11/20/20: CBS and ESPN locked in new deals with the Atlantic 10


Medias First Morning Read
Friday November 20, 2020

The Atlantic 10 Conference cemented its media future, locking in new deals. The collegiate league and CBS Sports agreed to a three-year extension for a selection of the league’s media television rights that provides a potential 76 total basketball exposures for Atlantic 10 teams on linear television, including 56 potential men’s basketball appearances. CBS Sports Network will also air the semifinals of both basketball championships. “CBS Sports Network and the Atlantic 10 have a long history of collaboration and extensive coverage to bring Atlantic 10 basketball to our fans and alumni,” stated A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. “It made all the sense in the world to extend this partnership for another three years, with CBS Sports’ dedication to high-quality broadcasts, extensive coverage of regular season and postseason and studio programming that features college basketball experts and influencers.”

In addition, the Atlantic 10 Conference secured a three-year extension to its relationship with ESPN and ESPN+ for a selection of the league’s television and streaming rights. The extension maintains the coverage of 28 men’s basketball appearances on ESPN, four regular season women’s basketball appearances and the women’s basketball championship. For the last five years, ESPN’s coverage of Atlantic 10 men’s basketball has featured the A-10 ESPN Friday Night Showcase, which highlights a key conference matchup as the spotlight game in college basketball during Fridays in January, February and March. ESPN also retains the rights the A-10 Men’s Basketball Championship final, which ESPN has sublicensed to CBS Network Television since 2010. Additionally, the Atlantic 10’s relationship with ESPN+ has been extended until 2024 as well.


CBS also locked in Formula E in a new multi-year partnership to air the all-electric racing series live across various platforms from season seven. The agreement will see Formula E air live across CBS Sports platforms from the opening round of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Santiago starting on January 16 and brings over 60 hours of live race coverage to various CBS Sports platforms. All of the 14 Formula E races scheduled on the Season Seven calendar will air live on CBS Sports platforms, each in a 90-minute program. A minimum of two races, including the New York City E-Prix, will be broadcast on CBS Television Network. At least six more will be shown live on CBS Sports Network, as will a bespoke 1-hour preview show per race week. The remaining races, as well as all qualifying sessions, will be streamed on CBS Sports Digital platforms.

Speaking of ESPN, the company will nationally televise 11 Major League Baseball 2021 season-opening games in its first week starting with Opening Day on April 1. That day will see ESPN offer a quadrupleheader with approximately 13 consecutive hours of Opening Day game action. The ESPN Opening Night exclusive on April 1 will feature a marquee National League matchup as the Washington Nationals host the New York Mets at 7p. In total, 18 MLB Clubs will appear on ESPN’s national season-opening slate.

Turner Sports detailed coverage plans for Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Change on Nov. 27 at 3p , with exclusive live event coverage available on TNT while live companion content runs on Bleacher Report and the B/R app. Live event coverage airing on TNT will once again feature unprecedented access with all players having open mics throughout the competition including the capability to communicate directly with other golfers and the broadcast commentators. Production highlights will include state-of-the-art live drone coverage and Toptracer shot tracking technology.

FOX Sports previews the upcoming college basketball season on Monday at 10p on FS1 with a one-hour program, Fox College Hoops Preview Show With Titus & Tate. Hosted by Mark Titus and Tate Frazier, the show features interviews with some of the nation’s top coaches and student-athletes.

WWE will bring its viewing experience, WWE ThunderDome, to Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay as it begins a new residency starting with SmackDown on Dec. 11 at 8p on FOX. “The Tampa Bay Rays are excited to welcome WWE to Tropicana Field for this residency and shine a spotlight on the Tampa Bay area for WWE fans around the world,” said Matt Silverman, Tampa Bay Rays President. “The ballpark will be transformed to host the spectacle of WWE ThunderDome, allowing fans to enjoy this wildly popular experience virtually.”

SiriusXM unveiled an array of podcast offerings that include two new original sports podcasts available now – “Digging Up The Past with Christopher ‘Mad Dog’ Russo,” and “Podversaries.” The first sees Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo takes a historical deep-dive into the events and innovations that have shaped the sports landscape, starting with a history of Thanksgiving-day NFL games and how they’ve become as much of a holiday staple as turkey dinners. Podversaries, meanwhile, is a new podcast series that tells the stories behind some of the greatest rivalries in sports history with the people who witnessed them firsthand.

