08/26/16: Verrett Succeeds Saunders at ABC; Raiders file for Vegas Trademark; Lochte Lands Sponsorship


Good morning. It’s Friday August 26, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Stan Verrett was selected to replace the late John Saunders as host of ABC’s College Football Saturdays this fall. Saunders, who held the position on ABC’s college football studio set since 1992, died on Aug. 10 at age 61. Verrett has been with ESPN since 2000 and currently anchors the 1 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter from Los Angeles. Verrett will now head east and work alongside college football analysts Mack Brown and Mark May for pre- and postgame, as well as halftime wraps, from ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.

“John Saunders was a mentor and friend who helped me navigate my career at ESPN and was always ready with a kind word and timely advice,” said Verrett. “His easy manner and comfortable style welcomed college football fans every week for years on ESPN and ABC. There’s a tremendous legacy there, and I am both humbled and excited to have the opportunity to add to it.”


Major League Soccer will go head-to-head with the NFL on FOX this fall. MLS and Fox Sports announced that two soccer games will air live adjacent to regional NFL broadcasts as part of a joint lineup on Sunday, Sept. 18. It marks the first time in Major League Soccer’s 21-year history that a network partner has televised games from MLS and the NFL at the same time. The LA Galaxy visit Sporting Kansas City at 2 p.m. ET on FOX in both competing teams’ home markets as well as selected additional cities. Toronto FC then hosts the New York Red Bulls, with the game airing on FOX at 5 p.m. in the New York area.

ESPN will kick off its coverage of the 2016 World Series of Poker on Sept. 6, televising the Global Casino Championship final table on ESPN2. It will continue with the Main Event Championship beginning Sunday, Sept. 11, which will be the first of 14 episodes that run through Oct. 23. The concluding event is the 3-day live Final Table from Sunday, Oct. 30 to Tuesday, Nov. 1. Lead commentator Lon McEachern and analyst Norman Chad are back to lead WSOP coverage for ESPN, which will introduce a newly re-designed set and show open. Pro analysis will be provided by poker players Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak. 

The NHRA Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals — drag racing’s premier event — the will be live on broadcast television for the first time, airing Sept. 4-5 on FOX and FS1. After highlights from qualifying on Sunday, Sept. 4, coverage continues on Sept. 5 with two hours of live eliminations on FS1 followed by a three-hour live show on FOX starting at 1 p.m.

ESPN has hired three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Jonathan Vilma as a college football studio analyst. Vilma, who won a Super Bowl in the NFL and a national championship at the University of Miami, spent last season as a college football studio analyst for NBC Sports. He will be reunited with former Hurricanes head coach and current ESPN analyst Butch Davis on Saturdays on ESPN2.

ESPN also said its one-hour show, “College Football Playoff Top 25,” will begin Tuesday, Oct. 11, giving fans a look at the road to college football’s championship game. The first three weeks will preview top teams and rankings before the first official College Football Playoff Committee’s top-25 ranking is exclusively revealed on the Nov. 1 telecast. Rece Davis will host, with analysts Kirk Herbstreit, Joey Galloway, Danny Kannell, David Pollack and Paul Finebaum either appearing in studio or via satellite.

The Pac-12 Networks announced on-air talent assignments for the fifth season of live games. Roxy Bernstein, Ted Robinson, JB Long, Jim Watson, Guy Haberman and Greg Wolf return as broadcasters, with Anthony Herron, Yogi Roth, Glenn Parker, Evan Moore and Erik Coleman as analysts. Lewis Johnson, Cindy Brunson, Jill Savage, Kate Scott, Drea Avent and Kyndra de St. Aubin will handle sideline duties. 

The Chicago Cubs, with MLB’s best record, have been selected for a fifth appearance on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell. The Cubs will visit the Houston Astros on Sept. 11 at Minute Maid Park, the network announced. It will be the second Sunday night appearance for the Astros. ESPN also slotted three additional Wednesday night national telecasts in September, including the Seattle Mariners hosting the Texas Rangers on Sept. 7. The Mariners will also be part of ESPN’s Sept 14 doubleheader, visiting the Los Angeles Angels after the Boston Red Sox host the Baltimore Orioles.

