10/23/15: Yahoo hits London with a full court; TBS wraps up with a win; Steve Bornstein tackles eSports


Good morning. It’s Friday October 23, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

This weekend’s first live global stream of a regular season NFL game on Yahoo will see more than 30 brands partnering with the company for the contest on Sunday from London’s Wembley Stadium. Commercial breaks will see video ads as well as exclusive pre-game and halftime presenting sponsorships with reach to over one billion monthly users via the Yahoo and Tumblr platforms. According to the company, partners are set to include: American Express, Applebee’s, Arby’s, Bose, Burlington Stores, Cadillac, Chrysler, CiCi’s Pizza, Citi, CompareCards.com, Dairy Queen Brand, Danone Nations Cup, eHealth.com, Emirates Airline, Esurance, KFC, Kohl’s, Lincoln, Microsoft, Nationwide, Papa John’s, Redd’s Apple Ale, SNICKERS Brand, SUBWAY Restaurants, T-Mobile, Totino’s and Toyota, among others. The Dairy Queen® Brand is the pre-game show sponsor on Yahoo, and Toyota will sponsor the halftime show. Advertisers can select global or U.S. only advertising to reach their desired audience. Kickoff is at 9:30a.
"We’re thrilled to have some of the world’s top brands working with Yahoo to engage NFL fans around this historic live stream," said Lisa Utzschneider, Chief Revenue Officer, Yahoo. "We’ve created a new way for viewers to enjoy one of their favorite sports live on Yahoo, along with amazing opportunities for advertisers to reach these digital fans whether they watch on their desktop, smartphone, tablet or connected TV."


Despite a Mets sweeps of the Cubs in the 2015 National League Championship Series, the slate still handed TBS with its most-viewed postseason coverage of all time, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals. With its MLB postseason game programming wrapped up, the network ran an average of 6.3 million total viewers and a 3.9 household rating for the 14 games. The slate of games is up 48% in total viewers and 44% in HH rating over the network’s postseason telecasts in 2014. The NLCS itself concluded with an average of 7.9 million total viewers and a 4.8 U.S. HH rating to garner TBS’ most-viewed NLCS coverage of all time and the most-watched NLCS across all of television since 2010.

Meanwhile, MLB Network is drumming up is best-ever audiences for the MLB Postseason. The channel reports that so far, total day audiences are up 23% vs 2014, with 30% audience growth for live editions of MLB Tonight before and after every Postseason game.

Continuing ratings news, CBS Sports reports that the NFL on CBS is averaging 18.9 million viewers to rank as the highest number of average viewers for the first six weeks of the season for the AFC television package in at least 29 years. Viewership is up 6% over last year’s numbers at this point while its rating/share of 11.2/24 is up 6%.

Meanwhile, ESPN said that last Saturday ranked as its third most-watched regular season college football Saturday ever and its best October Saturday of all time, anchored by Michigan State/Michigan, which averaged 7,398,000 viewers throughout the telecast and 11,549,000 viewers for the game’s final play. Meanwhile, Florida/LSU was the top prime-time game, averaging 6,778,000 viewers.

The NFL locked in an extension to play regular-season games at London’s Wembley Stadium for an additional five years, guaranteeing that at least two games per year will be played at Wembley through 2020. The Jacksonville Jaguars will continue to play annually at Wembley every year throughout the agreement. “This new agreement extends a very successful, long-term relationship,” said MARK WALLER, NFL Executive Vice President of International. “It is very exciting to be making this announcement in the same week that we will reach one million fans for the International Series in London.”

Get in early and claim your spot as we head toward the Cynopsis Sports Engagement Summit on Dec. 2 in NY. One can’t miss session will unite some of the most powerful people in marketing for our famous CMO Roundtable, with speakers that include the NBA’s Pam El, the USOC’s Lisa Baird, MLS’ Howard Handler, MLB’s Jacqueline Parkes, and UFC’s Jackie Poriadjian. Get your tickets now before it sells out at http://www.sportsengagementsummit.com.

Golf Channel’s primetime coverage of the 2015 World Long Drive Championship on Tuesday and Wednesday nights hit all-time highs for the network. Tuesday night’s Round of 16 was the most-watched airing of an opening night of the event, reeling in 156,000 viewers and a .16 rating, which marks a 263% increase over the 2014 semifinals. Wednesday night’s finals generated 185,000 viewers and a .18 rating, which is a 43% spike over the 2014 finals.

NBC delivers the United States Grand Prix on Sunday at 3p, which could see the 2015 Formula One Drivers’ Championship can be decided on American soil for the first time in more than 30 years on network television. Sunday’s coverage begins with F1 Countdown at 2:30p on NBC. Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs, Steve Matchett, and F1 insider Will Buxton will call the action on-site from COTA.

For the first time, FOX Sports is covering a USWNT match with an all-female team in the studio and broadcast booth, announcing that the US Women’s National Team’s match against Brazil on Sunday will see pregame coverage on FS1 hosted by Jenny Taft and joined by Leslie Osborne and Heather Mitts, while Jenn Hildreth, Kyndra de St. Aubin and Julie Stewart-Binks call the action from the Citrus Bowl. Pregame coverage begins at 2:30p.

On the local front, NESN and Red Sox color analyst Jerry Remy renewed their agreement to keep him as NESN’s primary color analyst, working at least 100 Red Sox games per season. “NESN and the Red Sox have been very good to me over the years and I hope to continue for a long period of time what I consider to be the best job in the world of broadcasting,” said Jerry Remy. “I also look forward to welcoming my new play-by-play partner Dave O’Brien to the NESN team.”
Meanwhile, ahead of this weekend’s Sounders FC regular season MLS finale against Real Salt Lake, the Seattle team will set a new MLS single-season attendance record for the league, with more than 53,000 fans expected for Sunday’s match. Going into Sunday’s contest, the club is averaging 43,547 fans per match, and after the RSL game a new average that tops2013’s previous high mark of 44,038 per game will be set. The team says that it currently ranks second overall in average attendance in the Americas, and after Sunday’s match the club will surpass Liverpool in the current global attendance rankings.
Editor’s Note: Please join the Cynopsis team and your industry peers for the half-day Programmatic TV Summit on Nov. 5. Register now.



