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August 24, 2020

Brand Fact
According to Standard Media Index data, Fox 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.

Top Story

MLB TV ratings increase over last season, led by women and youth

While any increase in MLB ratings would be impressive given its competition in a crowded sports calendar, what is even more notable is the demographics fueling the rise: women and younger people, two groups that did not exactly flock to baseball in recent years (if not decades). The increases are seen in both national ratings, such as ESPN’s, and across the regional sports channels that air the bulk of MLB games.

How are new demographics driving the rise?

“Considering all that MLB is up against this year at the start of its season, from COVID-19 to directly competing with the NHL and NBA playoffs, to getting underway at the heart of summer, these … stats are even more staggering,” according to Nielsen. “Young adults (females and males 18-24) have driven most of the overall viewing increases. Males 18-24 are up 26 percent going from 71,000 to 89,000 viewers across markets. And (f)emales 18-24 are up 41 percent going from 40,000 to 56,000 viewers.”

NBC Sports, which owns RSNs that broadcast the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies, said ratings are up double-digit percentages in each case. The national picture is similar, with ESPN reporting its broadcasts averaging 1.052 million viewers, up 13 percent from the 2019 season average. Like with Nielsen, ESPN reported a big 55 percent increase with women aged 18-34, while the adults’ 18-34 group rose 45 percent.

The bottom line:

“In the key local selling demo of persons 25-54, we see another positive female story, with females 25-54 viewing gains of 15 percent, going from 341,000 to 393,000 viewers,” Nielsen said. “Thinking about the composition of MLB regular season viewers, again comparing the first 14 days of this season to the same 14-day period last year in March and April, females 18-54 made up 14 percent of all persons watching MLB games last year. This year, that demo, for this comparison period, makes up almost 16 percent. Overall, younger people (persons under age 55) have gone from 44.1 percent of the audience in 2019 to 47.1 percent in 2020.”

Read: The Athletic


LAFC fans will still be cheering and chanting even if El Tráfico feels empty

MLS is restarting its regular season in local markets after suspending play in March due to COVID-19. And with public gatherings banned in Southern California, LAFC’s game with the Galaxy will be played in an empty stadium. If LAFC’s fans won’t be seen, though, they will be heard. The team invited hundreds — many from the hard-core 3252 supporters group — to videoconference sessions to record their voices for use during the game in the hopes of re-creating the Banc’s unique atmosphere, one that has helped LAFC to the best home record in MLS since 2018.

“It’s important to not only deliver some sense of normalcy to our match days, but really to give our players some of that home-field experience,” said Al Raitt, LAFC’s director of match day presentation. “They’re used to having constant support throughout the match, whether that’s music, whether that’s chants, whether that’s hype videos, replays on the big board, anything that makes the stadium feel like more than a preseason match. We can never match exactly what the 3252 brings on a match day. But we’re going to try.”

Read: LA Times


ViacomCBS seeks about $5.5 Million for 30-second commercial spots in 2021 Super Bowl

CBS’s decision not to seek a more significant price hike after last year's spots topped out at $5.6 million fits market trends this year, which remains marked by uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, ad buyers said. Buyers are asking for a way out of their Super Bowl commitments, however, if the coronavirus forces the National Football League to halt the coming season or otherwise not play its championship game.

“I’d be cautiously considering any Super Bowl investment with the uncertainty of sports and the marketplace,” said Carrie Drinkwater, executive director of investment at ad-buying firm Mediahub, part of Interpublic Group of Cos. “To commit that amount of money to something that is an unknown seems at this time fiscally irresponsible.” Still, many expect the NFL to deliver high ratings and valuable advertising opportunities if the season and championship can avoid the pitfalls of the pandemic. “The Super Bowl will be the most-watched TV show,” said Tom McGovern, the president of Optimum Sports.

Read: Wall Street Journal

Partner Content

Behind the Mask: Fostering Community and Transparency to Build Brand Loyalty
Thursday August 27th, 12pm ET

2020 is the year of brand safety. But it’s also the year of the consumer. Individuals have taken hold, re-evaluated their loyalty and become more vocal than ever about the brands they support and the ones that fall short.

