03.12.14 Good morning. It’s Wednesday, March 12, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
CBS Sports and Turner Sports served up plans to cover all 67 games from the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship across four national television networks TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV, with some new elements spicing up the mix combined with some local flavor. For the first time, Final Four games will run live across three networks TBS, TNT and truTV. The main telecast will be hosted on TBS while, the NCAA Final Four "Teamcast," will provide team-specific telecasts with team-affiliated announcers that will air live on TNT and truTV.
"Ultimately you want to feel like you’re watching that home team kind of game, and then hopefully the talent will match what we’re trying to accomplish," Turner President David Levy told reporters on Tuesday. "Just how local are they going? There will be a custom pre-game show and a custom halftime for each game, which means three different half times and three different pre-games happening simultaneously."
For the first time, coverage will include an extended pre-game show on CBS ahead of the National Championship game dubbed Capital One Championship Central at 8:30 before the content tips off at 9:10p this year. Overall, CBS will broadcast 22 games throughout the tournament including the National Championship, Elite 8, Sweet 16 and second and third rounds.
"For an advertiser, there’s no downside whatsoever. There’s an upside, even if it’s incremental," said CBS Sports’ Chairman Sean McManus. "Even if its 10% more for each one of the Teamcasts, that’s incremental value for the advertisers."
Tennis Channel is looking for another shot at Comcast, announcing that the company has petitioned the FCC to review the matter once again. The move comes after the Supreme Court declined to review an appeals court ruling that vacated a 2012 order to place the channel on an equal tier to Comcast’s own sports networks. "Tennis Channel has filed a petition requesting that the FCC engage in further proceedings and then reaffirm its original decision that Comcast is illegally discriminating against us," Tennis Channel said in a statement. "Last year, when the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit vacated the FCC order that Comcast provide Tennis Channel with carriage equivalent to that of its wholly owned Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network, it did so on the basis of tests that the Commission did not use in evaluating the case. Now that the Supreme Court has declined to hear this case, it is time for the Commission to consider the Appellate Court’s tests in light of the existing evidentiary record."
The opening weekend of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games drew a hearty 15% of the Canadian population to English-language television coverage provided by the CBC-led Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) Broadcast and Digital Media Consortium. Between March 7-9, 5.3 million Canadians watched at least part of the TV coverage, according to BBM Canada.
On the programming front, NBC Sports Group offers live coverage of the Atlantic 10 Men’s Basketball Championship from the Barclays Center with over 16 hours of coverage of the first round and quarterfinals. Games begin Thursday on NBCSN and select NBC Sports Regional Networks. Coverage of the first round tips off with La Salle/St. Bonaventure at noon on select NBC Sports Regional Networks, while NBCSN carries Dayton against the play-in game winner at 2:30p.
BTN announced that men’s basketball tournament coverage, presented by Buick, begins today at 6p with #BTNLive: B1G Tournament Preview from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. On Thursday, coverage of first-round games begins at 11:30p with the Big Ten Tip-Off show, followed by Indiana/Illinois and Ohio State/Purdue around 2:30p. After each day’s final buzzer, the Big Ten Finale, presented by Reese’s, offers highlights and analysis. On Sunday, after a Big Ten Tournament champion is crowned, and NCAA Tournament bids are received, the network will air Big Ten Basketball & Beyond: Tournament Edition Selection Sunday Special at 7p.
CBS Sports Network continues its NBA Development League coverage tonight at 9:30p when the Idaho Stampede host to the Santa Cruz Warriors and former Duke standout Seth Curry, who is averaging 19.1 points and 5.8 assists this season.
For the first time in network history Chicago’s Comcast SportsNet will offer its very first commercial-free pro game telecasts via Saturday’s White Sox spring training game at 9p CT as well as Sunday’s Cubs’ spring training game at 3p CT. The telecasts will be presented entirely commercial-free by Xfinity (White Sox) & Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Toyota Dealers (Cubs).
Comcast SportsNet Northwest and the Portland Thunder of the Arena Football League locked in a multi-year television broadcast partnership that includes eight home games and up to two away games in the 2014 season. The Thunder’s first kick-off on CSN takes place Monday, March 24th at 7p. Microphone duties will go to Scott Lynn, Jordan Kent and Megan Berrey.
