09/02/20: The Southeastern Conference cemented its lineup of televised games

 

 

Medias First Morning Read
Wednesday September 2, 2020

The Southeastern Conference locked in its television schedule as college football programming continues to roll out. On CBS Sports, the Network’s 20th consecutive season covering the conference will kickoff on Sept. 26 with Mississippi State/LSU and roll through the SEC Championship on Dec. 19. Key games on its docket include Georgia/Alabama at 8p on Oct. 17, Alabama/LSU on Nov. 14 at 6p, as well as Alabama/Texas A&M (Oct. 3), LSU/Auburn (Oct. 31) and Florida/Georgia (Nov. 7) all at 3:30p. Brad Nessler and Gary Danielson, along with reporter Jamie Erdahl, are CBS Sports’ lead college football announce team.

Around the dial, ESPN Networks’ coverage unlocked kickoff times and networks for the first two weeks of the SEC football season and selected games were announced for three other Saturdays later in the year. Play begins Sept. 26 with Florida/Ole Miss at noon on ESPN while Kentucky/Auburn square off on SEC Network.

PROGRAMMING

FOX Sports unveiled its 2020 fall college football slate highlighted by the expansion of its Big Noon Kickoff pregame show, with Urban Meyer, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn and host Rob Stone to two hours each week. Programming starts Sept. 12 at 10a ahead of Big Noon Saturday. FOX Sports’ 2020 fall college football lineup includes games from the Big 12 Conference, featuring the Red River Showdown between Oklahoma and Texas from Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas on Oct. 10. The fall season kicks off Friday, Sept. 11, as SMU and TCU square off in the teams’ 100th all-time meeting at 9p on FS1.

ESPN confirmed talent pairings for the college football season. Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and reporter Maria Taylor will again call the weekly ABC Saturday Night Football marquee matchup, while Sean McDonough and Todd Blackledge return to ESPN Saturday Night Primetime for the third year, joined by field analyst Todd McShay, as well as a reporter. Joe Tessitore returns to college football and will partner with analyst Greg McElroy and reporter Holly Rowe on ESPN and ABC Saturday games, while Mark Jones and Dusty Dvoracek will work together for the third consecutive campaign. Other teams for ESPN and ABC Saturday games include: Dave Pasch and Mike Golic; Bob Wischusen and Dan Orlovsky; Dave Flemming and Rod Gilmore; Anish Shroff and Tom Luginbill; and Beth Mowins and Kirk Morrison, among others.

On NBC, Tony Dungy and new NBC Sports host and Notre Dame alum Jac Collinsworth will join NBC Sports’ 30th season of Notre Dame Football coverage when they take on Duke on Sept. 12 at 2:30p on the broadcast channel. Dungy will be paired with Mike Tirico and Kathryn Tappen as lead analyst to call Fighting Irish games. Collinsworth will host NBC Sports’ pre-game, halftime and post-game coverage and on select weeks will be joined by Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie. Tirico returns as the voice of Notre Dame Football on NBC and is joined for the first time by Dungy. NBC Sports’ 30th season broadcasting Notre Dame Football includes a slate of ACC matchups, highlighted by primetime games versus Clemson and Florida State.

On the pro side, FOX Sports unveiled its NFL broadcast talent roster, led by Joe Buck once again teaming with Troy Aikman, with reporter Erin Andrews, opening Week 1 with FOX’s first edition of America’s Game Of The Week on Sept. 13 at 4p. Thursday Night Football will see Kristina Pink, again teaming with Buck, Aikman, Andrews and Pereira. Other pairings include Kevin Burkhardt now teaming with Daryl “Moose” Johnston with Pam Oliver as reporter. Adam Amin teams with Mark Schlereth while Lindsay Czarniak takes on reporting duties. Kenny Albert joins Jonathan Vilma, with reporter Shannon Spake. Kevin Kugler handles play-by-play duties alongside analyst Chris Spielman, joined by reporter Laura Okmin. Chris Myers welcomes analysts Greg Jennings and Brock Huard with reporter Jennifer Hale.

