03/09/15: Omnigon plots out digital worlds; Boxing packs a punch; Audi gives MLS the keys


Good morning. It’s Monday March 9, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

With last week’s announcement that the PGA TOUR would be launching its new iPad app, digital consulting firm Omnigon continues to bolster its slate of projects in the sports space. The company, along with POSSIBLE Mobile, unleashed the platform with features that include the use of real-time predictive statistics, both for individual players and the field with stats that include average proximity to hole for approach shots, driving accuracy and distance, distance to hole and the percentage of putts made from current distance.

The PGA TOUR now joins the likes of the NFL, NASCAR, FOX Sports, WWE and World Rugby as clients of Omnigon and comes off the heels of the company opening new offices in LA and St. Petersburg, Russia with the acquisition of international mobile developer Touch Instinct. Cynopsis Sports spoke with David Nugent, Chief Commercial Officer, Omnigon about the company, his clients’ changing needs, and how technology is transforming the sports experience. .

Nugent on the growth of Omnigon: We have been fortunate to continue to grow the business both in North America and in Europe, at least in part because of some of the visibility we have gotten and because we are reaching out into the right areas. The sports business in general is growing like crazy, and digital continues to become an important part of that year over year. I think that the good work that we’ve done in the states, along with the thought leadership, has given us a good platform for our European business. We’re learning a lot about that market and the way you approach it. In general, we are excited about the growth we’ve seen.

On the evolution of clients’ needs: In terms of our traditional clients, we continue to help them evolve their business from a digital perspective as their needs overall change. For some of these organizations, it comes down to the way the way the overall company thinks about digital internally. So, one of the interesting things that I have personally seen has been that there is this ebb and flow from a business perspective in the way digital is treated.

In some cases, it is owned out at the individual business unit. Companies like that have multiple assets and multiple business units that have for a long time spent money at the business unit level. Each unit has its own set of budgets and digital is a part of that. When you spend a lot of money doing that, somebody ultimately steps in and says ‘Why don’t we centralize that spend’ and then they typically build some kind of centralized digital team in the hope that they will centralize that cost and create efficiency. Then, what happens over time, is that the units don’t feel like they are being served, and eventually the squeaky wheels wind up taking back their budgets and it becomes decentralized again. We are involved in those cycles all the time.

On upcoming projects: There’s a lot of things going on right now that are going to be ground-breaking on a lot of levels. The work we are doing with Verizon is one of those. They only partner in two sports, the NFL and IndyCar. We are providing the mobile technology side of what they are doing with IndyCar including all of their mobile apps. Verizon has put a stake in the ground and decided to innovate and look at the sports and all the interesting data that are moving around the cars moving in excess of 200 mph. Plus, they are going to make it work across all 94 Verizon phones that we have and there are now a lot of cool things being done with those apps that are going to be released in March. One is the concept of 3D live, as we’ve created a 3D-rendered experience that represents what is going on the tracks. The second is that it will be the first true deployment of the latest Verizon LT multicast, essentially turning the concept of cell towers into broadcast towers so it isn’t every single person individually requesting all this data one at a time. Instead, the data will be broadcast. So we are leveraging a real-time data delivery product called Turbine to deliver open WbeSocket connections from the data centers directly into the applications.

On the PGA TOUR app: We wanted to design an app that would enhance the experience of golf fans everywhere, whether or not they were at the tournament, by allowing them to follow every shot, statistic and standing. Course visualizations, hole by hole, right down to green level-combined with broadcast streaming, and a ton of other really interesting features make this app unique. We are extremely proud of our PGA Tour partnership and what we’ve been able to accomplish with them. Scott Gutterman and his team are real pro’s and this app is evidence of how effectively we work together.”


With the full weight of its parent company behind it, NBC Sports’ inaugural debut of the PBC on NBC notched a 2.53/5 in early Nielsen numbers, according to NBC. That ranked as the highest-rated sporting event from 9-11p (with a 2.67) on Saturday and led the network to a broadcast primetime victory among Adults 18-49. Top markets included: Norfolk 5.5/8; Cincinnati 4.9/10; San Antonio 4.8/9; New Orleans 4.3/7; and Ft. Myers 3.9/7.

Cuba continues to garner the attention of sports leagues, with the NASL’s New York Cosmos now set to play the Cuban national team in June in Havana, according to the New York Times. That would mark the first American professional team to play there since the Orioles played an exhibition game with Cuba in 1999, with the doors now open since the US government announced a restoration of diplomatic relations in December. The match will take place on June 2

Mario Lopez becomes the latest name to join the talent tent for Golden Boy Promotions’ monthly LA Fight Club series for FOX Sports 1. The Extra host joined play-by-play announcer Brian Custer, color commentator Paulie Malignaggi and ringside reporter Jessica Rosales on the channel for its coverage of the boxing franchise.

Univision Deportes saw its Liga MX coverage of Guadalajara/Monterrey ranks as the most-viewed soccer match of the week across all networks regardless of language. The UniMas broadcast delivered 1.3 million Total Viewers 2+ and 761,000 Adults 18-49. Liga MX is averaging 303,000 Total Viewers 2+ and 179,000 Adults 18-49 per game on UDN this season.

