03/05/14: DISH Serves Up SEC Network, Longhorn Network



CYNOPSISSPORTS
03.05.14

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, March 5, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The announcement that DISH had locked in a new agreement with the Walt Disney Company presents some new developments on the sports front as the television provider has now agreed to carry ESPN’s upcoming channel the SEC Network as well as Longhorn Network. The SEC Network is slated to launch on Aug. 14, and will now be available to fans of the conference in DISH’s America’s Top 120+ and higher packages across the country. DISH subscribers will also have authenticated access to additional live events scheduled for the SEC Network’s digital platform.

"This is an important day for the SEC Network," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said. "We are pleased to welcome DISH to the SEC family. More than five months ahead of the network launch, it’s exciting to have a national distributor and our first satellite provider onboard. Now SEC fans from across the country have another way to show their conference pride and sign up to get the SEC Network."
 
As for Longhorn Network, DISH will offer the channel both within the state of Texas and nationwide in the America’s Top 120+ and higher packages nationwide later this summer. The deal between ESPN and DISH more than doubles LHN’s national distribution.

ON THE AIR

FOX Sports is getting in the ballgame early, and will offer MLB Spring Training coverage that will include live games, original programming, and season previews. FOX Sports’ coverage will be anchored by local telecasts of 130 live Spring Training games produced by FOX Sports Regional Networks, with matchups that will feature all 30 Major League Baseball teams at least once. On March 15 at 4p, FOX Sports 1 debuts FOX Sports Salutes the Troops, spotlighting FOX Sports’ goodwill visit to Fort Bragg U.S. Army Base in North Carolina that featured current players, MLB Legends, FOX broadcasters, and the FOX Sports Girls. On March 18, the channel carries The Offseason, a joint effort from MLB Productions and FOX Sports Originals.

USA Wrestling and Universal Sports Network entered a partnership to broadcast a slate of Olympic-style wrestling competitions. The multi-year agreement hands Universal Sports exclusive TV rights to the Freestyle World Cup, U.S. Open, U.S. World Team Trials as well as additional USA Wrestling programming including an ongoing news and highlights show. This is the first multi-event network television agreement for USA Wrestling. The announcement comes in advance of the 2014 Freestyle Wrestling World Cup, the annual international dual meet championships, which will air on a tape-delayed basis on that channel on Monday, March 24, from 8-10p.

With 52 hours of coverage of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games on deck form NBC Olympics and the USOC, the network announced 13 commentators, including seven veteran Olympic commentators and four Paralympians who will handle microphone duties. Paralympians on Team NBC include: skier Chris Waddell, swimmer Jessica Long, skier Sarah Will; and Paralympic sled hockey medalist Kip St. Germaine. Commentators also include Russ Thaler, Carolyn Manno, Todd Harris, Stacey Wooley, Lewis Johnson, Pete Fenson, Jim Watson, and Dave Strader. The Opening Ceremony will air live on Friday, March 7 at 11a with Chris Waddell hosting alongside Steve Schlanger.

Kevin Calabro inked a multi-year extension to remain the lead play-by-play voice of the NBA on ESPN Radio, where he will call regular-season, All-Star and playoff action and work with lead NBA analyst Jon Barry, as well as PJ Carlesimo and Stan Van Gundy. Calabro has worked for ESPN Radio since 2000.
 
Meanwhile, ESPN Deportes has added soccer legend Hugo Sanchez to its roster of more than 30 former players and expert soccer journalists for the World Cup. The group will provide its perspective and expertise starting June 8, 2014 from Rio de Janeiro.

NBC Sports Group is set to launch its 2014 MLS regular-season slate, beginning with Kansas City against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday at 3p NBCSN, immediately following Premier League coverage. NBC Sports Group’s lead play-by-play announcer John Strong will call the match and will be joined by former U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Kyle Martino and host Russ Thaler.

Pac-12 Networks returns to Las Vegas for three days of the 2014 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament, Presented by New York Life from March 12-15. For the second straight year, every game from the tournament will be televised to a live national audience with all four opening round matchups, as well three quarterfinal and one semifinal contest airing exclusively on Pac-12 Networks. The action begins with opening round games on March 12 at noon PT. Overall, nine on-air voices will be utilized for coverage of the tournament, including play-by-play voices Ted Robinson and Kevin Calabro pairing with Don MacLean and Ernie Kent, respectively.

ABC’s Dancing with the Stars will once again be heavy on athletic talent, with the show announcing that this year’s competitors will include gold medal winning ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White, as well as hockey’s Sean Avery, swimmer Diana Nyad and the show’s first Paralympian Amy Purdy. Also competing will be Drew Carey, Billy Dee Williams, Cody Simpson, Danica McKellar, Candace Cameron Bure, NeNe Leakes, and James Maslow.


