The New York Mets announced that minority owner Steve Cohen is negotiating with Fred Wilpon’s holding company, Sterling Partners, to acquire up to 80% of the club, according to Bloomberg. As part of the deal, both Fred Wilpon and his son, Jeff Wilpon, will remain in their respective roles with the organization for the next five years. If the transaction were to go through, it would value the Mets at $2.6 billion, Bloomberg reports. In 2012, Cohen spent $20 million to buy a 4% stake in the Mets. Sterling Partners currently owns about 68% of the team.
Opening with ratings. Monday Night Football saw the Seahawks’ win over the Vikings average 14,160,000 viewers on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, according to Nielsen to mark a spike of 23% over Week 13 a year ago and push ESPN to a win for the night among all networks.
Meanwhile, the Iron Bowl held strong for The SEC on CBS as Auburn’s win over Alabama averaged 11.430 million viewers, up 25% over last year’s game, and peaking with 18.154 million viewers from 7:15 to 7:30p. Birmingham was the top-rated market for the Iron Bowl with a 50.2/71 household rating/share.
ESPN also reports that College GameDay delivered its largest audience of the 2019 college football season on Saturday, generating a three-hour audience of 2,280,000 viewers for its first ever show from the University of Minnesota.
Around the dial, FOX Sports’ Big Noon Kickoff pregame show notched a viewership record with 2,788,000 viewers. Heading into Saturday’s Big Ten Championship Game between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 8 Wisconsin, FOX Sports is enjoying its most-watched college football season to-date, averaging 2,054,000 viewers on FOX and FS1, up 10% from the previous high. FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2019 Big Ten Championship Game begins Saturday at 7p with a one-hour edition of Big Ten Championship Pregame featuring host Rob Stone and analysts Brady Quinn, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Urban Meyer.
Meanwhile, CBS Sports serves up LSU and Georgia in the 2019 SEC Championship on Saturday at 4p on CBS. Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and reporter Jamie Erdahl call the action from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Studio coverage is live from Mercedes-Benz Stadium with host Adam Zucker, along with analysts Rick Neuheisel, Brian Jones and Kevin Carter. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn, who coached against both LSU and Georgia this season, joins as a guest analyst.
UEFA unveiled a new Women’s Champions League format that will be introduced from 2021/22, including a 16-team group stage as well as centralized marketing and TV coverage. The change was agreed today by the UEFA Executive Committee and will bring a 20% increase in the number of matches. The current knockout round of 16 will be replaced by a group stage, with four groups of four teams playing each other home and away. The top two in each group progress to the quarter-finals. In the new format and agreement, the media rights will be centralized from the group stage onwards, with UEFA producing every game for TV or online streaming purposes. Sponsorship rights will be partially centralized for UEFA women’s football partners from the group stage.
Combate Americas announced that BMF champion Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal will serve as a color commentator for the ‘Tito vs. Alberto – What Side Are You On’ pay-per-view television on Saturday. Masvidal will join Julianna “The Venezuelan Vixen” Peña and play-by-play veteran Max Bretos in the television booth at Payne Arena to call the action.
Pac-12 Network takes on Friday’s Pac-12 Football Championship Game between Utah and Oregon with on-site special editions of Inside Pac-12 Football at Levi’s Stadium and pregame coverage starting at 4p PT.
SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
AT&T announced that Lady Gaga will headline this year’s newly named AT&T TV Super Saturday Night on February 1 in Miami, the evening before the Super Bowl, which marks the event’s tenth anniversary, having previously been known as DIRECTV Super Saturday Night. The event will be livestreamed at twitter.com/ItsOnATT and held at Meridian at Island Gardens. Year after year, in cities all across the country, we’ve built specially-curated venues from the ground up to provide both our mega-star performers and their adoring fans a one-night-only concert experience they will not forget. And this year will be no different,” said Valerie Vargas, senior vice president – advertising and creative services, AT&T. “In Miami, we’re going to go big and bold – two words synonymous with Lady Gaga. Over the course of her career, she has undoubtedly delivered the most epic performances that have defined a generation.”
