09/13/16: MLBPA gears up for digital slam; Giants win a boon for FOX; DGital Media makes play for college crowd


Good morning. It’s Tuesday September 13, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

MLBPA is looking to go deeper into digital, tapping the services of NeuLion to launch an “all-new digital destination for news and features about the MLBPA and its members” that would offer fans and media “a new and exciting way to stay connected with the best players in the world of baseball.” The new platform, www.MLBPlayers.com, will see content that includes stories, new videos, integrated social media, player features and more.

"We wanted the next generation digital experience for our fans and Players," said Tony Clark, Executive Director of the MLBPA. "We picked NeuLion to help elevate our digital game, and we look forward to tapping into their extensive experience working with the largest brands in professional and college sports to help us communicate our key messages in real and near-real time."


FOX Sports took home the top-rated NFL contest in week one of the season, with the Giants win over the Cowboys on Sunday generating a 16.9/32 Nielsen rating to rank as the highest-rated NFL telecast for Week 1 among metered markets. Among NFL pregame shows, FOX NFL Sunday notched a 3.7/10, up one-tenth over Week 1 last year while FOX NFL Kickoff posted a 1.1/3, also up one-tenth over last year.

Speaking of the NFL, FOX Sports added former league front-office veteran Michael Lombardi to its team where he will serve as a guest analyst and contributor on FS1 studio shows Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, The Herd with Colin Cowherd and Speak for Yourself in addition to making appearances on FOX NFL Kickoff.

Meanwhile, NBC’s Patriots-Cardinals SNF opener marked a 14.8/25 in overnight numbers to take the night. That score is down slightly from last year, but marks the best-ever for a network reg-season telecast featuring the Cardinals.

Glory Sports International wrapped up a Series B financing led by Yao Ming’s Yao Capital, which picked up a significant strategic stake in the company. Liberty Global also participated in the syndicate, in addition to existing GLORY shareholders Twin Focus Capital of Boston and other partners. GLORY will be upping its live event presence to 18 dates in 2017, with expansion into Southeast Asia and Latin America, as well as launching reality television programming. In addition, Yao Capital and GLORY agreed to commit significant capital to launch a new joint venture in China.

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CBS Sports locked in its SEC on CBS football game for Sept. 24, picking up the Florida/Tennessee matchup. The game starts at 3:30p with Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and reporter Allie LaForce calling the contest.

Another pickup for ONE World Sports, which inked a deal with the newly launched China Arena Football League (CAFL) and Arena Football League Global (AFL-G) to carry the upcoming inaugural season, Super Series 2016 with an 18 game series on deck. “ONE World Sports partnership with the CAFL allows fans to see firsthand the growth and popularity of American style football throughout the world, culminating with the launch of a league of its own in China,” said Todd Myers, Vice President Programming, Acquisitions & Development, ONE World Sports. “The addition of football to ONE World Sports’ diverse programming further illustrates the network’s mission of providing varied sports from around the world, including those that emanate from and are most popular in the U.S.”

ESPN locked in microphone duties for the World Cup of Hockey, anchored by the top team of Steve Levy and Barry Melrose to call the action. ESPN’s John Buccigross and Kevin Weekes will also be a mainstay team during the tournament. Former NHL goalie Darren Pang will join the team as a game analyst and between-the-benches reporter for select games. Linda Cohn and Adnan Virk will host studio coverage throughout the group play stage of the tournament with Buccigross taking over as studio host for the Semifinals and Final when Levy and Melrose are in the booth. Coverage will also feature Brett Hull and Chris Chelios in the studio for every game during the tournament.



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The University of California, Berkeley locked in a new multimedia rights agreement with Learfield for traditional marketing and sponsor partnerships as well as additional external marketing investments and exposure to promote the Cal program. The partnership will also feature the development of new social media channels, including engagement of Think Social, Learfield’s social media agency, and a number of other media and sponsorship innovations.

The NHL will see the Sam Roberts Band and singer/songwriter Daya join the festivities for the Pepsi World Cup of Hockey Premiere Party at the Scotiabank World Cup of Hockey Fan on Sept. 16. Headlined by The Killers, the event will serve as the official opening of the 10-day fan festival. 

A coaching education alliance between the Pac-12 Conference, the University of Utah, Arizona State University, the Federation University Sports China and the Chinese Scholarship Council is officially underway on the campuses of Utah and Arizona State. The partnership will see coaches from both universities train 200 Chinese coaches on techniques in men and women’s basketball, track & field, swimming, and cheerleading.

Playmates Toys is teaming with WWE to launch a new line of racing toys dubbed WWE Nitro Sprints and Nitro Machines. The collection features the likes of John Cena, The Rock, Brock Lesnar, the Undertaker and Dean Ambrose.


Podcasting got yet another boost with DGital Media agreeing to a deal with Learfield to showcase football, men’s basketball and Olympic sports of the Alabama Crimson Tide, North Carolina Tar Heels, Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys via twice weekly podcasts. The shows will be introduced every Tuesday and Friday via platforms that include Apple iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify and Google Play.