ESPN has boosted its NCAA regular season soccer coverage, providing more than 475 Division I men’s and women’s games across ESPNU, ESPN3, SEC Network, Longhorn Network and ACC Network Extra. Offerings will include regular Sunday action on ESPNU and are highlighted by several top-25 matchups, including No. 3 Clemson hosting No. 6 Syracuse in an Oct. 21 men’s game. More than 250 additional games are available throughout the season via WatchESPN and the ESPN app.


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The Oakland Raiders haven’t made the move to Las Vegas, but the NFL team’s trademark filings for “Las Vegas Raiders” may be a sign of what’s to come. The Raiders submitted applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with the intent to use the mark in commerce in the future, according to Forbes. The multiple classes include clothing, mobile applications, entertainment services, trading cards and jewelry, among others. All that said, the San Diego Chargers filed a trademark filing for “LA Chargers,” but remain in San Diego.

Ryan Lochte, dumped by Speedo and three other sponsors after embellishing a story about being robbed at gunpoint at the Rio Olympics, has been given another chance as an endorser with a cough drop company. Pine Brothers will use the 12-time Olympic medalist in print ads and commercials for its Softish Throat Drops, touting them as “forgiving on your throat,” according to ESPN.

Georgia Southern signed a seven-year contract extension with adidas through the 2023-24 season, eliminating the need for an apparel budget in many of the school’s sports programs. The new deal extends a five-year partnership that started in 2013 and means adidas will provide footwear, uniforms, apparel and accessories to 17 programs, including the football team.

American Airlines has become the official airline of the Los Angeles Rams, strengthening its presence in the L.A. market as the NFL returns to L.A. for the first time in more than two decades. American’s logo will appear in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for home games and in related media such as TV, radio and print.

First Command Financial Services, Inc. will be the presenting sponsor for Army’s first football games of the college season, on Sept. 10 against Rice University. First Command Financial inked a five-year deal with the U.S. Military Academy and Learfield’s Army West Point Sports Properties, with CEO Scott Spiker calling it “another example of our continuing commitment to programs that matter to soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen.”


Facebook video was a major player throughout the Rio Olympics, for Olympic broadcasters, national teams, athletes and organizing committees. There were 285 million unique video viewers  both live and on-demand  including 59% under the age of 35, according to DKC PR. There were 139 million Facebook Live video views around the Rio Games, the most popular being Michael Phelps’ sendoff before his final Olympic race.


Mark McClusky is taking over as the new Digital Editor for Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated Group after spending the past two years overseeing operations as editor at Wired.com. McClusky’s arrival is “another game-changer for us,” Time Inc. Sports Group Editorial Director Chris Stone said a day after Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports announced a new advertising and editorial partnership. McClusky starts his new position on Sept. 26 and will shape digital strategy for Sports Illustrated, Golf, SI Kids and SI Swimsuit. He will also work on cross-brand initiatives throughout the company, including daily collaboration with the FanSided Network and SI Play, and SI Group partners Fox Sports and 120 Sports.

DGital Media, a leading innovator of on-demand audio entertainment, has partnered with Collegiate Sports Management Group (CSMG) to create a podcast network for college sports at the Division II and III levels. The network is scheduled to launch Sept. 5 with a podcast hosted by former Penn State and NFL lineman Brandon Noble. His one-hour, weekly podcast will include interviews with NCAA commissioners, athletic directors, school presidents, and former and current athletes during the 2016-17 college sports season, focusing on a Division II and Division III market that DGital CEO Spencer Brown says is “under-served.”

NBC Sports Digital on Aug. 27 is unveiling its new Premier League “Goal Rush” product that features RedZone-like live look-ins in both real time and on replay. “Goal Rush” will be offered via the NBC Sports app and on NBCSports.com and debuts in the 10 a.m. ET window on Saturday that’s highlighted by six Premier League matches.

Penn State football fans will have a chance to get closer than ever to the team thanks to a new virtual reality channel, LionVision VR. Penn State’s athletic department partnered with EON Sports VR to create the all-access channel, which will give fans a behind-the-scenes view of practices, pre- and post-game coaches’ talks in the locker room, and other iconic Penn State experiences while immersed in a customized virtual reality environment. An annual subscription, which gives access to footage, scrimmages, huddles and interviews from 31 of the school’s teams, costs $29.95 in its first year.

Perform Media, which operates online sports media brands including Goal.com  one of the world’s largest digital soccer brands – has partnered with discovery platform Taboola. Taboola will deliver personalized digital video content recommendations across Perform Media’s platforms, including desktop and mobile websites.


