09/18/20: ESPN is giving the Raiders first game in Vegas the Megacast treatment

 

Medias First Morning Read
Friday September 17, 2020

ESPN serves up a Monday Night Football MegaCast next week at 8:15p here in Las Vegas, as multiple networks will be showcasing the Raiders’ first game in their home as the face the New Orleans Saints in the debut of Allegiant Stadium. ESPN carries the traditional telecast which will be simulcast on ABC, with ESPN Deportes on deck for the Spanish-language presentation of the game. In addition, ESPN2 will carry a “distinctly” different presentation featuring free-flowing conversation with stars from the NFL, and across the sport, entertainment, and music industries, with Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit hosting as NFL dignitaries, current and former players, famous Raiders fans, celebrities, musicians and more are expected to drop in throughout the night. Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters and John Parry will have the call on ESPN and ABC The Killers will perform at halftime from the Caesars Palace rooftop, which will be shown on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2.

PROGRAMMING

The National Hot Rod Association and FOX Sports struck a multi-year extension of their agreement to telecast all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series competitions across FOX, FS1 and FS2. The updated deal will see NHRA and FOX Sports continue collaboration in the production and telecasting of NHRA competition in the United States and Canada, including expanded coverage on the FOX broadcast network and FS1, an NFL adjacent event, and five hours of Finals coverage at the NHRA U.S. Nationals over Labor Day Weekend each year. “FOX is thrilled to extend our relationship with the NHRA as we enhance our coverage for drag racing fans,” said Mark Silverman, President, National Networks, FOX Sports. “The NHRA on FOX has achieved record audiences for the sport, and we look forward to working with the NHRA to continue to expand the audience and grow the sport beyond the middle of this decade.”

The Pac-12 received good new should the league opt back in to the college football season and was informed by officials in California and Oregon that, despite the fires and pandemic, there would be no restrictions in place preventing a return to play at the state level. “The Pac-12 welcomes today’s statements by Governor Newsom of California and Governor Brown of Oregon that state public health officials will allow for contact practice and return to competition,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement, “and that there are no state restrictions on our ability to play sports in light of our adherence to strict health and safety protocols and stringent testing requirements, including our recently announced partnership with Quidel which will enable daily rapid results testing.” The next step for the conference would be for its member schools in California and Oregon to seek clarification from local public health officials, at the city or county level, about what needs to be done to receive the same clearance provided by the state. The Pac-12 CEO Group is scheduled to meet Friday to discuss the conference’s options.

The Big Ten, meanwhile, will kick off its football season the weekend of Oct. 24 now that the league’s presidents and chancellors unanimously voted to resume competition, with officials pointing to daily testing capabilities and a stronger confidence in the latest medical information. Each team will attempt to play eight games in eight weeks, with he Big Ten championship game on Dec. 19 and completing its season before the Dec. 20 Selection Day for the College Football Playoff. The conference reportedly agreed to have no fans attending football games this season, which will be held on campus throughout the season but was working on a plan to allow families of players and staff to attend both home and away games.

As for the Mountain West Conference, Stadium’s Brett McMurphy reports that the league is “aggressively exploring options to play an 8-game fall season” that would conclude with a conference championship game on Dec. 19.

The NFL and YouTube locked in a partnership renewal designed to bring more NFL content, including exclusive original series, game previews, highlights and analysis to the NFL’s official YouTube channel. Among the new exclusive NFL content coming to YouTube is the second season of NFL Game Day All-Access. “YouTube continues to be an important partner in accessing millions of highly engaged fans around the world” said Blake Stuchin, NFL Vice President of Digital Media Business Development. “We look forward to providing fans with more exciting content, from game previews and recaps of every game, to growing franchises like NFL Explained as well as the second season of NFL Game Day All-Access”

ESPN locked in Vince Carter to a multi-year contract where he will serve as an NBA and college basketball analyst, appearing on ESPN studio shows including NBA Countdown, The Jump, Get Up, First Take and SportsCenter with special appearances on College Game Day Covered by State Farm. Additionally, Carter will serve as a game analyst for both NBA and ACC men’s basketball games.

The International Swimming League and CBS Sports announced today a multi-year media rights agreement to showcase ISL’s events across CBS Sports platforms. As part of the agreement, CBS will distribute the most comprehensive schedule of live professional swimming events ever presented to a U.S. audience with the deal launching on Oct. 16 with the ISL 2020 season opener on CBS Sports Network. The next day, ISL will make its network debut on CBS Television Network with a live broadcast from 2-4p.

