03/17/15: adidas moves on; NASCAR revs up Latin American engines; NCAA Brackets get creative


Good morning. It’s Tuesday March 17, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

adidas is bowing out of the NBA wars. The official apparel sponsor of the league released a statement to reporters saying that the brand will not renew with the NBA following the 2016-17 season. The news comes after the NBA informed the company that it would open up bidding to other brands with Nike and Under Armour the likely favorites to step up into the role. The company has been the league’s apparel partner since 2006 via an 11-year deal for a reported $400 million.

"We have decided to not renew our partnership as official outfitter of the NBA after our current contract expires following the 16-17 season," the adidas statement read. "While we have enjoyed a successful long-term relationship with the league, we continually review our partner agreements to ensure they are meeting our investment and delivering on our brand and business needs.

"We are re-imagining and reshaping our business and have evolved our strategy to look at new, cutting-edge ways to drive our brand and support our business over the long term. We will invest more in telling stories that matter to our consumer, building category-disrupting innovative products, reinvigorating youth basketball with our new Next Generation programs and doubling our roster of professional athletes to authenticate our brand on-court."


NASCAR locked in a seven-year media broadcast extension with FOX Sports Latin America that runs through 2021. The deal will see FOX Sports Latin America continue to be the home of live races for all three of NASCAR’s national series  the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series  across Latin America, including Brazil. Additional NASCAR programming on FOX Sports Latin America includes the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
With NCAA action underway tonight, Turner Sports and CBS Sports’ joint coverage of the tournament will once again include the return of NCAA March Madness Confidential. The show offers exclusive behind-the-scenes access of NCAA Tournament teams with this year’s crop set to include No. 1-seed Kentucky, No. 3-seed Baylor, No. 5-seed Arkansas, No. 5-seed Utah, No. 7-seed Michigan State and No. 10-seed Indiana. Production crews have been embedded with the teams since Selection Sunday and features will air during studio coverage across TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV throughout the NCAA Tournament, as well as on NCAA.com.

Spike TV’s inaugural broadcast of Premier Boxing Champions saw a million viewers tuning in for the Andre Berto/Josesito Lopez showdown from 10:45-11:15p. Overall, the telecast averaged 869,000 viewers, making it the most watched boxing event on Friday nights in eight years, according to Nielsen. 

The final-round rating for the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship on NBC ranks as the best ever for the event while weekend coverage on both Golf Channel and NBC saw ratings bumps of over 30%, according to Nielsen overnight data. The three-man playoff in Sunday’s final round on NBC drew a 2.41 overnight rating for a 31% markup. Golf Channel’s live, lead-in coverage on the weekend saw Saturday’s third round hit a 0.45, up 32% over 2014 while the final round up grew 7% with a 0.64, marking the best lead-in overnight ratings for this event since Golf Channel began lead-in coverage in 2011.

ESPN locked up motorsports broadcaster Jon Beekhuis in a new deal that will see him serve as a pit reporter for telecasts of the Verizon IndyCar Series on ABC in 2015. He will now join Dr. Jerry Punch and Rick DeBruhl in the pits for ABC’s telecasts of the Indianapolis 500 and four other Verizon IndyCar Series races as well as two days of Indianapolis 500 qualifying. ABC will televise the opening race of the season in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Sunday, March 29, at 3p.

Don’t forget to RSVP you and your team for Cynopsis Sports Media Awards Breakfast, taking place on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the NYAC. Register your team here.

NBC Sports carries PGA TOUR 2015: TOUR Life presented by NetJets on Saturday at 2p with a “beyond-the-ropes look at being a TOUR member.” Produced by PGA TOUR Entertainment, the half-hour special showcases stars as they travel between home and tournaments, and their various business and charitable endeavors. Players will include Graeme McDowell. Jason Day, and Justin Thomas.

ESPN tips off the 78th National Invitation Tournament today with coverage of the entire tournament beginning with all 16 first-round games across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3. The action begins at 7p with George Washington/Pittsburgh on ESPN, NC Central/Miami on ESPN2 and Iona/Rhode Island on ESPNU.

Universal Sports Network lined up multi-platform coverage finals of the 2015 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup beginning tomorrow. The network’s broadcast team of veteran play-by-play announcer Steve Porino and analyst Doug Lewis will call all the finals action.


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)


NCAA and Turner Live Events will join official NCAA Corporate Champions AT&T, Coca-Cola and Capital One for the 2015 NCAA March Madness Music Festival in conjunction with the Final Four. The three-day music festival will be held at White River State Park in Indianapolis and begins April 3 at the AT&T Block Party, with musical acts to be announced soon. Meanwhile, Rihanna joins the Coke Zero Countdown Concert stage as headliner, with critically acclaimed band Bleachers also performing Saturday, April 4. A portion of Rihanna’s performance will air between that day’s semi-final games airing on TBS, TNT, TruTV, and via NCAA March Madness Live. The weekend closes on Sunday, April 5 with Zac Brown Band and Lady Antebellum along with country star Kacey Musgraves at the Capital One JamFest. For the first time ever, the 2015 NCAA March Madness Music Festival will also live stream this year’s concerts at http://www.ncaa.com/musicfest.

