12/15/17: Disney acquisition of regional Fox networks could have a big impact

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Good morning. It’s Friday December 15, 2017 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. The week of December 18, Cynopsis Sports will publish on Tuesday, December 19 and Thursday, December 21. We will not publish the week of December 25, and will be back bright and early Tuesday, January 2.

Disney’s $52.4 billion deal to acquire assets from 21st Century Fox could have a big impact on the sports media business: Fox is holding on to Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2, but would hand over its 22 regional sports networks, which produce over 5500 live games per year. “We’re going to launch an ESPN direct service in 2018 and a Disney branded service in 2019. This clearly will jump-start those efforts, give us more content, more producing capabilities,” said Disney chairman Bob Iger, who called the regional outlets “a perfect complement” to ESPN. Of course, that’s assuming the deal meets regulatory approval. “We’re hoping that the government takes a look at this from a consumer point of view,” said Iger, and therefore “will look at it kindly.”

NBC Sports Group will debut This is Football, a new Premier League series hosted by Joe Scarborough, on Boxing Day (Tuesday, December 26) at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN. In the series, Scarborough, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and a longtime Premier League fan, will take viewers inside the history, tradition and rivalries between the clubs and their supporters. In the premiere episode, Scarborough explores the intense rivalry between Manchester United and Manchester City.  
The NBA on TNT will deliver some holiday cheer on Christmas Day as the network’s Inside the NBA crew heads to Los Angeles for the Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers telecast at 10:30 p.m. ET. Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal will call the game action, in addition to their traditional pregame, halftime and postgame coverage, live from Staples Center. The Timberwolves/Lakers telecast will mark the first time Johnson, Barkley, Smith and O’Neal will call a Christmas game, as well as the first live game they have all called together. Reporter Kristen Ledlow will also contribute throughout the night.
Sports Illustrated TV will collaborate with award-winning filmmaker and co-chair of Mandalay Sports Media, Mike Tollin, and Gary Cohen’s Triple Threat TV to produce the original documentary, We Town, for the recently launched streaming network. The feature-length film, slated for a 2018 premiere, explores one of the most talented high school teams in modern history, featuring two likely NBA stars, Mo Bamba and Cam Reddish.
AXS TV FIGHTS has renewed agreements with Legacy Fighting Alliance  and Classic Entertainment & Sports MMA for 2018. Veteran MMA broadcaster Ron Kruck will join UFC Hall of Famer and longtime AXS TV FIGHTS color commentator Pat Miletich in the broadcast booth; cage-side reporter Phoenix Carnevale will conduct exclusive behind-the-scenes and post-fight interviews for the event broadcasts.
The Deadline is Next Week!
Whether you are looking to submit a campaign, a series, a partnership or you are excited to shine a light on a certain social good shining star, we’re ready to celebrate your good work! With the giving-season upon us, the needs of others should be brought to light and the media industry is a perfect vessel for that attention. The deadline is Wednesday, December 20th.

The Peruvian Football Federation, which has recently qualified for the upcoming FIFA World Cup after a 36-year absence, tapped Octagon’s Global Media Rights Consulting group to maximize the value of the organization’s commercial media rights regarding all National Team and Development Team rights from 2018 through 2022.
Rogue Fitness announced an exclusive three-year equipment sponsorship deal with the World’s Strongest Man competition. The agreement will see Rogue Fitness provide branded equipment for the competition’s events from 2018 until 2020.

NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon will tip off with an early voting period exclusively on the NBA App and NBA.com beginning Thursday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. ET. Voting via all other channels, including Amazon Alexa for the first time, will launch on Monday, Dec. 25 at 11 a.m. ET before five Christmas Day matchups across ESPN, ABC and TNT.  Additionally, new for this season, five “2-for-1 Days” will allow fans to have their votes count twice on Dec. 31, Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 when voting through the NBA App and NBA.com, along with Sina Weibo and Tencent in China.  All “2-for-1 Days” will be designated 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. ET. TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters, including the two captains, on Thursday,Jan. 18 during TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader at 6 p.m. ET.
Amazon is on the move again, landing the exclusive broadcast rights for the AVP. The partnership provides Amazon Prime Video worldwide distribution rights, excluding China, to the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour tournaments across the country from May to September annually. Beginning with the 2018 AVP Pro Tour Season, Prime Video will deliver live coverage of Main Draw matches from each tour stop through 2020. Prime Video will stream the men’s and women’s finals to viewers outside of the U.S., and one final match per event to Prime members in the U.S. In addition to live AVP coverage, Prime members will have on-demand access to completed matches, including all finals, highlights and additional content.  “Our goal is to deliver compelling content to Prime members and give them options to watch when, where and how they prefer,” said Jim DeLorenzo, Head of Sports, Amazon Video. “We are thrilled to partner with the AVP and excited to bring live pro beach volleyball to our customers around the world.”
The Motor Racing Network’s  “Motorsports Monday” reached the one million mark in unique listens for 2017. The 30-minute weekly streaming video show and podcast presented by Outback Steakhouse and Hercules Tires, features Team Penske championship spotter Joey Meier (Brad Keselowski) and NMPA award-winning broadcaster Woody Cain.  Motorsports Monday joins MRN’s NASCAR Live and Winged Nation in accomplishing the feat, bringing the network’s total digital consumption to over 10 million unique listens for the year.
Google and NFL announced season two of the VR docuseries NFL Immersed, shot using Google’s VR platform Jump and available to view on the NFL’s YouTube channel. The first three episodes of season 2 are now live, and feature Eagles DE Chris Long.