In this webinar, you’ll learn how to increase brand loyalty while fostering community and transparency through values. Alison Walsh, Head of Global PR and Digital Media at Stoli Group and Noori Lee, Digital Marketing Senior Manager at Sodexo will walk through how brands can showcase safe practices and values while leaning into the human element of their marketing and communications. You’ll learn how to:

  • Build brand loyalty through community and transparency
  • Navigate pandemic messaging and visuals by leaning into the human stories
  • Stay true to your brand values, even when it’s most difficult


Verizon signs 5G sponsorship deal for Twitch Rivals streamers tournament

Verizon this week became the official 5G and 4G LTE network partner of a video game tournament series for streamers on Twitch. The telecom giant will collaborate on Twitch Rivals North America as it pits streamers against each other every week in games like "Fortnite," "Apex Legends," "League of Legends" and "PlayerUnknown's Battleground." As part of the sponsorship deal, Verizon and Twitch will work together on applications for 5G wireless technology that appeal to the gaming community, including broadcast and media integrations in Twitch Rivals streams and activations at Twitch events. The possibilities include augmented online and in-person experiences. Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband service is available in parts of 36 cities.

The sponsorship of Twitch Rivals follows Verizon's expanded efforts to connect with the growing audience for video games, which this year includes 214 million U.S. consumers, as measured by the Entertainment Software Association. Verizon's push into gaming-related sponsorships include this month's partnership with video game companies Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics to become the official telecommunications partner for "Marvel’s Avengers," which will be released on Sept. 4.

Read: Moble Marketer


The NBA is considering a permanent play-in and other schedule shake-ups after solid ratings for last week’s Blazers-Grizzlies game

ESPN said the ratings for play-in game between Portland and Memphis were up 7 percent from the “NBA on ABC seeding games, which average an audience of 1.8 million viewers.” “That is a good number,” longtime sports television executive Neal Pilson said of the Blazers-Grizzlies match-up. “It’s a good rating and a good audience. It demonstrates games that have significance – win or lose – almost in any sport, do get a larger audience than an average league game.”

“We won the day,” added NBA league executive Byron Spruell. “To have that many million viewers watching our product and that match-up and the inaugural play-in, that was huge for us.” And with the ratings serving as support, the NBA plans to discuss adding the play-in model to its traditional 82-game season permanently. “We’re excited about the foundation that has been set for the play-in and where we can go for the future,” Spruell said.

Read: CNBC

What Else Is Trending?
  • PLATFORMS: Spotify's new daily sports playlist will feature a mix of music and sports podcasts, including shows from Spotify-owned The Ringer.
  • MEDIA: Sports Illustrated has laid off several team site editors, particularly on the college side.
  • FANS: To prep for a season opener with limited attendance, the Kansas City Chiefs hosted fans in pods for a practice to test protocols.
  • PEOPLE: Ahead of the US Open, 21-year-old star Denis Shapovalov released a hip-hop track entitled 'Night Train'.
  • ESPORTS: A federal lawsuit accuses games like Madden and FIFA of including illegal gambling tied to 'loot boxes' in the gameplay.

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Monkey Knife Fight Partners With Minnesota Twins To Aid With COVID Relief

The Details

Monkey Knife Fight (MKF), the fastest growing fantasy sports platform in North America, announced a partnership with Major League Baseball's Minnesota Twins that focuses on giving support to those who are impacted by COVID. As part of the partnership, Monkey Knife Fight and the Minnesota Twins have installed a tarp located behind the right field foul pole, half in fair territory and half in foul territory. For every player that hits the tarp, MKF will donate $10,000 to the Minnesota Twins Community Fund's Emergency Relief Fund. Regardless of which team hits the tarp or if the hit is fair or foul, MKF will make the donation.


Producer, Sports Betting - Santa Monica, CA

Marketing Communications, Esports
Riot Games - Los Angeles, CA

Manager, PR & Partnership Marketing
Roc Nation - New York, NY

Social Content Editor
NFL – Culver City, CA

AP/LA Jordan Brand Director
Nike – Beaverton, OR

Strategy & Planning Manager
William Hill – Gibraltar, UK

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