ESPN re-signed play-by-play commentator Sean McDonough to a new multi-year contract, extending the veteran broadcaster’s tenure with the network well beyond three decades. McDonough will continue to broadcast a College Football Playoff Semifinal on ESPN and the CFP National Championship on ESPN Radio. In addition, ESPN signed a multiyear deal with Michele Steele, where she will continue her role as a Chicago-based general assignment reporter,

In other talent news, former Premier League and United States Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard is joining NBC Sports’ Premier League coverage, where he will serve as a studio analyst at NBC Sports Group’s International Broadcast Center in Stamford. “I’m excited to re-join NBC Sports, where I got my start in broadcasting,” Howard said. “After playing for 13 years in the Premier League, and watching regularly since, I can’t wait to get into the studio to provide analysis on the League with Rebecca and the Robbies.”

NBC Sports presents the 146th Kentucky Derby on Saturday at 2:30p on NBC as Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law aims to continue his run towards the Triple Crown. Live coverage begins Friday at 3p on NBCSN with the Kentucky Oaks. NBC Sports’ coverage of the Kentucky Derby features host Mike Tirico and analysts Jerry Bailey, and Randy Moss, covering his 40th “Run for the Roses,” from NBC Sports Group’s International Broadcast Center in Stamford. Handicapper Eddie Olczyk joins from the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs bubble in Edmonton. Reporters Donna Brothers, Britney Eurton, Laffit Pincay III and Kenny Rice, and race caller Larry Collmus will be on-site at Churchill Downs.

NBC Sports also released its schedule for September’s coverage of the Premier League, with an opening weekend schedule that kicks off Sept. 12 at 7:30a on NBCSN, as newly-promoted Fulham host Arsenal. In addition, Peacock makes its debut as the exclusive home of 175 Premier League matches. Peacock Premium will live stream 12 matches in September, beginning with Crystal Palace/Southampton on Sept. 12 at 10a.

beIN SPORTS acquired the rights to the second season of Karate Combat in a 37-market deal which spans five continents and includes the United States, with 12 episodes that will run weekly. Overall, beIN SPORTS will now broadcast the sport in North America, the Middle East & North Africa (MENA), Turkey, and 10 countries in Asia-Pacific. The 12-episode season of Karate Combat will premiere in the US and Canada on Sept. 24 at 10p on beIN SPORTS XTRA and run on Thursdays.

VSiN inked a multi-year deal with Rush Street Interactive, operator of the BetRivers.com platform for a partnership that includes the launch of Rush Hour, the first national sports betting show to broadcast from a sportsbook in Illinois, as well as a major cross-platform BetRivers.com consumer acquisition marketing initiative. “We are excited to connect the BetRivers brand nationally with VSiN’s passionate and growing base of sports bettors,” said Richard Schwartz, president of Rush Street Interactive. “We plan to work closely with the talented VSiN team to generate betting content that entertains and informs their listeners.”

CBS Sports honors the Black athlete experience and continues the conversation on racism in sports and society in the United States with Portraits In Black, a day of programming on Sunday, running 1-6p devoted to stories, past and present, that CBS Sports has aired dealing with their history and struggles in sports. CBS Sports’ James Brown hosts the day, as the Network spotlights the historical and contemporary with five hours of “tales of Black athletes’ courage in the face of injustice and honesty in the face of unrest, with three documentaries.” The day will also further the dialogue of what is happening in today’s world with two CBS SPORTS CONNECTED shows. Brown also will address the recent events in light of the Jacob Blake shooting, as well as the response from players across the major sports leagues.

Univision’s TUDN announced its exclusive Spanish-language coverage
of the second-ever installment of the UEFA Nations League. Featuring 55 European teams, TUDN will bring fans every match from the biennial tournament available across its linear and digital platforms with Germany/Spain kicking off TUDN’s live television coverage September 3 at 2p n UniMás and TUDN. The company will deliver coverage of all 166 matches from the UEFA Nations League 2020/21 including a total of 29 contests telecast on UniMás and TUDN. The finals – which includes semi-finals, third place play-off and final – will take place in June 2021.

