04/13/15: 04/13/15: FIFA revs up for Women’s World Cup; Masters swing proves a dandy; Stanley Cup Playoff sked


Good morning. It’s Monday April 13, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

With the 2015 Women’s World Cup just around the corner, FIFA continues to shore up its global promotion of the event. Coming off the heels of a widely successful men’s World Cup last summer, the organization is looking to take its lessons from the tournament and leverage that to propel this Summer’s matches to new highs.

Cynopsis Sports spoke with Thierry Weil, FIFA Director of Marketing, to discuss the growth of soccer in the US, how FIFA World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup marketing programs play in fostering interest in the game and what we can expect stateside.

Weil on the 2014 World Cup: The World Cup in Brazil was a great success from a marketing perspective for us. It was not the easiest World Cup to conduct and to set up and it was definitely something which came together late, but in a good way. It is also our goal to keep sponsors to stay long-term with us, and to deliver them a terrific World Cup every time. I think we succeeded.

On lessons learned: All of our commercial partners have seen the change of what social media is doing. It is clear that basic sponsorship is still working to deliver the message, but what you need to have now is the fan engagement. You want the sponsors to share those initiatives because our fans want to share their activity with their friends. Today, what the fans are requesting to be able to share their experiences with their friends and that happens to also be what the commercial parties want. We at FIFA are in a situation where we can sit around a table and analyze together because there is this kind of grey area or uncertainty of what’s coming next. They have their huge divisions and a lot of analysts and research but it is pretty clear what is there today, but we don’t know what to expect in six months or two years. So all you can do today is share dialogue with those world companies like Coca-Cola and Visa to see what their key findings are, what our research is saying and what we can do to be proactive.

On fans in the US: Our approach to fans in the States compared to other parts of the world is essentially a different dialogue. The mentality in Japan is different than the mentality in New York, so you need to adapt a little bit and that’s where our partners are of extreme importance because they already have a connection with different parts of the world. We decided to change our sponsorship model so it is more regional, that way we can have more insights in the regions by having more contacts who are already strong within a region and work with us to figure out different ways to approach a fan, what to say and to have a good result.

On the Women’s World Cup: In 2011, in Germany, the Women’s World Cup became a different event which is now the second biggest event for FIFA after the men’s World Cup. Tickets sales for the US team are already sold out. In general, it is a great art and this is a great next step to demonstrate how women’s football is developing and show its acceptance around the world. You cannot predict who will win any longer, there are a lot of teams who can win it. When something stops being predictable, it starts being far more attractive for people around the world. The players have done a lot of work, and in some countries they aren’t even recognized or supported by their federations, it is not an easy job what they have accomplished.

On new ideas: One thing I think will be interesting for the US market is that, based on the success we have seen with public viewing here in the US, FIFA has decided to conduct Fan Fests here in the states. When we talk about fan engagement, it is a live event, even if the game is not live there and it will give fans a place to go to celebrate and bring the World Cup to the US. It will be a special tool that has been well received around the world and I think that the US deserves it. We will now sit together with a couple of professional agencies in US and see how we can set it up and where we will do it. 


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Sponsored by TubeMogul, honorees will be applauded during an awards reception from 5-6:30 p.m. following the Digital Business Summit on Thursday, April 23 at the Astor Center in NYC.

Event space is limited for this much-anticipated reception… register your team today!.


Jordan Spieth’s historical run at The Masters delivered good news for the tournament’s broadcast partners, with CBS Sports reporting its best numbers since 2011. Its third-round coverage on Saturday earned an average household metered market rating/share of 6.5/16, up 48% over 2014’s numbers, according to Nielsen. MM ratings peaked with a 7.0/17 rating/share from 5-6p.