DraftKings unleashed the DK Live app, designed to aggregate “all the critical information fantasy football players need at their fingertips, regardless of their fantasy platform,” via custom highlights feeds, scores, breaking news and analysis. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins unveiled DK Live at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco yesterday. “Our team built DK Live with the fantasy player in mind, creating an experience tailored to each fan and connecting them to the content that matters most to them,” said Jason Robins, CEO and Co-Founder at DraftKings. “DK Live is our latest way of giving sports fans the best technology and experience by eliminating the frantic screen hopping between different apps and web sites on game day.”

Research intelligence group Leger released results from a study about the use of fantasy football in the US, noting that nearly one in five adults are planning to participate in a fantasy football league for the upcoming 2016-2017 NFL season. Overall, 18% stated their plans to play a traditional fantasy football league this season, up from 13% a year ago. The poll also shows for the second consecutive year that women continue are joining in on the trend at a faster rate than their male counterparts, noting that 27% of fantasy football players are now women.

The New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center locked in a deal with 15 Seconds of Fame that makes the franchise the first NHL team to offer fans the company’s in-arena personal video technology and social media app during the 2016-17 hockey season. Fans who appear on Prudential Center’s videoboard during Devils games will now be able to instantly receive their personalized video clip on their mobile device and share it on various social media platforms.

WNBA squad the New York Liberty leveraged the Jaunt VR app to offer fans a behind-the-scenes look at the team through virtual reality. Content can be found on the Jaunt app or at NYLiberty.com and includes the tape room, the video room, the training room, a timeout huddle and the locker room at halftime. Players Tina Charles, Swin Cash, Tanisha Wright and Shoni Schimmel as well as associate head coach Katie Smith guide viewers through the various locations.

SPEED Lacrosse announced that Lax Sports Network is set to offer exclusive coverage of the Pro SPEED Lacrosse match on Saturday at 4p. Travis Eldridge will be in Florida for Lax Sports Network with interviews and flavor from the Beach Festival, including a one-on-one with Casey Powell


General Mills is getting into the eSports game, inked a deal to become the first presenting sponsor of Yahoo Esports Live, a new hour-long weekly live show. Activision will include custom branded segments and video advertising for Reese’s Puffs Cereal. As part of this campaign, Reese’s Puffs will also sponsor Yahoo’s coverage for the live stream of ESL One New York 2016 from October 1-2. The show includes two 30-minute segments, Late Night League and Tilted, airing every Monday at 6p. “As a leader in the emerging Esports space and an experienced player in live programming, Yahoo was the obvious choice for our new campaign for Reese’s Puffs,” said Devin Kunysz, marketing manager, Reese’s Puffs, General Mills. “We’ve found a really unique way to connect with our audience around the new Yahoo Esports Live, so that we’re able to not only entertain and engage fans around our brand, but drive results for our business.”

Team EnVyUs’ victory over Splyce in last Sunday’s Call of Duty World League Championship helped drive the most viewed eSports event in title history, with combined viewing of matches besting 20 million views. The worldwide peak concurrent viewership bested the previous record for Call of Duty eSports events by more than 40%. “Sunday’s Finals were the perfect conclusion to the biggest fan celebration in our history with Call of Duty XP and to the debut season of the CWL,” said Rob Kostich, EVP and GM, Call of Duty, Activision. “With over 1,000 teams participating from all over the globe, it came down to the final two elite squads, one from North America and one from Europe. It was an epic, raucous finale that capped an incredible weekend of action that was watched around the world by millions. We cannot thank the Call of Duty community enough for their support, it has been incredible all year long.”


CSE Talent hired Danny Martoe as to serve as President of its Talent Representation Division to oversee CSE Talent’s team of agents and specialists with a focus on strengthening and expanding the company’s brand and reach. Martoe joins CSE Talent from the entertainment accounting and business management firm Nigro, Karlin, Segal, Feldstein & Bolno.


Dodgers/Mets on MLB Network at 7p.


Join us for a swanky awards reception in NYC this Fall!
Thursday, September 15
4:15 – 6:30 PM
Celebrate with your industry peers & help us applaud the talented young pros that made the cut for our Rising Star Awards
& the unsung heroes who have demonstrated
excellence in our HR Awards.

Hear their thoughts on the future of the industry + toast to their achievements over the past year.

ON THIS DAY in 1999: The Broncos retire John Elway’s #7.

In The Know: Against what two teams did John Elway win Super Bowls? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which franchise was the last NFL team to switch conferences? Answer: Seattle Seahawks. Kudos: John Ferlazzo-Media Consultant/London; Andrew Feingold-Fox News/NY; Michael Strauss-Cox Reps/NY; Aymon DeMauro-Discovery/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Mike Doyle-NCM/Madison; Michael G. Hawkins-Francis Marion University/Florence; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Lance Davis-Good Karma Brands/Milwaukee; Tom Doherty-Starcom Media/Chicago; David Hauptman/Denver; Michael Jaquet-US Ski and Snowboard Association/Park City; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Brandon Leopoldus-Gerard Fox Law/NY; Jason Kleinhein-Cox Reps/LA; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA.

Later — Chris
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