MotorTrend, in partnership with Discovery owned Eurosport, is bringing race fans every angle and every hour of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Beginning Sept. 17, fans can stream live coverage of practice and qualifying sessions, and then watch multicamera, live coverage of the 88th annual race starting Sept. 19 at 8:15a on the MotorTrend App.

GOLF Channel announced a multi-year partnership with Blessings Golf Club
and Tyson Foods to create and televise the Blessings Collegiate Invitational presented by Tyson Foods, a new men’s and women’s college golf championship that will take place at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark. From Oct. 5-7. The Blessings Collegiate Invitational will feature men’s and women’s teams competing in a 54-hole stroke play format for individual and team honors. GOLF Channel will deliver live tournament coverage all three days, complemented by news and digital coverage.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The International Paralympic Committee added The Coca-Cola Company to its roster of Worldwide Paralympic Partners. The agreement encompasses worldwide marketing rights to the IPC and Paralympic Games until 2032. As part of the agreement, the two organizations will look to explore purpose-driven marketing campaigns. “We are very excited to welcome The Coca-Cola Company as a Worldwide Paralympic Partner,” said Andrew Parsons, IPC President. “At the IPC, we believe that change starts with sport and that Para sport can foster a more inclusive world. We know The Coca-Cola Company shares our belief – they have been a supporter of the Paralympic Movement and our Games for decades, and their recent commitment to support the Japanese National Paralympic Committee during the COVID-19 pandemic shows how much they value Para sport. We look forward to working with Coca-Cola over the coming years on initiatives that can benefit our athletes around the world.”

The V Foundation for Cancer Research pays tribute to Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month in conjunction with long-time partners Dick Vitale and WWE, highlighting the critical need to fund research for children with cancer. Throughout September, the V Foundation will spotlight pediatric thrivers and the researchers who work to stop childhood cancers. Kicking off the month, Dick and Loraine Vitale will present the Annual Dick Vitale Gala, “Passion 4 Pediatrics,” virtually on September 4. The V Foundation and WWE are in the fifth year of their partnership to raise money for pediatric cancer research through Connor’s Cure. During September, WWE is hosting the Connor’s Cure Superstar Challenge, a virtual challenge to honor Connor Michalek, an 8-year-old WWE fan who battled medulloblastoma, a rare tumor that affects the brain and spinal cord.

Meanwhile, MLS WORKS will team up with League partner Continental Tire as part of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer through the Kick Childhood Cancer campaign. The league and Continental Tire will partner with MLS clubs, players and Greats (former players) to “surprise and delight” pediatric cancer patients and health care providers with unique experiences and acts of kindness throughout the month of September. Continental Tire will donate sets of tires to patient families and hospital workers in each of the 26 MLS Club markets to help off-set the financial burden associated with driving to and from treatments and appointments. Additionally, Continental Tire will provide “Kick Childhood Cancer Care Kits”, featuring games, activities, puzzles and more, which will be distributed to patients in local markets.

The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame announced the rebrand of Football Matters as Future For Football. Future For Football will continue to “celebrate the individuals, organizations and communities nationwide who positively impact or are impacted by the sport of football.”

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

The PGA TOUR and FanDuel Sportsbook agreed on a multi-year content and marketing relationship designating FanDuel an Official Betting Operator of the PGA TOUR. By joining the TOUR’s Official Betting Operator program, FanDuel will have rights in the United States to use PGA TOUR marks, rights to advertise within TOUR media and TOUR partner platforms, plus content and video rights allowing FanDuel to create pre-game and post-game betting programming, Additionally, the PGA TOUR and FanDuel will collaborate to deliver odds-based content to fans via TOUR Digital Platforms like PGATOUR.COM and the PGA TOUR app.

