08/28/19: The NFL added Oakley to its roster of partners

 

CynopsisSports
Good morning. It’s Wednesday August 28, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

 
Oakley announced a four-year partnership with the NFL, becoming an official on-field partner and licensee of the league. The partnership marks the biggest sports deal in the brand’s history and will begin at the start of the new football season, with Oakley shields and eyewear Powered by Prizm Lens Technology being available for all 32 teams, as well as making Officially Licensed NFL Eyewear available for fans. As part of the partnership, for the first time in NFL history, all players will have the option of wearing Prizm Clear shields during games.
 
“We see Oakley as an ideal partner because we’re united by the same goal: supporting some of the world’s best athletes in their quest for elite performance,” said Renie Anderson, Chief Revenue Officer & EVP, NFL Partnerships. “Our game is faster and precision is more fundamental than ever, and Oakley provides the technologically-advanced gear that players, coaches and personnel need for peak performance.”
 
 
PROGRAMMING

The United Soccer League cemented a new three-year rights agreement with ESPN to showcase the USL Championship and League One matches through the 2022 season. The new deal will see a three-fold rise in the number of games televised annually on ESPN’s networks, including the addition of Spanish-language telecasts on ESPN Deportes, as well as continued expansive coverage on ESPN. Under the new agreement, 18 regular-season games from the Championship will air on ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU or ESPN Deportes annually in addition to the USL Championship Final. All other matches will be streamed live on ESPN+.
 
Meanwhile, ESPN also announced plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary, after hitting the airwaves on Sept.7, 1979. To commemorate the occasion, SportsCenter Special: ESPN’s 40, a collection of 40 testimonials from ESPNers past and present, will be televised Sept. 6, at 7p on ESPN2. The one-hour program will showcase personal stories that connect to the company’s 40-year journey.  Interviewees include Chris Berman, George Bodenheimer, Linda Cohn, Bob Ley, Molly Qerim Rose, Bill Rasmussen, Robin Roberts and Stephen A. Smith. Berman will also count down the top 40 moments in sports since ESPN’s launch. Starting with the 7a SportsCenter on Sept. 3, where he will share 10 moments per day across all episodes of the show, culminating with the top 10 moments on Sept. 6. The network’s first live event – a professional slo-pitch softball game between the Kentucky Bourbons and the Milwaukee Schlitzes – will reair on Sept. 10.
 
FS1 saw its telecast of FS1 PBC Fight Night reel in viewers, averaging 345,000 viewers, according to Nielsen, to rank as the channel’s top Fight Night telecast since January and up 48% from the Saturday average of its cards. In addition, FOX Deportes averaged 85,000 viewers for a total of 432,000 watching across FS1, FOX Deportes and FOX streaming services.
 
In other ratings news, the opening night session at the US Open on ESPN2 – primarily six-time champ #8 Serena Williams routing 2006 winner Maria Sharapova and five-time winner #3 Roger Federer overcoming Sumit Nagal – drew a 1.0 overnight rating to the network, according to Nielsen. That marks a 43% rise over opening night a year ago and the best in a decade
 
Less than two weeks!! What are you waiting for? 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!
 
Inside the NFL returns to Showtime for the twelfth consecutive season on Sept. 3 at 9p to kick off its 42nd season on television. The cast features the return Brandon Marshall as an analyst, along with Phil Simms, Ray Lewis, Michael Irvin, and host James Brown. Steve Smith Sr. will serve throughout the season as a contributing guest analyst. “We have assembled one of the strongest casts in the history of Inside the NFL,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports and Events Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “This blend of talent allows for fresh perspective and gives voice to multiple eras of the game from both the offensive and defensive sides.”
 
Speaking of returns, E! announced that Total Divas will return on Oct. 2 at 10p. Ronda Rousey joins the season with Natalya, Naomi and Nia Jax, returning cast member Carmella, and newcomer Sonya Deville. Nikki Bella and Brie Bella will make guest appearances in the series as well. 
 
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The International Olympic Committee and its Official Carbon Partner, Dow, announced plans to incentivize And support the International Sports Federations and the National Olympic Committees in recognition of their tangible climate action. The new initiative is part of the IOC’s commitment to support and lead the Olympic Movement, including the IFs and the NOCs, in integrating sustainability into their operations and will reward through carbon offsets those IFs and NOCs that are implementing “real and tangible action” to address and reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the scope of their sports organisations and respective events.
 
