03/10/16: DIRECTV shoots 4K at Augusta; NHL preps for Centennial; YES Network brings the heat


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Men’s College Basketball Conference Tournaments

Mountain West Today & Tomorrow
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Good morning. It’s Thursday March 10, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

AT&T will tee off on its first-ever live 4K Ultra High Definition broadcast stateside with The Masters next month on DIRECTV. The event will run on the new DIRECTV 4K Channel and allow viewers – with compatible 4K UHD equipment – to watch coverage of Amen Corner for all four rounds of Tournament play starting April 7 at Augusta National. The new DIRECTV 4K channel launches in April as part of the DIRECTV Ultimate and Premier Packages. "Golf’s premier event deserves the best viewing experience that 4K UHD on DIRECTV provides," said Dan York, chief content officer, AT&T Entertainment Group. "Once you see it in 4K on DIRECTV, it’s going to be tough to see it any other way  unless you’re there in person."


The NHL will pit the Maple Leafs against the  Red Wings in an outdoor regular-season game at BMO Field in Toronto on Jan. 1, 2017, in the first-ever NHL Centennial Classic. The year-long Centennial celebration that will feature a slate of ceremonies, recognitions, observances and special events that will highlight 100 years of NHL hockey and also recognize a number of milestone anniversaries for member Clubs, including the Maple Leafs. “This meeting of the Red Wings and Maple Leafs offers an ideal launch for a fantastic 2017 — the year in which the National Hockey League will celebrate its Centennial, Toronto will commemorate 100 years of NHL play and Canada will observe the 150th anniversary of Confederation,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Since the Red Wings and Maple Leafs made NHL outdoor history by drawing more than 105,000 people to ‘The Big House’ in 2014, this unique rematch provides a perfect beginning to an historic year for our League, our Clubs and our fans.”

Cynopsis Sports is proud to unveil our first two luminaries for next month’s Cynopsis Sports Media Awards, with MLS Commissioner Don Garber set to be the recipient of the Vision Award while MLB Network President Rob McGlarry will be presented with the Navigator Award. Congrats to both of these executives, who will receive their honor at the fifth annual event on April 21 at New York Athletic Club. We’ll be naming the Vision Award and Brand of the Year winners in the coming days so stay tuned. Meanwhile, this event sells out every single year so hurry and get your tickets now by clicking here.

UFC 196 proved to be a boon for FS1 and FS2, which scored viewership records for related programming. High marks included the FS1 UFC 196 Prefight Show on Saturday with 767,000 viewers, according to Nielsen, making it the most-viewed prefight show in FS1 history. Meanwhile, the UFC 196 Weigh-In Show also hit a high on both FS1 and FS2 on Friday, to reel in 358,000 viewers, making it the most-watched ever. The FS1 UFC 196 Prelims ranked as FS1’s second most-watched Pay-Per-View Prelims ever, generating 1,843,000 viewers. Meanwhile, Ariel Helwani’s interview with Conor McGregor following McGregor’s loss, garnered 14.8 million views to score as the best performing video ever for FOX’s UFC Facebook page.

Selection Sunday will see ESPN serve up analysis and discussion throughout the day on studio shows across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network and ESPN Radio this weekend, in addition to the title games from the SEC, American and Sun Belt. A two-hour Bracketology presented by Staples runs Sunday at 7p, with another two hours immediately following at 9p on ESPN2. Hosting duties across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network and ESPN Radio will be handled by Peter Burns, Rece Davis, Chris Cotter, Brendan Fitzgerald, Dari Nowkhah, Paul Finebaum, Matt Schick, Anish Shroff and Adnan Virk.

CBS Sports Network’s 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship plans will include a roster of 15 announcers, guest coaches, game previews, highlights and more starting Sunday when the channel carries five hours of programming surrounding the Selection Show on CBS, including a two-hour edition of NCAA March Madness Bracket Breakdown from 3:30p-5:30p and again starting at 7:30p. Studio programming is anchored by Adam Zucker, Brent Stover, Dana Jacobson, Allie LaForce and Jamie Erdahl.

