10/21/19: Barry breaks down NBA plans; FIFA tops billion for WWC; Zion does the Dew

Monday October 21, 2019
The NBA tips off its regular season this week, with TNT, ESPN and NBA TV lining up a buffet of programming around the regular season. On TNT’s side of the equation, the network will tip off play with Autotrader Premiere Week featuring a pair of blockbuster NBA on TNT doubleheaders on Tuesday and Thursday beginning with the Pelicans/Raptors at 8p, followed by the Lakers/Clippers at 10:30p.
 
However, Turner will also see some benchmarks with the new season, including the 30th anniversary of Inside the NBA as well as the 30th anniversary for network stalwart Ernie Johnson at Turner Sports. Inside the NBA Presented by Kia this season will open from LA on Tuesday and feature the studio team of Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson with an expanded pregame show starting at 5:30p. Cynopsis Sports asked Craig Barry, Chief Content Officer at Turner Sports about the new season and the company’s milestones.
 
Barry on the new season: This is going to be a special season for us. It’s the 30th year of Inside the NBA and we have some fun and exciting plans in place to help celebrate the show and some of its top moments through the years. We’ve hired Stan Van Gundy, expanded the roles of Candace Parker, Ian Eagle and Steve Nash, and we’ll be taking a new approach to our Tuesday night coverage on TNT throughout the season. We’re also increasing the number of touch points for fans to consume our NBA content and engage with our personalities across social media platforms for the upcoming season.
 
On the legacy of Inside the NBA: We’re humbled by the attention the show has received and could not be more appreciative of the continued fan support. That show’s success comes down to the chemistry that exists between Ernie, Charles, Shaq and Kenny. It’s something that can’t be taught and we try and create an environment that leverages their strengths and helps set them up for success. It’s important to also extend our appreciation to all the talented people – past and present – who have contributed to the show’s success. Without them, it would not be what it is today.
 
On Ernie Johnson: First of all, and I realize this is not an original take, but there is not a finer person in the industry than Ernie. He’s the consummate professional and an even greater human being. He’s the glue that has kept everything together.  He’s meticulously prepared and able to get the most compelling perspectives out of Charles, Shaq and Kenny. Let’s just say, when he first started, we used a fair amount of prompter copy. Today, there is very little. That format has encouraged more free-flowing conversation and there is no one better at facilitating it than EJ.
 
On opening the season: Inside the NBA will be on the road in L.A. and San Francisco for Opening Week.  For Opening Night, we’ll have the NBA on TNT American Express Road Show from L.A. Live with the Inside team doing a 2.5 hour pre-game show on location, along with halftime of our first game and post-game coverage. There will also be a performance from Halsey and a number of other elements including an Inside the NBA 30th Anniversary Experience.  And we’ll have a unique, volumetric capture demonstration provided by AT&T 5G. Later in the week, Inside the NBA will be on location for the unveil of the new Chase Center in San Francisco as well.
 
PROGRAMMING

 

FIFA revealed results of a comprehensive audit of the final audience data for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, announcing that a combined 1.12 billion viewers tuned into official broadcast coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 across all platforms to score a record audience for the competition. Linear TV accounted for the majority of the global audience, with 993.5 million viewers watching at least one minute of coverage on a TV set at home, an increase of 30% on the audience for the 2015 edition held in Canada, which reached 764.0 million. An estimated 481.5 million people accessed coverage of France 2019 on digital platforms, for 43% of the total audience reach. Publicis Sport & Entertainment compiled the consolidated audience figures for the event.
 
Major League Baseball announced FOX’s broadcast schedule for the 2019 World Series, set to begin tomorrow at Houston’s Minute Maid Park and is presented by YouTube TV as the Astros take on the Nationals at 8p on FOX, followed by a Wednesday night matchup also at 8p on the network. Subsequent games, including potential games, will run Oct. 25, 26, 27, 29 and 30.
 
Speaking of which, FOX Sports saw the Astros’ series-clinching win over the Yankees average 7,472,000 viewers on FS1 to rank as the most-watch program on the network since 2017 and fourth0largest audience ever. That number is up 28% over last year’s NLCS game the network covered, led by Houston’s 23.9/46 according to Nielsen. Overall, the game delivered 7,928,000 across all of the FOX Sports platforms carrying the contest.
 
Meanwhile, the NFL reports that last week’s Thursday Night Football game featuring the Chiefs’ and Broncos was seen by an average audience of 14.4 million across all platforms, including FOX, NFL Network, FOX Deportes, NFL digital, FOX Sports digital, Amazon Prime Video, Twitch and Yahoo Sports. The 14.4 million viewers for the matchup was up 52% across all platforms versus last year’s Week 7 Thursday Night Football matchup between the Broncos and Cardinals. Season-to-date, the Thursday Night Football tri-cast is averaging 16.3 million viewers – up 21% versus the comparable point last season.
 
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the 2020 NFL Draft, held in Las Vegas, will once again be carried on ABC, ESPN and the NFL Network. More details expected soon.
 
Outback Bowl President/CEO Jim McVay announced an agreement to extend long-term broadcast partner ESPN’s contract for an additional six years through the January 2026 game. As part of the new arrangement, the Outback Bowl will continue to be played in the coveted New Year’s Day line-up. The January 2020 game will be televised on ESPN.
 
