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NEWS REAL

• The NBA 2K League today named Tencent Holdings Limited as the league’s first distribution partner in China.

• The English Premier League has signed a multi-year deal naming Anheuser-Busch brand Budweiser as its official category partner. Carling had been the EPL category partner since 2016.

• Sports and live entertainment company AEG has signed a multiyear, multimillion-dollar renewal agreement with Toshiba America Business Solutions, extending their “comprehensive partnership across several of AEG’s flagship assets,” including Toshiba remaining a founding partner of Staples Center and the official digital signage and display provider of L.A. Live.

• As part of the NFL 100th season celebration, the NFL has teamed up with league partner EA to give one lucky fan the chance to become an EA Sports Madden NFL ratings adjustor for the day as well as be digitized to appear in the Madden NFL game. Details here.

• The NBA’s Golden State Warriors have signed a long-term deal naming  Fanatics, a  global leader for licensed sports merchandise, as the exclusive operator of all Warriors Shop locations throughout the Bay Area. Full story here.

• NBA All-Star James Harden has joined the ownership group of the Houston Dynamo. According to the MLS club, the 2018 NBA MVP with the Houston Rockets becomes the fifth member of an ownership group led by Gabriel Brener, which also includes boxing icon Oscar De La Hoya, Ben Guill and Jake Silverstein.

In addition to the Dynamo, the group also owns the NWSL's Houston Dash and BBVA Stadium, the home venue for both clubs.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to join the ownership group of the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash and proud to be a part of a club with tremendous history and a great future,” Harden said via the team.

• Spend a "Day in the Life Of Blake Griffin." Full story here.

• Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, co-founders of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, have launched with The ALS Assn. the 5th anniversary of “Challenge Me” with a “new call to action to reignite the passion and generosity of the millions of people who dumped ice water on their heads in the summer of 2014.”

POLL POSITION

AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019 Starter Pool

  • Liz Cambage, Aces
  • Elena Delle Donne, Mystics
  • Chelsea Gray, Sparks
  • Brittney Griner, Mercury
  • Natasha Howard, Storm
  • Jonquel Jones, Sun
  • Jewell Loyd, Storm
  • Kayla McBride, Aces
  • Kia Nurse, Liberty
  • A‘ja Wilson, Aces

AT&T WNBA All-Star 2019, featuring Team Delle Donne vs. Team Wilson, is scheduled for July 27 in the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas (ABC 3:30 PM ET).

KEEPING SCORE

The Top 25 MiLB Teams With Best-Selling Merchandise (alphabetically, with MLB affiliate):

  • Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies)
  • Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees)
  • Charlotte Knights (White Sox)
  • Columbia Fireflies (Mets)
  • Columbus Clippers (Indians)
  • Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros)
  • Durham Bulls (Rays)
  • El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres)
  • Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres)
  • Gwinnett Stripers (Braves)
  • Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies)
  • Indianapolis Indians (Pirates)
  • Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Marlins)
  • Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies)
  • Nashville Sounds (Rangers)
  • Pawtucket Red Sox (Red Sox)
  • Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox)
  • Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants)
  • Rochester Red Wings (Twins)
  • Sacramento River Cats (Giants)
  • Salt Lake Bees (Angels)
  • San Antonio Missions (Brewers)
  • Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners)
  • Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers)
  • Trenton Thunder (Yankees)

SOURCE: MiLB

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office July 12-14
1. Spider-Man:Far From Home $45.3M
2. Toy Story 4 $20.7M
3. Crawl $12M
4. Stuber $8M
5. Yesterday $6.8M
6. Aladdin $5.9M
7. Annabelle Comes Home $5.6M
8. Midsommar $3.4M
9. Secret Life of Pets 2 $3.1M
10. MIB International $2.2M
Source: Box Office Mojo

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BodyArmor Into NCAA
No. 1 Colleges Since '92
Notre Dame Builds Brand
Cancer Drives Home
Men's Hoops Are 'Toxic'

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Channel Chasers

NFL UK 2019
• Oct. 6 Chicago Bears v Oakland Raiders Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 13 Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 27  Cincinnati Bengals v Los Angeles Rams Wembley Stadium
• Nov. 3 Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium

NFL Mexico 2019
• Nov. 18 Kansas City  Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Mexico City Estadio Azteca (ESPN Monday Night Football).

