12/10/21: WNBA’s 2022 plans


Medias First Morning Read


Friday December 10, 2021

The WNBA unveiled its game schedule for the 2022 regular season, delivering a record 36 games per team and a regular season that will tip off on May 6, running through Aug. 14, followed by the WNBA Playoffs presented by Google, which as previously announced, will have a new format this season.

The Commissioner’s Cup presented by Coinbase, an in-season tournament pitting conference rivals against each other during the first half of the regular season, will return for its second season. The 10 designated “Cup games” per team will be the first home game and first road game each team plays against its five conference rivals, all completed from May 6 – July 7. The team from each conference with the top record in Cup games will compete for a lucrative prize pool in the Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game on July 26. AT&T WNBA All-Star 2022 will be played on July 10, with other pre-All-Star activities on July 9.

“Coming off our historic 25th season when the WNBA enjoyed its most-watched season since 2008 and set records for merchandise sales and engagement across social media platforms, we are looking forward to what is already a highly anticipated tip off of the 2022 season in May,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “The 36-game schedule will provide fans greater opportunities to see the best players in the world compete at the highest level and year two of the Commissioner’s Cup brings added incentive to the first half of the season for players and teams while offering fans conference rivalry competition through which to support their favorite teams.”


The Portland Timbers and NYC FC square off for the 2021 MLS Cup on Saturday at 3p on ABC, with ESPN lining up coverage across the likes of SportsCenter, ESPN FC, a digital pregame show, and more. Play-by-play commentator Jon Champion and analyst Taylor Twellman serve up match commentary on ABC and ESPN International’s English-language networks.

ESPN will also carry the 87th Heisman Trophy Ceremony presented by Nissan on Saturday, at 8p. Chris Fowler once again hosts the one-hour telecast, joined by reporters Holly Rowe and Marty Smith. The four finalists who will be in attendance include defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan), and quarterbacks Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh), C.J. Stroud (Ohio State) and Bryce Young (Alabama).

The weekend also sees CBS Sports broadcast the 122nd edition of Army/Navy on Saturday at 3p from MetLife Stadium. CBS Sports’ lead college football team of Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and Jamie Erdahl will be on the call while College Football Today, CBS’ pregame, halftime and postgame studio show, will be live on-site and begin at 2:30p. Pregame coverage kicks off at Noon on CBS Sports Network with two-and-a-half hours of programming, including the traditional “March On” procession.

Progressive American Flat Track is partnering with FOX Sports via a multi-year agreement. Starting with the upcoming 2022 Progressive AFT season, coverage from each race will air in one-hour telecasts on FS1 (with additional windows on FS2), with the action beginning with a Daytona Bike Week doubleheader on March 10-11 at Volusia Speedway Park. “FOX Sports audiences will appreciate the jaw-dropping skill and non-stop adrenaline rush of Progressive American Flat Track racing,” said Bill Wanger, FOX Sports EVP, Head of Programming and Scheduling. “The series is a fantastic addition to our motorsports lineup.”

EstrellaTV finalized a distribution agreement with new MMA fight series, Naciones MMA, to bringing the series to the network where competition will run the third Friday of every month in 2022. The first fight will be held Jan. 21, live from Tijuana, Baja California Mexico.

The Professional Fighters League locked in an exclusive multi-year partnership for its new PFL Challenger Series with fuboTV that will debut on Feb. 18 and stream on consecutive Friday nights exclusively on fuboTV and its linear network, Fubo Sports Network, across February, March, and April. Confirmed judges to appear this season of the PFL Challenger Series on fubo include Mike Tyson, Ray Lewis, and Todd Gurley.

Finally, in fighting news, FITE picked up global rights for the rematch between Jake “The Problem Child” Paul and Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley on Dec. 18. While Showtime will distribute the PPV in the US, the FITE deal will see the company carry it in all other regions except for Latin America.

Last chance. 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. Featuring candid discussions and case studies from companies such as NASCAR, Viacom, Manticore Games, Aftershock, Supersocial, Thunder, GreenPark, Activate, The Fabricant and Virtual Brand Group. Don’t miss out and get your tickets now!

