12/06/19: NASCAR Cup Series’ big four; Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest comes up Roses; NHL dives into GameFlow


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Friday December 6, 2019
NASCAR is going with a quartet of heavyweight brands, announcing plans to shift its premier series to the moniker, NASCAR Cup Series, complete with four cornerstone brands, aka Premier Partners, in Busch Beer, Coca-Cola, GEICO and Xfinity. In the announcement, the org states that the shift “will provide many strategic benefits to the industry, including greater activation opportunities for brands across the sport. NASCAR’s inaugural grouping of Premier Partners will play a key role in consumer marketing and fan development initiatives moving forward.” Premier Partners, in addition to separate activation points, will collectively own a presence connected to the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race and NASCAR All-Star Race. Additionally, all four partners will be prominently featured in multiple platforms across the sport, including integrations in broadcast, NASCAR digital and social channels, event entitlements, in-market promotions and at-track activations.
“This has been a monumental year for our sport, one highlighted by significant changes in our business model to ensure long-term viability and growth,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR President. “As we begin this new chapter, we are joined by four incredible brands with deep-rooted histories across all levels of our sport. We are honored to have this elite group represent our NASCAR Cup Series for years to come.”

Major League Soccer unveiled the opening home games for all 26 clubs in 2020, with the new season set to kick off on February 29. Inter Miami CF will begin its inaugural season in MLS with a visit to LAFC while the other new expansion team, Nashville SC, will take on Atlanta United at Nissan Stadium. Defending MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders will begin the new season by taking on the Chicago Fire FC.
The College Football Playoff’s Selection Day on Sunday will see nearly 20 hours of programming dedicated to the event across ESPN platforms, including the College Football Playoff Selection Show Presented by AT&T at noon. During the four-hour show, the four College Football Playoff teams, the CFP committee’s final rankings and all the matchups of the New Year’s Six will be revealed, while New Year’s Six matchups will be revealed at 3p. Rece Davis hosts for sixth consecutive year, with Kirk Herbstreit, Joey Galloway, Jesse Palmer and David Pollack joining Davis at the main set
MLB Club front office executives Jon Daniels (Texas Rangers), Mike Hill (Miami Marlins), Jed Hoyer (Chicago Cubs) and Thad Levine (Minnesota Twins) offer audiences a first-hand description of a day in the life of the modern general manager in a special episode of Business of Baseball presented by CohnReznic on MLB Network on Saturday at 5p. Brian Kenny moderates with analyst and former GM Dan O’Dowd, to discuss how advancements in analytics have impacted the decision-making process for front offices across the industry; whether front offices will follow the formula the Washington Nationals used to win the 2019 World Series; and what on-field tactics could be implemented in the future of the game.
ACC Network will be live from Charlotte for enhanced coverage of the ACC Football Championship Game. ACCN’s signature studio shows Packer and Durham and The Huddle will both be on location on Saturday in advance of the ACC Football Championship Game featuring Clemson/Virginia at 7:30p on ABC.
IMSA and NBC Sports unveiled the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship broadcast schedule, which will include nine hours of NBC network coverage as part of 59 total hours across NBC, NBCSN and CNBC. Coverage on NBC begins Jan. 25, at 1:30p with the first hour of the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona, followed by a two-hour live telecast of the race finish on Sunday, Jan. 26 at noon on NBC. NBCSN gets the blk of programming with a total of 44.5 hours in 2020
FOX Sports detailed its programming lineup ahead of the WBC Super Welterweight Title rematch between Tony “Superbad” Harrison and Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo headlining the FOX PBC Fight Night on Dec. 21. The premiere of the half-hour PBC Face to Face: Tony Harrison vs. Jermell Charlo II airs this Saturday at 2p as the rivals discuss how the rematch will be different from the first fight. The one-hour PBC Countdown: Tony Harrison vs. Jermell Charlo II follows at 2:30p as cameras go behind the scenes. Dec. 14 sees Run It Back: Jermell Charlo vs. Tony Harrison at 3p as Charlo and Harrison re-watch their controversial first fight that took place nearly a year ago.
