10/12/16: NBC Sports Monumental deal; NLDS throws heat for networks; Sports Illustrated eyes the big one


Good morning. It’s Wednesday October 12, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Monumental Sports & Entertainment is forging new ties with NBC Sports, announcing a media partnership that not only extends CSN Mid-Atlantic’s exclusive media rights for the NHL’s Washington Capitals and NBA’s Washington Wizards, but also features an investment by NBC Sports Group in Monumental Sports Network. The cross-equity and leadership structure sees MSE becomes an equity partner in CSN Mid-Atlantic and receives representation on CSN Mid-Atlantic’s board of directors.


Game 3 of the NLDS between the Giants and Cubs drew an average audience of 4,097,000 viewers to FS1, per Nielsen fast national figures. That marks a rise of 73% rise over Game 3 of last year’s ALDS on the network and up 42% over its coverage of 2014’s NLDS Game 3. Through Game 3 of both of the National League’s Divisional Series, FS1 is averaging 3,140,000 viewers, up 35% over its coverage of last year’s ALDS through Game 3. FOX Deportes delivered 101,000 total viewers for Monday’s telecast, up 11%.

Meanwhile, MLB Network reports that its two 2016 NLDS game telecasts led to its best combined Postseason game viewership in history, with an average 1.7 HH rating and 2.8 million viewers, up 55% and 75% respectively over 2015. Monday’s NLDS Game Three between the Nationals/Dodgers drew a 1.0 household score to the channel with 1.5 million viewers.

On the programming front, FOX Sports appears to be bulking up its daytime lineup for FS1 and is developing a new morning series that would serve as a lead-in to its new Undisputed debate show. The Sporting News reports that the new show would likely run at 6a and run until the beginning of the Skip Bayless series at 9:30a. 

Meanwhile, ESPN announced that Michael Smith and Jemele Hill will serve as co-hosts for the 6p SportsCenter beginning on February 6. The His & Hers personalities will replace Lindsay Czarniak, who heads to maternity leave and will return in a new role for the company. “Jemele and Michael have unique chemistry and impressive journalistic credentials, and we look forward to bringing their entertaining mix of perspective and passion to SportsCenter,” said Rob King, ESPN senior vice president, SportsCenter and News. “Just as we did with the one and only Scott Van Pelt, we’ll build a new version of our program that amplifies all that makes them special.  
Speaking of ESPN, the company announced that Cari Champion inked a new, multi-year deal to remain with the company. In addition to her SportsCenter duties, Champion also will continue as a contributor to espnW.

Elsewhere on the talent front, Hall of Famer Kevin McHale signed on to return to Turner Sports in a multi-year agreement where he will provide analysis for NBA TV’s Fan Night, along with select NBA on TNT game telecasts. “Kevin is one of the most respected basketball minds in the history of the game and we’re thrilled to welcome him back to the Turner family,” said Albert “Scooter” Vertino, General Manager of NBA Digital and Senior Vice President of Programming, Turner Sports.  “He is one of the NBA’s most celebrated players and his insights as a former player, coach and front office executive will add a unique perspective to our roster of leading commentators.”

TBS has its ALCS plans in place, with the Blue Jays/Indians series set to begin on Friday at 8p with pregame at 7p. Ernie Johnson will provide play-by-play with analysts Ron Darling and Cal Ripken and reporter Sam Ryan.  Casey Stern will host pre-game and post-game coverage with analysts Pedro Martinez,Gary Sheffield and Jimmy Rollins.
WWE announced that the 14th annual WWE Tribute to the Troops event will hit DC on Dec. 13 from Verizon Center. WWE Superstars will spend time with members of all five branches of the military and air on Dec. 14 on USA Network.

Italy is halting Rome’s bid for the 2024 Olympics due to opposition of the city’s mayor, according to the AP. Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago said that he had written to the IOC announcing the decision to "interrupt the candidacy."

The United Soccer League announced broadcast plans for the 2016 USL Cup Final, presented by Nike. The contest runs on ESPNU with a simulcast on SiriusXM FC on Oct. 23 at 8p. Kate Markgraf joins play-by-play commentator Michael Watts with Heather Mitts on board as sideline reporter.


Digital Model D Awards Luncheon
Innovators. Inspirers. Creators of all kinds. We celebrate those in online video content and advertising who are at the forefront of this new industry, elevating it with their state-of-the-art contributions to branded content, technology, ad campaigns, and original content.
Celebrate with us on November 4th at the Apella in New York City.
View the finalist list here


espnW revealed its lineup of sponsors for this week’s espnW: Women + Sports Summit presented by Toyota, running Oct. 13-15. Toyota returns as presenting sponsor, along with Gatorade and The V Foundation for Cancer Research. New sponsors joining the event include adidas, Google, Visa and Wells Fargo. Activations include Toyota announce the fourth class of “Everyday Heroes,” adidas, the exclusive fitness and apparel sponsor, hosting a branded gifting suite.

