|As we approach that college football staple in the annual Army/Navy game, one brand in particular that has the rivalry matchup circled on its calendar is USAA which uses the game as a key storytelling and activation week. In almost any year, “America’s Game” has had a window in the national spotlight unto itself, as most university schedules have been completed week. This year however, the Pandemic has seen many of the Big Five conferences shift to later dates, creating a unique window of competition while the game itself has gone to West Point. Cynopsis asked Eric Engquist, VP of Enterprise Brand Management and a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, to break down the USAA pivot for the game this year and beyond.
Engquist on how USAA’s overall sports marketing has changed during the pandemic: We have created safe and unique ways military fans of the NFL can interact with players, coaches and teams. We took our Salute to Service Lounge virtual and expanded it, with appearances throughout this season by players Ryan Tannehill, Larry Fitzgerald, and Zach Ertz and two additional appearances scheduled (Gardner Minshew on 12/8; Clyde Edwards-Helaire on 12/15). We also recently concluded a sweepstakes for an ultimate fan cave and the opportunity to play video games with players like Von Miller and George Kittle. Earlier this year at the NFL Draft, we worked with Coach Ron Rivera to offer fans an inside look at his draft experience, and Derrick Brown, to show fans how he prepared for the NFL Draft while growing up in a military household. Working with the San Diego Padres, we created a special military section allowing active duty military and veterans to submit a photo and have a cutout in the section for each home game. We have also created and leveraged content with other partners like the San Antonio Spurs, Academies and Spartan Honor Series to drive reach and engagement among fans and military audiences.
On how Army/Navy as a tentpole event cuts through the clutter this week: To help fans connect and engage with the game, USAA has introduced the “Army-Navy House” sweepstakes to help fans celebrate the traditions and rivalry that go hand-in-hand with America’s Game. One grand prize winner will be chosen for Army and one for Navy. Those winners will receive airfare, hotel and game tickets to attend next year’s Army-Navy Game. Additionally, 1,000 randomly selected fans who upload a photo for either Academy will receive a limited-edition souvenir ticket. We know many fans are sad they can’t keep their attendance streak at the game going. This souvenir ticket is a way to help keep the streak alive and it could be the last opportunity to get a physical souvenir ticket if future tickets go entirely digital. To support this effort, USAA is taking its Super Bowl-like Radio Row, virtual. We are working with many of the stations who’ve attended Army-Navy Radio Row in past years, along with some new ones. And, we’re working with many guests that we can offer media that have a connection to America’s Game, or the military at large including NFL legend Roger Staubach, NBA legend David Robinson, former Navy Midshipmen Joe Cardona and ESPN personality Sage Steele.
On being in New York two years in a row: While we can all collectively hope that fans can attend as they have in past years, we know that the game will be special, as it will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Provided that it is safe to do so (COVID-19), we do hope to host sports radio stations and other media outlets at our Army – Navy Game radio row experience. Similarly, Army-Navy House will continue to have value as an on-site experiential activation moving forward – again, when it is safe to do so.
The first half of the 2020-21 NBA regular season has its lineup of broadcast homes for TNT, ESPN, ABC, NBA TV and ESPN Radio and spanning Dec. 22-March 4. Adding on to the announcement last week for the first three days of the season, the schedule incorporates steps to reduce travel, including the use of a “series” model. In some instances where a team is scheduled to play twice in one market, those games have been scheduled to be played consecutively. Each team will play an average of four “series” in the First Half – two at home and two on the road. As part of a continuous effort to present national television games to the largest possible audience, the NBA “worked closely with its teams and domestic broadcast partners to schedule earlier start times for doubleheaders.” During the First Half of the season, each doubleheader across TNT and ESPN will tip off at 7p/9:30p or 7:30p/10p.
In addition to opening the season, TNT will televise seven Tuesday doubleheaders and nine Thursday doubleheaders during the first half with a 66-game schedule overall during the 2020-21 NBA regular season, including a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tripleheader, weekly NBA on TNT Thursdays and regular NBA on TNT Tuesday Night coverage starting in February. NBA on TNT’s marquee Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tripleheader on Monday, Jan. 18, will feature Warriors/Lakers at 10p, as well as Suns/Grizzlies at 5p and Bucks/Nets at 7:30p.
Around the dial, ESPN will televise nine Wednesday doubleheaders and eight Friday doubleheaders during the first half, while the sixth season of NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC will premiere on Jan. 30, when the Celtics host the Lakers at 8:30p. ABC Sunday Showcase will also make its season debut on Feb. 21. Together ESPN and ABC will combine to carry 49 games over during the period, including three appearances each from the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics;
NBA TV, meanwhile, offers 107 live games for the full season, and will tip off its regular season coverage with a tripleheader on Dec. 26, starting with the Memphis Grizzlies hosting the Atlanta Hawks.
