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Volume 27 No. 26
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SBJ Unpacks: Baseball Welcomes Back Fans

Tonight in SBJ Unpacks: MLB is ready to welcome back fans as the NLCS gets started at Globe Life Field.

Also:

  • YouTube TV tops NBA Finals ad spending
  • Lakers championship merchandise already setting sales records
  • The PGA Tour is rolling out live, on-screen betting odds this week
  • The SEC postpones its first game of the season
  • Survey finds fans still split on attending games

 

GLOBE LIFE FIELD READY TO HOST FANS DURING NLCS

  • The Braves and Dodgers square off tonight in Game 1 of the NLCS at Globe Life Field, marking the first time this season fans will attend an MLB game. The league has made about 11,500 tickets available at the new ballpark in Arlington.
  • Rangers Exec VP/Business Operations Rob Matwick told SBJ’s Andrew Levin that the club consulted with MLB, local health officials, its in-house analytics team and attended Cowboys games with fans at AT&T Stadium as it prepared its plan for hosting the NLCS and World Series.
  • Starting with an MLB-mandated 20-foot buffer from the edge of the field, seating is layered in pods of four. Matwick: “Our health department did not want people crossing in aisles. So, we set up the pattern … as sort of a zigzag through the seating bowl.” Globe Life Field's operations team zip tied 30,000 seats in the building so that they cannot psychically be lowered, meaning fans won’t be able to move over from their assigned seats. Matwick said MLB is “bearing the majority of the expense” for these enhanced protocols.
  • Matwick stressed voluntary compliance as he outlined his emphases to fans. “If you don’t feel well today … stay at home. That’s the best thing that any of us can do,” he said. He also cited the “three W’s” as key focuses: wear your mask, watch your distance and wash your hands. Rangers Senior VP/Ticket Sales & Service Paige Farragut called the NLCS and World Series a “complete audition for how next year is going to go” league-wide when it comes to having fans in attendance.

 

YOUTUBE TV TOPS NBA FINALS AD SPENDING

  • YouTube TV was the biggest ad spender during the NBA Finals, according to iSpot.Tv data analyzed by SBJ's David Broughton. Google’s OTT platform also served as the Finals’ presenting sponsor for the third straight year. The top brands by estimated spend during the six games across ABC and ESPN Deportes are as following:

    1. YouTube TV* ($13.4 million)
    2. Toyota ($12.0 million)
    3. Michelob Light* ($8.1 million)
    4. State Farm* ($7.1 million)
    5. Nissan ($6.4 million)
    6. Google* ($5.7 million)
    7. Gatorade* ($4.8 million)
    8. Taco Bell* ($4.4 million)
    9. AT&T Wireless* ($4.4 million)
    10. Biktarvy HIV medication ($4.1 million)
      *Official NBA sponsor

  • Gatorade bested all other brands with the most-seen spot, its "Fueled by the Best" ad, by TracyLocke, that garnered 163.6 million impressions. Here are the top five spots overall:
  1. Gatorade: "Fueled by the Best" (163.6 million impressions) (TracyLocke)
  2. KFC: "Homestyle Cookin' Without the Cookin' - Contactless Delivery" (118.5 million) (Wieden+Kennedy)
  3. YouTube TV: "TV Made Yours" (102.7 million) (Essence)
  4. Google: "Search Near Me" (80.3 million) (Essence)
  5. Nissan: "Refuse to Compromise - Day Off" (75.5 million) (TBWA\Chiat\Day)

 

LAKERS CHAMPIONSHIP MERCH SETTING RECORDS; NO PLANS FOR PARADE YET

  • NBA e-commerce partner Fanatics said that the Lakers have become the top-selling NBA Champion in company history. In the first 12 hours since winning the title last night, the Lakers had already sold more merchandise than Fanatics’ previous record, the 2016 Cavaliers, sold in 30 days after winning the championship.
  • LeBron James is the top-selling NBA player since the Lakers clinched, followed by Kobe Bryant. In addition, 85% of all Lakers Championship merchandise sales came from mobile devices immediately after the game last night.
  • Plans for the Lakers to celebrate the title back home "have not materialized," per the L.A. Times, amid state and county bans on "large gatherings of people." No victory parade is "planned through the streets of L.A., and no public team celebration in downtown will be held anytime soon."
  • There had been "rumors of a possible virtual parade and party, but the Lakers have not released any information on the likelihood of that taking place."

