09/28/18: NBA League Pass is adding a slate of new options ahead of the new season

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Good morning. It’s Friday September 28, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

With a new season on the horizon, NBA League Pass is launching a series of “innovative, fan-focused initiatives that will provide more ways to watch live NBA game coverage than ever before.” Through a new, season-long NBA League Pass offering – available via Turner’s B/R Live streaming service, along with NBA.com and the NBA App – fans will now be able to purchase and watch live NBA games in-progress at a reduced price. Beginning at the start of the season, fans will have the ability to purchase a single game on NBA League Pass from the end of the third quarter to the conclusion of the game for $1.99. Starting in early December, fans will have the additional option to buy a single game at reduced prices at the beginning of each quarter.  NBA Digital is also developing an option to enable fans to purchase 10 minutes of real-time game access.  Details regarding the future launch of that offering will be announced at a later date.
 
“Our partnership with the NBA continues to center on the development of innovative, fan-first products that deliver premium content through an array of touch points and drive consumption across all platforms,” said David Levy, President of Turner. “These game-changing initiatives will provide fans with immediate access to live NBA action in more ways than ever before.  From live games on TNT and NBA TV to these compelling options for NBA League Pass subscribers, fans will be able to customize the experience to best align with their viewing preferences.”
 
 
ON THE AIR

The 2018 MLB Postseason takes the mound on Oct. 2 on ESPN with the National League Wild Card Game presented by Hankook Tire at 8p on ESPN and the ESPN App. ESPN will also exclusively televise any tiebreaker games on Oct. 1. Matt Vasgersian will handle play-by-play with analysts Alex Rodriguez and Jessica Mendoza and reporter Buster Olney. In addition, ESPN2 will televise an alternative viewing experience for this event for the first time, driven largely by on-screen graphics, data and information from Statcast. This telecast will include its own commentator team of play-by-play voice Jason Benetti, analyst Eduardo Perez and Mike Petriello.
 
Golf Channel and NBC line up 30 hours of live tournament coverage of the 42nd Ryder Cup starting today, with live coverage from Le Golf National outside of Paris beginning at 2a this morning. Leading into and following live tournament coverage, Golf Channel’s team of news reporters and analysts will provide comprehensive wraparound news coverage from both on-site in France and from Golf Channel’s worldwide headquarters in Orlando. Terry Gannon and Dan Hicks handle play-by-play with analysts:Nick Faldo, Justin Leonard, and Johnny Miller.
 
FOX Sports named JP Dellacamera and two-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Wagner as the lead announce team for the 2018 Concacaf Championship. The duo is set to call all USA Group Stage matches live from Cary, N.C., and the Semifinals and Final from Frisco, Texas. Alex Curry reports from the sideline. FOX Sports’ presentation of the regional qualifying tournament to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup begins Oct. 4 at 5p on FS2 as Trinidad & Tobago takes on Panama to begin Group A. Play-by-play announcers will include Derek Rae, Jenn Hildreth and Mark Followill; and regular FOX Sports contributor Keith Costigan. Analysts will include Cat Whitehill, Kyndra de St. Aubin, and Danielle Slaton.
 
Across the Atlantic, UFC locked in a new broadcast partnership with Eleven Sports for the United Kingdom and Ireland starting in January 2019 with rights to all 42 live UFC events in 2019, as well as over 150 hours of UFC original and archive programming in the multi-year agreement. “We have worked very successfully with ELEVEN SPORTS in Belgium and Luxembourg and we are looking forward to extending our partnership here in the UK and Ireland,” said David Shaw, UFC Senior Vice President, International and Content. “The UK and Ireland are amongst UFC’s strongest markets globally and with ELEVEN SPORTS making a significant impact here, it made perfect sense to partner with them to showcase our thrilling product to our loyal and passionate fans.”
 