The NBA announced that the date of NBA Draft 2020 presented by State Farm has been moved to Wednesday, Nov. 18 and will air on ESPN. According to the league, the revised date allows additional time to conduct the 2020 pre-draft process, gather more information about the potential start date for the 2020-21 season and advance conversations between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association regarding related Collective Bargaining Agreement matters.

Speaking of the NBA, the NBA Playoffs on TNT will continue with exclusive coverage of the 2020 NBA Western Conference Finals presented by AT&T 5G pitting the Lakers and Nuggets with Game 1 tonight at 9p. Additionally, for the first time, TNT – in partnership with FanDuel Sportsbook – will present alternate commentary centered around betting analysis and odds during the Western Conference Finals. The alternate content experience will be available through a digital simulcast via the Watch TNT web experience, with authentication through the user’s cable provider. TNT Bets will be hosted by Bleacher Report’s Cabbie Richards, Kelly Stewart and Tim Doyle, with FanDuel Sportsbook providing real-time statistics and information.

World TeamTennis set its 2021 All-Star Weekend dates along with dates for its 46th season. WTT All-Star Weekend will run from Feb. 26-28, while the 2021 World TeamTennis season will showcase top tennis professionals over 15 consecutive days from July 11-25. “

Pringles, Buffalo Wild Wings, Jack in the Box, Nathan’s & Mountain Dew. A feast of brands will delight your senses are this year’s virtual Esports Business Summit, running Oct. 27-29. Hear from these brands and more as the lay out their strategies in esports, what they look for in a partnership and how they are measuring results. Click here to register now!

The Patriot League reached a multi-year agreement that makes ESPN+ the exclusive digital home for live and archived Patriot League sporting events, starting with the 2020-21 academic year. ESPN+ will be home to more than 800 annual events, including college football games, and men’s and women’s basketball contests. “The Patriot League has been among the leaders within intercollegiate athletics for its live streaming production with its robust and high-quality live digital programming for more than a decade,” said Patriot League Commissioner Jennifer Heppel. “We are thrilled to work with ESPN+ to showcase Patriot League student-athletes on this leading sports streaming platform.”

ESPN Films announced the group is in production on an upcoming project centered on WNBA superstar Maya Moore. The untitled documentary project, produced in partnership with Rock’n Robin Productions, will explore Moore’s “unwavering faith; her connection with Jonathan Irons, a man wrongfully convicted and serving a prison sentence for burglary and assault; and how she stepped away from basketball to pursue justice both to prove his innocence and inspire activism in others during this watershed moment.” The project will be executive produced by Robin Roberts and directed by Emmy award-winning director Rudy Valdez.

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The International Tennis Federation rebranded the Fed Cup to what will now be known as the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas to honor the tennis star and her work toward promoting equality and social justice. In addition, the ITF unveiled two new sponsors in Microsoft and Magellan Corporation for the tournament. ITF president David Haggerty said: “From playing the first Fed Cup as a member of the victorious US team in 1963, founding the WTA and becoming its first president, to being the first female athlete awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, Billie Jean King has never stopped breaking new ground. Today she adds another ‘first’ to that list. The new name is a fitting tribute to everything she has achieved and will provide a lasting legacy that will inspire future generations of players and fans.”

Bud Light is launching a new initiative to “bring together local communities while also helping promote Black-owned restaurants “as a part of the brand’s Thursday Night Football advertising, titled “Bud Light Thursday Night Shoutout.” The brand created “beautifully shot and directed commercials that tell deeply motivational stories of local Black-owned businesses, while amplifying the stories of each restaurant owner’s personal journey alongside their iconic menu offerings,” according the the announcement with the series launching last night.

NASCAR and the American Gaming Association are partnering in a move to educate NASCAR fans about responsible sports betting through the AGA’s Have a Game Plan. Bet Responsibly. public service campaign. NASCAR will develop co-branded content that encourages new and seasoned sports bettors to “Take a Pit Stop” and bet responsibly.

