09/03/19: NFL Network breaks down its programming plans for season 100


Good morning. It’s Tuesday September 3, 2019 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.


Thursday is set to mark a historic occasion as the NFL’s historic 100th season gets under way with the 2019 NFL Kickoff. NFL Media has been building up to the occasion with a slate of programming announcements surrounding its lineup of program series and specials that celebrate the “memories, moments and people that have made the NFL an iconic brand for 100 seasons.” In July, the league announced that NFL 100 Greatest and NFL 100 All-Time Team would be serving the anchor series for the full lineup of NFL 100 programming, with additional series NFL 100 Roundtables and NFL 100 Sessions also showcased across the network this fall.
NFL 100 Greatest debuts Sept. 13 at 8p, rolling out over 10 weeks with two one-hour episodes airing back-to-back every Friday night. NFL Films conducted more than 400 interviews with celebrities, current NFL stars and Legends that will air across 20, one-hour episodes with four episodes dedicated to each topic. NFL 100 Roundtables debuts Sept. 27 at 10p as a special eight-part series that connects some of the greatest to play the game by position. In NFL 100 Sessions, current NFL stars invite the players they’ve looked up to for an one-on-one film session and will air as within the NFL GameDay Kickoff pregame show leading into Thursday Night Football. Cynopsis asked executives from the platform – Keith Cossrow, NFL Films Vice President, Senior Coordinating Producer and Ronit Larone, NFL Network Vice President – about planning for the anniversary, developing content and what fans can expect.
Cossrow on developing content for 100 years of the NFL: NFL Films has been capturing and preserving the history of the NFL since 1962, so in a sense the planning for this occasion started sometime before the first Super Bowl. Seriously, when you work in a facility built around a vault containing hundreds of millions of feet of film, this is the kind of event you exist for. We had our first meeting with Pete Abitante, the NFL executive in charge of NFL 100, about two and a half years ago. Right away we knew we wouldn’t be able to accomplish everything we wanted to do with a single documentary or series. So we took the approach of developing multiple projects from the outset and we are pleased with the results of that process.
On programming: We didn’t want this to be an exercise in self-congratulation or chest-thumping. We want NFL 100 to be a celebration inclusive of everyone who loves the game, grounded with gratitude to our players, coaches, clubs and fans – all the people who have made the NFL what it is. We also wanted it to be FUN. That word fun has been our north star throughout the process. Everything we do, every show we create: let’s have some fun.
At the beginning we joked about creating 100 hours of content for the 100th season – on top of what we already do at NFL Films and NFL Media in LA. But you know what? We came closer than we probably thought possible. The rollout of all these projects has already begun. Peyton’s Places, Peyton Manning’s unique journey through NFL history, launched on ESPN+ in August and will continue with an episode a week through the Super Bowl. And again, if there is one word to describe that series, I think most folks would agree it is a ton of fun. Peyton has been an absolutely tremendous partner involved with every detail of the show. His wit, personality and love of the game are present in every frame. So we may not have gotten to 100 hours of content but we did wind up creating 10 original projects for the 100th led by Peyton’s Places.
On NFL 100 Greatest: NFL 100 Greatest was supposed to be a 10-hour series. One episode a week for ten weeks. After we started doing interviews and editing the moments we said there’s no way we can do this in 10 hours. Let’s make it 20. So we’ve been shooting these interviews for almost a year and a half now, there are over 400 interviews in the can, and 20 hours feels like it’s not enough. The best thing about the interviews is that they show we’re all the same in the end. Whether you are a Hall or Famer, a current coach or player, a movie star, a musician, a pro athlete in another sport – or none of the above – we all have a favorite player, a game we’ll never forget, a moment that made us fans forever.
Larone on NFL 100 Sessions: Two that really jump out are JJ Watt and Brett Favre, and Antonio Brown and Jerry Rice. Growing up in Wisconsin, there was nobody bigger than Brett Favre for JJ Watt. Sitting with his childhood hero proves to be a can’t miss experience for the 100th Anniversary of the NFL. The excitement from JJ is immediately evident from the ear-to-ear smile on his face as he meets Favre. In a world where athletes seem larger than life, it’s easy to forget that they grow up with their own dreams and idols. JJ displays just that while sitting with Favre, his “Wisconsin Hero.”
For Antonio Brown, being able to pick the brain of the greatest wide receiver to ever play proved to be a humbling experience. You feel the admiration from Brown coming off the screen as he continuously asks questions to help improve his game and how to extend his career. Jerry Rice has Brown’s career on his radar, calling him a “G.O.A.T” and reciting Brown’s stats back to him. The mutual respect for each other shows throughout. Connecting generations and stars of this magnitude is the perfect way to celebrate 100 years of the NFL.