Monday
Sep292014

Q&A: Turner Sports Comes To Bat For MLB With TBS Playoff Campaigns, Coverage

By Barry Janoff

September 29, 2014: Turner Broadcasting has covered Major League Baseball for more than 40 years, dating back to when TBS was home for the Atlanta Braves (1977-2007). In the next evolution of the alliance, TBS broadcast from 2007-2013 the MLB post-season Division Series and League Championship Series.

This season is the first in a new eight-year multi-media rights agreement between Turner Sports and MLB, running through 2021, under which TBS and Fox alternate broadcasts of the American and National League Division and League Championship Series.

The 2014 post-season begins on Sept. 30 with TBS' exclusive converge of the MLB Wild Card presented by Budweiser featuring the AL match-up of the Oakland A's at the Kansas City Royals (8 PM ET). TBS will then be the exclusive TV home for the ALDS presented by T-Mobile (beginning Oct. 2), featuring the winner of the Wild Card Game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in one series and the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles in the other.

The ALCS follows (date TBD) exclusively on TBS featuring the winner of each ALDS.

MLB post-season on TBS broadcast crew includes Ernie Johnson (play-by-play) with analysts and former MLB stars Ron Darling and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. calling the AL Wild Card Game, one of the ALDS series and the ALCS. The other ALDS team features Brian Anderson (play-by-play) with analysts Joe Simpson and Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley.

TBS’ studio coverage includes commentary from eight-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez and nine-time All-Star Gary Sheffield, anchored by studio host Casey Stern. On-field analysts include David Aldridge and Rachel Nichols.

Marketing from Turner for its TBS coverage features a humorous multi-media campaign with actor Bryan Cranston, who, as seen in a fictitious One-Man Broadway Show, re-creates iconic moments in MLB post-season history. They include Carlton Fisk's dramatic home run for the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the 1075 World Series, Kirk Gibson's legendary home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series and Derek Jeter's famous back-hand flip play for the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the 2001 AL Division Series.

In addition, Turner has a campaign driven by the song "Play Ball," a new track from the soon-to-be released album from AC/DC, Rock or Bust.

NYSportsJournalism spoke with Craig Barry, svp-production and executive creative director for Turner Sports, during an event in the MLB Fan Cave in New York to support TBS' coverage of the 2014 post-season.

NYSportsJournalism.com: There was a time where October meant nothing but baseball post-season and the World Series, but that has changed with the importance being put on this part of the sports calendar by the NFL, Nascar, MLS, NBA and NHL. What challenges do you face in getting the baseball messages from Turner Sports and TBS out to fans and the public?

Craig Barry: From the creative side, in speaking to core fans and in trying to reach casual and non-baseball fans, we consider MLB post-season to be one of the crown jewels of sports. Whether it be the NFL playoffs, the NBA post-season, the NHL post-season, MLB post-season is still one of the top draws on TV. We have an obligation to the hard-core fans. They are coming. So we have to do what we can to inform them, give them high-quality productions and make certain that our broadcast team and the people behind the cameras are the best in the business. But we also see this as a great opportunity to grow an audience from among the casual fans. They are thinking, 'Why should I watch MLB post-season?' And, quite frankly, we feel they are thinking, 'Why should I watch MLB post-season on TBS?'

NYSJ: How are you trying to answer those questions?

CB: In our marketing, our campaign with Bryan Cranston, for example. one of the goals we had was to think out of the box, to try to reach a wider fan-base. To try to appeal to people who might be [casual] baseball fans, or who are not certain that they are baseball fans. If we can give them a reason to tune in, give them a reason to watch, then let's try to appeal to them. This is true in all sports, but it's really true with baseball. Can we force people to go there? No. But we feel we can get these casual fans to watch the games if can make it more entertaining, make the studio shows a little bit more fun and informative,. Make sure that we are marketing properly. And when they do watch, make sure we are telling stories, extending story lines and making sure that people are engaged with compelling content. Then we are doing our job.

