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August 11, 2020

Fan Fact
According to WARC, global advertising spend on esports is set to rise 9.9% to $844 million in 2020.


Top Story

Amazon rebrands Twitch Prime as Prime Gaming to broaden audience

Amazon has rebranded its Twitch Prime membership benefits program as Prime Gaming. The move is part of an attempt to broaden the appeal of the benefits to players who don’t have Twitch livestreaming accounts or don’t consider themselves to be enthusiast gamers.

How is the platform being used to engage?

Prime members can claim new in-game content for Grand Theft Auto Online, Red Dead Online, Apex Legends, FIFA 20, League of Legends, and more than 20 other popular PC, console, and mobile games. “Our goal is to create value for players and to create value for game developers,” Prime Gaming GM Larry Plotnick said. “That’s always been a goal of Twitch Prime since it started. We’ve expanded that audience. I think the biggest part of the rebrand is not about a change in name, but a recognition that our audience that we reach is much broader than the Twitch audience. The Twitch audience is wonderful. It’s a fantastic brand. But we have expanded into mobile and casual games and family games. We’re launching with Roblox, as a great example.”

For developers, Plotnick said that engagement that comes from subscriptions such as Prime Gaming can come back to produce “downstream monetization” that they wouldn’t otherwise get. “That’s a critical part for them,” he said. “As a developer, I’m giving my game away for free. I either get revenue from that or marketing for the intellectual property. That marketing can help me acquire customers that drive value later.”

The bottom line:

“If you think of Prime Video and Prime Reading, Prime Gaming is just a natural fit,” Plotnick said. “The message we really want to get across to Prime customers is that Prime offers benefits across all digital entertainment, whether it’s movies or music or reading or now games — that we have this complete view of the entertainment space.”

Read: VentureBeat


STREAMInG

MLB.tv sets record 12.8m out-of-market game streams since return

Major League Baseball has set several new viewing records for its live-streamed coverage during the opening fortnight of its delayed 2020 season. Compared to a similar period last season, the baseball league saw increased interest for out-of-market matches streamed via its MLB.tv direct-to-consumer (DTC) service, with unique users climbing 11% to 1.3 million. In addition, the over-the-top (OTT) platform has reportedly totalled 12.8 million games watched in the two-week period following the league’s late start on 23rd July, up 12%.

The return of MLB has also seen a boost for New York-area regional sports network (RSN) YES, with viewership of New York Yankees games this season rising 20% to hit 326,000 average viewers during the new season, according to Nielsen. Viewership of YES Network’s Yankees games is up 126% among millennials, according to the metrics specialists, with viewership of Yankees games also up 63% in the 25 to 54 age demographic.

Read: SportsPro


PEOPLE

College Athletes union faces hurdles beyond #WeAreUnited and #WeWantToPlay

As leaders from the Power 5 conferences—the ACC, Big 10, Pac-12, SEC and Big 12—contemplate the cancellation of football and other fall sports, a group of college football players is pushing back. One key demand: They want to form a players’ association. As the law stands today, college football players could not form a union. Under labor law, a union consists of employees. And while there is debate about whether college athletes ought to be recognized as such, that debate hasn’t translated into change.

The idea of a union of football players drawn from multiple schools faces even more hurdles. Aside from the fact some play for public colleges and others play for private ones, they play for teams that are part of individual universities. Those universities are not in a professional sports league. They are instead members of the NCAA, which under the Federal Tax Code is recognized as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt entity because it “fosters national or international amateur sports competition [emphasis added].” The U.S. Supreme Court has also repeatedly recognized the NCAA as an association of non-professional sports. A trade association of college football players is a more plausible alternative, as it would not require employee status. An association simply refers to a group of individuals or businesses that share common interests and seek to maximize those interests through a group voice.

Read: Sportico


Partner Content

Quibi & PBS NewsHour: Capitalize on the Changing Ways We Consume Content

Thursday, August 13th 12:00pm ET

It’s no secret, COVID-19 has created an insatiable desire for news. But networks that have adapted to the changing ways we consume content are seeing explosive growth well beyond the coronavirus bump.

Attend this webinar for exclusive insights from Shawna Thomas, Content Development Executive at Quibi, and James Williams, Executive Director of Digital Strategy at PBS NewsHour. You’ll learn:

  • How to transition content to short form premium
  • Niche approaches to streaming for tangible audience growth
  • What to look for in talent to build community.

LEAGUES

The soccer bubble worked. Now MLS is planning for life without it.

Major League Soccer’s plan to play in a bubble this summer was nearly derailed before anyone kicked a ball. Just as teams were flying last month to Orlando for the MLS Is Back tournament—a separate event created in place of the league’s interrupted season—FC Dallas bailed out because 10 players tested positive for the coronavirus. Then Nashville SC followed with five cases of its own. The league’s reigning MVP, meanwhile, simply chose to stay home. MLS plowed ahead anyway. Fifty games and five weeks later, the league has all but pulled it off. No player has tested positive since July 10 and all that remains is Tuesday’s final between Orlando City and the Portland Timbers.

Commissioner Don Garber over the weekend unveiled the league’s plan to fully resume its interrupted regular season this month with clubs playing in their home markets. The season will culminate with 18-team playoffs starting on Nov. 20 and the MLS Cup final on Dec. 12. By then, Garber even hopes to welcome fans back into stadiums where local authorities allow it. In other words, MLS is hoping to become the first American sports organization to graduate from a bubble to no bubble.

Read: Wall Street Journal


CHANGE

Hockey, rocked by racist acts, embraces Black Lives Matter campaigns

More than two months after the killing of George Floyd and the protest movement it has engendered, the N.H.L. has begun a high-profile effort to make anti-racism part of its identity and, according to the N.H.L. executive Kim Davis, part of a strategy to appeal to a younger, more racially diverse audience. “It’s a small shift, but a big shift,” said Davis, the league’s executive vice president for social impact, who added that she wants “people to understand that doing the right thing is also right for the business.”

Davis pointed to pregame demonstrations and the roughly 140 players who have posted on social media in support of the league’s anti-racism message as proof that the sport’s culture can change. “It’s our responsibility to set the tone for the sport regarding racism,” Davis said, adding, “A measure of our success is going to be the continued activism of our players.”

Read: The New York Times


What Else Is Trending?
  • RATINGS: ESPN's coverage of the PGA Championship was the highest-rated cable coverage of the event in the last 10 years.
  • SPONSORSHIPS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is leading a new campaign for Bojangles, becoming the chain's first celebrity voice.
  • TELEVISION: MLB Network will test three different broadcast formats this week, including a Red Zone-like version bouncing from game to game.
  • LEAGUES: With COVID cases disrupting the regular season, MLB is considering a bubble format for its postseason.
  • BETTING: Confusion surrounding in-person vs online betting rules in Illinois have complicated the state's sports betting launch.

RAD AD


DEAL OF THE DAY

Monkey Knife Fight Partners With Miami Dolphins As Official Fantasy Sports Site

The Details

Monkey Knife Fight (MKF), the fastest-growing fantasy sports gaming platform in North America, has inked a new strategic partnership with the NFL's Miami Dolphins. MKF will be introducing its unique style of fantasy sports by offering exclusive contests tailored to Dolphins fans. In addition, Monkey Knight Fight has teamed with the Miami Dolphins Foundation to donate $100,000 to the Miami Dolphins Foundation Food Relief Program. The yearlong initiative, which began in June, provides a minimum of 1,000 meals prepared by Centerplate each weekday out of Hard Rock Stadium. On weekends, the Dolphins work with local minority owned businesses to provide up to 1,000 meals to those dealing with food insecurity.


Careers

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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