01/06/15: Wild Card Weekend continues to rumble; NBC has eyes for Vonn; Dish makes a big play


Good morning. It’s Tuesday, January 6, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

FOX’s NFC Wild Card matchup on Sunday reeled in 42.3 million viewers to the network, making it the second most-watched NFC Wild Card game ever. On the local front, the contest scored a 43.6 in Dallas and a 43.9 in Detroit  the highest-ever rating for an NFL playoff game in the Motor City. In addition, the broadcast streamed live on FOX Sports GO led to the largest day for total NFL consumption in the platform’s history behind only Super Bowl XLVIII. Meanwhile, FOX Deportes’ coverage of the clash delivered 100,000 total viewers and 64,000 P18-49.

Overall Wild Card Weekend averaged 29.9 million viewers, marking the sixth consecutive season it has averaged more than 29 million viewers. CBS’ Bengals/Colts game was the second-most watched Wild Card game of the weekend, drawing 28.3 million average viewers.


NBC Sports announced plans to showcase Lindsey Vonn: The Climb, a one-hour documentary that will run on Jan 25 at 3p on the broadcast network. The special chronicles the comeback of Olympic Downhill Champion Vonn and was produced by Red Bull Media House, in association with NFL Films and NBC Olympics with a peek into the past 22 months of Vonn’s career. “Films like this don’t work without transparency, and Lindsey was on board from day one.  She knew for us to tell her story that she had to let us in  and she did,” said Steve Trout, Director, NFL Films. “In The Climb, you’ll see Lindsey the daughter, the sister, the friend.  And in the roller coaster ride of her comeback, you’ll see Lindsey in pain, at rock bottom, and her triumphant return to racing.” Encore presentations of Lindsey Vonn: The Climb will air on NBCSN beginning in February. The film will be available digitally on Red Bull TV starting January 28th.

Speaking of NBC, prepare for Curling Night in America. NBC Sports and Universal Sports are teaming with the World Curling Federation, U.S. Curling Association, and the U.S. Olympic Committee to debut Curling Night In America in 2015, combining to present 24 hours of coverage from the inaugural U.S. Curling Grand Prix on NBCSN and Universal Sports Network.NBCSN begins its Curling Night In America presentations on Jan. 23, the first of its six Friday episodes that will air through March. In addition, NBC Sports Live Extra  NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets  will provide streaming coverage of all Curling Night In America telecasts airing on NBCSN. Universal Sports Network hits the ice with coverage on Jan. 22.

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is planning an NFL stadium in Inglewood, according to multiple reports, potentially ending the league’s drought in the country’s second largest market with a club that could arrive as early as 2016. Los Angeles hasn’t boasted an NFL team since 1994, but Kroenke’s real estate development firm, the Kroenke Group and Stockbridge Capital Group told the Los Angeles Times of their partnership to build an 80,000-seat stadium. The stadium would be built on a 60-acre parcel of land, which Kroenke purchased in early 2014.

60 Minutes Sports returns to Showtime on Jan. 6 at 10p with segments that include a chat with the family of future NFL Hall of Famer Junior Seau on why they will pursue a lawsuit against the NFL.

SiriusXM will see former soccer star Rodney Marsh and veteran soccer commentator Tommy Smyth host a new show on SiriusXM’s 24/7 soccer channel. The show, dubbed Grumpy Pundits, launches this morning and runs every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9-11a on SiriusXM FC, channel 94.


Webinar: Generation Edge – Catching the New Wave of Viewers
Thursday, February 26, 2015 | 1:30PM to 3:00PM | Register Today

– The importance of a digital strategy aligned with Edgers’ viewing habits
– How to build influence by tapping into their passions through cause marketing
– How to market in an organic way, with an unscripted digital & social campaign
– When micro-targeting to different groups in this diverse population makes sense


Rolex announced that the watch brand will continue to serve as title sponsor for the Australian Grand Prix. This marks its third straight year as title sponsor of the season-opening round of the 2015 Formula One calendar.

U.S. oil filter brand FRAM extended its partnership with the UFC, and inked two UFC athletes to sponsorship deals: former welterweight champion Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks and lightweight contender Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. The Team FRAM Athletes will appear in future advertising and promotional campaigns for FRAM.


Dish Network caused a shakeup yesterday, announcing Sling TV which will offer Internet pay-TV including ESPN, TBS and TNT for $20 a month. The service is slated to launch sometime in the first quarter of 2015.

NeuLion, Inc. locked in a definitive agreement to acquire DivX LLC, announcing the deal at CES. According to the release, the transaction will place the combined company at the forefront of the global shift to 4K video and Over-The-Top services in the fast-growing online video market.  “By delivering interactive viewing experiences to consumers watching live and on-demand content on digital platforms, from desktop to mobile to connected devices, NeuLion has built a roster of the best known brands in professional and college sports and TV Everywhere, such as NFL, NHL, NBA, UFC, Rogers and CCTV.  Now, we are extending our franchise and bolstering our capabilities with our acquisition of DivX’s entertainment and consumer electronics customers, advanced 4K video enabling technology products and expansive geographic reach,” said Nancy Li, chief executive officer of NeuLion.  


ESPN announced that it has elevated Aaron LaBerge to Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for the company. This marks the second CTO in the company’s 35-year history with LaBerge charged with oversight, strategic leadership and direction of technology across all ESPN media and businesses.

Learfield Sports announced the promotions of Pam Batalis, Megan Eisenhard, Dan Hawley and Mike McCollum to regional vice president roles. All four are long-time Learfield employees, and the company’s structure is now positioned into West, Central, South and East regions. “Learfield has dedicated over 40 years to serving our school partners and clients with the utmost integrity, professionalism, and personal care. Pam, Megan, Dan and Mike will help us continue to serve our partners and support our employees on all levels,” said Learfield’s Chief Revenue Officer Andy Rawlings.


Villanova/St. Johns on FOX Sports 1 at 9p.


2015 Cynopsis Sports Media Awards

The Cynopsis Sports Media Awards are open to all individuals and teams worldwide including: networks, MSOs, teams, leagues, associations, universities, production companies/studios, producers, video game developers/producers, website developers, app developers/producers, licensing companies, marketing companies, PR firms, ad agencies, creative services teams, and developers.

Eligibility Period
To be eligible, the entry/campaign initiative must have taken place between Jan. 1, 2014  Jan. 1, 2015.

ON THIS DAY in 1994: Nancy Kerrigan is attacked.

In The Know: What was the name of Keanu Reeves’ team in The Replacements? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What brothers in the National Baseball Hall of Fame are known as Big Poison and Little Poison? Answer: Paul Waner “Big Poison” and Lloyd Waner “Little Poison” Kudos: Tom Buffolano-LTN Global/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Lewis Blaustein-Lewis Brand Solutions, Inc./NY; Art Salisch-HEARST Television/NY; Mark Darnell-Golf Services/Augusta; Tim McGhee-MSP Sports/Summit; Nick Gandy-Florida Sports Foundation/Tallahassee; Jerehmy White-BusyBuddy Books/Glen Rock; Kevin Wicker-Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network/Mission; Joe Lyons-Back Nine Productions, Inc./Dallas; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; Rick Pike-Intermedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
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