Meanwhile, ESPN saw its second round Masters coverage on Friday draw a 2.1 U.S. household rating, averaging 2.952 million viewers, according to fast national data from Nielsen. That is also up from last year’s second round telecast, which earned a 1.8 rating and averaged 2.465 million viewers. In addition, the company’s Thursday telecast marked ESPN’s highest-rated and most-viewed first round coverage in five years, earning a 2.2 rating and averaging 3.218 million viewers.

Finally, Golf Channel’s Masters Week programming saw record viewership on the channel, in addition to scoring its highest-traffic ever on digital platforms.  As for Thursday, Golf Channel reports that its Masters Week coverage drew 163,000 viewers per minute,  up 33% YOY. The network ranked as the most-watched sports Network from 8a-3p on Thursday with Golf Central Live From the Masters coverage. On the digital front, GolfChannel.com notched its highest traffic ever for a Masters Week (Mon-Thur); including 10.5 million Site Page Views  for a 105% markup YOY; 1.55 million Site Unique Visitors up 70%; and 378K Video Starts rising 80%.

The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are set to rumble on Wednesday, with the league announcing the broadcast schedule. Stateside, the action will see:

  • Montreal/Ottawa on NHL Network on April 15, CNBC on April 17, NBCSN on April 19 and USA on April 22;
  • Tampa Bay/Detroit on CNBC on April 16, NBC on April 18, NBCSN on April 21, NBCSN on April 21 and again on April 23;
  • NY Rangers/Pittsburgh on NBCSN on April 16, NBC on April 18, NBCSN on April 20; and again on the 22nd
  • Washington/NY Islanders on USA on April 15, NBCSN on the 17th, NBC on April 19 and back to USA on the 21st
  • St. Louis/Minnesota on NBCSN on April 16, NBC on the 18th, CNBC on April 20 and NBCSN on April 22
  • Nashville/Chicago begins on April 15 on NBCSN and again on April 17, NBC on April 19, and back to NBCSN on April 21
  • Anaheim/Winnipeg starts on April 16 on CNBC, followed by April 18 and 20 on NBCSN, and April 22 on USA
  • Vancouver/Calgary face off on USA on April 15, CNBC on April 17, NBCSN on April 19 and USA on April 21.

Speaking of the hockey, the 2015 NHL Draft Lottery will see NBC carrying the order selection, which uses a weighted system implemented and utilized to determine the order of selection in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft for the 14 Clubs not qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The results will be shown on April 18 at 8p, immediately preceding the start of Game 2 of the Penguins/Rangers first round series.

Round two of PBC on NBC wasn’t able to match Nielsen numbers from its debut, but NBC Sports states that the boxing franchise led the network to a broadcast Primetime victory among Adults 18-49, for its second straight PBC demo win. Overnight numbers for PBC on NBC grew every half hour, peaking at 2.38 from 10:30-11p for an overnight rating of 1.94. Top markets for the event: Cincinnati 3.6/7; Sacramento 3.0/6; Tulsa 2.9/5; Philly 2.9/5; Detroit 2.8/5

The last few tickets to the Cynopsis Sports Media Awards are available for Thursday from 8-10:30a at the NYAC. Pose with the Stanley Cup, network with Award winners and get some grub. Snatch ‘em up here before they are gone!

Golden Boy Promotions locked in a deal with Mexico’s TV Azteca to broadcast Canelo Alvarez’ fights in the country beginning with the Alvarez/James "The Mandingo Warrior" Kirkland battle on May 9. "This is a great moment for Golden Boy Promotions, Canelo Alvarez and the sport of boxing in general," said Oscar de la Hoya, President and Founder of Golden Boy Promotions in a statement. "To reach an exclusive agreement in Mexico, with a partner as respected as TV Azteca is an honor for us and together we will provide the best fights for all of Canelo’s fans."

FIGHT SPORTS is going all in on the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight, announcing a three week schedule of the best fights from the boxers from around the world and running through the beginning of May. Fans will be able to see events that include Mayweather/De La Hoya and Pacquiao/De La Hoya as well as Mayweather/Ortiz and Mayweather/Mosely.


