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August 12, 2020

Fan Fact
In the opening week of WNBA action (July 25-July 31), rookie sensation Sabrina Ionescu generated over $188K in total earned social value, according to Zoomph's WNBA Opening Weekend Report.

Top Story

Big Ten imperils Disney and Fox Sports' plans to recoup lost revenue

With the Big Ten becoming the first major conference to cancel fall football, television executives have been forced to wrestle with a maddening sense of frustration and uncertainty.

How important is college football to networks?

According to Standard Media Index data, Fox and its cable sibling FS1 last year raked in $98.3 million in sales with their slate of Big Ten matchups, a roster that included the annual Ohio State-Michigan hate-fest and the Dec. 7 conference championship showdown between the Buckeyes and Wisconsin. Toss in another 11 non-conference games and the Fox nets generated a grand total of $124.8 million with their Big Ten coverage last year, a sum that represents 64% of the company’s total college football sales.

Disney’s Big Ten earnings are also considerable, as ABC and ESPN combined to take in some $74.5 million in intra-conference ad revenue, a tally that swells to $89.9 million upon application of the dollars brought to bear by their short stack of seven non-conference games. But the numbers really start adding up when all the postseason units are factored into the equation; per SMI, Big Ten teams that appeared in the seven bowl games that aired on ESPN/ABC helped Disney churn up another $110.1 million in sales.

The bottom line:

The Big Ten last season accounted for 20% of Disney’s regular-season college football sales. The Mouse House’s rights portfolio, which includes the ACC, SEC and Pac-12, is sufficiently broad and deep to withstand the loss of one and possibly two of the Power 5 conferences, but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether a Big Ten retreat will precipitate a more far-reaching shutdown in the days to come.

Read: Sportico


Trump’s order banning business with WeChat could also affect the NBA’s lucrative China deal with Tencent

The latest threat to the NBA’s business operations in China comes following concerns that its streaming partner Tencent could be facing business interruptions following an executive order by President Donald Trump last week. The executive order claims Tencent’s WeChat app poses a threat to U.S. “national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States” and bans U.S. companies from doing business with it. It’s still unclear whether or not Trump’s executive order is narrowly tailored to WeChat or all of Tencent, which has several investments in U.S. video game, sports and media companies. In the NBA’s case, Tencent has a five-year, $1.5 billion deal signed last July to stream NBA games in China, one of the league’s most lucrative markets outside the U.S.

The NBA says it has 1.4 million followers on Tencent’s WeChat, although that pales in comparison to its 44 million followers on its Weibo, a Chinese social network that’s similar to Twitter. With the renewal of Tencent’s streaming rights deal last year, it’s estimated the NBA China’s valuation has surpassed $5 billion. If tensions between the U.S. and China continue post-U.S. presidential election, the NBA’s business in China could continue to suffer, bringing even more pain to its salary cap, which is already expected to take a severe hit due to Covid-19.

Read: CNBC


NASCAR to offer in-race betting through BetMGM in 2021

MGM Resorts International’s sports betting platform is teaming up with NASCAR to offer live, in-race betting next year. The multiyear sports betting partnership names BetMGM as an authorized gaming operator of the auto racing association and will allow the platform to collaborate with NASCAR to create and promote sports betting experiences. The two are exploring bet types such as top-finishing drivers, driver matchups, stage winners and bets tied to the number of the winning car, among others.

The brand has inked a number of partnerships in recent months, including deals with the PGA Tour, Denver Broncos, the National Lacrosse League, Yahoo Sports and Buffalo Wild Wings. According to a press release, NASCAR has experienced “across-the-board growth” in its sports betting handle. BetMGM saw NASCAR turnover grow nearly 1,300 percent in the first seven months of the year. It was also the first sports league to join the National Center for Responsible Gaming, in 2019.

Read: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Partner Content

WNBA Opening Week Social Performance

The NBA isn't the only basketball bubble in Florida right now. Across the state, the WNBA is stationed at IMG Academy for its own 22-game season. The season, which tipped off July 25th, is already through a quarter of the season and intensity continues to rise each game.

