02/12/15: NASCAR’s RaceBuddy goes full-time; NFL Media preps for the combine; Godiva serves up an ace


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


Good morning. It’s Thursday February 12, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

NASCAR’s RaceBuddy platform is going full season. Thanks to its new 10-year media partnership with FOX Sports, NASCAR announced that fans will now have access to the digital video complement to the race broadcast throughout the entire 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season for the first time ever. RaceBuddy now revs up with the Sprint Unlimited on Saturday at 8p. In addition, fans will also have access to RaceBuddy for most NASCAR XFINITY Series races in 2015.

“RaceBuddy is a great example of the unique content and user experiences available to fans across our digital properties,” said Colin Smith, vice president of NASCAR Digital Media. “Expanding RaceBuddy’s availability to include the entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is just one of many enhancements fans can expect at NASCAR.com and on the NASCAR mobile apps in 2015.”


NFL Media has lined up over 45 hours of live coverage of the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine Presented by Under Armour. Programming begins on Feb. 18, according to NFL.com, across NFL Network, NFL.com, NFL Now and NFL Mobile broadcast live from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The talent team of 23 will once again include the likes of Mike Mayock, Charles Davis and Daniel Jeremiah. In addition, former NFL head coaches Steve Mariucci and Brian Billick as well as former NFL scout Bucky Brooks will be on hand for their own insights. Live coverage of on-field workouts launches Feb. 20 with the spotlight on offensive linemen and tight ends starting at 9a.  In addition, NFL Now will also deliver free live streams of every NFL head coach and general manager press conference from the combine as well as select prospect press conferences.

Speaking of the NFL, the league announced that the Vikings and Steelers will take the spotlight in Canton this August to launch the 2015 preseason in the NFL Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 9 at 8p. NBC carries the matchup. Meanwhile, longtime Steelers running back Jerome Bettis and Vikings center Mick Tonglehoff are among the new class inducted into the Hall of Fame.

CBS Sports Network lined up a new documentary for Feb. 16 at 8p, entitled Forward Progress: The Integration of SEC Football. The special will examine Nate Northington, the first African-American football player in the Southeastern Conference and explores the impact Northington’s arrival had on the University of Kentucky, the SEC and the sports and cultural landscape in the United States.

Las Vegas plays host to the 2015 USA Sevens International Rugby Tournament this weekend, with the top four teams from the 2014-15 Sevens World Series automatically qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Overall, NBC and NBCSN will combine to offer eight hours of coverage while Universal Sports Network delivers an additional 8.5 starting Friday at 7:30p. NBC’s coverage kicks off the following day at 2p. Todd Harris calls the matches for NBC and NBCSN and will be joined by Brian Hightower.

FOX Sports inked former racer, team owner and NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship crew chief Andy Petree to the role of on-air Rules Analyst for the 2015 FOX NASCAR race season. According to the company, with the debut of NASCAR’s new video officiating system on pit road, Petree will explain any technical violations to the viewing audience, beginning this week at Daytona.

ESPN Deportes’ coverage of the Caribbean World Series, which spanned Feb. 2-8, delivered the most-watched baseball telecast ever on ESPN Deportes with the Cuba/Mexico matchup also notching the most-watched Caribbean Series telecast ever among Hispanic P2+ with 277,000 viewers. The game also delivered a 1.0 Hispanic Household rating, making it the second highest-rated Series game ever. ESPN Deportes’ live telecast of all 13 games and Opening Ceremony averaged a 0.4 Hispanic household rating and 91,000 Hispanic viewers (+P2).

NBA TV debuts a new episode of After Dark with Rick Fox on Feb. 17 at 10:30p with a New York-themed episode with interviews and segments hosted by the former NBA star and current NBA TV analyst. The episode tips off the season with stars that include ballerina Misty Copeland of the American Ballet Theatre, actors Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars) and Harry Lennix (The Blacklist), as well as radio host Angie Martinez. In addition, Fox and Ray Allen also return to Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High School to talk about Allen’s experience filming He Got Game.

NFL Network and Sunday NFL Red Zone host Scott Hanson is reportedly wrapping up a deal to call the blow-by-blow for Spike TV’s Friday night telecasts of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions. Last week, Spike TV announced that Dana Jacobson would serve as the host for the series.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences will honor former ESPN Executive Chairman and President George Bodenheimer with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports at the 36th annual Sports Emmy Awards ceremony at Jazz at Lincoln Center on May 5th, 2015. “The National Academy is awarding this year’s Sports Lifetime Achievement Award to an individual who helped change the landscape of sports broadcasting globally,” said Bob Mauro, President, NATAS. “Working his way up from the mailroom, George Bodenheimer became its longest-tenured President while leading ESPN to an unprecedented period of global growth. His guiding hand in a multiplicity of new networks and platforms has made ESPN synonymous with sports content ‘anytime and anywhere.’ The National Academy is delighted to bestow this well-deserved honor to him.”


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Famed tennis player Caroline Wazniacki is Godiva’s new global celebrity ambassador. The chocolatier’s deal marks the first global celebrity partnership for the brand as well as the first confectionery deal for Wozniacki. According to the announcement the brand reached out to Wozniacki after company CFO Dave Marberger read about Wozniacki’s love of chocolate in a Wall Street Journal article late last year. Wozniacki will now support brand initiatives globally while she is on the tournament circuit.


Growing fantasy sports company DraftKings is on the verge of bring UFC into its fold, according to the New York Business Journal. The deal would span a year and involve “DraftKings signage at events, a large web presence, and broadcast features designed to bring UFC fans to the fantasy site.”

Check out the 4 reasons why it’s more important than ever to know your audience numbers, according to YuMe co-founder and CEO Jayant Kadambi in the newest Cynsiders.


Cavaliers/Bulls square off on TNT at 8p.

ON THIS DAY in 2000: Former Cowboys coach Tom Landry dies.

In The Know: The late, great coach Jerry Tarkanian appeared with Nicolas Cage in what movie? (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: After claiming the crown with a win over Tyson, which boxer later took the heavyweight title away from Buster Douglas? Answer: Evander Holyfield. Kudos: Mitch Burg-Impact Communications/Israel; Joe Lyons-Back Nine Productions, Inc./Amsterdam; Sheila Mills-Showtime/NY; Rick Rosenfelt-ESPN New York/NY; Michael Donato-ABC/NY; Rob Thompson-North American Sports Group/NY; Jon Show-Show Sports Media/Charlotte; Doug Jacobs-Integrated Sports Media/Tenafly; Howie Schwab-Sports Jeopardy/West Hartford; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-Texas A&M University/College Station; Gretchen Brady-KDAF/Dallas; Lisa Fikeys-Zimmerman/Chicago; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA; John Sutton-Charter Digital Media/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
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