12/08/21: MLB Network promotes Bill Morningstar to president


Medias First Morning Read


Wednesday December 8, 2021

Bill Morningstar was tapped to become the next president of MLB Network. In addition to his new MLBN post, Morningstar will continue his MLB – EVP/Sponsorship sales responsibilities, with the announcement made by MLB Chief Revenue Officer Noah Garden. Morningstar, who led the advertising sales team that helped launch MLB Network in 2009 before joining the Commissioner’s Office in 2014, will gain oversight of all day-to-day operations of MLB Network, and continue to report to Garden. He will also assume oversight of all day-to-day operations of NHL Network, which has shared production facilities with MLB Network since 2015. Morningstar succeeds Rob McGlarry.

“As MLB Network and NHL Network consistently produce valuable, high-quality content for baseball and hockey fans everywhere, I’m confident that Bill’s innovative and collaborative approach will help the networks continue to succeed and lead them into new areas of growth in the immediate and long-term future,” said Garden


The Biden administration announced that the country will not send an official U.S. delegation to the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics taking place in Beijing, in a diplomatic boycott designed to punish China for reported human rights abuses. “The athletes on Team USA have our full support,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “We will be behind them 100% as we cheer them on from home. (But) we will not be contributing to the fanfare of the Games.” Athletes are currently still able to participate in the Games. “We greatly appreciate the unwavering support of the President and his administration and we know they will be cheering us on from home this winter,” USOPC chief executive officer Sarah Hirshland said in a statement. “Competing on behalf of the United States is an honor and a privilege, and Team USA is excited and ready to make the nation proud.”

Major League Soccer is set to launch MLS Next Pro in 2022 in a move designed to help players develop and experience new formats, strategies, and approaches toward the game. The inaugural season will kick off in 2022 with 20 MLS clubs on board via their second teams, along with one independent franchise, Rochester New York FC. Eight additional MLS-affiliated teams will join in 2023. The 2022 season will start in March and will last for 25 weeks with a September playoff.

In ratings news, CBS Sports reports that its NFL National Window delivered 21.108 million viewers, up 9% over last year’s comparable window and ranked as the most-watched television program of week on any network. The NFL ON CBS season-to-date viewership is trending as its best in 6 years, averaging 17.970 million viewers and up 8%.

Around the dial, Sunday Night Football saw the Broncos/Chiefs deliver an average Total Audience Delivery of 18.2 million, according to Nielsen and Adobe. That was good enough to tank as primetime’s top show on Sunday.

Meanwhile, last week’s Thursday Night Football game featuring the Cowboys’ 27-17 win over the Saints was seen by an average audience of 16.8 million across all platforms, including FOX, NFL Network, FOX Deportes, NFL digital, FOX Sports digital, Prime Video, Twitch and Yahoo Sports mobile properties. That ranks as the second-highest Thursday Night Football game this season and is up 19% versus both the 2020 Thursday Night Football 11-game average (14.1 million) and last year’s Week 13 Thursday Night Football matchup between the Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens (14.1 million).

In college football, CBS Sports’ presentation of the SEC Championship delivered college football’s most-watched Conference Championship Game since 2018, averaging 15.277 million viewers (up 70% vs. last year’s game). Alabama’s victory over Georgia peaked with nearly 18 million viewers. CBS Sports’ college football season viewership leads all networks, averaging 5.223 million viewers per game.

Jake “The Problem Child” Paul will now face former MMA world champion Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley in a rematch of their August clash won by Paul. Paul vs. Woodley II titled “Leave No Doubt” will be the main event on SHOWTIME PPV on Dec. 18 at 9p with Tommy Fury withdrawing from the event due to a medical issue that impacted his training camp.

ESPN+ and PGA TOUR announced details for the inaugural season of PGA TOUR LIVE on ESPN+, offering extended and expanded coverage that more than triples the total coverage and adds more than 3,200 new hours of live streaming available. In 2022, PGA TOUR LIVE on ESPN+ will include live coverage of 35 tournaments with four live feeds for each tournament: Main Feed: primary tournament-coverage featuring the best action from across the course; Marquee Group: new “marquee group” showcasing every shot from each player in the group; Featured Groups: traditional PGA TOUR LIVE coverage of two concurrent featured groups; and Featured Holes: a combination of par-3s and iconic or pivotal holes.

