Cynopsis Sports 06/25/24: LA Kings go back to the ’90s

Cynopsis  
Tuesday June 25, 2024

Good morning! It’s Tuesday, June 25, and this is your monthly Cynopsis sports newsletter.

BIG 12 HAS BIG HOPES

We’ve seen naming rights deals for bowl games, events and tournaments, but what about conferences? Yahoo Sports writes that the Big 12 is looking at a naming-rights partnership that’d be worth “hundreds of millions of dollars.” The conference’s name would change in a similar way that the Orange Bowl is now the Capital One Orange Bowl. Yahoo Sports’ report states the conference wants to keep the “12” portion of its current moniker. One company potentially lurking is Allstate, which would possibly bring forth the “Allstate 12” Conference. All agreements are still subject to the approval of Big 12 presidents and chancellors.

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark is also exploring private equity agreements to add more revenue streams for schools. What’s worth keeping an eye on is the new revenue-sharing model that’ll be implemented in 2025, which will have power conference schools share revenue with athletes as a result of the NCAA’s antitrust battles.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S HOCKEY MAKEOVER

The Los Angeles Kings pulled the curtain on a rebrand that takes the team back to the 90s. The renewed look—the result of a two-year process—contains elements from the team’s 90s era and original crown from its creation in 1967. The logo is a “reimagined version of the iconic logo the Kings featured from 1988-1998” along with the redesigned crown. The team colors will stay black, silver and white. Stay tuned for more: the Kings’ SoCal rivals Anaheim Ducks will soon unveil its new branding, with indications showing a move away from its “webbed foot D” logo and a return to something similar to the classic Mighty Ducks logo.

LEONSIS’ D.C. DREAMS

Ted Leonsis, Founder, Chairman, Managing Partner and CEO, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, has become quite the mainstay in the Washington, D.C. sports scene. He’s the principal owner of the Washington Capitals, the Washington Wizards and its G League affiliate Capital City Go-Go, the Washington Mystics and the NBA 2K League Wizards District Gaming. Leonsis also owns Capital One Arena and the regional net Monumental Sports Network. Now he’s expressed interest in purchasing the Washington Nationals, after he had attempted to buy the team from the Lerner family for more than $2 billion in late 2022.

Leonsis spoke with Cynopsis Sports about what’s going on in the nation’s capital, Monumental’s future and what D.C. means to him.

You’re not only an owner, but you’re a fan of the teams under Monumental’s umbrella. How do you balance that fandom with making the best business decisions for your franchises?
Before I became a team owner, I was a season ticket holder for the Capitals, Mystics, and Georgetown basketball. It was the best training to becoming obsessive about the fan experience. Nothing frustrates me more than a ketchup dispenser that’s empty or a bathroom stall that doesn’t close properly. If you cannot get those small-but-important things right – it signals that we are not living up to the standards our fans expect.

How do you prioritize the different entities under your purview?
With the right people around you, the prioritization becomes clear. Only the big, hard decisions cross my desk – if it were easy, someone down the line would have solved it. So I’ve built a team I trust to execute on the moonshot goals I have for our company. We are in a growth mindset to create the most valuable regional sports and entertainment company in the world to have the resources to field championship-contending teams that can compete with organizations from big markets like New York and LA – and I really believe we can achieve that.

What does the recent partnership with D.C. and Mayor Bowser do for Monumental, from both a business perspective and the perspective of keeping the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics within the District?
The agreement is a win-win for both our organization and D.C. Reimagining Capital One Arena will allow us to continue to grow our business and expand our hospitality offerings in order to create a best-in-class experience for our fans, employees, and athletes. Our partnership with D.C. will allow us to revitalize downtown in an integrated way for our fans and the community, building a transformational entertainment district that is a destination and will ensure the vibrancy of downtown for years to come.

MSE has positioned Monumental Sports Network to be a successful RSN in an otherwise turbulent RSN environment. How have you ensured the network has real, long-term strength that could withstand such pressures?
Over the last year and a half, since buying back our local media rights from NBCUniversal, Monumental Sports Network has undergone an extensive transformation into a state-of-the-art, digital-first media platform. As the RSN landscape continues to fluctuate, we wanted to future proof our organization as media consumption changes, be in control of our own destiny and our IP, and create a media platform where we could distribute those rights via a variety of different channels. We’re concentrating on making our games as accessible as possible, maximizing the value of our rights, and delivering the best version of programming to fans. I’m confident that as an organization that owns our local media rights, we are uniquely positioned to provide our fans with compelling content that resonates with them across whatever current and future platforms the world holds.

