12/02/20: FOX topped 30 million viewers for its Thanksgiving Day game

 

Medias First Morning Read
Wednesday December 2, 2020

Despite their records, the rivalry between the Washington Football Team and the Dallas Cowboys continued to pay viewership dividends as the Thanksgiving Day game between the NFC East teams saw 30.3 million viewers tune in for the Washington victory on FOX. That ranks, according to Nielsen as the most-watched telecast of any kind since Super Bowl LIV and is up 12% over last year’s T-Day matchup on the network. On the digital front, the game became the most-streamed Thanksgiving Day game in FOX Sports history with an average minute audience of 27,093,000.

PROGRAMMING

Meanwhile, broadcast scheduling havoc continues for the NFL, with the league updating games to include a Week 16 schedule that will now see three games played on Saturday, Dec. 26. The first two games, the Bucs/Lions and the Dolphins/Raiders, will now be carried exclusively on the NFL Network while the third game, featuring the 49ers/Cardinals, will steam stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video and Twitch. This will mark the first game this season that Amazon Prime Video has had exclusively. “We’re ready to deliver the gift of football for Prime members this holiday season with a week-long slate of original content and in-depth analysis on Prime Video and Twitch, culminating in back-to-back days of live NFL action on Dec. 25 and 26,” said Marie Donoghue, VP of Global Sports Video at Amazon. “Although this holiday season may look and feel different for many families, we believe sports have the incredible power to bring people together, even when they’re apart. We are looking forward to bringing some extra holiday cheer to football fans around the world with two exciting matchups that feature several potential playoff contenders.”

Meanwhile, the Ravens/Steelers matchup is getting another bump and will now place this afternoon at 3:40p, marking the contest’s third postponement. With the move, the Steelers’ Week 13 game on Sunday against Washington will now be played Monday at 5p while the Ravens’ Week 13 game against the Cowboys will take place on Dec. 8 at 8:05p.

ESPN unveiled plans to leverage its MegaCast production for its NFL Wild Card presentation on Jan. 9 or 10 and offer at least four distinct presentations across five Walt Disney Company networks as ESPN and ABC will simulcast the traditional telecast, ESPN2 and Freeform will produce their own distinct viewing experiences and ESPN Deportes will air the Spanish-language offering. Prior to the NFL Wild Card game, ABC will also simulcast two Monday Night Football contests in December as ESPN concludes its regular season slate. Buffalo vs. San Francisco on December 7 and Buffalo at New England on December 28 will be on ABC and ESPN.

MLS landed will see its first ever primetime weekday Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoff match on FOX tonight with the Western Conference Semifinal match between Sporting Kansas City and Minnesota United FC. The game kicks off at 8p and will be televised on FOX and FOX Deportes. “We are part of the entertainment business. This gives us a great opportunity to broaden our reach to different spectators that are out there. For us, getting the opportunity to play an MLS playoff game in a primetime spot, on a primetime network, is huge. I think it is great for Major League Soccer.” said Sporting Kansas City Sporting Director, Peter Vermes.

Big Ten Network saw the return of men’s basketball last Wednesday provide a boost with three of the six games that ran landing on Big Ten Network’s top-10 list for most-watched non-conference games, led by the Eastern Michigan/Michigan State matchup, which drew 299,313 viewers.

MLB Network announced details for its exclusive presentations next week of the Roberto Clemente Award, Hank Aaron Award, Ford C. Frick Award and All-MLB Team Presented by CohnReznick. That slate begins on Monday, which sees, for the first time ever, MLB Network exclusively announcing the Roberto Clemente Award recipient when Robert Flores, Al Leiter and Harold Reynolds are joined by Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. to reveal the winner at 2p.

Lots of news on the documentary front, including HBO announced that Under The Grapefruit Tree: The CC Sabathia Story, a documentary from HBO Sports produced in association with Major League Baseball, will debut on Dec. 22 at 9p on HBO. In his own words, Sabathia narrates his story.

ESPN will debut the next installment in 30 for 30 series, “The Infinite Race,” on Dec. 15 at 8p. Directed by Bernardo Ruiz, the documentary explores the story of the Tarahumara, an indigenous community in Mexico, famed for their legendary running ability, and their preference for running barefoot, who inspired an ultrarunning craze across the world, and what’s happened as their homes and communities were ravaged by drug cartels and violence.

