11/23/15: Seth Davis on the new skills needed to break into the business; LPGA makes a splash in 2016 ; Latest fantasy lawsuit claims new blood


Good morning. It’s Monday November 23, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

As teams vying for the College Football Playoff come down to the wire and college basketball launches the season with early upsets, Campus Insiders continues to grab audience share by living and breathing college sports. The platform is entrenching itself within the industry with its own shakeups, which now includes a postseason bowl game under its tent, the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl Game on Dec 29. The Silver Chalice Network now boasts a portfolio of nearly 3,000 live games on its platforms as well as studio shows that include the award-winning program, The Seth Davis Show Presented by Cadillac, which is now in its third season, with its Thursday episodes serving up interviews with the likes of the NCAA’s Mark Emmert, Sen. John McCain, and head coaches such as Les Miles and Mark Dantonio.

Cynopsis Sports spoke with Seth Davis, whose resume also includes current gigs at Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, BTN and Turner Sports, about going digital, diversifying and his advice to rookie sports journalists looking to cut their teeth in the industry.

Seth on joining Campus Insiders: Campus Insiders is in all the right places. We all know where the industry is going right now as the way that people consume information and content is clearly changing. You have to give Silver Chalice a lot of credit for their foresight for seeing this coming. When they approached me, I knew they were serious because of the infrastructure they had in place and that they weren’t trying to just string something together. I would put the content coming out of their studio up against anything else coming out right now. Of course, with their associations with the conferences, their bowl game, etc. their reach has just exploded. There are still a lot of challenges, especially since there isn’t a television granddaddy to market us, but Silver Chalice is as well positioned now to take advantage of all the sports trends we are seeing out there as any other company.

On his media career: I’m so lucky that I don’t have a real job. What I do have are these amazing relationships with not just great companies, but great brands as well. For someone who loves to write and read long-form journalism, there’s no better place than Sports Illustrated. I just had my 20-year anniversary there last summer. CBS Sports is really a classy operation and as good a culture as I’ve been around. It really feels like a family. I believe this will be my 12th NCAA Tournament with them coming up. Of course, because of their relationship with Turner on that, I now get to work with them on some of their NBA coverage. These are all dynamic companies and I think the key these days is to be nimble.

On careers in sports: If I was just coming into the business now, I couldn’t take a similar path because things have changed so much. But even back in high school and at Duke, I was always interested in writing and broadcasting. When I was at Duke, I wrote for the paper and worked on a show at a cable TV stations and I called games on radio. Back then, they were one and the same and there weren’t a whole lot of people who were doing that. Nowadays, you almost couldn’t survive without a multiple skillset. One thing that is necessary is to be entrepreneurial, you have more ability to launch your own portals or blogs and you almost have to be a businessperson as well. If I was starting out now, I would want some business experience as well.

On the state of journalism: I don’t believe that the quality of journalism has gone down, but I do recognize that the quantity has gone up. So, when you have more voices in the tent, then the first tendency is that in order for me to be heard, I need to shout. But then again, if everyone is shouting, then maybe the way to standout is to be more thoughtful. My whole message to journalism classes is to be a reporter first. Don’t just give me your opinion, go out there and do some reporting and get some information to teach me something I don’t know. Very few people can make it business just by spouting off opinions.


The LPGA once again unveiled a broader schedule for the New Year, beefing up the number of events, total purse money and tournaments on network television. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan unveiled next year’s slate, which will now feature 34 events as well as a total prize purse of $63 million, for an official money boost of $4 million next year. The Tour will be showcased in a record 410+ hours of television coverage and spotlighted on network TV on the weekend at six events. The Tour also renewed 11 title sponsors this year including Kia Motors who announced an extension of the Kia Classic through 2018 earlier this week and HSBC who announced a three-year extension and purse increase of the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore two weeks ago at the HSBC Golf Business Forum in Shanghai. “Now that we’ve hit our target number of events on our schedule, we are now concentrating on ensuring our current partners are happy with being a part of the LPGA family and look forward to working with them to grow in their individual markets,” said Whan. The season tees off once again at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic on Jan. 25.

Michigan State’s win over Ohio State drove ABC to a 7.0 in overnight numbers, making it the highest-rated college football game of the 2015 season across all networks according to Nielsen. That score would also make it the highest-rated 3:30p game on the network since 2006, and is up 94% over last year’s comparable window. The matchup was also the most-streamed game of the week on WatchESPN, adding an additional 118,000 average minute impressions to the TV audience and 482,000 unique viewers, resulting in 24,700,000 minutes watched. Meanwhile, ABC Saturday Night Football featuring pitting TCU/Oklahoma at 8p received in 2.7 overnight numbers.