The NHL is reportedly targeting a mid-January start date with a 52- or 56-game schedule at best, according to ESPN. According to the report, the league’s initial target of Jan. 1 became unfeasible because of necessary time for training camp and quarantine protocols in some markets.
Telemundo Deportes is reporting 1.4 million viewers for this week’s Liga MX semifinal between Chivas, C.D. Guadalajara, and Club Leon on Dec. 2, immediately following a delivery of nearly 1.5 million viewers for the previous match, Chivas-America on Nov. 25. This week’s Chivas-Leon match garnered 771,000 viewers among Adults 18-49, the network’s highest delivery among the A18-49 age group to date, and an increase of 2% over last week, outperforming Club Leon’s previous match against Puebla on Univision by 10% in the same age group.
Concacaf released an updated schedule for qualifiers ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which follows Friday’s FIFA Council ruling that North and Central American teams will now be able to play three games in one match window instead of two. With the shift, the final, eight-team round of Concacaf qualifiers will begin in September 2021, first following four First Round match dates in March 2021 and June 2021.
Promiseland, a new docu-series following Memphis Grizzlies’ rookie, Ja Morant, is set to launch next year. The six-part series, created and directed by Dexton Deboree, founder of Falkon chronicles Morant’s ascension from an unknown high school prospect and overnight small college standout to the top tier of the NBA. The series is a joint project from the production teams of DLP Media Group, Deboree’s Falkon Entertainment, RTG Features, and Interscope Films, and is currently in post-production.
Longtime Cubs play-by-play voice Len Kasper is heading to the cross-town White Sox where he will become the next White Sox radio play-by-play announcer.A multiyear contract to join Darrin Jackson in the White Sox radio booth was officially announced on Friday. Kasper and Jackson will be working on ESPN 1000, the White Sox new flagship station, with Jackson entering his 22nd season as a White Sox broadcaster and his 13th as radio analyst.
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Major League Soccer and Kellogg’s inked a multi-year partnership extension that designates Cheez-It and Pringles as the league’s official snacks, while Eggo becomes the official waffle. As part of the expanded partnership, Kellogg’s will also continue to be an official partner of eMLS – MLS’ competitive EA SPORTS FIFA league. “Major League Soccer’s partnership with Kellogg’s has allowed us to engage our fans and players with unique activations while allowing them to sample this iconic brand,” said Jen Cramer, MLS Senior Vice President of Partnership Marketing in Friday’s announcement. “We are excited about our partnership extension and look forward to collaborating with Kellogg’s for many years to come.”
Coca-Cola’s partnership with Special Olympics International is now slated to run through 2023, extending a run that first saw the beverage brand serve as a founding partner and global sponsor of Special Olympics since the organization’s creation in 1968.
USA Triathlon extended the org’s partnership with HotelPlanner through 2023, with the brand serving as the organization’s Official Booking Partner. “While COVID-19 has dramatically shifted the way we travel and impacted multisport events nationwide, HotelPlanner will continue to be USA Triathlon’s preferred resource for athletes who do choose to travel responsibly next season and beyond,” said Victoria Brumfield, USA Triathlon Chief of Staff.
On the merch front, Under Armour’s newly formed Curry Brand debuted its first signature shoe, titled the Curry Flow 8. The initial Curry Flow 8 colorway will be made available globally via currybrand.com, at UA Brand Houses and at select retail partners for $160 on Dec. 11.
Meanwhile, New Balance and Kawhi Leonard released the latest KAWHI signature shoe: KAWHI Christmas while will be sold exclusively at New Balance and the Foot Locker family of brands. “In working with Kawhi, we wanted to ensure that his final signature shoe for 2020 was unique to his personality and further showcased the ice in his veins and what drives him,” said Jonathan Grondin, New Balance’s Design Director for Basketball “Like the mythical Snow Wasset, Kawhi is relentless on the court and it was imperative that the shoe’s design emulated his work ethic and how he comes alive in the winter during the NBA season.”
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH
Chip Ganassi Racing gassed up a new partnership with mobile games platform Skillz and developer Gamie Studios to create a new competitive mobile game, Chip Ganassi Racing Blitz. “Partnering with Skillz is an amazing opportunity to engage our fans with immersive digital experiences and share our passion for racing with a new generation of audiences both on and off the track,” said John Olguin, Senior Vice President of CGR.
Famer, the sports coaching and mentorship mobile platform, is expanding its partnership with the NBPA with the launch of NBPA Training Ground One. Through the NBPA’s Training Ground channel on Famer, youth athletes will now have the opportunity to participate in one-on-one personal training sessions and receive feedback from some of the best basketball coaches and trainers in the world. “At Famer our mission is to empower coaches to positively impact the lives of aspiring young athletes and to democratize personal sports training” said Famer CEO Rich Abend. “This partnership brings pro level training to the masses, and gives NBPA grassroots coaches and trainers the tools they need to work directly with kids anywhere in the world.”
