10/27/16: World Series gives FOX a jolt; NBA opens hot for TNT; NHL cultivates Fanatics


Good morning. It’s Thursday October 27, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Game 1 of the World Series handed FOX with a big win on Tuesday night, with the Indians notching a 12.6/21 Nielsen overnight rating/share. That number is up 20% over last year’s opening contest and up 58% over 2014. In local numbers, Cleveland led all markets by delivering a staggering 46.5/65 overnight rating/share while Chicago posted a strong 34.1/51.


Meanwhile, even with competition from the World Series, TNT’s NBA Opening Night averaged 3.2 million total viewers with a 1.9 household score to rank as the network’s most-viewed and highest-rated opening night coverage since 2013, based on Nielson Fast Nationals. The network’s viewership was up 89% over TNT’s average viewership for NBA regular season game telecasts last season and up 10% over the Opening Night doubleheader in 2015.

Premier Boxing Champions announced its plans for 2017, with its third season once again set to span FOX, FS1, Spike, NBC, ESPN, SHOWTIME/CBS and Bounce TV. The new year will see more primetime networks shows than in either of the first two seasons including FOX carrying three in primetime network shows, beginning Feb. 25 while FS1 offers 25 shows during the year. NBC features three primetime network shows in the second half of 2017, beginning with the first show on Sept. 23. ESPN carries 12 shows from April-August with the first show on April 14 while Spike offers regularly broadcast shows as part of its Combat Sports Friday platform, beginning with the first show on Jan. 13. Bounce TV will feature a quarterly boxing show with the first broadcast on March. 31. Finally, SHOWTIME/CBS will broadcast select PBC series fights on dates throughout the year with the first show set for Jan. 28.

Hispanic MMA sports franchise Combate Americas locked in a deal with TV Azteca for an exclusive, year-long agreement to broadcast live world champion MMA events in the US and Mexico. The partnership will offer monthly live events and includes a weekly series that will showcase the top fights to date in the promotion as well as highlight the league’s fighters and celebrity personalities.
Immediately following this Sunday’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway, NBCSN and NASCAR Productions will serve up a new 60-minute documentary that chronicles the 2001 season, which included Dale Earnhardt’s tragic death at the Daytona 500, 9/11 and more. The special runs at 6:30p.

NHL Network lined up an 11-game slate in November, beginning with the Jets/Red Wings game on Nov. 4 at 7:30p. Programming that month will include five games in five nights starting with the Hurricanes/Canadiens on Nov. 24. 

BTN takes on the 2016 Big Ten fall championships and tournaments with live broadcasts and streams of the Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament, Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Soccer Tournaments and the Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships in the coming weeks. Championship coverage begins with live coverage of the Big Ten Cross Country Championships, hosted by Minnesota, at 11a on Oct 30, as does the conference’s women’s soccer tournament at 4p. All games can be streamed via the web, smartphones, tablets and connected devices on BTN2Go.



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The NHL is going all in with Fanatics, announcing a long-term agreement that “expands the scale and scope” of Fanatics’ relationship with the League. As part of the new deal, Fanatics will now be the official manufacturer of a broad range of NHL apparel and headwear, including replica jerseys, as well as hot market merchandise for the Stanley Cup  Playoffs and Final beginning with the 2017-18 NHL season. Fanatics will also now operate on-site retail at numerous NHL marquee events, power the NHL’s auction web site and extend its relationship as the ecommerce operator for the League.

Boston’s FedExCup Playoffs tournament debuted a new moniker, renaming as the Dell Technologies Championship. The announcement comes a month after long-time tournament supporter, sponsor and Founders Club partner, EMC was introduced as the tournament’s new title sponsor.

The International Surfing Association announced a new era of cooperation with the World Surf League after the latter endorsed the participation of professional athletes in the ISA World Surfing Games in Biarritz, France on May 21-28. The two orgs worked together to find a date for the ISA World Surfing Games. "This is a significant moment, in a significant year for the development of Surfing globally,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “We are delighted to strengthen our relationship with the WSL for the benefit of the sport. It will be wonderful to watch the top surfers coming together at the 2017 ISA World Surfing Games in Biarritz where fans from around the world will have the opportunity to witness and draw inspiration from their fantastic skills."

