08/09/17: Disney’s big BAM plans; Golf takes a swing at new sked; SportsEngine amps up its index

Good morning. It’s Wednesday August 9, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The Walt Disney Company is going all in on BAMTech, announcing plans to acquire majority ownership the streaming service that will anchor the launch of an ESPN-branded multi-sport video streaming service in early 2018, with an additional new Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019. Disney will pay $1.58 billion to acquire an additional 42% stake in BAMTech from MLBAM.
The ESPN-branded multi-sport service will offer a lineup of approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events a year, including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis, and college sports. Individual sport packages will also be available for purchase, including MLB.TV, NHL.TV and MLS Live. The service will be accessed through an enhanced version of the current ESPN app.
“The media landscape is increasingly defined by direct relationships between content creators and consumers, and our control of BAMTech’s full array of innovative technology will give us the power to forge those connections, along with the flexibility to quickly adapt to shifts in the market,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “This acquisition and the launch of our direct-to-consumer services mark an entirely new growth strategy for the Company, one that takes advantage of the incredible opportunity that changing technology provides us to leverage the strength of our great brands.”

The PGA of America and the PGA TOUR are changing up their schedules, announcing plans that – starting in 2019 – the PGA Championship will be played in the month of May while THE PLAYERS Championship will take place March at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach. From May 16-19, 2019, Bethpage Black in Farmington, New York, will host the 101st PGA Championship. “We are thrilled to announce these two significant changes, which will greatly enhance the professional golf calendar starting in 2019,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “Our thanks to the PGA of America for its partnership in what will allow both organizations to meet our short- and long-term objectives, while delivering incredibly compelling golf to our fans around the world.
In other scheduling news, MLB locked in its 2017 postseason schedule with the 113th World Series beginning Oct. 24 on FOX at the home of the league champion with the better regular-season record. The regular season will wrap up with all 15 games played concurrently starting at 3:05p on Oct. 1 with any potential regular-season tiebreaker games telecast by ESPN on Oct. 2. The American League Wild Card Game will then be shown on ESPN on Oct. 3, with the National League Wild Card Game carried by TBS. Both AL Division Series will be scheduled to begin on Oct. 5 with FS1 and MLB Network carrying games, while TBS gets NLDS contests starting Oct. 6. The AL Championship Series begins Oct. 13 on FOX or FS1 with the NLCS a day later on TBS.
Speaking of baseball, MLB Network is serving up a special telecast today that will see MLB Now host Brian Kenny lead a roundtable game presentation of the Cubs/Giants game at 3:30p with Mark DeRosa and Joel Sherman as well as Mike Petriello. Meanwhile,in-depth analysis featuring advanced metrics, and statcast and pitchcast technology will be featured throughout the game.
NBC Sports launches coverage of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup from Ireland this week on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold, which will offer a Rugby Pass to stream all Team USA Women’s Eagles pool play matches live, as well as two playoff round matches, the final of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup, and full event replays. NBCSN’s coverage begins on Saturday at 11:30p with Team USA/Italy, Leigh Diffey, Danny Pommels, Carolyn Manno, and Amy Fadool, will host studio coverage alongside Phaid a Knight throughout NBC Sports’ coverage.
Now is the time to catch up and learn about esports directly from the experts at ESL, Twitch, the 76ers and Nielsen! We are proud to be partnering with ESL for the Cynopsis Esports Master Class, a unique opportunity to pull back the curtain and experience for yourself what the competitive gaming industry is made of. Featuring not only lectures from some of the most successful executives in the space today, who will break down the ABCs of the business and its players, attendees will also go behind-the-scenes of ESL One New York at Barclays, and receive tickets to the weekend’s festivities for the largest esports tournament on the east coast (if you register early)! Get ahead of the learning curve and register today.
The United Soccer League announced the first expansion team for the 2019 season, naming Birmingham as the new home for a professional soccer team. “The USL continues to lead the growth of professional soccer across the country and we are thrilled to announce Birmingham as our newest market,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “With the increasing popularity and demand for professional soccer across the country, more and more fans recognize the high level of competition and excitement of the USL. We continue toward our goal of becoming one of the top Division II leagues in the world, on par with the English Championship, Liga Adelante and 2. Bundesliga.”
In international waters, WWE and Canal 1 locked in a new agreement to showcase Raw and SmackDown in Colombia on Canal 1 starting Aug. 19. “We’re pleased to have Canal 1 join us as our first national over-the-air broadcast partner in Colombia,” said Michelle Wilson, WWE Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer. “This partnership allows us to expand our reach in Colombia and deliver our unique blend of action-packed, family friendly entertainment to WWE fans throughout the country.”
Cynopsis Esports Master Class – Reserve your space, while you can!
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A high-level look at the opportunities and challenges in the esports industry, an information-packed event with experts in the esports space AND a VIP/behind-the-scenes tour of ESL One with a pass to the weekend esports tournament.
Space is limited – Register by 8/30