Speaking of March Madness, NCAA sponsor Buick is bringing back its “Boss Button” for the tournament. The feature will live on the NCAA live stream websites andchanges the page to a “fake website that looks like something someone could pass off as work to a boss.” In addition, Buick is hosting its own bracket challenge that will live on the Buick.com website and will feature 16 skilled basketball fans performing best trick shots. Each week, website viewers will vote on their favorite trick shot from the matchups  and each week trick shots will be eliminated until a winner is named. On the activation front, the brand will take on Final four weekend with a large interactive display at Bracket Town and vehicle displays around the city in addition to leading the team buses around the city.

Rory McIlroy is the new namesake of EA Sports new golf franchise, with the company launching Rory McIlroy PGA TOUR. Tiger Woods had been the face of the game since 1998 but ended the partnership in 2013. EA also revealed that Golf Channel talent Rich Lerner and Frank Nobilo will provide the game’s commentary track.

Speaking of golf, the PGA TOUR and United Rentals, Inc, the largest equipment rental company in the world, entered a five-year agreement that makes the company the TOUR’s Official Marketing Partner program through 2019. As the “Official Equipment Rental Supplier of the PGA TOUR,” United Rentals will offer rental services to events operated by PGA TOUR Championship Management as well as other tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR Canada.

New York City Football Club booked a deal with Grand Hyatt New York, which will serve as the Official Hotel Partner of the new MLS franchise. The deal will make the hotel the preferred hotel partner for visiting teams and provide a regular presence at Yankee Stadium.

Oil filter brand FRAM launched a new web and mobile site dedicated to highlighting Team FRAM athletes. Names include UFC fighters Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone as well as Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross riders Justin Barcia and Weston Peick. TeamFRAM.com will offer exclusive content that includes “Done Right” videos with UFC fighters Hendricks and Cerrone, interviews with Team FRAM athletes, information on upcoming sweepstakes and more.


ESPN detailed its bracket plans this year, with sign-ups now open for ESPN Men’s Tournament Challenge presented by Acura, Allstate and Microsoft as well as ESPN Women’s Tournament Challenge presented by Capital One games. Both games return for their 18th seasons and will once again be free for entrants to submit up to 10 entries on ESPN.com. At the end of the tournament, all Men’s Tournament Challenge entries that finish in the top 1% are entered in a random drawing to win a trip for two to the 2015 Maui Invitational and a $20,000 Best Buy Gift Card prize. The Women’s Tournament Challenge will see entries that finish in the top 1% entered in a random drawing for a $5,000 Best Buy Gift Card. 

Meanwhile, USA TODAY Sports’ social news site For The Win launched the second installment of its Celeb Pick ‘Em series, sponsored by AT&T. The feature include celebrities discussing March Madness, offers their tournament selections and more. Featured celebrities include Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, comedian Colin Quinn, supermodel Bar Refaeli, Sharknado’s Ian Ziering, Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson, Bones’ David Boreanaz, Gotham’s Ben McKenzie, actress AnnaLynne McCord and others.

Finally, Campus Insiders has switched on its 68 In :60 Driven By John Deere series of video. The content features one minute previews for every team in the NCAA Tournament with all video located here: http://campusinsiders.com/pages/2015-ncaa-bracket

ESPN Cricket 2015 is set to deliver coverage of the upcoming eighth season of the Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL) to fans in the US starting April 8. “We’re pleased with the success so far of our Cricket World Cup coverage on ESPN Cricket 2015 and through our partners’ pay per view platforms, and we’re excited to extend a unique window on the cricket calendar with coverage of the Pepsi IPL,” said Russell Wolff, Executive Vice President, ESPN. “ESPN Cricket 2015 has been a great complement to our existing networks and the value of the multichannel environment, and has allowed us to explore new ways to reach tech-savvy consumers and develop new expertise in the digital space.”
One-day fantasy sports company FanDuel tapped the services of sportswriter Will Carroll, who will write content for the company’s blog  FanDuel Insider. Carroll was previously at Baseball Prospectus from 2003-2010, ESPN in 2006, Sports Illustrated from 2007-2012, Football Outsiders from 2006-2009 and Bleacher Report from 2013-2014.

SportsManias announced plans to partner with LockerDome in a move to “better engage with diehard sports fans and increase readership.” SportsManias will now integrate LockerDome’s customizable polls and contests tools within its platform to execute cross-promotions and give fans the chance to win tickets to sporting events, memorabilia and more.

Hear fromcomedy duo Garfunkel and Oates (Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci)on the right way to launch on YouTube, in today’s Cynsiders.


Madison Square Garden President and CEO Tad Smith is moving to Sotheby’s. He has served as President and CEO of Madison Square Garden since March 2014. Smith will remain with Madison Square Garden until the end of the month. Madison Square Garden Chairman James Dolan will oversee MSG’s activities in the interim.


First Four tips off tonight on truTV, with Hampton/Manhattan at 6:40p and BYU/Ole Miss at 9:10p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1902: Golf legend Bobby Jones is born.

In The Know: Which NCAA Tournament team is known as the Chanticleers? (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 state has had the most different schools (not teams) finish as runner-up in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship? Answer: Indiana with 4: Indiana, Indiana State, Butler and Purdue. Kudos: Jay Goldstein-AdMore/NY; Jon Latzer-CBS Digital Media/NY; Billy Haubrich-ESPN/NY; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Jerehmy White-BusyBuddy Books/Glen Rock; Kristin Staskowski-Charter Media/Birmingham; Steve Hebel-Katz Television Group/Chicago.

Later — Chris
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