09/25/20: Turner Sports inked a new seven-year deal with MLB

 

Medias First Morning Read
Friday September 25, 2020

Turner Sports and Major League Baseball dig the long ball, reaching a long-term, seven-year multimedia rights extension spanning from 2022 through 2028 and will see TBS serve as the exclusive home to the most MLB Postseason games of any network, and see the launch of a new season-long Tuesday night game franchise, expansive digital rights for Bleacher Report and additional WarnerMedia platforms. TBS’s season-long Tuesday night franchise will include a new studio show anchored by Ernie Johnson with Pedro Martinez, Jimmy Rollins and a Curtis Granderson. The new studio team will debut during this year’s MLB Postseason beginning with the American League Division Series. Granderson will have a multi-dimensional role with Turner Sports that will also include creative contributions to Bleacher Report.

Beginning with the 2022 MLB season, Turner Sports’ enhanced media rights will include the following television rights:
· TBS will exclusively televise one League Championship Series each year of the agreement, alternating between the ALCS and NLCS each season
· TBS will have exclusive rights to televise two of the four MLB Division Series, which will alternate between AL and NL each year (featuring the same league as the network’s LCS coverage)
· TBS will carry one Wild Card Game, which will be consistent with the network’s Division Series and LCS coverage (AL or NL each year)
· TBS will have a new season-long Tuesday night package with a national game telecast each week, doubling the amount of live regular-season game telecasts currently airing on the network

Digital rights that will allow TBS to make its MLB games and related programming available to authenticated subscribers across Turner Sports platforms and beefs up footage and highlight rights for Turner Sports websites and apps, including Bleacher Report.

PROGRAMMING

NBC Sports Group crowned Pete Bevacqua as Chairman. Bevacqua joined NBCUniversal in September 2018 as President, NBC Sports Group, overseeing programming, marketing, digital, the NBC Sports Regional Networks, and all Golf businesses. In February 2019, Bevacqua assumed oversight of the entire sports division. “In his time with NBC Sports, Pete has been exceptional working with our league and organizational partners, as well as in collaboration with other NBCUniversal leaders to strengthen our sports production and overall business in a challenging environment,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman NBCUniversal Television and Streaming.

The Pac-12 is returning to the field, with the Pac-12 CEO Group announcing that the Conference will resume its football, basketball and winter sport seasons. The football season may now commence for those teams that have the necessary state and local health approvals starting Nov. 6, while men’s and women’s basketball can begin on Nov. 25 consistent with the NCAA’s official start date for these sports, and other winter sports consistent with the NCAA season dates for those sports. To address concerns regarding potential health outcomes related to the virus, each Pac-12 sports medicine group will be implementing cardiac monitoring protocols for all student-athletes with a positive test. The Pac-12 institutions are also participating in a national COVID-19 cardiac registry which will allow for medical practitioners to monitor closely, and gain greater insight into, potential health outcomes in student-athletes. No fans will be permitted at any sporting competition taking place on Pac-12 campuses.

The NBA announced that NBA Draft Combine 2020 has been reformatted to be conducted both in NBA team markets and virtually, taking place in phases beginning Sept. 28 and continuing through early to mid-November. In addition to interviews, players will also take part in an individual on-court program consisting of strength and agility testing, anthropometric measurements, shooting drills and a “Pro Day” video, all conducted in October at the NBA team facility nearest to a player’s home or interim residence. As part of the event’s format, the NBA will incorporate HomeCourt, a mobile basketball training application that uses advanced machine learning and computer vision, to provide analytics and record the shooting evaluation portion of NBA Combine 2020 and for players to create a unique “Pro Day” video. Additionally, the NBA has expanded its use of “Combine HQ,” an online tool developed by Fusion Sport in its software platform Smartabase.

Sunday marks the last date of the MLB regular season, with MLB Network on deck to carry nine consecutive hours of live studio programming. High Heat with Christopher Russo will air at 1p, followed by MLB Tonight at 2p. Live look-ins of games featuring Postseason implications, analysis, highlights and breakdowns will be featured across MLB Tonight. Host Heidi Watney will recap the day’s action on Quick Pitch at 8p, and Fran Charles and Bill Ripken will preview the 2020 Postseason on an MLB Tonight special at 9p.

