08/28/20: NBA Players opt to resume; SNF’s new eye; NBC seals deal with PointsBet

 

Medias First Morning Read
Friday August 28, 2020

After stepping away from postseason play to protest racial injustice, multiple reports now say that NBA players decided Thursday to continue the season, although, according to the AP, it remained unclear at press time as to when the season would resume. The NBA’s board of governors were meeting separately Thursday to decide next steps. Teams from the MLB, the WNBA and MLS also sat out play and the NHL did not play any playoff games Thursday nor will they today in solidarity with other leagues protesting the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, sources told ESPN.

PROGRAMMING

NBC’s Sunday Night Football will deliver a new POV this season with the introduction of the C360 camera, which is expected to yield looks at everything from the techniques of linemen along the line of scrimmage to plays along the sidelines. The overhead gear will debut on Sept. 10 with the NFL Kickoff Game at 8:20p on NBC and continue throughout the season, offering for the first time on an NFL broadcast an immersive overhead replay experience. The C360 camera will fly attached to the bottom of SkyCam to provide up-close and intimate replays of the game inside the tackle box, In addition, because the camera shoots in 8K and records in a 180-degree immersive field of view, production can go back in time to reframe a play to better provide definitive views from C360. “We are excited to provide some of the most compelling overhead replays that football fans have ever seen, and look forward to working with C360 Technologies on this presentation,” said Fred Gaudelli, executive producer of NBC Sunday Night Football.

Meanwhile, Carrie Underwood is on deck to return to 2020 show open for NBC’s Sunday Night Football on Sept. 13, with the show open uniquely produced without extras in a studio or stadium, according to the network. For the first time, the SNF show open will feature user-generated content from fans showcasing their team spirit. In addition, cameos from some of the NFL’s biggest stars, also recorded remotely, will be highlighted.

ESPN’s coverage of the 2020-21 college football season kicks off on Aug. 29, with the seventh annual Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff, as Austin Peay and Central Arkansas play in the Week 0 showcase at 9p on ESPN. Matt Barrie and Mike Golic, Jr. will call the action in studio from Bristol, while reporter Lauren Sisler will be live from the historic Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. With the week 1 schedule now set, ESPN also released its 2020-21 college football anthem to usher in a new season. Serving as the video’s musical backdrop is Juice WRLD and Marshmello’s track, “Come & Go,” off of Juice WRLD’s record-shattering posthumous album, Legends Never Die. ESPN’s Creative Services department also completely redesigned the sport’s branding and graphics leading into the 2020-21 campaign. The team has reinvented the college football clock and score design and technical build, as well as the logos for ESPN’s college football presentations across all platforms.

Univision picked up exclusive US rights to the Liga de Expansión MX, the new Mexican second division league. Multiple reports list the deal at six seasons and spanning broadcast and radio rights for the league. The new org will showcase 16 teams from across Mexico.

In other deal news, Athletes Unlimited locked in a distribution agreement with the International Olympic Committee’s global Olympic Channel to stream all 30 of its inaugural softball league games live to more than 180 territories outside of the United States, Canada and Spanish-speaking Latin America starting Saturday and running through Sept. 28. Fans can access the Olympic Channel’s coverage of Athletes Unlimited Softball worldwide at olympicchannel.com and on its apps for mobile apps and connected TV devices.

Continuing the deal theme, All Sports Television Network will begin airing International Handball Federation beach handball matches. Under an agreement with the IHF, ALL SPORTS will air the world championship events held in Kazan, Russia. The broadcasts will include women’s and men’s teams from the U.S., Mexico, Greece, Russia, Brazil, Sweden, Hungary and Norway. “We are extremely excited about introducing beach handball to television viewers in the United States,” stated ALL SPORTS President Roger Neal Smith. “I believe that, as people become more aware of handball, it will become as popular as it is in other parts of the world. I expect to see American handball players become a major force on the world stage and am pleased that ALL SPORTS can help to contribute to that by making the public more aware of the sport.”

NBC serves up PGA TOUR 2020: Must-See Moments sponsored by Myrbetriq on Sunday from 2-3p, looking back at the disrupted year in the sport, tracking the unprecedented events and the stories behind them. The special was produced by PGA TOUR Entertainment.

ONE Championship named AXN as the official broadcast partner for The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition when the hit reality television series airs in early 2021. ONE also announced an initial list of six additional media and Free-To-Air (FTA) platforms confirmed to collaborate with ONE in commercial and marketing efforts, as well as to air the show during primetime in their respective territories.

