09/12/16: Ford plays tough in new partnership; NBC’s newest 25 mil marker; Collegiate eSports moves forward


Good morning. It’s Monday September 12, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The NFL’s opening weekend saw a heavyweight new entry into the league’s roster of partners, as Ford kicked off its new three-year deal with the organization that makes Ford trucks the Official Truck of the NFL for its F-Series lineup. Activation includes the first-ever Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Week award, Built Ford Tough Tailgate Trucks On Demand delivering a game day tailgate experience throughout the season, as well as a Toughest Ticket sweepstakes dangling a chance to win a pair of tickets to Super Bowl LI, plus an all-new 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty customized to showcase their favorite NFL team.

Cynopsis Sports spoke with Chantel Lenard – Executive Director of USMarketing for Ford  about the new partnership, how the company’s approach to sports marketing is changing and how Uber came into the equation.

Lenard on targeting the NFL: Obviously we are an advertiser of a number of live sports and the NFL, in particular over the years. But this is the first time that we are combining into a deeper relationship and we saw this as an opportunity to bring two great American brands closer together. Linking America’s most popular sport with America’s most popular trucks, we think is a natural tie. It also allows us to reach our F-Series customers. Truck buyers are huge NFL fans.

On the evolution of sports partnerships: Our recent partnerships do allow us that opportunity to go deeper. It is now less that putting your shield or stamp on your brand. It’s really how you do with integrated marketing. For example, the Built Ford Tough Offensive Line of the Week Award will see content on NFL.com every week that included NFL-created content that highlights the performance of the selected line for that week and talking about the unsung heroes in the trenches, which is what an offensive line does and what our customers do every day. We will be integrating some of our content into that so it will be a seemless fit.

On experiential marketing: One of the things that we know about football is that it is about the experience  going to the game, being with friends, etc. So as this idea of the “toughest tailgate” came up, we started thinking about partners and Uber was a natural fit because when you are looking for a ride to go to these parties, you turn to Uber. Having an opportunity to expose customers to these trucks, on which they will get a ride, and receive tickets and a tailgate experience when they get there was a huge opportunity for us to have people see our trucks in action.


NFL Kickoff continues to prove a national draw as NBC drew 25.2 million viewers for the Broncos’ come-from-behind win over the Panthers in a Super Bowl 50 rematch. That’s down from a year ago, but marked the fourth consecutive year that the game topped 25 million viewers, according to Nielsen Fast National data, and registers a 14.6/27. The live stream drew another 278,000 viewers to the matchup with fans consuming 61.8 million live streaming minutes.

The Chase is on, as NASCAR locked in its roster of drivers for the 10-race run, which begins Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway. Competing this year will be Brad Keselowski, Kyle and Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Tony Stewart, Chris Buescher, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon and Jamie McMurray.

Last weekend’s "Battle at Bristol" between Tennessee/Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night marked an NCAA single-game record crowd of 156,990 for the matchup, which saw the speedway temporarily converted into a football stadium to accommodate this game. The previous NCAA record was 115,109 for Michigan’s 2013 victory over Notre Dame at Michigan Stadium.

ESPN Deportes detailed its plans for its MNF slate tonight with Steelers/Redskins on the docket and 17 regular season games in the card. Raul Allegre returns as in-game analyst along with play-by-play voice Alvaro Martin. Pregame, Esta Noche, starts at 8p Eduardo Varela, Pablo Viruega and John Sutcliffe as onsite commentators and reporters.

Pac-12 Networks’ docu-series The Drive: Pac-12 Football presented by Tire Pros is making it an even dozen and will hit all 12 Pac-12 campuses this the season. The series begins on Sept. 16 with , an all-access look at each football program, with eps running on Friday nights. Pac-12 Networks’ Senior Coordinating Producer Michael Tolajian will again lead the production team that features Pac-12 Networks analyst Yogi Roth.

ONE World Sports announced a deal to showcase the world’s first professional co-ed team sports league in the National Pro GRID League. The org offers two teams racing in a two-hour head-to-head competition that includes weightlifting, body-weight and other athletic elements. The league will air on ONE World Sports every Tuesday, starting tomorrow and running through October 25.

LeBron James’ storming of Hollywood continues, as the Cavalier inked a deal a deal with NBC to add another series to his resume, this time a drama inspired by renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews, according to THR.  Andrews will act as a consultant on the project with James and business partner Maverick Carter as executive producers.

FIGHT SPORTS announced deals to showcase the Canelo Alvarez/Liam Smith boxing bout in a slew of territories in Asia and Europe including Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Indonesia, and Thailand. The event takes place on Saturday from AT&T Stadium in Texas.


Call for Entries:
3rd Annual Cynopsis Sports Leaderboard

Open to all individuals + teams worldwide including: all networks, MSOs, leagues, teams, universities, production companies, studios, producers, developers, marketing and PR firms, + ad agencies who have
 utilized social media platforms to promote a product to sports fans throughout 2016.

Deadline to Enter: October 21st
– – Start your Entries – –


While we wait for Tom Brady’s return to the NFL, UGG for Men announced a new campaign anchored by the quarterback, along with actor Jeff Bridges and fellow Patriot Julian Edelman in a five-part digital series “that celebrates a man’s right to Do Nothing.” Activation began yesterday with the first video, Song, with the campaign running through Nov. The series was filmed in LA in partnership with Camp + King creative agency. Since partnering with Tom Brady in 2011, the men’s business has grown over 150%.


Amazon is framing itself to emerge as the nest big digital outlet for sports, and is actively “pursuing video rights to a wide range of sports, including the French Open tennis championship and professional rugby,” according to Reuters. Content would be used to run on its online TV service, with an eye toward sports with “global appeal,” such as tennis, golf, soccer and auto racing, although US-centric sports are also in play.

Verizon upped its streaming game, announcing that users would be able to watch live local and primetime NFL games with using their data. All games on CBS, NBC, ESPN, FOX, and NFL Network can be streamed directly to devices, along with the likes of NFL Redzone.


The National Association of Collegiate eSports (aka NAC eSports) is officially off and running, announcing its establishment last week in a move to offer “legitimacy and structure for eSports programs officially recognized by their college or university.” With 20 institutions now in the fold, including founders Columbia College (Mo.), Indiana Institute of Technology, Maryville University (Mo.), Midland University (Neb.), Robert Morris University (Ill.) and University of Pikeville (Ky.), the organization is actively looking to add new members, with institutions fully accredited by an authorized higher educational accrediting agency relative to their region and national affiliation.

Gamer Sensei is now leading recruitment of a Pro Hearthstone Team for NRG eSports. The two companies already partner for coaching and curriculum development, while the direct development of pro talent marks a new initiative for both organizations. Potential candidates must pass Gamer Sensei’s coaching certification or by completing lessons with a student account. “NRG eSports continues to set precedent for eSports, and joining Gamer Sensei to create the world’s first eSports recruiting pipeline is just another example. This exclusive partnership is a huge validation of our platform, our caliber of talent and the algorithms we’ve built to assess and rank players and coaches,” added Gamer Sensei co-founder, William Collis.


Steelers/Redskins on ESPN at 7p.


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