Using the Zoomph platform, Zoomph analyzed the opening week of action, capturing insights from the top teams to the orange hoodie campaign to key insights on #1 draft pick Sabrina Ionescu and league impact on social justice. Download the report here.


WNBA and Twitter extend live streaming deal

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has renewed its partnership with Twitter to live stream ten 2020 regular-season matches via the league’s official channel on the social media platform. The tie-up extends the WNBA’s digital content partnership with Twitter and marks the fourth consecutive season the league will showcase matches in collaboration with the social network.

Broadcasts will include commentary from basketball analysts LaChina Robinson and Ros Gold-Onwude, who will also be engaging with viewers on the platform during matches. In addition to live games, Twitter will run WNBA highlights and features throughout the season. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said: “Twitter continues to be an integral part of the WNBA’s media landscape and providing innovation on their platform during this unique season will elevate fan engagement to a whole new level."

Read: SportsPro


Activision Blizzard names MLB Deputy Commissioner Tony Petitti its President of Sports, Entertainment

Activision Blizzard has hired Major League Baseball deputy commissioner and COO Tony Petitti as its president of sports and entertainment. Petitti will oversee esports, consumer products, and film and television. Petitti was mainly hired to boost Activision Blizzard’s two city-based esports leagues, Overwatch League and Call of Duty League and help take their televised product and live event business to the next level. He brings media experience and leadership as the original CEO of MLB Network, an executive producer at CBS Sports heading up its NFL coverage and a programming director at ABC Sports. Petitti will try to help Activision Blizzard reach fans and create exciting content, bringing needed leadership to the esports part of its business.

“When you look at what he’s done at baseball, there’s been a lot of innovation and an enormous amount of operational excellence,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick said. “Tony is well regarded as being both strategic and incredibly operationally capable. And as we go and take what is now a few hundred million dollar a year business and grow it, and you start to have to execute local markets around the world, I think there isn’t a better person than I could’ve chosen to actually take the esports initiatives and our entertainment initiatives to the next level.”

Read: Forbes

What Else Is Trending?
  • LEAGUES: Fox Sports is reportedly interested in a TV deal with the XFL with the league under new ownership.
  • CABLE: As Philo and Netflix grow during the pandemic, cable's reliance on sports grows more ominous after canceled games.
  • ESPORTS: TheScore continues to lean into esports betting and posted 113% year-over-year growth in the area this past quarter.
  • BUBBLES: The Spring League will host a bubble football season in October that could feature some college football players whose seasons were canceled.
  • MEDIA: Religion of Sports Media, a video and audio venture founded by Tom Brady, Michael Strahan, and Gotham Chopra has taken in $10 million in funding to expand its operations.

Cool Content


"The Pepsi Has Landed" Back In Philadelphia

The Details

The Philadelphia Eagles and PepsiCo, a global leader in the food and beverage industry, have announced a renewed seven-year strategic partnership that will deliver thirst-quenching Pepsi products and tasty Frito-Lay snacks to passionate Eagles fans in Philadelphia and beyond. As part of the deal, PepsiCo will expand upon its Eagles partnership with Gatorade and Frito-Lay, becoming the exclusive carbonated soft drink, water, sports performance (Gatorade), energy drink, freshly squeezed juice (excluding lemonade), vegetable juice and salty snacks provider of the Philadelphia Eagles. PepsiCo will also receive naming rights to HeadHouse Plaza at Lincoln Financial Field, transforming the space into the newly-named Pepsi Plaza that will now serve as an engaging, interactive fan zone on game days.


Partnership Marketing Sr. Manager 
Pelicans - New Orleans, LA

Manager, Digital Marketing Analytics
Adidas - Portland, OR

Coordinator, New Media and Twitter
MLB - New York, NY

Sports Content Specialist
FanDuel – Cherry Hill, NJ

Director, Branded Content Sales
Sinclair National Sports – New York, NY

Sportsbook Marketing Manager
Kindred – London, UK

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