 

PGA TOUR SET TO INTEGRATE LIVE BETTING ODDS DURING TV COVERAGE

  • The PGA Tour for the first time will include live betting odds and other in-play wagering information during TV coverage of The CJ Cup at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas this week, reports SBJ's John Lombardo.
  • BetMGM odds will be integrated twice per hour during all four rounds of Golf Channel’s coverage Thursday through Sunday. The betting information will include leaderboards that will feature player odds to win, along with odds for head-to-head matchups, top finishes, winning margin, wire-to-wire winner, hole-in-ones and playoffs.
  • The move comes after BetMGM signed a multi-year deal in August to become an official betting operator of the Tour, which then integrated live betting odds on its PGA Tour Live streaming service during the first two rounds of the Wyndham Championship on Aug. 13-14. For now, the betting integrations initially will be limited to The CJ Cup as Tour execs experiment and evaluate folding the live betting information into its broadcasts.
  • “We are trying hard to introduce betting content in a way that works for our fans, sponsors, and our product,” said PGA Tour Senior VP/Media & Gaming Norb Gambuzza. “We don’t have any plans beyond it right now into our linear products. We want to learn a bunch and we will evaluate it."

 

 

VANDERBILT-MISSOURI POSTPONEMENT MARKS FIRST SEC SCHEDULE DISRUPTION

  • Vanderbilt-Missouri on Saturday has been "postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests and quarantines on the Vanderbilt roster," according to the Tennessean, marking the first SEC game to "not be played on time in the 2020 season" during the pandemic. The game has been rescheduled for Dec. 12 in Columbia, Mo.
  • Vanderbilt had "only 56 scholarship players for its 41-7 loss to South Carolina on Saturday." The SEC "requires a team to have at least 53 scholarship players available this season to avoid a cancellation, rescheduling or no-contest declaration of a game. Vanderbilt and Missouri  "each had six players to opt out of the season over COVID-19 concerns, the most of any SEC teams."
  • Vanderbilt AD Candice Lee in a statement noted the conference and universities "have been prepared for the likelihood of disruptions within the season."  Vanderbilt will have "time to replenish its roster." The Commodores already were already scheduled for an off week Oct. 24 before playing Ole Miss at home on Oct. 31.

 

SURVEY FINDS AMERICANS STILL SPLIT ON ATTENDING LIVE EVENTS

  • Arizona State's Global Sport Institute surveyed 1,800 adults age 18+ (300 per U.S. region, as listed below) Sept. 16-20 of on a diverse set of topics, reports SBJ's David Broughton, and among the discoveries were that only one third of the respondents age 65+ would attend the World Series if given a ticket. Fans living in the Southern region were the most likely to say they would accept that offer, as were Republicans and males. The survey was conducted for GSI by OH Predictive Insights.
  • Below are the responses from participants that were asked: Would you attend the World Series (or other high-level sporting event) if you were given a ticket?

 

>
RESPONSES ABOUT ATTENDING MAJOR EVENTS
 
WOULD ATTEND
WOULD NOT ATTEND
Total
49%
51%
REGION
Great Lakes
43%
57%
Pacific
51%
49%
Western
47%
53%
Plains
51%
49%
Atlantic
48%
52%
Southern
54%
46%
AGE
18-34
61%
39%
35-44
54%
46%
45-54
47%
53%
55-64
38%
62%
65+
33%
67%
GENDER
Male
56%
44%
Female
42%
58%
POLITICAL AFFILIATION
Republican
58%
42%
Democrat
50%
50%
Download the
Chart

 


SPEED READS

  • The get-in price for tonight’s NLCS opener between the Dodgers and Braves at Globe Life Field is $48, a 25% drop from last year's get-in price of $66, according to mobile ticketing app Gametime. SBJ's Karn Dhingra notes that pricing for tickets to the World Series, which will also be at Globe Life Field in Texas, where sports venues can host up to 50% of their capacity, is relatively stable with tickets starting at $331, compared to $354 last week. The get-in price for a potential Game 4 clincher is at $539 compared to $558 last week.
  • Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta today announced that its newest hospital will be called The Arthur M. Blank Hospital, following a $200 million donation from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. The healthcare company said it is “the single largest naming gift to a freestanding pediatric hospital.” The hospital is under construction and is expected to open its doors in 2025. In it’s Form 990 filed last November with the IRS, the foundation listed more than $28 million in charitable donations, according to SBJ’s David Broughton.
  • NBCUniversal today promoted Linda Yaccarino to Chair of Global Advertising & Partnerships, giving her “oversight of a new data strategy unit, local ad sales, regional sports network sales and the strategic initiatives team.” Yaccarino, who his year was named to SBJ's Power Players list of key media execs, also will “oversee the strategic initiatives group, which brings together NBCU’s symphony marketing campaigns around tent-pole events like the Olympics.”
  • NBA Commissioner Adam Silver informed league employees in a “Thank You” letter that they are "all receiving a $1,000 bonus and four Fridays off beginning Oct. 30 as well as Thanksgiving week," in recognition of "efforts during a historic season," according to Stadium's Shams Charania.

 

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