CBS Sports is set to deliver live multiplatform coverage of the 2022 NWSL Draft and the 2022 NWSL Expansion Draft. The Expansion Draft kicks things off on Dec. 16 at 7p, while the NWSL Draft runs Dec. 18 at 2p. CBS Sports HQ anchor Poppy Miller will be joined by analysts Aly Wagner and Lori Lindsey, reporter Marisa Pilla and draft expert Jen Cooper from the CBS Sports HQ studios in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to provide discussion and analysis for both events.

The Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic partnered with WME Sports, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), Scout Sports and Entertainment and Turner Sports to create a special that will spotlight four Historically Black Colleges and Universities men’s college basketball teams on Dec. 18, at 1p on TNT. A matchup of HBCU men’s college basketball teams will tip-off with the North Carolina Central Eagles vs. Hampton Pirates, followed by the Howard Bison vs. North Carolina A&T Aggies. In between the game action, TNT will showcase the “Bleacher Report Slam Dunk presented by HBO Max” – a live dunk contest featuring four high-flying social creators competing for bragging rights and monetary donations made to each of the four participating HBCUs. Frazier, Haywood and Pierre Andresen will offer commentary for the dunk contest with Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Jordan and Montgomery as judges. Additionally, TNT will highlight the cultural backdrop of HBCU life including a band showcase, live musical performance, HBCU student video features and more.

In viewership news, ESPN’s Monday Night Football Week 13 presentation between the Patriots and Bills delivered an audience of 14,970,000 viewers across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes), marking MNF’s best audience since its 2021 season opener and MNF’s top Week 13 audience since 2013, Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli saw 1.63 million viewers tune in to the telecast.

The Cowboy Channel inked an exclusive five-year agreement with National High School Rodeo Association to broadcast and livestream their events across all Rural Media Group’s media properties including The Cowboy Channel, RFD-TV, and Rural Radio on SiriusXM. In addition to broadcasting and livestreaming the National High School and Junior High Finals, The Cowboy Channel will also be covering the state finals in several states.

Don’t miss out: Tuesday’s Metaverse Discussion


Join us next Tuesday, December 14th, to hear from top executives who created some of the most successful platforms in this space, see case studies on activations, learn about the building blocks being leveraged to create these new worlds, and hear from brands and publishers who changed the game by engaging hungry consumers in new ways.





The Western & Southern Financial Group extended its title sponsorship of the Western & Southern Open for another three years. The partnership is the longest active naming rights agreement for a professional tennis tournament in North America. As part of this renewal, the Western & Southern Open will feature digital back walls in 2022, which have not previously been used at a combined ATP and WTA event in North America.

Chevrolet announced a multi-year engineering and marketing partnership with Rev Racing, the competition arm of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program. “We are proud to partner with Rev Racing to support the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program in the development of diverse drivers and team members,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance & Motorsports. “This agreement will enable Rev Racing to leverage Chevrolet’s competition engineering resources, including the new General Motors Charlotte Technical Center.”

GSE Worldwide announced the launch of a new division dedicated exclusively to negotiating NIL deals on behalf of amateur athletes. GSE’s NIL division is headed by GSE Worldwide Executive Vice President Russ Spielman. “As the NIL landscape continues to evolve, we at GSE want to be at the forefront of that progress, offering amateur athletes an advisor they can rely upon to help guide them through the complexities of a burgeoning industry,” said Spielman. “We’re proud of the roster of student athletes we’re currently working with and look forward to continuing to grow in this area as NIL continues to become an important part of advertiser’s overall marketing strategy.”


Pat McAfee is continuing his run at FanDuel, cementing a multi-year agreement with Pat McAfee Inc. to serve as an exclusive partner of the sportsbook. FanDuel will remain the official sportsbook of PMI and the Pat McAfee Show with the two companies continuing to deepen and evolve the integration of odds boosts and other promotions across PMI platforms and attempt to create new shows/segments.

