Lincecum's No-Hitter Provides Natural Lead-In For 120 Sports Debut Broadcast
120 Sports, the new digital-only multisports network, debuted at 6:00pm ET last night, buttressed from the very start with a no-hitter by Giants P Tim Lincecum that was completed just minutes after the venture debuted its nightly live programming. True to its premise, the service feature a quick-paced roundup of the day’s various leading sports events, leading off with the Lincecum no-hit bid, continuing with several other in-progress MLB games, and then moving to trade rumors involving the Heat and new contracts for NHL Kings RW Marian Gaborik and Lightning RW Ryan Callahan. Supplementing the live look-ins and highlights were various polls, trivia segments and checks to see which sports topics were trending on Twitter. The video shared the screen with “data cards” filled with tweets, news headlines, ads, and other material. The initial live coverage was anchored by Michael Kim, Dylan McGorty and Bryant McFadden. The first ad break came 14 minutes into the live coverage, with a 30-second spot from Geico followed by another 30-second ad from Verizon Wireless. The companies are two of the four initial corporate partners of 120 Sports. Their deals, along with those for Nissan and Transamerica, last for the duration of the calendar year. 120 Sports President and Silver Chalice Vice Chair Jason Coyle said the initial intent will be to keep the number of sponsors limited while the venture seeks to build scale. “We’re trying to make sure the ad inventory is not out of line with a great content experience,” Coyle said.
EXCITED FOR THE LAUNCH: Coyle addressed the entire staff of roughly 130 shortly before the live debut. “It’s not going to be any Rockne type of thing,” he said prior to the address. “But it’s been amazing to witness a group of individuals from all over the country come together into a really high-functioning team over these last few months as we prepared for launch.” Soon after Lincecum's no-hitter ended, 120 Sports tweeted, “We PROMISE, we didn’t pull any strings with our partners at @MLB to have Tim Lincecum throw a no-hitter to open our live debut!” Meanwhile, the PGA Tour was announced late yesterday as the newest equity partner in the startup venture, joining existing investors Silver Chalice, the NHL, Time Inc., Campus Insiders and MLBAM. The size of the Tour’s stake was not disclosed, but officials said the property does not have a subordinate position in the company even though it invested later than the other, initial partners.