08/31/20: NBRPA is leveraging its resources for a content play

 

Medias First Morning Read
Monday August 31, 2020

The need for unique content being delivered to consumers, and with brands, on any device and in multiple mediums has never been stronger, but the most important part of the experience remains relevance and organization. If it’s not of use to the user, or if it’s hard to find, the content loses viability in a crowded marketplace. Last week, National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) launched a one stop solution to the content issue and opportunity for its members. Legends Media & Entertainment (LME), a multifaceted storytelling platform that will produce, distribute and quantify the wide-reaching stories of many of the NBA and WNBA’s biggest stars via print, live and recorded long- and short-form video, on demand audio and social channels. The content will span the history of both leagues and feature more recent alums of the game ranging as well as the sport’s greatest legends and business successes on and off the court.

We asked NBRPA President and CEO Scott Rochelle to explain the differences and the opportunity LME presents.

Rochelle on how this is different from other platforms in sports: I can only speak to what we are doing, which was to unify all the platforms and then create content that can resonate on one or even better, across all to reach a wide audience and give new value to brands who are intrigued by the athletes we represent. There are others in sports like football who have tried, but not on a scale like what we are doing with the impactful names and voices that are cross generational, from Sheryl Swoopes to Grant Hill to Bill Russell and way beyond.

On value: Our athletes address every challenge, every issue and every opportunity that brands are looking for. They are successful athletes, many of whom who have gone on to second, and sometimes third, careers. They have succeeded at the highest level. They are amazing brand ambassadors whose names resonate with audiences big and niche. Now we have all of that in one platform, and are working with Athletes First Partners to proactively reach companies, it is a much easier proposition; whereas before the challenge was that you had to hunt and peck for someone. We become a one stop shop for great content, and campaigns globally or even locally.

On the involvement of young stars who recently retired: That involvement is what really drove this. When you have recently retired athletes from the NBA and WNBA…household names like Vince Carter, Caron Butler and Shawn Marion and many others…it opens up doors with an audience and a demo who knows maybe our young players a little better and who now can get exposed to the stories and experiences of some of the veterans, much like we saw with the growth of “The Last Dance.”

On a consumer platform vs. a brand activation platform: It is both. We want to take these stories to avid and casual fans and serve them up as a unified front on whatever device and whatever medium, they choose. We are also going to integrate brands into the content as it fits, because there are many categories that would love to be working with content but may not really know how deep we can go with engagement…and we can go pretty deep.

On content exclusivity: We realize that we are a platform for our members, many of whom work with media companies and have stories that have been shared before. What we want to do is keep amplifying messages with our members, tell new stories and experiences they want to share, and let that content live on our platform. It would be rare if we would want to own something for an extended period of time…we aren’t in the breaking news business, we are in the partnership and storytelling business, and that’s why this unified approach can work well for all.

PROGRAMMING

ESPN laid out its plans for the US Open, with coverage launching today and running through the Women’s and Men’s Championships on Sept. 12 & 13 with 136 hours on television and every match on the ESPN App. The US Open is ESPN’s largest production of the year with 12 control rooms, 10 TraACES ViBox production suites, two host sets, and 134 cameras including 25 in Arthur Ashe Stadium and three aerial cameras. The first five days, marathon TV windows begin on ESPN at noon and will continue nonstop –transitioning at 6p to ESPN2 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and at 5p on Tuesday – through both the day and the 7p Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM sessions until play is concluded. On Labor Day Weekend, action starts at 11a all three days (ESPN2 on Saturday and Monday, ESPN on Sunday before transitioning to ESPN2 at 7 p.m.) and will continue 12 or more hours. starting at noon (to 6 p.m. or later) and resuming at 7 p.m., on ESPN on Tuesday and ESPN2 on Wednesday. ESPN Deportes will carry 70 hours of coverage on TV with more on the ESPN app.