On the talent front, ESPN is adding former NFL quarterback Matthew Hasselbeck to its roster where he will serve as a NFL analyst as part of Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown. Hasselbeck will also make occasional appearances on other ESPN studio shows and platforms, including NFL Live. Meanwhile, current NFL analyst Mike Ditka will shift to a new role as a SportsCenter contributor via a new two-year deal with the company. Ditka will contribute to the news and information program on a year-round basis beginning in September.

Meanwhile, AXS TV Fights is adding Mauro Ranallo as the new host of Inside MMA starting March 25. Ranallo is best known for his play-by-play commentary for the likes of Pride Fighting Championships, Showtime Boxing, and Strikeforce.

The US Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas officially got the green flag. Race organizers announced Wednesday that the Formula One race would return, despite financial struggles, with a tentative date of Oct. 23, according to the AP. In addition, the track will host a Taylor Swift concert as part of the weekend’s festivities.

RR Media is teaming up with French broadcast facilities provider, WTS Live, to offer a full suite of digital media services at UEFA Euro 2016. RR Media and WTS Live blended resources to offer complete media packages, including live stand-up/ recorded transmission, turnaround, production and content delivery to operators worldwide, over multiple platforms, in different configurations.

Compass Media Networks and Learfield locked in a multi-year extension to allow Compass Media Networks first right of refusal to broadcast nationally any Learfield home football and men’s basketball games. The company will also keep exclusive national audio rights to broadcast the Big Ten Football Championship Game and the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament. Compass also will broadcast expanded coverage of regular-season men’s basketball and football games.
Olympic champion Gabby Douglas is hit the small screen before her run on the big stage at the Olympics. Douglas will star in a new docu-series on Oxygen Media entitled Douglas Family Gold starting May 25 at 10p. The series follows Douglas and her support system and “chronicles their journey and sacrifices as Gabby heads back to the Olympic Games and attempts a history-making performance.”


Presentation Skills: How to Master Every Meeting

Join Cynopsis, and training experts from McCormack Media and Impax Communication on Wednesday, March 30th to get the tools and techniques you need to deliver the most engaging, persuasive presentations possible.

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YES Network is staging a marketing volley against Comcast ahead of the hew Yankees season. The TV network launched an ad campaign encouraging viewers to switch from the cable company after Comcast dropped the channel during a contract dispute. Ads began running yesterday in a move to pressure Comcast to restore the channel to its lineup before opening day, targeting Comcast subscribers in the New York region via the Fox broadcast network, billboards, radio stations, newspapers, and on digital and social media, according to reports.

The New York Empire inked a deal with Citi to serve as Presenting Sponsor for their 2016 home matches at Forest Hills Stadium at The West Side Tennis Club, the home of the US Open. Citi will receive prominent baseline signage at the venue along with VIP hospitality at all home matches. “Citi is proud to deliver special experiences and unique access to our cardmembers in New York and around the world, and through this relationship, we are able to provide additional opportunities for fans to get closer to their favorite athletes,” said Jennifer Breithaupt, Managing Director, Media, Advertising and Global Entertainment, Citi. “Through Citi Private Pass, cardmembers can look forward to exciting offers at Forest Hills Stadium.”

The Collegiate Licensing Company pinned down a multi-year extension of its national partnership with Operation Hat Trick to continue managing the brand’s trademark licensing program. OHT is an organization dedicated to providing support, awareness and funding for America’s wounded service men and women and veterans with  more than 270 universities participating in the program, in addition to Minor League Baseball, select NHL teams, and NASCAR.


Bellator MMA is now grappling with VR, launching a virtual reality initiative that gives fans access to experiences such as Royce Gracie and Kimbo Slice’s locker room before their Feb. fights to walking down the ramp with the fighters. Bellator used three separate six-camera rigs using GoPro cameras including one that was fully spherical, attached to a stabilized, mobile monopod. Two rigs were tethered to a monitoring command center, which allowed producers to monitor the cameras from each rig.

