08/28/18: ESPN is giving the VA Tech/Florida St. game the Megacast treatment

Good morning. It’s Tuesday August 28, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

ESPN is going big for its coverage of Virginia Tech/Florida State over Labor Day, serving up a MegaCast production that will include the traditional telecast on ESPN and six additional viewing options across ESPNU, ESPNEWS and ESPN3 via the ESPN App. The network’s lead commentating team of Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Maria Taylor will call the game on ESPN, with the telecast set to include the premiere of Goodyear BlimpCast, as Marty Smith and Ryan McGee will be stationed inside the Goodyear Blimp for the entire game. Fans watching on ESPN3 via the ESPN App will experience a three-box presentation. Coaches Film Room, returns on ESPNEWS, with coaches only this time around: Mack Brown and Gene Chizik, and former head coaches Hugh Freeze, Todd Graham and Jim Mora will team together. Other options: Command Center on ESPNU and ESPN3 offering DataCenter, SkyCam and All 22.
Meanwhile, the company announced that College GameDay Built by The Home Depot is kicking off its 2018 season campaign by returning to the University of Notre Dame for the school’s game against Michigan. Lee Corso begins his 32nd season, having been with the show since it began in 1987 with analyst Kirk Herbstreit entering his 23rd year, while analysts Desmond Howard and David Pollack enter their 14th and eighth years, respectively. Rece Davis is back as host, his fourth season, and Maria Taylor as the reporter, having joined the program last season.

WWE announced that Toronto will host SummerSlam Week in August 2019 with SummerSlam, Monday Night Raw, SmackDown Live and NXT taking place at Scotiabank Arena over four consecutive nights. “We are thrilled to bring WWE’s biggest event of the summer back to Toronto,” said John Saboor, WWE Executive Vice President, Special Events. “We look forward to working with our partners at Tourism Toronto and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment to build a blueprint that welcomes our global fan base to the great city of Toronto.”
The NBA announced that the NBA G League tips off the 2018-19 season on Nov. 2, where a record 27 teams will compete in the NBA G League’s 18th season, including the Capital City Go-Go, an expansion team owned by the Washington Wizards. Each team will play a 50-game schedule that concludes in March 2019. The 2018-19 season will feature the Delaware Blue Coats (Philadelphia 76ers) playing with a new name and the Stockton Kings (Sacramento Kings) playing in a new city with a new name.
ABC and ESPN saw metered market numbers for both the Little League Baseball World Series Championship Game and for Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell were up, according to Nielsen. The Little League Baseball World Series Championship Game on ABC generated a 2.2 metered market rating, up 5% from last year’s championship game, while Sunday Night Baseball drew a 1.2 metered market rating, up 71% from last year’s comparable game.
Showtime acquired the television rights to Cradle of Champions, a documentary film that takes viewers through the New York Golden Gloves tournament. The film will premiere on Sept. 21 at 8p on the channel, following three inspiring fighters—James Wilkins, Nisa Rodriguez, and Titus Williams—as they navigate the 10-week tournament.
SiriusXM serves nationwide live coverage of the 2018 US Open Tennis Championships featuring live tournament play-by-play from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY, as well as a special Opening Day show hosted by SiriusXM’s Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo. SiriusXM listeners will get play-by-play broadcasts through the Women’s and Men’s Finals on September 8 and 9, including live coverage from Arthur Ashe Stadium, highlights from the outer courts, and more.  SiriusXM will air the USOpen.org Radio call, which will be provided courtesy of ESPN Audio, rightsholder to US Open broadcasts in the US.
Don’t miss the biggest esports business event of the year. Get your tickets to the Esports Business Summit now, with five tracks of programming: teams/competition; media/content; sponsorship/activation; venues and investment. Plus: The Tempest Awards, killer field trips and deep-dive workshops. Hear from VCs, celebrities, world-class streamers, global brands and more! Everything you need! Click here for tickets.
With the NCAA Division I fall sports season underway, ESPN lined up analysts and play-by-play commentators for its soccer and volleyball schedules. In soccer, ESPN will televise more than 50 NCAA Division I Soccer games this season across ESPNU, SEC Network and Longhorn Network. The talent list includes: Julie foudy, Kristine Lilly, Lori Lindsey, Jullian Loyden, Kate Markgraf, heather Mitts and Cat Whitehill. More than 120 regular season women’s volleyball matches will span across ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network and LHN this season with talent that includes: Kevin Barnett, Dain Blanton, John Dunning, Nell Fortner, Mick Haley and more.
ESPN also announced two additional matchups for its exclusive Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell national game of the week, including the 2018 season finale. The Red Sox and Indians will battle on Sept. 23 at a special 7p on ESPN. The week prior, on September 16, the St. Louis Cardinals will host the Los Angeles Dodgers face off at 8p on ESPN.
Time to Tune-in to the Future Industry Leaders
The Fourth Annual Cynopsis Rising Star Awards is gearing up for its best year yet…Don’t miss this great opportunity to honor yourself or a colleague with a nomination. The groundbreaking work that these ambitious and creative young professionals have accomplished over the past year deserves to be celebrated – and we can’t wait to see what they have to offer!   


