12/09/16: Showtime makes Live boxing history; NBC offers a new spin on Premier League; NHL backs Knights moves


Good morning. It’s Friday December 9, 2016 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Showtime Sports is taking its Saturday card outside the ring and into Facebook Live, announcing multi-camera, fully-produced boxing coverage on the platform on Saturday at 8p. Fans will gain access to live undercard bouts preceding that evening’s Showtime Championship Boxing doubleheader and marks the first time the network has offered live boxing coverage exclusively on Facebook Live. Scott Hanson will call the action beside Mark Kriegel. Showtime Sports will also live stream the final press conference on Thursday and the official weigh-in on Friday via Facebook Live. 


Sunday will see NBC Sports Group rebrand its Sunday morning lineup as Premier League Sunday gets a new show open, graphics, ad spots, and social media integration. The new promotional treatment will kick off a triple-header of action on NBCSN starting at 7a beginning with a new show open that “celebrates the history and legacy of the Premier League clubs, with a graphic ‘look-in’ at Premier League stadiums around England – the ‘great houses’ of football.” The re-brand will also include a new logo and theme music.

ESPN and the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience locked in a new multiyear agreement that will keep the live event at the Atlanta attraction through 2020. ESPN began televising the awards from the venue in 2015. As part of the new agreement, the Hall will receive promotional time within the telecast.

Speaking of awards, Premios Univision Deportes locked in talent for the Dec. 18 show (at 8p on Univision and UDN). The award program will be hosted by Julian Giland, with Miguel “Piojo” Herrera. Presenters and/or performers will include Elvis Crespo, Lupillo Rivera, Joss Favela, Karol G. Cuban singer Lena will perform a tribute to the late Jose Fernandez. Other names taking part include Tres Veces Ana costars Angelique Boyer and Sebastián Rulli as well as  Ela Velden, former Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera and more. Athletes include Anthony Munoz, Luis Garrido, Miguel Cotto and Aroldis Chapman. 

IOC President Thomas Bach cleared 2024 Olympic contenders Paris, Los Angeles and Budapest to advance to the next round of approvals as host city for the Games. According to the AP, Bach noted that he wants to change the Olympic host city bidding procedure because it "produces too many losers, noting that he did not categorically rule out the possibility of awarding the hosting rights for two games at once – 2024 and 2028 – when the IOC votes next September.

SiriusXM lined up a documentary special dedicated to the Army/Navy football rivalry, with the program set to run today at 6p. Gridiron Grudges: Army-Navy can be heard nationwide on SiriusXM College Sports Nation at 8a with the two-hour special examining the history behind a football rivalry that dates back to 1890. Guests include Roger Staubach, Pete Dawkins, Verne Lundquist and General Mark Milley.


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After the United States Patent and Trademark Office denied the trademark request for the new hockey team, the Vegas Golden Knights, due to similarities to the NCAA’s College of St. Rose Golden Knights, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated that the league was not going to back off the name. “We are currently reviewing the Trademark Office’s letter and will prepare a detailed response demonstrating why we continue strongly to believe the Vegas Golden Knights mark should be registered in co-existence with the college registration, just as a number of other nicknames currently co-exist in professional and college sports (particularly where there is no overlap as to the sport for which the nickname is being used).”

The UFC locked in a partnership with fan engagement service PADLOKT, which also unveiled deals with athletes from the NBA, NFL, world of cricket and track and field. The company “enables fans to visit their idol’s inner sanctum, taking the fan behind the scenes with some of the biggest names in sports, entertainment and lifestyle” and allowing them to ask questions to the athlete via two-way video.


Facebook revealed its top sports moments from 2016. The top three global sports topics included:
·       Olympics (#6 Overall): The world came together on Facebook for Rio 2016. Across the globe, 277 million people had 1.5 billion interactions related to the Olympic Games. 
·       Super Bowl (#8 Overall): Super Bowl 50 saw 60 million people join the conversation on Facebook, generating 200 million interactions about the game. 
·       Muhammad Ali (#10 Overall): In the first 24 hours after Ali’s passing, over 48 million people around the world posted, commented, liked, and shared stories about the heavyweight champion over 110 million times.


How does the White House get Millennials to sign up for health care? With a healthy dose of Shaq and esports. The NBA legend announced that Dec. 12 will see the White House host a competitive gaming event designed to help people sign up for health care coverage. According to Erik Martin, policy advisor for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, “Gamers, like everyone, deserve high-quality health care coverage. Engaging the expanding gamer community is part of the Administration’s effort to meet people where they are to help them find a health care plan that’s best for them. That’s why last year, many from the eSports industry, including ESL, Twitch.tv and GEER, helped launch an initiative to encourage more gamers to sign up for health care at HealthCare.gov.”

Blizzard Entertainment is launching a book-publishing label, Blizzard Publishing, dedicated to “developing and releasing new Blizzard publications and reissuing out-of-print titles in the company’s Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo settings, directly and through ongoing global partnerships.” Several of Blizzard Publishing’s upcoming releases will be available in multiple formats, such as print, audiobook, and e-book. “Great stories and inspiring artwork have always been at the heart of everything we do,” said Lydia Bottegoni, senior vice president of story and franchise development at Blizzard Entertainment. “The creation of Blizzard Publishing gives us new opportunities to celebrate the art and stories of our games with Blizzard gamers as well as fantasy and sci-fi fans around the world.”


Nitro Circus announced a slate of hires to bolster its digital business, naming Lauren Reilly as VP, Digital Product Marketing, Nick Crooks as VP, Digital Business Development and Distribution, Remi Guyton as VP, Digital Content & Programming and Charley Daniels as Director of Content Marketing. The expanded Nitro Circus digital team will accelerate the company’s delivery of exciting original content to millions of fans globally and leverage that content to drive growth across its touring, sponsorship and licensing business.


Saturday sees the 2016 MLS Cup at 8p on FOX, UDN and UniMas at 8p.


ESPN & Coca-Cola
    for your work on #SCMustSee
The Leaderboard celebrates the organizations that utilized their social media platforms to promote product offerings to sports fans throughout 2016. Check out the full list of winners here.

ON THIS DAY in 1985: Jerry Rice begins his streak of 100+ consecutive games with a reception in the NFL.

In The Know: Who won the first-ever MLS Cup? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: The Heisman Trophy is cast in what kind of metal? Answer: Bronze. Kudos: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Aymon DeMauro-Discovery Communications/NY; Sheila Mills-Showtime/NY; Troy Perlowitz-ESPN/Charlotte; Richard Sanders-Visit Panama City Beach/Panama City Beach; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Alex G. Georgiou- MLB/Chicago; Derrick Stasica-THV11/Little Rock; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Bruce Trotter-CoxReps/LA; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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