09/23/20: ESPN saw big numbers for its MNF Megacast

 

Medias First Morning Read
Wednesday September 23, 2020

The formal debut of the NFL in Las Vegas proved to be a heavy hitter for Monday Night Football, as ESPN’s Megacast of the Saints/Raiders delivered an average audience of 15,590,000 viewers, for a 31% year-over-year viewership uptick. The viewership for Las Vegas’ inaugural NFL game, which includes the audiences across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, ranks as MNF’s best in eight games, dating back to November 2019. Locally, Las Vegas scored its highest local rating for a MNF game in a decade, delivering a 22.1 local rating.

PROGRAMMING

Meanwhile, FOX Sports reports that the NFL drove the broadcast network’s singleheader this week to 16,865,000 viewers for week two, up 10% over last’s season’s comparable program. On the digital front, the company says that the average minute audience hit 711,000 across steaming services, up 96% over last year’s regional and national windows.

In other ratings news, Saturday’s Liga MX El SuperClasico featuring bitter rivals America vs. Chivas on Univision, and simulcast on TUDN, delivered 1.6 million Total Viewers and 798,000 Adults 18-49 – becoming the top soccer match of the LMX season to-date, according to Nielsen.

ESPN is planning to move at least eight of its men’s college basketball events to the ESPN Wide World of Sports property at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The Champions Classic, Charleston Classic, Myrtle Beach Invitational, NIT Season Tip-Off, Wooden Legacy, Orlando Invitational, Jimmy V Classic and Diamond Head Classic are expected to move to Disney, per ESPN.com, in a move to create a safer environment for student athletes. The events are expected to begin on Nov. 25 and run for the first two weeks of the season.

Tennis Channel rolled out coverage plans for the delayed French Open, with programming beginning on Sunday at 5a. In all, Tennis Channel will devote more than 330 hours to televised French Open tennis in 2020, including 120 live and another 210 during encore replays each evening. Typically, the network gets going with the start of play each morning at 5 a.m. ET, with live coverage through approximately 3 p.m. ET when matches conclude. Tennis Channel will show encore matches from the end of each day’s play, through the late night and morning up to the start of the next day’s competition. This year, Tennis Channel is also partnering with parent company Sinclair Broadcast Group’s regional sports networks around the country to bring the tournament into even more households. MSG Networks, for example, announced it will be airing 36 hours of live coverage of the tournament, with four hours of live match play from 5-9a.

Concacaf is shifting the Concacaf Nations League Finals from March to June next year, taking place at a centralized location in the United States. In addition, the United States Soccer Federation is opting to stop playing matches for the US men’s national team during the FIFA international window in October in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

CBS Sports presents the UEFA Super Cup featuring Bayern Munich facing Sevilla on Thursday, at 3p, live across multiple platforms, with the match streaming on CBS All Access and airing on CBS Sports Network. Analysts Roberto Martinez, Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards along with host Kate Abdo will lead CBS Sports’ pregame, halftime and postgame studio coverage. Match commentators Clive Tyldesley and Jermaine Jenas will call the UEFA Super Cup.

SEC Network’s Monday night show, Thinking Out Loud Presented by Regions, will see a new cast surrounding host Alyssa Lang as the series takes on season four. Following the departure of Marcus Spears and Greg McElroy, Georgia Great Brandon Boykin and college football personalities Spencer Hall and Richard Johnson will join the show as cast members starting Sept. 28.

ESPN Films unveiled its latest installment in the 30 for 30 series, “The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius,” with the four-part documentary set to debut on ESPN+ on September 27. Viewers will have the choice to watch the four serialized parts of the film live, over four nights, or binge the entire film. Part One of the film will stream live on ESPN+ on September 27th, with each subsequent part streaming live the next three nights, respectively. Alternatively, viewers can choose to watch all 4 parts any time – with the entire film available on-demand on September 27th.

PokerGO, Poker Central’s direct-to-consumer OTT subscription video service, lined up “High Stakes Duel,” its newest original series with a tournament format that “has never been seen before in the poker world.” The first episode of the series will feature a heads-up match between poker stars Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Hellmuth, and will premiere live from the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on July 30 at 9p.

The National Football League and SiriusXM expanded their satellite broadcasting agreement to include additional streaming rights starting this 2020 season. For the first time, SiriusXM customers with the streaming-only SiriusXM Premier subscription will have access to every live NFL game as well as the exclusive 24/7 talk channel, SiriusXM NFL Radio.