A new broadcast studio. Solidified plans to stay in D.C. There have been major announcements in the Monumental world in the last few months. So, what’s next on your list of priorities?
We want to win more championships. We have a long-term view for building generationally great teams but acknowledge that in the short-term, we may not meet those high expectations which I have and which the fans have for us. Still, we will stay true to the work. And we are deep into planning for a transformational new arena which will lead the industry in next-generation fan experience with the greatest integrations and the latest technology.

What does Washington, D.C. mean to you?
My first time ever in Washington, D.C. was when I arrived at Georgetown University in the early 1970s. Now I’ve been in the area for the past 40+ years and have lived in D.C. and started businesses in D.C. It is my home and I am proud to be part of the revolution of downtown, especially in this post-pandemic era. But I’m most proud of running the largest scholarship nonprofit in the city which has provided millions in financial support to tens of thousands of D.C. students—many of whom are first in their family to go to college, as I was.
For the full interview with Leonsis, go here.

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MEDIA RIGHTS MANIA

It’s IndyCar’s time to shine after the NTT INDYCAR SERIES marked a major deal with FOX Sports. The agreement begins in 2025. Every 2025 race will air on FOX and stream on the FOX Sports app, while FOX Deportes will carry Spanish-language coverage (the Spanish-language schedule will be announced at a later date). FOX will also have coverage of both days of the Indy 500 qualifications. That means NTT INDYCAR SERIES will have a record 19 total broadcast network windows.

Speaking of FOX, it nabbed the rights to the UEFA Women’s European Championship beginning in 2025. The announcement was made during halftime of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s match vs Bolivia. More details to come….

The Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference inked a multi-year media rights deal with FloSports. It’ll start in the 2024-25 academic year and make the SCIAC the third Division-III conference to partner with FloSports. FloSports will stream all live and on-demand SCIAC events as well as its 21 championships.

SUMMER OF SOCCER

FOX Sports is the host of this summer’s festival of soccer as the 2024 UEFA EUROs and Copa América kick off on its platforms. The company is labeling it the “Summer of Stars” as the world’s best soccer players take their respective stage for international competitions, like Kylian Mbappé, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kevin de Bruyne for the European Championship and Lionel Messi, Christian Pulisic and Vinicius Jr. for Copa América.

With all that star power, FOX Sports is going all out. On top of promoting these stars and teams from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, it’s utilizing technology to enhance its studio coverage, which is being anchored from the FOX Studio lot in Los Angeles. The facility is a two-story studio that has 5,130 sq. ft. of LED space, extended reality multicam technology and many VR upgrades. FOX Sports worked with the New Zealand-based firm Architecture van Brandenburg to create a VR set that boasts a 360° immersive environment to take viewers to landmarks and areas around the globe.

A total of 83 games will be played during the Summer of Stars, with 78 belonging to FOX Sports and five going to Fubo as part of a sublicensing agreement. It’s the groundwork for what’ll become the 2026 FIFA World Cup that’s set to take place in the U.S. and also air on FOX Sports networks. As the festivities roll on, Cynopsis Sports had the chance to speak with VP, Production Zac Kenworthy about broadcasting two major tournaments simultaneously.

How does it feel to officially get the “Summer of Soccer” kicked off?
It’s been kind of a pinch-me moment. You grow up watching the EUROs. It’s one of those marquee events, and to have that at FOX and to be starting a major jewel event like this, and to do it for the first time, it’s just a really special feeling. We’ve done these major events, but to bring in a new tournament and put the FOX polish on it, is a special feeling. It’s kind of a bit of a slow burn until we get into Copa mode, and then it’s two tournaments at once, and we know that that’s coming here quickly. While it’s a monumental task and challenge, we’re ready for it. We feel excited.

What does it mean to add that FOX touch to the tournament?
For us, with it being the EUROs, it was an opportunity to look at a few different things. We’ve seen technologically what we’ve done with our sets so far. That was a huge focus and initiative from the very top of the company—the [FOX Sports CEO/Executive Producer] Eric Shanks and the [President, Production and Operations/Executive Producer] Brad Zager’s of the world through our graphics team and really creating ‘a world soccer palace,’ so to speak, where we could just celebrate these two tournaments all summer long. I can’t begin to describe the months and months of work that have gone into that and it has been a huge focus.

