03/05/15: The NHL finds its World Cup partners; CBS, Turner reveal NCAA broadcast teams; McManus, Gatorade to be honored at Cynopsis Sports Media Awards


Good morning. It’s Thursday March 5, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The NHL made its World Cup of Hockey broadcaster partners official yesterday, confirming the ESPN would carry the tournament once again when it hits the ice in September 2016. The deal spans all tournament games  including round-robin, semi-final and the best-of-three final  for the tournament and includes exclusive rights on television and radio, with most games slated to run on ESPN and ESPN2. In addition, ESPN International is given exclusive rights in over 20 countries served by its Pacific Rim and Latin North networks. Meanwhile, Canada will see Sportsnet carry the exclusive English-language media rights in the country while TVA Sports offers the exclusive French-language telecasts.


CBS Sports and Turner Sports locked in their lineup for the upcoming NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, with live, full national coverage of all 67 tournament games across four networks  TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV  as well as NCAA March Madness Live, beginning Tuesday, March 17, with the NCAA First Four on truTV presented by Northwestern Mutual. This year’s Final Four will be shown Saturday, April 4, on TBS with team-specific “TeamCast” coverage available via TNT and truTV and Championship game set for April 6 on CBS. Bill Raftery and Grant Hill will offer game analysis with play-by-play commentator Jim Nantz and reporter Tracy Wolfson calling the NCAA Final Four National Semifinals and National Championship. Meanwhile, Chris Webber, Steve Lappas and Steve Smith will also serve as game analysts at the tournament for the first time this year. Mateen Cleaves will be a studio analyst, joined by host Matt Winer and analyst Seth Davis from Turner Studios in Atlanta. In New York, Ernie Johnson hosts studio coverage from the Final Four and National Championship with analysts Charles Barkley, Clark Kellogg and Kenny Smith. They will be joined by Greg Gumbel with analysts Reggie Miller, Seth Davis, Steve Smith and college coaches.

Major League Soccer is indeed going to start its season on time. Players confirmed that its union had voted to approve the league’s latest proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement, opening the door for the season to kick off this weekend.  The deal spans five years and creates free agency for players 28 years of age or older, with at least eight years experience and includes a minimum salary of $60,000, according to reports.

HBO Sports is staying in the ring with Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman, inking new multiyear deals with the announcers. Both will continue to serve on multiple HBO Boxing platforms, including World Championship Boxing, HBO Boxing After Dark and HBO Pay-Per-View. Lampley and Kellerman return to HBO on Saturday, March 14 when they call the World Championship Boxing tripleheader from Montreal’s Bell Centre.

CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus and Gatorade CMO Morgan Flatley will be on hand at the Cynopsis Sports Media Awards on April 16 in NY to receive two of our biggest honors this year. McManus will be the recipient of our annual Legacy Award, while Flatley will accept the GEM Award, honoring the brand of the year, on behalf of the company. Congratulations to you both!

FOX Sports 1 saw Saturday’s one-two punch of NASCAR and UFC deliver over the weekend. Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race notched 1,516,000 viewers on FOX Sports 1 to rank as the third most-watched non-NASCAR Sprint Cup event ever on the channel. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race saw 1,149,000 viewers, up 7% from the last time a NCWTS race aired the same weekend. Meanwhile, the UFC 184: Rousey vs. Zingano PPV Prelims on reeled in 1,205,000 viewers, making it the third most watched UFC PPV Prelims on the network since launch.

The Arena Football League revealed broadcast plans with CBS Sports Network this season, with 14 regular season games and two playoff games set for the channel. Season coverage begins with the first game in Las Vegas Outlaws franchise history, as they face the San Jose SaberCats on March 30, at 10:30p. “CBS Sports Network continues to be an important partner,” Arena Football League Commissioner Scott C. Butera said. “Their knowledge of our sport, innovation, and attention to detail makes viewing the AFL as entertaining as any program you’ll find.”

