10/05/17: ESPN locked in a deal to bring Formula 1 back into the company’s fold

Good morning. It’s Thursday October 5, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Formula 1 will have a new home starting in 2018, inking a deal with ESPN for a multi-year linear and digital partnership that brings the FIA Formula One World Championship to ESPN and ABC, which will televise all 21 races in the championship beginning with the season-opening Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix on March 25. All races will air live in the United States on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC and include more than 125 hours of Formula 1 programming, including all practice sessions, qualifying and races, will air live and in replay across ESPN platforms in 2018.
“ESPN has had a long commitment to motorsports, and Formula 1 is a crown jewel in the sport,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president of programming & scheduling. “There are many passionate Formula 1 fans in the U.S. and we look forward to bringing the pageantry, spectacle and excitement of F1 to viewers across the ESPN platform.”
Meanwhile, this season’s F1 carrier NBC Sports released a statement noting, “Although we take great pride in having grown Formula One’s visibility and viewership since we became its exclusive US media rights holder in 2013, this will be our last season with the series. In this case, we chose not to enter into a new agreement in which the rights holder itself competes with us and our distribution partners. We wish the new owners of F1 well.”

Katie Nolan’s voyage to ESPN is now complete as the company hired Emmy-winning sports personality with Nolan set to debut on ESPN on Oct.16 and will appear across multiple platforms in a variety of projects. She will have a prominent digital presence while also making appearances across ESPN studio programming. Announcements regarding her specific assignments are forthcoming. Nolan most recently hosted Fox Sports 1’s Garbage Time with Katie Nolan, which won a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Social TV Experience, and she hosted a popular podcast of the same name.
Meanwhile, ESPN also signed NFL Insider Josina Anderson and NFL analyst Damien Woody to new multi-year contract extensions. Both will continue to be part of ESPN’s year-round football coverage.
Tuesday night’s NBA TV telecast showcasing the Rockets/Thunder averaged 343,000 viewers to rank as the network’s most-viewed preseason telecast since 2011. The telecast marked the team debuts of Paul George, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.
The NBA G League is tinkering with officiating and will use four-person officiating crews during the entire 2017 preseason and for all regular-season games in November. The testing follows similar experimentation last season, when nine regular-season games were officiated by either four- or five-person crews. The league also announced a new four-round, 12-team playoff format that will see the team with the best regular-season record in each division automatically qualify for the postseason as one of six “division winners.”  The additional six playoff berths will be filled by the three “wild card” teams in each conference with the best regular-season records, other than the division winners.
NBC Sports Group and Notre Dame detailed coverage plans for the 2017-18 hockey season, dropping the puck tomorrow at 7:30p on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app when Notre Dame hosts Alabama-Huntsville. NBCSN’s coverage of Notre Dame hockey begins Oct. 13 at 7p against Denver. As part of NBC Sports Group’s fifth season presenting Notre Dame hockey, NBCSN, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app will combine to deliver 19 Fighting Irish hockey home games during the 2017-18 season.
Pac-12 Networks announced that it will provide live coverage of the 2017 Pac-12 Cross Country Championships hosted by the University of Oregon on Friday, Oct. 27. The live broadcast will be the first ever for the championship event with the Women’s Championship Race leading off at 11a PT followed by the Men’s Race at 12p PT. On the call will be Jim Watson, Dwight Stones and Lewis Johnson.
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Major League Baseball and WB Mason announced a new multi-year partnership that makes the private office supplier the presenting sponsor of Replay Review for the 2017 Postseason. The brand will now be the Official Office Products Supplier of Major League Baseball and will receive in-stadium integration that will see replay review technicians wearing branded shirts and caps that feature the WB Mason logo during every 2017 Postseason game. This marketing platform extends to stadium signage, digital advertising and social media platforms including the official @MLBReplays account on Twitter.
With the new NHL season underway, adidas and the National Hockey League unveiled a new campaign titled “What if Hockey…” In a new :30 spot featuring Connor McDavid of the Oilers, Brent Burns of the Sharks, and Tyler Seguin of the Stars, adidas and the NHL celebrate the start to the 2017-18 NHL season “through the lens of creativity.” “adidas is the brand for creators and with my unique style on and off the ice, I felt that partnering with the brand was a natural fit,” said Burns. “adidas has a ton of momentum and I just knew that I had to be a part of this energy and a member of the adidas family.”
The PGA TOUR and Valero Energy Corporation announced a 10-year extension of Valero’s sponsorship of the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio. The new deal kicks in in 2019 and runs through 2028, and positions the Valero Texas Open as part of the spring sequence of events that will precede the Masters Tournament, beginning with the week of April 1-7, 2019.
Learfield’s Campus+ announced an agreement between North Carolina State University and PNC Bank, N.A. Expanding its relationship with the university, PNC will become the official bank of NC State and provide student and workplace banking, as well as financial literacy and education programs, over the next 15 years to more than 42,000 students, faculty and staff. In addition to its university and student-driven initiatives, PNC will become the official bank of NC State Athletics.

15 Seconds of Fame booked a multi-year partnership with the NHL to deliver hockey fans their television appearances from all NHL game telecasts. Starting with the new season, hockey fans at NHL arenas who download the free 15SOF app and appear on TV during an NHL game will receive their video on their phone upon completion of the game. The digital clip can then be shared across social media channels. The agreement also provides 15SOF the ability to ingest and deliver fan TV moments from marquee events throughout the season, including the NHL All-Star Game, NHL Stadium Series and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The return of the NHL will also see the return of NHL Center Ice on digital cable and telco systems. With NHL Center Ice, digital cable customers can access up to 40 live out-of-market NHL games every week across 14 channels, including enhancements that enrich the viewing experience. Package enhancements include a multi-screen mosaic, dual feed telecasts, and NHL.TV. Select systems around the country offer fans a week-long free preview of the package from Oct. 4 -10.

MSG Networks and Charter Communications announced that MSG GO, MSG Networks’ live streaming and video on demand platform, is now available to Charter’s Spectrum subscribers who receive MSG Networks as part of their pay television subscription in time for the NBA and NHL seasons.  With this agreement, MSG GO is now distributed by all of MSG Networks’ major distributors.

In this week’s edition of Cynopsis Esports & Gaming
  • Tracking the 2017 esports surge
  • Twins pitcher Trevor May scouts the gaming ecosystem
  • PUBG gets a date with Oakland
  • Gears beefs up its Circuit
  • BlizzCon locks in its schedule
  • Immortals taps hockey vet
  • Domino! gains Skillz
  • Sony’s exec shakeup

DraftKings named Ezra Kucharz as its new Chief Business Officer, overseeing Business Development, Corporate Development and Ad Sales. Kucharz will report to CEO and co-founder, Jason Robins. Prior to joining DraftKings, Kucharz was president of CBS Local Digital Media and special advisor to CBS CEO Leslie Moonves.

Red Sox/Astros at 4p on MLB Network.

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ON THIS DAY in 1991: Fresno State ties an NCAA record by scoring 49 points in a quarter to bear New Mexico 94-17.
In the Know: Who was the last Fresno State player to be drafted by the NBA? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Later — Chris
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