The Cowboy Channel announced today the addition Trevor Brazile as the co-host of the NFR Pre-Show, alongside Justin McKee. This is the first year The Cowboy Channel will be broadcasting live all 10 straight nightly rounds of competition from the biggest rodeo finals in the country.

ESPN+ has reached a new six-year agreement with New Zealand Cricket for exclusive U.S. rights to all men’s and women’s matches in the International Cricket Council (ICC) matches played in New Zealand, across all three formats. The deal renews an existing six-year agreement, and adds up to 50 matches per season from Super Smash, New Zealand’s domestic T20 league.

SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

PepsiCo extended its partnership with UEFA Champions League for the 2021/22 – 2023/24 seasons. SodaStream joins PepsiCo’s starting brand line-up for its UEFA Champions League activation, alongside the Pepsi trademark – including Pepsi MAX, Lay’s and Gatorade. Doritos, Ruffles, Lipton and 7UP will also support. The partnership includes a focus to advance equality and environmental causes, working together to deliver increasingly sustainable events and to make plastic waste reduction and recycling a key priority. Additionally, following an impactful program that provided football facilities for refugees in Jordan, PepsiCo and the UEFA Foundation for Children will continue to collaborate on programs that harness the unifying power of football for communities in need.

The LPGA announced a new three-year official marketing partnership with John Deere to become the LPGA Tour’s Official Golf Course Equipment Supplier and support the LPGA Foundation’s efforts to introduce more girls to the game of golf. Additionally, the LET announced a three-year extension to its partnership with John Deere, which began in 2007. John Deere also signed on as the Official Golf Course Equipment Supplier of the 2021 Solheim Cup at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.

ESPN’s 14th consecutive V Week for Cancer Research runs through Dec. 12. Throughout the week, ESPN will drive awareness and donations for the V Foundation for Cancer Research across ESPN platforms and all net proceeds will go directly to cancer research and related programs. ESPN has helped raise more than $127M since the V Foundation’s inception in 1993. This year’s V Week will put a focus on the health inequities that exist in cancer, from the lack of minority representation in clinical trials to how cancer affects racial populations differently. “Funding for cancer research has been down across the board this year due to the wide range of needs from the pandemic, yet it remains one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “ESPN remains committed to our long-standing tradition of raising funds for cancer research, especially for those who are disproportionately affected through the Stuart Scott Fund.”

Following the conclusion of the inaugural ASICS World Ekiden 2020, ASICS revealed that its event became one of the most popular virtual races of all time with 56,007 participants from 13,602 teams across over 179 countries registering to compete in the marathon. Together, runners clocked up over 27,000 hours of activity, covering a massive overall distance of 172,147 miles.

Athletes First announced a strategic partnership with EVERFI Inc., a social impact education provider, to deliver African American History learning opportunities to thousands of students across America. The program will launch in 30 schools across the greater Los Angeles and New York City areas in the coming weeks, with Athletes First Partners (A1’s sister agency), rolling out the New York initiative.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

2K inked a partnership with Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant and Thirty Five Ventures, that will see Durant serve as the icon athlete for Season 3 of NBA 2K Mobile. As part of a long-term partnership, Durant and his Thirty Five Ventures team will collaborate with 2K on future game development, exclusive content, in-game merch and more. Durant’s sports business platform, The Boardroom, will also work with 2K on original content.

Colorado’s online and retail sportsbooks surged to a new high again in October, according to PlayColorado analysts, drawing $210.7 million in bets in the month, according to data released Monday by the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Division of Gaming. October’s handle was up 2% from $207.7 million in September.

The Detroit Pistons announced a multi-year partnership designating FanDuel as the official sports betting partner of the team. This deal marks FanDuel’s second partnership with an NBA team for sports betting joining the Memphis Grizzlies who partnered with FanDuel in early Nov. As part of the deal, FanDuel will have access to the Pistons marketing assets, including in-arena signage and activations at Little Caesars Arena, television and digital advertising and TV and radio presence to drive passionate Pistons enthusiasts to FanDuel’s sports betting offerings.

