05/27/15: Charter heads home for the Dodgers; NBA Western Conference Finals rocket for ESPN; Time Inc. gets FanSided


Good morning. It’s Wednesday May 27, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Good news for Dodgers fans. Following Charter Communications move to purchase Time Warner Cable, the company told the LA Times that it will begin offering the Los Angeles Dodgers TV channel, SportsNet LA, in Southern California. The channel is expected to launch for Charter Customers in the next few weeks. Time Warner Cable has been the only major distributor throughout the region to carry SportsNet LA since its launch. “Charter is committed to carrying SportsNet LA as soon as possible," said Time Warner Cable spokesman Andrew Fegyveresi in the report. "We’re excited for Charter customers to enjoy the network’s games and in-depth programming.”


ESPN saw Game 4 of the 2015 NBA Western Conference Finals reel in viewers to rank as the most-watched telecast of the 2015 NBA Playoffs so far, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals. The win by the Rockets handed the channel with 8,280,000 viewers for a 59% markup over the last time ESPN televised Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals in 2013 and up 29% over last year’s numbers for the game with a 5.0 household rating.

NBC Deportes revealed its talent lineup for the FIFA Women’s World Cup and FIFA U-20 World Cup on Telemundo and NBC Universo. Andres Cantor anchor coverage and join Carlos Hermosillo, Sammy Sadovnik and Manuel Sol in the broadcast booth. Other faces will include Frederik Oldenburg, Ana Jurka, Leti Coo, Kaziro Aoyama, Francisco Cuevas, Daniela Rodríguez, Pablo Aguabella and new team members Copan Alvarez and Andrea Rodebaugh.

Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Sports 2015 will pay tribute to Yankees’ great Derek Jeter with the Legend Award “in recognition of his unmatched talent, integrity and sportsmanship on and off the field.” The event will be hosted by Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson and air live on Thursday, July 16 at 8p. Kids’ Choice Sports 2015 Sponsors include Verizon, Nationwide and Popsicle.

ESPN detailed broadcast plans for X Games Austin 2015 from June 4-7, with a combined 20 hours of live competition on ESPN and ABC as well as an additional 6.5 hours on ESPN3/social platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat. Following X Games Austin, ABC will deliver four hours of anthology programming on Sunday, June 14. The telecast launches on ESPN on June 4 with the debut of Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) at 8:30p. Talent will include: Tony Hawk, Brandon Graham, Tes Sewell, Kevin Robinson, Alyssa Roenigk, Jimmy Coleman, Toby Moody, Cameron Steele and Nicole Briscoe.

What do some of today’s sports leaders make of the market, upfronts and digital trends? Find out for yourself when the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit welcomes YES Network President & CEO Tracy Dolgin, Tennis Channel CEO/Chairman Ken Solomon, Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans, ESPN Deportes GM Lino Garcia and Daniel Cohen, SVP Americas at MP & Silva to take on the headlines and hot topics of the day as part of our annual “Top of the Morning: The State of the Sports Industry” panel on June 16 in NY. The session will be moderated by Rick Horrow, CEO of Horrow Sports Ventures. Sign up here today!

Tennis Channel reports that research from both Rentrak TV Essentials January-December 2014 and Ipsos Affluent Survey 2014 Doublebase showed that the network ranked at the top as the most affluent among all ad-supported television channels. The data proclaims that it finished the year as the leader among ad-supported network ranked by an index of $150K+ homes (Rentrak), with the rankings also placing fellow sports channels NBC Sports Network (3), NHL Network (4), Golf Channel (5), ESPN Classic (7) and ESPN (9) in the top ten. Breakout rankings also saw Tennis Channel ranked #1 among viewers most likely to purchase a new luxury vehicle and mean amount spent on travel. "By design, Tennis Channel is able to provide our media partners with a direct avenue to the most sought-after demographics in television, and at a scale that represents one of the more significant returns on investment in media buying today," said Allison Bodenmann, VP, head of advertising sales, Tennis Channel.



Speakers Include:

Joie Chitwood III  I  President  I  Daytona International Speedway
 Matt Higgins  I  Co-Founder & CEO  I  RSE Ventures
Russell Silvers  I  SVP Partnership Activation  I  AEG Global Partnerships
Brad Allen  I  Executive Chairman  I  NextVR
Bryce Townsend  I  CEO  I  GroupM Entertainment & Sports Partnerships 


Coca-Cola is going long with Speedway Motorsports Inc., announcing plans to continue its sponsorship of the Coca-Cola 600 through 2020. The deal will see Coca-Cola nab official drink status at seven of SMI’s tracks, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.

