10/28/20: ESPN’s College GameDay will come from Augusta ahead of The Masters

 

Medias First Morning Read
Wednesday October 28, 2020

ESPN and Augusta National Golf Club are bringing two sporting event traditions together in a unique way, as College GameDay Built by The Home Depot is set to originate from the Masters Tournament in Augusta, GA. Postponed from its traditional April date due to the pandemic, the event is now set for November 14, with the traveling pregame show (9a to 12p) to emanate from the Par 3 course – the site of the Masters Par 3 contest. “Anytime College GameDay travels to a new destination it’s special, and the opportunity to be on the grounds of Augusta National Golf Club during the Masters is extraordinary,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Network. “As the iconic event coincides with the college football season for the first time, we look forward to getting fans ready for football Saturday, while also showcasing the Masters and the greatest golfers in the world.”

PROGRAMMING

Kicking it off with some ratings news. The Seahawks-Cardinals game on NBC Sunday Night Football topped World Series game 5 viewership by 42%, the third largest SNF advantage ever. Seattle-Arizona delivered 14.8 million viewers (TAD), topping World Series local ratings in 40 of 44 metered markets.

FOX NFL matchups posted a 20% viewership growth in week 7. The singleheader drew 15,881,000 viewers, compared to last season’s 13,288,000. On the FOX NFL Digital front, average minute audience was up +28% over last year with 455,394 viewers for week 7’s singleheader, with streaming up +33% up year-over year in average minute audience.

The eight UEFA Champions League matches on Tuesday and Wednesday on UniMas and Galavision are up +21% among Total Viewers 2+ and +22% among Adults 18-19 vs. a year ago. Matches on Univision’s networks averaged 201,000 Total Viewers 2+ and 110,000 Adults 18-49 during opening week of Group Stage. Contests on UniMas are averaging 340,000 Total Viewers 2+ and 172,000 Adults 1 8-49.

The NFL on CBS’ week 7 doubleheader coverage on Sunday, October 25 scored in viewership with increases in both the regional 1p and national 4:25p game windows. Viewership for the regional window was up +20%, averaging 14.258 million viewers versus the comparable doubleheader last year (12.157 million on 10/27/18), and was CBS’ most-watched regional window of the month of October in four years (10/9/16; 15.212 million). For the national window viewership was up +8%, averaging 22,896 million viewers versus the comparable doubleheader week last year (21.126 million on 10/27/19), and was the most-watched program of the week on television.

ESPN’s Monday Night Football Bears-Rams Matchup averaged 10.5 million viewers, despite a fourth-quarter lead of 21 points by the home team on their way to a 24-10 victory. It finished as the most-watched telecast and ESPN was the most watched network (broadcast or cable) in primetime among households. ESPN’s audience averaged 11.6 million viewers for the majority of the game.

Despite the extraordinary circumstances caused by COVID-19, the NTT Indycar Series concluded its 2020 season with solid year-over-year viewership across NBC, NBCSN, USA Network and NBC Sports digital platforms. Excluding Indianapolis 500 and a Friday afternoon race that aired on USA Network, the remaining 12 races averaged 664,000 viewers, up +2% vs. 2019. The six races on NBC averaged 891,000 viewers, while the six NBCSN races averaged 432,000 viewers, according to Official National data provided by The Nielsen Company and digital data from Adobe Analytics.

FOX Sports set its broadcast team for The Spring League on FS1. Play-by-play announcer Alex Faust will be joined by analyst Jordan Palmer for the 2020 TSL season. Sharing the booth with the duo for Week 1, on Tuesday, October 27 at 8p, will be FOX Sports’ lead college football analyst Joel Klatt.

Telemundo Deportes commentator Andres Cantor was named the 2020 Colin Jose Media Award winner by the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame. He is the first Spanish-language on-air personality to receive the honor and only the third broadcast personality to be presented with the award since JP Dellacamera in 2018 and Seamus Malin in 2005.

Big Ten Network debuts Running Water Entertainment’s Through the Banks of the Red Cedar on Tuesday, November 10. The documentary focuses on the first fully integrated college football team in America and highlights Michigan State University head coach Duffy Daugherty’s innovative recruitment strategy: scouting the best Black football talent from the Jim Crow South to build a powerhouse football program. The unprecedented move changed the sport of football and opened doors for athletes of all ethnic backgrounds today.

Premiere Sports acquired the UK and Ireland rights to Karate Combat, marking the first time it will have direct distribution in both locations. The weekly fights will air on Fridays at 11p on its FreeSports channel.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Pepsi announced the expansion of Pepsi Stronger together on Tuesday, its series of grassroots initiatives that provide support to communities across the nation, with the help of the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation, Orlando Magic, Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards. The latest iteration of Pepsi Stronger Together brings tailored resources to Miami, Orlando, Memphis and Washington, D.C. by working with the cities’ NBA teams and charitable organizations.

The PGA Tour welcomed TruGreen as an official marketing partner. Their multi-year deal makes the company the official lawn care treatment provider of the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions and TPC Network. TruGreen will collaborate with the Tour and TPC Network agronomists on research and development opportunities along with education content about lawn maintenance, as well as host events at various PGA Tour events, including the World Golf Championship-St. Jude Invitational in Memphis.

Pac-12 and Pacific Seafood struck a multi-year partnership. It begins with the upcoming 2020 season and will see the family-owned and operated company involved as an official partner of the 2020 Pac-12 Football Championship Game presented by 76, as well as the 2021 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament presented by New York Life.

