11/02/16: BAMTech’s European Discovery; The NBA harnesses its honors; UFC in a NY state of mind


Good morning. It’s Wednesday November 2, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

BAMTech is now setting up shop across the Atlantic, partnering with Discovery Communications for a long-term deal that includes the launch of BAMTech Europe. The division is described as “a new digital technology provider, dedicated to working with content owners, broadcasters and OTT platforms to enhance their digital capabilities, reach and performance across Europe” that will see Discovery’s Eurosport Digital become the new entity’s first client. In addition, Eurosport and BAMTech will work together to make premium sports events more widely available across multiple screens that  include current and future rights acquired by BAMTech as well as joint acquisitions for other compelling European sports rights, from across the globe, for Eurosport’s digital platform.
“Discovery has been investing internationally in new business models and brands for decades, resulting in the most extensive global footprint in media,” said David Zaslav, President and Chief Executive Officer at Discovery Communications. “The formation of this world-class technology provider, BAMTech Europe, with our partners at BAMTech, accelerates Discovery’s long-term strategy to bring our premium content to more viewers across more screens than ever before.”


The NBA is launching an awards show, set to run on TNT following after the Finals and the 2017 draft. Set to debut on June 26, the NBA Awards Show will take place in New York and feature honors that include; the Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, Kia NBA Sixth Man Award, Kia NBA Most Improved Player and Coach of the Year. The event marks the first time that all recipients will be honored on the same night.

NBC takes the reigns of the Thursday Night Football franchise this week when it kicks off its production of the Falcons/Bucs matchup on NFL Network. The network then showcases games on its own channel starting Nov. 17. Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Heather Cox will call games for the channel, while Mike Tirico and Doug Flutie will call the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 games, due to schedule conflicts for Michaels and Collinsworth.

AXS TV Fights locked in a new multi-year broadcast agreement with East Coast-based CES MMA. The promotion originally debuted on the network in 2014 and will offer at least six scheduled events in 2017 with AXS TV FIGHTS remaining the exclusive North American broadcast home for CES MMA.

SiriusXM is launching a new series hosted by Florida State golf coach Trey Jones on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. Dubbed Beyond the Tips, Jones joins co-host Jeff Cameron starting today at 9p and running Wednesdays. Topics will cover NCAA golf, breaking down the country’s standout college teams and individual competitors.


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.


UFC is launching its first-ever event-specific product line to mark UFC 205 on Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden. In partnership with Reebok, UFC’s global outfitting partner, the limited-edition UFC City Pack: New York will feature custom, city-inspired apparel, including a unique UFC Fight Kit made specifically for athletes competing in the brand’s first-ever event in New York. The collection features authentic apparel for the walkout and weigh-ins, including headwear, t-shirts, hoodies and shorts for both males and females.

The Madison Square Garden Company and Royal Caribbean International locked in a marketing partnership that makes Royal Caribbean as the Official Cruise Line of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers and the Arena Concert Series at Madison Square Garden. The cruise brand will see brand exposure at The Garden during all Knicks and Rangers games, as well as during concerts at Madison Square Garden and includes courtside and in-arena LED signage throughout the Arena, featured spots on MSG’s GardenVision and features on Knicks and Rangers digital and social assets.

NBA Digital tapped actor and rapper Daveed Diggs for its new image spot that will run on NBA TV and across NBA’s social channels. Created by Turner Sports, the 30-second spot features Diggs “atop a New York City high-rise painting a cinematic picture of this year’s teams, players and round-the-clock coverage that takes place on NBA TV.”

X Games is teaming with Creative to launch a pair of design competitions designed to to create official commemorative items to be sold onsite at X Games Aspen and X Games Minneapolis in 2017. The winners of each competition will have their promotional items displayed onsite at X Games and will win a $1000 cash prize and VIP passes to attend the event.

Legends – owned by the New York Yankees and the Dallas Cowboys – announced the acquisition of London-based sports and entertainment company International Stadia Group. ISG’s clients include Atletico de Madrid, FC Barcelona, Friends Arena, Twickenham, Manchester City, Galatasaray, Udinese Calcio and Tottenham Hotspur. “Andrew Hampel has built a formidable force in the European market, providing invaluable expertise that range from feasibility studies, research, marketing and sales,” said Legends President of Global Planning, Bill Rhoda. “The resources, depth of market analysis and global insights will prove to be a compelling asset for Legends’ clients around the world.”


Time Inc.’s FanSided is lining up a ranking of what it considers the best 250 fandoms in the world that will come out on Dec. 6. The ranking will appear on FanSided.com. The list will contain not only sports fandoms but also fandoms supporting entertainment, celebrities and more.  “As our network of fandom-powered communities has grown in diversity, we’ve been continuously inspired by the dedication and passion our readers bring to their favorite sports teams, TV shows, movies, athletes, superheroes….the list goes on and on. As such, we decided to shine a spotlight on those passionate fans by taking on the impossible task of ranking the best 250 fandoms in the world,” said FanSided co-founder and CEO, Adam Best.


A sold out BlizzCon this week will see a lineup of sponsors and activations. Brands this year will include: ASUS, Corsair, Newegg, NVIDIA, Razer, Rosewill and T-Mobile. The T-Mobile activation will include a lounge so participants can charge devices, take part in a GIF photo booth to pose with an Overwatch hero, and watch the Overwatch World Cup live stream.

Following the success of the League of Legends World Championships at Staples Center over the weekend, LA 2024, the group organizing the 2024 Olympic bid for Los Angeles, announced plans to leverage the popularity and technology of esports to connect with millennials in its efforts to be awarded the Games. LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman stated that "we view esports’ immense global popularity and continued advances in digital technologies as tremendous tools for reconnecting millennials with the Olympic movement."

Skillz announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted the company two new patents: one of which covers the mathematical algorithm that enables Skillz to evaluate how much of the outcome of a given game depends on skill vs. chance; while the other covers the integrations portal, which allows developers to implement the Skillz Tournament Management System entirely through self service. “One of the key components of the Skillz business model is making our tournament technology available to everyone in a completely free, self-service way,” said Andrew Paradise, CEO and founder of Skillz. “We built the integrations portal to give developers total control over their games and tournaments. It’s essentially the setup and control panel for the Tournament Management System.”
Speaking of League of Legends, developer Riot Games will mandate that all teams participating in its North American and European League Championship Series competitions contractually employ their players and coaching staff beginning with the 2017 season, according to ESPN. The changes would mean that players participating on League Championship Series professional teams would become eligible for employee benefits, including healthcare and 401(k) retirement plans. Currently only six teams – Cloud9, H2K Gaming, Immortals, Team Liquid, Team SoloMid, and Unicorns of Love – employ their players as employees.


United World Sports promoted Jon Hinkin to Tournament Director for HSBC Sevens Rugby Series Las Vegas. The event will be held at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas from March 3-5, 2017 with over 80,000 people expected. Hinkin has been with United World Sports since its inception in 2006. 


Game 7 of the World Series? If the Cubs won last night (darn press time), FOX carries the final contest at 8p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1995: Joe Torre was named manager of the Yankees.

In The Know: Which team did the Arizona Diamondbacks beat to win their sole championship? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What artist/entrepreneur purchased the balls from both Mark McGwire’s 70th HR and Barry Bonds’ 73rd? Answer: Todd McFarlane. Kudos: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Matthew Willence-ITN Networks/NY; David Kalan-MLB Advanced Media/NY; Michael Narracci-NESN/ Watertown; John Kukla-KDFW/DFI/Dallas; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tim Rank-blueprint314/St. Louis; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Adam Deverell-CoxReps/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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