Get in and stake your claim! Next week we are proud to present “Masters of the Metaverse”? A new virtual event, in partnership with Super League Gaming, taking place on Dec. 14 that will give you the blueprints to successful activation in this hot arena. Don’t miss a special case study from NASCAR as part of the event! Click here now to register and get more details!

The WTA released the tournament calendar for the first half of the 2022 season, covering the Australian Summer of Tennis in January through to the end of The Championships, Wimbledon in July. The 49th year of the WTA will see the season kick off in Australia, with the Adelaide International and two 250 tournaments in Melbourne being staged in the first week. In week two, the Tour heads to the Sydney Tennis Classic while in parallel a second Adelaide International will be staged, before the Australian Open begins the week of January 17. “The 2022 WTA Tour calendar will once again provide a prestigious stage for the world’s best women’s tennis players to compete on,” said Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO. “We are excited to get the new season underway and build on the popularity and legacy of our tournaments, while watching our stars and emerging talent showcase their skills to over 850 million fans worldwide.”

The National Women’s Soccer League board of governors determined the 2022 Expansion Draft presented by Ally and the 2022 NWSL Draft presented by Ally will be held as virtual events hosted remotely by CBS Sports. All teams will participate in the drafts from their home markets. The NWSL Expansion Draft Presented by Ally will air on CBS Sports Network and stream live on Paramount+ and CBS Sports HQ.

SailGP returns in its third season with new teams and more cities. The org welcomed two new franchise teams for its third season, with Canada and Switzerland set to expand SailGP’s reach to new audiences, joining teams from Australia, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the United States. SailGP Season 3 has been expanded to include ten events, with seven grands prix taking place in 2022 and the remainder in the first quarter of 2023, with the season expected to finish in April 2023. The championship kicks-off for the second straight year in Bermuda with the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented by Hamilton Princess.

Speakers announced for next week’s Metaverse webinar


Facebook’s evolution to Meta Platforms Inc delivers a clear signal to the future of media, marketing, tech, and audiences – the metaverse. Listen in as metaverse experts from companies including Aftershock Media Group, Thunder, Virtual Brand Group and Super League Gaming discuss opportunities for success on Tuesday, December 14th from 1-3:30 PM ET.





NASCAR announced that 3XI Racing and McDonald’s are expanding their sponsorship agreement in 2022, with the restaurant brand supporting the team’s entries for Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch in the NASCAR Cup Series. The team indicated that McDonald’s will serve as primary sponsor for several races each on Wallace’s No. 23 Toyota and Busch’s No. 45 Toyota next year, including the season-opening Daytona 500 for Wallace.

The NBA Foundation announced 38 new grants totaling $11 million to help create employment opportunities, further career advancement and drive greater economic empowerment for Black youth. The recipients were named as part of the NBA Foundation’s fourth grant round during the league’s Season of Giving (Nov. 22 – Dec. 25). “As we near the conclusion of the NBA Foundation’s first year of grant-making, we’re excited to announce our latest round of awards to 38 new, deserving non-profit organizations,” said Greg Taylor, NBA Foundation Executive Director. “We are confident that our support will create short- and long-term advancement opportunities for these organizations and the communities that they serve.”

Ripken Baseball signed Stewbowie Sports & Entertainment to exclusively represent their youth sports brand across all sponsorship sales. Stewbowie will provide strategic partnerships and advertising sales across all Ripken Baseball-owned properties and assets.


The NFL Players Association, DraftKings and OneTeam Partners, the group licensing partner of the NFLPA, revealed plans to launch gamified NFT collections that will debut on DraftKings Marketplace during the 2022-2023 NFL season. The agreement grants DraftKings licensing rights for active NFL players, including the authentic use of name, image and likeness. This marks the debut integration of gamified NFTs by one of the world’s preeminent athlete unions and a leader in sports technology and entertainment. “The future of fandom is unfolding in front of us, and few organizations beyond DraftKings are as equipped to capitalize on the increasing intersection between sports and NFTs that will be cornerstones of engagement and entertainment within Web3,” said Beth Beiriger, SVP of product operations for DraftKings Marketplace. “We will continuously adapt, innovate and seek progressive collaborators like the NFLPA and OneTeam to reach early adopters among fanbases and ultimately introduce these next-generation products to the masses.”

