05.22.15 Good morning. It’s Friday May 22, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
With his last season as a full-time NASCAR driver underway, Jeff Gordon has already lined up a fill-time gig for the next phase of his career. The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion will join FOX NASCAR in 2016 to serve as a race analyst for its 16th year of NASCAR SPRINT Cup Series coverage where he will be teamed with Mike Joy and Darrell Waltrip. Gordon served as race analyst for FOX Sports’ coverage of three NASCAR XFINITY Series races this year and now has a multi-year contract that begins this season with in-race reporting from the No. 24 Chevrolet during select Cup Series races, and segues to an analyst role that commences with Daytona Speedweeks in February 2016.
“Jeff is not only a champion but an icon of a racing generation,” said Eric Shanks, FOX Sports President, COO & Executive Producer. “We are thrilled he has chosen to become a part of the FOX Sports family and pair his experience with Darrell. Each is credited with helping elevate NASCAR to the popularity it attained in his respective era, and alongside Mike Joy, this duo will treat fans to unmatched insights each and every week.”
TNT’s coverage of the 2015 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 ranked as the top program of the night across cable. The Cavaliers/Hawks live game telecast averaged a 4.4 U.S. HH rating and 6.8 million total viewers, for a markup of 10% and 8% respectively over the network’s comparable Conference Finals coverage last year, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals. It is also ranks as TNT’s highest-rated and most-viewed NBA game telecast this season. In addition, the channel’s Inside the NBA averaged a 2.6 overnight rating, based on metered market ratings, to rank as the second highest-rated program of the night across cable television.
NBCUniversal’s barrage of programming for Championship Sunday, which will see all 10 matches presented simultaneously on 10 different NBCU television networks this weekend at 10a, now have their broadcast assignments. NBC Sports Group’s lead Premier League play-by-play announcer Arlo White will call Hull City/Manchester United and joined by analysts Lee Dixon and Graeme Le Saux. Other assignments include: Peter Drury/Jim Beglin taking on Chelsea/Sunderland; Jim Proudfoot/Danny Mills calling Newcastle/West Ham United; Gary Taphouse/Garry Birtles handling Stoke City/Liverpool; and Gary Weaver/Barry Horne behind the microphone for Everton/Tottenham.
Tennis Channel deepened its telecast rights ties with the operators of the Citi Open tournament -the annual Washington DC-based professional tennis tournament that is slated from August 1-9 this year. The multi-year deal will see the channel offer more national on-air coverage than ever in the history of the event and include multiple courts and digitally streamed matches, as well as an enhanced on-site presence for the channel and its on-air talent roster. "The Citi Open has a rich legacy in the history of our sport, and has grown to become one of a select group of men’s and women’s competitions in tennis today," said Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO, Tennis Channel. "The upswing in tennis right now makes this a perfect time to invest in this tournament, and we plan to heavily promote it during our coverage of the majors and other events leading into the summer. This is a great chance for us to shine a brighter light than ever on the Citi Open, and in the process highlight the connection between the tournament and Arthur Ashe, who contributed so much to tennis and the world."
With tickets selling fast, get in now to attend the Cynopsis Sports Summit, set for June 16 in NY. Don’t miss our newest session, “Leveling the Playing Field: Using Video to Build Your Brand,” and hear from the experts who are successfully matching content and technology to reel in fans. Moderated by AOL’s Frank Besteiro, the panel will feature an all-star lineup that include Bleacher Report’s Rory Brown, Whistle Sports’ Jeff Urban, WWE’s Lisa Lee, FOX Sports’ Michael Spirito and Intersport’s John Paquet. Register here now!
CBS Sports hits Las Vegas for coverage of PBR’s Last Cowboy Standing this weekend, with coverage on both CBS and CBS Sports Network. Coverage begins on CBS Sports Network today with Inside the PBR at 10:30p, followed by live action at 11p. Craig Hummer, Ty Murray, Justin McBride and Leah Garcia call the action.
NBC UNIVERSO debuts its new, live sports show for Latinos, dubbed Escena Deportiva tonight at 11p, offering viewers breaking news, stories and more. Escena Deportiva la Previa will highlight the upcoming weekend’s action, while Escena Deportiva el Wrap Up runs on Monday nights and will recap all of the action and storylines from the weekend. The show will be co-hosted by Ana Jurka and Guadalupe "Guad" Venegas, and feature interactive segments on social media platforms to engage Latino sports fans.
The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl is heading back to primetime, with organizers announcing that the post-season college football game will take place Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 6p on ESPN. “2015 marks our sixth year as the title sponsor of the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, and we’re excited that this year’s game will be broadcast during prime time. Our sponsorship has proven to be a great opportunity to promote our company to a nationwide audience while also raising awareness for the numerous Bowl-related charities we support,” said Dan Crockett, President/CEO of Franklin American Mortgage Company. “Last year’s game was one of the best of the entire Bowl Season and we’re looking forward to building upon that momentum in 2015.”
The return of the UEFA Champions League to ESPN Deportes saw the 2014-15 season average a 0.9 Hispanic household rating with 173,000 Hispanic P2+ viewers. According to the company, matches got an uptick over ESPN Deportes’ live game windows by 350% compared to the same dayparts last year. Digital growth saw 1.2 million live unique devices view 54 million live minutes of UEFA Champions League on ESPN Deportes via WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes+.