ESPN updated its NBA regular-season schedule, locking in the Hawks/Warriors battle on March 18 at 10:30p. In addition, on Wednesday, April 15, the network will showcase the Pacers/Grizzlies at 9:30p, with the Hornets/Raptors matchup shifting to 7p.

Universal Sports Network revealed plans for the 2015 ASICS LA Marathon next Sunday at 3p. The network’s national TV coverage will showcase the 26.2-mile race with 25,000 runners taking on the “Stadium to the Sea” course from Dodger Stadium to the Pacific Ocean. The event will also serve as the 2015 USA Track & Field Marathon Championships, as 61 American elites compete for a national title.

The Iditarod is back for its 2015 race with Sportsman Channel back to cover the event. Following special March 7 live coverage of the ceremonial start, Sportsman Channel will then run a full slate of programming that includes Iditarod Unleashed starting March 19 that culminates with the 2015 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on April 2. Iditarod Productions will continue to produce the annual sled dog spectacle


Webinar: What You Need to Know Now About Programmatic Ad Buying
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 – 1:30PM to 3:00PM

– Jason Lopatecki,
Chief Strategy Officer for Tubemogul
– Lon Otremba,
CEO for Bidtellect
– Brendan Condon,
CEO for Media Properties Holdings
– JoAnna Foyle,
SVP of Client Services & Operations at Adap.tv (a division of AOL Platforms)


Walt Disney World is sponsoring Orlando’s new Major League Soccer club just ahead of its debut match on Sunday against New York FC. According to the release, the theme park’s deal is “expected to raise Disney’s profile in Brazil, home of the Orlando team’s star player Kaka, and in Latin America generally where soccer is a national pastime in almost every country.” The deal dubs Disney World as the soccer team’s official theme park, resort destination, cruise line and vacation club. 

Ahead of the NCAA Tournament, Yahoo! Sports announced 7 Eleven will give everyone who signs up for Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick’em will receive a free Big Gulp Drink from the store. The drink coupons will be sent out on March 21 and must be redeemed within a week of games starting.


The PGA TOUR has a new iPad app that is up and running during this week’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. The app was developed in partnership with Omnigon and POSSIBLE Mobile and offers is the use of real-time predictive statistics, both for individual players and the field in addition to other elements. Stats are updated after each stroke and include average proximity to hole for approach shots, driving accuracy and distance, distance to hole and the percentage of putts made from current distance. Other features include a bird’s eye 18-hole view of the course and the ability to track every golf swing a player takes using shot trails and shot plots, providing fans with ball placement, shot charts and scoring from each location.

NESN.com saw a record January, bringing in 6.8 million unique visitors as the Patriots headed toward their Super Bowl win with 64 million views for the month. “NESN.com continues to grow month over month and year over year,” said Mike Hall, NESN’s Vice President, Digital. “We are building on this success by significantly expanding our unique video content in 2015 to cover breaking sports news both locally and nationally.”

Want to learn more about the modern digital ecosystem, and how advertisers, marketers and brands are managing money to make money? Then you want to attend the THE NEW REVENUE LANDSCAPE panel at 9:50am at The Cynopsis Digital Business Summit. Join us on Thursday, April 23 at the Astor Center in NYC and register now to receive the early bird rate: http://j.mp/CynDMS


Entertainment brand consultancy and marketing innovations agency Troika hired Kevin Aratari to oversee all sales and marketing functions as head of Business Development and Marketing Communications.


Mavericks/Trail Blazers on TNT at 10:30p.


Want to find out what shows are online and when?

Check out the Watcheroo Digital Programming Guide

Organized by show name, date, and platform, we have everything you’ll need to be caught up on digital premieres, ongoing programs, live-streamed events and integrated series.

ON THIS DAY in 1991: Indiana’s Reggie Miller begins a NBA free throw streak that spans 52 games.

In The Know: What NFL team has gone the longest without drafting a QB in the first round? (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: Who was the last NBA player to hit a quadruple-double? Answer: David Robinson. Kudos: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; David Stern-BARD Entertainment/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
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