TNT saw Thursday night’s NBA doubleheader average 2,189,000 total viewers for the network with a 1.5 household score to mark rises of 91% and 88%, respectively over the channel’s comparable 2014 doubleheader. Game 2, pitting the Warriors/Clippers, performed particularly well, notching 2,741,000 total viewers and a 1.9 US HH rating, up 153% and 138%, respectively, vs. 2014.

Meanwhile, the Warriors glow also hit other channels last week as Tuesday night’s NBA TV Fan Night telecast featuring the Warriors hosting the Raptors averaged 586,000 total viewers, to rank as the network’s most-viewed telecast of the season to date.

Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel are teaming up for the first time to deliver the 16th Annual Outdoor Sportsman Awards Powered by RAM. The honors consist of what was formerly the Outdoor Channel’s Golden Moose Awards and Sportsman Channel’s Sportsman Choice Awards and will be help on Jan. 21 in Las Vegas during the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show. Tom McMillan emcees with categories that include: Best Overall; Best New Series: Outdoor Channel; Best New Series: Sportsman Channel; Best Deer Hunting; Best Big Game Hunting; Best Commercial; Best Sound Design; Best Show Open; Best Graphics & Animation and Best Videography.

Haven’t checked out the agenda to the Cynopsis Sports Engagement Summit lately? Don’t miss new speakers on Dec. 2 that include a keynote from Twitch’s Andy Swanson, a breakdown on the eSports community from Nielsen’s Stephen Master and a playbook for “marketing by messaging” from Snaps CEO Christian Brucculeri. They’ll join a lineup of breakout speakers that include Danny Keens, Head of Sports Partnerships at Twitter, Thuzio Founder Tiki Barber, and panels on marketing, PR, video, data and eSports. You’ll see a jam-packed day designed to get you ready for the New Year with a huge head start. Time is running out, click here now for tickets!

HBO Sports will offer fans an exclusive replay of Saturday’s world middleweight super fight pitting Miguel Cotto/Canelo Alvarez on Nov. 28. The action will be presented along with the encore replay of the “HBO World Championship Boxing®” event featuring Wladimir Klitschko/Tyson Fury beginning at 10:15p.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that attempts to move an NFL team to LA are in “gridlock” as the Raiders, Rams and Chargers all vie for approval to depart for the city. According to the story, two sources told Rapoport that it could now be 2017 before the NFL returns to the Los Angeles market, writing that the league is waiting for a "breakthrough" for one team to truly make the big step toward movement.


Virtual reality is here. Are you ready?

Join Cynopsis on Tuesday, December 8 from 1:30-3PM EST for our latest webinar, Virtual Reality: What Programmers Need to Know Now to Lure Viewers and Advertisers, and get up to speed on how to use the exciting new technology consumers are clamoring for in your media strategy.

Click for more information and to register now!


The ATP and Emirates locked in a new partnership that upgrades the airline to Premier Partner of the ATP World Tour from 2016 in a five-year deal. The agreement marks the biggest sponsorship deal in the history of the ATP. Emirates will receive net branding at approximately 60 tournaments worldwide to reach a cumulative broadcast audience in excess of 800 million and receive extensive activation through the Tour’s official website ATPWorldTour.com. "It says a lot about where we are as a sport that an industry leader in Emirates, such a highly regarded and well established player in the sports marketing world, has chosen to further increase its presence and association with the ATP World Tour,” said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President. “The partnership provides a long term commitment and a true vote of confidence for the future health of our sport. We look forward to continuing and developing the successful partnership we have built over the years.”

MLS club Sporting Kansas City announced a 10-year partnership with Children’s Mercy Hospital that will include branding of its stadium as well as a pediatric sports medicine center. The venue will now be known as Children’s Mercy Park, which has been known as Sporting Park.


Major League Baseball announced an overhaul of its streaming rules, allowing in-market streaming for the first time for MLB games on Fox Sports and its affiliates. "I think this is a huge step forward for the industry," MLB Commissioner Manfred said, per USA Today. "The media landscape is changing very, very rapidly. It’s important for us to make certain our content is available on as many platforms as possible.