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Cynopsis is gearing up to recognize the 2020 Class of Top Women in Media – trailblazers who are pushing the industry forward, while empowering & inspiring others. On October 13-16, we’re excited to have the following guest presenters announce the honorees:
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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Dr. Pepper is doubling of its annual Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway program to $2 million, its largest giveaway in the program’s 12-year history. Additionally, as part its college football advertising campaign, the brand is introducing season three of Fansville – the Dr Pepper episodic drama featuring parody storytelling from a college football fanatic town. “Dr Pepper recognizes the unique circumstances many current and prospective college students are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why we have doubled the amount of tuition we are giving away to $2 million,” said Derek Dabrowski, Vice President of Brand Marketing for Dr Pepper. “The Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway program’s top priority is to provide funding to students who have big dreams and need help to realize them. We’re thrilled to make this season bigger than ever for our fans and finalists with new changes to our playbook to help students make their academic goals a reality.”

Ahead of National Voter Registration Day on September 22, Yahoo Sports launched Voting Playbook presented by Yahoo Sports, described as an immersive voter registration initiative using famous athletes as voter ambassadors for each state. The athlete ambassadors taking part in the initiative include Breanna Stewart, Calais Campbell, Ali Krieger, David Price, Cris Carter, Adrian Peterson, Shawn Johnson, Gerald McCoy, Bill Self, Jrue Holiday, Jared Allen…and more

BioSteel Sports Nutrition unlocked a partnership between the sports hydration company and star wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins. The deal is one of the largest to date for Hopkins, who has signed on as an investor in the company, as part of a multi-year endorsement deal.

I.B. Storey Inc. and the NHL announced a new alliance naming the company as the official Rink Engineering Consultant of the NHL. The rink engineering and recreation facilities firm will be focused exclusively on helping community rinks across North America, providing outreach to community rink owners and operators to assist with critical infrastructure issues and identify potential sustainability upgrades in their respective facilities.

Wines That Rock revealed the first two releases in its new WWE Wines collection featuring WWE Legend The Undertaker and WWE Hall of Famer The Ultimate Warrior. They will be available for pre-sale with a shipping date of October 22. “We knew these bottles would look amazing and be perfect for collectors and fans alike but wanted the quality of the wine to ultimately be the real winner here,” said Wines That Rock winemaker Andrew Nelson. “For The Undertaker’s Limited-Edition 30 Barrel Series, we used 100% premium Cabernet Sauvignon from Lodi, California aged in oak. For The Ultimate Warrior, we looked to Mendocino County for a high quality, full bodied and flavorful Zinfandel.”

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

DAZN Group is selling a majority stake in its digital soccer platforms, including Goal.com, to Integrated Media Company, with the deal also including Spox and VoetbalZone. DAZN Group will retain a significant minority share and will have a seat on the board of the new venture.

The Laver Cup, the international men’s team tennis competition, teamed up with Tennis Clash, the world’s most popular tennis game for mobile platforms, developed by Wildlife Studios, to create a Laver Cup-themed in-game tournament. “Many organizations have looked to the gaming world to stay connected to their fans this year, and that’s how this innovative partnership came about,” says Mark Panelo, Wildlife’s Vice President for Business Development. “Working with Laver Cup allowed us to create a really fun experience for Tennis Clash and Laver Cup fans by bringing the two brands together for this special themed event,” says Ana Costa, Game Director of Tennis Clash.

Athletes Unlimited announced a deal with DraftKings, Inc. to offer fans a “free-to-play pool” challenge as part of the softball league’s effort to engage with sports fans through the remainder of its inaugural season. The free-to-play pool asks fans to answer eight questions pertaining to the upcoming slate of weekend Athletes Unlimited softball games which consist of double headers on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and are carried on a combination of CBS Sports Network, ESPN and the Olympic Channel.

Strat-O-Matic, producer of sports simulation games, helped launch “Strat School,” a free platform designed to help kids, especially budding sports fans, learn basics and even more advanced math, writing and more through its new series of lesson plans aimed at kids ages 6- 9 and ages 10 and up. “Playing Strat-O-Matic has always been a great way for kids to enhance important skills almost unconsciously,” said Hal Richman, Strat-O-Matic President. “By following our comprehensive plans, teachers and parents can help them stay engaged as they learn not just the math and statistics that are inherent to game play, but lessons like writing and history that are natural extensions of enjoying the game.”

ESPORTS

ESL and DreamHack revealed “a new vision” for ESL Pro Tour Counter Strike : Global Offensive for 2021, which will feature a restructure of the global competition and feature a minimum of 16 teams featured in ESL Pro Tour competitions with group stages and finals spanning over the course of two back-to-back weekends. The second weekend would take place in some of the most prestigious arenas across the world. Intel Extreme Masters Katowice in February will be the debut competition of ESL Pro Tour CS:GO 2021, with plans to hold the tournament as an in-person competition. The new format will see ESL and DreamHack host eight Masters CS:GO tournaments throughout the year.