Stadium released plans for the 2020 Conference USA College Football schedule, kicking off on Saturday. Overall, the platform is set to produce 15 live Conference USA football games that will air on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s regional sports networks as well Stadium Plus on select over-the-top platforms. Stadium’s lead broadcast team features Chris Hassel on play-by-play while A.J. Hawk will act as lead analyst, starting with Tulane/Southern Miss at 2:30p.

The 2020 PBR World Finals: Unleash The Beast are moving to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, taking place Nov. 12-15, and moving from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas due to state COVID-19 restrictions. However, the next PBR Global Cup, a five-nation, team-formatted event, which was to be held at AT&T Stadium in 2021, will now relocate to Las Vegas in the spring of 2021. “The PBR World Finals, the biggest event in bull riding, will crown our next champion rider and bull in the NFL’s largest stadium in the heart of cowboy country, giving fans the sport they love in a comfortable, socially distanced environment,” said PBR Commissioner Sean Gleason. “We are very grateful to Governor Abbott and the state of Texas, who moved at lightning speed to make this happen, as well as our partners in the city of Arlington, the Visitors Bureau, and AT&T Stadium for welcoming PBR and our loyal fans for championship week.”

PBR also announced a “first-of-its kind” event, the PBR Air Force Reserve Cowboys for a Cause, which will take place on the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, Texas, and be broadcast on CBS on Dec. 5 at 12p. The invitational team event will feature five teams of three cowboys, riding for a Operation Homefront, a charity supporting military members and their families.

Don’t miss out! 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!

Major League Soccer and Pluto TV announced a multi-year extension of their partnership. The deal includes replays of top matches from the current season, classic matches and original features. As part of the new agreement, MLS Spanish language content will also be available on Pluto TV’s Deportes Channel. “Major League Soccer’s agreement with Pluto TV has provided fans new ways to experience and connect to the game, especially during a time when we are all staying apart,”said Gem Benedict, senior director of content distribution at MLS. “As we build on the momentum of the MLS is Back Tournament and continue our 25th season in home markets, we are proud to extend our relationship with Pluto TV and are excited to continue providing fans with great content this fall.”

RTG Features, the newly established sister studio to basketball media leader SLAM, is co-financing and co-producing an upcoming documentary about basketball coach John Thompson and his Georgetown University program as one of the first projects from the company. The film is directed and produced by Kirk Fraser and his May 3rd Films. “The Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team shaped a major part of Black American culture in the 1980s,” said Fraser. “Coach John Thompson represented Black Excellence and that is what he brought out of those men on and off the court.”

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Hyundai partnered with WWE to develop the Drive For Better 10-episode content series, showcasing WWE Superstars telling stories and taking part in appearances across the country that “demonstrate WWE and Hyundai’s mutual dedication to enriching people’s lives.” “As an official sponsor of WWE, we are excited to be working together to share the personal stories of the Superstars and help put a smile on people’s faces,” said Angela Zepeda, CMO, Hyundai Motor America. “We both believe everyone deserves better and this series is representative of that.”

The National Women’s Hockey League locked in a partnership with recovery and performance technology brand Hyperice, which will now serve as the organization’s official recovery partner. As part of the agreement, the NWHL’s six teams will have enhanced access to Hyperice technology at training facilities and arenas, while Hyperice will be integratd in the league’s global streams on Twitch, and NWHL players will team up on activations that utilize Hyperice products.

Special Olympics named Major League Baseball All-Stars Gleyber Torres and Willson Contreras as Special Olympics Global Ambassadors with the pair becoming the first MLB players to serve in that capacity for the movement. “Special Olympics is proud to have Gleyber Torres and Willson Contreras join our movement as Global Ambassadors,” said Special Olympics Chief Executive Officer Mary Davis. “Their passion and perspective amplify the voice of the Unified Generation and show the world how the power of sport can create an inclusive world.”

Perry Ellis International’s golf division inked an extension of its license agreement with the PGA TOUR to produce golf accessories and training aids under the PGA TOUR brand, as well as the addition of new product categories and initiatives. The parties agreed to extend the license agreement, which was initially set to expire in 2022, through December 31, 2025. PEI Golf will now become the exclusive licensee for PGA TOUR branded headwear distributed and sold at traditional retail channel such as department stores, sporting goods stores, and e-commerce outlets.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

Elevate Sports Ventures, the sports and entertainment consulting firm unveiled “Elevate Insights,” an analytics-driven vertical designed to deliver teams, brands, properties and venues with revenue-driving business solutions. “For a professional team or municipality considering building or renovating an arena or stadium; for a business considering investment into a new endeavor in the sports and entertainment industry; for a sports brand or property pursuing a fresh marketing, sales or operational strategy, our Insights team can design the right playbook,” said Thomas Bernstein, Elevate Sports Venture’s Vice President of Insights. “Our people, process, and technology solutions are informed by Silicon Valley’s most innovative startups and road-tested in the front offices of our partners. Most importantly, our solutions are 100 percent bespoke for each of our clients and derived from data-driven, fan-centered analytics.”