Tomorrow on ESPN sees E:60 return to primetime at 9p with co-hosts Jeremy Schaap and Lisa Salters. The hourlong show kicks off its 12th season with a brand-new look and features by Mina Kimes and Jen Lada. Lada sits down with South Carolina quarterback Ryan Hilinski in “Hilinski’s Hope.” Hilinski, who helped the Gamecocks defeat No. 3-ranked Georgia last weekend, explains how the loss of his brother Tyler impacted his life both on and off the field. Lada examines how Tyler’s story can help others who are battling mental illness.
 
RIP to original ESPN commentator Lou Palmer, who died Friday at the age of 83. Palmer was hired by ESPN in 1978, a year before the network officially was launched and served as an original anchor and reporter for the network’s flagship SportsCenter program. “Lou Palmer was a wonderful radio and television professional, and an even finer gentleman,” said former colleague Chris Berman, per ESPN. “He was one of the few employees here at ESPN before we went on the air. His love for baseball jumped through the screen and became and early hallmark of SportsCenter. Those of us where were young anchors — Bob Ley, Tom Mees and I — will forever be indebted to Lou for his guidance by example.”
2 Days to enter…
Awards Gala: February 2020
 
Transcendent campaigns, enthralling content, and game-changing talent. The Cynopsis Best Of The Best Awards is looking to elevate your company’s work with an awards celebration that will bring together media titans and the 2019 Rising Stars. Need help with your entries? Reach out to  [email protected] .
 
SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

 

Zion Williamson notched another big endorsement deal, locking in an agreement with Mountain Dew, which announced the partnership on Twitter, along with an edited version of Zion’s draft-day video. The deal, reported to be for five years, joins other brands that include Jordan Brand, Panini, 2K, and Gatorade as the NBA season prepares to tip off.
 
The WNBA’s Atlanta Dream got a rebrand, marking the first change in the brand’s identity since the team’s inception in 2008. Created by local designer David Tann of the Tantrum Agency, the Dream’s new brand offers a new logo and color palette will accompany the Dream in their move to the Gateway Center Arena, along with a new court design and updated uniforms to be revealed in advance of the 2020 season. The color palette consists of five colors, with Dream Red (representing energy, pride and passion), Dream Dark Grey (a symbol of strength and power), Dream Light Grey (security and reliability) and Dream White (reverence and humility) acting as primary colors. Atlanta’s original Dream Light Blue (unity and loyalty) will be used as an accent color in the star.
 
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

 

The NWHL sealed an alliance with opendorse, the athlete marketing platform, with an eye to increase the players’ presence and engagement on social media. In addition to sharing organic content, NWHL players be able to drive tune-in to Twitch streams and maximize corporate partnerships. “Our partnership with opendorse is another important step for the NWHL and our players as we advance the business of professional women’s hockey,” said NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan. “The deal gives all of our magnificent athletes and role models the opportunity to grow their personal brands and further increase awareness of our league and partners.”
 
ESPORTS

 

More details for the upcoming Call of Duty League, as Blizzard laid out plans for the length of the CDL season as well as how home-and-away play would be handled with the slate opening in early 2020 with a 28-week season that includes a summer and spring split divided by a midseason event and concluding in a championship tournament, with the teams with the best win-loss records advancing to the postseason. Team will be traveling in a home and away system, with each team hosting two series in its home city in a veue of its choosing. The season will also see the debut of Call of Duty Challengers, serving as CDL’s amateur league designed to showcase grassroots talent. CoD Challengers will feature a prize pool over $1 million for players all around the world.
 
Meanwhile, two more teams revealed their monikers for CDL. Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, the owner of the Overwatch League’s Los Angeles Gladiators, announced that their team name would be the Los Angeles Guerrillas and feature the same color scheme as the Gladiators—purple, black, and white. Dallas then became the third Call of Duty League franchise to officially introduce its team name and logo as Team Envy revealed that its franchise will be known as the Dallas Empire, with black and beige serving their primary colors.
 
Epic Games posted news about competitive play in Fortnite Chapter Two, detailing plans fo the Fortnite Champion Series. Starting Nov. 1, competition will see three-round Squads event each weekend across four weeks with a $5 million prize pool across all regions and competitions. The top teams from each region will then qualify to compete in the Chapter Two, season one final. The season finals will be held online for each region from Dec. 6-8.
 
DreamHack announced that a DreamLeague Season 13 Dota Pro Circuit Major will be held during DreamHack Leipzig (Germany) in January 2020. This will mark the third time DreamLeague has been chosen to host a DPC Major, featuring a $1 million prize pool for 16 of the best Dota 2 teams in the world with play starting Jan. 18 and leading to the live finals from Jan. 24-26, 2020.
 
DreamHack and ESL struck a deal with TV2 Denmark, which picked up the Danish rights to the companies’ joint Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament circuit, ESL Pro Tour. The agreement will run as a three-year deal starting in 2020 and expiring February 2023.
 
INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

 

NASCAR announced that it has successfully closed its acquisition of International Speedway Corporation, merging its operations into a single entity moving forward. The new company will remain based in Daytona Beach, Florida and will continue as NASCAR. As part of this process, ISC has been delisted from NASDAQ. Jim France will serve as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, with Lesa France Kennedy as Executive Vice Chair. Steve Phelps has been appointed President and will oversee all operations of the merged entity.
 
THE MAIN EVENT

 

Patriots/Jets on ESPN at 8p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1980
The Phillies win their first World Series.
 
In the Know
Which two chess pieces are involved in castling? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your company and city).
 
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Who holds the all-time record in passing yards at LSU? Answer: Tommy Hodson. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Russ DelCore-a4 Media/Oakland; Matt Marini-NFL/NJ; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA
 
Later~~Chris
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