04.04.14 Good morning. It’s Friday, April 4, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
With the Men’s Final Four set to tip off tomorrow at 6p, Turner Sports and CBS Sports will launch its Teamcasts during the semifinal matchups on TNT and truTV for the quartet of schools. Pregame coverage before TBS’ national telecasts begin at 3p, and Ernie Johnson hosts studio coverage with analysts Charles Barkley, Clark Kellogg and Kenny Smith – joined by Greg Gumbel and analysts Reggie Miller, Seth Davis, Grant Hill, Doug Gottlieb and college coaches. Jim Nantz will then call the action with analysts Greg Anthony and Steve Kerr, along with reporter Tracy Wolfson.
Meanwhile, the 6p Florida Teamcast on TNT will see David Steele call the action with Mark Wise and reporter James Bates. Conversely, the Connecticut Teamcast on truTV features Eric Frede on the microphone with Conny Marshall and Swin Cash. Following that game, the Kentucky Teamcast on TNT will see Rob Bromley on play-by-play with Rex Chapman as analyst and Dave Baker. The Wisconsin-themed telecast has Wayne Larrivee calling the game with Mike Kelley.
Craig Barry, Senior Vice President, Production and Executive Creative Director at Turner Sports told Cynopsis Sports about what to expect tomorrow.
Barry on the ‘Teamcast’ concept for the Final Four: The [Final Four] telecast on TBS is the national broadcast that we are all used to seeing each year. Teamcast is a concept where we will approach each broadcast with a particular team in mind to create a more energetic, team focused approach to the Final Four; the same high national quality with points of view slanted towards each individual team. That goes from announcers, graphics and replays to feature sets for halftime. We’re looking to create a really dynamic broadcast that will be interesting for people to watch.
On how the Final Four Teamcast will compare to the national broadcast: The A and B side of the Teamcast are not to mirror the national broadcast, nor are they to mirror each other. They are there to be a creative and innovative take on a unique and new way of producing an individual telecast of the Final Four.
On what will define the Teamcast broadcasts: There are three separate broadcast operations — Teamcast A and B, as well as the traditional broadcast. [Each broadcast has] their own talent, producers, directors, camera and tape. The product is going to be a product of the collective. It’s going to be defined by all the pieces of the broadcast and the overall execution for that team in that kind of innovative approach.
On the genesis of the Teamcast concept: In the partnership [with CBS] we are always looking to be more innovative, to collaborate and to create a better fan experience. There are so many different ways to extend coverage, whether it is on mobile or digitally. The germ of the idea came from Turner Sports COO Lenny Daniels. After he threw it out there, we all got in a room together and figured out a way to innovate on the linear side of the telecast. How could we create a better fan experience? That’s really where it stemmed from.
Meanwhile, the NCAA Women’s Final Four will tip off on Sunday on ESPN at 6:30p with Notre Dame/Maryland, followed by Connecticut/Stanford around 8:30p, with the National Championship game slated for 8:30p on Tuesday. Coverage will include ESPN3 Surround this year, offering an alternative viewing experience with different camera angles and natural audio sound from inside Bridgestone Arena. Kevin Negandhi and analysts Kara Lawson and Rebecca Lobo will be in-studio while Dave O’Brien returns as the play-by-play announcer and will be joined by analyst Doris Burke and reporter Holly Rowe. Technical goodies will include a NAC High-Motion camera, three Avid Media Composer suites and 21 game cameras.
ESPN also revealed plans for its Masters coverage, where ESPN will carry 4.5 hours of live Tournament play daily from the first two rounds starting April 10 at 3p and the traditional Par 3 Contest on the day preceding the Tournament. In addition, an edited encore presentation will run in prime time each night from 8-11p. Mike Tirico hosts ESPN’s Thursday and Friday telecasts In addition, SportsCenter will feature live updates from Augusta National Golf Club throughout the Masters Tournament beginning the afternoon of Monday, April 7.
FOX Sports officially announced that former CBS reporter Bruce Feldman has joined the company as senior college football reporter and columnist. His contributions will include reporting and writing columns about college football regularly for FOXSports.com, taking part in social media and appearing on FOX and FOX Sports 1 college football related programming. Feldman joins FOX Sports from CBS, where he covered college football for CBSSports.com for the past two years. In addition, he spent 17 years at ESPN.com reporting on college football, covering breaking news.