ELEAGUE, the professional eSports organization formed through a partnership between Turner and WME | IMG, opens its second season on Wednesday, Sept. 7 and features the premier CS:GO teams in the world. ELEAGUE’s second season starts with preliminary rounds featuring Valve’s popular competitive video game “Counter Strike: Global Offensive.” TBS will televise the weekly ELEAGUE showcase throughout the regular season as well as the semifinals and the Grand Final, which is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3.


CBS closes out The Barclays on Sunday at 2p.


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ON THIS DAY in 2012: A 15 year-old Lydia Ko becomes the youngest winner of a LPGA event.

In The Know: What supermodel turned mogul played the kicker in the movie Necessary Roughness? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who holds the college football record for most TD passes in a game? Answer: David Klinger with 11. Kudos: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Troy Perlowitz-ESPN/Charlotte; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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JOB OPENING: DIR STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP/The Onion/Chicago: dvlp high level client relationships with brand partners. 7+ yrs sales exp pref’d. Ad sales digital, radio, OOH. Full info/apply HERE (9/4)

JOB OPENING: TUNE-IN MGR/MullenLowe/Boston: Evolve/dvlp/inspire consumer insights across our ent portfolio. Min 5+ yrs of work exp in a professional services environment; consulting, advertising or internal client teams with 3+ years rsch exp in ent category. Full info/apply HERE (9/4)

JOB OPENING: TRAFFIC COORDINATOR/Tennis Channel/NYC: Highly proactive individual who will take initiative; can work independently & collaborate as part of a team seamlessly & has exceptional analytical & critical thinking skills. BA deg & 1-2 yrs log editing, copy & promo scheduling. Email: [email protected] (9/3)

JOB OPENING: ACCOUNT MGR/NeuLion/NY/London: Develop and manage customer relationships. 5 yrs in client development role. Exp in digital sports/entertainment for broadcast/rights holders/tech. Knowledge of sport/broadcast/content owners/ OTT. Resume [email protected] (9/3)

JOB OPENING: TECHNOLOGY EVANGELIST/NeuLion/NY/London: Technical presales/sales engineering support of NeuLion Digital Video Platform and live event services. Exp in broadcast/entertainment/sports/digital media. Knowledge of encoding/CDN/streaming. Resume [email protected] (9/3)

JOB OPENING: NEW SALES DIRECTOR/NeuLion/US/EMEA: Territory sales for NeuLion Digital Video Platform to content owners+rights holders in media/entertainment/sports. Knowledge of Internet/telecom concepts. Exp solution sales, quotas 2mil+. Resume [email protected] (9/3)

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JOB OPENING: DIR, MEDIA RIGHTS & LICENSING/MSG/NYC: Negotiate/draft music license agreements & secure licenses from performing rights organizations. 5+ yrs of relevant exp inc contract drafting/negotiating, knwldg of music, TV, film, industry & intellectual property issues. Full info/apply HERE (9/2)

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JOB OPENING: CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER/NYC: Searching for COO to manage strategic, financial, legal and HR for growing TV prod company in NYC. 8-10 years of operating and financial management preferred. Please send resume to Jonna Mclaughlin: [email protected] (9/1)

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JOB OPENING: EXECUTIVE ASST/LA: Fast paced LA Based prod company looking for Exec Asst for its 2 Exec Producers. Candidate must be a seasoned asst & comfortable going above and beyond the avg asst duties. Candidate must be a multi-tasker. Resume to: [email protected] (8/31)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, DEVELOPMENT/NYC: TV & film prod co that works across all genres (comedy, reality, game, scripted, doc). Must have creative ideas, strong ntwrk connections & able to follow thru on projects, from ideation to pitch. Ample dvlp exp @ production company essential. CVR/Res: HERE (8/31)

JOB OPENING: PRODUCER/DAILY LIVE SHOW/LA: Plan & produce field and lifestyle segments for daily live television show, brainstorm and pitch ideas daily, write scripts, attend set visits/red carpets when necessary. 5+ yrs exp. Resumes to: [email protected] (8/28)

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CASTING CALL: Companies can showcase their casting notices/casting calls here. For information on rates and specs for posting a casting notice, please email Trish at [email protected]

EXPERT SERVICES ADS: These ads are for companies or people who offer an expertise in the field of media by way of production, voice over artistry, writing, set development, etc. For information on rates and specs for posting an Expertise Service ad email Trish at [email protected]

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