Sportradar and Kambi locked in a five-year extension to their betting partnership. The deal reestablishes Sportradar as Kambi’s exclusive supplier of NBA, NHL, MLB, and college sports data in the US market. Under the terms of the new deal, Sportradar will continue to provide Kambi its pre-match score data, which all Kambi’s US partners will use across sports. Sportradar will also supply Kambi with its live score data as well as its content solutions, including Live Match Trackers, for major US sports.

Champion Gaming Group announced that its subsidiary, EdjSports, entered into an exclusive partnership with “Inpredictable” including the integration of Inpredictable’s proprietary formulas and analyses. Throughout this partnership, Champion Gaming and its subsidiaries will receive access to Inpredictable’s data and analytics. Beuoy will continue to develop Inpredictable’s models and will act as a strategic advisor to Champion Gaming. Beuoy will also help develop data analytics and win probability models for horse racing, soccer and tennis.

UFC FIGHT PASS announced a new multi-year extension of its streaming partnership with Mexico-based mixed martial arts promotion Ultimate Warrior Challenge Mexico. Under the terms of the agreement, UFC FIGHT PASS will stream twenty-four UWC events through 2023.

Sequoia Games is announcing the closing of its Series A funding. The group of investors includes: Mark Mastrov, Founder of 24 Hour Fitness and part owner of the Sacramento Kings; Steve Kokinos, CEO of Algorand; George Ruan, founder of Honey; Borderless Capital; KittyHawk Ventures; and Citta Capital.

Strat-O-Matic and the Negro League Baseball Museum entered into a partnership to distribute NFTs featuring all-time baseball greats from the Negro Leagues. The program includes partnerships with the estates of superstars like new Hall of Famer Buck O’Neil, Biz Mackey, Bill Foster, Rube Foster, Leon Day and Pete Hill in the first set of digital collectibles. The NLBM will receive 25% of profits from the offering.


DreamHack and ESL Gaming will become esports partners of the Rocket League Championship Series courtesy of a multi-year agreement with Rocket League developer, Psyonix. The new deal will see DreamHack and ESL Gaming collaborate to operate the competitions, produce the official broadcasts and support the return to live events, with the first Major of RLCS Season 2020-2021 to be hosted in Stockholm, Sweden, as a players-only event. “Rocket League is one of the fastest growing properties in esports and we’re proud to partner with Psyonix to support its continued growth,” said Michael Van Driel, SVP, Game Management at ESL Gaming. “We’ve been big believers in Rocket League Esports since day one, and we are really excited to take the next steps in our collaboration with Psyonix to help create the highest possible quality of competition for fans and teams around the world.”

Meanwhile, Psyonix and Ford announced a deal that keeps Ford as the Presenting Sponsor of the upcoming Rocket League Championship Series Fall Major and of the second Ford + Rocket League Freestyle Invitational. In addition, the electric Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV and the classic 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R will be available in Rocket League beginning December 9 on all platforms.

FaZe Clan cemented a multi-year partnership with MoonPay, a leading global crypto payments infrastructure provider that establishes MoonPay as the official crypto and NFT partner of FaZe Clan. The partnership includes a series of content and media that will launch in early 2022. In addition, MoonPay will integrate into existing content across the FaZe Clan platform and the two brands will create new original content tailored for the FaZe Clan community. Plans include new original content franchises, creator and talent driven events, and campaigns that tap into fandom across FaZe Clan’s esports teams.


IMG entered into a definitive agreement with Super Slam Ltd and its affiliates to acquire the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament and the Acciona Open de España golf tournament. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, subject to ATP / WTA and regulatory approvals.

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2011: The NBA and players union reach a deal to end a 161-day lockout.

Which NFL athlete was known as “Joe Cool”? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Alex Ovechkin scored NHL goal #750 over the weekend to join what elite trio to also have that claim? Answer: Gretzky, Howe and Jagr. Kudos: Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Chris Long-DraftKings/NY; Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Networks/NY; Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/NY; Mike Seidel-CSI Sports/Jersey City; Kathi Gillin-Comcast/Philadelphia; Mike Doyle-National CineMedia/Summerville; C.J. Bottitta-Big Picture Productions/Apex; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-ESPN/Dallas; David Westberg-SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

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