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UFC Returning To ABC With Broadcast Utilizing TikTok Content

The promotion is using Tagboard to integrate TikTok content into the broadcast.

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The UFC is returning to ABC this weekend, and they are bringing some new digital tricks to enhance the broadcast. UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Holland airs on ABC this Saturday, with prelims starting at 12 p.m. ET and the main event between Marvin Vettori and Kevin Holland commencing at 3 p.m. ET.

ESPN’s first broadcast of the UFC on ABC was a big success, bringing in the second most viewers for a UFC Fight Night main event since February 2019. UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Kattar maxed out at 1.6 million viewers on Saturday, Jan. 16. It was the first live MMA event on ABC, which last aired a boxing card in 2000.

This MMA card won’t be a run-of-the-mill production. UFC has partnered with Tagboard to use their technology on live broadcasts. UFC is using Tagboard to integrate their own TikTok content into their fight productions.

“We are diving into our partnership with TikTok in a big way, by not only bringing content to our fans on their platform but also by utilizing athlete and fan-generated content to tell stories across our linear broadcast,” said David Shaw, Senior Vice President of International and Content for UFC. “Our partnership with Tagboard offers unparalleled access for us to tell the UFC story with more immediacy and powerful context, benefiting our fans and viewers around the world.”

Fans can expect the new integration to happen during the Sam Alvey vs. Julian Marquez fight. Both fighters have been “digitally sparring” on TikTok. Content that the UFC is integrating into their fight broadcast using Tagboard’s platform.

UFC Fighter Aljamain Sterling reacts to TikTok content he created around a popular challenge on the app.

“We simply love to work with media companies who want to push the boundaries of how stories are told,” said Tagboard’s President, Nathan J. Peterson. “Our partners at UFC and TikTok have challenged us to help them think through the most innovative ways to tell stories across both broadcast and the TikTok platform. This is where Tagboard thrives, and I’m excited to see our collaboration grow, starting this Saturday!” 

Sports TV News

Former Hulu Exec Michael Schneider Hired To Run Bally Sports+

“Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.”

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Sinclair Broadcast Group and Diamond Sports Group have tapped Michael Schneider as the chief operating officer and general manager of Bally Sports+ when it launches this year.

Schneider will oversee the direct-to-consumer platform that will also be the hub for Bally Sports live programming.

Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.

“Throughout his career, Michael has successfully launched and developed DTC streaming and service platforms and created immersive engagement experiences,” said Sinclair COO and president of broadcast Rob Weisbord. “He is a terrific addition to the team as we build out the Bally Sports+ offering, its exclusive content and passionate fan community.”

Even before Hulu, Schneider had a hand in streaming. He was a founding member of the PlayStation Vue launch team.

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Sports TV News

Marquee Sports Network Weighs Streaming Options Outside of Bally Sports+

“Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.”

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As Sinclair Broadcast Group prepares to launch Bally Sports+, its direct-to-consumer platform that will be home to Bally Sports live events, the Chicago Cubs are weighing their options for Marquee Sports Network, which the team co-owns with Sinclair.

Despite being under the Sinclair umbrella, Marquee is its own free-standing RSN from the rest of the Bally Sports networks across the country.

Marquee is readily available on a number of cable providers, but the only thing that’s really missing is its own standalone streaming platform for games. Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.

“We’re always interested in being on the cutting edge with the ultimate deliverable to our consumer,” McCarthy said. “But there isn’t any contractual clock ticking to make us feel that way. It’s how we’ve approached things from the beginning. Between our two ownership groups, there’s a lot of aggression to get it right. And I think you’ll see something along those lines shortly.”

The TV ratings will always be of top interest for MLB, especially regional ratings. But as the league has worked to embrace more streaming options for games, striking deals with Apple and Peacock for rights this season, it’s all about providing what the fans and viewers want.

“We now have the ability to do so much more, to properly tell the story of a 162-game season,” said Crane Kenney, Chicago Cubs president of business operations. Kenney was instrumental in the launch of Marquee. “We love baseball, we love the game, and we love the opportunity we have to share it with our fans in really deep ways.”

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Laura Rutledge Celebrates Chemistry Of NFL Live

“It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”

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Laura Rutledge is very happy with where NFL Live is as the current lineup gets set to enter its third season together. She told The Big Lead that there is genuine chemistry between herself, Marcus Spears, Mina Kimes, and Dan Orlovsky and that is why she doesn’t feel the need to emulate any of sports television’s many debate shows.

“You don’t want to see people yelling at each other all the time and I’m really proud of the chemistry that we have struck and just letting that breathe on air and having so much fun. It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”

The 2022 NFL season will have a very different feel for ESPN. The addition of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for Monday Night Football adds new expectations to the network.

Rutledge said that the attention on the network means that she and her colleagues have to raise their respective games, but that shouldn’t be hard. There is always material to work with in this league.

“We’ve seen this offseason, we saw the previous offseason, how the NFL news cycle never stops. It’s funny because the news cycle becomes such a big piece of the story, but we’re like, we can’t wait for the games,” she said.

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