343 Industries and Major League Gaming announced a new partnership for the Halo Championship Series. The Halo World Championship kicks off on Jan. 13 worldwide on MLG’s Gamebattles tournament platform, with the first event of the Halo World Championship 2018 season taking place in Orlando from Feb. 16-18.

A quintet of American hockey legends including Kevin Collins, Jack Parker, Ben Smith, Ron Wilson and Scott Young were formally enshrined into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame Wednesday during a sold-out induction ceremony at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.
NBC announced that Mary Carillo, David Feherty, and Ato Boldon will serve as correspondents for NBC Olympics coverage of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. The Winter Olympics begin Feb. 8, 2018 on the networks of NBCUniversal.

The San Antonio Spurs visit the Houston Rockets at 9:30 pm EST on ESPN.
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ON THIS DAY in 1925 The first hockey game at Madison Square Garden was played. Final score: Montreal Canadiens 3, NY Americans 1.

In the Know: (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.). Army-Navy played one of the most thrilling football games of the year last Saturday, with the Cadets winning 14-13. When was the last time Army won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy before this year?

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Thursday Night Football is now a mainstay in the NFL calendar. Who won the first TNF game in 2006? Answer: Kansas City Chiefs. Congrats: Andy Pittman, TAMU, Ken White, KWTV, David Westberg, SAG•AFTRA Federal Credit Union, Synda Kollman, Charter Marketing Group, John Langerman, WINK TV, Terry Lyons, Digital Sports Desk, Jerry Milani, Milani PR, John Cirillo, Cirilloworld, Ray Katz, ROI Sports Group
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JOB OPENING: SALES ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/WIVB/WNLO TV/Buffalo: Exp’d professional w/min 2-3yrs exp media sales or outside sales exp. Proven track rec developing new business & growing existing business. Able to work successfully in multi-platform envir. Strong knwlg of MS products; Wide Orbit a +. Full info/apply HERE (12/22)

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JOB OPENING: EXECUTIVE RECRUITER/JAMES & CO LLC/NYC: Responsible for search execution to include but not limited to developing target list, candidate identification and assessment as well as candidate interviews. Understanding of landscape for talent in our search verticals a must. Full job info/apply HERE (12/20)

JOB OPENING: COORD PUBLICITY & AWARDS/A+E/NY: Assist A+E Studio, Awards, & Corp Outreach with the day-to-day operations of the dept. Manage award submissions, coordinate w/press, interface with talent. Exp working in office environment publicity or mktg pref’d. Excellent comm & writing skills a must. Apply HERE (12/20)

JOB OPENING: LIVE EVENTS OPERATION MGR/NBC Sports/Philadelphia: Work closely w/all depts for multi-platform operational needs. Assist in operational tech workflows. 5+ yrs in production/ops of live TV sporting events. Highly orgnzd, self-sufficient & exc comm skills. Full info/apply HERE (12/20)
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JOB OPENING: SENIOR MARKETING DIRECTOR/National Geographic/DC: Lead marketing strategy for tentpole programming across all platforms. Drive tune-in & increased ratings for major marketing priorities. 10+ yrs of entertainment category exp. Excellent verbal and written communication skills Full info/apply HERE (12/16)

JOB OPENING: AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT SPECIALIST/NYC: Dvlp/optimize mktg campaigns to grow audience/viewer engagmt; create message/assets to support efforts. 4+ yrs dig. mktg/publicity/aud engmt exp. Strong writing & verbal skills; knwlg of bid mgmt., keyword targeting & qual score optimization. Full info/apply HERE (12/16)

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