11/11/16: BTN gives a new reality to college football; BTN gives a new reality to college football; FOX/Under Armour take the Garden



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Good morning. It’s Friday November 11, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

BTN is set to become the first college sports network to produce a live football game in virtual reality, partnering with VOKE to bring the technology to Saturday’s Minnesota/Nebraska game, which will also be shown on BTN at 7:30p. VOKE’s TrueVR platform will leverage four 180-degree HD cameras for the contest with augmented graphics and a live audio stream. Fans can access the TrueVR experience by downloading VOKE’s GearVR app from the Oculus Store and using a Gear VR headset and Samsung mobile phone with the game available on the BTN channel within the VOKE GearVR app. “We are excited to partner with the Big Ten Network to create the first-ever live VR broadcast of a football game by a collegiate sports network,” said VOKE Chief Commercial Officer Jeff Jonas. “The history, tradition and passion in the Big Ten is incredible and this partnership will introduce live VR to a rabid fan base, while allowing BTN to provide their audience with a fully immersive experience no matter where they are.”


ESPN locked in programming with the Ivy League and America East courtesy of new deals. The first saw the conference agree with the network to broadcast the inaugural Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments, which will be held March 11-12 next year at The Palestra in Philadelphia. In addition, 15 regular season games will now be featured through the League’s television package with the conference set to make 30 appearances on national television throughout the 2016-17 season. Meanwhile, all six games of the inaugural Ivy League Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments will be showcased live across the ESPN networks, with the men’s semifinals on ESPNU and the championship on ESPN2. On the women’s side, the semifinals will be carried by ESPN3, with a tape delay run on ESPNU, which will also carry the championship live. The deal comes via a collaborative effort between JMI Sports and Lagardere SE.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s deal with the America East Conference marks an 11-year extension to their current media rights agreement and runs through 2026-27. The agreement will see the extension and creation of a co-branded network, dubbed The AE on ESPN3. “This initiative represents a significant commitment on behalf of our member institutions and I’m enormously grateful to our Board of Presidents and Athletics Directors Council for their vision and collaborative leadership to build an infrastructure that will showcase and promote their athletics programs and overall institutions to a wide audience,” said America East Commissioner Amy Huchthausen. America East’s nine member institutions will work collaboratively with ESPN and the conference office to develop their own in-house production operations on their campuses, showcasing more than 3,000 America East events over the term of the agreement. As part of the deal, ESPN also retains the rights to the conference’s men’s basketball championship game, which has aired on either ESPN or ESPN2 each of the last 29 years. Additionally, select regular-season men’s basketball games and other conference championship games, including women’s basketball and men’s lacrosse, will continue to be televised on ESPN linear channels.

Elsewhere in college basketball, just ahead of the new season, FOX Sports unveiled its roster of game and studio broadcasters for the upcoming season, anchored by Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery while Shannon Spake serves as lead sideline reporter. Joining the crew this year will be Len Elmore. In the studio, Rob Stone returns as lead college basketball host, joined by analysts Steve Lavin, Jim Jackson, Donny Marshall and Casey Jacobsen, who also call select games throughout the season. Kevin Burkhardt, Mike Hill and Greg Wolf also serve as studio hosts for select college basketball studio programming, while Evan Daniels joins FOX Sports as the network’s college basketball insider, and FOXSports.com senior writer Stewart Mandel reprises his role as FOX Sports’ bracketologist.

Finally, the NCAA announced that New Orleans will host the 2022 men’s basketball Final Four, marking the sixth time the city has played host, each time in the Superdome. New Orleans last hosted the Final Four in 2012, when Kentucky bested Kansas for the championship.

The UFC laid out in plans for early 2017, lining up ten events over the first three months of the New Year. Highlights include: the first FOX event of 2017 taking place on Jan. 28 from Denver; the Super Bowl weekend card on FS from Houston; and its debut in Brooklyn on Feb. 11 for UFC 209.

In racing news, NASCAR announced that Sting will perform at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards on Dec. 2, at Wynn Las Vegas. The artist will perform both a classic hit and a selection from his new album. NBCSN presents complete coverage from the venue.

Meanwhile, NBCSN will see its next #NASCARThrowback special run on Monday at 9p will see NASCAR drivers, race teams, NBC Sports broadcasters and fans share their memories surrounding Tony Stewart’s iconic career and his 2011 Championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NBCSN will re-air the event and pull in select Twitter, Facebook and Instagram posts featuring the #NASCARThrowback hashtag on-screen during the broadcast.