The Stony Brook University Department of Athletics locked in a multi-year partnership with Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment to manage the Athletic Department’s multimedia and corporate sponsorship rights. “This is an exciting time in the history of Stony Brook Athletics, and our partnership with VWSE will serve to propel us forward by increasing revenue growth and enhancing connections in the corporate community,” said Stony Brook University Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron.

Tim McGraw is set to perform live at the 2016 Belk Bowl FanFest concert from Charlotte this year on Dec. 29. The concert will precede the ACC/SEC match-up at 5:30p.

UFC Gym today announced a partnership with the Young Survival Coalition to raise awareness and charitable donations at participating locations throughout the United States on Breast Cancer Awareness Day on Oct. 15. Each collaborating UFC Gym location will hold events during the day featuring special classes, activities, food and entertainment for the family.


Sports Illustrated and Endemol Shine Beyond USA are teaming up to hit new heights, announcing plans to produce a VR documentary that follows the journey of four climbers during their 2016 summit of Mt. Everest. The production marks the first complete ascent of Everest in VR and will debut in 2017 on Time Inc.’s new LIFE VR platform and SI.com in 360-degree video. Sports Illustrated will also feature coverage of this historic endeavor across its print and digital properties.

Digital marketing agency, Fractl named Goal as the most shared publisher on social media after examining the one million most-shared articles across the main social networks during the first half of 2016. From the one million stories, Goal.com generated 249m shares. Martyn Jones, Global GM at Goal said: “Soccer lends itself to providing stories that generate a range of emotions and we know that the most popular kind of content on social media is emotive content.


Vivendi and CANAL Group are partnering with ESL to shore up eSports exposure in France, with the deal set to launch the first official eSports leagues that will be based on the existing ESL Championship National. The events will then be shown on the CANAL Group channels, which will join forces with ESL for the development and promotion of eSports in France by co-organizing in the country major international events as part of the leading global circuit. CANAL Group will also be the first major national broadcaster present at the Paris Games Week from October 27-31.

Machinima announced that Gary King and Dave Pullano are joining the company as Directors of Development where they will be charged with developing content designed to drive viewership and engagement for Machinima’s multi-platform programming service and coordinate programming in conjunction with Machinima’s Marketing, Production and Talent teams. King joins from Disney/ABC Cable Networks Group while Pullano spent the past year as a consulting showrunner and executive producer for the company.

Team Huma is being rebranded as Paris Saint-Germain eSports, according to ESPN. The move comes after Webedia and its subsidiary company Bang Bang Management purchased Team Huma’s League of Legends European Challenger Series spot from previous owner Behdad Jaafarian. Webedia then announced that it had received a license to build an eSports franchise using the name, logos, images and brand of France’s largest soccer club.


FIFA named its first-ever head of the newly-created Women’s Football Division, naming Sarai Bareman as Chief Women’s Football Officer. The New Zealander will oversee the division, reporting directly to FIFA Deputy Secretary General Zvonimir Boban, and be part of the FIFA Management Board starting Nov. 14. Bareman previously worked at the national association level as CEO of the Samoan Football Association, where she was responsible for overhauling its financial management and carrying out strategic rebuilding. She then took up a role at confederation level, initially as Operations Manager at the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC), before being promoted to the role of OFC Deputy Secretary General.


The NHL season opens with Blues/Blackhawks at 8p on NBCSN.


Deadline to enter: Friday, October 21
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ON THIS DAY in 1992: Art Monk sets NFL record with his 820th reception.

In The Know: What was Art Monk’s number with the Washington Redskins? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: A perfect score helped this athlete become the first female to be pictured on the front of a Wheaties box. Answer: Mary Lou Retton. Kudos: Michael Neuman-Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Media/NY; David Kalan-MLB Advanced Media/NY; Brad Stern-POM Technologies/NY; Brianne Maciejowski-Miles/Sarasota; Mark Darnell-Golf Services/Augusta; Janis Loga-WideOrbit/Tampa; Michael Narracci-NESN/Watertown; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas-Fort Worth; Kristin Staskowski-Spectrum Reach/Birmingham; Dory Petsrillo-CoxReps/Dallas; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside; Alan Perris/Beverly Hills; Nick  Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego.

Later — Chris
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