Good morning. It’s Wednesday July 27, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
An end of an era is in store for ESPN’s NFL coverage this season with reports that stalwart Tom Jackson will leave the company. First broken by the New York Daily News and since confirmed by multiple other outlets, the staple analyst would have returned to Sunday NFL Countdown for his 30th season this fall. A network spokesman declined to comment.
Meanwhile, ESPN did confirm that NFL Nation’s New York Giants reporter Dan Graziano has been named a National NFL Insider for ESPN, contributing to NFL Insiders, NFL Live, SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine in his new role. Meanwhile, Jordan Raanan has been hired as the new Giants reporter for ESPN’s NFL Nation.
ON THE AIR
NBCSN saw Sunday’s coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Indianapolis Motor Speedway average 5.2 million viewers with a 3.1 household score, according to Nielsen, marking the channel’s most-watched and highest-rated telecast on record. Viewership of the Brickyard 400 was up 11% over last year’s race. Meanwhile, live streaming of the race on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app also generated an all-time high to score 5.2 million live minutes, up 93% vs. same event in 2015.
ESPN reports that its coverage of Major League Soccer on ESPN and ESPN2 delivered an average audience of 312,000 viewers for a markup of 32% in viewers over the same period in 2015. Meanwhile, ESPN Deportes is seeing a 44% spike in audience with an average 46,000 Hispanic viewers year-to-date in 2016. “As we enter the All Star break, we are delighted to see such substantial year over year gains in audience across ESPN platforms and in key demographics for Major League Soccer,” said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN Senior Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions. “We look forward to continue working with Major League Soccer to keep up the momentum as we enter a very busy Fall sports calendar.”
FOX UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Shevchenko handed the channel with an average of 1.8/4 with 2.975 million viewers for the four-fight main card. That is up 29% over the channel’s April card, according to Nielsen. Saturday’s show ranks as FOX’s most-watched UFC telecast since January of 2015 and was FOX’s most-watched July UFC show to-date.
Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross and silver medalist Trey Hardee are on deck to join NBC Olympics’ coverage of track and field at the Summer Games. The pair hit Rio after contributing to NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials as guest analysts. Tom Hammond will once again call NBC Olympics track & field coverage with Kenny Albert managing play-by-play duties for track events on NBCSN and Todd Harris on-board for play-by-play for field events. Ato Boldon returns as an analyst while Lewis Johnson serves as a track and field reporter.
ESPN announced today its game selection for the Sept. 4 edition of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell, tapping the Nationals/Mets battle at 8p. Dan Shulman, will provide commentary for the telecast alongside analysts Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza and reporter Buster Olney.
As it prepares for its 10th year, BTN president Mark Silverman unveiled the channel’s programming slate at Big Ten Football media day. Content includes behind-the-scenes series Green and White Days: Inside Michigan State Training Camp debuting Aug. 18 at 7p. BTN will take its college football pregame coverage on the road in 2016 with the debut of BTN Tailgate, a live, 90-minute show originating from a different Big Ten campus each week during conference play with host Dave Revsine joining Gerry DiNardo and Anthony Adams. Dairy Queen, GEICO, Navistar, Slim Jim, TIAA and U.S. Cellular have all signed on as sponsors of the show, as well as the surrounding fan experience. Other series include Sports Lite with Mike Hall, starting Sept. 14 at 11p as its first late-night offering and Campus Eats, a first-hand look at the unique and iconic restaurants found across the Big Ten.
Telemundo marches to the Rio 2016 Olympics with Rio 2016: En Busca del Sueno Olimpico on Saturday at 6p. The program spotlights some of the leading Hispanic athletes taking part at the Rio Summer Games. Andres Cantor, Ana Jurka and Miguel Gurtwitz present six stories from the participants, which include Carlos Balderas, Paola Espinosa, Dannel Leyva, Javier Culson, and Mariana Pajon.
The RICOH Women’s British Open makes in inaugural debut on NBC Sports this week as Golf Channel and NBC carry more than 20 hours of live tournament coverage from Thursday-Sunday, marking the most number of live hours in the tournament’s history. Thursday and Friday, Golf Channel sets up coverage in two telecast windows: 4:30-7:30a and 9a-noon. Saturday and Sunday, live coverage will begin at 9a on Golf Channel and will continue on NBC at 11a. TOURNAMENT TEAM: Rich Lerner and Hall-of-Famer Judy Rankin will call the action from the broadcast booth on hole 18.
