10/09/20: ICM Partners acquired Stellar Group


Medias First Morning Read
Friday October 9, 2020

ICM Partners is taking up a sport, acquiring Stellar Group, the London based sports agency, in a move to launch ICM Stellar Sports, a division of ICM Partners. Stellar Group reps over 800 athletes (including NFL players), whose current contracts total close to $3 billion. The agency has over 130 employees and offices in 10 countries worldwide including the UK and United States. Jonathan Barnett also inked a long-term contract with ICM and will become Executive Chairman of ICM Stellar Sports.

“In Chris Silbermann and ICM Partners we have found the ideal partner to help our clients further their earning potential in an ever-flattening world where athletes are brands with global appeal across numerous off the field revenue streams, which ICM will help us cultivate and exploit. They share our enthusiasm to enrich our clients’ opportunities as well as expand our North American representation business which is very exciting for us” said Barnett.


Opening with deal news, the Southland Conference locked in a new multi-year, multi-platform extension and expansion of the league’s media rights agreement with ESPN and ESPN+. More than 1,500 Southland events in both men’s and women’s sports will air on ESPN+ through the 2024-25 academic year. In addition, the annual Southland Conference Men’s Basketball Championship game will continue to air on ESPN or ESPN2. “We are very excited to announce that our long-standing relationship with ESPN, more than 30 years now, will continue well into the future,” Southland Commissioner Tom Burnett said. “In recent years, our broadcast offerings at the Conference and institutional level have grown exponentially, and we greatly appreciate ESPN continuing to see the value in televising and promoting our institutions and student-athletes.”

The NASCAR Hall of Fame announced Thursday that it will postpone the Induction Ceremony and Induction Week events for the Class of 2021. The decision was made in partnership with NASCAR after very thorough and thoughtful conversations regarding how best to plan and execute one of the sport’s most cherished moments while facing the ongoing uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will now take place in early 2022 and consists of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Red Farmer, the late Mike Stefanik and Landmark Award recipient Ralph Seagraves.

ESPN, ABC and ESPN Deportes will combine to televise five matches from Oct. 11-Nov. 8 during the final stretch of MLS season, while more than 75 MLS Live out-of-market matches will be streamed exclusively on ESPN+ during the final month of the season. The first of ESPN’s two matches airs this Sunday, Oct. 11, at 6p with reigning 2019 MLS Supporters Shield winner LAFC vs. Seattle Sounders, the 2019 MLS Cup champions.

With FOX Sports’ start of season two of Friday Night Smackdown on FOX, the network lined up two new WWE specials. Sunday sees WWE: The Best Moments of 2020, a look back at the year’s biggest stars and most memorable moments in WWE. Oct. 16 then sees FOX Sports’ WWE personalities come together for a special Friday Night Smackdown Kickoff Show. Renee Paquette and WWE Hall of Famer Booker T host a bevy of WWE Superstars and special guests live from the brand new “WWE ThunderDome” in Orlando. The show begins at 7:30p.

ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates, the new host of ESPN2’s Sunday morning pregame show Fantasy Football Now, signed a multi-year extension. “Field continues to be a star on the rise, providing our NFL team with so much versatility,” said Seth Markman, ESPN vice president, production. “He maintains a high standard of excellence across every aspect of his multi-faceted role, all while never aging.”

The Maui Invitational is all in on the mainland this year, announcing its 2020 Tournament bracket that will take place in Asheville as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic from Nov. 30-Dec. 2. Monday’s matchups will feature Texas squaring off against Davidson, and Indiana taking on Providence in the top half of the bracket. In the bottom half of the bracket, North Carolina will face UNLV and Stanford will go head-to-head against Alabama. All 12 Championship Round games of the Maui Invitational will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, and streamed on ESPN3.

