11/22/16: NASCAR’s NBC numbers; NHL’s EPIX hat trick; Amazon cranks up the heat


Good morning. It’s Tuesday November 22, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Sunday’s 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship race on NBC and NBCSN ranked as the company’s most-watched NASCAR race of the season, based on Nielsen fast national data. Jimmie Johnson’s victory averaged 6.08 million viewers and posted a combined 3.51 national HH rating on the two networks, off-pace from last year when a rain delay pushed the race into primetime, but up over ESPN’s coverage in 2014. Digital consumption garnered 4.67 million live minutes across NBC platforms, up 16% over last year’s race.


Meanwhile, NBC’s coverage of SNF saw upticks, as the Redskins win over the Packers notched a 11.9 in overnight numbers, up 2% from the same week a year ago. That number is also the second consecutive week that the NBC telecast was up year-to-year. Top markets: Milwaukee 42.3/59; Richmond 23.2/35; DC 22.7/37; Norfolk 21.6/32; Minneapolis 20.8/34.

EPIX and the NHL are partnering for a third season, announcing the return of EPIX Presents Road To the NHL Outdoor Classics that will premiere on Dec. 16 at 10p and offer four weekly episodes. This season spotlights four teams, including the League’s Centennial Celebration featuring the Red Wings/Maple Leafs, while Blackhawks/Blues meet in the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. The series is produced by Ross Greenburg, narrated by Bill Camp and presented in partnership with NHL Original Productions.

Speaking of the NHL, the league announced that the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game will once again feature the NHL All-Star Fan Vote as well as the 3-on-3 All-Star Tournament. Introduced at last year’s NHL All-Star Game in Nashville, the All-Star Tournament will feature three 20-minute games, with star players from each Division making up the four All-Star teams: Pacific, Central, Atlantic, and Metropolitan. Each team will be made up of 11 players from each Division: six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders.

ABC/ESPN hit this weekend’s Michigan/Ohio State battle on Saturday at noon, wrapping up more than 40 hours of programming dedicated to the key rivalry game running across ESPN TV, including a special-five hour edition of College GameDay Presented by the Home Depot, SportsCenter on the Road and re-airs of historic games between two of the biggest rivals in college football. ABC’s production will include Chris Fowler calling the play-by-play alongside analyst Kirk Herbstreit while cameras will include the SkyCam, cameras on the goal posts, pylon cameras, super slow motion and more.

FOX Sports serves up the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Championship tonight at 10p on FS1 and FOX Deportes. Rob Stone hosts studio coverage live from CenturyLink Field with Alexi Lalas. Lead play-by-play commentator John Strong calls the match with Brad Friedel and Julie Stewart-Binks reports from the sideline. Jairo Moncada and Alvaro Izquierdo have the call in Spanish on FOX Deportes.

PGA of America, Grayhawk Golf Club and National Car Rental partnered with Golf Channel for a two-hour, primetime special highlighting the 2016 PGA Junior League Golf National Championship on Nov. 29, at 8p, with a rebroadcast at midnight. Golf Channel coverage will include player features and highlights from each round of play, in addition to the awards ceremony following the Championship matches.

CBS Sports Network serves up a special PBR Thanksgiving Marathon this week, offering fans another round of the recent 2016 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals. The marathon begins Thursday and runs 6a-8p, covering all five days of the sport’s World Championship race at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.


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ESPN’s next Jimmy V Week is set to launch on Nov. 30 and run through Dec. 9, marking the 10th year the initiative will run on all domestic ESPN platforms to drive awareness of the V Foundation for Cancer Research. This year’s highlights will include the annual simulcast of former NC State coach Jim Valvano’s 1993 ESPYS speech on Nov. 30 at 7p, with excerpts from other exceptional ESPY speeches airing simultaneously across ESPN networks. Custom PSAs, special messages and Jimmy V Week content, graphics and executions will appear on Monday Night Football, NBA on ESPN, college sports programming and in-studio programming on ESPN networks.

Fanatics locked in another big team, announcing an expanded partnership with the San Francisco 49ers to operate on-site retail for fans attending games and events inside of Levi’s Stadium. Under a pledge to bring fans closer to the game-day experience, the company will relaunch of the “in-seat” merchandise delivery system which lets fans order and receive their favorite team gear without ever missing a play.

New York Ranger Rod Gilbert is now the newest New York athlete, signing on as #NotAFan of domestic violence. Created and produced by New York creative agency Blonde + Co for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), the campaign has also featured the likes of Yankees manager Joe Girardi; former Knicks star John Starks; Liberty’s Kiah Stokes; and Cosmos’ Lucky Mkosana and Giovanni Savarese, with spots running on the MSG Network, YES Network, SNY Network, ONE World Sports and featured on the teams’ various social media platforms, websites and indoor/outdoor advertising at stadiums.