Riptide Partners, a New York based consulting business, unveiled their recent survey of actual New York area event attendees, which revealed a “much faster return to event timeline for consumers than has been widely discussed.” Riptide Partners received over 4,000 completed surveys from consumers who regularly attended sporting and entertainment events in the New York tri-state area. Of those 4,000, 89% said they will return to events depending on the actions taken by venue operators to ensure safety; 75% most frequently attended concerts / live events and 25% most frequently attended sporting events. The two biggest factors the group were weighing were touch points of areas like seating and bathrooms, while most indicated the food and beverage safety would be handled at an acceptable level. Anxiety over being in a crowd is the most frequently cited concern at 44% of respondents.

Veteran MMA analyst and former fighter Jimmy Smith will host a new daily show on SiriusXM’s dedicated combat sports channel, SiriusXM Fight Nation. Titled, Unlocking the Cage with Jimmy Smith debuts Monday and will air weekdays from 1-3p on SiriusXM Fight Nation. The show will cover the latest news and events from the world of MMA and go beyond the octagon with Smith discussing trending topics in sports, pop culture, entertainment and more.

The Cynopsis Adtech Awards

FINALISTS ANNOUNCED!

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.

[ VIEW FINALISTS ]

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The University of California, Los Angeles filed a lawsuit against sportswear brand Under Armour after the brand ended its sponsorship of the school’s sports teams early. UCLA was claiming over $200 million, according to reports, as a result of the decision, charging “breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and promissory estoppel,” according to ESPN. In response, Under Armour said in a statement that it was confident in its legal position and would defend it vigorously.

Ahead of the UEFA Women’s Champions League final on Aug. 30, PepsiCo announced its multi-year premier partnership with UEFA Women’s football, further strengthening its presence across the elite football landscape. The five-year partnership will see PepsiCo support women’s football at all levels through to Summer 2025, with PepsiCo a main partner of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, the UEFA Women’s EURO, the UEFA Women’s Under-19 and Under-17 Championships, and the UEFA Women’s Futsal EURO, as well as UEFA’s Together #WePlayStrong program.

For the second straight year, the National Hockey League will accept applications for NHL Power Players, a youth advisory board which brings together young hockey fans, ages 13-17, to help advise the NHL on hockey-related topics important to their generation. The NHL will select 20 (up from 15 in 2019) young hockey fans from across the U.S. and Canada for the initiative, based on creative ideas they want to share with the NHL as it relates to their local communities, the sport as a whole, social media and fan-driven content. Candidates will go through a three-part interview process with the League to be selected. “With last year’s success of NHL Power Players, we’re thrilled to open up applications for the second year with a goal of attracting young hockey fans to the NHL,” said Heidi Browning, NHL Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer. “NHL Power Players is a unique and engaging way for the League to immerse the next generation of hockey fans into our sport while utilizing their feedback to create thoughtful change in marketing our game.”

Bridgestone Americas announced support for three non-profit adaptive sports organizations as part of its ongoing efforts to “help remove barriers in society and create advanced solutions that increase accessibility for all.” The partnerships, which are partially funded by the Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund, will provide individual athlete grants and help expand local programs through Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio (ASPO) and Amputee Blade Runners (ABR).

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

NBCUniversal and PointsBet entered into a multi-year partnership that makes PointsBet the official sports betting partner of NBC Sports. NBC Sports will now provide PointsBet with year-round, multi-platform media and marketing opportunities across its portfolio of events. Deal points include: PointsBet being incorporated in exclusive multiplatform gameday integrations across the eight NBC Sports Regional Networks; becoming an official partner of the NBC Sports Predictor app, and more.

leAD Sports and Health Tech Partners unveiled an alliance with Women in Sports Tech in a move to further support female founders. This collaboration represents an industry first, according to the announcement, where an investment platform will drive its diversity objectives around women through a strategic alliance.” Together, leAD and WiST will embark on several joint initiatives to engage and bolster female entrepreneurs. Through the active participation of its members, WiST brings diversity and industry expertise to leAD’s startup mentoring and selection processes. In addition, leAD will offer to host a 2021 WiST Sports Tech Fellow as part of WiST’s fast-growing internship fellowship program for college and graduate school students.

Score Digital Sports Ventures Inc. secured market access to operate an online casino in New Jersey via a multi-year agreement with Twin River Worldwide Holdings, Inc. theScore Bet anticipates launching its online casino product in New Jersey in the second half of 2021, subject to securing applicable licensing and regulatory approvals from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and the completion of Twin River’s pending acquisition of Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

ESPORTS

Collegiate StarLeague announced the formation of a new business titled CSL Esports, providing services and support for colleges and universities leveraging CSL’s robust esports expertise with activity at all 65 of the Power 5 conference schools. The offering includes online and live tournament creation and support services, online league operations and administrative support, content creation and distribution, on-campus events (live and online), intramural leagues, and esports advisory services to support programs, team formation, and curriculum development, among other offerings.