Miller Genuine Draft has signed on to become the official beer of the NBA in Canada, according to the Globe and Mail. The multiyear deal brings together SABMiller Canada and the league The deal hands the brand with the chance to promote at the NBA All-Star Game, which will be hosted in Toronto next year and the right to market itself during the draft, the finals and other league events.

International Speedway Corporation extended and broadened its ties with AEG, locking in a deal to expand their alliance for facility ownership and management, sporting properties, live event promotion, and media production and distribution. The new partnership will include AEG’s live-entertainment division, AEG Live, as “ISC examines opportunities to develop music and other live events at many of its 13 motorsports entertainment facilities throughout the U.S.” Meanwhile, AEG Facilities will continue to advise ISC on its latest development projects including DAYTONA Rising and ONE DAYTONA.


Time Inc. today that it bought FanSided, a sports, entertainment and lifestyle network of more than 300 websites that draws a collective audience of around 15 million unique visitors per month. The move will “deepen Sports Illustrated’s local sports coverage” with Time Inc. looking to leverage FanSided’s entertainment and lifestyle coverage across its brand portfolio. Founders Adam and Zach Best, along with partner Matt Blake, will join Time Inc. and oversee FanSided as a division of the Sports Illustrated Group.

espnW launches a new original series, What Makes Us, this summer, a program offering five documentary shorts featuring “some of the world’s greatest female athletes and their journeys to become sports icons”. The series is produced in collaboration with the sibling directing team, the Mundo Sisters. Three of the films will focus on elite women’s soccer players who will be participating in this summer’s tournament — the USA’s Sydney Leroux and Megan Rapinoe, and Spain’s Verónica Boquete and will debut on May 30 at 3p. The other two films will spotlight world champion surfer Carissa Moore and U.S. Olympic hockey star Hilary Knight.

ESPN Digital Media reached 75.5 million unique visitors in the U.S., according to comScore, to rise 14% over year-ago numbers. Across digital platforms, users spent 5.7 billion minutes with ESPN content, a sports category record for the month of April and up 7% from a year ago. Overall, the relaunched ESPN.com drew55.2 million unique visitors for the month, up 19%.

WWE launched the official app for upcoming series WWE Tough Enough on USA Network, which debuts on June 23 at 8p on USA Network. The app gives fans the chance to vote for who stays and who goes with results calculated in real-time during the final minutes of each episode. The platform will also host WWE’s second-screen experience, offering live backstage interviews during commercial breaks and social media conversation from the hosts, judges, trainers and contestants as well as contestant bios, behind-the-scenes videos and photos, and full episode results and highlights.


Poker Central, the 24/7 poker TV network that will debut October 1st on linear and OTT, locked in two senior hires as the company prepares for launch. The channel tapped the services of Sid Eshleman as Chief Distribution Officer of the platform as well as Dan Russell as Senior Vice President, Programming.


Ducks/Blackhawks on NBCSN at 8p.



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ON THIS DAY in 2006: Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling wins his 200th career game.

In The Know: What was Michael Jordan’s nickname in high school? (Hint: it wasn’t “Air” and it paid tribute to another NBA great). (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: The retirements of John Elway, Joe DiMaggio, Dominik Hasek and David Robinson were notable for what common reason? Answer: They all retired after winning a championship that season. Kudos: Mitch Burg-Impact Communications/Israel; John Kearon-Pandora/NY; Brian Traynor-Home Team Sports/NY; Colin Sparaco-NBCSports.com/NY; Joe Brucia-NBC Universal/NY; Howard Goldberg/Livingston; G. David Brown-FOX Sports/Charlotte; Rich Dubroff-CSNBaltimore/Baltimore; Keith Allo-Golf Channel/NBC Sports/Orlando; Imran Khan-Rogers Sportsnet/Toronto; -Steve McNair/KUBE TV/Houston; Robert Teinowitz-Live Action Media/Chicago; Joe Ferreira-Learfield Sports/Plano; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Scott Sarra-Universal Sports Network/Denver; David Hauptman/Denver; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Brian Sullivan-KHQ-TV/Spokane.

Later — Chris
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