01/20/16: MLB makes a last-minute switch; NBA cultivates Chinese New Year; Oscar’s new one-two punch


Good morning. It’s Wednesday January 20, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Major League Baseball settled its blackout-driven antitrust lawsuit just ahead of its date in a Manhattan federal court, announcing a deal with fans that will allow them access to pay less to stream games from their favorite team. The proposed agreement would see the league offer its MLB.TV streaming package for $84.99 per year for the package for the next five years, according to USA Today, with the option of upgrading for a full league deal for $109.99. The league also agreed to drop streaming blackouts of in-market games by the start of the 2017 season with a few exceptions.


NASCAR is once again tapping into the Chase format, this time expanding the initiative to include the Xfinity and Truck Series, which will now serve up a four-driver shootout at the season finale in a quest for the championships. Overall, the two racing series will utilize a seven-race Chase to decide their champions with the finale joining the NASCAR Sprint Cup final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Other twists this season will see the Truck Series feature a caution clock, while the Xfinity Series will see the "Dash 4 Cash" races include two heat races and a main event.

FOX Sports reports that almost 37 million viewers tuned into Sunday’s early NFL Divisional Playoff between the Seahawks/Panthers on the broadcast network. The matchup, which looked like a blowout by halftime, pulled a 21.1/42 fast national rating/share according to Nielsen, off-pace from last year’s record-setting Divisional Playoff matchup between the Cowboys/Packers.  Home markets saw Seattle generate a 48.1/82; while Charlotte brought in a 46.8/74. On FOX Sports GO, the game ranked as the best authenticated NFL game ever, with 154,000 unique streamers, making it the fifth most-watched authenticated event in FOX Sports GO’s history.

ONE World Sports locked in a deal with NBCSN to help showcase the 2016 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championships, which will feature 16 national teams from around the world. The alliance will see approximately 20 of the games run live from host cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg on One World Sports. The network’s coverage begins with Sweden/Latvia on May 6. “ONE World Sports is thrilled to partner with NBC Sports to provide all of the IIHF World Ice Hockey Championships to passionate hockey fans who are excited to see every minute of action in this best-of-the-best global hockey event,” said Joel Feld, ONE World Sports Executive Vice President, Programming & Production. “In a little more than two years, ONE World Sports has been able to develop an identity as a trusted destination for fans who want to see a broad range of high-caliber, globally popular sports played beyond the United States.”

FS1 announced a lineup of NASCAR specials as the company prepares for the return of the NASCAR season and the Daytona 500 next month. Programming includes Untold Stories: Daytona, which will run on Feb. 12 at 7:30p on the network as well as NASCAR Race Classic: 1993 Daytona 500, hosted by Dale Earnhardt Jr., at 8:30p. At 9p, the channel offers Beyond the Wheel: Shot Film Series Special, a 90-minute special comprised of four short documentaries focusing on the stories of Robbie Allison, Dick Trickle, the iconic trophy girls and their legacy, and the reunion of journalist Tom Wolfe and Junior Johnson. Feb. 27 will offer fans 100,000 Cameras: Daytona 500 at 6:30p, blending fan and driver-generated video to tell the story of this year’s race.

Time is almost up! Get your entries in for the Cynopsis Sports Awards now as the deadline runs out this week. Hurry up and click here to get your nominations in.

Super Bowl I is getting another run on TV. NFL Network will reportedly replay the game, this time without a panel of commentators, on Friday at 8p. This version will feature an introduction from Chris Rose and only feature commentary from the original NBC Sports radio broadcast, according to PFT.

Meanwhile, NBC Sports serves up the season debut of NHL Game of the Week on Sunday, pitting the Penguins/Capitals at 12:30 on the broadcast network. Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick joins Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire on microphone duties. 

MLB Network slated The Colorful Montreal Expos on Jan. 26 at 9p, tapping Montreal native William Shatner to narrate. The program will bring in Warren Cromartie, Andre Dawson, Cliff Floyd and Rondell White to reminisce about life as Montreal Expos and the special bond created with its fan base with Expos personalities reliving different points in the club’s history.

Former WWE staple Jim Ross is returning to the ring, this time with AXS TV where he will join New Japan Pro Wrestling to call play-by-play commentary alongside Josh Barnett beginning March 4 at 9p. 

CBS Sports Network lined up six shows covering the 2016 SCORE World Desert Championship. The slate will mark the third consecutive year that SCORE desert races will be showcased on CBS Sports Spectacular programming. Programming includes all races in the five-race 2016 SCORE World Desert Championship, along with the special SEMA SCORE Baja 1000 Experience and qualifying for the SCORE Baja 1000 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway.



Our awards show continues to spotlight the groundbreaking work created by sports media, don’t let your 2015 efforts go unnoticed!