Honoring broadcaster Steve Byrnes’ battle with head-and-neck cancer, FOX Sports, in coordination with Bristol Motor Speedway, Speedway Motorsports Inc., Stand Up To Cancer and NASCAR, is renaming the April 19 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from Bristol as the Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes and Stand Up to Cancer. The event, on April 18, pays tribute to Byrnes, while also serving as a vehicle of support and awareness for all those battling cancer. “The support I have received from my teammates at FOX Sports, drivers, team members, track officials, NASCAR and the fans has been overwhelming,” Byrnes said. “So many families are affected by cancer, and to play a small part in raising awareness is an honor to me.”

The NHL and Kraft revealed its finalists for the title of Kraft Hockeyville USA, with the chance to host an NHL Pre-Season Game in their local community. Those top 10 communities will also share $425,000 in arena upgrades from Kraft. The grand prize winner will be announced on NBC on May 2. The 10 communities, five from the West and five from the East, moving on to the first round of voting include:

Big Dipper Ice Arena – Fairbanks, Alaska
Decatur Civic Center – Decatur, Ill.
St. Michael Albertville Arena – Albertville, Minn.
Rushmore Hockey Thunderdome – Rapid City, S.D.
Pickwick Ice – Burbank, Calif.
Quincy Youth Arena – Quincy, Mass.
Cambria County War Memorial Arena – Johnstown, Pa.
Highgate Sports Arena – Highgate, Vt.
Healthy Zone Rink – East Aurora, N.Y.
Pullar Stadium – Sault Sainte Marie, Mich.


Retailer GameStop and developer Dusenberry Martin Racing announced that NASCAR ’15 will be released May 22 for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 an on Steam. The physical copies of the game will be sold at GameStop exclusively and priced at $19.99, offering online multiplayer and leagues, career mode, paint schemes, teams, and tracks.

Mary Byrne signed on with ESPN Digital & Print Media to serve as the new Senior Deputy Editor for NFL, NHL and NASCAR coverage. She will oversee editorial operations for Digital & Print’s daily coverage of these sports, including strategic and tactical planning, as well as cross-platform collaboration and integration with television, radio, fantasy and other ESPN entities. Byrne joins from USA TODAY.


Dorna Sports and GoPro locked in a deal with MotoGP to become the official wearable camera of MotoGP in a five year deal. The agreement also grants title sponsorship of the GoPro Motorrad Grand Prix of Deutschland. GoPro cameras will now capture content of the race circuits including on-bike course previews and behind-the-scenes vignettes. GoPro will also produce an immersive Media Lap from MotoGP’s official BMW Safety bike to present each track of the 2015 MotoGP calendar.

SportAccord announced the launch of the SportAccord Media House, which will offer broadcast solutions for all of SportAccord’s members, in partnership with IEC in Sports. Initially, the organization will offer broadcast operations, host broadcasting, digital distribution and program production for members.


Grizzlies/Warriors on NBA TV at 7:30p.

ON THIS DAY in 1997: Tiger Woods wins his first Masters tournament.

In The Know: What is the only MLB team to retire #22? (Hint: The honored athlete is the only pitcher in big-league history to win World Series games in three different decades.) (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 three holes comprise Amen Corner at Augusta National Golf Club? Answer: 11, 12 and 13. Kudos: Gail Campbell-Tennis Channel/NY; Emmett Loughran-Metropolitan Opera/NY; Don Gorski-Westwood One Sports/NY; Jon Latzer-CBS Digital Media/NY; Jamie Palatini-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Lee Estroff-Bexel/Atlanta; David Schaefer-Augusta/Golf Channel; Brad Vonick-MEC Global/Atlanta; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Mike Stallcup-KCBD NewsChannel 11/Lubbock; Dan Shugart-WEAR-TV/Pensacola; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA.

Later — Chris
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