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Volume 25 No. 177

Tuesday 4:00pm ET....Latest News....Overwatch And Learn

  • Sources: Overwatch League-Twitch Deal Worth At Least $90M
  • Raiders Introduce Gruden As Coach, Confirm Rooney Rule Satisfied
  • One Month Out From Pyeongchang Games: Ticket Sales Lagging
  • Folgers Brand Launches "Here's To Coaches" Olympic Campaign

Sources: Overwatch League-Twitch Deal Worth At Least $90M

The Overwatch League will receive at least $90M over two years from Twitch in exchange for streaming rights, sources said. The deal, announced earlier today, is believed to be the biggest exclusive distribution deal in esports history. Twitch will show every regular-season and postseason contest for OWL, which starts play tomorrow night, and develop reward programs and new virtual merchandise for viewers. Overwatch publisher Activision-Blizzard’s in-house platform MLG.tv will show half of the regular-season contests, but the dominant share of the audience will come via Twitch, which will stream in Korean, English and French everywhere except China.

The $90M figure may include other aspects of the Twitch-Blizzard relationship not attributable to the Overwatch League, sources said. In annual terms, the deal is comparable to the seven-year, $300M deal struck in late '16 by League of Legends publisher Riot Games with BAMTech. That deal is exclusive on joint tech-development and commercialization, not competition coverage. Twitch and Overwatch League officials declined comment.

For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.

Raiders Introduce Gruden As Coach, Confirm Rooney Rule Satisfied

The Raiders today formally introduced Jon Gruden as their new coach, and team Owner Mark Davis before Gruden took the stage said, "Raider Nation, this is a big 'effing' deal." Davis and Gruden would not disclose details of the contract structure and value, but Davis did note the NFL "has a salary cap for players." Davis: "One of the big differences in teams is the front office or the coaching staffs. ... There's no cap there." GM Reggie McKenzie confirmed that the club satisfied the Rooney Rule in its search, interviewing internal candidate Bobby Johnson and USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin.

One of the lighter moments of the event occurred when Gruden asked about the future of Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch, with the coach replying he has "never met" Lynch. Gruden: "Even as a broadcaster, I asked for Marshawn Lynch in production meetings, and I never got to meet him" (RAIDERS.com, 1/9).

One Month Out From Pyeongchang Games: Ticket Sales Lagging

One month out from the Pyeongchang Games, ticket sales are "not pacing where they’ve been at past Games." The organizing committee "reported only 61% of all tickets have been sold," and tickets to "big sports" like figure skating and hockey have sold less than 60%. Tensions between North and South Korea have "dominated the news lately" and could be a factor in the lagging ticket sales. But “experts think the lack of sales are really about the quality of the Games,” with the Russian team absent due to a doping scandal and the NHL not participating (“Worldwide Exchange,” CNBC, 1/9).

Folgers Brand Launches "Here's To Coaches" Olympic Campaign

USOC sponsor J.M. Smucker's Folgers coffee brand today launched its "Here's to Coaches" campaign for the '18 Pyeongchang Games. The athlete spokespersons for the campaign are Gold Medal-winning skier Ted Ligety, cross country skier Jessie Diggins and Gold Medal-winning para-snowboarder Evan Strong. The campaign launches with a short film starting Ligety and coach Forrest Carey. It will run through the end of the Winter Games (J.M. Smucker Co.).

Meanwhile, U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association President & CEO Tiger Shaw appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” this morning and said USSA's "goal and our vision is to be the very best in the world and with that to develop a global brand." Shaw: "Our athletes are worldwide superstars and they are known around the world, really transcending their sports, and we are doing that with them and having them develop their brands and their stories as we do ours" (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 1/9).

Magic Reach Deal With Uber, Will Set Up Special Lot At Amway Center

The Magic plan to "set aside a dropoff and pickup lot at Amway Center only for Uber passengers" as part of their new partnership with the ride-sharing service. The lot will be available "before and after games." Also, in what "amounts to a sponsorship agreement" between the two entities, the Magic "will incorporate Uber into their app." This will "allow season-ticket holders to pay for Uber rides using Magic Money, which ticket holders can earn by selling unused game tickets back to the team" (ORLAND OSENTINEL, 1/9).

Speed Reads....

Yahoo Sports will stream live for mobile devices all four NFL playoff games in this coming weekend's divisional round, in addition to the conference championship games and Pro Bowl (Yahoo Sports).

Formula E's title sponsorship deal with ABB is a "seven-year contract" through '25 worth more than $100M (AP, 1/9).

USWNT F Christen Press has signed on as a brand ambassador for sports drink Hydrive Energy Water (Hydrive).

An official Patriots skill has been added to Amazon's Alexa device. Fans can say, "Alexa, open Patriots," to receive news, updates and info on upcoming games (Patriots).

The Red Bulls announced a partnership with Visit St. Pete/Clearwater that will include the Red Bulls attending a two-week training camp Jan. 22-feb. 3 on Oldsmar, Fla. (Red Bulls).

NextVR and WWE today announced a new partnership to create unique experiences in the VR format, including highlights from select '18 WWE events (WWE).

Quick Hits....

"The people that were there when I was there are not there anymore. It's a whole new start" -- Wizards G John Wall, on returning to Adidas with a five-year shoe deal after a two-year hiatus (ESPN.com, 1/9).

“I watched the Grammy Awards and you saw a lot of people come out wearing Adidas, wearing Nike, there wasn’t a pair of Under Armour anything to be seen in the audience and that in a nutshell describes their problem” -- Susquehanna analyst Sam Poser, on Under Armour marketing their shoes on performance and not on general lifestyle (“Fast Money Halftime Report,” CNBC, 1/9).

"We're not at equilibrium right now. There are five or six things going on, and they're all pointing ion the same direction" -- Univ. of Chicago economics professor Allen Sanderson, on the rising cost of college football coaching salaries (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 1/9).

Twitter Me This....

If you see a tweet we will not want to miss, send it to us at editorial@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

The Starting Five....

The most-read stories today on SportsBusinessDaily.com:

1) Dramatic Alabama-Georgia CFP Title Game Gives ESPN Its Second-Best Overnight Ever
2) Trump Gets Mixed Reception At CFP; Presence Causes Long Lines Getting Into Stadium
3) Stan Van Gundy, Steve Kerr Join List Of Coaches Critical Of ESPN Enabling LaVar Ball
4) Lakers Coach Luke Walton Says His Job Is Safe; Will Team Act On LaVar Ball's Antics?
5) Overwatch League Signs Two-Year Deal With Twitch For Streaming Rights To Matches

Daily Download....

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution edited together this collection of sights and sounds from the CFP title game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Daily Digit....

$840,000 -- Value of brand exposure Taco Bell received for sponsoring the student section during the CFP title game, according to research from Apex Marketing Group (TWITTER.com, 1/8).