How do handle having two tournaments going on simultaneously, especially major events like the EUROs and Copa América?
We do these big soccer events at FOX and we’ve had World Cups before, and really in our mindset, while there is a separation of tournament, there’s not going to be a separation of our coverage. The same level and focus on detail, the same sort of resource that we’re going to put into the EUROs, we will do the exact same for the Copa América. So just from a behind-the-scenes standpoint, while we know editorially they’re two different tournaments, to the viewer it’s going to feel like two different tournaments. It’s going to be earlier in the day and it’s the EUROs and you’re in Europe. Then of course, Copa América, we get to celebrate the fact that it’s in the U.S. The fact that there are these larger-than-life South American teams with Brazil and Argentina. The way we plan for it is all as one.

Are there any challenges from a marketing perspective with having the EUROs and Copa América at the same time?
Fans in North America know what the EUROs are. Copa América might be the one that’s a little more obscure, but that’s almost to an extent marketing in itself. You’ve got Lionel Messi, you’ve got Brazil, you’ve got the U.S. Men’s National Team. It’s been a pretty easy sell. It just happens to be on U.S. soil. From everything that we’ve seen, it’s been really clear with our regionals. They understand. The marketing team has been super excited about the response and reaction to both teams. The EUROs just looks and feels like a major tournament. It feels like a World Cup, and that’s been a really easy sell for us. And again, I can’t overemphasize the impact of Lionel Messi on soccer in this country … The concept of Messi on U.S. soil and what that story is, it now almost comes full circle because he’s made the move to the club here, he’s plying his trade in the country, and now he gets to be on U.S. soil with Argentina in a major competition.

PARTNERSHIP NEWS

Tennis star Carlos Alcaraz signed a new deal with Nike that’s reportedly worth $15-20 million per year and will see Alcaraz get his own logo. Alcaraz first signed with Nike in 2019 and leads the apparel and shoe brand’s men’s tennis lineup alongside Jannik Sinner.

The University of Maryland is staying home with Under Armour. The two extended their agreement for another 12 years through 2036, which would mark 32 years since UA first became the outfit of UMD’s football program in 2004. The new agreement includes UA continuing to design and supply training and game-day apparel, footwear and equipment for not only varsity teams, but the school’s club and intramural teams. Other details include a shared marketing commitment, NIL Brand Ambassador Program and integrations into marketing, social media, in-store and grassroots activations.

Italian soccer giant Juventus and Fanatics are partnering for ecommerce, retail, manufacturing and licensing. Fanatics will manage all areas of Juventus’ merchandise worldwide through the end of the 2034-35 season. It’ll also become the master licensee and operate from the Fanatics Italy HQ.

Michelob Ultra will be prominently placed throughout CONCACAF and MLS events after the two organizations signed a multi-year partnership with AB InBev. The deal means Michelob Ultra will be the official beer of the CONCACAF Champions Cup, W Champions Cup and MLS. Michelob Ultra will be the title sponsor of the Campeones Cup as well as the Superior Player of the Match for all MLS, Champions Cup and W Champions Cup matches. “This is a period of unprecedented growth for the sport in Concacaf and we know that the team at AB InBev will provide tremendous support in elevating these important competitions, which crown our regional men’s and women’s club champions, and serve as the qualification path to FIFA Club World Cups,” Philippe Moggio, CONCACAF General Secretary, said.

The NHL and Labatt Breweries signed a multiyear Canadian partnership. The deal includes Budweiser becoming an official beer of the league in Canada, and Labatt will also get digitally enhanced dasherboards during regular-season and Stanley Cup Playoffs games broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet and “Prime Monday Night Hockey” games on Prime Video in Canada. Labatt’s marketing will be predominately activated by the Budweiser brand, and Budweiser-centered activations will be brought to various NHL events like the NHL Heritage Classic.

Sheetz is the first jersey patch partner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, signing a multi-year agreement to have the Sheetz logo featured on the sleeves of the Pirates’ home and away jerseys.

FEELIN’ FRESH

Some NBA players dove into the world of fashion as the offseason rolls on. One Court Milan, an annual NBPA player experience made in collaboration with the SDA Bocconi School of Management, allows NBPA members the chance to learn from global business leaders and enhance their understanding of the luxury market and best business practices. The curriculum focuses on impact investing, new technology and web3 innovations in addition to visits to luxury brands such as Off-White, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani and more. Participating players included Collin Sexton, Immanuel Quickley, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Luka Garza. “This was such a cool experience to be in Milan, one of the capitals of fashion in Europe. Just to be in an immersive experience that not only includes fashion, but business and design,” Garza said. “It’s about building your own brand, not only clothing, but your identity of who you are, and being able to show that to the world. It was a really fun experience to be surrounded by the people we were with.”