Entry Deadline: January 21, 2016 |  Late Submissions: January 28, 2016
Awards Event: April 17, 2016 (NYC)

Learn about the awards program & how to enter:


The NBA is once again going all-in for the Chinese New Year, Feb. 3-21 slating a slate of promotion around the festivities. Included in the marketing is a new NBA Chinese New Year television spot, entitled “Dining Table,” featuring Stephen Curry, James Harden and Jeremy Lin sharing a Chinese New Year reunion meal with a Chinese family. Activation will include the Warriors, Rockets and Wizards wearing special Chinese New Year uniforms paying tribute to Chinese culture; 51 live games broadcast and streamed by 10 broadcasters in Greater China, showcasing all 30 NBA teams for the first time; and the Chinese New Year Celebration Season of Giving initiative for underprivileged communities in China.

Pac-12 Networks sold out its commercial ad inventory for the 2015-16 men’s basketball season including sponsorships for the upcoming 2016 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas. Partners include 10 new advertisers and four new tournament sponsors with the channel announcing a 50% rise in revenue year-over-year for the current basketball season. New advertisers include adidas, 76, Apple, Cooper Tires, Norelco, Eli Lilly and Company, TurboTax, Dollar Shave Club, Kia and SoFi. New tournament partners include SoFi, Kia, Cooper Tires and adidas, joining existing sponsors AT&T, Bank of the West, Geico, Chevron and tournament presenting sponsor, New York Life. “The Pac-12 is having a remarkable year on the court and that excitement, along with the popularity of college athletics, has fueled tremendous interest in our content from a wide range of brands,” said Neil Davis, Executive Vice President of Integrated Sales and Sponsorships for Pac-12 Networks.

Agency Team Epic is moving its offices from Norwalk to Westport CT, effective January 25. According to the company, the move “will allow Epic to establish an iconic foundation through both architecture and interior design, created specifically for the agency” with a 32,000 square foot first-floor location.

Jerky brand Oberto lined up a slate of sports endorsers that include the NFL’s Rob Gronkowski, baseball all-star Hunter Pence and action sports star Travis Pastrana, who will join NFL all-pro Richard Sherman and Stephen A. Smith in Oberto’s multi-faceted 2016 marketing and advertising campaign. The campaign will look to connect the brand with active lifestyle and the benefits of its high protein products.

FOX Sports debuted #18TOWIN, its first ever global social media activation officially dedicated to promoting the return of the Bundesliga on Jan. 22. The two-week online campaign features all 18 Bundesliga clubs in training and allows fans to vote on social media platforms using Emoji to predict which players will score, and which players “crack under pressure.” Results will be revealed on all FOX Sports platforms on Feb. 5.


FilmOn TV Networks will launch two new boxing channels via a new partnership via Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. Both channels will go live at the end of January with one featuring De La Hoya’s classic fights on the Golden Boy Channel, while monthly boxing series LA Fight Club will live stream its bi-weekly fights on The Ring, with the first kicking off at 8:30p on Jan. 29. De La Hoya will also host a new combat sports talk show with guests that include Sugar Ray Leonard, Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm that will run on FilmOn TV Network‘s cable channel FOTV.

The NBA and STATS LLC locked in an expansion of their partnership that will offer global media outlets the use much of the same STATS SportVU Player Tracking data used by NBA teams for scouting, player development and training. The data will now be used by ESPN, NBA on TNT, and Bleacher Report and be made available to other media outlets to give fans insight into lineups, substitutions, and play calling, as well as analysis on player and team performance including shooting, passing, and rebounding. The system will continue to be used in-arena by all 30 NBA teams during games to track and measure the movements of all players and the ball on the court.

Golf Digest announced that it set brand set records in audience engagement via multiple platforms­print, digital, video and social­ in 2015, including a 42% spike in visits to GolfDigest.com, a 112% rise in video views, and revenue gains of 143% in video, 32% in web, and 114% for Golf World.


The NFL named veteran strategic communicator Joe Lockhart as the league’s EVP of Communications while Cynthia Hogan was elevated to EVP of Public Policy and Government Affairs. Both positions report to NFL Chief Operating Officer Tod Leiweke.


Warriors/Bulls on ESPN at 8p.




ON THIS DAY in 1980: President Jimmy Carter announced a US boycott of the Moscow Olympics.

In The Know: Fictional team week! What was the name of Will Ferrell’s team in the movie Semi-Pro? (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: In 1998, what country became the first to win gold in women’s ice hockey? Answer: The US. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports Network/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Harrison Root-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Greg Mize-Atlanta Braves/Atlanta; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Jack Neumann-Alumni Development University of Calgary Dinos Football/Calgary; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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