NBC Sports Regional Networks launched comprehensive redesigns of its portfolio of mobile web and desktop sites in a move to improve user experiences through visually “engaging presentations, team-focused multimedia formats, and increased utility, functionality, navigation and discoverability.” The six market-specific online platforms provide “faster, easier-to-navigate” access for fans to discover and consume complete multimedia content – including live and on-demand video, led by live games and gameday coverage, written articles and audio – covering the teams, athletes and events based in NBC Sports Regional Networks markets: Bay Area/California, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C.-Baltimore.

ESPORTS

EA and Respawn Entertainment announced the Apex Legends Global Series will continue its fierce competition with the Autumn Circuit starting Oct. 3 with a prize pool of $500,000. The ALGS Autumn Circuit culminates with the Playoffs on December 19-20 with EA set to broadcast each circuit tournament’s final day, showcasing the best-of-the-best of that weekend on Twitch and dedicated official AGLS YouTube channel.

With the 2020 season in the books, the Call of Duty League will not expand before the 2021 season, according to ESPN, as a result of the pandemic. According to the report, both the league and team owners will look to return to their original business plans, particularly the popularity of offline events in the city-based league, before looking to recruit franchise buyers for a higher sum. The league did announce, however, that Season 2 of the CDL will be played in a four-on-four format instead of the five-on-five team structure of the inaugural season.

Collegiate StarLeague announced its 2020-2021 season with competitions this season set to include League of Legends, Valorant, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Rocket League, Smash Ultimate, Fortnite and more. “The precautions many schools and college sports programs are taking this season, though necessary, have greatly affected the opportunities for college sports fans to enjoy and root for their favorite schools and teams. We at CSL recognize the key role that collegiate-level esports will play this season to offer replacement programming,” said Wim Stocks, CEO of CSL.

Allied Esports joined the Esports Integrity Commission in a move to solidify Allied Esports’ observance and compliance with ESIC’s Code of Ethics, Anti-Corruption Code, Player Code of Conduct, Anti-Doping Code and other standards starting with the two-week VIE.gg CS:GO Legend Series tournament. “We are very proud to join the exceptional esports organizations and tournament organizers who believe in the integral role that ESIC plays in the structure and regulation of our industry,” said Jud Hannigan, CEO of Allied Esports. “From weekly community events to major international competitions, our players, sponsors and partners can be confident that we take fair play seriously and that we will continue to assist ESIC in the development and deployment of its best practices.”

Fandom announced the “Muthead Pro-Am: Sponsored by Tyson Brand,” marking the first-ever Muthead fan-inclusive tournament. The event will be broadcast live on Sept. 11, at 8p on Fandom’s Muthead Twitch channel and be played in the Superstar KO mode where for the first time ever in the Muthead community, six lucky fans will be given the opportunity to compete with NFL athletes and Madden pros.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

WWE announced that Steve Pamon, President and Chief Operating Officer of Parkwood Entertainment has been elected to its Board of Directors. “Steve brings an extraordinary track record from the media and entertainment industry and is an accomplished senior executive,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “I am confident his experience and insights will add tremendous value to our company.”

Columbia University’s Sports Management graduate program added three new adjunct faculty members as well as the program lineup for the fall semester, which begins in hybrid form of both in-person and online classes next week. New to the faculty this semester will be Charlie Shin (teaching Applied Business Intelligence in Sports), Mike Tannenbaum (teaching Football Business Management: The Inner Workings of the NFL), and Jackie Bartolomeo (leading an Independent Study project).

Legends announced the appointment of Victoria Hawksley to the new role of Vice President, International Retail, where she will oversee all merchandise operations and strategy for Legends’ expanding business. Hawksley will lead Legends’ comprehensive event retail and merchandising vertical solution, across e-commerce, in-venue retail, large scale live events, brick and mortar store operations, and custom merchandise and joins Legends after 14 years with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

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