|It’s a tentative go for hockey in 2021. The National Hockey League and its players reached a preliminary deal on Friday for a 56-game season beginning January 13. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the two sides have an agreement, pending the approval of various executive boards. In addition, approval from health officials in the five Canadian provinces that have teams is also needed before the NHL can move forward with the season.
The plan is for training camps for the seven teams that did not participate in last season’s playoff bubbles to open December 31, while camps for the other 24 teams would open on January 3. To date, it’s unclear if teams would play in their home arenas or in “hub” cities, however an all-divisional schedule is expected. The proposal would have the regular season tentatively end on May 8 and the Stanley Cup awarded the first week of July.
The 2020-2021 NBA season begins Tuesday, December 22 with nine nationally televised games across the first three days of play. In TNT’s opening night doubleheader, the Golden State Warriors visit the Brooklyn Nets at 7p, while the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers take on the LA Clippers at 10p. ESPN and ABC will mark the 19th season of Christmas Day coverage with Pelicans at Miami Heat at 12p on ESPN, Warriors at Bucks at 2:30p on ABC, Nets at Celtics at 5p on ABC, Mavericks at Lakers at 8p on ABC and ESPN, and Clippers at Denver Nuggets at 10:30p on ESPN.
Sunday Night Baseball will return for its 32nd season in 2021, airing an exclusive, national MLB game of the week on ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes and streaming via the ESPN App. ESPN will open its 2021 Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule on Sunday, April 4 at 8:30p, when the Los Angeles Angels host the Chicago White Sox. The following week, on Sunday, April 11, the Atlanta Braves will host the Philadelphia Phillies at 7p.
Under the Grapefruit Tree: The CC Sabathia Story debuts Tuesday, December 22 at 9p on HBO. The documentary from HBO Sports, produced in association with Major League Baseball, explores the personal story of the New York Yankees pitcher, using behind-the-scenes footage from his final season with the team in 2019. Sabathia narrates the story, looking back on his legacy as one of the game’s preeminent pitchers, as well as the challenges that shaped him, including his battle with addiction.
Thursday night’s overtime thriller between the Chargers and the Raiders delivered 13 million viewers on FOX and NFL Network. Up +5% over last year’s comparable week 15 Thursday Night Football between the Jets and the Ravens (12.4 million), it was the network’s most-watched telecast of the day and garnered 13.6 million viewers across all linear and digital platforms. Viewership is up +36% year-over-year with an average minute audience of 1.1 million across FOX Sports, NFL Digital, Verizon Media Mobile properties and Amazon/Twitch platforms.
The WTA and ATP launched short film, Tennis Is Life. It delves into the sport’s journey throughout the coronavirus-hit 2020 season and those who made the return of tennis possible. Created by London-based agency MATTA, the film is comprised of clips from tennis players’ social media channels documenting their experiences from lockdown to competition.
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|SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
FOX Sports and MotoAmerica extended their relationship through the 2021 season. The deal includes 10 live MotoAmerica HONOS Superbike events; one-hour Superbike recap show, MotoAmerica Rewind; MotoAmerica Liqui Moly Junior Cup races; one-hour magazine show, Inside MotoAmerica; and King of Bagger races.
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc., creator of PAC-MAN, struck a partnership with the National Basketball Association to collaborate on NBA-themed video game integrations and co-branded PAC-MAN and NBA licensed products in celebration of PAC-MAN’s 40th anniversary. Starting on December 22 and throughout the 2020-2021 NBA season, fans can enjoy NBA-inspired game content that features fun power-ups and special mazes in the PAC-Man mobile game, available on iOS and Android.
The Cleveland Cavaliers unveiled new banner art to hang on the Sherwin-Williams global headquarters wall in downtown Cleveland. Cavaliers Creative Director Daniel Arsham worked with in-house graphic designer Jay Wallace and the Cavs’ creative team to craft FOR THE LOVE, FOR THE LAND, symbolizing a reflection of community through a lens of diversity, inclusion and equity. The is projected to be installed in mid-January 2021.