Pitch International LLP locked in a deal with CBS Sports Network for coverage of the COTIF L’Alcudia Tournament 2016, an international soccer competition showcasing the best Under-20 teams in the world. CBS Sports Network carries three US games, along with the semifinals on Aug. 2 and final on Aug. 4.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Model D Awards
Call for entries in search of the best online video content + advertising
Entry Deadline: August 4
Awards Event: November 4 // NYC
Previous winners include
AT&T, Bravo, Food Network, Hulu, NBCUniversal, SONY & many more. View the full list of past winners,
and then start your entry today.
SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION
NBC Sports is adding a dozen NFL players to join Carrie Underwood for her performance of “Oh, Sunday Night,” this season. The new anthem Sunday Night Football will get a sneak preview during NBC’s coverage of the Rio Olympics. Athletes include: Odell Beckham, Jr.; Antonio Brown; Dez Bryant; Kam Chancellor; Khalil Mack; Eli Manning; Tyrann Mathieu; Clay Matthews; Von Miller; Patrick Peterson; Earl Thomas; and Russell Wilson.
NASCAR unveiled its top 20 selling drivers this season from the Fanatics Trackside Superstore. Top three are led by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. Rounding out the top ten in merchandise are Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Carl Edwards, Brad Keselowski and Kasey Kahne.
Minor League Baseball and Esurance unveiled the first annual Esurance Home Field Advantage Award, a new honor that pays tribute to “communities who best support their hometown MiLB clubs.” One Minor League Baseball team in each of the 14 leagues will receive the award, based on the highest percentage capacity of the ballpark during the 2016 season. Winning teams will be announced in September.
DIGITAL & STREAMING
NextVR and Relevent Sports unlocked the live VR broadcast schedule for three International Champions Cup matches with cameras showcasing the action from multiple angle in the stands, along the sidelines, midfield and behind the goal. The action starts today with Liverpool /Chelsea from Rose Bowl Stadium. Matches will be available free in the ICC channel on the NextVR platform, currently compatible with Gear VR headsets.
The Federation Equestre Internationale is teaming with China’s Sina Sports to boost the footprint of the FEI and equestrian sport in China, including the launch the “Official Website of FEI in China,” on its digital sports platform. Content will include major FEI events, competition highlights, video interviews with athletes, equestrian lifestyle content, images and news in Chinese.
Speaking of China, International e-Sports Federation announced a partnership with Alibaba Sports Group that will include a $150 million investment into competitive gaming. According to the announcement, the deal will look to accomplish three goals: launch a tournament which all amateur e-Sports players and professional e-Sports players can participate; push for eSports to be recognized as a sport; and the launch of a unique IP. “This partnership is one big step to IeSF. I believe IeSF and Alisports will maximize each other’s strength by this partnership, said IeSF President Byung Hun Jun. “I also believe eSports Stadium can be transformed to be a fashion place for Youth. IeSF will make our all effort to be with more e-Sports fans in more countries together with Alisports from now on.”
Red Bull is backing eSports event Red Bull 5G with the launch of limited edition ‘Gaming’ 4-packs next month, which will offer unique codes to unlock in-game add-ons. According to Talking Retail, Red Bull head of category marketing Gavin Lissimore said: “This campaign will be pitting the best gamers from North against the best gamers in the South. When the campaign launched in the states with Destiny, a huge global game, we saw consumption of Red Bull whilst Gaming double.”
THE MAIN EVENT
Cubs/White Sox on ESPN at 8p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
The results are in for the
2016 CYNOPSIS RISING STAR AWARDS
Thursday, September 15 | NYC | 4:15 6:30 PM
We asked for the entries, and our stars handed in some outstanding work!
Please join us as we honor our
2016 Rising Stars, young executives who have the smarts & potential to be the next generation’s leaders.
View the full list of winners + register for the event.
ON THIS DAY in 2006: Four days after winning the Tour de France, the Phonak Cycling Team announces that Floyd Landis tested positive for doping.
In The Know: John F. Kennedy lettered in what sport while at Harvard? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Since the 1992 Dream Team, which country, other than the US, has won gold in men’s basketball at the Olympics? Answer: Argentina. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Anthony M DeSanti-BTN/NY; Alexander Khilnani-NBC Sports/NY; Greg Conner-Tennis Channel/NY; John Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Rusty Mintz-Turner Sports/Atlanta; Chris Schwartz-International Speedway Corporation/Charlotte; Chris Faulds-CF Consulting/Newmarket; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Tom Doherty-Starcom Media/Chicago; Gretchen Brady-KTVT/Dallas; Lucie Prann-The Richards Group/Dallas; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente; Jaime Martinez-Univision/LA.
Later — Chris
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