With baseball season underway, MLB Network has added 20 new affiliates since the 2013 World Series, including Armstrong, Shentel and Fidelity Communications in the U.S. and Rogers Cable in Canada. As of Opening Day, MLB Network’s distribution has now increased by 40% since its launch in 2009. In addition, the commercial-free, highlights-focused MLB Network Strike Zone channel has also beefed up distribution, adding 15 new partners and is currently carried by six of the top ten distributors across the country including AT&T U-verse, Bright House Networks, Cox, DirecTV, DISH and Time Warner Cable.
NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalry game featuring the Bruins/Red Wings averaged 744,000 viewers, to rank as the second-most watched WNR game and third most-watched game overall on NBCSN this season. That score is up 37% versus NBCSN’s 2013-14 Wednesday Night Rivalry game average.
Going, going… 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.
Back to the Final Four, CBS Sports Network’s coverage from North Texas tips-off today with NCAA March Madness 360 at noon, featuring live coverage of Final Four Friday Team Practices from AT&T Stadium. Coverage continues throughout Final Four weekend with NCAA March Madness Bracket Breakdown and NCAA March Madness 360 with hosts Greg Gumbel, Adam Zucker and Dana Jacobson joined on the shows by analysts Wally Szczerbiak, Mateen Cleaves, Doug Gottlieb and Steve Lappas as well as insiders Seth Davis and Jon Rothstein, and reporters Tracy Wolfson and Allie LaForce.
Golf Channel’s upcoming three-night television event, Arnie will see over 100 famed personalities share their experiences with Arnold Palmer starting April 13 at 10p. With Tom Selleck narrating the documentary, interviews are set to include the likes of U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, Royal & Ancient Golf Club Chief Executive Peter Dawson, business entrepreneur Donald Trump, Arnold Palmer Enterprises COO Alastair Johnston, Wake Forest University President Dr. Nathan O. Hatch, and Eisenhower Medical Center Foundation President Michael Landes.
Tennis Channel hits the weekend with world-whiparound coverage of the 2014 Davis Cup Quarterfinals from Italy, France and Switzerland. Presented in Center Court studio format, starting today at 5:30a, coverage will include matches playing simultaneously on multiple courts and alternate between live Davis Cup matches throughout the weekend, including France-Germany competition in Nancy, France, and Switzerland-Kazakhstan play in Geneva, Switzerland.
ESPN added four additional analysts Efan Ekoku, Kasey Keller, Alejandro Moreno and Stewart Robson – to its commentator team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil this summer. The foursome will contribute to ESPN’s English-language match and studio coverage in the United States during the tournament, which begins June 12.
NESN announced that former Red Sox player Steve Lyons has joined the network as a Red Sox studio analyst. Lyons joins Dennis Eckersley and Jim Rice along with Tim Wakefield as studio analysts on NESN’s Red Sox pre and post-game shows, plus NESN Sports Today and other original programming.
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May 1, 2014 | 8:30 AM | Hosted at Shareablee | Register Now! Cynopsis Media will be presenting a Digital Investors’ roundtable, with several prominent VC’s gathering to talk about what they look for when investing, how they see the state of digital transforming, and what they see as upcoming trends. ****Add it to your Digital NewFronts Calendar**** Registration: Pete Romas, 203.899.8483 | Sponsorships: Mike Farina, 203.218.6480
The NBA and NASCAR making are going green in a big way this month. The NBA tipped off NBA Green Week presented by Sprint yesterday with an entire week dedicated to educating fans about responsible environmental stewardship. The initiative will see the league, its teams and players will take part in a variety of "greening" programs and events, including recycling programs, community service projects and sustainability education programs. In addition, fans that use #NBAGreen and tag @Sprint will be entered to win a trip to The Finals 2014 and other prizes and one tree will be planted each time #NBAGreen is used between April 3 and April 10.
Meanwhile, NASCAR kicked off its second annual NASCAR Race to Green initiative at Martinsville Speedway with the initiative designed as a call-to-action for fans and the industry to donate trees that will be planted across the country. Fans can visit the NASCAR site to donate trees at $1 per tree for a 2-3 foot sapling. NASCAR will go "green" throughout the month-long initiative with visual reminders reinforcing the importance of this campaign and the color green will be displayed on race vehicles and at tracks across the three NASCAR national series, NASCAR Home Tracks and International Series.