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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The 2014 NCAA March Madness Music Festival has its lineup as NCAA and Turner Live Events, along with official NCAA Corporate Champions AT&T, The Coca-Cola Company and Capital One announced performers for the free, three-day music festival. This year’s event will begin on April 4 with Jason Aldean at the AT&T Block Party. On Saturday, fans will see Tim McGraw and rock band The Killers at the Coke Zero Countdown Concert, while Sunday will see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performing at the Capital One JamFest.

Univision is kicking off the Univision Deportes 100 day countdown to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. The company launched its new campaign Tu Mundial Esta Con Univision (Your World Cup Home is Univision). To support the effort, for the next 100 days leading up to and during the 31 days of the World Cup, Univision Network, UniMas, Galavision, Univision Deportes Network, and other platforms will be leveraged to deliver content focusing on the sports news, history, culture, fashion, food, events, and social aspects of the World Cup. Content includes a countdown of the 100 best goals in soccer history, human interest stories on the history of the tournament, and integrations leveraging talent as well as a sweepstakes.

X Games is launching a campaign to celebrate 20 years in action sports with 20 Years, 20 Firsts, a collection of 20 iconic first-trick moments beginning from the franchise’s inception in 1995 through the debut of X Games Austin in early June. The first moment of 20 was unveiled yesterday on XGames.com and will be followed with one new moment each succeeding week through April. Beginning in May, two moments will be revealed each week until June 5 – the first day of X Games Austin. XGames.com will give fans a chance to vote for their favorite first moment starting in May.

DIGITAL & TECHNOLOGY

CBS Interactive Advanced Media launched new mobile websites for its more than 120 partner schools’ official athletic sites. The new sites will look to deliver a "significantly improved mobile experience, featuring a redesigned look with improved functionality and more related content, aligning the mobile experience more closely with the desktop experience." 

January set a new record for FOX Sports Digital as its multi-platform audience hit a new high of 46.8 million visitors in January, marking a 12% spike over December. The company’s mobile audience helped generate the growth, rising 34% month-over-month.

IMG College’s partnership with live radio service TuneIn is expanding for March Madness. TuneIn will distribute every one of IMG Audio’s Pac-12 championship tournament broadcasts as well as with a national version of the AAC championship tournament produced by IMG Audio. Fans can listen for free via Official Athletics web sites, the free TuneIn Radio app, and TuneIn.com.

Speaking of the AAC conference tournament, the American Digital Network and LiveU announced plans to offer more than 80 hours of second-screen coverage for TheAmerican.org, the conference’s official website. The schedule spans March 7-10 for the women’s tournament as March 12-15 for the men’s and will include 45-minute live pre-game shows ahead of each one of the 18 championship-round games, post-game press conferences, half-time shows, locker room interviews, and more, hosted by correspondent Tara Petrolino Sullivan.

ROSTER MOVES

FOX Deportes named Pamela Torres as Director of Operations for the company. Torres had previously served as Supervising Producer for the outlet.

THE MAIN EVENT

Louisville/SMU on CBS Sports Network at 7p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1991: Indiana’s Reggie Miller begins an NBA free throw streak of 52 games.

In The Know: Which MAC school has won the most men’s conference tournament championships? (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: Temple University athletic teams are known by what nickname? The Owls. Kudos: Rick Rosenfelt-ESPN New York/NY; Greg Conklin-Gray Television/NY; Jordan Bick-CineSport/NY; Michael Dittelman-SportsOnEarth.com/NY; Chris Ellis-Comcast Spotlight/Philadelphia; Robert Twilley-Jupiter Entertainment/Knoxville; Brandon Bell-University of Pennsylvania/Philadelphia; Bernie Greenberg-The Sports Network/Philadelphia; Bob Ramsey-Weigel Broadcasting/Chicago; Pam Tierney-Lily Productions/Chicago; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Will Allmendinger-Zoom Media/Chicago; David Hauptman/Denver; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Michael Jaquet-U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association/Park City; Daniel Hanson/Aspen; Thomas Tyrer-Circle Change Media/LA; Anne Wettig-Fox Sports 1/LA; Jeff Mirkin-The Game Plane/Hollywood; Paul Barrere-FOX Sports/Playa Vista.


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At this Kids webinar on Thursday, March 20, join Cynopsis Kids and industry insiders including PBS Kids and you’ll walk away with critical business intel including:

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– The key differences between kid-specific tablets and general-use devices
– The risks and rewards of developing proprietary content vs. open apps



Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine
03.05.14

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