01/13/16: ESPN’s Megacast numbers; CBS books its Super Bowl tech; Marriott checks into NBA’s Global Games


Good morning. It’s Wednesday January 13, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Alabama’s championship win saw ESPN’s Megacast coverage on Monday deliver an average of 26,182,000 viewers to its various networks, according to Nielsen. That is off-pace from last year’s record-shattering debut CFP Championship game, which topped 34 million, but ranks as the most-watched cable program since the 2015 game. With multiple takes on the matchup, ESPN2’s Film Room presentation and ESPNU’s Homer Telecast each contributed more than 225,000 viewers throughout the game. ESPN Deportes’ tally added more than 55,000 viewers. WatchESPN, meanwhile, set a new record with more than 1.9 million unique viewers. The 2016 College Football Playoff Championship will reair on ESPNU and SEC Network this week, with SEC Network’s take running today at noon and Friday at 9a and 10p, while ESPNU’s reair takes place Friday at 1p.


CBS Sports unveiled a slate of new technology that will be dedicated to Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, including the replay system EyeVision 360, Pylon Cameras, as well as the use of Next Gen Stats. According to the company, Super Bowl 50 will see a larger complement of 5K cameras covering the area with the network activating a replay system that provides viewers with a 360° perspective and higher resolution than previously ever seen. The system uses 36 cameras strung around the upper deck of Levi’s Stadium, and has the ability to freeze the moment and revolve around the play, then continue to play out the scene. Meanwhile, eight custom-molded pylons with cameras will film the goal lines and sidelines on each side of the field with microphones embedded in them to enhance the natural sound of the game. The Next Gen Stats will allow CBS and fans to see match-up based statistics between players, how fast players are running, and how far they run over the course of the game on any given play. 

On the programming front, CBS dishes up a live four-hour Super Bowl pre-game show, The Super Bowl Today, starting at 2p and hosted by James Brown. The lineup will include Super Bowl 50: Before They Were Pros at 11a, Road to the Super Bowl at noon, Phil Simms All-Iron Team: Super Bowl Edition at 1p, and the Super Bowl on CBS Kick-Off Show at 6p. In addition, CBS Sports Network features 75 hours of original programming including extended post-game coverage.

Major League Football, the upcoming professional spring-football league slated to kick off this year, announced a two-year TV deal with American Sports Network to include broadcasts of all regular season and post season games in both 2016 and 2017. "Since the onset of negotiations began with American Sports Network, we have strived to give fans of Major League Football the avenue to watch each of our games this season and in 2017," said Rick Smith, Major League Football COO. "ASN with their affiliation and content distribution capabilities within Sinclair Broadcast Group and numerous cable and multiple satellite providers, will provide MLFB fans the ability to enjoy football broadcasts in the spring in the same manner as they do in the fall and winter months viewing professional football throughout the country."

HBO Sports will partner up with IMG’s Original Content unit to debut the upcoming unscripted five-episode series Gonzaga: The March to Madness on Feb. 16 at 10p. The finale runs March 15, the first day of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Championship Tournament.

UFC is beefing up its lineup for UFC 197, announcing plans for Conor McGregor to grapple with Rafael Dos Anjos for the lightweight championship. In addition, women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm will take on Miesha Tate in the co-min event. UFC 197: Dos Anjos vs. McGregor presented by EA SPORTS UFC 2 takes place at 10p on March 5 in Las Vegas.

The reunion between Mike Francesa and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo at Radio City is getting the TV treatment with The Madison Square Garden Company announcing that the March 30 show will be simulcast live and commercial free on MSG+, CBS Radio’s WFAN, and SiriusXM at 8p. All net proceeds from the event will go directly to the Garden of Dreams Foundation, a non-profit organization that works with MSG and MSG Networks to bring the magic of MSG to children facing obstacles. Empire City Casino signed on as the presenting sponsor of the show.