Figure skating coverage will shift from the NBC Sports Gold “Figure Skating Pass” to Peacock Premium beginning this month, complimenting coverage on NBC and NBCSN. Peacock Premium will feature select live event coverage as well as on-demand replay coverage of figure skating throughout the season. Competition on Peacock Premium will kick off with coverage of ‘Skate America’ on October 23 with the ladies’ short program from Las Vegas.

Nitro Circus and event promoter Indigo Road Entertainment are partnering to bring the action back to U.S. fans next year, finalizing a comprehensive tour of outdoor venues across the country for 2021. The routing will cover the entire USA as well shows in Canada with the full itinerary to be announced soon. In all, the trek will encompass 26 cities and will also expand into top state fairs and festivals.

Addressing the Issue of Systemic Racism in Advertising
Thursday, October 29 | 1:00-2pm ET

“Our industry must have true economic inclusion, and this can only start when agency planners guide their clients to include black owned-media in their annual budgets… thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, for the very first time in our business, there is real accountability.” –Byron Allen, Chairman & CEO, ALLEN MEDIA GROUP

(Sponsored by TheGrio/ES Networks)


Skittles is sweet on the WWE Draft, inking a deal to serve as presenting partner for the event this week. As part of the partnership, Skittles will receive branding in digital draft content across WWE’s digital and social platforms surrounding the two-night draft set to take place live on Friday Night SmackDown on Oct 9 at 8p on FOX as well as on Monday Night Raw on Oct. 12 at 8 pm on USA Network

Camarena Tequila is now the official tequila of the International Champions Cup as well as LaLiga North America. The three premium brands announced their exclusive partnership, which will leverage the group’s multi-pronged international soccer platform, combining LaLiga’s 10-month long competition and ICC’s summer tournament, providing Camarena a year-long platform to activate. “ICC and LaLiga North America champion dedication and excellence within the sport of soccer – qualities which are also at the core of everything we do to produce our award-winning tequila,” said Brandon Lieb of Camarena Tequila. “The loyalty and passion fans of LaLiga and ICC demonstrate is second to none, and we hope that spirit will find a home with our brand as well.”

Phelps Brand announced Canada’s youngest World Champion swimmer Penny Oleksiak is joining the team as an official global ambassador. As part of the Phelps Team, Oleksiak will train and compete utilizing the industry-leading range of products from training equipment to performance swim suits, including the FINA-approved Matrix Technical suit.


Writer and commentator Domonique Foxworth signed a new multi-year extension with The Undefeated. The former NFL player and NFL Players Association president will continue to contribute to The Undefeated and across ESPN platforms, including programs such as Get Up, First Take, Outside the Lines and Highly Questionable.

Simplebet is partnering with global sports betting and lottery supplier, INTRALOT, to launch new in-play, real money betting micro-market betting opportunities for NFL, MLB, and NBA. “The continuous enrichment of player experience and the enablement of state organizations in contributing to good causes are key elements of our purpose as a company. We do that organically and through partnerships with innovative companies,” said INTRALOT Group CEO, Dr. Chris Dimitriadis. “We are looking forward to working with Simplebet and diversifying our portfolio further.”


With the 2020 Overwatch League Grand Finals underway, IBM and the Overwatch League announced its first-of-a-kind multi-year deal to bring IBM’s cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to esports. A sponsorship component kicks off at this year’s Grand Finals, as the brand becomes the official AI, cloud, and analytics sponsor of the Overwatch League. The deal covers the 2020 Grand Finals and the entirety of the 2021 and 2022 Overwatch League seasons. Starting in 2021, IBM and the Overwatch League will be working closely to develop technology solutions leveraging IBM’s expertise in natural language processing and machine learning to improve the league’s rankings system, and utilize IBM’s Watson AI capabilities to create live and in-broadcast predictive analysis, with specific solutions currently under development.

ReKTGlobal, parent company of Rogue and London Royal Ravens, announced that the company had raised $35 million in funding with the raise coming from Summit Partners. The company will now look to broaden its portfolio, recruit additional executives, and leverage its existing assets.