HAIR HALL OF FAME

Great Clips showcased the second class of the virtual Hockey Hair Hall of Fame where hockey fans in the U.S. and Canada were encouraged to share photos and videos of their unique flows on social media. A voting panel consisting of the Florida Panthers’ Matthew Tkachuk, Las Vegas Golden Knights’ William Karlsson, professional women’s hockey player Hillary Knight and Great Clips named 12 finalists based on creativity and originality. Six inductees won based off the most votes, and all inductees will receive two tickets to attend an NHL game of their choice during the 2024-25 season, among other prizes.

FOR THE YOUTH

The New Jersey Devils Youth Foundation launched a Youth Ambassadors Program designed to encourage high school students in New Jersey to participate in fundraising, volunteering and community service. Participants will work alongside Devils Youth Foundation staff to get experience in fundraising through events and the community to reach a set goal during the season, complete a minimum of 35 hours of volunteer work with community partners and advocate for community causes. Applications are currently open and will be available through Aug. 5. The program will run annually from August until the end of the regular season.

COMING SOON TO SCREENS

Generation Iron, a global media company focused on health, fitness and strength sports, is releasing an original documentary “Robby Robinson’s Blueprint” on June 28. It’ll tell the life story of the bodybuilder Robby Robinson, who was one of the first-ever Black men to be featured on the covers of bodybuilding magazines. The doc will be available on major platforms including Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Google Play in all English-speaking territories.

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RATINGS

It was a swift, five-game series that culminated in the Boston Celtics winning its 18th NBA Championship, but its viewership wasn’t a slam dunk. Sports Media Watch reveals the series averaged 11.31 million viewers and 5.8 rating on ABC, down 3% and 5% YOY, respectively. That’s the lowest-rated and viewed Finals since the Bucks vs Suns series in 2021, which had been marred by COVID-19 complications.

ESPN had its most-watched NCAA Women’s College World Series Finals on record this year as Oklahoma swept Texas for a fourth consecutive title. Game 2 of OU-Texas averaged 2 million viewers on ESPN, up 24% YOY and up 34% YOY in the female demographic. Game 1 came in at 1.9 million viewers on ESPN as well. The two contests were the second and third-most-viewed softball games on ESPN+.

On the baseball side, ESPN had its second-best pre-finals viewership for the Men’s College World Series with an average of 1.2 million viewers. Texas A&M vs Florida, which saw the Aggies clinch a spot in the championship series, garnered 1.8 million viewers. UNC vs Tennessee had 1.7 million viewers, while Texas A&M-Kentucky and Tennessee-Florida State each recorded 1.5 million viewers.

The inaugural United Football League championship averaged 1.6 million viewers on FOX. The Birmingham Stallions’ 25-0 win over the San Antonio Brahmas peaked at 1.72 million viewers in the 6:15-6:30pm window. Game viewership was up 38% compared to last year’s USFL Championship (1.16 million) and up 11% over the XFL Championship (1.44 million).

IN MEMORIAM

Willie Mays, known as the “Say Hey Kid” and one of baseball’s greatest players, died at the age of 93 on June 18. Mays began his 23-year career in the Negro leagues with the Birmingham Black Barons, before moving to MLB and playing for the New York/San Francisco Giants and New York Mets. His storied career ended with 3,005 games played, 3,293 hits, 660 home runs, 1,909 RBIs, a career .301 batting average, 24 All-Star appearances and one of the most famous catches made in the sport’s storied history.

ON THIS DAY

1983: India defeats the West Indies in the Cricket World Cup by 43 runs to win its first title.

1997: The NHL awarded franchises in Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus and Minnesota-St. Paul. All franchises remain except the Atlanta Thrashers, which moved to Winnipeg in 2011 to re-birth the Jets franchise.

2020: Liverpool FC clinched its first English league title in 30 years, despite the COVID-19 pandemic putting a pause on the season. It was the club’s 19th first-division domestic championship, one fewer than Manchester United’s record mark of 20.