Meanwhile, 2019 NFL Kickoff Presented by EA Sports Madden NFL 20 opens its doors at 7:30p, announcing artists Inspire Change advocates that include Meek Mill, Meghan Trainor and Rapsody performing live before the Green Bay/Chicago game at Grant Park in Chicago. A portion of both Meek Mill’s and Meghan Trainor’s performances will be featured in simulcast coverage of the 40-minute pregame show from Chicago from 7:30 – 8:10 PM ET on NBC and NFL Network. In addition, Kickoff Experience will feature sponsors’ interactive experiences and promotions while Bears’ Legends will be onsite to sign autographs. Fans are also encouraged to stop by the Madden NFL 20 Experience at Grant Park for a chance to watch NFL Legends Michael Vick, Chad Johnson, music artists, Twitch streamers and fans compete in the first ever EA SPORTS Madden NFL Twitch Prime Crown Cup. In addition to presenting sponsor EA Sports Madden NFL 20, top-tier sponsors for NFL Kickoff include Bose, Bud Light, Microsoft, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Snickers and Verizon.
With Sunday’s game in the books, ESPN and ABC wrapped up week one of the college football season with ABC claiming the three highest-rated games of the College Football Kickoff Weekend. ABC’s Sunday showdown between Oklahoma and Houston delivered a 3.6 overnight. Saturday’s games, meanwhile, saw the two networks average a viewership of 8,700,000 people in primetime, for a 54% primetime growth across the same two networks compared to the sport’s opening Saturday last season, per Nielsen, led by ABC’s Saturday Night Football featuring Oregon and Auburn, pulling 6.9 million viewers.
Meanwhile, FOX Sports saw Ohio State’s 45-21 win over Florida Atlantic rank as Saturday’s highest-rated college football game in the noon slot with a 2.1 metered market rating. That marks a rise of 91% over last season’s comparable game.
NBC Sports’ coverage of the IndyCar Grand Prix of Portland handed the company with a 0.81 overnight rating on NBC, up 125% from last year’s race on NBCSN. Ratings were led by Indianapolis, which a 2.5, followed by Portland, Columbus, Greenville-Spartanburg, and Cincinnati.
Rounding out our ratings news, ESPN saw the US Open match between Coco Gauff and top-seed Naomi Osaka draw a 1.9 overnight rating for the 90-minute segment on ESPN2, according to Nielsen. The entire evening session averaged a 1.4, up nearly triple from a 0.5 last year. After six days of ESPN’s exclusive, live coverage of the US Open, the overnight rating average is 0.8, up 33% from a year ago (0.6).
One week to go! Esports Business Summit runs Sept. 10-12 and tickets are going fast to the biggest and best event in this industry on the planet so get yours now!
Richmond Raceway makes its return appearance on the slate for the first time since 2009 and will be the only new addition on the 2020 schedule, taking place on June 27. For the 10th consecutive year, the NTT IndyCar Series season will kick off on the streets of St. Petersburg, taking place on March 15 and conclude for the second consecutive year at the historic WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca road course on Sept. 20.
The International Basketball Federation inked a 12-year extension of its strategic partnership with the Wanda Group, running until 2031. The Chinese company will have worldwide marketing rights to the next three cycles of the Fiba Basketball World Cup and World Cup qualifiers, the Women’s Basketball World Cup, the FIBA Continental Cups and FIBA Youth World Cup and covers exclusive marketing rights across a range of categories.
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Category Focus: The Best Approach To Social Good
Take a look at categories for those individuals and companies utilizing the media industry to forge positive change in our community, including: Best Social Good Partnership, Best “Me Too” Awareness Campaign, Best Anti-Bullying Awareness Campaign, Best TV/Digital Episode With A Social Good Theme, Best Philanthropic Campaign and more .