Maryland Sports Properties signed a multi-year partnership with PointsBet USA. The agreement is the first sports betting partnership within the Big Ten Conference and will feature fan-facing in-game and campus activations in and around Maryland’s XFINITY Center and Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, in addition to strategic responsible and problem gambling education to Maryland staff, students, and fans.

Speaking of college, LEARFIELD revealed the first Intercollegiate Fan Pulse Report, Pandemic Trends and the Evolution of Fan Behavior. The new update addresses ways the pandemic has changed how fans engage with their favorite teams, heightening adaption and escalation of social media, mobile apps and mobile ticketing. “While there’s no question COVID-19 has impacted numerous industries across the world, the passion college sports fans have for their teams is as strong as ever,” said Matt Deimund, LEARFIELD SVP and managing director of the data and analytics platform, Fanbase. “The data featured in this report shows that we are making progress in a multi-year industry recovery with promising growth in digital fan engagement.”


DreamHack lined up plans for 2022, with a world tour once again on the docket. In 2022, DreamHack will host 10 festivals in 9 major cities, including a return to Anaheim, Dallas, Valencia, Rotterdam, Hyderabad and Atlanta, Georgia, USA; and DreamHack Summer and Winter in Jönköping, Sweden. In addition, DreamHack will make its debut “down under” in Melbourne, Australia; and will host its first-ever festival in Madrid, Spain. “Gaming brought, and kept, us together during these challenging times all around the world, so I cannot begin to share how excited we are to be back in person with our community,” said Krzysztof Pikiewicz, SVP of Festivals, ESL Gaming. “DreamHack creates a space for our community to connect, explore, win, play, and be themselves through an interactive, gaming lifestyle experience — and while we are offering DreamHack winter as a LAN-only event, bringing our full festivals back to life next year is going to make for some very special experiences for our community of fans.”

The Global Esports Federation locked in partners for the Global Esports Games, a multi-title esports competition. Among the lineup of sponsors will be Samsung, TikTok, Singapore Airlines and Razer for the event, which spans Dec. 18-19. The slate will include Dota 2, Street Fighter V and eFootball 2022, with more than 40 countries expected to compete in the event.

The EA SPORTS FIFA 22 Global Series kicks off this weekend with the FGS 22 Open as the world’s best FIFA duos face-off on the virtual pitch during 16 online regional qualifiers on December 10-12. The top 16 duos to advance from this weekend’s FGS 22 Open will face off against the inaugural class of FGS Masters Teams and Players, a group of top esports organizations that include AFC Ajax, Atlanta United FC, Complexity Gaming, EXCEL Esports, Fnatic, Guild Esports, Team Heretics, and more.

Subsequently, Swedish esports organization Ninjas in Pyjamas and Team Gullit, the world’s first FIFA academy, announced the creation of TG.NIP — a new FIFA team that will compete in the FIFA Global Series. With the creation of TG.NIP, NIP and Team Gullit guarantee themselves a spot in the FGS Masters program.


Endeavor added nine minor league baseball teams under its umbrella through the launch of a new org titled Diamond Baseball Holdings. The clubs include Triple-A, High-A, and Single-A affiliates: the Iowa Cubs (Chicago Cubs), Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders and Hudson Valley Renegades (New York Yankees), San Jose Giants (San Francisco Giants), and the Memphis Redbirds (St. Louis Cardinals).

Eleanor “Nell” DeVane, an attorney with more than 20 years of experience in ESPN’s legal department over two stints, was named Chief Counsel of the company, effective in January. She will succeed Diane Morse who is retiring at the end of the year after 25 years in the department and serving as its lead since 2015.


It’s another Friday and other than Army-Navy tomorrow, the country’s sports focus this weekend will be on the NFL where little remains predictable.