EatStreet was named the Official Food Delivery Partner of the Milwaukee Bucks. As such, the food ordering and delivery service, which is based in Madison, WI, will deliver deals to Bucks fans in Wisconsin, through the new Gameday Dish Out program. Bucks fans can visit www.EatStreet.com/bucks starting on Wednesday, December 23 for the team’s season opener against the Celtics.
DIGITAL, DATA & TECH
NBA Digital has debuted a redesigned NBA App and NBA.com for fans globally, featuring new and expanded features on NBA League Pass and NBA TV in time for the season tip-off on December 22. New features include enhanced interactive game overlays, downloadable games for temporary offline viewing and alternative streams for select games within NBA League Pass.
OwnersBox, the sport-tech company behind the new Weekly Fantasy Sports platform, has partnered with NHL fantasy sports content site DailyFaceoff. “As we actively prepare for the upcoming NBA & NHL seasons, we wanted to target a well-known trusted platform such as DailyFaceoff to leverage their network and help grow the Weekly Fantasy Sports movement,” said OwnersBox President and CEO Brian Kipp. “I’ve been an active DailyFaceoff user for years and am excited to work with the DFO team this year.”
Digital games earned a record $11.5B in November 2020, the highest monthly revenue ever. Overall earnings were up 15% over November 2019. Meanwhile, mobile grew 9% and PC rose 24% to reach a new revenue record, driven largely by the release of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. Console earnings were up 24%, but fell slightly below the all-time record set in April 2020. However, console numbers were likely held back by a limited supply of PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S systems. Among the month’s other digital video game market highlights: Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War sold 5.7M digital units in November, a 7% increase compared to the previous franchise record holder Black Ops 4. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla sold 1.7M units, 50% more than Assassin’s Creed Odyssey at launch. Spider-Man: Miles Morales sold 663K digital units across PlayStation 4 and 5. The release of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands led to the game’s highest monthly revenue since 2008 and player numbers since 2010. Among Us had roughly half a billion monthly active users in November.
Vindex named sports broadcast industry vet Marshall Zelaznik CEO of its Esports Engine subsidiary, as it looks to deal with a rapidly growing client base eager to expand globally. The company is collaborating with publishers, teams and agencies on everything from broadcast to production to pull off various events in gaming. Vindex was founded in 2019 by former Major League Gaming executives Mike Sepso and Sundance DiGiovanni, plus Adam Apicella, who previously worked at MLG and co-founded Esports Engine.
Meanwhile, Wim Stocks is joining Vindex-owned Belong Gaming Arenas as Senior Vice President, Partnerships & Commercial. Last week, Stocks announced that he was stepping down as chairman of Collegiate Starleague and WorldGaming Network (now CSL Esports) after 11 years.
TheScore Esports was named the exclusive English language broadcast partner for League of Legends’ Demacia Championship, a marquee annual event featuring 24 of China’s top esports teams. Live coverage of the event runs December 20 to 27 and will be streamed across theScore esports’ YouTube and Twitch channels.
The Maui Esports Invitational, hosted virtually November 19-22, garnered more than 1.1 million views and 45 million media impressions. The first-ever iteration of the event attracted 150,00 viewers each day across ESPN channels and Twitch, totaling over 1.1 million overall views. The event peaked at more than 52,00 concurrent viewers on Twitch.
Nenking Group, owner of Overwatch League team Guangzhou Charge, acquired League of Legends Pro League franchise eStar Gaming. The cost of the deal was undisclosed. In its announcement Nenking Group said it intends to compete in LPL during the 2021 season.
ESL Gaming and Guinevere Capital formed a new partnership to operate a League of Legends esports infrastructure for Oceana. The two companies received a three-year license from Riot Games to operate their new league, as well as an option to extend for additional three years. The new league was developed in collaboration with eight established esports organizations in the region.