Busch Beer, the “Official Beer of NASCAR,” was awarded the 2019 Marketing Achievement Award at the NASCAR Industry Awards Reception during NASCAR Champion’s Week in Nashville. “We take great pride in creating new and surprising ways to engage NASCAR fans throughout the year, so being honored with this award is a special achievement for our team,” said Nick Kelly, vice president partnerships, beer category and community, Anheuser-Busch. “Our partnership with NASCAR and the industry at-large has allowed us to do what we do best, deliver creative marketing that resonates with fans and drives consumption of crisp, refreshing Busch Beer.”
Pat McAfee has been named the official Cheez-It Bowl Master of Cheez. College football fans will now have a chance to attend the Cheez-It Bowl with McAfee joining him in a two-story Cheez-It “box” for a new kind of game experience.
ASICS announced multi-year sponsorship deals with five athletes; distance runners Lindsay Flanagan and Clayton Young, sprinter Kiara Parker, long jumper Kate Hall and hurdler Payton Chadwick. All five athletes will exclusively wear ASICS apparel and footwear. “Lindsay, Clayton, Kiara, Kate and Payton have all shown the characteristics of an ideal ambassadors for our brand,” said Koichiro Kodama, CEO of ASICS North America. “We are proud to have them wear our products and represent ASICS on the world’s stage. 2020 is an important year for the ASICS brand, both regionally in North America and globally in Japan.”
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH
The New York Yankees are reportedly poised to partner with Amazon to become the first MLB team to offer games to in-market viewers without a cable TV subscription. The New York Post writes that YES Network will allow online streaming for a limited number of games, likely on Amazon’s Prime Video service, starting as soon as the 2020 season, via an annual streaming package at a fixed cost.
The International Olympic Committee’s global Olympic Channel launched an official account on TikTok, where it will look to engage with young fans and new audiences through TikTok’s platform by creating short videos featuring behind-the-scenes content, interaction with athletes and bespoke original pieces.
In this week’s edition of Cynopsis Esports…
INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES
Global sports marketing agency Lagardère Sports named Joel Segal as Chief Executive Officer of the agency’s North American business operations effective immediately. “Joel’s drive to succeed is easily apparent and is illustrated by his long career as one of the most prominent talent agents in all of sports,” said Ugo Valensi, Chief Executive Officer of Lagardère Sports and Entertainment. “His passion and long track record of leading a thriving sports business makes him the ideal person to lead the entirety of our North American operations.”
VSiN named its first CMO, tapping Derek Van Nostran for the position where he will head VSiN’s strategic marketing efforts to grow audiences across platforms, increase advertising revenue, drive VSiN distribution to OTT platforms, and continue to develop the VSiN brand identity. As Head of OTT Marketing for Sinclair Digital, Van Nostran led strategic marketing efforts to drive growth for the cross-platform streaming news service NewsON as well as the live local multi-linear streaming service STIRR. He was responsible for OTT audience growth which resulted in millions of downloads, hundreds of thousands of monthly viewers, and six-figure monthly OTT advertising revenue.
THE MAIN EVENT
Cowboys/Bears on FOX, NFL Network and Amazon Prime Video at 8:20p.
ON THIS DAY in 1974
The Seattle Seahawks are established.
In the Know
Which two teams have the Mets beaten in the World Series? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your company and city).
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Which is the only NFC East team that Herschel Walker did not play for? Answer: Washington Redskins. Kudos: Keith Marder-Halstead Real Estate/NY; Greg Maltzman-Up Down Digital/NY; Chris Long-DraftKings/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Willy Gibson-WTG Sports/Columbus; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Red Bulls/Harrison; Paul Brewer-TV Talent Agents, Inc/North Augusta; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Mike Seidel- CSI Sports/Jersey City; Matt Fumagalli-NBC & Telemundo Chicago/Chicago; John Tingue-hulu/Chicago; Travis Wacker-Good Karma Brands Milwaukee/Milwaukee; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Rich Greene-Casa Del Verde Productions/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Anne Wettig-FOX/FOX Sports S&P/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Allison Stevens-Effectv/San Francisco
Later ~ Chris