This is the NFL schedule that includes notes and comments on the broadcasters working this weekend. Some deserve criticism.
NFL Week, #14 of #18: Getting closer to post season, Tight races; Good channel hopping on Sunday

These are the top twelve local/team NFL announcers among the 32 calling games. The dean of NFL voices is Merrill Reese who has called Eagles radio since 1977. Forty-five years and he’s absolutely beloved in the City of Brotherly Love.
NFL: 2021’s top dozen team voices; What makes each play-by-player different or special?

It’s hardly a revelation that baseball games take forever. From two to three hours maximum, two or three decades ago to terminal today. Go explain. Why are games endless, often four hours? With that being the case, why are some teams using just one play-by-play announcer?
Longer games and fewer play-by-play voices, Does that make any sense?

Happy Birthdays!

Jaime Jarrin 12 10 – Dodgers Radio Spanish
Tim Kurkjian 12 10 ESPN Baseball
Sean Grande 12 11 Boston Celtics Radio
Sam Ponder 12 11 ESPN football
Allie La Force 12 11 Turner hoops
Mike Golic 12 12 Ex ESPN
Mike Tirico 12 13 NBC various
Rece Davis 12 14 ESPN football
Eli Gold 12 15 Alabama Football
Andy Furman 12 16 – FOX Radio Sports
Dan Le Batard 12 16 DraftKings
Don Orsillo 12 16 San Diego Padres

Sports Broadcast Journal

First Look 2022: OTT Virtual Conference
Tuesday, March 8 | 1:00-4:00 PM

Join over 400 executives to learn what’s working, what’s not and what’s next in this ever-growing industry, you can’t miss this virtual conference.

SPONSORED BY: Premion and Future Today

1919: National League votes to ban the spitball.

Which MLB pitcher holds the record for most saves in a single season? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
Which NFL athlete was known as “Joe Cool”? Answer: Joe Montana. Kudos: Bob Dudelson Leverage Agency/NY; Phyllis McQuillan MSG Networks/NY; Michael Ritz Lenox Advisors/NY; Jackie Mahon Havas Media/NY; Brianne Maciejowski Odyssey Studios/Sarasota; Matt Laramee Southern New Hampshire University/Manchester; Roger Furman Sports Marketing Communications/Greentown; Louis Lewow FITE/Atlanta; Mark Lehman Braves/Atlanta; Jason Brist Outdoor Sportsman Group/Chicago; Creed Heilskov ImOn Communications/Cedar Rapids; Lucie Prann The Richards Group/Dallas; Andy Pittman TAMU/College Station; Greg Montana GL Media/Scottsdale; Larry Hutchings/San Luis Obispo; David Westberg SAG•AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore Kalt Productions/LA

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Team-oriented, fast-paced, innovative environment to provide clients with the highest level of service. Ability to shadow and train with new sales assistant hires. Monitor and assist account executives with accounts and performance of campaigns. Resolve billing discrepancies, and manage all billing processes both pre- and post-campaign. Full info HERE (12/23)

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REFUEL AGENCY/NYC: Responsible for collecting, analyzing, and reporting performance for multiple campaigns and clients. Improved campaign performance, quick response to client/sales requests and a willingness to adapt to the job role, driving results for our clients’ business. 3-5 years of professional experience in digital/marketing analytics required. Full info HERE (12/21)

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Develop & implement a successful Industry programming strategy & schedule to meet institutional timelines, procure talent, conduct research, & secure the highest-level speakers/panelists & moderators who will enhance the content relevance as well as the prestige select media events. 8+ yrs of Media Industry Event Programming & management required. Full info HERE (12/18)

NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP/NYC, NY: Competitive, a self-starter, and exemplary leadership, strategic vision with focused execution of multiple projects at the same time. Hands-on leader who enjoys developing unique marketing solutions to meet the needs of clients, while developing successful strategies that result in accretive revenue. Min of 10 yrs of exp required. Full info HERE (12/18)



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Litton Entertainment is seeking an experienced Closed Captioning Editor to join post-production. This role will be responsible for managing and prepping the delivery of all final episodes to the appropriate network. Basic knowledge of Adobe Premiere is a must, knowledge of Mac Caption is strongly preferred. Full info HERE (12/17)


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