From the e-sports explosion to the take-no-prisoners evolution of social media and more, Cynopsis Sports will reveal the tech and trends that are keeping fans tuned in. Join us for this one-day conference on December 2nd and get the lowdown that will keep your business growing.


USA Network is tackling National Domestic Violence Awareness Month by teaming with NFL players, Mariska Hargitay, the Joyful Heart Foundation, and the NO MORE campaign. The network will host a special “Law & Order: SVU” NO MORE Excuses Marathon on Sunday n commemoration of the cause that will include filmed interstitials, PSAs and digital content throughout the day. The campaign features Hargitay and NFL stars that include William Gay (Pittsburgh Steelers), Andrew Hawkins (Cleveland Browns), Mark Herzlich (New York Giants), Ben Watson (New Orleans Saints) and Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys) in a move to encourage audience to “get off the sidelines” to help stop domestic violence and sexual assault. Programming begins at 9a with an episode from Season 1, entitled Disrobed.

Following yesterday’s announcement that CBC/Radio-Canada will be the official broadcaster of the Olympic Games through 2024, CBC Sports is launching Road to the Olympic Games, “a 360-degree storytelling model that positions athletes and their stories” hosted by Scott Russell and Andi Petrillo that coincide with a rebrand for CBC Sports overall. “This re-brand represents a positive shift in direction for CBC Sports that we’re confident will resonate well with Canadians. By focusing on and elevating coverage of national and international high-performance competitions, CBC Sports can act as a connector between our audience , the athletes, and the national sporting organizations,” said Greg Stremlaw, Executive Director, CBC Sports. “Through our coverage and storytelling model we strive to reach new heights and by doing so will help to elevate the profile of Canadian sport while uniting our audience through the pride we all share in our remarkable athletes.”

Turner Sports unleashed its second spot for its new marketing campaign, dubbed The Quest, promoting the upcoming NBA regular season. The newest promo features the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Paul Pierce, along with comedian Billy Crystal. Turner Sports will officially launch Kia NBA Tip-Off ’15, the opening week of the 2015-16 NBA regular season, with a pair of NBA doubleheaders and special live broadcasts and on-site attractions from the Bay Area.

The NFL Players Association announced its inaugural NFLPA Jersey Friday campaign, slated for Nov. 6 designed to offer fans the opportunity to show pride for their favorite on-field stars by wearing an NFL player jersey to work, school or play. NFLPA Jersey Friday will benefit Got Your 6, an official NFLPA charitable partner  that unites veteran-focused nonprofit, Hollywood, and government partners. The NFLPA is encouraging workplaces and schools nationwide to allow employees and students to wear their favorite player’s jersey on that date in exchange for a recommended $6 donation to Got Your 6. Fans can also win prizes via #NFLPAJerseyFriday.


The Yahoo Sports/NBC Sports Network notched its best month ever to rank No. 2 among all sports digital sites in September with 74.3 million unique users, according to multiplatform data released by comScore. NBC Sports Group’s digital properties also had their best month ever, delivering 46 million unique users, up 28% versus the prior year.

CBS Sports saw its high school sports site MaxPreps start the Fall on a high note with comScore reporting 12.5 million unique users in September, for a 50% uptick over the same month in 2014. MaxPreps also set a record for video consumption with 12 million streams for the month according to Omniture. The new MaxPreps iOS app, released in September, helped to drive a nearly 73% increase in mobile users.


Activision Blizzard is reeling in some heavyweights in a move to dive deeper into eSports, announcing that former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network Steve Bornstein will serve as the division’s Chairman while MLG co-founder and President Mike Sepso will come in to serve as its Senior Vice President. "Last year, Activision Blizzard created entertainment that was viewed and played by over 150 million people for more than 13 billion hours," said Bornstein. "I believe eSports will rival the biggest traditional sports leagues in terms of future opportunities, and between advertising, ticket sales, licensing, sponsorships and merchandising, there are tremendous growth areas for this nascent industry. I’m excited to help Activision Blizzard further its leadership position in eSports."


Blue Jays/Royals on FS1 tonight at 8p.




ON THIS DAY in 1993: The Blue Jays’ Joe Carter hits a World Series-winning walk off HR.

In The Know: What sport is portrayed in the movie Over the Top? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which Big Ten school is famous for its fans’ tendency to ‘Jump Around’? Answer: Wisconsin. Kudos: Bill Hirsh-Learfield Sports/NY; Marissa Claire Surman-USA TODAY Sports Media Group/NY; Jared Miller-Tennis Channel/NY; Brad Vonick-MEC Global, Atlanta; John Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Kevin Burns-Boxing Cat Media/Fairfield; Anthony Antonelli-UFC/Toronto; Kathy Reinhard-WISC-TV3/Madison; Vern Fowler-McArthur Towel & Sports/Prairie Du Sac; Carly Dasso-SAATCHI & SAATCHI CHICAGO/Oakbrook Terrace; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John D. Ryan-KATZ/Phoenix; Cameron Legge-Fox Sports/Phoenix; Carson Wong-NBC4/LA; Brian Robin-Brener Zwikel & Associates/Reseda; Tim Davidson-hyfn/Hermosa Beach; Dennis Treleven-Fox Networks Group/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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