ESPN launched the next chapter of ESPN’s College Football Playoff “Who’s In?” campaign. This year’s campaign “celebrates fans and pays homage to their integral role in the game of college football” with the initial kickoff spot, featuring director Peter Berg and cinematographer Bradford Young. According to ESPN, the campaign hopes to shine a light on what fans bring to the game – the allegiance and insanity that contributes to the cultural event that is the College Football Playoff. The campaign will run across ESPN and ABC platforms during the course of the full college football season, with new spots in rotation as the season progresses.
 
UCLA Health and AEG launched a partnership across some of AEG’s key sports and entertainment assets in Southern California. The deal see UCLA Health named a Founding Partner of STAPLES Center, along with being the first medical partner of STAPLES Center, as well as an official partner of L.A. LIVE, the Amgen Tour of California, and several AEG Presents music festivals and events. UCLA Health will receive in-arena static signage and digital signage exposure during all LA Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and LA Sparks home games. UCLA Health will also enjoy premium outdoor signage around STAPLES Center via rotational exposure of the arena’s 110 and 10 freeway marquees where other Founding Partners are recognized.
 
 
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

The Mountain West Conference was granted a waiver by the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Rules Committee of Rule 10-4.2.d (men) and Rule 10-12.4.b (women), which will permit the use of electronically transmitted data from ShotTracker to the bench for coaching purposes next season. This marks the first time ever the NCAA has allowed technology like ShotTracker to be accessed on the bench during regular-season games and applies to all Mountain West Men’s and Women’s conference games. Mountain West will be using ShotTracker as its exclusive basketball analytics partner and by the start of the 2019-20 season, ShotTracker will have installed its infrastructure in every Mountain West basketball practice and game facility. Each team will wear a ShotTracker player sensor and use the ShotTracker-enabled version of their school’s basketball provider to track player and ball movement in real time, providing Mountain West programs with more than 70 unique statistics.
 
Pledge It, the performance-based crowdfunding platform, and MaxPreps, the online high school sports platform and a CBS Sports Digital property, partnered to launch the fourth annual Touchdowns Against Cancer program. In support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, every touchdown scored by participating high schools during September will directly benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Touchdowns Against Cancer has impacted so many high school players, teams and communities across the country by providing a way to fight pediatric cancer,” said Andy Beal, Founder and President of MaxPreps. “MaxPreps is proud to continue to be a part of this outstanding initiative that helps high school teams compete for more than just a win on Friday nights.”
 
 
ESPORTS

Ready, the maker of The Ready Games, an esports tournament platform, announced $5 million in funding that will be leverage to accelerate growth in the hyper-casual gaming market. The round, led by BITKRAFT Esports Ventures, includes participation from new investors Comcast Ventures and Eldridge Industries. “The gaming industry often overlooks one of the most significant audiences – women.  In the U.S., 65% of women play mobile games, and they represent almost half of the mobile gaming population,” said Scott Rupp, a partner with BITKRAFT Esports Ventures. “The Ready Games powered by Ready Maker game development technology has become one of the most prolific mobile developers in the App Store, catering to the rapidly growing audience of female gamers. We believe this team can continue their momentum with this funding and grow a global community of people playing competitive hyper-casual games for cash.”
 
New data from Extreme Networks, and eCampus News, surveyed from 281 technical and administrative leaders across K-12 and higher education in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Middle East, found that 1 in 5 schools already have an esports program, and 71% are considering or might consider adding an esports program in the future. 88% of schools with esports programs in place said that their program diversifies extracurricular activities, 56% said it improves overall campus experience, 47% said it fosters interest in STEM, and 41% said it helps with student recruitment.
 
North American esports organization Pittsburgh Knights announced new investment funding from Esports MX LATAM Fund, a group of investors based in Mexico. The deal reportedly includes Esports MX LATAM launching an affiliated esports team in Mexico that will be modeled on Pittsburgh Knights’ organizational model.
 
 
INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

The College Football Playoff named Danielle Bartelstein as Director of Team Operations. Before joining the CFP, Bartelstein held the position of Senior Director of Football Operations at Virginia Tech. In addition, the org announced the transition of Ryan Allen Hall to Director of Public Events, where he will oversee the management of ancillary events associated with the College Football Playoff National Championship.
 
 
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ON THIS DAY in 1994: Tiger Woods wins the United States Amateur Golf Championship.
 
In the Know: How many times did Tiger Woods win the US Amateur Championship? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your company and city).
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: At which university did Bill Belichick play football? Answer: Wesleyan University. Kudos: Aymon DeMauro-ADM Media & Marketing/NY; Michael Neuman-Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Tom Wetzel-MMSI/Warwick; Mike Seidel-CSI Sports/Jersey City; Russ DelCore-a4 Media/Oakland; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank
 
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