ESPN networks ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3 will team up to offer 14 hours live of the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals from May 27-28. ESPN3 will exclusively carry all preliminary rounds live on Wednesday at 8a. Throughout the competition, ESPN3 and WatchESPN will feature a second multiple-choice “Play-Along” version that gives fans a one-in-three chance to pick the correct spelling. ESPN2 jumps in on May 28 at 10a with the semifinals with ESPN carrying the finals later that day. Chris McKendry, Kaylee Hartung and Paul Loeffler handle microphone duties.
The Detroit Lions locked in multi-year broadcast partnership with FOX2 Detroit (WJBK) and FOX Sports Detroit (FSD) that will see preseason games, including their pre- and postgame shows, air locally on FOX2 and throughout Michigan via Lions Preseason TV Network affiliates. Fox Sports Detroit will produce the preseason game broadcasts with FOX2 producing the pre- and postgame segments. Lions Preseason TV Network games will re-air on Fox Sports Detroit.
MSG Networks announced plans to telecast all 17 New York Liberty home games for the 2015 WNBA season starting June 5 at 7:30p. MSG Network’s Liberty broadcast team will feature veteran play-by-play announcer Mike Crispino along with analysts Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who returns for her fourth season behind the mic, and Julianne Viani.
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Havas Sports & Entertainment is merging with brand entertainment agency Cake in the UK to become Havas Sports & Entertainment Cake. The entity will be based at a new central London home and both teams will be integrated under the leadership of Adrian Pettett, CEO and co-founder of Cake, as CEO of Havas SE Cake. Adrian will report to Lucien Boyer, President and Global CEO of Havas Sports & Entertainment. According to the release, “the formation of this new entertainment and content hub combines both agencies’ expertise in content creation, PR, experiential, social/digital activation, and strategic consulting on behalf of brands and rights holders.”
The Association of Volleyball Professionals struck a deal with DripDrop to serve as part of the AVP’s roster of national partners and as the exclusive Hydration Partner of the AVP. The deal will see DripDrop become the exclusive hydration option offered to all AVP athletes during competition and will be included in national television advertising and at special on-site activations during all seven of the AVP’s tournaments across the United States in addition to the AVP operated FIVB St. Petersburg Grand Slam – a 2016 Olympic qualifier.
PVH Corp., owner of the IZOD brand, is launching the IZOD Tour+ golf apparel line. After brand ambassador and 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson debuted the line at the 2015 Masters Tournament, the product is now available to consumers exclusively at select Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy stores and online at www.dickssportinggoods.com. “IZOD Tour+ represents our ongoing commitment to providing golfers with premium products that feature the latest technologies at a great value,” said Geoff Barrett President, Heritage Brands Sportswear, for PVH. “This marks IZOD’s debut in Dick’s Sporting Goods and we’re thrilled to share this innovative product line with consumers across the country.”
StubHub unveiled its updated iOS and Android mobile and tablet apps that will now feature ESPN content that includes scores, team stats and stories. “StubHub and ESPN both serve the needs of sports fans wherever they are,” said John Kosner, ESPN executive vice president, Digital and Print Media. “Our common commitment to fulfill the passion of fans through multiple platforms is what has made ESPN and StubHub work so well together.”
Meanwhile, ESPN Deportes is now available on Sling TV as part of the “Deportes Extra” add-on package. For an additional $5 per month, customers who choose to supplement the “Best of Live TV” core package with “Deportes Extra” will be able to receive live access to ESPN Deportes.
ESPN Audio debuted The “Golf” Podcast with ESPN.com golf writers Michael Collins and Jason Sobel. The show discusses “the action on the course and everything surrounding the game and the athletes.” The podcast will be offered bi-weekly and will generally last about 30 minutes with the first edition featuring an interview with Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee to discuss his golf game, his challenging of Tiger Woods on Twitter and more.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway will offer 20 newly-installed LED video boards from Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company this weekend for the Indianapolis 500. The video boards offer the capacity to display content in real time and enable hundreds of thousands of spectators to watch the race with the same level of clarity and intimacy as viewers watching at home. The new boards are double the size of the previous displays with 10mm pixel count technology into many of the displays and 281 trillion color combinations.
Raycom Sports has joined Alliance Productions as a partner to provide mobile television facilities throughout North America. Raycom owns and operates two High Definition Mobile Units and two HD KU Uplink trucks. “Raycom is a highly respected name throughout the industry and Alliance is proud to add them to our overall facilities lineup,” said Craig Farrell, President, Alliance Productions. “Raycom brings a wide variety of services and experience that will improve our ability to serve our clients and develop new business.”
Sportsman Channel named Mitch Petrie as VP of Programming. Prior to joining Sportsman Channel, Petrie established Muddy Boot Productions, LLC.
The “biggest day in motorsports” begins Sunday starting with the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix at 7:30a on NBC, the Indianapolis 500 on ABC at noon, and concludes with NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on FOX at 6p.
ON THIS DAY in 2003: Annika Sorenstam becomes the first woman to play the PGA Tour in 58 years.
In The Know:Barry Sanders has broken the 1000+ rushing yards in a season eight times. Only one other Lion has topped 1000, who was he? (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: Name a US president who has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Answer: Kennedy, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Lewis Blaustein-Lewis Brand Solutions, Inc./NY; Michael Dittelman/NY; Ged Young-GC Marketing LLC/Garden City; Matt Laramee-MMSI/Warwick; David Leibowitz-CH Potomac/Potomac; Michael Goodman-Radio-One/Atlanta; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Gretchen Brady-KDAF/Dallas; Bill Goodfriend-Spectrum Reach/St. Louis; Doug Ireland-Northwestern State Demons/Natchitoches; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Brian Sullivan-KHQ-TV/Spokane; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco.
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
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