10/05/18: MLB Network’s Season Long Numbers Continue A Great Week For Baseball

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Good morning. It’s Friday October 5, 2018 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Baseball’s good news continues, as MLB Network recorded a 6% increase for overall viewership in both total day and in prime time compared to 2017 as the regular season wrapped up. Also, every daily studio show saw year-over-year viewership growth. That included MLB Central, up +13%, and High Heat with Christopher Russo, with its best year, up 53%. To make its NLDS game telecasts available to even more viewers, MLB Network has partnered with several of its distributors to expand their existing carriage of MLB Network by providing a free preview from Oct. 3-10 to video customers of AT&T U-verse, Comcast (XFINITY), Cox, DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW, DISH, Frontier, Verizon Fios and many others, bringing MLB Network’s distribution for that period to approximately 90 million homes. MLB Network’s Postseason games are also available anywhere in the United States via an authenticated live stream to customers of participating pay TV providers through the MLB At Bat app, MLBNetwork.com/Watch and MLB.TV.
Golf Channel wrapped its best third quarter ever across viewership, streaming and digital engagement. This was fueled by Tiger Woods’ return to the top echelon of the game, especially across NBC Sports’ slate of marquee third quarter events, including The 147th Open, PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs, and the Ryder Cup. September was Golf Channel’s most-watched September ever (132k), up 33% vs. 2017, and becomes the third month this year to set a most-watched milestone (after January and March).
TBS’s exclusive coverage of the 2018 American League Wild Card presented by Hankook Tire – the Oakland Athletics vs. New York Yankees (8-11:30 p.m. ET) – led the network to win the night across all of cable television, based on overnight delivery.  The live game telecast peaked with an average of 7.5 million total viewers from 9:15-9:30 p.m. ET, based on Nielsen Fast Nationals, and delivered significant audience growth across all platforms. Wednesday night’s A.L. Wild Card game telecast garnered an average minute audience of 6.4 million viewers across all platforms, an increase of 51% over the 2016 A.L. Wild Card game on TBS and a 45% gain when compared to last year’s N.L. Wild Card game on the network.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ local television ratings on FOX Sports Midwest ranked No. 1 among Major League Baseball teams in 2018, the 19th consecutive year the team finished in the top three in MLB (2000-2018). The 145 Cardinals games on FOX Sports Midwest averaged a 7.3 household rating/87,000 households in the St. Louis DMA, up from a 7.2 in 2017, according to Nielsen Media Research.
SHOWTIME Sports will chronicle the buildup to the heavyweight event featuring WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury with a new installment of All Access, a three-part series beginning Saturday, November 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME. The Emmy Award-winning series will peel back the curtain as two of boxing’s most charismatic showmen prepare to put their undefeated records on the line Saturday, December 1 live on SHOWTIME PPV® from Staples Center in Los Angeles.
With so many profound issues affecting women taking the spotlight in the past year, Cynopsis is launching our newest awards, which will bring together the community from around the world of sports, and honor the drive and innovation that is evolving change in the sports industry.
–Chris Pursell, Cynopsis Director of Sports & Esports Content
Nominate a female executive from your team into the Cynopsis Top Women in Sports Awards. The process shouldn’t more than 25mins and don’t forget to nominate by the December 4th deadline.

Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Javier Báez and Juju Smith-Schuster are among a group of athletes who have attached themselves to a new body and skincare brand, Art of Sport. The debut product line includes deodorant, antiperspirant, Hair + Body Wash, Body Bar, Sunscreen and a soon-to-be released ultra-strength Recovery Cream.
BSE Global named Qatar Airways the official global airline partner of the Nets and Barclays Center in a multiyear deal. The arena’s Courtside Club will become the Qatar Airways Club, and the airline also will receive branding on all courtside seats. JetBlue, a codeshare partner of Qatar Airways, will continue to hold the designation of official domestic airline partner of the Nets and Barclays Center
San Antonio-based supermarket H*E*B has launched another series featuring members of the San Antonio Spurs in conjunction with Spurs training camp. H*E*B’s stars for this season are LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Patty Mills, Pau Gasol and DeMar DeRozan. Another spot features Spurs Legends George “Ice Man” Gervin, Sean Elliott, Bruce Bowen, David Robinson and Manu Ginobili.
The UFC has signed a new multi-year deal with Australia’s largest pub and hotel chain ALH Group. With over 300 sites nationwide, ALH Group is Australia’s largest operator of licensed venues, and is now the “Official Home of UFC” in Australia. The partnership gives ALH Group unique access and promotion rights with UFC athletes, who are set to appear at ALH venues, but does not include exclusive distribution or content rights. A new digital venue locator will also allow fans to find their closest ‘Official Home of UFC’.
Combate Americas and Monster Energy Drink announced a partnership, naming the beverage company the official energy drink of the Hispanic Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) sports franchise in the U.S. and Mexico. The new deal will include Monster Energy Drink brand integration inside La Jaula, the Combate Americas competition cage, as well as brand integration in the Facebook Watch streaming portion of Combate Americas live events, and in-venue activations during Combate Americas events.
Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander is featured in a new national campaign for Supercuts for the MLB postseason. The partnership adds to Justin’s portfolio of national partners that includes USAA and Flonase, he also has deals with Breitling, Rawlings and Under Armour.