Global esports organization, Gen.G, announced a $1 million commitment to developing the next generation of leaders in the gaming industry, creating a dedication to education through the establishment of the Gen.G Foundation – a $1 million scholarship fund devoted to supporting women, people of color, and low income students interested in entering the professional world of esports. Alongside founding partners, the University of Kentucky, Eastern Michigan University, Silicon Valley Bank, and Bumble; Gen.G will offer scholarships to 10 students in the program’s inaugural year – establishing the “Gen 10.”

GameCo announced the debut of a “turnkey, outsourced, and full-service esports betting solution specifically built for the regulated US market as part of its iGameCo brand.” Through partnerships with top data platform GRID, oddsmaker 10Star, and software developer Askott Entertainment, the company will offer casinos with a “plug-and-play esports betting solution that integrates a betting platform, data and video streaming services, and odds plus risk management.”

Twitch is bringing back its annual SUBtember event, locking in Capital One as a sponsor starting Sept. 1. All month long, viewers can support their favorite streamers and get major discounts including 20% off the first month of new recurring 1-month subscription; 25% off the first 3 months of new recurring 3-month subscription; and 30% off the first 6 months of new recurring 6-month subscription.

Fandom announced the Muthead Tournament of Champions powered by Dunkin’, which will kick off a series of sponsored Madden programs to raise funds for the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation as part of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this September. Muthead, a Fandom property and the leading community for Madden Ultimate Team, will host the Muthead Tournament of Champions, bringing past winners from their weekly Madden Friday Night Football tournaments together tonight at 8p.

SPORTS BROADCAST JOURNAL w/ David J. Halberstam

It’s been a rough stretch for broadcasters. Some voices spend an eternity chasing a position of sportscasting distinction, whether in the studio or play-by-play. Then, one indiscretion and it’s over. For some, it’s a death penalty. For others, the road back is unclear and certainly not guaranteed. Longtime Mets’ announcer Ralph Kiner was challenged when a guest used a homophobic slur.
Halby’s Morsels: Death sentences for voices; How Ralph Kiner handled a guest’s homophobic slur; More Scully

You might say that ESPN’s Hannah Storm and NBC’s Dan Hicks are sports TV’s first couple. They met in 1989 when they both worked at CNN. Hicks will be getting quite a bit of play, now that NBC got the US Open back and already has the British. He’ll continue in the 18th hole host chair at both tournaments. With the Olympics in Tokyo next summer, millions of viewers will watch him preside over the stroke-by-stroke swimming coverage with Rowdy Gaines. Dan Mason did a nice Q&A with Hicks.
NBC’s Dan Hicks is pumped to have the US Open back and also looks forward to the Tokyo Olympics

After watching the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, Rodman: For Better or Worse, it is clear that his childhood and early NBA career not only defined the Rodman we all know, but demonstrated to the sports world that you can be more than a great athlete by statistics alone. Rodman touched and continues to touch every nerve imaginable, from radical to rebel and from smart to an enigma.
Dennis Rodman: An authentic star and complicated personality who ESPN profiled in its 30 for 30 series

Think soccer, America and television and there’s one name that immediately comes to mind. Among broadcasters, there aren’t many who’ve been around the world game longer than JP Dellacamera. Not just matches, he’s presided over matches at the highest of levels, 15 World Cups.
JP Dellacamera, U.S. Voice of Soccer; He’s done 15 World Cups in 34 years for ESPN, ABC, NBC or Fox

Happy Birthdays and many wonderful returns!
Aaron Goldsmith, Aug 29 Seattle Mariners broadcaster
Fran Fraschilla, Aug 20 ESPN, basketball analyst
Kenny Mayne, Sep 1 ESPN anchor and reporter
Merrill Reese, Sep 2 Voice of Eagles, longest tenured in NFL
Terry Bradshaw, Sep 2 Fox Sports, NFL studio analyst
Rick Manning, Sep 2 Cleveland Indians telecaster
Ken Harrelson, Sep 4 ex-MLB broadcaster and Ford Frick winner
Sports Broadcast Journal

TV Isn’t going anywhere. It’s going everywhere.

Check out Media Buying for Today’s Market: our 6-page report
co-produced with our friends from New York Interconnect.

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