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Marriott International inked a deal with the NBA that will see Marriott Rewards become the presenting partner of the NBA Global Games London 2016, which will pit the Magic/Raptors on Jan. 14. The deal extends Marriott’s existing partnership with the NBA. Marriott Rewards will offer fans and celebrities a shot at two days throughout London that will include a double decker branded bus. “Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. With this extension of our NBA partnership, we are creating memorable experiences for our Marriott Rewards members and connecting them with others who share their passion for basketball and travel,” said Karin Timpone, Global Marketing Officer, Marriott International. “Similar to what we are doing with music and entertainment, our NBA partnership also helps us communicate the depth and breadth of our portfolio and amplifies the benefits of the Marriott Rewards program for both new and loyal guests.”

TiVo released the top Super Bowl commercials of all time, blending insights from the Research & Consulting division of Vision Critical. Tops on the list was Budweiser’s "Puppy Love" commercial from 2014, with the presence of animals or children a theme amongst the top ten. Budweiser also took #2 with “Lost Dog,” #6 with “9-11,” and #10 with “designated Driver.” Doritos also took home multiple spots, with “Sling Baby” at #6, “Pug Attack” at #8 and “Cowboy Kid” at #9. Rounding out the list was Volkswagen’s “The Force” at #3, Coca-Cola’s “Mean Joe Green” at #4 and Snickers’ “You’re Not You” at #7.

New Era Cap announced that Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper signed on as a brand ambassador for the company with Harper set to begin during the 2016 baseball campaign during Spring Training. “We felt that Bryce was a perfect fit for our brand. Since coming up with the Nationals, he has become one of the best players in the entire Major Leagues and last season’s performance proved that he could be a transcendent player of the generation,” said Tony DeSimone, Category Director Baseball, New Era Cap. “He is not only a star on the field, but will continue to gain popularity off the field where his recognizable look and personality with fans really resonated with us.”

George Pollington launched a new, global event consultancy, RGE, which will focus on high-level consulting by partnering with brands, rights holders, sports federations, media, suppliers and agencies to enhance guest experience and security at large-scale sporting events. Pollington and RGE are currently working with clients in advance of the Rio 2016 Olympics, 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea.


Twitter is pushing Periscope broadcasts – both live and replays – directly into Tweets. Since Periscope launched last year, people have created over 100 million live broadcasts. According to Twitter, some of the top sports accounts that will be impacted, given their use of Periscope, will include:

·       @MLB and teams
·       @NHL and teams
·       @UFC
·       @WWE
·       @FoxSports
·       @MLS
·       @SportsCenter
·       @PGATour
·       @notthefakeSVP
·       @RoFloEspn
·       @OutKick
·       @ClayTravisBGID
·       @TonyStewart
·       @bubbawatson

Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated Group is teaming with Scout Media to produce The Race to National Signing Day, which is described as “a content collaboration that includes live and on-demand video programming and digital reports devoted to college football recruiting news, breaking commitments, in-depth features and expert analysis surrounding National Signing Day.” The two brands will offer hours of live and on-demand coverage throughout the month of January, culminating with a live preview show on Feb. 2 and then more than 10 hours of live programming on Feb. 3 – National Signing Day.

DGital Media launched Ochocinco and Dukes, a new podcast featuring former NFL players Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson and Jamie Dukes. The audio series will publish new episodes on Tuesdays, along with regular breaking news reports throughout the year.


Buins/Flyers on NBCSN at 8p.

ON THIS DAY in 1999: Michael Jordan announces his retirement from professional basketball for the second time.

In The Know: Who was the first and only pitcher to throw a perfect game in a World Series? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What is the name of Paul Newman’s character in The Hustler/The Color of Money? Answer: Fast Eddie Felson. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Deborah Kapetanakis-Universal McCann/NY; Drew Mongiello-Evolution Group/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Jerehmy White-BusyBuddy Books/Glen Rock; Michael Goodman-
Radio One/Atlanta; Jay Rossi-Dick’s Sporting Goods/Pittsburgh; Andy Pitttman-TAMU/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Tim Rank-blueprint314/St. Louis; Dory Petsrillo-HRP/Dallas; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Jeff Mirkin-2:25 Engagement/Santa Monica; Willie Price- American Forces Network/Riverside; Mike Petrocelli-Friend MTS/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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