The Premier Hockey Federation will stream 60 2021-22 regular season games, special events and its Isobel Cup Playoffs exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S. The PHF season begins Saturday 11/6 with all six PHF teams in action, including a rematch of last year’s Isobel Cup Final between the Minnesota Whitecaps and the 2021 PHF champion Boston Pride.
Wednesday night’s New York Knicks double overtime victory over the Boston Celtics was ESPN’s most-watched Wednesday season-opening game in 18 years, according to Nielsen. The telecast averaged 1.96 million viewers, peaking with 2.87 million viewers from 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET. Overall, Wednesday was ESPN’s most-watched season-opening doubleheader since 2017. The doubleheader, which included Knicks vs. Celtics and Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets, averaged 1.74 million viewers. This is up 39 percent vs. 2020, up 10 percent vs. 2019 and up 22 percent vs. 2018.
The 2021 WNBA Finals averaged over half a million viewers, the most-viewed Finals since 2017. Viewership growth across the ESPN networks averaged 548,000 viewers across four games, a 23 percent increase from 2020 (447,000 average viewers in three games) and a 42 percent surge from 2019 (386,000 average viewers in five games). The 2021 Finals are the most viewed since the 2017 Finals between the LA Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx, which registered 563,000 viewers.
FloSports acquired the exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to the Autumn Nations Series rugby event from ’21-23
SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
The NBA and Formula 1 announced a promotion partnership in celebration of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary season and the return of F1 to the U.S. at the 2021 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix on Sunday in Austin, Texas. To commemorate the US Grand Prix and the NBA’s 75th Anniversary season, exclusive imagery featuring F1 cars in custom liveries representing all 30 NBA teams will be dropped on NBA and F1 social channels around the world, with the first 10 cars showcasing the Central and Pacific Divisions being unveiled today.
WWE and Mattel signed multi-year extension of their global master toy licensing agreement, which began in 2009. The extended partnership includes exclusive rights around Action Figures, Action Figure Accessories and Kids Toy Title Belts.
Disney Advertising Sales locked in key advertising sponsorship deals across, ABC, ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu and its owned social channels for the return of the NHL to its platform. The NHL on Disney sponsors include the following NHL Official Partners: Apple; Discover; Dunkin; EA Sports; GEICO; Honda; Jägermeister; MassMutual; Navy Federal Credit Union; New Amsterdam Vodka; SAP and Verizon. Additional major Presenting, In-Game and Studio sponsors include: Expedia; Fidelity; Goodyear; Lexus; Progressive; Procter & Gamble; Subway and Taco Bell.
The Xfinity 500 returns on October 31st to Martinsville (TN) Speedway, so Xfinity is celebrating the weekend by offering fans experiences available through the Xfinity Rewards program and at local Xfinity retail locations. As part of the new Xfinity Rewards program, both the Grand Marshal and Honorary Starter for the Xfinity 500 will be loyal Xfinity customers. In addition, hundreds of Xfinity Rewards members won tickets to attend the Xfinity 500 race weekend and a select handful will get to experience behind-the-scenes access.
The NBA announced an extension of its ongoing commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with new programs designed to create greater opportunity for students and alumni, encourage economic advancement and further celebrate their rich traditions. As part of this partnership, the NBA will develop new programs and events focused on the HBCU community – specifically around professional development, career advancement and increased support and awareness for HBCU athletics and institutions.
MSG Sports and MSG Entertainment renewed their marquee marketing partnership with JPMorgan Chase. It’s a multi-year deal and as part of the renewal, JPMorgan Chase will have a new Chase Lounge at Madison Square Garden, available exclusively for Chase customers.
The NBA and Tissot announced a multiyear extension of their marketing partnership, which will expand upon the global agreement that began in 2015. As the Official Watch and Official Timekeeper of the NBA, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the NBA G League, the partnership will continue to champion Tissot to fans across the globe.
The Nashville Predators and Bally’s Corporation announced a multiyear partnership that makes Bally’s an official sports betting partner and the official free-to-play partner of the team and Bridgestone Arena. The partnership runs through ’25; it will give the Predators IP rights to Bally’s and give the company access to team logos, marks and some content rights. It is Bally’s first partnership with an NHL team.
Navy Federal Credit Union and the NHLsigned a multiyear extension of their U.S. sponsorship deal keeping Navy Federal is the league’s official military appreciation sponsor.
Panini America has expanded its partnership with the Reese’s Senior Bowl in a deal that will see each player in the ’22 game gifted his own personal NFT.