MLB Network serves up 12 hours of live Trade Deadline coverage today beginning at 10a as insiders Jon Heyman, Jon Morosi, Ken Rosenthal, Joel Sherman and Tom Verducci offer the latest breaking news and analysis throughout the day. Former general manager Dan O’Dowd and new MLB Network analyst Buck Showalter will also contribute to the coverage.

CUSA unveiled its television plans for this year’s college football season, with games kicking off on Sept. 3, including South Alabama/Southern Miss at 9p on CBS Sports Network while UAB hosts Central Arkansas at 8p on ESPN3. The 2020 Conference USA Football Championship Game is currently scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5. The game will be televised by CBSSN at a time to be announced.

Army also locked in its and TV assignments for all eight of Army West Point’s home football contests, which will be televised nationally either on CBS or CBS Sports Network, including the Army/Air Force game on Nov. at 11:30a on the broadcast channel. The six games scheduled to air on CBS Sports Network will all kick off at 1:30 p.m. ET, including the season opener on Sept. 5 vs. Middle Tennessee State. The 121st iteration of the rivalry game vs. Navy will also be televised on CBS on Dec. 12 at 3p.

Golf’s European Tour added three new tournaments to its 2020 schedule. New to the slate will be the Scottish Championship, which will be played at Fairmont St. Andrews from Oct. 15-18., along with back-to-back tournaments at Aphrodite Hills Resort in Pahpos, with the Cyprus Open taking place Oct. 29-Nov. 1, followed by the Cyprus Classic on Nov. 5-8. The European Tour on Friday also confirmed the cancellation of the Turkish Airlines Open and Nedbank Golf Challenge, as well as the announcement that the Oct. 22-25 Italian Open will no longer be a Rolex Series event.

TOP WOMEN IN MEDIA
Cynopsis is gearing up to recognize the 2020 Class of Top Women in Media – trailblazers who are pushing the industry forward, while empowering & inspiring others. On October 13-16, we’re excited to have the following guest presenters announce the honorees:
-Ana Jurka – Anchor & Reporter – Telemundo Deportes
-Monica Raymond, Star of Hightown – Starz
-Sheereen Russell, Group VP Ad Sales/Client Partnerships & Inclusive Engagement – OWN

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The USTA and Zoom Video Communications are partnering up to offer fans virtual experiences during the US Open Tennis Championships, which run from today through Sept. 13. VIP Experiences will include two private VIP virtual hospitality events and a celebrity fundraising event for the USTA Foundation. In addition, the partnership will see the USTA pay tribute to local healthcare workers and honor 14 “Healthcare Champions” from around the globe in a “Champion-to-Champion” virtual interview series conducted on Zoom.

Michaels announced a return for a fourth year as the exclusive arts and crafts retail partner in the Conference USA Corporate Champions’ program. The tandem will join forces with the College Football Playoff’s Extra Yard for Teachers program, working to decrease teachers’ out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies. Conference USA and Michaels will provide $72,500 in Michaels gift cards to support teachers across C-USA’s 14 member school footprint this fall. The league will also help introduce the “Big Day Event” initiative where each C-USA school will surprise a teacher with an extra $1,000 Michaels gift card. We are pleased to continue our partnership with Michaels and participate in the CFP Foundation and Extra Yard for Teachers program to provide much needed support for and recognition of the extraordinary teachers in each of our 14 markets,” said C-USA Deputy Commissioner Brian Mackin. “In addition, we are proud to partner with Michaels, one of the top companies in the Dallas area, to inspire creativity and foster meaningful connections in our communities.”

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

Maven unveiled new leadership and a new round of investment, with Ross Levinsohn — the current CEO of Sports Illustrated media — expanding his role and becoming CEO of the company. Maven Founder James Heckman shifts from his CEO role and will advise Levinsohn on key strategic and business development initiatives.

Inter Miami became the first MLS club to live stream a match via its own App, working with Pumpjack DataWorks to develop the platform. For fans located within authorized zip codes, the full CBS match feed was available. For fans who live outside the regional viewing radius, the livestream showed a view into the broadcast booth, where the Club’s broadcast talent called the match and provided color commentary.