NYSJ: How have you been able to extend your MLB coverage with social media and other activations that engage fans?

CB: Make no mistake about it: Social media and the Internet are a huge vehicle and distribution platform for us. You hear about ratings. But what is equally important is uniques. It's going to be a lesser number [than watch on TV]. But these are people who are clicking on, sharing, commenting and choosing to engage with the content. And then they are pushing it along. With the Cranston campaign, we launched it via social media, which gave us the opportunity to present the [commercial] in a long-form (five minutes). And then we followed with the TV campaign, which we were able to show it in shorter segments and with other elements, such as Ernie Johnson giving his review of Cranston as if the show was an actual Broadway event. And that, in turn, drives people who haven't seen the full version back to the longer version. So we count on social media to create a saturation that helps to push the whole campaign along.

NYSJ: Cranston has a solid body of work, but a lot of people now know him from the Walter White character in Breaking Bad. How did he get the part in the TBS MLB campaign and did he have any role in the creative?

CB: He is a big baseball fan. And we certainly knew that with his skills he could succeed with any story line that we gave him. Part of [getting him] was thinking out of the box, not to get someone readily associated with baseball. He loved that it was so far out of the box not just for him but for any MLB campaign. Putting on a one-man Broadway show where he re-enacts great moments from MLB post-seasons. He jumped right in. It certainly is a different approach, and people will react to it in different ways, depending on whether you are a huge baseball fan, a Bryan Cranston fan or a fan of comedy.

NYSJ: The broadcast crew includes some legends of baseball. How important is it that fans and viewers know that if they watch TBS they will hear from Ripken, Martinez, Sheffield and the others?

CB: These guys know baseball. They are experts. Their opinions are important. But to a lot of fans, what might be most important is the ability of these former players to connect viewers to their experiences in certain situations,. To express that ss what differentiates them. There are other [commentators and analysts] who are baseball experts. They can tell you what a pitcher might do in a certain situation, or what a hitter or runner might do on a given count. But when Cal Ripken Jr., Pedro Martinez, Gary Sheffield or Ron Darling connect it to their personal experiences, that's what makes it special. And they are all very different; they have their own unique personalities. Cal is not Ron, Ron is not Cal, Pedro is certainly not Ron or Cal. And Sheff is Sheff. And it really makes for great television when you mix them together.

NYSJ: Have you found that there is what would be called a brand loyalty among viewers, so that if they watch and like a baseball game on TBS they will come back to other TBS programming, be it sports or TBS shows themselves?

CB: We have a unique luxury in that we are an entertainment network as opposed to a 24-hour baseball network or a 24-hour sports network. So when you talk about the casual fan, we have the opportunity to approach it in more of an entertainment fashion and with a little more of an open mind. We are able to use some of the entertainment assets available to us to help promote and amplify the post-season. Regarding baseball, our obligation is to tell stories around the sport, and our second obligation is to be entertaining. And we try very hard to do both.

NYSJ: It seems as if Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees will not be part of the post-season. (Editor's note: This interview was conducted before the Yankees were officially eliminated.) With TBS covering the American League, how might that impact coverage and story lines?

CB: We certainly would like to be covering what would have been his final post-season. At least we got him in as part of the Cranston campaign. But when it comes to the playoffs, any player could emerge as the story line. We're expecting, and excited, to have these story lines revealed as the games are played.

NYSJ: Any predictions?

CB: Yes. From a production standpoint. [Laughs.] For TBS and Turner, with everything in place, I expect we will have a great post-season. This is the first year of our new deal, and we will get better moving forward. We are doing a lot more to push the broadcast, to push the story telling. I believe you are only as good or as bad as your last show. So from season to season and game to game, series to series, I am not doing my job if the production doesn't continue to get better.

For Those About To Rock The MLB Playoffs, TBS, AC/DC Salute You

Bryan Cranston Breaking Balls For TBS MLB Playoff Campaign

Q&A: Cal Ripken Jr. Talks MLB Pros, Challenges, TBS, Playoffs, Marketing, Jeter

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