In addition, the Detroit Pistons and DraftKings announced a new deal, making the sports technology and entertainment company the exclusive Official Daily Fantasy Sports Partner, as well as an Official Sports Betting and iGaming Partner of the NBA team. In addition to access to Pistons trademarks and logos, the deal includes DraftKings-branded courtside LED signage and in-game basket pad branding. The agreement comes as DraftKings prepares to launch mobile sports betting and online gaming in the state of Michigan, pending licensure and the receipt of necessary regulatory approvals.

Jock MKT are adding the National Basketball Association’s 72-game regular season starting Dec. 22 to allow fans to invest in shares of NBA players across all 30 teams. The announcement marks the third league within Jock MKT’s proprietary algorithm that allows investors to buy and sell shares of NFL, NBA and PGA Tour athletes in real time for real money.

 
ESPORTS

TikTok stars Josh Richards and Griffin Johnson are reportedly becoming investors in ReKTGlobal, parent company of the London Royal Ravens and Rogue, according to Dexerto “Griffin and Josh have uniquely captured the attention of Generation Z and beyond, and their influence is undeniable. They are both incredible additions to the ReKTGlobal ownership team,” said Dave Bialek, CEO of ReKTGlobal. “They have strong business instincts, a unique talent for developing viral content, and an understanding of how to connect with younger audiences and casual gamers.”

The NBA 2K League unveiled the league’s first-ever “NBA 2K League Winter Cla$h,” a three-part online tournament beginning Friday, and featuring NBA G League Ignite players, social media influencers and fan-organized teams, competing alongside and against NBA 2K The NBA 2K League Winter Cla$h will be livestreamed on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels. “Coming off our most-watched season to date, we’re excited to continue our positive momentum by engaging with NBA G League Ignite players, fans and influencers through offseason events like the NBA 2K League Winter Cla$h,” said NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue. “This unique event will bring together some of the most recognizable personalities from the NBA 2K League, the 2K community and beyond to showcase their skills in a variety of game modes on NBA 2K21.”

aXiomatic announced the promotion of Mark Vela as its chief strategy officer. In this role, Vela will report to aXiomatic CEO Bruce Stein and oversee all investment activity and strategic initiatives, with a particular focus on Team Liquid.

KRAFTON, Inc. states that its subsidiary PUBG Corporation has fully merged into KRAFTON under its independent studio system. The company will now focus strictly on development under its new name PUBG Studio. KRAFTON also announced that its two other subsidiary studios, PNIX, Inc. and Delusion Studio, Inc., have consolidated into a new mobile games studio called RisingWings, Inc.

GENYOUth and Campbell’s Chunky are launching an esports initiative to help tackle hunger in schools. The Chunky Million Meals Challenge Madden NFL 21 presented by Target tournament will be played in EA SPORTS Madden NFL 21 and deliver 100 million meals to alleviate food insecurity among school-aged children during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Campbell’s Chunky and Target leading the charge to get the Challenge off to a strong start.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

Players for the United States women’s national team agreed to settlement terms for the portion of a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation relating to claims of unequal working conditions, according to ESPN. The settlement agreement announced Tuesday averts an impending trial on those claims relating to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act but does not end the lawsuit originally filed in March 2019. The plaintiffs reiterated Tuesday that they intend to appeal on wage discrimination claims under the Equal Pay Act.

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On this Day
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DIRECTOR, RETAIL DEVELOPMENT, AMERICAS
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Resp for building relationships with key retail accounts at the buyer/mrktg levels. Partner with licensee’s sales teams to pre-sell BBCS franchises and meet the needs of key buyers across retail. Build retail strategies that drive brand strategies set by the franchise/licensing teams. 10yrs exp in licensing or entertainment focusing on retail development. Full info HERE (12/15)

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Seeking VP, Mktg for the Americas region, to design/implement an audience-led mktg/media strat to dev/enhance the commercial relationship between BBC Studios and its global strategic customers. Must have proven track record within a global Mktg envir, focusing on customer engagement and strong customer brand relationships. Full info HERE (12/10)

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