ESPORTS

Post Malone signed on as part of the ownership group for Envy Gaming, taking an undisclosed equity stake in the company and its esports teams, which include the Dallas Fuel, the Dallas Empire and Team Envy. “I grew up in Texas and I’ve been gaming my whole life, so this just really felt right,” said Post Malone. “I have always wanted to be a part of bringing gaming into the professional sports world so to be involved with what Envy is doing in my hometown feels like such a perfect fit.”

Meanwhile, Envy Gaming and Jack in the Box announced a multiyear renewal of their sponsorship deal that first began in 2017. Jack in the Box will continue to serve as the Official Quick Service Restaurant of Envy Gaming and the primary jersey sponsor of the Dallas Empire and the Dallas Fuel under terms of the new deal. “When we first partnered with Envy Gaming in 2017, our main goal was to authentically connect with gaming culture in ways no other restaurant had,” said Adrienne Ingoldt, SVP, Chief Brand and Experience Officer at Jack in the Box. “We dove head-first into the partnership, making it a pillar of our digital and social efforts. Now, three years later, we see Envy Gaming as a long-standing partner that love to work with. Their team has helped us identify unique, real, and brand-relevant ways to connect with the gaming community, while breaking through the clutter. We look forward to another awesome year!”

Bud Light Seltzer announced a multi-game esports tournament featuring some of Twitch’s top streamers and personalities. The 16-player event will span three days, starting Sept. 1 to crown the world’s best gamer on Sept. 4. In addition, Norwegian DJ, Kygo, will be performing a halftime show on the final day of the tournament. Players will compete in four different games, Call of Duty: Warzone, Halo 3, Golf with Friends and Fall Guys, and continue on in the tournament based on a point scale. “As the Official Hard Seltzer of eSports, Bud Light Seltzer is providing gamers a unique experience.” said Joe Barnes, Director, Bud Light Sports Marketing. “We’re constantly finding new ways to invest in this growing industry and felt that Battle of the Best is giving esports fans what it was missing: a Super Bowl.”

Ford Models added new signings to its newly created Esports and Gaming division, including veteran esports host, caster, and personality, Britanni Johnson, Ford’s first female gaming personality. Johnson is delivered the voice of the “Guardian Angel” in the Borderlands franchise, and is also the Head of Creators for G2 Esports. She will be joined at Ford by one of the top female gamers in the world, Emmalee “EMUHLETT” Garrido, a professional CS:GO player and team captain for Team Dignitas owned by the Philadelphia 76ers. Ford has also signed influencer, gaming content creator, host and renowned “sneakerhead,” Bobby Toub, better known as “Bobby Solez,” a pioneer of mobile gaming trucks who recently launched his own company, NY Console Kings.

FaZe Clan announced the addition of its newest member Bronny James, officially known today as “FaZe Bronny, and the son of LeBron James. In addition the team is teaming up with Anti Social Social Club for a new merchandise collaboration that includes hoodies, tees, mouse pads and one limited-edition, special computer, and available at AntiSocialSocialClub.com.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

In a joint statement addressing last week’s player boycotts as a result of racial injustice, NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement that read, “We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between NBA players, coaches and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality. Among others, the attendees included player and team representatives of all 13 teams in Orlando.” Parties agreed to resume NBA playoff games over the weekend and agreed to immediately establish a social justice coalition, with representatives from players, coaches and governors, that will be focused on a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform. In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property, team governors will continue to work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID. The league will also work with the players and network partners to create and include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.

Major League Soccer announced on Sunday that Dell Loy Hansen will sell Real Salt Lake FC, National Women’s Soccer League side Utah Royals FC and the United Soccer League Championship’s Real Monarchs following a report from The Athletic detailing his repeated use of racist language to and in front of team employees.

Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil would serve as the co-presidents of a new group they are trying to set up to represent men’s professional tennis players, according to ESPN, as part of a new push to create a Professional Tennis Players Association, abbreviated PTPA.

