World Surf League Turns To Athletes For Content Efforts

  • With the season on pause and the Olympics pushed back, WSL is leaning on its athletes for content purposes.
  • Highlighting its athletes has helped the WSL grow its IG impressions and views by as much as 35% and 40%, respectively.

The summer was shaping up to be a pivotal moment for the World Surf League and CEO Erik Logan. Not only would Logan’s tenure as chief executive begin, but the 2020 Summer Olympics was to include surfing for the first time in its history, a potentially landscape-shifting moment for the sport, surfers, and the governing body. But now the WSL has had to pivot its plans drastically due to the string of cancelations because of the coronavirus pandemic. With the […]

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OTT Providers Offer Free Access to Grow Subscribers for Sports’ Return

  • NBC, WWE, and U.S. sports leagues among those making archived content on their OTT services free to fans.
  • Companies have seen spikes in viewership and subscriber totals thanks to promotions.

Sports leagues and media partners have found early success in charging fans for live games and original programming not available on television.  However, the coronavirus pandemic largely put a halt to that strategy. Now, more over-the-top services, prompted by a lack of live events, have elected to drop subscription fees in a bid to hold on to current customers and attract new subscribers by having fans sample content for free. PGA Tour Live on NBC Sports Gold normally costs consumers […]

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Rangers, MSG Network Finding Ways To Engage Fans And Partners

  • MSG Network will air eight straight hours of Rangers games from the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2014 on April 4.
  • The network and the team will be also be integrating partner Bud Light and its new platform Open For Takeout, providing fans with dinners as they watch from home.

As the sports industry has widely shut down, teams have looked to find unique ways to keep fans engaged as well as work with their partners without the benefit of live games. April 4 would have likely been one of the high-points of the New York Rangers season as it was set to close out the NHL regular season at home versus the Chicago Blackhawks, a game that would have hopefully set the team on a path into the Stanley […]

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MLB, NHL Networks To Pay Freelancers Through April

  • The two networks had previously committed to pay per-diem talent from March 13 through March 28.
  • The extra pay should ‘mitigate the financial disruption.'

MLB and NHL Network will pay their freelance and part-time employees through the end of April 2020, sources tell Front Office Sports. The two league-owned sports cable networks notified employees of the extra pay via an internal memo. Previously, MLB and NHL Networks had committed to paying their freelancers through March 28. The “additional compensation” should help “mitigate the financial disruption” to the workforce caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the memo, which was dated April 2. The decision marks […]

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Friday Five: Bleacher Report Chief Content Officer Sam Toles

  • Bleacher Report's history of user-generated content includes videos from athletes themselves.
  • Since the suspension of live sports, UGC has generated 40% of B/R’s social engagements.

Bleacher Report has always prided itself on its relationships with athletes. With the sports industry frozen in suspended animation, that access has never been more critical to its business strategy. As media companies across the industry shift to cover do-it-yourself videos submitted by athletes and fans, that user-generated content has been a staple of B/R for years, especially on its “House of Highlights” Instagram account. Five of B/R’s ten most-watched videos on Instagram this month are athlete-centric, said Bleacher Report […]

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Disney Orders ESPN Execs To Take 20%-30% Cuts in Base Salary

  • ESPN vice presidents, senior vice presidents, and executive vice presidents won’t recover lost pay, sources said.
  • However, Disney/ESPN could make up the difference in lost base salary with bonuses, stock options.

The fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is about to hit ESPN executives in their bank accounts. With parent Walt Disney Co. ordering a reduction in executive pay, ESPN executives will see their base salaries slashed by 20% to 30% starting April 5. When and if the cutback ends, these executives will not receive back pay, sources said. Instead, they will revert to their previous salary level. FOS REPORT: 54.5% of industry executives believe that it would be at least 60 […]

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#StayAtHomeChallenge Revamps Tommy Thompson’s YouTube Interests

  • San Jose Earthquakes player Tommy Thompson is using YouTube to teach youngsters the fundamentals of soccer while stuck at home.
  • Thus far, the 24-year-old’s #StayAtHomeChallenge has more than 200K views across his social media platforms.

Before becoming a professional player with the San Jose Earthquakes, Tommy Thompson remembers growing up and doing what every aspiring player does: looking to the greats for inspiration. “I was inspired a lot by players like Messi or Ronaldinho and the videos that were put out on YouTube with the skills that they were doing,” Thompson said. “ I remember as a kid, whenever I would see those videos, I’d want to learn how to replicate it.” FOS REPORT: 54.5% […]

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Utah Jazz Turn To Players For Podcast Content

  • Since last October, the Jazz have made a concerted effort to include their players in their content plans.
  • Featuring players like Joe Ingles, Donovan Mitchell, and Georges Niang, the Utah Jazz Podcast Network has nearly 440K downloads since October 1.

As the future of the 2019-2020 NBA season remains in the balance, sports teams are using this hiatus to deepen their connection with not only their fans but their players as well.  Although it launched last October, the Utah Jazz is using their Utah Jazz Podcast Network as an outlet for players to broaden their off-the-court reach and skills.  FOS REPORT: 54.5% of industry executives believe that it would be at least 60 days before leagues resume play. “Our players […]

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YES Offers Classic Games With A Twist: Tweets From Players Involved

  • YES planning five ‘ride-along’ telecasts, with ex-Yankees 'live-tweeting' Derek Jeter’s greatest games and World Series wins.
  • ‘We are taking games that have aired before - and trying to put a different spin on them,” says YES’ John J. Filippelli.

With the coronavirus pandemic wiping out live sporting events, the New York Yankees’ YES Network is doing what every sports network is doing: replaying “classic” games. But looking to expand beyond that, YES is adding a second-screen experience with Twitter takeovers offering player memories of classic games. On March 30, YES re-aired the Yankees’ Game 6 win over the Atlanta Braves in the 1996 World Series and Game 7 win over the Boston Red Sox in the 2003 American League […]

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FOS Exclusive

Overtime Makes Cuts To Workforce Due to Coronavirus

  • Thirty employees were laid off last week, CEO Dan Porter says.
  • Overtime was said to be in the market for an additional $40 million in funding.

This story has been updated to clarify the percentage of employees affected and to add comment from Overtime CEO Dan Porter. Overtime, the digital sports network catering primarily to high school athletes, is the latest company to be forced to cut staff due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  The company let go of 30 staff members last week – equaling about 23% of its previous 131 headcount, CEO Dan Porter confirmed to Front Office Sports. According to Porter, the layoffs […]

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