Ahead of the Final Four games this weekend, the Collegiate Licensing Company announced that it is working with the NCAA to clear the marketplace of potential counterfeit and unlicensed merchandise. CLC, which serves as the exclusive trademark licensing agent for the NCAA, and all four of the schools, is working with Dallas and Arlington officials as well as Homeland Security Investigations to patrol the area in search of counterfeit merchandise and any other unauthorized use of trademarks owned by the NCAA and the participating institutions. On average, 1,000 or more pieces of counterfeit collegiate merchandise, ranging from T-shirts to hats, are seized outside the host venue of the Men’s Final Four each year.
In a natural promotion, UConn Men’s Basketball is being celebrated on the road. As part of the Huskies’ Road Warriors promotion with official partner Chevrolet, a Chevy Sonic painted with the school’s colors will make the trek from Connecticut to North Arlington for the Final Four. Along the way, the "Road Warriors" will visit the states of CT, NY, PA, MD, DC, VA, TN, AR and TX, handing out officially-licensed UConn merchandise, and posting photos on social media.
FOX Sports GO is set to offer nearly 100 Major League Baseball telecasts this season, featuring all games televised on FOX Broadcast Network and FOX Sports 1. Streaming will also include, for the first time ever, live streaming of the All-Star Game, the National League Division Series, the National League Championship Series, and the World Series. Games will debut on Saturday with a doubleheader featuring the Twins/Indians at 1p and Giants/Dodgers at 4p.
Streaming radio platform TuneIn announced results from a poll about the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, finding that users tuning into coverage from Selection Sunday through the Elite Eight were up by almost 500,000 listeners this year compared to 2013. Over 1.6 million listeners tuned in to the games via TuneIn. Nationally, California leads the pack of states with 243,637 unique sessions started, followed by Florida, New York, Texas and Illinois.
ESPN’s Executive VP, Technology Charles E. "Chuck" Pagano, who joined the company prior to its debut in 1979, announced his retirement effective February 2015. Aaron LaBerge, who rejoined ESPN in 2013 as Senior VP, Technology and Product Development, has been named Pagano’s successor and will assume the day-to-day management of the team starting on June 1, 2014. "Quite simply, Chuck Pagano personifies ESPN – its entrepreneurial spirit, its creative passion and its focus on the people who make it all happen – and we would not be what we are today without him," said ESPN President John Skipper. "I am personally grateful for his contributions and insights, and I join all ESPNers in offering an enthusiastic thank you for all he has meant to our company."
John Mueller was named Chief Financial Officer of The Topps Company, effective April 7. Mueller had served with the XO Group (formerly The Knot) for five years, where he served as CFO.
Final Four action begins Saturday at 6p on TBS with additional Teamcasts on TNT and truTV.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
The Cynopsis Sports Media Awards Breakfast is set!
April 17 | 8:00-10:00am | Yale Club | NYC
Join award finalists, support your colleagues + network with the best in the industry!…Register… Preview the list of finalists: http://www.cynopsis.com/?p=7260 Thank You to Our 2014 Sponsor – Electric Sheep
ON THIS DAY in 1974: Hank Aaron hits his 714th homerun to tie Babe Ruth’s record.
In The Know:Name one school that has left the Southeastern Conference as a full member. (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: John Gagliardi and Eddie Robinson are first and second in most wins for a college football coach. What famed name is third? (Hint, he’s retired.) Answer: Bobby Bowden. Kudos: Jordan Goldberg-Disney and ESPN Media Networks/NY; Aymon DeMauro-Discovery Networks/NY; Joe Giovengo-GSN/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Tim Overmyer-20th TV/Atlanta; Chris Schwieterman-Gray Television Group Inc./Tallahassee; RT Harris-WideOrbit/Detroit; Melissa Pattillo-Turner Sports/Atlanta; Bill Robertson-Tunheim Partners/Minneapolis; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Doug Kelly-S.F. Bowl Game Association/South San Francisco.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
What’s your favorite birthday dessert?One participant will win a $25 Crumbs Bake Shop gift card + the winner will be announced on Monday, April 7th.
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine
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