ASICS joined RE100, the global environmental initiative composed of member companies committed to relying solely on renewable energy for their electricity needs in business activities. As a member company of RE100, ASICS will aim to use only renewable electricity across all business entities by 2050. “Joining RE100 is a step forward to achieve our target, net-zero greenhouse gas emission by 2050,” said Yasuhito Hirota, COO and President of ASICS Corporation. “We are committed to take actions on climate change and limit the global warming to 1.5°C so that people can enjoy sports in a sustainable environment. Going forward, we will continue to act responsibly for future generations to achieve a sound mind in a sound body.”

ESPORTS

Hearthstone firmed up its championship plans, as players from around the world compete over a $500,000 prize pool from Dec. 12-13. Grandmasters will compete in a dual tournament format until four finalists are left for the 2020 Hearthstone World Championship. Running fully online, the official livestream will be showcased on the Hearthstone YouTube channel.

Enthusiast Gaming Holdings partnered with two international advocacy organizations, Global Citizen and HeadCount to promote the “importance of voter registration and inspire action, across the Generation Z and Millennial cohorts.” This non-partisan campaign will run across Enthusiast Gaming’s key media properties and YouTube channels, through October 5, with participants engaging in the campaign by using the hashtags #JustVote and #GamersVote.

SPORTS BROADCAST JOURNAL w/David J. Halberstam

NBC was fully prepared to cover U.S. Open despite facing a couple logistical challenges. The first was working around the constraints of Covid-19 and the other was the need for a quick turnaround on production plans. Remember, NBC didn’t nail down the rights until this past June. NBC earned an A overall for its presentation of the U.S. Open. Lead anchor and Winged Foot member Dan Hicks led the way steadily.
NBC gets an A for its coverage of the U.S. Open at Winged Foot; Dan Hicks and Paul Azinger excel

The NFL enters week #3 on TV. Al Michaels will miss Sunday night’s game on NBC. He’s taking three games off this year. Mr. Everywhere, Mike Tirico fills in. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman have Dallas at Seattle for Fox. The NFL TV ratings are down roughly 7% through the first couple weeks. See all market clearances game-by-game, market-by-market for this weekend.
NFL Week #3: Full TV schedule, Games, talent, market clearances, times; Al Michaels is off Sunday

College football is already in week #4. This week alone there were a number of games cancelled due to Covid-19 protocols including Notre Dame at Wake Forest. The networks, ESPN in particular, were forced to shuffle their schedules several time this week. See full listings by networks, times, games and talent.
College Football Week #4: Hello SEC! CBS has Miss State at LSU; ESPN runs Florida St-Miami in primetime

Columnist Jake Baskin writes, “The Canadian style of hockey announcing is less conversational than what you get in the US, and sticking to two announcers on broadcasts for marquee events instead of three, means there are fewer interruptions and a stricter focus on play-by-play.”
Is hockey better on Canadian TV or American? Are 2 voices better than 3? How about graphics? We explore!

Happy Birthdays and many great returns!

Hubie Brown, Sep 25 ESPN, NBA analyst
Bill Simmons, Sep 25 The Ringer, ex-ESPN
Roxy Bernstein, Sep 25 ESPN, Pac-12 Network
Don Fischer, Sep 26 Voice Indiana U F/B
Eric Reid, Sep 28 TV Voice, Miami Heat
Matt Vasgersian, Sep 28 ESPN, MLB play-by-play
Bryant Gumbel, Sep 29 HBO ex-NBC
Don Criqui, Oct 1 Ex-CBS and NBC
Bob Wischusen, Oct 1 ESPN
Sports Broadcast Journal

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Save the date for our virtual awards event on Dec. 1st to see who wins!

On this Day
1926: The NHL grants franchises to the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings.

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Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
How far apart are the two sides of goal posts in the NFL and NCAA? Answer: 18 feet, six inches. Kudos: Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Roger Furman-Sports Marketing Communications/Greentown; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank

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