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August 25, 2020

Fan Fact
According to Nielsen, viewership of YES Network’s Yankees games is up 126% among millennials during the MLB restart.


Top Story

Former Nike exec rallies 150 women to launch 'Voice in Sport'

In Latin, the word ‘vis’ means power. It’s also etymologically linked to the word ‘visibility’—both of which former Nike executive Stefanie Strack wants to give the female athlete community through her startup, Voice in Sport—VIS for short. The community-centric website for girls and young women, ages 13-22, will feature educational content, offer digital mentorship programs and do advocacy work to address gender disparities within sport.

How is the company structured?

Three core groups make up the VIS team. ‘League Members’ include 90 professional and collegiate athletes who will serve as mentors for the membership-based site’s users. Current members include WNBA players Alanna Smith, Kiah Stokes and Elizabeth Williams, professional runner Mary Cain, NWSL players Imani Dorsey and Darian Jenkins, and women’s professional lacrosse star Taylor Cummings to name a few. Olympic swimmers, skiers, volleyball players and dozens of college athletes are among the others to make the early VIS ‘League Member’ mentor roster—which Strack plans to expand internationally.

There are also 30 ‘Creators’ (college athletes and/or journalism or media majors who will write the content published on the platform) and 27 ‘VIS Experts’ (professional women who work in the fields of sports nutrition, psychology, medicine and even sports journalism). VIS Experts will also contribute to the site, offering insights for the VIS user demographic.

The bottom line:

“Of all the companies that have been built around sport, most are grounded in men’s sports. Under Armour with boys’ football; Adidas with men’s soccer at the epicenter; Nike with running. There was an opportunity to truly create something with the female athlete voice and community at the center. And since this is a company for women, I wanted it to be built by women, too,” Strack said of her almost-all-female team.

Read: Sportico


INNOVATION

Tampa Bay Rays integrate social media content, fan videos on Tropicana Field videoboards

With no fans packing 'The Trop', Rays staff have looked for creative ways to get the players excited to play while providing a great viewing experience from home. “Our social team is really good,” says Michael Weinman, the director of game presentation and production for the Rays. “Our creative person does great things, and the players really like his content. Over the last few years, we’ve built a good relationship with our team, so they reach out to us and our staff to ask for specific videos and other things.”

“We’re trying to keep [the players] pumped up,” he explains. “That means a lot of music during inning breaks and what to play depending on whether they’re winning or losing at a certain point in the game. We’re also adding a little bit of our own touch. Cowbell is a really big thing at Tropicana Field, so our DJ throws in some as background noise. We have a couple of players that have their own little chants. [For example], Ji-Man Choi had a walk-off home run last year, and everybody started chanting, ‘Ji-Man-Choi,’ so he requested that for his walkup song. Not only can you play it before he gets to the plate, but you can also play it during his at-bat since it’s just crowd noise.”

Read: Sports Video Group


lEAGUES

Professional Fighters League seeks $50 million investment for international expansion

After canceling its 2020 mixed martial arts season due to Covid-19, the Professional Fighters League, or PFL, is seeking another round of funding to expand operations before its planned return in 2021. PFL Chairman Donn Davis told CNBC the PFL raised $105 million since its start in 2018, including a $28 million Series B in 2018 and $50 million Series C in 2019. It hopes the new funding will help plans for international expansion. Davis also plans to use the funds to expand the PFL’s technology for its over-the-top platform.

PFL CEO Peter Murray, a former senior executive at the National Football League, said the PFL wants to maintain visibility and the momentum it captured during its New Year’s Eve mega event held in New York. The PFL wants to build its media rights market after a deal with ESPN expires following the 2021 season. Murray said the series will offer partnership rights in categories including gambling, automobile and sports drink. The company already has partnerships in place with top brands, including Anheuser-Busch and Geico. “As we see the brand marketplace of advertisers and sponsors, they can no longer ignore a fan base of 450 million around the world,” said Murray.

Read: CNBC


Partner Content

How is the NHL powering video production efficiencies for the 2020 Stanley Cup® Playoffs?

The NHL’s remote production team is currently using Blackbird’s professional-grade cloud video editing toolset to edit and enrich a wide variety of live and produced behind-the-scenes content from the NHL’s Return to Play and 2020 Stanley Cup® Playoffs.

Blackbird has enabled the rapid publishing of content to the NHL’s widely followed digital and social outlets, including to the league’s 6 million Twitter followers and 1.48 million YouTube subscribers, as well as powering the rapid distribution of video content to the NHL’s own internal production personnel, NHL teams, and media partners for repurposing.

Check out some of the content in action.

Blackbird is the world’s fastest, most powerful professional cloud video editing and publishing platform. Enabling scalable remote production, Blackbird provides rapid access to video content for the easy creation of clips, highlights and longer form content to multiple devices and platforms.


PLATFORMS

Spotify buys exclusive sponsorship for Riot Games ‘League of Legends’ esports

Spotify is now the official, exclusive “audio service provider” for Riot Games’ “League of Legends” esports under a multiyear pact between the companies. It’s the first global paid sponsorship deal for Spotify — which wants to tap into the massive “LoL” fanbase to bring in new listeners. “Gamers are soundtracking their experiences with audio tracks,” June Sauvaget, Spotify’s global head consumer and product marketing said. “There’s overlap between [gaming and music] audiences, but in the Venn diagram there’s white space on both sides.”

Under the pact, Spotify will augment the official League of Legends hub for music on Spotify — which has 5 million monthly listeners — to add new music, podcasts and playlists inspired by the gaming community including “This Is League of Legends” and the “Official League of Legends Playlist.” Spotify will develop and produce an exclusive original “League of Legends” podcast series centering on behind-the-scenes stories around the game’s esports events and personalities, from the in-house production division under head of studios and video Courtney Holt.

Read: Variety


PARTNERSHIPS

Fanatics signs 10-year distribution deal with Australian retailer Rebel

Licensed sports merchandising company Fanatics has agreed a ten-year distribution deal with leading Australian sports retailer, Rebel, to provide an array of licensed sports products to Australian sports fans. The deal, which will come into effect mid-2021, will allow Fanatics to benefit from the e-commerce and bricks and mortar footprint of one of the biggest and most popular sports equipment and apparel retailers in Australia. In return, Rebel, will benefit from a selection of over 100,000 officially licensed products from Fanatics partners, such as the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Formula 1 and major European football teams including Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.

Fanatics’ International general manager & head of corporate development, Zohar Ravid, said: “We are absolutely delighted to partner with Rebel, the leading sports retailer in Australia. We found a great partner and similar strategic vision in [owner] the Super Retail Group and Rebel’s management team. “Rebel was already one of the leading destinations for Australian sports fans but now, thanks to this new partnership, these fans will have even more choice and similar access to official merchandise as local fans in the US or Europe. Sports are a global passion and we are strong believers that all fans deserve the option to support and participate in their favorite teams’ triumphs and despairs."

Read: SportBusiness


What Else Is Trending?

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DEAL OF THE DAY

WNBA star Candace Parker partners w/ Sprinkles Cupcakes - Women’s Equality Day and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment

The Details

WNBA star Candace Parker (L.A. Sparks) is partnering with Sprinkles Cupcakes to celebrate Women’s Equality Day and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Alongside Sprinkles, Candace hopes to encourage the public to raise their voices and get out to vote! For each partnership cupcake sold, Sprinkles will donate $1.00 to vote.org.


Careers

Producer, Sports Betting 
WAVE.tv - 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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