Dunlop inked a five year deal with Tennis Australia to serve as the official ball for the first Grand Slam of the year in the Australian Open as well as at all other tennis tournaments in Australia, replacing Wilson. The deal means that all four Majors will use the different balls (Babolat at Roland Garros, Slazenger at Wimbledon and Wilson at the US Open). “We are delighted to partner with Dunlop on the new Australian Open ball,”Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said. “Our aim is to provide the players with the best possible playing environment and we believe they will be very happy with the quality, standard and consistency of play of the new AO Dunlop ball in a wide variety of conditions.
Women’s Equality Day saw adidas kick off Here to Create Change, a campaign which commits prevent girls from dropping out of sports. The campaign plays to the backdrop of the US Open, with Billie Jean King part of the promotion. “As a sports icon and a social justice pioneer, Billie Jean King is evidence that positive change on and off the court for women is possible, and we celebrate her achievements with our own commitment and footwear that all aspiring female athletes can step into,” said Eva Barrett, Global Senior Director of Marketing for adidas. “We want to build a future for female creators in this great city’s pitches, fields and courts of play. But we can’t do it alone. We want to hear from you, New York.”
Pizza Hut detailed its plans for the return of college football season, returning for a fourth season as the Official Pizza Sponsor of ESPN College GameDaybuilt by the Home Depot. Each week, Pizza Hut will be onsite with its “House of Pi” homegating setup, featuring a lounge to enjoy the full GameDay experience, pizza sampling and swag. Pizza Hut is also continuing its work with Maria Taylor, who will team up with Pizza Hut to create custom content and interview the schools’ biggest fans on air each week. 

The Ohio Valley Conference and ESPN locked in an extension of their media rights agreement, which will now include a minimum of 600 conference events on ESPN+, in addition to programming on the linear channels. The first OVC events to be broadcast on ESPN+ will be two football games on Thursday with 36 OVC football games overall streamed on ESPN+ this season. Under the arrangement, the OVC Men’s basketball championship game will continue to air on either ESPN or ESPN2, with ESPNU and ESPNNEWS broadcasting additional events.

Following the tragic shooting at the Jacksonville Landing during the Madden Championship Series southeast qualifier, esports team OpTic Gaming is launching an initiative for the victims and their families, lining up a charity tournament for those affected by the incident. The event will take place on ug. 31 from 2-8p CT, with all proceeds raised by the competition going towards the victims’ families.
Organizers of esports leagues and tournaments have been addressing the state of security at their venues following Sunday’s Jacksonville shooting at the Madden Championship Series event. Evo unveiled plans to install metal detectors for all of the event’s dates in 2019, in addition to already using undercover law enforcement. Meanwhile, officials at Dreamhack released a statement addressing its own security measures, noting that the company’s tactics are done in consultation with law enforcement and security experts and is always “ongoing and involves all DreamHack events.”  

The National Fitness Foundation named Clay Walker as its new Executive Director. Clay joins the Foundation after serving as the Chief Operating Officer of PrestoSports, the largest independent collegiate athletics software provider in the U.S.

US Open coverage begins on ESPN at noon.
November 9th, 2018 | ThreeSixty, NYC
Save the date for the 6th Annual Cynopsis Digital Model D & It List Awards. Join in on the action as digital’s best and brightest honor those who have excelled in digital content, marketing, advertising and social media.
 **Finalists will be announced in mid-September**

ON THIS DAY in 1994: Tiger Woods wins the United States Amateur Golf Championship.
In the Know: Of the PGA TOUR Majors, which was the first to be won by Tiger Woods? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: The Rock teamed up with which WWE star to form the Rock-N-Sock Connection?  Answer: Mankind/Mick Foley. Kudos: Len Appel-TMZ/TMZ Sports/NY; Scott Jenkins-Gracenote/NY; Matthew Willence-ITN Networks/NY; Luke Watson-Essential TV/NY; Rob Williams-WEVV-TV/Evansville; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Michael Muench-Intersport/Chicago; Jacob Ullman-FOX Sports/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Jaymz Wooden-Bottelsen American Dart Lines/Santa Maria; Mike Adams-National Sports Forum/San Diego
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