and-off-the-field.


Sony’s Hawk-Eye Innovations North America is partnering with MLB to launch Hawk-Eye’s sports tracking platform at all 30 MLB ballparks, as well as the Toronto Blue Jays’ temporary home in Buffalo, for the 2020 season. Hawk-Eye’s optical tracking system and vision-processing technology enable live ball and player tracking to +/- 0.1 inch accuracy with full-field coverage to offer a data stream to better assess all on-field activity.

NASCAR launched a dedicated channel on Motorsport.tv, Motorsport Network’s digital OTT platform devoted to racing and automotive content. The NASCAR channel will bring fans content from behind the scenes of the racing series.


Allied Esports locked in a licensing agreement with GRID, a leading esports data provider, for the monetization of data and video rights to the company’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Legend Series events. The multiyear deal will launch with the VIE.gg CS:GO Legend Series tournament beginning Aug. 31. Through the agreement, which also includes options to add supplementary programming from Allied Esports, GRID’s proprietary data solution will be directly integrated into Legend Series events to deliver real-time, official data to regulated bookmakers and sports betting platforms. The partnership, along with the licensing and sponsorship deal with naming rights partner VIE.gg, marks the first time Allied Esports will offer the use of data and video rights for the enhancement of regulated consumer betting.

ESL and GamingMalta entered into a “deep strategic” partnership to foster and develop the Maltese esports community. After successfully partnering for ESL Pro League Season 11 earlier this year, the partnership aims to strengthen the industry in Malta across all levels of the zero to hero pyramid of ESL. “The agreement with GamingMalta enables us to offer an amazing setting to the worldwide esports community. Malta is a progressive country with its finger on the digital pulse combined with a beautiful Mediterranean ambient which partnered with us for a phenomenal 11th season of the world’s largest professional esports league in CS:GO”, said Ralf Reichert, CEO at ESL. “We couldn’t be more excited for this partnership to bring the growth of esports and beauty even more together.”

Gamers Outreach is partnering with charity fundraising platform Softgiving on a campaign to provide entertainment to families receiving care. The two organizations are teaming with Fade 2 Karma in a new fundraising event that will run through early Sept. “Softgiving has always focused on engaging the gaming community to help nonprofits raise funds in creative and innovative ways,” said Softgiving Founder and CEO Matt Pfaltzgraf. “We know gaming brings communities together — so with this partnership, we will be able to help Gamers Outreach continue to help aid the healing process through video games. The streaming community has already proven how passionate they are about helping children, so we look forward to using our technology and partnership to positively impact this cause.”


Major League Baseball announced the promotion of Tony Reagins to Chief Baseball Development Officer. Reagins will continue to oversee the growth of youth and amateur levels of baseball and softball, both domestically and internationally, as well as the streamlining of amateur scouting around the world and operations of the Arizona Fall League.

The Pac-12 appointed longtime NFL and college football executive Merton Hanks as its new Senior Associate Commissioner for Football Operations, effective September 8. In his new role, Hanks will be responsible for all aspects of Pac-12 football administration, including all football initiatives and programs such as scheduling, officiating, replay command center, operations, Pac-12 Football Championship Game and bowl relationships.

Dedication To Community announced that Lamonte Winston will join the organization as National Director, Sports Division, and head efforts to grow relationships between teams, athletes and community. Winston, who also runs The Winston Group, which works with athletes on career transition, will begin his new role immediately.


In an extensive interview this week, Vin Scully opened up on a number of subjects. I asked the iconic broadcaster for his thoughts on this baseball season and rules changes, beginning with cutting the number of innings from nine to seven for both ends of a doubleheader. “Well, the whole year is so different anyway. I kind of like a nine inning game followed by a seven inning game. Seven and seven to an old horse like me isn’t a big league doubleheader.”
Vin Scully talks about this season, the broadcasts and more; Says twin bills should be 9 and 7 innings

ESPN assigns its fourth Monday Night Football crew since 2015. Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick get the nod. The network tells me that it this point the announcers will call the games from the stadium, unlike baseball. See the background on how ESPN tried to land Al Michaels. There’s also a complete list of all MNF announcers, year-by-year since the series began in 1970.
ESPN officially assigns Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick to MNF; See full talent list since 1970

A Q&A with the unsung Sean McDonough. who might be one of the most versatile network sportscasters ever. He did World Series for CBS, Monday Night Football for ESPN, loads of college basketball and even some hockey. Our columnist Dan Mason gave Sean an A+ for his work on the PGA Championship. Sean is the son of the legendary Boston Globe writer and NBC Sports reporter, Wil McDonough.
Sean McDonough is comfortable doing any sport; He showed his candidness doing the PGA

Guess who threw the last pitch for the Brooklyn Dodgers? Hall of Famer, Sandy Koufax, in relief. He didn’t come into his own until the club was in LA. Vin Scully told me this week that only he and Jerry Doggett were asked to follow the club to LA, not the third announcer Al Helfer. Lots of interesting stuff in this piece, not addressed before.
The Brooklyn Dodgers played their last game in ’57; Vin Scully called it; Nothing official was said about LA

Happy Birthdays and many wonderful returns:
Paul Maguire, August 22 Ex-Longtime NFL analyst, NBC and ESPN
Darrin Jackson, August 22 Chicago White Sox, radio
Chris Fowler, August 23 College football, ESPN
Dave Van Horne, August 25 50th season as MLB voice, now with Marlins
Tommy Heinsohn, August 26 Boston Celtics TV analyst
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On this Day
2008: The US beats Brazil 1-0 in soccer to win the Gold Medal in the Beijing Olympics.

In the Know
In the NFL, who is the Buccaneers’ all-time leading career rusher? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
From which school was Earl Campbell drafted? Answer: Texas. Kudos: Keith Marder-Halstead Real Estate/NY; Rick Ramage-UTA/NY; John Lappas-Home Team Sports/NY; Bob Dudelson-Leverage Agency/NY; Mark Lehman-Braves/Atlanta; Mike May-R2 Innovative Technologies/Wellington; Michael G. Hawkins-Francis Marion University/Florence; Art Salisch-Nielsen/NJ; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas-Ft. Worth; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; Kyle Krebs-Intersection/Dallas; Jason Brist-Outdoor Sportsman Group/Chicago; David Hauptman/Denver; John Baghdassarian-Olympusat/LA; Dominick Latorre- Sinclair Broadcast Group/Simi Valley; Andy Babb-Super League Gaming/Santa Monica; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente

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