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TNT announced a new ad campaign to promote All Elite Wrestling program, “AEW Dynamite.” The new ad is part of AEW’s “Boundless” campaign and was created and directed by Director X (Julien Christian Lutz). “Boundless” tells the “underdog story of the stars of AEW, who, with a true passion for the sport, bet on themselves and created a new kind of wrestling league, drawing millions of fans to their dynamic, action-packed TNT ‘AEW Dynamite’ weekly events.” “Director X is the perfect partner to showcase the AEW brand with his distinct visual style that uniquely speaks to a new generation,” said Melissa Chambless, EVP of Marketing, TNT, TBS and truTV. “His ability to bring these wrestlers’ incredible stories to life in such an authentic way thoroughly manifests our Boundless campaign.”

BioSteel revealed a multi-year relationship with Learfield IMG College and will now serve as an Official Sponsor of the college basketball tournaments, deemed “Bubbleville” and the NABC’s Hall of Fame Classic, both of which tip off next week. The brand also becomes the Official Sports Drink of the Atlantic 10 Conference, Northern Illinois University (NIU) Athletics, and University of North Dakota (UND) Athletics.

The Seattle Seahawks announced that its home venue will now be known as Lumen Field. “Through a shared vision and commitment to serving the Seattle community, we are proud to enter a new era of world-class sports and entertainment with Lumen Field,” said Chuck Arnold, President, Seattle Seahawks and First & Goal Inc. “For nearly two decades, the stadium has made its mark as a premier Seattle venue, and a place for the community to experience thrilling victories, establish sacred traditions, and witness unforgettable moments together. We are excited to build upon that legacy and experience amazing things at Lumen Field for years to come.”

Angel City Football Club, LA’s newest professional women’s sports team, will call the Los Angeles Football Club’s Banc of California Stadium it’s home venue when the team takes the field for the National Women’s Soccer League in Spring 2022. “Announcing our venue partner is a major milestone for Angel City, and we could not be more excited than to play in this spectacular venue right here in the heart of Los Angeles,” said ACFC Founder and President, Julie Uhrman. “We are building a club for all Los Angelenos, united in their support of women’s soccer and the magic that L.A. brings to its fans, players, and teams.”


Bally’s Corporation and Sinclair Broadcast Group are dealing a long-term strategic partnership that blends Bally’s vertically integrated, proprietary sports betting technology and expansive market access footprint with Sinclair’s portfolio of local broadcast stations and live regional sports networks, STIRR, Tennis Channel, and digital and over-the-air television network Stadium. The deal sees Bally’s set to integrate content into the 190 television stations that Sinclair owns, operates or provides services to across 88 markets and its sports networks while the 21 FOX RSN brands will be rebranded using the Bally name.

Pac-12 Networks announced the launch of Pac-12 Insider on its fifth partner, The Roku Channel. “We’re excited to welcome the Pac-12 to The Roku Channel, enabling our millions of engaged users to experience the action and excitement of Pac-12 Insider,” said Ashley Hovey, Director of AVOD Growth, Roku. “As the #1 TV streaming platform in the U.S.*, we are focused on getting our users to the entertainment they want. Sports is an important category and with the addition of Pac-12 Insider, we’re offering a front row seat to free, ad-supported sports programming.”

ONE Championship announced a multifaceted global partnership with Facebook that includes distribution of exclusive content on Facebook Watch, a Facebook Gaming channel in which ONE’s top athletes will stream gameplay and gaming commentary, and the addition of ONE Virtual Reality content to the Venues app on the Oculus platform. The deal includes an agreement to deliver custom content to martial arts fans globally, featuring unique camera angles, behind-the-scenes footage and more, exclusively made for Facebook Watch and IGTV as well as the joint launch of ONE Championship and ONE Esports Facebook Gaming channel.

The Detroit Pistons is teaming with Legends to operate e-commerce merchandising for the organization. Pistons313shop.com launched and will serve as the official team merchandise website for the organization. Featuring designer men’s, women’s and youth apparel, official NBA team-licensed on-court team gear such as player jerseys, warm-ups, shooting shirts and novelty items for Pistons fans of all ages, the new online destination will also serve as the merchandise home for the Pistons’ NBA G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise and the club’s NBA 2K League eSports team, Pistons Gaming Team.

The National Lacrosse League reached a landmark partnership with Fanatics to bring the league’s online merchandise and retail efforts into one consolidated location for all NLL clubs. The new online destination, NLLShop.com, is now live and accessible to fans worldwide.