Epic Games is extending its virtual run on esports events through 2021 due to the pandemic. Among the in-person events that will not take place once again next year will be the Fortnite World Cup, although online competitions will continue throughout the next year. The company noted that the “intent is to eventually hold global in-person tournaments again.” The Fortnite Championship Series will continue throughout 2021, with the Chapter 2 – Season 5 FNCS is currently on the docket for February 4.
Talon is partnering with ESPAT to serve as its digital media licensing provider with Talon contributing pictures and video onto ESPAT’s licensing platform to “build a comprehensive content library that will have global exposure.” “As we continue to see the demand for esports content grow exponentially we are excited to be partnering with ESPAT to serve our fans and the community,” said Sean Zhang CEO of Talon Esports. “ESPAT is providing digital media rights holders a passive revenue stream, with real-time global accessibility for the editorial and commercial user. Content derived from the lens of a team is unmatched, from behind the scenes at the facility to the adrenaline from a live event, we look forward to supporting the South East Asia region and being the distribution platform for Talon Esports..”
Evil Geniuses is bringing on former Red Bull Executive, Michael Fudzinski, as the org’s new Chief Revenue Officer. Fudzinski most recently oversaw global partnerships initiatives as VP at the Drone Racing League.
Zytara announced that Andy Brown and Moritz Baier-Lentz have joined the company’s board of advisors. This follows the news released earlier this week around the company’s plans to launch the esports banking platform in early 2021. Brown is the CEO of Sand Hill East, while Baier-Lentz is a Partner of BITKRAFT Ventures, the globally leading early and mid-stage investment platform for gaming, esports, and interactive media.
Supercell opened the doors to its 2021 plans for the Brawl Stars Championship with an expansion that will now see eight open regional seasons next year while the number of regions is buffed to seven. Overall, 16 teams will go to the 2021 World Finals. The first season will open in February with the first broadcast in March.
INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES
Major League Baseball and all 30 of its teams are reportedly suing their insurance providers, claiming billions of dollars in losses during the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the AP, the suit was filed in October in California Superior Court and says providers AIG, Factory Mutual, and Interstate Fire and Casualty Company have refused to pay claims made by MLB despite the league’s “all-risk” policy purchases.
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Which to collegiate football teams compete for the Iron Skillet in their rivalry game? Answer: TCU and SMU. Kudos:Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Ken Nice-TeamPeople/Falls Church; Bev Buckley-Rollins College/Winter Park; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW/KDFI/Dallas-Fort Worth; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Bill Rasmussen-ESPN Founder/Seattle
Must be able to perform ingest and playback functions during live and pre-recorded programs. Traffics video clips according to shows’ rundowns. Edits content as necessary. Min 3yrs exp in executing video playback in live control room environment. Plus 1yr exp with Ross Tria or EVS. Full info HERE (12/14)
TELEMUNDO/SACRAMENTO, CA: Responsible for partnering with local clients, both on the agency level and direct, to create innovative and unique mrktg and adv solutions that target a client’s demos and products/services. AE will also need to deliver quarterly results and meeting individual budget requirements. Min 2yrs direct sales exp with 3yrs of media sales exp. Full info HERE (12/16)
DIRECTOR, RETAIL DEVELOPMENT, AMERICAS >>
BBC STUDIOS/NY, NY: 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)
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA/NY, NY: Directs, co-develops/delivers locally prod programs and PSA for nat and inter’l audiences. Also oversees prod crew that produces regular, special and live shows related to various political, historical and other appropriate topics. Min 3yrs exp in directing Live television news, studio-based programming or similarly related professional media productions. Full info HERE (12/14)
VIDEO ENGINEER & ROBOTIC CAMERA OPERATOR >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA/NY, NY: Exp in configuring and setting up all broadcast studio cameras both manned and robotic for daily use. Maintains network-level camera blocking and composition. Monitors/adjusts video signals including cameras, monitors, playback sources, color correction equip/incoming feeds. Min 4yrs exp. Full info HERE (12/14)
FEEDS MANAGER >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA/NY, NY: Resp for managing tech/logistical traffic supporting live news shows. Full knwldge of video and tech workflow throughout all locations. Provide tech guidance to help create better video workflows. Ensure all broadcast feeds are meeting specific tech quality standards. Min 3yrs tech managing, or equivalent knwldge. 5 yrs in live TV prod. Full info HERE (12/14)