La Vida Baseball announced the launch of their newest live talk show and podcast “Being Guillén.” The show is hosted by Ozzie Guillén and two of his sons Ozzie Guillén Jr. and Oney Guillén. The first season debuts Friday at 2p on La Vida Baseball’s social media accounts with a run of 12 shows on deck.
Bleacher Report is partnering with At Will Media to launch an original video and podcast series that will examine “the hottest names in streetwear design and culture.” The three-part series titled “Friends and Family,” will mark the first collaboration between both companies and offer a blend of content and commerce.
ESPN Radio is launching a weekday afternoon sports talk show, First Take, Your Take with Jason Fitz, starting Jan. 20 at 1p. The two-hour show – hosted by Fitz and simulcast on ESPNEWS – will further the conversations from that morning’s edition of ESPN’s marquee debate show First Take. First Take,Your Take with Jason Fitz will originate from Bristol and will also be available on SiriusXM Channel 80 and via digital distributors Apple Music, iHeartRadio and TuneIn. The final edition of The Stephen A. Smith Show on ESPN Radio will air January 17, at 1p.
Speaking of which, ESPN Radio reports that November saw its audience grow 11% in the men 25-54 demographic in PPM markets on terrestrial radio during the 6a-6p weekday hours, according to Nielsen. Time spent listening also saw year-over-year growth of 9% in November. Through the first two months of the fall ratings book, ESPN Radio was up 9% from 2018 on terrestrial radio.
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On Location Experiences and Bud Light are bringing back the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest, the three-night festival ahead of the Super Bowl and running Jan. 30 – Feb. 1 at Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena. On Friday Night, the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest will feature Guns N’ Roses. Saturday’s Super Bowl Eve concert lineup will feature Maroon 5 and special guest. EA SPORTS BOWL will once again serve as the unofficial kickoff to the biggest weekend in the NFL season Thursday night with a Welcome to Miami Showcase that features DaBaby and is headlined by DJ Khaled and friends.
Verizon Media and Serena Williams are teaming up for a new shoppable video series titled, “Everybody, Every Body.” The short-form digital series debuted on Yahoo Shopping, Yahoo’s new commerce platform, with additional episodes set to air through February 2020. The first video hosted by Williams highlights her style guide and favorite pieces from the collection. The campaign will also feature organic holiday content on Yahoo Shopping, including some of Williams’ favorite pieces and outfit ideas from the S by Serena closet.
Rawlings has been named The Official Glove of Major League Baseball. A new licensing agreement between Major League Baseball and Rawlings cements the designation in 2020 and provides them exclusive on-field rights beginning with the 2021 MLB Championship Season. “Rawlings and baseball have been synonymous for well over a century, and the Rawlings glove has been and continues to be at the heart of our relationship with the game,” said Mike Thompson, Rawlings Chief Marketing Officer. “The designation ‘official glove’ of Major League Baseball cements our ties with the best game and the best players in the world, while honoring the people behind the best baseball glove in the world.”
The Professional Fighters League announced a fully integrated partnership with Town Sports, the parent Company of New York Sports Club, making the largest owner and operator of health and fitness clubs in the tri-state area the “Official Gym Partner of the Professional Fighters League.” The partnership kickstarts PFL’s championship month, as the league will again host the PFL World Championship at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve, live on ESPN2 at 7p. NYSC will also be the presenting sponsor of two PFL original productions airing on ESPN2 and ESPN+ ahead of the championship – “The Road to the PFL 2019 Championship” and “The Making of MMA’s First-Ever 155lb Weight Division…Anchored by Kayla Harrison.”