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On this Day
1990: Outfielders Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr. become the first father and son to play on same team at the same time.

In the Know
What number did the mariners retire to honor Ken Griffey Jr.? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Which former MLB player was married to actress Halle Berry? Answer: David Justice. Kudos: Jackie Mahon-Freelance/NY; Daniel Laub-Premion/NY; Steve Scheer-FOX Sports/NY; Lori Paterson-Spectrum Reach/NY; C.J. Bottitta-Big Picture Productions/Apex; Chris Schwartz-NASCAR/Charlotte; Paul Brewer-TV Talent Agents, Inc/North Augusta; James Stuart-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Ted J Andrusz-Home Team Sports/Detroit; Creed Heilskov-ImOn Communications/Cedar Rapids; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas; Robert Twilley-The Production Hive/Knoxville; Bill Robertson-WCHA/Bloomington; Greg Molozik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Dave Sikula-San Francisco State University/San Francisco; Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo; Mario Flores-Sportivo/LA; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside

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Seeking highly motivated, self-starter to work with producers and management on company and show-specific messaging and branding to be promoted online and over social media. Min 3 yrs of social media exp and position can work remotely. Full info HERE (9/14)

DIR, DIGITAL CONTENT & EMAIL MKTG >>
INSP, LLC/CHARLOTTE, NC: Seeking ideal candidate with proven, successful exp in managing creative digital-first content, creating websites and digital prop. Min 5yrs exp in mngmt of a website prop and/or other digital products in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. Full info HERE (9/14)

VP, CONTENT
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MAGNOLIA/NY, KNOXVILLE, AUSTIN: Strong content leader with a mix of linear & digital experience to create & produce original programming for Magnolia alongside Chip & Joanna Gaines. Guide creative & editorial decisions across varying platforms. Min 10 yrs exp req’d. Full info HERE (9/9)

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GLASS ENTERTAINMENT GRP/PHILA, PA: Seeking full-time, in-house legal counsel. Must have min 5 yrs of legal exp with 3 yrs of entertainment law exp. Responsibilities include overseeing all legal matters, working directly with the management team on all business legal affairs, as well as tracking and completing all contracts with networks, talent and clients. Full Info HERE (9/8)

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FUTURE TODAY INC/CHICAGO, LA, NYC: Seeking salespeople to represent our CTV portfolio spanning kids/family, entertainment and lifestyle content. Ideal candidate will have exp within Retail, Insurance, and/or CPG verticals as well as existing relationships with major agencies. Minne relationships are essential for the IL role. Full info HERE (9/8)

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NBCUNIVERSAL/NY, NY: Seeking an individual who is looking for the opportunity to learn and grow in an exciting, evolving research environment supporting ELG Research team. Min 2 yrs exp in research, advertising, or media outlet. Prefer exp at a cable network. Full info HERE (9/7)

CHIEF INCLUSION OFFICER
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TWIN CITIES PBS/ST. PAUL, MN: New, FT position, that will design and implement a holistic and enterprise-wide inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) strategy into all of our programs and business initiatives. Min 10ys exp in IDEA in a nonprofit, educ and/or media preferred. Full info HERE (9/7)

AD SALES PARTNERSHIP DIRECTOR >>
GLASS ENTERTAINMENT GRP/Phila, PA: Seeking motivated, self-starter to join our podcast team. This individual will be responsible for securing ad campaigns across our slate of podcasts. Must have podcast, audio or digital ad sales experience. Full info HERE (9/7)

M&A and INT’L PARTNERSHIP COUNSEL >>
A+E/NY: Support Int’l, Corp Dev and Corp Divisions, incl domestic & int’l mergers & acquisitions and general corp matters in addition to support of relationships with int’l channel partners & int’l content sales. YOU NEED: JD, min 7 yrs legal exp at a major law firm or in-house counsel at a media company, exp in an active M&A practice, content licensing exp & strong negotiation & drafting skills. Full info HERE (9/6)

DIRECTOR, CONTENT
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