Fan Fact The WNBA finished the 2022 regular season delivering its most-watched regular season in 14 years. Viewership across its national television partners – ABC, CBS, ESPN, and ESPN2 – was up 16 percent over the 2021 season.
On Tuesday, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy announced that they formed a technology-focused company that will venture into “progressive approaches to sports, media, and entertainment.”
What's the deal?
Their company is called TMRW Sports (pronounced as “tomorrow”) and former president of NBC Sports' golf Mike McCarley is a co-founder and will be the CEO. The announcement, via press release, identified former NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol as an initial investor. In the release, Woods said, “I am excited to work with TMRW Sports in bringing people more access to sports. So many athletes, entertainers, and people I meet from all walks of life share our passion for sports, but they also share our desire to build a better future for the next generation of sports fans. Together, we can harness technology to bring fresh approaches to the sports we love.” The release said that additional partners and investors, along with early projects envisioned by TMRW Sports, would be announced soon.
Golfweek reported on Aug. 21 that Woods and McIlroy were creating a business that will see some of the top golfers in the world compete against each other in a “non-green grass, stadium environment.” The venture reportedly had the approval of PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and was discussed with some of the game’s elite players during a meeting, led by Woods, that was held before last week’s BMW Championship in Delaware. The report said more details would be announced this week ahead of the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta. “For the last few years off the course, I’ve been focused on helping to lead golf into its digital future,” McIlroy said in the release. “Now, by joining forces with Tiger, Mike, and other TMRW Sports partners, we can shape the way media and technology improve the sports experience.”
The bottom line:
The announcement of the Woods-McIlroy partnership comes, of course, in the summer of the game's great upheaval with the arrival this year of the LIV Golf Invitational Series that has signed some prominent players to multi-year contracts—with more seemingly significant acquisitions to be announced after the end of the Tour Championship. Woods and McIlroy have both been vehemently anti-LIV while strongly stating the case for the legitimacy and legacy of the PGA Tour.
On Tuesday, the league, CBS, and Ally Financial announced this season’s final will be played in Washington, D.C. at Audi Field on Oct. 29, as first reported by The Athletic. Best of all, the match will move from its originally planned time of noon ET to 8 p.m. ET, “following a recent collaborative effort by Ally, CBS, and the league,” according to the official news release.
It’s a huge win for the players and the league, especially with an exciting race for the NWSL shield and playoff positioning building for the final few weeks of the regular season. With the announcement, ticket sales can finally begin. But just a few paragraphs later in that same release, it’s made clear exactly how this happened: Ally made the move to prime time worth it to CBS.
Allen Media Group’s streaming platform HBCU Go is huddling with CBS O&O duopoly stations on a nationwide carriage deal for the 2022-23 sports season. Key markets include Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Tampa, Detroit, Miami, and Pittsburgh.
HBCU Go will kick off the new football year on September 3 with a preseason show featuring the top NFL and Black College Hall of Famers and HBCU alums. The regular-season TV schedule begins a week later with Florida A&M hosting Albany State. See the full slate of games below.
In a moment of tumult and uncertainty around getting and keeping our best, diverse talent, it’s time to shift our paradigm of how we think of talent in the first place. Talent can no longer just be your employees. Talent must be your new fans.
We encourage senior business and people leaders to request an invitation to join Hashtag Sports and The Venn Collective as we rethink the employee-employer relationship and help Chief People Officers + Chief Business Officers work more collaboratively to attract, hire, and retain diverse talent.
This three-hour workshop on September 15 in Atlanta, GA will feature a panel of thought leaders, access to exclusive data & insights from Creators of Color, and an interactive exercise designed to help you engage employees as your new fans.
"Scheduling the Division I women's basketball championship on ABC has been a goal for quite some time in our ongoing efforts to maximize the exposure of women's sports in collaboration with the NCAA," said Burke Magnus, ESPN'S president for programming and original content. "Women's NCAA championships continue to generate strong audiences across the ABC/ESPN networks and this move represents yet another unique opportunity to showcase this marquee event and the student-athletes who are competing for a national championship."
Last season's championship game, in which South Carolina beat UConn, was the most viewed women's title game in nearly two decades, drawing 4.85 million viewers. The national semifinals averaged 2.7 million viewers, up 21% year over year, and were the most viewed semifinals in a decade. The full tournament averaged 634,000 viewers, up 16% from the previous year's coverage.
Peyton Manning wants to go to the mat in his ongoing bid to create a sports-content empire.
The football legend, who gained notice last year when he and his brother Eli launched an accompanying “ManningCast” for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” is backing a similar concept for ESPN’s UFC pay-per-view streams. Fans who opt to watch Saturday night’s welterweight bout between Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards via ESPN+ will also have access to a second stream featuring Rob Gronkowski and his brothers Chris, Dan, Glenn, and Gordie Jr. along with father Gordon, who will host what is being called “ UFC 278 with The Gronks.” The show will mark Rob Gronkowski’s first appearance on ESPN in a host role. Guests will include UFC legend Chuck Liddell, and up-and-coming UFC stars Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann.
NASCAR inks ground-breaking sponsorship deal with Alabama
In what could be described as a partnership made in sports marketing heaven, NASCAR has agreed to a deal with Alabama as an official sponsor. It’s the first time NASCAR has sponsored a collegiate athletic department. Sports Business Journal has since reported the inventory and assets of the sponsorship: It’s a one-year deal from this summer through next, though NASCAR did not reveal how much it is spending. It grants NASCAR rights use to Alabama’s IP; in-venue and experiential activation opportunities; social and digital media integration; and first-party data that the racing body will use to try to drive ticket sales. This deal speaks to the heart of NASCAR and its effort to double down on its most loyal fan base and footprint.