Mercedes-Benz gassed up a deal with Riot Games for the League of Legends World Championship and will now serve as a partner for Worlds 2020 as well as other future League tournaments, including the Mid-Season Invitational and All-Star Weekend. In addition, Mercedes-Benz will be featured as the first-ever presenting partner of the Trophy Ceremony at each of the three international events,” according to Riot, and also develop additional branded content along with dedicated commercials, ad artworks, social media and more.

The EA SPORTS Madden NFL 21 Championship Series unveiled new and returning sponsors joining the 2020-21 competitive season, marking the most sponsors in Madden NFL Championship Series history and nearly double the number of sponsors seen for the Madden NFL 20 Championship Series. Joining Pizza Hut as sponsors of MCS21 are fellow NFL official marketing partners SNICKERS, Oakley, Gillette and Campbell’s Chunky. “Coming off the biggest product year in the history of the franchise and the star-studded, entertainment-driven evolution of MCS programming, Madden NFL 21 has stepped onto an elevated platform of opportunity for brand partnerships in the world of competitive gaming,” said Vida Mylson, Sr. Director of Commercial Brand Partnerships at EA SPORTS. “Alongside this world-class roster of sponsors, all connected by our affiliation to the NFL, we’ll deliver new and authentic brand experiences that fuel football culture and resonate with the next generation of fans.”

Meanwhile, eNASCAR and ASUS entered a new partnership for the remainder of the season for NASCAR’s premier sim racing esports series, the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series. As part of the agreement, ASUS becomes the circuit. Through the agreement, ASUS will market its Republic of Gamers (ROG) product line during in-race broadcasts and on social media. “We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with eNASCAR to bring an unrivaled motorsports esports experience to racing professionals and their fans, both on the track and as a spectator,” said Yen Hoang, senior manager of brand marketing, ASUS North America. “As the new Official Gaming Hardware of the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series, we’re excited to share our most innovative products to aspiring sim racers and fans so they can compete at their best!”

The HBCU Esports Alliance and CSL College confirmed plans to partner this Fall to bring esports participation and other academic opportunities to HBCU schools. The partnership includes full support for both the administrations as well as the students attending the involved institutions. Initiatives include competitive participation offerings through tournament events, invitationals, leagues, and intramurals. The HBCU Esports Alliance and Collegiate StarLeague partnership also provides advisory support for administrations as they build curriculum and academic programming, career development, recruiting strategies and more to help HBCU students learn about the job opportunities that exist in gaming and esports.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

The United States Golf Association announced that Mike Davis will step down from his role as CEO by the end of 2021, per SportBusiness. Davis, who joined the USGA in 1990, became executive director in 2011 and its first CEO in 2016.

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin are teaming up to launch a single-car racing team that will feature Bubba Wallace as the driver for the 2021 Cup season. “The opportunity to own my own racing team in partnership with my friend, Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us, is very exciting for me. Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners. The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more. In addition to the recent commitment and donations I have made to combat systemic racism, I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for Black people in racing.”

The Collective, Wasserman’s women-focused division, is launching The Collective Think Tank, a global consortium of academic minds and industry leaders focused on gender parity and improving diversity. The group will share data, insights and information to promote more opportunity for women to succeed in sports and focus on cultivating partnerships between universities and researchers, as well as brands, properties and media companies to educate and create solution-based strategies for industry-changing activations, campaigns and platforms. The group is jointly led by Thayer Lavielle, EVP, The Collective, and Shelley Pisarra, EVP, Wasserman Global Insights and Strategies and comprised 10 university partners.

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On this Day
1984: Spark Anderson becomes the first manager to win 100 games in a season in both leagues.

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Responsible for the production and execution of live political news programming, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs experience line producing. Full info HERE

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DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER – COUNTER LOGIC GAMING (CLG) >>
Counter Logic Gaming/Madison Square Garden Sports/LA, CA: Counter Logic Gaming is looking for someone to lead the digital mktg team, with a focus on digital content and social media. Resp for creating/executing all CLG digital/content strat across all social/streaming platforms. Min 5 yrs of digital/mktg exp. Full info HERE (10/1)

DIR, LIVE ACTION & UNSCRIPTED SERIES MKTG
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MNGR, INTEGRATED MKTG & CLIENT SOLUTIONS
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EXECUTIVE PRODUCER PRIMETIME >>
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EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
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SENIOR LINE PRODUCER >>
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Responsible for the production and execution of live political news programming, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs experience line producing. Full info HERE (9/25)

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