Intel snatched up Israeli 3D video tech firm Replay in a move described by CEO Brian Krzanich dubbed a move into the digitization of sports, according to USA Today. The Replay team will focus on advancing its technology with Intel for faster video processing and new features. The reports states that Intel plans to build out a new category of sports entertainment dubbed immersive sports, aimed at both fans and athletes and coaches because of its ability to capture, analyze and share data.

SiriusXM will offer expanded coverage for this year’s NCAA Men’s basketball tournament and will now also stream games via the SiriusXM app to give subscribers access to every game on their cell phones and other devices, in addition to their satellite radios. SiriusXM added the streaming rights with its recently renewed broadcast agreement with Westwood One. Selection Sunday will see Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and Steve Torre host live from 5-9p coverage on Mad Dog Sports Radio.


Ubisoft announced that its newest release, The Division, sold more copies in its first 24 hours than any game in company history. Total digital full game sales of The Division also set new, single-day company records across PC, Xbox One, and PS4. “The launch of The Division is a tremendous achievement for Ubisoft, and demonstrates our unrivaled capacity to create fantastic new game brands and transform them into entertainment blockbusters,” said Yves Guillemot, co-founder and CEO, Ubisoft. “This is a momentous day for Ubisoft, but more importantly it marks the start of millions of players’ enduring engagement in The Division’s game world, which we are confident they will love.”

PlayStation unveiled plans for SXSW, hosting the PlayStation House from March 16-18 at Bar 96 on Rainey St. Performances will include The Chainsmokers, Transviolet, Jack Garratt, BJ the Chicago Kid, Yo Gotti, and more on the PlayStation Music Stage.

Raycom Sports and the Atlantic Coast Conference are launching a new basketball gaming app, ACC 3 Point Challenge. The free app will allow fans to compete in basketball shooting challenges as their favorite ACC school and take their best shot in three point shootout style competitions. Additionally, users can play quick matches or try to advance through the ACC Tournament. This marks the third ACC gaming app released by Raycom Sports.

Touchscreen entertainment network Scopely locked in new partnership with global entertainment company WWE to publish free to play mobile game, WWE Champions. The deal marks first release from Scopely’s multi-title partnership with developer Kung Fu Factory with the game allowing players to collect more than 100 different Superstars and Legends.


Joe D’Antonio has been tapped as the second commissioner in the 31-year history of the Colonial Athletic Association. D’Antonio joins the CAA from the Big East Conference, where he has been serving as Senior Associate Commissioner for Administration and NCAA Relations. "I am honored and humbled to have been selected as the next Commissioner of the Colonial Athletic Association," D’Antonio said.  "I deeply appreciate that the Council of Presidents / Chancellors has provided me the opportunity to lead this accomplished group of institutions.  I am anxiously looking forward to partnering with the CAA membership in achieving the Conference’s mission of stressing the role of college athletics within the educational framework of the institution.”


Oklahoma/Iowa State on ESPNU at 9p.




ON THIS DAY in 1963: San Francisco Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain scores 70 points in a 163-148 loss to the Syracuse Nationals.

In The Know: Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson announced his retirement on Tuesday and was the second overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Who was selected before him that year? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who was the last athlete to be named the NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player AND become the very first pick of the NBA draft? Answer: Anthony Davis. Kudos: David Stern-BARD Entertainment/NY; Megan Fleming-NBC Sports Regional Networks/NY; Barry Solomon-Retailability/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; G. David Brown-FOX Sports/Charlotte; Rich Packer-American Basketball Enterprises/Tampa; Tony Ferranti-MMSI/Warwick; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Joe Lyons/Dallas; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Marketing Group/Chicago; Jason Morrow/Houston; Tim Rank-Blueprint314/St. Louis; Steve Hirsen-Director/Sherman Oaks; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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