PUBG Corporation unleashed details around its next premier esports event, PUBG Continental Series 3 – four regional tournaments across North America, Europe, Asia, and Asia-Pacific. Each of the teams will fight for the right to be crowned their region’s Grand Champions and win their $200,000 USD regional prize pool (for a total of $800,000 winnings across all regions). PUBG esports fans can catch the NA Group Stage action on Twitch and/or YouTube on Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 16-18 with the region’s Grand Final starting Nov. 5-6, Nov. 12-13, Nov. 19-20

Upcoming esports reality competition series Gamemaster, produced by Peach Maria Productions, announced plans to begin pre-production in Atlanta on Nov. 9, following an eight-month delay due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. The series will begin production in January 2021, and is set to debut on a major streaming service in March 2021 with Wil Wheaton set to host and serve as Commissioner. “After an eight-month delay, we are thrilled to finally begin the pre-production process. This pandemic has impacted so many people around the world, including those in our industry — but we are working with some of the best partners available, including the CDC, to safely bring our cast and crew on site so we can bring this show to life,” said GAMEMASTER Creator and Executive Producer John Colp.


LeagueApps announced that Benita Fitzgerald Mosley joined its team in the new role of Head of Community and Impact and has been named the first-ever President of FundPlay. In this leadership role, Fitzgerald Mosley will help guide LeagueApps in its commitment to shape a youth sports industry centered by a core belief in the power of equitable sport and a broader societal purpose to make the world a better place for all.”


The NFL celebrates the 50th anniversary of Monday Night Football which began in the fall of 1970. It has a colorful and storied history beginning with Keith Jackson, Don Meredith and Howard Cosell, as the first broadcast team. The series solidified football as the new national pastime! We share interesting nuggets of how it all happened and the craziness along the way.
The NFL’s first prime time series: 50 years ago Monday Night Football hit ABC and wowed America!

Two cancellations heading into last weekend’s NFL schedule had network broadcast execs working overtime through the weekend to redistribute the markets getting each broadcast. Related notes are included. Good inside details.
Halby’s Morsels: A hectic weekend for football TV execs; Calling games remotely; NBA ratings sink; Costas

Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy break with tradition. The broadcast is free-flowing and less tightly formatted. It functions swimmingly under less formal assignments of play-by-play and analyst roles.
ESPN’s Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy get an A+ for their spontaneous NBA coverage

The latest FULL college and NFL weekend television schedules. Includes market clearances for each televised game, announcers, times networks and broadcast notes:
NFL Week #5: CBS gets a traditional NFC game, Giants at Dallas; SNF has 4-0 Seattle vs Minnesota
Week #6 Texas-Oklahoma rivalry on Fox at high noon; ABC runs #7 Miami at #1 Clemson in primetime

Happy Birthdays and many happy returns:

Shep Messing 10/9 Soccer commentator MSG Network
Jim Hughson 10/9 Voice of Hockey Night in Canada
Russ Salzberg 10/10 Longtime NY sports radio host and TV anchor
Greg Papa 10/10 Voice of San Francisco 49ers
Jon Miller 10/11 Voice of San Francisco Giants, ex-ESPN
Chris Spielman 10/11 Fox Sports – NFL
Tony Kubek 10/12 Ex-NBC Sports – baseball
Jim Price 10/13 Detroit Tigers radio
Roy Philpott 10/13 ESPN play-by-play
Jim Rome 10/14 Noted national sports talk radio host
Stephen A. Smith 10/14 ESPN commentator
Jim Palmer 10/15 Baltimore Orioles TV
Johnny Holliday 10/15 U Maryland Football/basketball

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On this Day
1915: Woodrow Wilson becomes the first US President to attend a World Series game.

