11/30/16: Women’s rugby bets on Vegas Sevens; NBC Sports fleshes out skeleton run; USGA rounds up Fanatics


Good morning. It’s Wednesday November 30, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

United World Sports and USA Rugby announced that the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series will return to Las Vegas for 2017, uniting it with the annual USA Sevens International Rugby Tournament, running March 3-5 at Sam Boyd Stadium. In addition to the USA Sevens, Las Vegas will also concurrently host the Las Vegas Invitational, the largest amateur rugby competition in the western hemisphere.

“We are very proud to work with United World Sports to combine the 2017 men’s and women’s HSBC Seven Series for what will be an unforgettable weekend in Las Vegas,” said Dan Payne, CEO of USA Rugby. “The HSBC Sevens Series in Las Vegas has become not just the largest rugby event in the United States, but one of the biggest overall weekends in Las Vegas in terms of tourism and spending, and this will add an entirely new level of elite competition, pageantry and interest to the city and to our fast-growing sport.”


After announcing record ski and snowboard coverage last week, NBC Sports Group details plans to also offer 150 hours of bobsled and skeleton coverage throughout the 2016-17 season, including all IBSF World Cup events, and the IBSF World Championships in Sochi. NBCSN will present coverage of six events throughout the season, beginning with live World Cup racing from Whistler, Canada on Sunday at 10:30p. NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app will stream coverage.

ESPN takes on the 2016 Baseball Winter Meetings through Baseball Tonight from Dec. 5-7 with telecasts running at 6:30p and midnight, usually on ESPN2. Karl Ravech hosts with analyst Aaron Boone and ESPN MLB insiders Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian with the set located inside the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

Meanwhile, NBA Countdown and The Jump are also hitting the road for ESPN, as the pair of shows will join SportsCenter in Chicago on Friday for on-site coverage pitting the Cavaliers/Bulls at 8p. The Jump will air at 3p while Michelle Beadle hosts her first NBA Countdown roadshow at 7p.

DISH Network serves up a special five-week preview of Outside TV starting today and running through Jan. 4. The span will also see the channel debut three original series including the new “Descending,” a 13-episode docu-series spanning 16 countries and five continents that takes viewers in search of aquatic adventures starting tonight at 10:30p. Other series will see In Search of Speed and Season Pass.

FOX Sports announced that Tyron Woodley and Kenny Florian are on deck to serve as analysts for The Ultimate Fighter Finale on FS1 and FOX Deportes on Saturday at 10p. The episode features Demetrious Johnson looking for his ninth title defense when he meets the winner of this season, which will be revealed Wednesday evening on FS1.

The tragic crash carrying Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense and killing at least 75 people on board also took the lives of several members of the FOX Sports team. “We are deeply saddened to report that FOX Sports has lost six members of our FOX Sports Brazil family in the tragic plane crash outside of Medellin, Colombia,” the company said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all the passengers and crew, and the sports community who lost members of Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team.”


Diversity and Inclusion: What You Need to Know to Make it Real


Reaching and resonating with today’s diverse audience is a necessity. But what kinds of data and insights are available now to help create the kind of authentic programming and campaigns that foster brand affinity? Are you using the latest tools and tactics to attract the largest possible share of the audience you hope to engage? Get the answers you need this December 15th during the latest Cynopsis Webinar. Save your spot today.




The New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center unveiled a deal with Investors Bank to serve as the Official Bank of the hockey club and venue, as well as a presenting partner of Devils hockey. The partnership was driven by the Devils and Prudential Center’s One Jersey movement, designed to “align the most powerful brands in New Jersey with the goal of unifying and inspiring the people and communities throughout the state.” As presenting partner of Devils Hockey, Investors Bank will have a significant presence at Prudential Center and be featured in team-produced content during games, including a fan-generated content series and the introduction of the Fan Favorite of the Month, in which Devils fans will decide the team’s monthly award winner.


The United States Golf Association is giving an overhaul to its online shopping experience at USGAshop.com. The platform was launched in collaboration with Fanatics and offers a new 24/7 customer support model and improved flat rate shipping costs. The new site will serve as the apparel, headwear and gift headquarters for all 13 annual championships conducted by the USGA. “The relaunch of USGAshop.com combines merchandise collections across all USGA championships with a world-class customer shopping experience,” said Sarah Hirshland, USGA senior managing director of Business Affairs. “Our suite of sites provides golfers with expanded options and designs to match their passions and personal memories.”
DICK’S Sporting Goods announced the acquisition of GameChanger Media, which will serve as a new part of its DICK’S Team Sports HQ suite of digital youth sports offerings. The live scoring app delivers data-driven coaching insights, live play-by-play updates and instant game recap stories for 165,000 amateur baseball and softball teams.

Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel announced the nominees for the 17th Annual Outdoor Sportsman Awards Powered by RAM, set to be held on Jan. 19, 2017 during the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) and Conference. Online voting for the Fan Favorite awards for both networks are open through Dec. 4.

Five-time NBA All-Star and TNT Basketball Analyst Chris Webber debuted a new show on PodcastOne. The program, Fearless or Insane with Chris Webber, will serve as a weekly discussion of sports and athletes, and their impact on culture, politics, society. New episodes will be released every Tuesday on PodcastOne.com, the PodcastOne app and iTunes.

GLORY is partnering with UFC.tv to feature GLORY SuperFight Series content live and free for the first time ever. Programming begins on Dec. 10 and features prelims, including countdown to air time and exclusive GLORY pre-fight video content.


Congrats to Riot Games, which was named Inc.’s 2016 Company of the Year, noting that every month, more than 100 million gamers play League of Legends with virtual goods yielding nearly $1.6 billion in sales for the company.

UK Interactive Entertainment revealed a whitepaper calling on the UK government to initiate reforms that would propel the country into a global hub for eSports. The 20-page document lays out industry opportunities and growth areas that the country could capitalize on. Recommendations included government departments working with eSports stakeholders go develop a trade and investment offer to major international tournament holders, IP owners and brands as well as the sharing of best practices. The report also suggests designating 15 UK eSports ambassadors to promote the sector in the UK and around the world from a blend of players, developers, publishers and event organizers.


North Carolina/Indiana on ESPN at 9p.



Awards Deadlines:
JANUARY 10 – Top Women in Digital .
JANUARY 31 – Sports Media Awards .

Events: .
JANUARY 25 – Ratings Master Class .
FEBRUARY 7 – TV Awards, Buyers & Planners & 20th Anniversary .
MARCH 2 – Social Good Awards .
MARCH 21 – Top Women in Digital .
APRIL 14 – Sports Media Awards .

ON THIS DAY in 1993. The NFL announced its 30th franchise, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In The Know: Who holds the all-time career record for receptions for the Jacksonville Jaguars? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: With what team did Reggie Jackson begin his Major League career? Answer: The Kansas City (now Oakland) Athletics. Kudos: Michael Brown-Lagardere Sports/NY; Bruce [email protected]/NY; Stephen Swalsky-The Law Offices of Stephen J. Swalsky, PLLC/NY; Michael Polvere-Optimum Sports/NY; Joe Schreiber-3 Penny Films/Bethesda; Tim Buckman-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Christian Matthews-Washington Redskins/DC; Ken White/Charleston; Joe Lyons-SOS Global/Dallas; Chris Kalis-Law Offices of Christopher Kalis/Plano; Brad Brown-Nevco/St. Louis; Jack Hodgson-Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Tony Reyes-RGH Entertainment/Woodland Hills; Jeff Mirkin-2:05 Engagement/Santa Monica; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Nick Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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JOB OPENING: VP MARKETING/Animal Planet/NYC: Strong marketer across platforms resp for the daily mgmt of the positioning/messaging for Animal Planet shows. Analyze and synthesize research to inform consumer positioning, dev strong & strategic on/off air media plans, identify strategic partnerships, manage events. 10+ yrs mktg exp. Full info/apply HERE (12/5)

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JOB OPENING: PRGRM PLANNING & SCHED ANALYST/UP/ATL: Love for TV.Prior cable ntwrk exp req. Exp. conducting prgrmng needs analysis. Exp. sched eps, specials & movies according to prgrm strategy. Effective verbal & written skills. Strong attn to details. Wrking knwldg of Sims prgrm mgt sys a + Send res: HERE (12/1)

JOB OPENING: SR DIRECTOR CREATIVE SERVICES/WETA/VA (DC): Build strategic TV channel branding with creativity innovation teamwork. 8 yrs TV prod’n incl. budget mgmt. & 3 yrs supv exp. Strong TV technology communications, leadership skills. Full info/apply HERE (12/1)

JOB OPENING: PRGRM ACQUISITIONS MGR/Films Media Group/NY: 3+ yrs exp acquisi.; factual prgmng knwlg; solid ind contacts; exp: educ & learning; self-starter & deal-maker; BA/BS req 2+ years of experience. Excellent benefits package. EOE Res: HERE (12/1)

SITUATION WANTED: Global Ad Sales Director/Manager: 18+ years of experience, management and line sales, multinational executions, cable and digital. Excellent communication and presentation skills. Bilingual: English and Spanish. New York, NY preferred. Willing to relocate. Contact: [email protected] (12/7)

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