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FUSE MEDIA/NEW YORK, NY:
Support the Ad Sales team by prospecting, selling and expanding the Company’s advertising revenue base. The candidate will have a strong media sales background with a network of industry clients and prospects as well as establish a book of business and exceed pre-established activity and sales quota utilizing CRM tools to document sales activity. Full info HERE

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE, EAST COAST ADVERTISING SALES

THE ALLEN MEDIA GROUP
NYC (Hybrid)

Responsible for coverage of assigned advertising agencies and clients specifically dedicated to representing AMG linear, digital and streaming platforms. Also grow and maintain existing clients as well as prospect and close new business. Work closely with clients and advertising holding companies ensuring AMG is a ‘must-buy’ for advertisers. Full info HERE

VP/HEAD OF ADVERTISING SALES

FREEBEE
FL/NYC Remote

Lead, manage, develop, and grow Ad Sales teams. Attract and retain the best talent. Work with leadership team to set, achieve, and grow revenue targets across OOH, Digital and Experiential. Instrumental in driving the team to exceed all expectations and goals. 15+ years’ experience in advertising, media, and relevant sales management roles. Full info HERE

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
FREEBEE
MIAMI

Achieve revenue and growth targets across linear and digital. Identify and execute strategies which result in exceeding revenue targets. Develop and execute effective sales strategies that showcase as well as maximize overall revenues for the overarching National Sales division. 7-10 yrs exp. in advertising, media & relevant sales management roles. Full info HERE

SENIOR AUDIO/VIDEO PROMOTION PRODUCER >>
WHYY/PHILADELPHIA:
Produce best-in-class promotional spots, accurately reflecting WHYY’s brand mission, from strategy through management approvals. Write killer scripts for audio and video to engage audiences. Organize promotional spot production schedule for video and audio spots needed for TV, FM, digital and social platforms. 10-15+ years’ experience. Full info HERE

DIGITAL DIRECTOR, NEWS >>
WHYY/PHILADELPHIA:
Develop a cogent strategy for developing and publishing WHYY news content across social media and emerging digital platforms. Convey and create SEO, social media and digital best practices in concert with the digital staff with the focus of informing and developing the newsroom’s digital muscles. Five or more years of journalism experience. Full info HERE

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT TV
NYC
Represent FETV & FMC to media community via ongoing communications & relationship building. Maintain & develop strong working relationships w/both agencies & internal departments in support of sales efforts. Work w/sales management, pricing & planning to achieve quarterly revenue goals. 5+ yrs media sales exp. preferably in cable TV- agency exp. +. Full info HERE

TV/VIDEO SPONSORSHIP-PRODUCT INTEGRATION SALES REPRESENTATIVE
>>
GAME ON MEDIA SOLUTIONS/Remote: Game On Media Solutions is looking for an independent business development oriented sponsorship sales representative. Focus will be on TV/Streaming project opportunities for brands that include product integration and placement. This is an Independent Contractor performance compensated opening. Attractive fees can be earned for closed deals. Full info HERE

BRAND ASSISTANT
>>
THE LEDE COMPANY/NYC: Full-service communication, strategy, and social impact consulting firm, specializing in corporate, brand, entertainment, and nonprofit sectors, is seeking a Brand Assistant to join the Brand team in our New York office. The Assistant will play an integral role in supporting accounts for a wide variety of Fashion, Beauty, CPG and Lifestyle clients. Full info HERE

TALENT ASSISTANT >>
THE LEDE COMPANY/LA: Full-service strategy, communications and social impact consulting firm, specializing in corporate, entertainment and nonprofit sectors. We are looking for a Talent Assistant to a Talent Publicist in Los Angeles. We are seeking enthusiastic candidates who can work in a fast-paced environment, are driven & have strong communication and writing skills. Full info HERE

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FOR NATIONAL POLITICAL SHOW >>
BAHAKEL COMMUNICATIONS/CHARLOTTE NC: Develop and oversee the production of a daily or weekly national political show that covers the most important political news and events of the day. Develop and execute strategies to increase the show’s audience and engagement. At least 5 years of experience as an executive producer for a political show or similar program. Full info HERE

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF NEWS/ENTERTAINMENT
>>
BAHAKEL COMMUNICATIONS/CHARLOTTE NC:
Oversee all editorial and entertainment content, news production and presentation. Responsible for day-to-day operations of the show: producing, writing, and guiding creative. Develop content for the News @ TEN, plan, assign and create production schedules. 7 years of experience as executive producer or show producer. Network experience preferred. Full info HERE

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