ESPN, DICK’S Sporting Goods and the NFL are teaming up to support youth and high school sports teams across the country. The Monday Night Football Sports Matter initiative will offer football teams in MNF cities with “much-needed resources and sports equipment to address barriers to access and enable more youth to participate and obtain the benefits of playing sports.” As part of this effort, ESPN donated $100,000 to DonorsChoose.org and will make additional donations to youth sports teams over the course of the 2016 MNF season. The NFL Foundation, together with USA Football, the sport’s national governing body, has matched ESPN’s $100,000 donation to provide resources and sports equipment to high school football teams in each NFL market.


WTA CEO Steve Simon unveiled the launch of WTA Networks, a new digital media and marketing division for the organization designed to offer tennis fans “the highest-quality, on and off-the-court content available anywhere.” The platform will completely revamp the WTA’s owned and controlled channels, wtatennis.com and branded social channels with a launch set for Jan. 1. “Today, the WTA is a major sports league and we see this step in our digital and social evolution as transformational, for all involved, especially tennis fans, and are hugely committed to this venture financially,” Simon noted. “We have dedicated a great amount of resources to ensure that the content on the WTA Networks is exceptional and delivers for our players, our partners and our fans. Our goal is simple  take our fans on tour with us and experience the WTA like never before.”
Twitter continues to expand its sports content, launching two new live weekly NBA shows this week, dubbed The Starters Twitter Show and The Warmup, tonight starting at 7:30p. Meanwhile, the new season will also see Twitter launch exclusive hashtag triggered Twitter emojis for all 30 teams. On the baseball front, Twitter unveiled eight World Series Twitter Stickers: 2 World Series (sports drink bath and replica of Commissioner’s Trophy) and 3 each for the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs. Fans will also be able to continue using the hashtag triggered emojis #WorldSeries, #RallyTogether and #FlyTheW throughout the World Series.


In this week’s edition of Cynopsis eSports & Gaming
·       Las Vegas cashes in as eSports hub as MLG, DreamHack & ELeague add events
·       Microsoft puts a target on Twitch
·       Blizzard’s 2017 tournament refinery
·       Misfits owner reaps recent success
·       Super League Gaming gets a heavyweight cash infusion
·       eSports sponsor revenues to hit $$2.5 billion in 2020
·       Epsilon eSports becomes Monaco royalty


Another casualty at UFC. Peter Vesey, SVP of Global Partnerships for the promotion became the latest name to depart the company, Cynopsis has learned, marking the latest high-profile name to exit following UFC’s acquisition by WME/IMG. Vesey served as a former advertising executive at FOX Sports before joining the UFC in 2015. Other members of the sponsorship team to part ways since the purchase include: Garry Cook, chief global brand officer; Tom Wright, executive vice president and general manager for UFC operations in Canada; Marshall Zelaznik, chief content officer; Ken Berger, executive vice president and general manager of Asia and UFC; and Jamie Pollack, Senior Vice President of Global Content.

Speaking of golf, the PGA TOUR announced the formation of an office in Tokyo and the hiring of Masashi Ishii as Vice President and Managing Director. Ishii previously had been serving as President of the Jupiter Golf Network since 2010.

New York Red Bulls II of the United Soccer League named Jamie Ponce as Director, Business Operations. Ponce will oversee the day-to-day business operations for the club including initiatives supporting ticket sales, marketing partnerships and strategy.


Clippers/Trail Blazers on TNT at 10:30p.




ESports is ushering in a full-blown shift in entertainment and culture, but how do you maximize and monetize this phenomenon? Get the answers during our webinar on November 17, from sponsors and marketers as they share their insights into connecting with eSports fans, laying out a blueprint for how brands can reach and connect with a generation of skeptical but affluent consumers.

ON THIS DAY in 2002: The Cowboys’ Emmitt Smith breaks Walter Payton’s NFL career rushing record.

In The Know: Emmitt Smith played his last two seasons with which NFL team? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What is the name of the trophy presented to the winner of the World Series? Answer: The Commissioner’s Trophy. Kudos: Linda Lieberman-WME/IMG/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Jon Show-Show Sports Media/Charlotte; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside; Bob Ramsey/Palm Springs.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
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