GFX Op >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA/NY, NY: Must be able to set up and play out all graphic elements which are included in pre-recorded or live programming. Mnge graphic content as it corresponds to live and pre-recorded programs. Satisfy all production req for live and pre-recorded programming under the supervision of the show’s director and technical operations mngmt. Min 3yrs of exp in graphic and character generation, plus 1yr exp with Ross Xpression. Full info HERE (12/14)
AUDIO TECHNICIAN >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA/NY, NY: Operate/executes audio mixing/creation for live and taped broadcasts, in the context of orig produced programs and PSAs. Collaborate with News depart and prod crew that produce regular, special and live shows. Generate timely and pertinent broadcast material. Min 2yrs exp in graphic and character gen in television news, creative services, studio-based prog or related profession. Full info HERE (12/14)
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC: Responsible for designing and building shows, managing show hosts and production team, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the production of key video & graphic elements. 3+ yrs EP exp or political news & talk programming. Full info HERE (12/14)
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC: Write for fast paced news and opinion show. You are an exceptional storyteller with a command of political news and cultural trends. At least 3 years of national or large market local news experience. Full info HERE (12/14)
SENIOR LINE PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC: Responsible for the production and execution of live political news programming, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs experience line producing. Full info HERE (12/14)
Newsmax Media/NYC: Responsible for the production of live news & talk show, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs in TV news and/or talk production. Full info HERE (12/14)
COORDINATOR, CONSUMER MARKETING >>
CROWN MEDIA FAMILY NETWORKS/LA, CA: Resp for supporting the implementation of advtg campaigns (on/off-channel), mktg partnerships, promotions, sweepstakes, experiential events, creative adv development & email mktg initiatives. Min 1yr of professional mktg exp within the entertainment industry. Full info HERE (12/11)
MANAGER, TALENT & LEARNING DEVELOPMENT >>
A+E NETWORKS/NYC: Assess company-wide developmental needs and drive the design, development, delivery, evaluation and admin of various training and development programs (including leadership training, coaching, DE&I, etc.). 3-7 yrs of developing eLearning training with strong data analysis skill and excellent communication ability is required. Full info HERE (12/11)
VP, CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT >>
SESAME WORKSHOP/NY, NY: Idea generator in developing and vetting program ideas and genres for creating new programs for in-house development, and identifying the right distributor for each property. Min 8 yrs exp and must be able to share ideas and contribute to the strategic vision/direction of the Workshop. Full info HERE (12/11)
VP, MARKETING >>
BBC STUDIOS/NY, NY: 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)
DIGITAL MARKETING COORDINATOR >>
EMERGING NETWORKS, LLC/REMOTE: Responsible for development and growth of web, mobile and social platforms. As well as, all overall support for all digital content efforts and tactical responsibilities as it relates to the website and social media strategy. Full info HERE (12/10)
MARKETING MANAGER (Always-On Show Lead) >>
WONDERY/LOS ANGELES, CA: Responsible for developing marketing strategy aligned to business goals to effectively and efficiently launch and maintain key Wondery shows. Must have 3 years of podcast marketing experience. Full info HERE (12/10)
MEDIA BUYER >>
WONDERY/LOS ANGELES, CA: Responsible for developing and executing media strategy including planning, analyzing and optimizing media campaigns. Must have media-buying experience and a passion for podcasts, audio storytelling and entertainment content. Full info HERE (12/9)
DIRECTOR, OWNED MEDIA >>
A+E NETWORKS/NYC: SME within the Consumer Mktg & Media team. You will develop and manage owned media strategy for the LIFETIME/LMN brands. Partner with Planning, Digital Media and On-Air Scheduling teams. 7yrs exp managing Owned Media within an Entertainment firm with deep knowledge of entertainment landscape, including competitive set and non-linear platform. Full info HERE (12/9)
MANAGER, BRAND MARKETING & STRATEGIC PLANNING >>
NICKELODEON/NY, NY: Hardworking, pro-active and inquisitive Mgr for a newly formed Brand Mktg and Strategy team at Nickelodeon. This role will aid in defining Nickelodeon’s brand mission/values as well as Mktg efforts across series, brand, platforms, emerging media and more. Min 5yrs exp in consumer strategy, digital, mktg or media. Full info HERE (12/9)
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT >>
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME/REMOTE: Seeking motivated individual responsible for the creation of a WBHOF donor base that will increase donations through donor relationships, contributions, capital campaigns and ongoing fundraising efforts. Proven track record with min 5yrs exp managing/forging relationships with multiple donor sources. Full info HERE (12/8)
SOCIAL MEDIA ASSOC PRODUCER >>
JUMA ENTERTAINMENT/Remote: Looking for creative and highly motivated individual to access and clear videos for network prime time clip series. Must possess a love of TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and be able to navigate platforms. Full info HERE (12/8)
SR. DESIGNER >>
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