LeBron is heading back to NBA TV Fan Night presented by Sprint, with fans voting for the Cavaliers/Mavericks matchup to run tomorrow at 8:30p. Game selection was based on fan voting via NBA.com, the NBA.com mobile web, NBA Game Time App, and via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

ESPN lined up a three-hour block of NFL Insiders and NFL Live as free agency begins for the NFL. The schedule kicks off tomorrow at 3p with hosts Suzy Kolber and Trey Wingo anchoring the studio shows with Bill Polian, NFL Insiders Adam Schefter, John Clayton and Adam Caplan, and reporter Josina Anderson. Tedy Bruschi, Tim Hasselbeck and Mark Schlereth will also offer analysis throughout the shows along with Ryan Clark.


April 16, 2015  | NYAC | 8-10:00am
Cynopsis Sports will honor 4 executives who changed the way their sports entities connected with fans around the country:

GEM AWARD Morgan Flatley, Chief Marketing Officer – Gatorade
LEGACY AWARD Sean McManus, Chairman – CBS Sports
VISION AWARD Gary B. Bettman, Commissioner – NHL
NAVIGATOR AWARD Juan Carlos Rodriguez, President of Univision – Deportes Univision Communications Inc.


Major League Soccer continues to kick up new partners with the launch of the new season. The league locked in Audi in a multi-year agreement that makes the company the Official Automotive Partner of MLS. As part of the partnership, Audi also becomes the presenting sponsor of the MLS Cup Playoffs. The agreement will see Audi use MLS intellectual property to “establish an authentic connection with soccer fans across North America” and air MLS-themed television commercials during nationally televised games. 

The NCAA is taking its brackets to new levels by building 165-foot tall bracket on the JW Marriott Indianapolis. The bracket was designed and built by Sport Graphics and remain on the building for the duration of NCAA March Madness and the Final Four, taking up 44,000 square-feet. “Indianapolis has a great history of hosting the NCAA Final Four and providing a one-of-a-kind championship experience for college athletes,” said JoAn Scott, NCAA Managing Director of Men’s Basketball Championships. “We want to get everyone excited for the Final Four and what better way to do this than by putting a larger-than-life bracket on display in the city.”

Speaking of the tournament, Buffalo Wild Wings is launching a new brand campaign dubbed #WingWisdom, “that brings to life the company’s unique take on sports, food, fandom and everything in between.” The chain is debuting the #WingWisdom platform via a fully integrated, college basketball-themed marketing campaign that launched over the weekend across television, social, digital, in-restaurant activations and on-site Final Four experiences. Spots will see starring actor and comedian Steve Rannazzisi as the central figure and spotlights the different experiences that fans encounter watching the tournament in the restaurant versus watching from home. In addition, the company will join CBS Sports and TBS Sports in “Basketball Wisdom” studio segments in which on-air talent will offer fans their expert analysis and insight related to upcoming games.


Sports media company Flocasts is rebranding into FloSports starting Match 11. The company recently nabbed $8 million in venture capital investment and offers more than 980,000 original produced videos in its library and broadcasts more than 25,000 hours of live sporting events each year.

ESPN3 continues to get deeper into eSports, and will carry Heroes of the Dorm, a college tournament of contenders playing videogame Heroes of the Storm. Blizzard Entertainment and TeSPA revealed the plans for ESPN3 to carry the Round of 16, Round of 8, and “Heroic Four” live exclusively on the multi-screen sports network. In late April, the Heroes of the Dorm championship match will then be televised live in prime time on an ESPN network. “Heroes of the Dormpresents an exciting opportunity to once again work with Blizzard, a leader in the games industry,” said Raphael Poplock, Vice President of Games and Partnerships, ESPN. “By delivering the tournament to an audience of gaming fans in the US and beyond, we are able to experiment with new formats and programming across our networks.”

Join Cynopsis on Tuesday, March 31 from 1:30p to 2:45p for the How to Sell Digital Advertising in a Fragmented Media World Webinar. You will hear from sales expert Bob Maund, West Region VP, Digital Sales for CNBC & NBC News Group at NBC Universal and Steve Bookbinder, Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training. This fast-paced, idea-packed webinar is tailored to TV sales and marketing teams. Just one hour of your time could mean exponential sales growth! Register Now.


The NCAA is upgrading its equipment to better offer replay reviews and timekeeping, locking in agreements with DVSport and Precision Timing Systems that will launch for the 2015 Division I men’s and women’s basketball championships. The DVSport software is “designed to provide a more efficient replay process intended to reduce the length of time officials spend at the scorer’s table reviewing a play.” Video is captured live into the replay system and then cued up so officials are able to view different angles of the play immediately.

Sports Car Club of America entered a two-year partnership with Garmin that makes the VIRB the “Official Camera of SCCA.” In addition to recording 1080p HD video, VIRB Elite also offers a built-in GPS sensor to gather metrics like speed, distance, heart rate and G-force. This data can then be embedded into the video using VIRB Edit.

Caribbean production company Phase 3 Productions Ltd. will use ChyronHego’s Virtual Placement to boost live video production of soccer matches for the Red Stripe Premier League. Phase 3 Productions is using Virtual Placement to add virtual graphics to each broadcast and provide football fans for “a richer and more compelling viewing experience.”


Can William & Mary make the tournament for the first time ever? They face Northeastern on NBCSN at 7p with a bid on the line in the CAA Finals.


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 1995: MLB awards a franchise to Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg.

In The Know: Only one city has claimed three championships from among NFL/MLB/NBA/NHL in a single calendar year. Which city is it? (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: Which NHL team has the longest current playoff drought? Answer: Edmonton. (Most popular answer: Islanders). Kudos: Art Salisch-HEARST Television/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; David Kalan-NHL.com/NY; Jeff Day-NHL/NY; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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