NBC Sports’ announced that coverage of the 2018-19 NHL regular-season will see NHL Live leave behind Studio 2 in Stamford and go on the road to host coverage on-site ahead of nine signature Wednesday Night Hockey games. Travel starts in DC on Oct. 3 ahead of the Penguins/Capitals matchup. “By taking NHL Live on the road this season, we hope to capture the chaos, excitement and hockey-crazed fandom that make NHL fans some of the best in the world,” said John McGuinness, Coordinating Producer, NBC Sports. “From Capital One Arena in D.C., to the United Center in Chicago, to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, we have intentionally selected some of the most popular and energetic scenes in the league, and are looking forward to showcasing the iconic elements and culture of each team, fan base and city.”
 
FOX Sports announced that former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and former Texas quarterback Vince Young with join FOX Sports’ expanded coverage of the Red River Showdown between Texas and Oklahoma on Oct. 6. The pair will be part of a two-hour edition of FOX College Football Pregame live from the State Fair of Texas beginning at 10a on FS1 and continuing at 11a on FS1 and the FOX broadcast network.
 
Award-winning journalist Don Van Natta Jr. is expanding his role across ESPN as the host of two new programs slated to debut in 2019. Van Natta will also increase his contributions to ESPN’s investigative news show Outside the Lines and his work will continue to appear across ESPN’s platforms. Shows include Backstory, exploring what’s beneath some of sports’ biggest scandals and controversies, and The Triangle, a new ESPN interview podcast.
 
Pac-12 Networks locked in broadcast schedules for the 2018-19 men’s basketball season, which will include 149 total games on Pac-12 Networks. New this year, regular-season action will tip off on Nov. 6 with six of the Conference’s seven games that day airing on Pac-12 Networks. In total, each program will be featured at least 12 times: Arizona (15), Arizona State (15), California (20), Colorado (15), Oregon (14), Oregon State (19), Stanford (13), UCLA (14), USC (13), Utah (15), Washington (12) and Washington State (24).
 
SiriusXM will offer subscribers nationwide live hole-by-hole coverage of the 2018 Ryder Cup and more than 30 hours of live coverage from this year’s Ryder Cup. Coverage will begin on today and Saturday at 2a and on Sunday at 4a. Listeners will hear a combination of SiriusXM’s exclusive broadcast featuring calls by Earl Forcey, Mark Carnevale, Fred Albers, John Maginnes and Carl Paulson, as well as the IMG-produced broadcast led by longtime European golf broadcaster Richard Kaufman.
 
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CALL FOR ENTRIES
The 2nd Annual Cynopsis Short Form Video Festival
 
The Cynopsis Short Form Video Festival is searching for the most cutting-edge creatives from individuals and teams worldwide, including: production companies/studios, producers, networks, composers, lyricists, animators, video game developers/producers, website developers, mobile & app developers/producers, marketing companies, PR firms and more . Submissions will be judged by a panel of industry experts and finalists will be announced in mid-November.
 
 

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Octagon Marketing launched a dedicated Global Events and Hospitality Division with Matthieu Fenaert running the initiative. The newly dedicated division will tap into Octagon’s global team of experts to create and execute events and experiences for agency’s deep roster of brand clients.
 
Some of baseball’s top stars are participating in a bullying prevention public service announcement campaign in support of MLB and ESPN’s ongoing Shred Hate initiative. Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies), Javier Baez (Chicago Cubs), Mookie Betts (Boston Red Sox), Sean Doolittle (Washington Nationals), Aaron Judge (New York Yankees), Francisco Lindor (Cleveland Indians), George Springer (Houston Astros), Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels) and Justin Verlander (Houston Astros) have all lent their voices in this Shred Hate PSA effort as Baseball observes October as “National Bullying Prevention Month.” The PSA will debut on-air on ESPN today during the network’s afternoon and evening MLB Broadcasts.
 
The New York Jets and Centenary University announced a new partnership focusing on the development and launch of a multi-faceted educational program for the students of the New Jersey-based university. The program will include a new Jets-centric college course and hands-on career development programs to give Centenary University students the opportunity to learn and experience the business operations of an NFL franchise. As part of the alliance, Centenary University will become an Official Educational Partner of the New York Jets.
 
