02/10/15: FOX Sports shifts gears to Daytona; NBC Sports once again drinks from America’s Cup; NFL Films founder Ed Sabol passes


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Good morning. It’s Tuesday February 10, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

FOX Sports opened the books on its 15th season of NASCAR, lining up 80+ hours of coverage of Daytona Speedweeks leading up to the Daytona 500 on Feb. 22 at 1p. Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds will call the race. The trio is joined on pit road by newcomers Jamie Little, Chris Neville, Vince Welch and reporter Matt Yocum. Chris Myers hosts FOX NASCAR SUNDAY alongside Darrell and Michael Waltrip. For the second consecutive year, the race will be streamed live in both English and Spanish through FOX Sports GO while FOX Sports Deportes, also offers live coverage of the Daytona 500. Speedweeks coverage begins Thursday with Media Day, a live four-hour special on FOX Sports 1, followed by a special two-hour edition of NASCAR Race Hub.


NBC Sports Group booked another round with America’s Cup, nabbing rights to the 2017 America’s Cup Finals and America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs. The exclusive media rights deal will see NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra combine to offer more than 35 hours of coverage of both events from Bermuda. In addition, NBCSN will carry all America’s Cup World Series events in 2015 and 2016, which will determine seeding. 

Big news on the boxing scene. NBC is bringing in Marv Albert to serve as the announcer for the upcoming Premier Boxing Champions on the network. Albert will be joined by analyst “Sugar” Ray Leonard for the debut of PBC on NBC in primetime Saturday, March 7 at 8:30p while Al Michaels hosts. The program will feature Keith Thurman/Robert Guerrero, and Adrien Broner/John Molina Jr. squaring off from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Of course, Albert previously worked at NBC Sports for more than 20 years, serving as the primary play-by-play announcer for the NBA on NBC, among other properties.

Meanwhile, Spike TV named Dana Jacobson as host of the network’s upcoming Premier Boxing Champions series. The first event takes place March 13 at 9p from Ontario, CA and pit Andre Berto/Josesito Lopez and Shawn Porter/ Robert Garcia. “We are thrilled to have such an accomplished sports journalist with such an extensive background to host our highly-anticipated and groundbreaking new boxing series,” said Jon Slusser, Senior Vice President, Sports and Branded Entertainment, Spike TV.

ESPN announced plans to expand its 2015 college baseball coverage with more than 675 exclusive regular-season and conference championship games across its television and digital platforms. The schedule spans ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network and Longhorn Network with additional games on ESPN3 and SEC Network +, more than tripling last season’s high. ESPN3 launches coverage on Friday, Feb. 13, at 4p with Oakland/Florida State. The slate will see ESPNU’s Thursday Night SEC Baseball Game of the Week return March 26 with games on eight consecutive weeks. 

FOX Sports 1 is bringing in Cesar Millan for its coverage of the 2015 masters Agility Championship at Westminster. The two-hour show runs on Sunday at noon and will see the star of Cesar 911 and famed “Dog Whisperer” join announcers Justin Kutcher and Jennifer Hale for the show.
PAC-12 Networks will see former Major League Baseball player Randy Flores and play-by-play man Daron Sutton join JT Snow and a lineup of broadcasters for the channels’ 114 collegiate baseball telecasts this season. The networks lined up an additional 39 more games this year, marking a 152% increase over 2014 with programming starting Friday at 3p featuring Indiana/Stanford.

SportsSouth reports that the Hawks win over the Warriors last Friday scored a 6.8 household rating in the Atlanta DMA. That marks the highest-rated Hawks game for the channel. Through 48 games, Hawks television ratings in the Atlanta DMA are up 82% YTD on the channel.

RIP to Ed Sabol, founder of NFL Films, who died Monday in his home in Scottsdale at the age of 98. During his tenure (1964-1995), NFL Films won 52 Emmy Awards for his transformational work. In a statement on NFL.com, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated: "Through his determination and innovative spirit, Ed Sabol transformed how America watched football and all sports. Ed ignited the fire at NFL Films and was the Keeper of the Flame with a remarkable vision and dedication to telling the stories of the people who played, coached and loved the game. He earned the ultimate recognition by being selected in 2011 to the Pro Football Hall of Fame where he will forever be remembered alongside the men he so greatly cared about. Ed’s memory will live forever in the hearts and minds of fans around the world whenever they see the work of NFL Films and of the many people he inspired."


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Toshiba is turning its attention to the Rugby World Cup. The organization announced that the global electronics company will serve as an official sponsor. The Toshiba appointment follows the appointment of Heineken, Land Rover, Societe Generale, DHL, Emirates and MasterCard as Rugby World Cup 2015 Worldwide Partners, Coca-Cola and Canon as Official Sponsors, Gilbert as Official Ball Supplier, Canterbury of New Zealand as Official Sportswear Supplier, Clifford Chance as Official Law Firm, EY as Business Advisor, and ESP as Master Licensee.


Yahoo and Major League Baseball Advanced Media locked in an extension of their long-term partnership that will see Yahoo as the official commissioner fantasy game of MLB.com. The deal will see new features that include in-game highlights and alerts for favorite teams, access to the MLB.TV Game of the Day and condensed games to watch on-demand.
In related news, MLBAM officially announced that R.B.I. Baseball 15 hits the spring for next generation consoles, smartphones and tablets. The game will see Cubs All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo serve as the game’s first-ever cover athlete while 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Pedro Martinez has signed on to promote the title. New features this year include: completely redesigned authentic Major League ballparks for all 30 franchises; full rosters; stat tracking and more.

Motorsports writer Bob Pockrass joined the ESPN family where he will cover NASCAR for ESPN.com. There, he will produce news stories, features, analysis, columns, blogs and more for the NASCAR section of ESPN.com. In addition, the company announced that John Oreovicz, who has covered IndyCar, NHRA, NASCAR and other forms of motorsports for ESPN.com since 2004, signed a contract with ESPN to continue his writing and reporting role.


NASCAR named Mike Helton as Vice Chairman of NASCAR while Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar has been added to the NASCAR Board of Directors. Helton has served as NASCAR President since 2000 and has been with the sanctioning body in various roles since 1994. Meanwhile, Dewar, who joined NASCAR in December of 2013 will assume additional day-to-day operational responsibilities in racing development, innovation and work with NASCAR partners and stakeholders.

FOX Sports made a pair of promotions, appointing Rod Conti to Vice President, Technical Operations and Production Management, and Sandy Gong to the new position of Senior Vice President, Production Management.


Rockets/Suns on TNT at 8p.

ON THIS DAY in 1989: Fames NHL broadcaster Dan Kelly dies at 52.

In The Know: Three sets of father/son NASCAR drivers have won the Daytona 500. Name two. (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: In honor of the late Dean Smith, what team did North Carolina beat to win the 1993 Men’s NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament? Answer: Michigan. Kudos: Joe Lyons-Back Nine Productions, Inc./London; Mike Wooters-Eagle Television/NY; Daniel Weber-MLB Network/NY; Ben Sturner-Leverage Agency/NY; Julie Souza-ESPN/NY; Mark Darnell-Golf Services/Augusta; Rick Haan-CommuniConcepts/Morristown; Pamela Wise- The E.W. Scripps Company/Cincinnati; Mike Wexler-Moroch/Atlanta; Andy Pittman-Texas A&M University/College Station; Tim Merryman-I Heart Media WOAI-AM/San Antonio; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Dory Petsrillo-HRP Rep/Dallas; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Richard Sherrill-Kentro Sports/Beverly Hills; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City.

Later — Chris
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