03/26/14: ESPN is ordering up fresh Dr. Pepper for the College Football Playoff


Good morning. It’s Wednesday, March 26, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The upcoming College Football Playoff has its first-ever presenting sponsor, with ESPN locking in Dr. Pepper as the first official Championship Partner and sponsor of the new College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy. The beverage brand also penned a renewal as an SEC official sponsor and a long-term commitment with ESPN and the upcoming SEC Network. In addition, Dr Pepper will continue its title sponsorship of the ACC Championship Football Game on ESPN in early December as well as presenting sponsor of the Pac-12 Championship telecast.

"Dr Pepper is proud to continue its longstanding partnership with college football through ESPN and help usher in a new era with the newly formed College Football Playoff," said Jim Trebilcock, Executive VP of Marketing for Dr Pepper Snapple Group. "The impact of this one of a kind collaboration with ESPN and the CFP is monumental. In addition, we will be able to further extend our popular Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway, where we have awarded more than $6 million dollars in tuition to students across the country since 2008."


The 2014 Ryder Cup is going live, with NBC Sports Group announcing that both NBC and Golf Channel will offer live coverage of the event from Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland. This marks the first time the European-based event will be televised live in its entirety in the US. In addition, Golf Channel received the exclusive Ryder Cup telecast rights for Friday’s matches, marking the first time the network has provided live coverage of this event, which runs between Friday, Sept. 26, and Sunday, Sept 28. NBC Sports Group will offer 26.5 combined live hours of the 2014 Ryder Cup, with the action running from 2:30a-1p on Sept. 26 on Golf Channel, day two running from 3a to 1p on NBC and the final day spanning 7a-1p on NBC.

ESPN brought aboard former Major League Baseball manager Eric Wedge as an analyst for the 25th season of Baseball Tonight. He will regularly contribute to Baseball Tonight studio programming, while also making appearances across ESPN platforms, including SportsCenter and ESPN Radio.

Speaking of ESPN, the company is exclusively televising the 12-round World Boxing Council World Heavyweight Championship fight and rematch between top-rated contenders Bermane "B. Ware" Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KOs) and Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs) on Saturday, May 10, at 8p. The fight will be carried live in the U.S. on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and will be presented by Corona Extra.

Universal Sports Network is gearing up for coverage of the Boston Tribute event, set for April 15, 2014 and honoring those affected by last year’s Boston Marathon bombings. Universalsports.com will stream the Boston Tribute LIVE in its entirety followed by a one-hour Boston Tribute TV special at 6p with an encore presentation of the 2013 Boston Marathon elite competition at 7p. In addition to live coverage of the Boston Tribute and the 2014 Boston Marathon, Universal Sports is currently airing the 15-episode Run as One series both on air and online, which tells the personal stories of those directly affected by the tragic events.

ESPN Deportes laid out plans for the 2014 MLB regular season with most than 80 games on deck beginning with the Opening Night game between the Dodgers and Padres on March 30 at 8p. The channel carries 54 regular-season games every Sunday for Sunday Night Baseball at 8p with at least 25 Monday and/or Wednesday night games. Play-by-play and commentary will be provided by the network’s renowned baseball experts, including Oswaldo ‘Ozzie’ Guillen who returns to the network to serve as analyst for select Sunday Night Baseball games, alongside Ernesto Jerez and Luis Alfredo Alvarez.
The UFC revealed its cast for the 19th season of The Ultimate Fighter, which will kick off on April 16, as FOX Sports 1 doubles down with the season-ending episode of The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale, followed by the two-hour premiere of the new season. This edition will be headlined by former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and two-division champion BJ Penn with 16 middleweight and 16 light heavyweight fighters squaring off. The Ultimate Fighter: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn will run for 13 weeks in its regularly scheduled time of 10p on the network.

The ACC tournament will have a new home. ESPN reports that the event will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2017-18, with the Atlantic 10 agreeing to end its deal a year early in exchange for a three-year commitment to hold its tournament at Barclays beginning in 2019 and annual nonconference doubleheaders between ACC and A-10 teams.

