03.28.14 Good morning. It’s Friday, March 28, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
ESPN scored with Wednesday’s Heat/Pacers showdown, raking in a 2.6 in overnight Nielsen numbers. That marks the second-highest rated NBA game of the current season for the network, ranking just shy of the Heat/Thunder telecast on January 29, which delivered a 2.7. In addition, the telecast notched an 8.4 rating in Indianapolis, making it the highest-rated non-Christmas Day regular-season game ever on ESPN in that market.
MLB Network is leading off coverage of Opening Day with 17 live hours of studio programming this year, with programming starting at 9a on Monday. Lauren Shehadi and Matt Yallof lead off the day beside Peter Gammons and Al Leiter on The Rundown, followed by the one-hour regular season edition of Intentional Talk at 11a. The channel’s newest daily studio show High Heat with Christopher Russo debuts at noon, while MLB Tonight opens at 1p, offering 12 consecutive hours of live look-ins at games in progress. The network announced that Avicii’s song Wake Me Up will be featured in the opening for The Rundown throughout the 2014 season, while The Walker, the new single from Fitz and the Tantrums will serve as the theme for High Heat with Christopher Russo. Meanwhile, Young the Giant’s newest single It’s About Time will be featured in all studio programming on MLB Network throughout Opening Week.
Univision networks carried the most-viewed soccer match across all networks, regardless of language last week, as Univision’s broadcast of the America/Veracruz match, delivered an average of 1.2 million Total Viewers and 654,000 Adults 18-49.
The 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships hit some strong numbers as the four telecasts on ESPNU and two on ESPN from Thursday to Saturday last week combined to reach 8.6 million people, a 39% spike over year ago reach. The 20-hours of television coverage averaged 253,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. Digital coverage generated 12.8 million minutes consumed on ESPN3 and WatchESPN, a 1% uptick over the 2013 championship.
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.
SiriusXM announced that Annika Sorenstam will host an exclusive new radio series on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. The show, dubbed The ANNIKA Hour, debuts debut Wednesday, April 2 at 1p, the week of the LPGA’s first major tournament, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. The series will air monthly throughout the 2014 season, with Golf Digest Senior Writer and Golf World Executive Editor Ron Sirak co-hosting.
Following the news that student athletes at Northwestern received approval to unionize, an HBO Real Sports/Marist Poll was released that showed that 75% of Americans, including the same proportion of college sports fans, think college athletes should not be allowed to join a union since they are not college employees. The survey also showed that two-thirds of adults nationally – 66% – believe top college athletes receive special treatment by town police in their college community. However, if college athletes were paid a salary, nearly three in four U.S. residents – 73% – say it would make no difference in how much they enjoy watching college sports.
Gus Johnson returns to soccer next week. FOX Sports 1 offers up the quarterfinal between Manchester United and Bayern Munich on Tuesday at 2p with Johnson calling the match alongside FOX Sports analyst and former Bundesliga player Eric Wynalda. Meanwhile, Tuesday’s second quarterfinal will be on FOX Sports 2 and FOX Soccer Plus with Barcelona/Atletico Madrid, who is in the quarterfinals for the first time in 17 years.
Cross-channel marketing provider Dedicated Media released a March Madness and digital media infographic. Highlights include:
- 181 million viewers tuning in across TV, online and mobile platforms.
- 26% of fans using mobile as primary game-watching device, and 88% use mobile devices for March Madness activities.
- 7.7 million social media comments made during tournament telecasts.
ESPN Deportes will be the home of Brazil’s Jungle Fight 67 in the US on Saturday at 8p. The 67th edition of Jungle Fight will feature nine bouts, highlighted by the flyweight belt dispute between Mario Israel and Jonas Bilharinho.
ESPNU’s weekly Katz Korner show will feature the announcement of the Wooden Award All American Team on Monday, March 31, at 1p. Throughout the show, host Andy Katz will interview the First Team Wooden Award All Americans, which are the top five leading vote-getters for the 2014 John R. Wooden Men’s Player of the Year Award, and also reveal the additional five players that make up 10-man All American Team.
The sixth edition of GEICO Best of College Basketball will air on Saturday at 3p on CBS, featuring highlights from the 2013-2014 season as it winds down, including the GEICO Play of the Year. The program will then re-air on CBS Sports Network starting on Sunday at 11a.
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Turner announced more plans for TBS’s Conan next week, when the series hits Dallas for the Final Four. To promote the show, the Cone Zone will make multiple stops at Dallas events throughout the week, from March 31 April 6, serving as a Conan-style Airstream trailer offering fans things to see and do ranging from a mechanical bull, a gallery of Texas-themed fan art and more. The Cone Zone experience will also include a lounge area with AT&T charging stations, Coke Zero sampling, music from The Latin House Kings, "Clueless Gamer" video-game kiosks and more. In addition, Conan O’Brien may appear at the Cone Zone at various times during the week.
Richmond International Raceway is extending its ties to the Virginia529 College Savings Plan through the 2015 season. This year’s Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race will rev up on Friday, September 5. Meanwhile, the deal will also see the Virginia529 College Savings Plan remain the Official College Savings Plan of the track, presenting sponsor of the Family Section presented by Virginia529 College Savings Plan and the Virginia529 Kids Zone powered by the Science Museum of Virginia.
Up for some cash to make up for Tournament losses? MLBAM launched its 14th edition of fantasy baseball game MLB.com Beat The Streak Sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts. The prize in now worth $5.6 million and now features more ways to play and opportunities to win as they build streaks toward the now mythical goal of a 57-game hitting streak. The game gives contestants the chance to pick up to two players each day that they believe will get a hit in an effort to get to 57 games with players again getting an extra helping hand in the form of a "mulligan" once they reach a 10-game streak.
In addition, MLBAM’s release of its 2014 version of the MLB.com At the Ballpark app includes a complete re-design for iOS 7, a new official MapQuest partnership integration, and iBeacon technology support for 20 MLB ballparks. Features this year include: MyTickets Mobile; Ballpark and player entrance music listings; Seat and experience upgrade functionality; Check-in for ballpark offers and rewards; Access to food and beverage ordering and more.
North American Sports Group and NMG Media are developing a new sports and entertainment channel on NMG’s YouTube multi-channel network (MCN), called Grassroots Sports Channel. The platform will include channels featuring: Hoop It Up 3×3 Basketball, Kick It 3v3 Soccer, Let It Fly Flag Football and Sticks Up Lacrosse. The channel will feature original programming, interviews, recaps of past events and more.
The Denver Nuggets, in conjunction with the NBA, launched their official Sina Weibo account to share news, photos and other team-related information with millions of potential fans in China. The NBA has drawn over 70 million followers since launching its official Weibo account on Dec. 17, 2010.
The Sweet Sixteen wraps up tonight on TBS and CBS, beginning with Tennessee/Michigan on CBS at 7:15p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1984: The Baltimore Colts move to Indianapolis.
In The Know:Who holds the record for most field goals made in a single NFL game? (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: What team retired Rick Barry’s #24? Answer: The Golden State Warriors. Kudos: Ben Sturner-Leverage Agency/NY; Keith Bielory-PMG Sports/NY; Rick Alessandri-Univision Communications/NY; Andreas Droste-NBC Sports/NY; David Koonin-CSE/Atlanta; G. David Brown-FOX Sports/Charlotte; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Tony Ferranti-MMSI/Warwick; Kevin Yoder-IMCA/Vinton; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Jim Bernard-FOX Sports/LA; Jack Simmons-Fox Sports/LA; Larry Hutchings/Pacific Palisades; Alex Petrilli, Jr.-TiVo/Alviso.
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Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine
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