Who won his first major at the Masters in 2015 and also won the 2015 U.S. Open?
(Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
The nickname “Dodgers” originally came from dodging what? Answer: Trolleys/streetcars. Kudos: Julio Marenghi CBS/NY; Traci Liner-MediaCom/NY; Scott Jenkins-Gracenote/NY; Bob Dudelson-Leverage Agency/NY; Mark Lehman-Braves/Atlanta; Roger Furman-Sports Marketing Communications/Greentown; Peter Lasser-Lasser Productions/Atlanta; Russ DelCore-a4media/Oakland; James Stuart-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas-Fort Worth; David Hauptman/Denver; Dave Sikula-San Francisco State University/San Francisco; John Baghdassarian-Olympusat/LA; Jack Simmons-US Army Reserve/LA; Joyce Ikemi-Glassman Media/LA

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ION MEDIA NETWORKS/NY, NY, CLEARWATER OR W PALM BEACH, FL: Resp for the assessment, design, implementation, and interconnectedness of key business applications. Must be technically proficient, and disciplined in project mgmt. and be able to work with multiple clients/users/stakeholders to meet their requirements. 10 yrs exp in Systems Ops, Process Diagnostics and Implementation. Full info HERE (10/29)

JUKIN MEDIA/NEW YORK, NY:Seeking an individual who can combine creativity and strategy with a deep understanding of the digital media sales process. Must be able to work with clients, with a min of 2 yrs in advertising/media and a proven track record of building strong client relationships. Full info HERE (10/28)

BBC STUDIOS/LA, CA: Resp for managing sales/co-prod activity in the fiction genres, with clients across both TV/digital. Need to deliver against a stretching bus plan and budget, maximizing the BBC Studios Catalogue through licensing and co-producing programme rights in the US for TV/VOD. 5yrs exp in programme dist, with an understanding of the UK TV industry. Full info HERE (10/28)

Half Yard Productions/New York: Reporting to the SVP of Prod & Ops this position is resp for overseeing all Productions and Production Mgmt staff across a wide range of programs. Including supporting the Development Dept in creating budgets/schedules for all new productions. Exp in managing various types of shows for networks/channels. Full info HERE (10/27)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for designing and building shows, managing show hosts and production team, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the production of key video & graphic elements. 3+ yrs EP exp or political news & talk programming. Full info HERE (10/27)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Write for fast paced news and opinion show. You are an exceptional storyteller with a command of political news and cultural trends. At least 3 years of national or large market local news experience. Full info HERE (10/27)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production and execution of live political news programming, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs experience line producing. Full info HERE (10/27)

Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production of live news & talk show, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs in TV news and/or talk production. Full info HERE (10/27)

DISCOVERY INC./NEW YORK, KNOXVILLE: Strong strategic & data-oriented individual to partner on new Magnolia Network & oversee research and performance analytics to optimize Magnolia’s linear & digital presence. 5+ yrs analytics exp req’d. Full info HERE (10/26)

JUMA ENTERTAINMENT/Remote: Looking for creative and highly motivated individual to access and clear videos for network prime time clip series. Must possess a love of TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and be able to navigate platforms. Full info HERE (10/25)

CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS/STAMFORD, CT: Resp for accessing and leveraging internal/external data, as well as building models to support Charter’s various business grps (Programming Acquisition, Original Content, Spectrum Nets, Mktg, Product, etc.) on critical initiatives and decisions. Min 5 yrs exp in data modeling and analytics. Full info HERE (10/25)

Public media leader seeks VP to promote APT brands, impact, marketing strategies, diverse content & engage audiences. Min 10 yrs experience. APT is EOE. Full info HERE. (10/24)

Counter Logic Gaming/Madison Square Garden Sports/LA, CA: Counter Logic Gaming is looking for someone to lead the digital mktg team, with a focus on digital content and social media. Resp for creating/executing all CLG digital/content strat across all social/streaming platforms. Min 5 yrs of digital/mktg exp. Full info HERE (10/24)

Nickelodeon/NYC, NY: Ideal candidate will lead a team of mktg and campaign mngrs in all aspects of marketing across all platforms in support of Nickelodeon series and content. Min 8 yrs exp in marketing, media or a consumer strategy position. Full info HERE (10/24)


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