TV advertising by gaming brands remained strong in 2020, with Sony and Nintendo spending the most in the category, according to Alphonso. The company analyzed TV ad spend for the gaming industry from January-November 2020, TV audience and brand data collecting, using Alphonso Video AI across millions of smart TVs in the U.S. Sony spent $23 million and Nintendo spent $18.2 million during the period. Although Xbox released its Series S/X in November, it only spent $1.7 million on TV ads from January to November.
INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES
The NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of the Utah Jazz to an ownership group led by Ryan Smith, founder and executive chairman of Qualtrics.
“Ryan Smith is a forward-thinking, community-minded entrepreneur and business leader who will be a fantastic addition to our league,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “As a life-long fan of the Utah Jazz and more recently as one of their key marketing partners, Ryan has demonstrated his deep commitment to the Jazz and the Utah community, and there’s no doubt he will bring that same level of dedication to the operation of the team. We are all extraordinarily appreciative of Gail Miller, Greg Miller and the Miller family for 35 years of outstanding leadership and service and, on behalf of the entire NBA, thank them for always running a first-class organization in every way.”
In other Jazz news, Rudy Gobert will sign a five-year, $205 million contract extension with the team, marking the largest deal for a center in league history. Gobert, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and three-time All-NBA selection, was eligible for a supermax extension worth $228 million. However, he did not request the full supermax, because he wanted the Jazz to have flexibility to continue building the team around him and Donovan Mitchell.
Also, on the NBA front, the League’s Board of Governors has approved the Coach’s Challenge on a full-time basis, starting with the 2020-2021 season. It was originally introduced as a trial program on a one-year basis, this past season. “Our coaches were receptive to the pilot version of the Coach’s Challenge, increasing usage and becoming more comfortable with the concept and strategic aspects as the season progressed,” said Byron Spruell, NBA President, League Operations. “We are excited to adopt the Coach’s Challenge as part of our NBA rules and will continue dialogue with the coaches, the Competition Committee and the NBA’s Board of Governors as we move forward.”
Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant has been fined $45,000 for repeatedly making inappropriate contact with a game official. The incident occurred in the third quarter of Washington’s 97-86 preseason loss to Detroit on December 17 at Capital One Arena. Bryant, who received a technical foul as part of the incident, was aggressively attempting to confront Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, who committed a Flagrant Foul 1 against Bryant on the play.
The results of this year’s NBA.com GM survey are in and project the Los Angeles Lakers to repeat as NBA Champions, with the 17-time title winners collecting 81% of the votes. In addition, Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is favored to earn his third straight Kia NBA MVP Award, as well as best defensive player, top power forward, leading franchise player and best international player.
Bill McCullough has joined esports organization FaZe Clan as its new Executive Vice President of Content. He last served as Vice President, Head of Content Development at the NFL.
Ben Blevins was named Associate Director, Communications of Sinclair-owned Regional Sports Networks’ FOX Sports South and FOX Sports Southeast. He was previously Director of Communications and PR at the University of Michigan.
|H A P P Y H O L I D A Y S
Wishing you a safe & healthy holiday season.
Cynopsis will not publish December 24-January 3.
Until then, past editions, jobs center, special reports, & event information can always be found on our website.
|On this Day
1969: Vince Lombardi coached his last football game.
IN THE KNOW
Who hit an underhand serve to defeat Ivan Lendl for the 1989 French Open title? (Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city).
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question
What is the name of the mascot for the San Francisco Giants? Answer: Lou Seal. Kudos to: Michael Ritz-Lenox Advisors/NY; Denis Barry-CBS Television Stations/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton, FL; Brad French-PSAV/Coppell, TX; Dave Sikula-San Francisco State University/San Francisco; Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Credit Union/Burbank.