Twitter and the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) today announced a partnership to live stream games for the second consecutive season. The “Twitter NWHL Game of the Week” will feature 16 regular season games, the 2019 NWHL All-Star Game and the Isobel Cup Playoffs. The games are produced by the NWHL and the streams are exclusive to Twitter in the live windows. The global live stream will be available for free to logged-in and logged-out users on Twitter and connected devices. Fans will be able to access the live stream via @NWHL.
DigitalSportsDesk.com (@DigSportsDesk) expanded its deal with GraceNote to increase its daily media coverage within game stats, and results for the major pro sports and NCAA events. The Boston-based site is now up to over 140,000 page views a month and 5,000 a day, with a focus on New England events and sports business and media.
The Devils and Islanders have signed partnerships with Entercom to exclusively stream all game radio broadcasts in the ’18-19 season. Game broadcasts will be made available for free on Entercom’s Radio.com app and website, as well as the team’s mobile apps and websites.
The Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN) announced the opening of a new studio in the sports book of the Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. The studio will serve as the stage for weekend morning shows starting later this month as VSiN expands its footprint to a state with newly legalized sports gambling. Former NFL executive Michael Lombardi and current VSiN host Jonathan Von Tobel will anchor the programs, which will kick off VSiN’s live weekend programming with an earlier start time of 10 a.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.


  The English Premier League and Electronic Arts announced a new partnership to launch a UK-based FIFA 19 esports league centered on the legendary soccer league. The new entity will be known as the ePremier League and feature 20 teams based off of all each of the Premier League clubs, including staple teams Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool. The slate will begin in January next year with players able to register starting Dec. 3. All of the 20 recognized clubs in the Premier League will each host their own live playoffs to select two individuals to represent the club at the event, one for each platform (PS4 and Xbox One). Players will then compete against one another for two months over the course of three rounds: online qualification, live club playoffs, and the ePL Final, which will take place from March 28 in London. The finals of the tournament will also run in primetime on Sky Sports.
Estars announced the launch of a new interactive engagement platform for esports events worldwide, blending elements of competitive gaming with a social gaming platform designed to spur active engagement for the biggest esports competitions around the world. The first product, Estars Outlast, is a free-to-play competition that allows fans to test their knowledge of various esports tournaments and predict the performance of their favorite competitors.

Chipotle Mexican Grill is teaming with esports squad TSM to launch of a burrito-filled giveaway and a chance to play with Fortnite staple Daequan. Starting today and running through Oct. 6, Chipotle lovers and Fortnite players can enter the #BurritoRoyale sweepstakes, keep an eye on @TSM_Daequan on Twitter to see when Daequan announces the opening of the sweepstakes. From there, simply like and re-tweet Daequan’s tweet and fans will be automatically entered for a chance to play with Daequan. The grand prize winner will earn free Chipotle burritos for a year, and four runners-up will receive a free Chipotle dinner for 10. All five winners will also receive an autographed TSM mousepad and a Chipotle x Fortnite t-shirt.

Former Adidas North America VP/Corporate Communications & Culture Lauren Lamkin has accepted a position as the top spokesperson for the ’28 L.A. Games organizing committee.
The Yankees visit the Red Sox in Game 1 of the ALDS at 7:30 on TBS.
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ON THIS DAY in 1953 the 50th World Series sees NY Yankees beat Dodgers, 4 games to 2, as NY Billy Martin’s 12 hits set record; Yanks win record 5th consecutive World Series.
In the Know: Forty years ago this past week the Yankees and Red Sox met in a historic one game playoff in Fenway Park. Who was the winning pitcher in the game? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: With all the NHL expansion talk, who was the first expansion team to make the Stanley Cup Finals after the league expanded from the “Original Six” in 1966? Answer: The 1967 St. Louis Blues Kudos: Terry Lyons Digital Sports Desk, Boston, Tim Curry, Curry PR, Ct, Erin Weinberg, UEG, NY, Andy Pittman TAMU, TX, John Ferlazzo, NY, Ken White, Kwtv, Charlotte, Denis Barry CBS NY, Jim Bono NBC Sports NY, Rick Wiener Allebach Communication, Pa., Rich Dubroff BaltimoreBaseball.com, St. Louis Blues, Tom Moore, Kalt Productions, CA, Jerry Milani, Milani, PR NJ, and Rich Wolfe, Lone Wolfe Press, Scottsdale, Arizona.
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JOB OPENING: SENIOR MANAGER, PROGRAMMING/Crown Media Family Networks/CA: Resp for scheduling & inventory mngmnt across all Crown Media platforms both linear & SVOD & pitching thematic events to drive subscriber growth & viewership & prospective clients. Min 5 yrs. of multi-platform exp (SVOD, Cable or Brdcst). Apply HERE (10/12)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, MARKETING & PARTNER INSIGHTS/Viacom/ NYC: Researcher to concentrate on Viacom’s young adult brands  (MTV/VH1/Comedy Central). Mng consumer insights projects working w/vendors, mngng panels & other internal proprietary resources. 8+ yrs exp media or consumer rsrch. Expertise on young adult & youth consumers pref’d. Full info/apply HERE (10/12)

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