 
DIGITAL & STREAMING

ESPN senior writer Mina Kimes agreed to a multiyear extension with ESPN, and will debut an NFL-themed podcast – Bootleg with Mina Kimes. Kimes will continue to write for ESPN The Magazine, as well as maintain a presence across a variety of programming including: as a regular panelist on Around the Horn; as a co-host on The Morning Roast on ESPN Radio with Domonique Foxworth and Clinton Yates; guesting on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz and Highly Questionable; as a debater on First Take; as a contributor to E:60; appearances on Get Up; and more.
 
Last night saw Amazon Prime and Twitch customers experience new innovations for Thursday Night Football. Initiatives included X-Ray on Fire TV devices – an exclusive feature on Prime Video that helps Prime members learn more about what and they’re watching, among other features. Meanwhile,  Twitch, which is bringing 11 TNF games to their global interactive livestreaming service and community, is featuring Co-Streaming with Twitch streamer Gold Glove, as well as new global emotes and extensions.
 
Big Chicken Shaq is set to premiere on Facebook Watch on Oct. 6 with two new episodes with others running on Saturdays this fall. A few viewers will get the chance to join Shaq at the grand opening of his Big Chicken restaurant in Las Vegas.
 
NBC Sports Regional Networks announced the launch of its direct-to-consumer product targeted to displaced Philadelphia sports fans NBC Sports Gold’sPhilly Pass” allows fans residing outside the NBC Sports Philadelphia territory to access NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Eagles, Phillies and Sixers pre- and postgame programs; the network’s weekday sports program Philly Sports Talk the Eagles-centric Quick Slants plus additional team-focused programs.
 
 
ESPORTS

Overwatch League franchises London Spitfire and Houston Outlaws became the latest tandem to launch an off season rivalry event, announcing the Overwatch Gilded Gala. The event feature two show matches, including one taking place in London on October 20th with the second in Houston in January. The event will see each franchise serve up three or four players to battle in game modes that include 1v1s, mystery heroes, and playing with fans.
 
FACEIT is launching PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds online competitive league today, allowing players and organizers the opportuny to create competitions, tournaments, and leagues that feature customization options. “The FACEIT integration offers our community a uniquely competitive framework to play PUBG at a level they haven’t experienced before,” Hyowon Yoo, Head of Business Development and Operations for NA/EU at PUBG Corporation. “The closed beta proved the value of our partnership, and we can’t wait to watch the competitive scene develop further.”
 
DreamHack is partnering with Rotterdam Ahoy to launch DreamHack Rotterdam, running Oct. 18-20, 2019 during Rotterdam Games Week. The event will feature a DreamHack Open championship for CS:GO along with with a prize pool of $100,000, a gaming expo with a lot of interaction, cosplay competitions, panel meetings and a ‘bring your own device’ LAN party.
 
ELEAGUE highlights the top plays and most pivotal moments from its recent CS:GO Premier 2018 when the brand’s feature series continues tonight at 11p on TBS. The show’s latest episode will bring fans on an all-access visit with Astralis during its dominant run at ELEAGUE.
 
 
THE MAIN EVENT

Ohio State/Penn State on Saturday at 7:30p on ABC.
 
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ON THIS DAY in 1941: Ted Williams finishes the season hitting .406.
 
In the Know: How wide is a regulation NHL goal? (Email [email protected]with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What was the name of Kevin Costner’s character in Tin Cup?  Answer: Roy McAvoy. Kudos: John Ferlazzo-London/UK; Bob Dudelson-Leverage Agency/NY; Todd Hinckley-MLS/NY; Deborah Kapetanakis-Universal McCann/NY; Joe Brucia-AMC Networks/NY; Jonny Codalata- CSM Sport & Entertainment/Zionsville; Rick Hensley-WCYB-TV/Bristol; Dave Ridpath-Ohio University/Athens; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; Matt Fumagalli-NBC/Chicago; Rich Wolfe-RichCraft/Scottsdale; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente; Jaymz Wooden-Bottelsen American Dart Lines/Santa Maria; Nick Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego
 
Later – Chris
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