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH
On the NFT front, Candy Digital has completed a $100M Series A financing round, which values the NFT platform formed earlier this year at $1.5B. The funding round was co-led by Insight Partners and Softbank Vision Fund 2. Additional participants in the round include Connect Ventures (the investment partnership between CAA and New Enterprise Associates), Will Ventures, Gaingels, Com2Us, Athletes Syndicate in partnership with Chaos Ventures, which includes participation from current and retired MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL players, as well as Pro Football HOFer Peyton Manning.
Also, award-winning pop culture artist John Costacos, who established a genre of sports art with his sports personality poster creations, along with co-founder and CEO Justin Moorad and Digital Art Director Mike Campau, unveiled a new blockchain-based digital collectibles company, the Costacos Collection. The Costacos Collection is partnering with a lineup of NFL, MLB, and NBA players and their charitable foundations, including Warren Moon, Troy Aikman, Pudge Rodriguez, Jim McMahon, Roger Clemens, Will Clark, and others. Topps will also be a partner of the Collection.
FTX US announced the launch of the “You In, Miami?” campaign. As part of the campaign, FTX US reported Udonis Haslem, 3-time World Champion Miami HEAT legend and staple of the Miami community, has joined as the newest official ambassador for the Company. FTX US was “Game Night Sponsor” for opening night for the Heat at FTX Arena as well.
The PBR has entered a 3-year licensing agreement with SmartMedia Technologies to launch PBR Fan Tokens, NFT trading cards and tokenized ownership of a PBR bucking bull. The program launches during the ’21 PBR World Finals from Nov. 3-7 in Las Vegas
CSL Esports announced a series of new partnerships to enhance the playing experience for collegiate student athletes participating in NACE Starleague. CORSAIR, GUNNAR Optiks, MAVIX, Metafy, and Future. In addition to establishing exclusive sponsorship engagements between the brands and NACE Starleague, the new partnerships will include a variety of activations, including broadcasting capabilities, digital marketing integration and exclusive discounts and giveaways for participating collegiate student athletes.
Aser Ventures partnered with Ninjas in Pyjamas to launch Shinobi Sports. The joint venture will offer a suite of management, studio and media services to sports clubs looking for opportunities in the esports sphere.
Riot Games, in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz, announced a new addition to the 2021 League of Legends World Championship. This year’s championship team will mark the occasion with special championship rings designed by Riot Games and Mercedes-Benz.
Bally Sports announced Kendall Burgess has been promoted to Vice President of Technical Operations for the regional sports networks (RSNs). Burgess will report to Mike Connelly, Executive Vice President, Production, Bally Sports, and will oversee technical operations for live events and original programming across the company’s 19 RSNs.
Fnatic announced the appointment of Stuart Brown as its first ever Esports Operation Lead, in a bid to bolster their backroom staff.
SPORTS BROADCAST JOURNAL w/David J. Halberstam
The Oakland A’s lost one of their longtime broadcasters Ray Fosse. He was the analyst on the club’s telecasts for 35 years. We have a nice profile of Ray from Mickey Morabito, the A’s Director of Team Travel for 41 seasons; John Sterling, 83, wants to stay on, calling Yankees games on radio. It seems that the club and the flagship, WFAN, want to slowly phase him out. While popular with a swath of the constituency of Yankee fans, many broadcasters will tell you that John lacks the fundamentals and rhythm to do baseball, even after 30+ years with the club.
Remembering the late A’s voice Ray Fosse; Reports say John Sterling, 83, will be asked back for 2022.
In WWII years, MLB’s best players were on the battlefields, in either the Atlantic or Pacific theater. There was a shortage of real talent then and teams dug deep. Joe Nuxhall was all of 15 when threw his first pitch for the Reds. He later spent decades as a radio analyst with the club. He was a sidekick for both Al Michaels and Marty Brennamen.
Author profiles Joe Nuxhall, Reds’ longtime radio analyst, who also pitched for Cincinnati at age 15
College and NFL, full weekend schedules, talent, networks and times:
College Football Week #8: NBC has USC-Notre Dame in primetime; 4 top 10 teams play at 12N E.T.
NFL Week #7: Manning Brothers back on ESPN2; Buck off Sunday; Nantz and Romo on Bears at Bucs.
Rich-Waltz-10/22, Cal Angels TV
Kelly-Nash-10/22, NBC/NHL Network
Kevin-O’Malley-10/23, Ex CBS Sports Executive
Tom-Verducci-10/23, Sports Illustrated/Fox
Josh Lewin-10/25, UCLA F/B
Jeanne-Zelasko-10/26, Ex-Fox Sports
Steve-Cangialosi-10/28, NJ Devils TV
Chris-Broussard-10/28, Fox Sports
Jason-Kosmicki-10/28—Denver Nuggets radio
Sports Broadcast Journal