Visa and the NFL finalized plans for safer and more secure payments via a cash-free future for the Super Bowl. Visa, the “Official Payment Services Technology Partner” of the NFL, will now enable “seamless, safe and secure digital payments at the big game this season and beyond.” Super Bowl LV will now offer 100 percent digital payment acceptance for fans throughout the stadium on game day, including parking, concessions, retail, mobile ordering, and more.


ReKTGlobal named Brad Sive to serve as the company’s new Chief Revenue Officer where he will spearhead strategic planning, digital marketing, sales, media buying, branding and partnerships. He will also develop a sales team, identify new partners and help drive revenue streams for the company.

Ultimate Gamer announced a multi-year partnership with Kinguin, in a move that will see Kinguin power Ultimate Gamer’s online store, enabling Ultimate Gamer’s community to have access to over 45,000 gaming titles. Future plans include on-location activation at Kinguin’s Esports Performance Center and Kinguin Esports Lounge in Europe, elite training and entertainment centers designed for esports players, and at Ultimate Gamer’s headquarters in Florida.

BLAST Premier inked a new partnership with the BBC that will see the esports tournament organizer’s final three Counter-Strike events of the 2020 season be carried on the company’s digital platforms. Overall, the BBC iPlayer will showcase over 120 hours of Counter-Strike action across three events.

Esports personality Susie Kim announced the launch of SUSIE, a new social token for fans that is powered by Rally, an open platform that allows crypto-interested creators, influencers, celebrities and brands to launch their own currency. Additionally, she announced will be joining Rally as an advisor for esports and gaming communities.


Following its global rebranding, SPORTFIVE restructured its corporate marketing and communications department, David Rothenhaeuser, who also lead the global rebranding of the agency, will be responsible as Vice President and Global Head of Marketing Communications for SPORTFIVE’s comprehensive global marketing and communications strategy, while at the same time managing the agency’s local activities in the DACH region in the operational business.

Excel Sports Management named Jose Duverge as Sr. Director of Corporate Partnerships and Teshawn Guy as Finance Analyst for the company.


Lots of good notes and tidbits: Can ESPN Radio take away the NCAA Tournament from Westwood One? CBS’ 30 year veteran Bill Macatee retires. Future of remote broadcasts and more.
Halby’s Morsels: ESPN Radio, NCAA Tourney?; Remote broadcasts long term?; NBA new hires; Bill Macatee

A detailed review of CBS’ coverage of last weekend’s Masters. The ratings took a major hit versus last year’s, April, 2019. Still CBS delivered an A-.
Masters in November: Didn’t matter, CBS was on its game; Network gets A-; ESPN’s Van Pelt candid

NBC gets the spotlight game this weekend on Sunday night. The Chiefs travel to Las Vegas hoping to avenge their only loss of the season, an October defeat by the Raiders. There are 11 Sunday afternoon games that’ll run on CBS and Fox. Market break outs, talent and notes are all included
NFL Week #11: NBC takes spotlight carrying Chiefs-Raiders from Las Vegas Sunday night

The college football schedule is full with one caveat, postponements and cancellations due to Covid protocols. Networks, talent, times and notes make for a handy reference.
College Football Week #12 schedule cut again by postponements; #9 Indiana at #3 Ohio State on FOX

Happy Birthdays:
Bill Hillgrove, 11/20 Longtime Voice, Steelers and U of Pitt sports
Rick Monday, 11/20 Dodgers broadcaster
Troy Aikman, 11/21 FOX Sports/NFL
Dick Stockton, 11/22 Veteran network play-by-play voice
Robin Roberts, 11/23 ABC, formerly ESPN anchor
Mike Gorman, 11/24 Longtime TV voice, Celtics
Doris Burke, 11/24 ESPN, NBA
Harold Reynolds, 11/26 MLB Network
Sports Broadcast Journal

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Our benefits include: community surveys on current issues, fielded research reports on critical media-related subjects, analyst calls, meetings at live/virtual events, and more! Choose the membership option that works best for you and your budget.


On this Day
1977: Walter Payton rushes for a (then) NFL-record of 275 yards.

Which former WWE personality portrayed Captain Freedom in the movie The Running Man? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
The Rifleman Chuck Connors was a player for which MLB team? Answer: The Cubs (and one game with the Dodgers). Kudos: Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Frank Costa-CBS/NY; Roger Furman-Sports Marketing Communications/Greentown; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Bill Graff-beIN SPORTS/Miami; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas-Fort Worth; Jason Brist-Outdoor Sportsman Group/Chicago; David Hauptman/Denver; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Greg Dudsic/Venice; Larry Hutchings/San Luis Obispo; Joe Keaney/Burbank; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA

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