Tickets to the Cynopsis Sports Media Awards are going fast. This event will once again sell out!! Come join me as I co-host with Campus Insiders’ Bonnie Bernstein to honor the year’s best and brightest work from across the sports industry. Special awards will be presented to NASCAR’s Brian France, NBC Sports Group’s Mark Lazarus and Turner Sports’ Christina Miller. Presenters will include some of the hottest names in sports as well as some of the most powerful people driving the business today. Don’t miss out! Click here for tickets.

ABC launches the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series season with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday. Prerace begins on the network at 3p with the green flag slated for 3:27p. Allen Bestwick begins his first season as ESPN on ABC’s lead announcer for the IndyCar Series and will be joined in the booth by analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever. ESPN also announced that return of the Side-by-Side feature that will see a split screen format during national commercial breaks.

Monday night’s Montreal/Boston game delivered an average of 662,000 viewers to NBCSN. That marks the most-watched Monday night NHL regular season game on the network in three years.

Pac-12 Networks is adding sand volleyball to its repertoire, announcing a slate of five live matches that will be televised to a national audience beginning tomorrow at 3p PT with a doubleheader. All five Pac-12 Network televised matches will take place from USC’s Merle Norman Stadium and feature Anne Marie Anderson on play-by-play alongside Holly McPeak.



You don’t have to be a bracketologist for our March Madness Contest. Which school will win it all? Win a chance for a $50 Foot Locker gift card by answering our reader poll. The winner will be announced Tuesday, April 1st.

||| DEADLINE: Monday, Mar. 31st ||| CLICK HERE TO ENTER |||



The New York Rangers and the World Series of Poker are coupling up via a new marketing partnership that makes WSOP.com that exclusive online gaming partner of the team. The deal with Caesars Interactive Entertainment will see the launch of the WSOP.com Rangers Homecoming Sweepstakes, and CIE’s online gaming websites will have a presence at home games, including branding on the center-hung scoreboard GardenVision and LED ribbon boards.

The Collegiate Licensing Company, the licensing affiliate of IMG College, entered a deal with Villanova University to continue managing its trademark licensing program. The 10-year agreement continues their relationship through 2024.

National 3×3 basketball tour Hoop It Up renewed its partnership with FIBA, the international governing body of basketball. The agreement runs through 2017 and ensures that the company will remain a preferential operator of 3×3 tournaments in North America for FIBA. The deal coincides with the tipoff of the 25th Anniversary season of the tour.

NASCAR will announce the organization’s new High School STEM initiative with Universal Technical Institute when Mike Lynch, NASCAR’s Vice President of Green Innovation, Strategic Development visits the NASCAR Technical Institute tomorrow morning. Lynch will meet the North Carolina Business Committee for Education to discuss education and workforce preparedness.

Yesterday’s edition should have read that Kobe Bryant’s new venture with BODYARMOR will see him involved with marketing initiatives, innovation and roll-out of the recently launched flavors.


The March 19 edition of the Wednesday Night Rivalry NHL game pitting the Blackhawks and Blues drew its best digital metrics for an authenticated rivalry game in the franchise’s history in visits and uniques, according to NBC Sports. Compared to the average of this season’s WNR live streams, the matchup was up triple digits in uniques, visits, live starts and total minutes.

Olympic sponsor Panasonic will reportedly use the 2020 Summer Games to trial broadcasts in 8K definition, according to The Telegraph.


Heat/Pacers on ESPN at 8p.


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Date: April 17, 2014
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ON THIS DAY in 1979: Magic Johnson’s Michigan State beats Larry Bird’s Indiana State to win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

In The Know: An easy one. What was Larry Bird’s number? (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: Who is the Phillies all-time home run leader? Answer: Mike Schmidt. Kudos: Barry McMullin-Professional Bull Riders, Inc./NY; Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Media/NY; Jon Latzer-CBS Digital Media/NY; Adam Waxman- Fox Sports Digital/ NY; Bernie Greenberg-The Sports Network/Philadelphia; Rick Bergan-OneTwoSee/Philadelphia; Anthony Antonelli-Rogers Media/Toronto; Tony Ferranti-MMSI/Warwick; Kristen Staskowski-Charter Media/Birmingham; Victor Cates-UT Martin/Martin; Bill Robertson-Tunheim Partners/Minneapolis; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Anne Wettig-Fox Sports 1/LA; Joe Pedri-KLAS-TV/Las Vegas; Don Surath-KPIX-TV KBCW-TV/ San Francisco.



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