08/21/17: Stadium enters the fray; Top Rank bolsters ESPN; Corona’s next round

Good morning. It’s Monday August 21, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Blending together the elements of Campus Insiders, 120 Sports and The American Sports Network into a singular platform, Stadium is opening its doors this week in time for football season, with elements launching today on its 24/7 digital linear feed. In addition to a lineup of over 25 college football games from Conference USA, Patriot League and the Southern Conference, coverage of the sport will include highlights, classic games, original programming and daily live studio programming. Other programming will include men’s and women’s basketball, lacrosse, and volleyball events along with series on deck such as the Rally and an upcoming daily NFL program.
Launched under the premise of offering fans a 24/7 linear feed distributed across both digital and broadcast platforms, Stadium is owned by a collection of organizations that include the likes of Silver Chalice, Sinclair Broadcast Group, MLBAM, the NHL, the PGA TOUR, and Time, Inc. Cynopsis asked Jason Coyle, CEO of Stadium, about the launch.
Coyle on three sports brands launching Stadium: Last year, it became clear that we had an exciting opportunity in the marketplace to introduce a fully-programmed, 24×7 linear sports network. Of course, in order to build a suitably compelling and competitive product, the network would need to draw upon a scaled and diversified content portfolio.  In evaluating 120 Sports and Campus Insiders (and later ASN) it became clear that the networks were ideal complements, together offering all of the necessary ingredients to create a first-class linear product. 
On assets: Both Campus Insiders and ASN offered strong and deep live event portfolios and deep relationships with college conferences, coaches, and players, while 120 Sports produced multiple hours of daily live studio content and maintained a strong set of rights and relationships across the professional leagues. Each of the networks also contributed a portfolio of classic games and original programming. In addition, each entity brought unique distribution relationships and platforms to the table. Both 120 Sports and Campus Insiders were well positioned across the digital landscape, while ASN contributed unique access to broadcast spectrum and an opportunity to reach a national television audience.
On programming: Stadium’s linear channel will feature several hundred live events in addition to our college football lineup, including men’s basketball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, and women’s volleyball.  The Stadium platform as a whole (including live events on demand) will feature in excess of 3,000 events across these sports and more. Stadium’s daily studio coverage includes news, analysis, and opinion across the day’s most important storylines and is constructed around its flagship Rally franchise airing live at 6, 11, and 1a ET each night. 
Stadium’s studio programming covers national storylines across all major sports and is built upon a commitment to on-the-ground reporting and localized expertise enabled by a network of on-camera contributors from 100+ markets across the country. This differentiated, localized expertise will be featured on our two, daily 30-minute blocks of programming, Campus Insiders and Inside the League, covering college football and NFL, respectively. ​
On opportunities for sponsors: Stadium is committed to helping sponsors reach new audiences in better ways. Our editorial teams work closely with our sponsors to understand the brand, its core values, and core messages, then works to integrate those messages into Stadium content in a significant but organic manner, often in real-time due to the fluid nature of our in-studio programming. Because Stadium offers both linear and on demand content offerings across nationally distributed, television and digital platforms, we can offer sponsors the opportunity to activate branded solutions in a turnkey fashion across thousands of live events, hours of daily live studio content, and back up the investment with a guaranteed media delivery.  We have been thrilled with the enthusiasm that we’re finding in the marketplace for Stadium’s unique offering. Stadium also recently partnered with sports media valuation company, GumGum Sports that will provide sponsors a transparent view of how valuable the exposure was as well as bring advanced understanding of the consumer. The tool is designed to provide the valuation insight across all distributed platforms.

ESPN saw its live telecast of the unification fight between Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo on Saturday drum up a 1.0 metered market rating during the main event according to Nielsen, marking the second highest-rated main event boxing match on cable this year. Overall, Top Rank Boxing on ESPN averaged a 0.7 metered market rating. New Orleans served as the top local market, where the telecast averaged a 1.6 metered market rating, including a 2.0 rating during the main event.
Meanwhile, ESPN’s English and Spanish-language telecast of Real Madrid/Barcelona scored an average audience of 1.1 million viewers across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes combined, making it the largest audience for the event on the ESPN networks since 2012. Nielsen saw 55 of the average audience of 1.1 million viewers watched the event on ESPN Deportes. The contest averaged 677,000 Hispanic viewers across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes combined.
NBCSN lined up the Team USA Women’s Eagles semifinal match against the New Zealand Black Ferns on Tuesday at noon for the Women’s Rugby World Cup. Danny Pommells hosts with Decade Phaidra Knight with studio coverage of the match.
Hear from Nielsen’s Stephen Master along with key execs from ESL, Twitch, the 76ers and more at 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 get your hands on some 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.
On the local front, Friday night’s Yankees/Red Sox game on YES averaged 571,000 Total Viewers, pulling a 5.78 household rating to tank as the highest-rated, most-viewed and most-watched regional sports network game telecast in the New York DMA since Derek Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium in 2014.
Elsewhere in NY, ESPN New York 98.7FM’s Alan Hahn will become host of The Alan Hahn Show, running weekdays from 7-10p. Meanwhile, the series Hahn, Humpty & Canty will be re-named Humpty & Canty and continue to be hosted by Rick DiPietro and Chris Canty alongside new co-host Dave Rothenberg.
Friday, September 15 | Barclays Center | BKLYN
Nielsen  is launching a new unit focused on esports, offering global research and consulting services for the exploding industry – in 2017, revenue is projected to increase 41% to $696 million, with a 50% growth in global audience, to 191 million. To learn more about how to get in the game, register for the information-packed event with experts in the esports space AND a VIP/behind-the-scenes tour of ESL One.