Amazon appears to be hunting for live events. The company has been looking to pick up live game rights with the NBA, MLB, NFL, MMLS< the ACC, as well as the likes of Campus Insiders, 120 Sports, National Lacrosse League, Major League Lacrosse and World Surf League, according to the WSJ. The company, per the report, “floated creating a premium, exclusive sports package that would accompany a Prime membership.” Amazon executives also approached traditional TV networks for game rights they aren’t using.

Tough Mudder saw its live stream of the 24-hour World’s Toughest Mudder race on Nov. 12 and 13 from Lake Las Vegas deliver 3.6 million views with more than 3.5 million minutes of coverage produced to mark the company’s largest live stream event to date. More than 200 countries tuned in, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, Brazil, Spain, China, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Indonesia. Tough Mudder’s proprietary live stream drew nearly one million views and more than 439,000 unique viewers on Tough Mudder digital platforms.

The Olympic Channel announced a cooperation agreement with the International Floorball Federation that will see the platform live stream select matches from the Men’s World Floorball Championships 2016, which runs Dec. 3-11. The Olympic Channel will present 33 hours of competition including the final match to kick off its partnership with the IFF.

WWE unveiled a new YouTube channel dedicated to The Bella Twins, featuring Nikki and Brie Bella. The platform will feature daily fashion, travel, fitness, relationships and health content. Programming will include vlogs, life on the road, a Bella baby watch, fan interaction, behind-the-scenes and more.

Speaking of WWE, Moji released WWEmoji, which can be downloaded now for $1.99 in the iOS App Store and Google Play Store for Android. The service offers hundreds of emojis encompassing all aspects of the WWE brand.

SportsHub Technologies added two fantasy sports companies to its portfolio, picking up the assets of the National Fantasy Championship from STATS LLC as well as LeagueSafe. “The NFC has revolutionized the world of high-stakes fantasy sports and caters to some of the highest value fantasy sports fans and most loyal users in the world,” said Rob Phythian, CEO of Sports Hub Technologies. “These high-stakes contests and events reach the high-end fantasy sports participant, adding many new possibilities to our long-term strategy.”


Back to Amazon, the company is launching the Champions of Fire Invitational, described as the first-ever Amazon Appstore esports tournament dedicated to casual mobile game competition. This new tournament will see 16 of the world’s biggest celebrity video game streamers battle for their share of a $100,000 cash prize with titles that include Disney Crossy Road, Pac-Man 256, Bloons TD Battles, 8 Ball Pool and the Fruit Ninja Tournament Edition. The one-day event will be held Dec. 2 at Paris Las Vegas. “Competitive video gaming has seen huge growth, and we see tremendous customer value in expanding the tournament experience to include the casual mobile games played by millions of people today,” said Aaron Rubenson, Director, Amazon Appstore. “The Champions of Fire Invitational will see some of the top gaming pros square off in the same fun games our customers can download and enjoy today from the Amazon Appstore.”

Former Bloomberg and NBA exec Todd Swidler has been named CEO of ESC Games, per B&C. ESC Games first raised a round of private funding in April and will look to build game theaters for competition. “Todd is an innovator with deep experience in the media and entertainment industry. He has created several category transforming digital businesses,” said by Edwin Schlossberg, founder and chairman of ESC. “ESC Games is a gaming experience unlike anything in existence today and we look forward to Todd leading our aggressive expansion plans.”


Sounders/Rapids on FS1 and FOX Deportes at 10p.



Digital marketers know that programmatic is an indispensable aspect of digital ad-buying. And as the importance of data-driven programmatic buying has increased, so has the focus on mobile platforms – eMarketer projects that mobile programmatic spend will reach $15.45 billion in the U.S. by the end of this year. That’s 69% of all programmatic digital display ad spending. Register today and get up to speed on 12/3.

ON THIS DAY in 1998. Jeff Gordon crowned champion of the 48th NASCAR Sprint Cup.

In The Know: One-time college postseason staple The Gator Bowl is now known by what name? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: 2011 saw a spot dubbed “The Force” capture hearts during the Super Bowl. What brand was that commercial for? Answer: Volkswagen. Kudos: Chris Long-FloSports/NY; Daniel Lowenthal-Horizon Media/NY; Kellen Williams-TLA/NY; Brad Stern-POM Technologies/NY; Kevin McIntyre-Leverage Agency/Boston; Sonia Durr-Carat/Atlanta; Annie Quaile-Full Sail University/Winter Park; Chris Faulds-Massively Inc/Toronto; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Kukla- KDFW/DFI/Dallas; Brad Brown-Nevco, Inc/St. Louis; Suzy Shoup-Moroch/Dallas; John Pierce-Player 2 Studios/Phoenix; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Steven Gold- The Nielsen Company/Las Vegas; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/Los Angeles; Ron Johnson/Las Vegas; Miguel Velasco-FOX Sports/LA; Julie Shields-Alaska Aces/Anchorage

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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