Spurs Sports & Entertainment partnered with ReturnSafe to help safely bring employees back to the corporate offices at the AT&T Center. “We chose ReturnSafe because they provide a single solution to quickly respond to potential risks when speed is critical to keeping our employees, fans and guests safe,” said Casey Heverling, Vice President and General Manager of the AT&T Center. “With more than one million employees, fans, event attendees and staff coming through our venues every year, their health and safety has always been our top priority and is more imperative now than ever before.”

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

A new multi-year partnership designates FanDuel as the exclusive sports betting sponsor of D.C. United with a plan to open a retail sportsbook at Audi Field in 2021, pending licensing and regulatory approvals from the DC Lottery. The deal marks the first sports betting partnership for Fan Duel with a Major League Soccer team. Upon its debut, FanDuel Sportsbook will feature various betting windows and self-service betting terminals available to sports fans 365 days a year, and feature bets on all major U.S. sports including professional soccer, baseball football, basketball, golf, boxing, motorsports racing and more.

Outdoor Sportsman Group struck a strategic alliance with Obsession Media for AVOD content distribution on its platform Outdoor America. OSG agreed to provide content to fuel a “Game & Fish” programming block to be distributed via OTT/CTV platforms including Samsung and Vizio Televisions, Crackle, Xumo, Distro TV and others with a total reach of more than 140 million connected devices.

Sportradar launched Insights, an intelligence tool for sports media companies that further drives engagement and fan behavior. The new product allows media companies to deliver personalized, real-time data intelligence to consumer at scale, combing through multiple data sets to produce dynamic context to a game with data on team and player milestones, changing of league and statistical leaderboards, game betting splits, game market insights and more.

The formation of the Big Black Assistant Coaches Alliance and a platform with four initiatives — educate, unify, serve and support, was announced on Tuesday. “We want to be an alliance and not necessarily a coalition,” said Daniyal Robinson, an assistant for Iowa State men’s basketball, who was determined to make an impact among athletes in his league following George Floyd’s death. “Our main goal was to serve our student-athletes better. Our student-athletes are hurting.” The group, currently consisting of 40 men and women’s basketball assistants from the league, intends to link up with coaches in other sports in the coming months, as well as push voter registration, financial literacy, leadership skills and a partnership with police.

ESPORTS

FACEIT and game developer Ubisoft launched the North American FPL ladder for Rainbow Six Siege. It follows the introduction of the European ladder created in August. As per the press release, the North American FPL gives “the community a clear and robust path to pro.” All Rainbow Six players on FACEIT will have the chance to qualify for FPL by playing in daily and weekly tournaments. The top 100 players will compete in private matchmaking, with the top two receiving invitations to the ladder.

EA SPORTS FIFA 21 Challenge, a new celebrity esports tournament that pairs pro footballers with some of the world’s best FIFA players in a virtual team tournament, has joined the fray. Viewers can watch twitch.tv/easportsfifa on Thursday, October 29 at 6p GMT, as some of Europe’s best talent on the traditional pitch compete on the virtual one, including Trent Alexander-Arnold from Liverpool paired with Tekkz from FNATIC, Declan Rice from West Ham United paired with Gravesen from DUX gaming, Achraf Hakimi from Inter Milan paired with Levy, and Gio Reyna from Borussia Dortmund paired with MoAuba from FOKUS clan. The event also introduces an all-new competitive Gaming Viewership Rewards program called FIFA Global Series Swaps.

Gridiron Gaming, powered by the Pro Football Retired Players Association and produced by Thunder Studios, announced Smash Bowl MMXXI. The unique tournament series kicks off on Sunday, November 1 and will feature 32 of the world’s top players competing in multiple events for $100,000. Smash Bowl MMXXI features popular casters TKbreezy, EE and Coney as hosts and exclusive weekly content with tournament players and PFRPA members.

DreamHack will host $100K USD Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments in November and December. Each stand-alone tournament will feature eight teams and be played entirely online from off-site locations. The even will be broadcast with virtual assistance from the Monster Energy DreamHack Studio in Stockholm.

Epic Esports Events announced that the second season of its EPIC League Data 2 online tournament will kick off on Thursday, October 29 with open qualifiers. Featuring top talent from Europe and the CIS region, the tournament will replace the second season of OMEGA League announced earlier this year.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

BetMGM hired ESPN senior executive Ryan Spoon as Chief Operating Officer. The move signals BetMGM’s expansion targets in the American sports wagering market.

WWE appointed Carlo Nohra as Vice President & General Manager, Asia Pacific. Nohra had served as WWE Vice President & General Manager, MENA, where he oversaw the consolidation of the company’s media rights agreements, launched WWE’s Arabic-language programming efforts, and expanded its live events strategy in the region.

Write on Sports, a leading youth literacy development nonprofit organization, celebrates its 15th anniversary on Wednesday at 8p with its first online benefit
, live-streamed at writeonsports.org. Hosted by NBC Sports’ Peter King, the fundraising event will feature 10 middle school students from the program as they interview New York Liberty guard Jocelyn Willoughby and Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins about topics including social justice issues and COVID-19’s impact on sports.

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On this Day
1997: NBA announced the hiring of Dee Kantner and Violet Palmer, the first women to officiate a major league all-male sports league.

IN THE KNOW
What country won the first World Cup? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Who holds the record for the most HRs in the World Series? Answer: Mickey Mantle. Kudos to: Mike May-R2 Innovative Technologies/Wellington, FL; Denis Barry-CBS Television Stations/New York, NY; Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/New York, NY; Holli Sarner-Home Team Sports/New York, NY; Art Salisch/Nielsen, NJ; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton, FL; Matt Sautter-WideOrbit/Harrisburg, PA; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station/TX; David Hauptman/Denver, CO; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/Los Angeles, CA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union, Burbank, CA.

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