Corona Extra signed on to serve as the Official Beer Sponsor of Saturday’s Mayweather/McGregor PPV at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Fans will see Corona’s integration in and around the ring, prominently featured on the center of the mat, on the pay-per-view telecast and as part of the lead up during the official weigh-in.
Today’s eclipse hasn’t gone unnoticed by innovative Minor League Baseball teams, with 10 set to play games scheduled in conjunction with the solar eclipse with home teams that include: the Bowling Green Hot Rods, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Columbia Fireflies, Greensboro Grasshoppers, Greenville Drive, Lansing Lugnuts, Memphis Redbirds, Peoria Chiefs, Salem-Keizer Volcanoes and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Activations include the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes stopping the game after the first inning to allow fans to experience the first solar eclipse delay in baseball history.
Elsewhere in the northwest, Delta renewed its deal with the Seattle Seahawks to renew its 12status Program for 2017-2018 Season. The fan engagement program returns for the Seahawks’ 2017 season with upgraded rewards for fans and its team of ambassadors. This year, Delta will double the rewards by giving 12status members one mile for each passing yard during all home and away games.

SHOWTIME Sports revved up for Saturday’s Mayweather/McGregor PPV showdown with the release of an exclusive video featuring The Killers performing their new single, The Man. The 90-second clip, featuring Las Vegas’ famed musical sons,
The Colonial Athletic Association, which features FCS Champion James Madison University and three teams in the preseason top ten, announced that its “Game of the Week” package this year will move to College Sports Live, courtesy of an agreement with CBS Sports Digital. The package includes 12 contests and features 11 league match-ups with the reigning champ JMU appearing one time in the slate. Scott Sudikoff will handle the play-by-play duties for all 12 football telecasts, Brandon Noble as the analyst.
The United States Tennis Association partnered with Snapchat to bring Snapchat Spectacles from Snapbots to USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center. To mark the occasion, Snapchat bots, the interactive vending machines are used to dispense Spectacles and gives fans the ability to share their tennis stories through their own viewpoints using Spectacles.

Wargaming is preparing for an assault on Facebook., locking in a deal to provide more than 1,000 hours of live and on-demand video content on Facebook Live to build its gaming community. Content will be available globally across Wargaming’s Facebook Pages with coverage of its esports events, including a livestream of the World of Tanks regional and final tournaments running on the platform. “Bringing exciting and uniquely-created live video content to Facebook was an obvious step for us,” said Jamy Nigri, Senior Vice President of Commercial Development for Wargaming. “We’ll be introducing new ways to interact with our games to our 3.9 million Facebook community members and gamers across the globe. Player happiness is at our core, and we can’t wait to let fans engage through Facebook.”
Jonas “bsl” Alsaker Vikan was named Global Tournament Director at ESL where he will be charged with the execution of all ESL high-profile competitions, including ESL Pro League, ESL One and IEM tournaments. “I was always a fan of competitive gaming and fortuned enough to turn my hobby into a profession,” said Alsaker Vikan. “It’s amazing to see how far the industry all has come and I am very excited to become an active part at ESL, pushing and fostering esports even further in the upcoming years.”

Manchester City/Everton on NBCSN at 3p.

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ON THIS DAY in 2016: The 31st Summer Games closes in Rio.
In the Know: In honor of today’s eclipse, which NCAA team is known as the Rockets? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What is Larry Bird’s middle name? Answer: Joe. Kudos: John Ferlazzo-Media Consultant/London; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Rob Wescott-Gracenote/NY; Andrew Golding-Univision/NY; Andrew Golding-Univision/NY; Ken White-KW TV/Charlotte; Larry Kahn-Golf Channel/Orlando; Tom Wetzel-MMS/Warwick; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Red Bulls/Harrison; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Gretchen Brady-KTVT/KTXA/Dallas; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank
Later — Chris
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