Major League Soccer awarded franchise #29 to Sacramento. MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced the league’s newest team Monday, joined by Mayor Darrell Steinberg and California Gov. Gavin Newsom with the club set to begin play in 2022 after the club builds a new, $300 million, 20,100-seat soccer stadium in the downtown Railyards District.
“Major League Soccer continues to grow throughout North America and we are so proud to welcome Sacramento as our newest team,” Garber said in a statement. “For many years, soccer fans in Sacramento have passionately supported Republic FC and shown that the club deserves to be competing at the highest level. Thanks to the determined efforts and commitment of new owners Ron Burkle and Matt Alvarez along with the leadership of Mayor Darren Steinberg, Sacramento will join MLS with a world-class soccer stadium that will transform the sport in California’s capital.”
Octagon and the National Women’s Soccer League locked in a multi-tier consulting partnership that will see Octagon’s Global Media Rights Consulting and Marketing divisions advise the NWSL on its league media rights, sponsorship, and marketing. Octagon will provide comprehensive media rights valuation, sales strategy services, and work directly with NWSL executives to secure and amplify new media distribution opportunities. In addition, Octagon’s Marketing division will help the league with brand marketing, asset development, sponsorship valuation, and fan engagement insights in a move to generate increases in overall reach and revenue for the league and its teams.
With a potential #1 vs. #2 in the cards, CBS Sports selected its SEC on CBS football game for Nov. 9, adding LSU/Alabama to the lineup at 3:30p. Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and reporter Jamie Erdahl will call the action for the game.
On the ratings front, the Cowboys’ 37-10 blowout victory over the Eagles on NBC’s Sunday Night Football notched a Total Audience Delivery average of 22.0 million viewers – to rank as the most-watched Week 7 NBC SNF game in five years. That also marks a 35% increase over last year’s Week 7 game, according to fast national data released by Nielsen, and digital data from Adobe Analytics. NBC’s SNF is averaging 20.4 million viewers across all platforms this season – the best start for the series through Week 7 (eight games) since 2015, and up 4% from the same point last season.
NBC Sports also saw upticks for NASCAR, as Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on NBC averaged a TAD of 3.322 million viewers, up 20% vs. 2018 and delivering NBC Sports’ largest NASCAR year-over-year viewership increase since its current rights agreement began in 2015. Excluding this year’s weather-impacted races at Daytona and Talladega, NBC Sports’ 2019 NASCAR Cup Series coverage has averaged a TAD of 2.545 million viewers, up 4% vs. the comparable races in 2018.
The NFL on FOX scored the top-rated telecast of the weekend, however. As its America’s Game of the Week drew a 15.0/32, according to Nielsen, for a rise of 4% over last year’s comparable window. Overall week 7 handed the company with an 11.5/25, up 11% over last year.
As we head into the World Series, MLB Network is reporting that its daily studio shows have posted viewership increases this Postseason over 2018, including MLB Central (+2%), High Heat with Christopher Russo (+16%), MLB Now (+4%) and Intentional Talk (+19). MLB Network will have live World Series coverage from Minute Maid Park and Nationals Park before and after every game with Al Leiter, Mike Lowell, Pedro Martinez & Kevin Millar, plus analysts Sean Casey, Mark DeRosa, Carlos Peña, Dan Plesac & Harold Reynolds all part of the coverage.
Around the dial, BTN set benchmarks for a trio of top 25 teams in week eight of the college football season to deliver BTN’s largest total audience since October 2016. The Buckeyes and Wildcats Friday night game was BTN’s fourth-most watched ever, averaging 1.636 million viewers, while Saturday’s Badgers and Illini game averaged 1.107 million viewers. Minnesota/Rutgers averaged 563,503 viewers.
ESPN will debut SportsCenter with Stephen A. Smith on Wednesday at 7p with the 30-minute show, serving as the pregame telecast for Wednesday NBA games on ESPN that begin at 7:30p. The show will air throughout the regular season and during the NBA Playoffs. SportsCenter host Scott Van Pelt will host ESPN’s NBA halftime coverage on Wednesdays every week starting on Oct. 30. SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt will continue to air immediately following ESPN NBA Wednesday doubleheaders.
Telemundo Deportes offers exclusive coverage of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019 starting Saturday, with Telemundo, Universo and the Telemundo Deportes app all presenting matches throughout the 19-day event. Coverage will be led by a team that includes Andres Cantor, Carlos Hermosillo, Copan Alvarez, Eduardo Biscayart, Manuel Sol, Miguel Gurwitz and Sammy Sadovnik with the 52-match tournament taking place across three Brazilian cities: Brasilia, Goiania and Vitoria.
Next Monday at 8p will see BTN debut The B1G Trip: Nebraska Basketball In Italy, a behind-the-scenes look at the Huskers’ journey abroad All three, 30-minute episodes in the series will air consecutively on Monday night.
Tennis Channel will have live matches and comprehensive coverage each day of the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, the exclusive year-end tournament reserved for the top eight singles players and doubles teams in women’s tennis from Oct. 27-Nov. 3. Tennis Channel will offer more than 40 hours of live matches. The network’s on-air team will feature Lindsay Davenport and Tracy Austin, as well as Jimmy Arias Jan-Michael Gambill and Nicolas Pereira. Veteran announcers Ted Robinson, Leif Shiras and Ari Wolfe will call matches throughout the event. Brett Haber will serve as host for Tennis Channel Live during the week with Davenport, Austin and Arias joining for analysis.
ESPN announced that U.S. Olympic medalist Shalane Flanagan will join the broadcast team for the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, which will be broadcast live on WABC-TV in the New York City area and on ESPN2 nationwide. Race-day coverage begins with a preview show on WABC at 7a, followed by race-day coverage from 9a-2p. ESPN2 will carry the professional races from 9a-noon. The broadcast will feature 16 commentators, reporters, and analysts. Leading the call will be ESPN’s Sage Steele, serving as the race-day host for the fourth consecutive year, and John Anderson, calling the play-by-play for the seventh consecutive year. Analyst Tim Hutchings and Flanagan will join them in the booth.
The NBA and Tabcorp announced a multi-year media partnership that will bring NBA TV – the league’s 24-hour television network – to Tabcorp’s Sky Channel in more than 4,400 TAB retail and entertainment venues across Australia. In addition, Tabcorp will become an authorized sports betting operator of the NBA in Australia and will use official NBA league marks within its platforms.
Alex Rodriguez continues to add credits, and will now host a new CNBC series, Back in the Game. Starting Nov. 6 at 10p. The series comes from Michael Strahan’s SMAC Productions and Amber Mazzola’s Machete Productions, with the four episode hour long series seeing Rodriguez mentor notables “who have fallen on hard times and need help getting back on their feet” beginning with Evander Holyfield.
SiriusXM takes on the new NBA season, offering live play-by-play of every game from Opening Night through The Finals, plus daily in-depth talk and analysis on SiriusXM NBA Radio. Each weekday, former NBA big man Brendan Haywood and Frank Isola host The Starting Lineup from 7-10a, followed by No Look Pass from 10a-1p, which features a rotating group of hosts that includes Greg Anthony, Caron Butler, Amin Elhassan, Sarah Kustok, Tim Legler, Rick Mahorn, Cheryl Miller, Sam Mitchell, Reggie Theus and Wes Wilcox alongside lead hosts Brian Custer, Evan Cohen and Zach Harper. Rick Kamla also expands his role on SiriusXM NBA Radio this season and will host Give and Go alongside former guard Antonio Daniels each weekday from 1-4p. Justin Termine and Eddie Johnson then host NBA Today weekdays from 4-7p.