CBS announced plans to serve up national coverage of World’s Toughest Mudder on CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network as the year comes to a close. In addition to live streaming coverage surrounding this weekend’s 24-hour race across CBSSports.com, ToughMudder.com and respective mobile apps, the company will showcase the event on CBS Sports Network on Dec. 15 at 9p and on CBS on Dec. 25 at 2p.


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FOX Sports is teaming with Under Armour to launch a new college basketball doubleheader at Madison Square Garden, titled Under Armour Reunion. The event features four members of the Under Armour collegiate roster  Auburn/ Boston College and Seton Hall/South Carolina and take place on Dec. 12, on FS1. “We are thrilled to work with Under Armour to present the inaugural Under Armour Reunion basketball doubleheader,” said Larry Jones, FOX Sports Executive Vice President, Business. “Under Armour is one of the most exciting brands in sports, and we look forward to teaming up with them to add these games, featuring four top-tier programs, to our already exceptional college basketball schedule.”

Toyota is taking a pass on this year’s Super Bowl, breaking a run that began in 2011, according to Automotive News. The company stated that the NFL game didn’t line up with the scheduled launch of its new models this year.

The Drone Racing League announced a partnership with Bud Light to serve as title sponsor of the 2017 Bud Light DRL Tryouts, designed to find the next great First Person View (FPV) Drone Racing Pilot. DRL is also launching its first national commercial, which ran last night on ESPN and other channels.

American Express teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal and Kendrick Lamar to introduce the company’s Shop Small for 2X Rewards offer. The brand lines up an online video series featuring O’Neal “and a few of his celebrity pals looking for the perfect holiday gifts for friends and family.”’ Ep 1 sees O’Neal and Kendrick visit a local Los Angeles-area soap store, Soaptopia.


Twitter announced the winners of its first-ever Twitter Awards, honoring original and creative advertising on the social network. Among the gold winners for the #LIVE award was Ready, Set, Race, NASCAR, by Ogilvy & Mather. Twitter said NASCAR set the record for the largest social media spike in history.


Capcom detailed plans for the Street Fighter 5 Capcom Cup 2016, with the event taking place at the Santa Ana, California Esports Arena on Dec. 2 and concluding the next day during PlayStation Experience at the Anaheim Convention Center. Every match will be streamed live on Twitch.

Trion World is digging in to make Atlas Reactor an eSport, announcing a partnership with ESL to host a tournament for the title. Teams will battle for an $8,000 prize purse with competition set to begin tomorrow. To celebrate the partnership, Trion is staging an all-access weekend during which Atlas Reactor will be entirely free to all players today and running through Sunday.


Pac-12 Networks added Kimberly Neel to its team as Vice President, Integrated Marketing & Sales where she will lead the team that sells linear and digital media to advertisers as well as sponsorships to Pac-12 Conference events. In addition, she will focus on designated national sales markets and expanding new business efforts for the innovative TV and multimedia company of the Pac-12 Conference.

Following a new partnership agreement with CBS Sports Digital, Golf Pipeline named Gene Pizzolato as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Pizzolato will assume the role effective immediately with Golf Pipeline President and CEO, Brian Wroblewski, appointed Chairman of the Board.


Dive into the new college basketball season with Arizona/Michigan State on ESPN at 7p.




Entry Deadline: December 8, 2016
Late Submissions: December 15, 2016
Awards Event: Spring 2017 (NYC)
Who Should Enter, How to Enter, Eligibility Period, Categories, Deadlines, Sponsorship Opportunities, Contact Information and more.

ON THIS DAY in 1997: The WNBA expands to Detroit and DC.

In The Know: Who was Tony Stewart’s primary NASCAR sponsor while with Joe Gibbs Racing? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: From which school was Bernie Kosar drafted? Answer: Miami. Kudos: Aymon DeMauro-Discovery Communications/NY; Daniel Lowenthal-Horizon Media/NY; Michael Brown-Lagardere Sports/NY; Jon Clateman-Frozen Ropes Syosset/NY; Peter Lasser-Lasser Productions/Atlanta; Dave Lucas-NewsChannel 8/Arlington; Jack Mula-Ninespot/Boston; Pamela Wise-The E.W. Scripps Company/Cincinnati; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Joe Lyons-SOS Global/Dallas; Kristin Staskowski-Spectrum Reach/Birmingham; Bill Robertson-WCHA/Edina; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City; Scott Brofman-ITV/LA; Steve Morrow-Eclipse TV; Mill Valley; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente.

Later — Chris
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