The NHL and Disney Streaming Services launched GameFlow, a new interactive tool that “leverages shot pressure data to provide fans with a visual depiction of a game’s momentum.” Available in the NHL mobile app, fans will be able to access GameFlow during or after a game via Gamecenter to follow the flow of a game and track how offensive shot pressure corresponds to goals. The GameFlow visualization captures the rate of all shots attempted during a game, including goals, missed or blocked shots, and saves. “We are excited to introduce this season new and engaging tools that bring hockey fans deeper into the trends and play habits outside of typical box scores,” said Barry Tishgart, SVP and General Manager, Hockey, Disney Streaming Services. “GameFlow is a first-of-its-kind data visualization experience that we believe has the potential to revolutionize sports streaming.”
Amazon Web Services and the NFL announced a new partnership to advance player health and safety. The partnership aims to leverage AWS’s artificial intelligence and machine learning services to provide a “deeper and more profound understanding of the game than ever before, making transformational change possible in football, other sports, and potentially other industries.” The NFL and AWS will develop new tools and generate better-informed insights into player injuries, specifically the impact of a variety of factors such as game rules, equipment, and rehabilitation and recovery strategies. Over time, the collaboration aims to also build the capability to predict the risk of player injuries before they happen.

The NBA 2K League locked in its venue for its first-ever European Invitational in London next week, with the two-day event set to be held at Gfinity Arena in London as 20 of the best NBA 2K players from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey and the UK compete over two days of gameplay, and participate in interviews with league representatives and team managers. The double-elimination tournament on Dec. 14 will be livestreamed on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.
DreamSeat is pulling double duty. The sports and gaming chair brand inked a deal with Allied Esports to become The Official Gaming Chair of its global flagship esports venue, HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas. The chair manufacturer will supply HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas with 140 Xpression Gaming chairs for player stations, production rooms and staff offices throughout the popular dedicated esports facility. The multiyear agreement between Allied Esports and DreamSeat includes a revenue share opportunity for partner use of the logo panels on an event-by-event basis. DreamSeat will also have a consumer retail presence at HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas that will allow visitors to purchase various products onsite and online.
Meanwhile, Envy Gaming also completed a deal with DreamSeat and its affiliates, Zipchair and Zipchair Gaming. The partnership includes sponsorship of five Overwatch League weekend series hosted by the Dallas Fuel in 2020, two Call of Duty League competitive events hosted by the Dallas Empire, and ZipChair products used to outfit the new Envy Gaming training center and headquarters office located in Dallas’ Victory Park.
Epic Games is bring back the Fortnite Winter Royale event this month, opening the door for duos to compete in three tournaments on three different days and $5 million up for grabs in prizes. Players from any rank and any server will be eligible to compete. Details about the event will be posted at a later time.
Turtle Beach announced a new partnership with FIFA champion gamer Mossad Aldossary, aka MSdossary. The Saudi Arabian FIFA pro won the 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup final and was named 2018 Esports Player of the Year. “Mossad is a prolific FIFA player and long-time Turtle Beach advocate and we’re thrilled to have him join our collective of top gamers and influencers,” said Juergen Stark, CEO, Turtle Beach. “He’s one of the most followed and watched players in the world and this is just the beginning of his FIFA career, and we are looking forward to helping him achieve even greater success.”
The Call of Duty Endowment (C.O.D.E.) announced the first ever CODE Bowl presented by U.S. Army Esports on December 13. The event will feature eight teams, each captained by a popular streamer playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare along with members of the U.S. Army esports team. Each team will be competing to become the CODE Bowl Champions by earning the most points in-game. The action begins at 10a PT on the Call of Duty Twitch Channel. Fans can also watch their favorite streamers via their individual channels, including: CouRageJD, Dr Disrespect, Dakotaz, Shroud, StoneMountain64, Summit1G, Syndicate, and TimTheTatman. Each streamer will also raise donations on their channels on behalf of the Call of Duty Endowment.

Octagon named John Shea as Global President, Marketing and Events, Octagon Worldwide. In the role, Shea will oversee all U.S. and international marketing specialty groups for the agency, which include Brand Marketing, Property Consulting, Experiential Activation, Creative, Content, Production, as well as Digital Marketing. Since 2016, Shea has served as President of Marketing, Americas. As part of the announcement, four agency veterans have been elevated to executive leadership positions on Shea’s team. Lou Kovacs has been promoted to President of Marketing, North America, Ben Hartman moves in to a newly created role of Chief Client Officer, International, Jeff Meeson has been appointed as Managing Director, Europe, and Aykan Azar will serve as Managing Director, APAC, Middle East and Africa.

Georgia/LSU on CBS at Saturday at 4p.
ON THIS DAY in 1986
Vinny Testaverde wins the Heisman Trophy.
In the Know
Who was the last Heisman Trophy winner who has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your company and city).
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Which two teams have the Mets beaten in the World Series? Answer: The Orioles and Red Sox. Kudos: John Ferlazzo/London; Chris Long-DraftKings/NY; Tori Gallarello-Alcock-Little Roosters, Inc./NY; Brian Traynor-Endeavor/NY; Barbara Capella Loehr-Equal Opportunity Publications/NY; Roger Furman-Sports Marketing Communications/Greentown; James Stuart-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Mark Lehman-Braves/Atlanta; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Red Bulls/Harrison; JT Ward-University of Dayton/Dayton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas; Rich Wolfe-Lone Wolfe Press/Scottsdale; Dave Sikula-San Francisco State University/San Francisco; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Allison Stevens-Effectv/San Francisco; Jack Simmons-US Army Reserve/LA
Later ~ Chris
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