03/20/14: truTV sets a record as the Tournament gets underway


Good morning. It’s Thursday, March 20, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

College basketball fans continue to warm up to the First Four, as truTV delivered the highest-rated and most-viewed NCAA First Four opening night ever since the current format began in 2011. The NC State/Xavier matchup drew an average of 1.7 million total viewers and a 1.1 household score to rank as the most-viewed and highest-rated NCAA First Four telecast of all time, up 42% over the comparable game in 2013, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals. Together with the opening game of the doubleheader pitting Albany/Mount St. Mary’s, the telecasts averaged 1.4 million total viewers and a 0.9 HH rating, up 22% and 29%, respectively, over the comparable doubleheader last year.


Cynopsis Sports is proud to announce that NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France has been named the recipient of the Vision Award at this year’s Cynopsis Sports Media Awards. The Vision Award recognizes a top sports executive who demonstrates innovation and leadership in the media and sponsorship space of the industry, with USOC CEO Steve Blackmun taking last year’s honor. France, who has held the role since September 2003, has transformed the sport in recent years with achievements that include: locking in new deals (and a record payday) with FOX and NBC Sports that launch in 2015; creating NASCAR’s eco-friendly initiative NASCAR Green; relaunching NASCAR.com; and implementing its industry growth initiative, among other achievements. In addition, NASCAR now boasts nearly one in four Fortune 500 companies participating in the sport  up 8% over 2008. Please join us on April 17 at Yale Club in NY as we celebrate France, other luminaries and our annual award winners. Click here for tickets.

New Knicks President Phil Jackson is already making an impact. MSG Network’s live coverage of Jackson’s introduction handed the channel with a 1.26 M25-54 rating and a 1.19 among M18-49, from 11a-12:30p to best all broadcast and cable networks in the NY market during that time frame.

CBS Sports Network added former University of Virginia star Ralph Sampson and Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith as guest analysts for its coverage of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. Smith joins the coverage today from 6-8:30p and 10:30p-1a. Sampson serves as guest analyst on Friday, from 7:30-8:30p and 11p-1a.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber told audiences at the 2014 IMG World Congress of Sports that the decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup was a "monumental disaster" for the sport worldwide. SBD reports that he hoped the event is moved to a different location and that he didn’t want it to go up against the NFL if they decided to play in the winter instead. "We certainly would be happy to host it here and have a lot of big stadiums that could turn it around and host on very short notice," he said. "But we’re going to be on the sidelines on this and hope that FIFA can resolve this in a way that’s good for the sport."

The CBC-led Canadian Paralympic Committee Broadcast Consortium reports that one in four Canadians tuned in to at least part of the English-language television coverage of the Paralympic Games during the 10 days it was broadcast. Overall, more than 8.8 million Canadians watched some of the televised broadcasts on CBC, Sportsnet, Sportsnet One and Accessible Media Inc. Meanwhile, CBC’s dedicated Paralympic microsite drew over 850,000 page views over the course of the event as well as more than 120,000 video views.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports are offering 23 combined hours of live tournament coverage of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard this week. Golf Channel’s Golf Central also will be produced in front of a live audience throughout the week from Bay Hill’s driving range as part of the coverage. The network’s weekend Spotlight coverage will highlight Bay Hill’s closing stretch (holes 16-18). Coverage starts today at 3p on Golf Channel while NBC picks it up on Saturday at 2p.

The Globe and Mail writes that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently with one of two prospective ownership groups interested in putting a team in Las Vegas and will soon also meet with a group interested in a franchise based in Seattle as well. Although Bettman told the paper that there was no "structure" to these meetings, the additions of Seattle and Vegas would add a nice balance to the Western Conference, which only has 14 teams, compared to 16 in the Eastern Conference.

Canadian sports fans have another option on the small screen with the launch of beIN SPORTSCANADA, an English-language 24/7 premium sports network that is now available to Rogers and Bell customers across the country.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have new TV and radio partners, announcing a deal to bring the team’s games to 1010XL AM and 92.5 FM. Meanwhile, the team’s TV home will now be on WJXT, which will carry the team’s non-national preseason games, as well as pregame shows, the Gus Bradley Show and more.


Honoring the Best in Kids Programming & Marketing

LATE Entry Deadline: TOMORROW!!
Awards Event: June 11, 2014 (NYC)

Visit our website for additional information on:
Who Should Enter, How to Enter, Eligibility Period, Categories, Deadlines, Sponsorship Opportunities, Contact Information & FAQs.


NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told Ad Age that "almost all" of the league’s corporate sponsors have expressed interest in placing their logos on player jerseys. He notes that is was only a matter of time before it happened. "I think it’s coming. It’s inevitable. It’s such as enormous opportunity for our sponsors to connect with us. I think the marketplace is asking for it."

Home Team Sports and Access Sports Media made it official, formally announcing a new, strategic partnership and sales alliance that will see HTS representing Access Sports Media properties across more than 50 professional sports stadiums and arenas. The Access network features over 20,000 concourse screens in more than 50 MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL venues nationwide. 
LeBron James is getting his own flavor of Sprite. Coca-Cola announced that the Sprite 6 Mix by LeBron James will serve as the first limited-edition Sprite flavor formulated in partnership with the player, offering traditional Sprite with a splash of cherry and orange flavor. The flavor formulation, packaging graphics and product name of Sprite 6 Mixwere co-developed with James to "truly reflect his style and taste preferences."

Tell us who will come up on top in this year NCAA Tourney and you could be a big winner! Click here to enter… http://www.cynopsis.com/snap-app-contest/


NeuLion is entering a partnership with the USA TODAY Sports Media Group that will bring NeuLion’s network of sports publishers, which include more than 170 NCAA digital properties and other select sports properties, to the company. The media partnership is expected to reach more than 50 million monthly unique sports fans and will include shared sales of digital advertising sponsorships, and joint production and syndication of content across NeuLion’s sports network and Gannett’s sports assets, which includes USA TODAY Sports (print and digital), the Amway Coaches Poll for college football, and more.

The recently announced digital property 120 Sports has locked in its first faces. The network partnership (which involves multiple leagues and media properties that will produce daily live streaming and video on demand programs) is bringing in former ESPN host Michael Kim as a host as well as former NFL players Bryant McFadden and Ovie Mughelli. In addition, the company announced that sports personalities Dave Ross, Tyler Jacobs, Dylan McGorty, Alexandria Schlereth, Laura Britt and Tim Doyle will also handle microphone duties.


Budweiser has launched #SpeedTweets, a Twitter-based weekly competition that will award 19 fans a trip to Charlotte to go-kart race with Kevin Harvick. #SpeedTweets marks Budweiser’s first Twitter-based fan engagement program of this kind and will run the first 19 weeks of the 2014 NSCS schedule, with Budweiser’s official racing Twitter account, @BudweiserRacing, posting challenges throughout each race weekend.
The USOC announced social media results from Sochi, noting that consumption on Team USA channels accounted for approximately 1.01 billion impressions and 1.24 million #TeamUSA mentions. Metrics included mentions, likes, shares, photos and interactions across these platforms. The US ranked as the most active team participating in social media activity at the Olympic Winter Games, logging 22,598 posts across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during the Games. Canada and Great Britain followed with 15,716 and 9,867 posts respectively. Meanwhile, America’s victory over Russia in the men’s ice hockey shootout generated the most tweets per minute during the entire Games at 72,630 TPM.


FOX Sports is promoting Pete Vlastelica to Executive Vice President of Digital for the company. Under Vlastelica’s leadership, year to year, organic traffic to FOXSports.com is up 111% and referrals from search and social are up 225% and 1063%, respectively. Video streams on FOX Sports’ YouTube channel also jumped 1515% during that time.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association named M. Alex Natt, Esq. as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the organization. Natt will be responsible for all USSA legal matters while also implementing the governance findings of the McKinsey Study, commissioned by the USSA in 2012-13 to evaluate the way support is delivered to athletes and parents through USSA clubs and development programs nationwide.


March Madness goes full swing with the NCAA Men’s Tournament on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV starting at 12:15p.



The Exploding World of Kids’ Tablets: The New Way to Build Your Brand
Date: Today, March 20, 2014 | Time: 1:30 – 3:00pm ET|

Abby Jenkins – Director of Content {PBS KIDS Digital}
Graham Farrar – Co-Founder {IStoryTime}
Caroline Fraser – VP, Digital Products & Prod. {Scholastic Media}
Mindy Brooks Director, Education & Research {Sesame Workshop}

ON THIS DAY in 1989: Baseball announces that Reds manager Pete Rose is under investigation.

In The Know: Which tournament school became the first-ever two seed to lose 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: Which tournament school boasted the most players on an NBA roster on Opening Day this season? Answer: Kentucky with 21, topping Duke and North Carolina at 15. Kudos: Tim Buffolano-LTN Global/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Andrew Feingold-Nielsen Sports/NY; Michael Neuman-Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Doug Kelly-S.F. Bowl Game Association/South San Francisco.

Later — Chris
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