The ATP and Le Sports unveiled a new partnership that will make the Chinese digital sports broadcasting company become Official Online Video Partner and Platinum Partner of the ATP World Tour, as well as the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, for a five-year span starting next year. In addition, Le Sports picked up exclusive digital media rights to the ATP World Tour Masters 1000s and 500 tournaments in China over the same period.

Anthem Sports & Entertainment Corp. announced today that Fantasy Sports Network (FNTSY), and Fight Network have launched on the newly released fourth-generation Apple TV set-top box media player. Both networks are now available for download from the new Apple TV App Store, including a video-on-demand (VOD) component and a 24-hour live HD stream.


More legal snares on the daily fantasy front, as two DFS customers Antonio Gomez and John Gerecsfiled a class action lawsuit against approximately 50 companies and individuals that have either invested in DFS companies or facilitated DFS gaming, including The NBA, Major League Baseball Ventures, National Hockey League Ventures, MLS, Turner Sports, Time Warner, NBC Sports Comcast Ventures, 21st Century Fox and Fox Sports Interactive Media; along with DraftKings and FanDuel. The complaints claim that DraftKings and FanDuel engaged in illegal gambling and deceptive practices under Florida and federal laws and that the banks, leagues and other companies negligently failed to realize that they were investing and partnering with illegal gambling operations, according to SI.

Meanwhile, FanDuel and DraftKings would be allowed to continue operating in Massachusetts, according to state Attorney General Maura Healey. However, play will now see extra regulation including age and advertising restrictions, disclosure requirements and other new rules. In a statement from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, the organization stated that “The FSTA applauds Attorney General Healey’s approach toward fantasy sports and welcomes the opportunity to work with her office over the next 60 days on her proposed regulations. We plan to work with our 312 member companies to provide feedback on how these regulations would impact our industry. We hope to work constructively with legislators and lawmakers in other states — like Illinois and Florida — who are proposing common sense consumer protection measures to ensure that the 50 million people who play fantasy sports can continue to enjoy the games they love.”

eSports kingpin ESL announced that it had acquired the ESEA platform, “home of the world’s largest competitive CS:GO community as well as the world’s leading Counter-Strike anti-cheat technology” according to the company. The purchase allows ESL to expand its North American presence. "Counter-Strike is one of the fastest growing esports games with a rich history in ESL and one whose competitive scene we want to continue to support and grow,” said Jens Hilgers, co-founder of ESL. “Bringing the world’s best anti-cheat technology under the ESL roof will allow us to continue driving the charge in regards to integrity in esports as the industry continues to grow and expand in complexity.”


Raycom Sports President and CEO Ken Haines will retire at the end of 2015, after a run with the company that began in 1979. Under his leadership, Raycom has held television rights to all the major college conferences including the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-10, Bight Eight, Southwest, Metro, SEC and the establishment on an ACC digital network. Haines plans to stay in Charlotte, where he resides with his wife, Stephanie.


Bills/Patriots on ESPN at 8:30p.


Have You Checked the Leaderboard?

Cynopsis Sports is excited to recognize the best of the best sports social media campaigns from a historic year, as part of our second annual Leaderboard program. Join us at the Sports Engagement Summit on Wednesday, December 2 as we bring together some of the world’s most accomplished social media and eSports communicators in the world of sports.

Save your spot today!.

ON THIS DAY in 1984: Hail Flutie captures the nation as Boston College beats the University of Miami thanks to a last-second, game-winning Hail Mary from Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie to give BC the win.

In The Know: In the above Boston College/Miami game, which future Pro Bowl quarterback was behind center for the Hurricanes? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: In Seinfeld, Kramer once promised a terminally ill boy that a certain MLB player would hit two home runs. Who was that player? Answer: Paul O’Neill. Kudos: Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Jeremy Kolomer-Notional/NY; Ed Casey-BBC Worldwide Americas/NY; Zach Linder-GLOW/NY; Curt Pires-CAP Sports Group/Charlotte; Peter Lasser-Lasser Productions/Atlanta; Marlon LeWinter-rbb communications/Miami; Mark Altabe-Citibank, NA/Jersey City; Jay Goslee-Fox 17 WZTV/Nashville; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Suzy Shoup-Moroch/Dallas; Jason Morrow/Houston; Nello Pesci-Prosper/Salt Lake City; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Daniel Hanson/Vail; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Jeff Mirkin-2:25 Engagement/Santa Monica; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA; Keith Dobkowski-FOX Sports Digital/LA; Joey Olson/Manhattan Beach.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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

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