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Soccer’s CONCACAF and its commercial partnership agency, Traffic Sports, locked in a deal with MoneyGram to serve as a sponsor of the CONCACAF Champions League through 2014. The one-year deal covers the quarterfinals, semifinals and final round of the 2013/14 Champions League, as well as the group stage of the 2014/15 event. MoneyGram will also sponsor this year’s Golden Boot Award.
The Professional Bull Riders are partnering with PEAK to name BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid the title sponsor of the PBR’s recently announced Velocity Tour. The BlueDEF Velocity Tour, which officially kicks off on March 15. The tour will travel to approximately 18 markets in its inaugural season, including Omaha, Neb., Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Minneapolis. As title sponsor, BlueDEF will enjoy top billing in all Velocity Tour marketing collateral, advertising and in-arena signage.
The New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center are launching the My Town series, designed to be a new tradition that highlights the diversity and culture within New Jersey. The selected communities will be honored with a town-themed takeover of a Devils game, in addition to off-season community outreach events. During games in March, local towns will be highlighted with honorary captain of the game, a special in-game welcome, local color guard will present during the pre-game festivities, vignette on the community, and a Heroes Among Us feature.
NASCAR has a new face for its social media plans, announcing that Madison Martin is now the newest member of the Miss Sprint Cup trio for 2014. In addition to Victory Lane duties, the representatives take part in The Sprint Unlimited Experience (where fans can sign up for Sprint’s New Framily Plan), meeting with fans, hosting driver appearances and taking part in various fan-related events as well as driving social media via behind-the-scenes pictures, updates and videos through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The ACC Network announced today a new social hub, Tourney Buzz, for the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament this week. The ACC Network partnered with Mass Relevance to develop the portal. Tourney Buzz will look to aggregate social media content from Twitter, Vine, Instagram and Facebook, giving fans access to sights, sounds and buzz during the tournament.
Campus Insiders booked its own tournament plans, with coverage following Selection Sunday and throughout the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Starting Sunday evening, Campus Insiders will release 68 in 60, featuring Jordan Cornette and Drew Nicholas breaking down all 68 Tournament teams in 60-second segments. From the First Round through the Elite Eight, Campus Insiders offers VOD series Who’s Got Next?, evaluating upcoming match-ups as well as nightly recaps and preview segments with contributions from coaches, insiders, and Seth Davis. During Final Four weekend, Bonnie Bernstein and Jordan Cornette cover the action live from Dallas, while Seth Davis will provide VODs with analysis as the Tournament unfolds.
PlayOn! Sports brought on Owen Shull to serve as Vice President of Sales for the company. Shull will be responsible for growing revenues with PlayOn’s state partnerships as well as leading sales efforts for annual special events. Shull was most recently Chief Revenue Officer for Peach Bowl, Inc., where he managed all sales and revenue operations for events such as the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games and the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge golf tournament.
Media buying and marketing company IMS Internet Media Services appointed Cesar Ruiz to lead its sales team stateside as Vice President, U.S. Sales. Ruiz will primarily focus on the advertising sales efforts for the IMS client beIN SPORTS.
Barcelona/Manchester City on FOX Sports 1 at 3:45p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1972: NHL great Gordie Howe retires after 26 seasons.
In The Know:Gordie Howe played for the Detroit Red Wings and what other NHL team? (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: Before this year’s run by Wichita State, what was the last school to enter the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament undefeated? Answer: UNLV in 1991 (For everyone who answered St. Joseph’s, they lost in their conference tournament). Kudos: Michael Neuman-Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; Jordan Bick-CineSport, LLC/NY; Matt Rothman-The MSG Company/NY; Ken Posner-ASSI/NY; Travis Perdue-Portal Entertainment Network/Flint; Jon Show-Show Sports Media/Charlotte; Jon Clateman-Frozen Ropes/Syosset; Dan Higgins-Golf Channel/Orlando; Gretchen Brady-KDAF/Dallas; Joe Lyons-Back Nine Productions, Inc./Dallas; Brennen Tamerlano-Continental Television Sales/Chicago; Steve Hebel-Continental Television Sales/Chicago; Brienne Chance-G/O Digital/Phoenix; Michael Jaquet-U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association/Park City; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Anne Wettig-Fox Sports 1/LA; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside; Jaime Martinez-Univision/KMEX.
Later — Chris
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