Ready Nutrition inked a multi-year partnership with UCLA to become the Official Protein of UCLA Athletics. As the Official Protein of UCLA Athletics, Ready will be the exclusive provider of protein products to nearly 700 student-athletes in all 25 Bruin sports. “UCLA Athletics has such a rich tradition and I know they want the very best for their student-athletes. We are committed to helping them continue that tradition by supplying best-in-class products to meet the department’s nutritional goals for its athletes,” said Ready Founder and President Pat Cavanaugh, himself a former student-athlete and University of Pittsburgh basketball team captain.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

The return of the NFL helped propel Bleacher Report to one of its best days of the year across B/R channels and the B/R app. B/R Gridiron on Sunday, boasting more than 1.8M social engagements on Sunday. Overall, according to the company, B/R was the most engaged sports media brand across platforms with 27 million social engagements while the B/R app reached its best day since the final Sunday of the 2019 NFL season generating more than 13 million visits.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame announced the return of its Fan Voting initiative, marking the third year that fans have been given the opportunity to vote for the incoming class of Hall of Famers. New this year, BNP Paribas, a longstanding partner of the ITHF, will be the Presenting Sponsor of Fan Voting, supporting the initiative and bringing enhanced digital experiences to fans. Fans will be able to cast their votes for the nominees October 1 through October 25 online at vote.tennisfame.com.

ESPORTS

Playfly Sports, a sports marketing company, announced the acquisition of Collegiate StarLeague (CSL) and WorldGaming Network (WGN). Playfly Sports will concentrate on enhancing the amateur esports-athlete experience and increasing opportunities for participation on high school and college campuses nationwide. Both Collegiate StarLeague and WorldGaming Network will continue to operate under their brands and will be powered by Playfly Sports. Additionally, Playfly Sports’ new esports entity will continue to be supported by industry veteran Wim Stocks who will serve as Chairman.

Complexity Gaming confirmed a partnership renewal with Twitch in an exclusive global agreement (excluding China) will see the Dallas-based esports organization deliver live esports and gaming content to the live interactive streaming service. As part of the partnership, Complexity will continue to produce live-streamed content and competitions, such as Race to World First with Complexity-Limit, the organization’s championship-winning World of Warcraft guild, as well as the Complexity Club Championship, as part of the FIFA20 PlayStation4 Tournaments: Pro For a Day. Additionally, Complexity players and streamers will stream regularly on Twitch, growing their individual brands and creating more live content for fans.

BLAST entered a partnership with Hdac Technology AG that will see the blockchain company sponsor the esports tournament organizer’s Counter Strike Fall season. As part of the partnership Hdac’s branding will feature across BLAST’s world class CS:GO competitions during the Fall Series, Showdown and Finals, including branded content opportunities and a number of giveaways on offer. Hdac will also sponsor a unique broadcast integration called ‘The Economy Play’, which will feature analyst discussions on economy rounds in between key matches.

Allied Esports reports that 1.7 million unique viewers tuned in for the VIE.gg CS:GO Legend Series tournament, which ended Sept. 13. The two-week competition, which also generated over 1 million hours watched and reached 98,000 peak viewers, is the company’s most-watched Legend Series event since the tournament series was created in 2017.

SPORTS BROADCAST JOURNAL w/David J. Halberstam

Big week of NFL. Full schedule, all market clearances, announcers and notes. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman won’t work Sunday. They were assigned to last night’s Thursday Night Football on NFL Network. Tim Brando, a college voice for Fox, moves to the NFL this weekend.
NFL Week #2: CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and NFLN all set for full 16 game schedule; Talent and markets cleared

College football takes the spotlight. The number of games is pared due to cancellations caused by the pandemic. All networks, voices and times in this post. Notre Dame moves to USA Network this weekend. NBC airs the US Open.
College Football Week #3: 24 games on the docket: Networks, talent and times; Notre Dame on USA Network

Women have grown their presence on sports television. The early years were challenging. Lesley Visser about her early days: “The credentials I wore, with no irony, said, ‘No Women or Children in the Press Box.” It took a law suit to allow women in baseball clubhouses.
The early plight of women to cover sports was widespread: Getting equal access has been a long battle

The popular TV and radio host Paul Finebaum addresses college sports today amidst the pandemic. ESPN’s Finebaum: “I believe we have reached one of the most important inflection points in the history of intercollegiate athletics with a major paradigm shift toward college athletes gaining a louder and more resonant voice.”
Paul Finebaum weighs in on football: “College athletes are gaining a louder and more resonant voice”

Happy Birthdays and many wonderful returns:

Bruce Beck, 9/18 Longtime New York sports TV anchor, now with WNBC
Ken Rosenthal, 9/19 Baseball reporter, Fox Sports, Writer for The Athletic
Trey Wingo, 9/19 Ex- longtime ESPN TV and radio personality
Bob Papa, 9/19 Radio voice, NY Giants, Golf Channel anchor
Cassidy Hubbarth, 9/19 ESPN reporter
Zach Strief, 9/22 Radio voice, New Orleans Saints
Alex Flanagan 9/23 former NBC Sports sideline reporter

Sports Broadcast Journal

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