Drone racing organization DR1 Racing named the title sponsors and locations for the upcoming 2017 season running on Eurosport and Fox Sports internationally. DHL will serve as a founding partner in DR1 as well as the title sponsor of the Champions Series. Meanwhile, Mountain Dew is returning for a second year as the presenting sponsor, with a new name for the series: DR1 Racing presents the DHL Champions Series fueled by Mountain Dew. Joining DHL and Mountain Dew as sponsors of the Champions Series is the Air Hogs brand and the US ARMY will be sponsoring DR1’s Twitch.TV show, DR1 Drone Tech.
NBC Sports’ SportsEngine detailed plans for North America’s largest youth sports directory, allowing parents to search and compare youth sports programs in their areas with more than 100,000 youth sports listings spanning across 20 different sports for youth and amateur athletes. “For parents, finding a quality, trustworthy program for their kids from among thousands of choices available is a daunting task,” said Justin Kaufenberg, SportsEngine CEO. “The SportsEngine.com youth directory provides parents with a curated list of conveniently-located options based on their child’s age, interest, and location. SportsEngine’s mission has always been to make youth sports a rewarding experience for athletes, parents, volunteers, administrators, families, and fans.”
CBS unveiled plans to launch a new streaming sports service, with CBS Chairman and CEO Les Moonves telling investors that a 24/7 live-streaming platform was in development. “CBS is a big player in the sports world,” Moonves said on the conference call, per the WSJ, “We are going to look to differentiate ourselves from the ESPNs and the Fox Sports and, well, we think we have a great opportunity for success.” He noted that the sports outlet would work from the CBSN infrastructure.
NBC Sports Gold is offering its Pro Motocross Pass available for a reduced price of $24.99 for the final three races of the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship season.

OpTic Gaming nabbed another big deal with a non-endemic brand, announcing that is was teaming with Chipotle Mexican Grill for a shot to win a trip to visit the team at the OpTic Scuf House for an exclusive hangout and fan experience. The winning fans will receive round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, spending money, food from Chipotle, OpTic and Gaming SWAG. “Chipotle is already a huge part of our organization’s everyday life,” said OpTic Gaming CEO Hector Rodriguez. “This partnership fits in well with the busy lifestyles of our pro players and our OpTic Strength initiative, which helps promote the benefits of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. We look forward to introducing the brand to esports.” The OpTic Gaming Call of Duty team will be competing in the CWL Championship 2017 in Orlando this week.
In other team news, Team EnVyUs locked in a $35 million investment from Hersh Family Investments and its interactive group, led by Kenneth Hersh, according to ESPN. The investment group is based in Dallas and answers some questions about the teams expected move to Dallas, where they would reportedly become the region’s representative in the upcoming Overwatch League.
Vainglory parent Super Evil Megacorp announced that it had raised an additional $19 million from investors. The round will allow the company to invest in its upcoming 5v5 game mode and in growing its community for the title in addition to continuing to develop its proprietary, console-grade, multi-platform engine, aka E.V.I.L.

Lagardere Sports named three senior executives to new leadership positions in its consulting division, with Kern Egan elevated to President of Consulting, Americas, while Dave Cagianello was named Executive Vice President, Consulting, and Marc Tarozzi will become Executive Vice President of Rooftop2 Productions.

Red Sox/Rays on ESPN at 7p.
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Questions? Please contact Cathy Pearson
ON THIS DAY in 1988: The Oilers trade Wayne Gretzky to the LA Kings.
In the Know: In The Royal Tenenbaums, Richie – portrayed by Luke Wilson – is considered to be a prodigy at what sport? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who captained the US Dream Team in 1992? Answer: Both Magic Johnson and Larry Bird served as captains. Kudos: Marc Wollis-Cadent Network/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Bob Dudelson-Leverage/NY; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Red Bulls/Harrison; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; David Hauptman/Denver; Steve Bradbury-Deep Sports/Marina Del Rey; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Jaime Martinez-KMEX/LA
Later — Chris
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JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, DIGITAL CONTENT PRODUCTION/Discovery Communications/NYC: Create new and exciting social/digital media content to build and engage followers & audiences. 8 yrs exp working at a large media co. Mngmnt exp a must. Full info/apply HERE (8/16)
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JOB OPENING: SR COORD, SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYTICS/NASCAR/ Charlotte: Execute daily operation of Fan & Media Engagement Center incl. monitoring/measuring social media conversation about industry. BA deg + min 5 yrs comm, mktg or media analytics related exp, pref w/in digital or social media exp. Full info/apply HERE (8/16)

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