THE JIM HENSON COMPANY
Collect and track pertinent data and information from production, talent, and license contracts, assist with negotiating terms and conditions of contracts and draft initial contracts and revise as needed. Minimum of two years’ experience in a law firm, network, or studio. Experience with guild agreements and/or Paralegal training and certification a plus. Full info HERE (1/14)
DIRECTOR, DATA SCIENCE >>
NBCUNIVERSAL/NYC: Seeking a Director of Data Science who will lead a team of Data Scientists that focus on the design and execution of advanced data exploration, data mining, inference and prediction of multiple traditional and non-traditional media measurement data sets. Expert knowledge of R and Python required, additional languages (i.e., Julia, Java, Scala) a plus. Full Info HERE (1/14)
SR DATA ENGINEER >>
NBCUNIVERSAL/NYC: Looking for a Data Engineer who will be directly responsible for developing efficient data ingestion processes and automated management; develop and operationalize of machine learning models; and building robust data platforms to enable scaling of our products. 4+ years’ experience processing large amounts of structured and unstructured data in a cluster-computing environment required or similar experience in academia. Full Info HERE (1/14)
SR PRODUCER/WRITER, ORIGINAL CONTENT MARKETING >>
NBCUNIVERAL/NYC: Concept, write, produce and execute best-in-class creative launch campaigns for Peacock Originals for use on all platforms. Minimum 7 years of experience in writing, producing and video editing, experience leading 360° Originals creative campaigns in television or entertainment and Expert in digital video file formats. Full info HERE (1/14)
EVP, GENERAL COUNSEL >>
CROWN MEDIA FAMILY NETWORKS/STUDIO CITY, CA
Provide strategic legal counsel to Crown Media executives, on matters of the highest profile, impact, complexity or sensitivity and leads the attorney and legal specialist team members. Substantive experience handling and advising on entertainment network legal issues within a broadcast/cable/digital in-house environment is sought. HERE (1/13)
SR. MANAGER, COMMERCIAL CLEARANCE >>
A+E NETWORKS/NYC: Ensure Ads are compliant with A+E’s policies and federal guidelines during content and advertising review. Liaise with internal Ad Sales executives and external Ad Agencies. 5+ years experience, preferably at a network working in Ad Standards & Practices/Commercial Clearance. Strong familiarity with rules including FDA, FTC and FCC regulations, indecency and trade libel. Full info HERE (1/8)
SENIOR ART DIRECTOR >>
A+E NETWORKS/NYC: Creative point in print, promotion, and marketing from concept to development across A&E, History & Lifetime projects. Must be well versed in managing design principles for both print and digital deliverables. Demonstrated hands-on ability to create key art and design projects from conception to completion. Expert in Adobe Creative Suite software and industry standard programs and software. 5 years experience working for network, film or other entertainment outlets. Full info HERE (1/8)
PLAYOUT OP >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA/NY, NY: 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 3 yrs exp in executing video playback in live control room environment. Plus 1yr exp with Ross Tria or EVS. Full info HERE (1/7)
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 2 yrs direct sales exp with 3 yrs of media sales exp. Full info HERE (1/7)
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 (1/7)
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 3 yrs exp in directing Live television news, studio-based programming or similarly related professional media productions. Full info HERE (1/7)
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 4 yrs exp. Full info HERE (1/7)
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 3 yrs tech managing, or equivalent knwldge. 5 yrs in live TV prod. Full info HERE (1/7)
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 3 yrs of exp in graphic and character generation, plus 1yr exp with Ross Xpression. Full info HERE (1/7)
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 2 yrs exp in graphic and character gen in television news, creative services, studio-based prog or related profession. Full info HERE (1/7)
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 (1/7)
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 (1/7)
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 (1/7)
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 (1/7)
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 (1/6)
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 (1/6)
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 (1/6)
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 (1/5)
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 (1/5)
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 (1/5)
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 (1/5)
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 (1/5)
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 (1/5)