Nissan signed on as an Official Partner of the NCAA and will serve as an Official Corporate Partner of NCAA Men’s Basketball and the Final Four. Nissan will have an increased presence on linear television and streaming in the form of commercial inventory, in-game features and vignettes throughout the season. “Through our Heisman Trophy sponsorship, Nissan has been synonymous with college football for well over a decade, and now, we are leveraging that momentum to expand our commitment with another icon of college sports,” said Allyson Witherspoon, vice president, Marketing Communications and Media, Nissan North America, Inc. “There are few things in athletics more exciting than NCAA March Madness, and we can’t wait to bring our exciting portfolio of vehicles and innovative technology to the hardwood this basketball season.”
FOX Sports is gearing up for WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown, which debuts on FOX on Oct. 4, with the “We’re All Superstars” campaign launch. The first spot “Superstars” premiered during FOX Sports’ new college football pregame show, Big Noon Kickoff. In the spot, “a wide range of everyday and celebrity WWE fans embrace their inner ‘Superstar’ – a grocery store clerk, a spelling bee winner, kids at the swimming pool and more” who imitate their favorite WWE Superstars’ signature moves, celebrating the WWE’s outsized influence on pop culture. The campaign will consist of four total spots, with three fan-focused videos debuting in the coming weeks.


FOX Sports and The Stars Group debuted the first FOX Bet online legal sports wagering site in the country in New Jersey. According to US Betting Report, users of TSG’s former New Jersey brand, BetStars were redirected to the new FOX Bet page. TSG announced in a mid-August press release that it expects to invest up to $40 million this year on the FOX Bet launch in Pennsylvania, rebranding the BetStars platform in New Jersey, acquiring additional licenses,  and marketing and product development.
Sports data company Sportradar is reported asking bookmakers for a 1.5% take of net profits from in-game bets on the NFL, according to ESPN, in exchange for access to the competition’s data feed. The report comes weeks after the NFL expanded its partnership with Sportradar to include distribution of live game data to sports betting operators.


Modern Times Group announced the signing of a term sheet for a new strategic partnership with leading Chinese game live streaming platform Huya. The deal would see Huya form a joint venture with MTG’s portfolio company Turtle Entertainment GmbH (ESL), to facilitate expansion into China, in addition to acquiring a minority interest in the league in a $30 million investment. ESL and Huya plan to host and build local Chinese esport competitions connected to the global ESL tournament. “We are pleased to establish a close partnership with ESL, which demonstrates Huya’s further penetration into the global esports sector. Together with ESL, we are thrilled to bring more world class global esports content to Chinese gaming enthusiasts,” says Rongjie Dong, Chief Executive Officer of Huya.
Metarama Gaming + Music Festival, which was slated to take place Oct. 19-20 in Las Vegas, confirmed an ESPN report that the event had been cancelled. It was set to feature a bevy of stars in gaming, sports and music that include Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Marshmello. The festival was announced in June by Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza curators C3 Presents along with Esports Hospitality Concepts. On its site, fetival organizers wrote that “Despite incredible support and feedback surrounding this first-of-its-kind festival concept and extensive preparation to deliver an unbelievable fan experience, we regret to announce that Metarama Gaming + Music Festival has been cancelled.” Purchases would be refunded to the original payment source.
Fortress Esports announced plans to open the largest video gaming and esports entertainment venue in the Southern Hemisphere in Australia at Emporium Melbourne. Fortress Melbourne will span 2,700+ square meters across two floors and is set to open its doors in early 2020 with over 160 gaming PCs, console gaming suites, dedicated streamer pods, RPG and tabletop game play area, function rooms, a full service restaurant, two bars, and a 200 seat purpose-built esports arena with production facilities, all under one roof. For the development, Fortress Esports partnered exclusively with Allied Esports to deliver a world-class esports experience and venue.
Brice Faccento, coach of the 2019 Call of Duty world champions eUnited, revealed plans to launch a new esports talent agency called Bad Moon Talent, according to Dot Esports. Faccento will join former marketing contributor Andrew Drake as the joint co-founders of the company. Call of Duty players Jordan “JKap” Kaplan, Ian “Enable” Wyatt, and Donovan “Temp” Laroda are already signed to the agency, according to an interview by Cheddar Esports.


US Open quarterfinals on ESPN at noon on ESPN.
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ON THIS DAY in 1965: The Los Angeles Angels change their name to the California Angels.
In the Know: Which NFL QB holds the record for most seasons leading the league in passing yards, notching seven? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your company and city).
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which player has the most career kick/punt return touchdowns in NFL history? Answer: Devin Hester. Kudos: Bob Dudelson-Leverage Agency/NY; Michael Ritz-Northwestern Mutual/NY; Randy Ingram-WISH/WNDY-TV/Indianapolis; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; Matt Fumagalli-NBC/Chicago; Dory Petsrillo-CoxReps/Dallas; Lisa Fikeys-Zimmerman/Chicago; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tim Davidson-DISH Media/El Segundo; Jaymz Wooden-Bottelsen American Dart Lines/Santa Maria


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