05/29/14: NFL Now gets supersized with new distributors, sponsor; NBC bets the farm on Triple Crown run; Turner Sports revs up for final NASCAR season


Good morning. It’s Thursday, May 29, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

NFL Now snagged another sponsor and two more distributors as it marches toward its launch this summer. McDonald’s signed on as the third presenting sponsor of the upcoming platform, joining previously announced launch partners Verizon and Gillette. "We are excited to extend our partnership with the NFL by being a presenting sponsor for the launch of NFL Now," said Anja Carroll, Vice President, Media and Consumer Connections for McDonald’s. "NFL Now is personalized for each fan, enabling them to follow their favorite teams and players, whether at the game, at home or in our restaurants."

Meanwhile, the upcoming new digital video service providing has signed on distribution partnerships with Amazon Fire TV and Kindle Fire and the Roku streaming platform joining previously-announced partners Verizon, Microsoft, and Yahoo.


California Chrome’s race to a potential Triple Crown will result in NBC Sports doubling its programming for the Belmont Stakes on June 7 to 16 hours. The slate begins on Wednesday, June 4 at 6:30p with the documentary California Chrome: The Unlikely Champion, narrated by Bob Costas on NBCSN. Coverage continues with Belmont Classics on Thursday, June 5, at 5:30p while Friday will see the network offering live race coverage of the True North and Belmont Gold Cup. Race day coverage then begins Saturday at 2:30p on NBCSN, and continues at 4:30p with the race on NBC.

TNT revs up for its portion of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with six weeks of action beginning Sunday, June 8, at Pocono Raceway at 1p. The network will once again follow a driver and their team during the network’s portion of the season as they travel and prepare for the upcoming race. Featured drivers will include Kyle Larson (Pocono), Austin Dillon (Michigan) and AJ Allmendinger (Daytona), among others with pieces running during the pre-race Countdown to Green served by Sonic show. The network will bring back analysts Petty, Dallenbach and McReynolds along with play-by-play announcer Adam Alexander for each race.

Speaking of TNT, the network’s coverage of Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Finals averaged a 4.2 household rating and 6,420,000 total viewers, for markups of 31% and 23% respectively over last year’s Western Conference Finals. On the local front, the game saw a 26.9 local rating in Oklahoma City and a 26.3 in San Antonio.

Saturday’s Coca-Cola 600 proved to be the most-watched sports telecast of the weekend, according to national Nielsen numbers, generating a 4.1/9 household rating/share and 7.0 million viewers on FOX. The NASCAR race peaked at 9.3 million viewers at 10:30p for the network.

FOX Sports also announced that former NFL offensive lineman David Diehl is joining the team this season as an NFL on FOX game analyst. Diehl announced his retirement in January. "We’re really excited to have a former player with David’s credentials join our team of NFL on FOX game analysts," said FOX Sports Executive Vice President, Production and Executive Producer John Entz. "Our sense is that he’ll devote the same passion and preparation to his new career that he demonstrated in the trenches for 11 years, and he’ll quickly develop to lead the next generation of NFL game analysts."

FOX Deportes’ coverage of Real Madrid’s victory over Atletico de Madrid at the UEFA Champions League Final on Saturday ranked as the top-rated Spanish-language program for the day, boasting 1.224 million viewers and 749,000 P18-49 according to Nielsen. The match ranked as the most-watched match in network history and the highest-rated since the 2011 UEFA Champions League final.

ESPN FC on TV slated a one-hour special tomorrow at 5p live from Times Square in New York City as part of the US Men’s National Soccer Team’s Fan Appreciation Day. The program will feature head coach Jurgen Klinsmann along with the 23 USMNT players who will compete in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. SportsCenter anchor Max Bretos hosts with analysts Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman.

NBA TV will debut its latest film The84Draft on Monday, June 9 at 9p with a look at the famed ’84 class which included the likes of Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and John Stockton. Steve Nash narrates with the film featuring interviews with several of those closely associated with the class.

ESPN locked in a deal with the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) for one year to broadcast nine NWSL games this season. The agreement will see ESPN2 showcase three regular-season matches as well as all three NWSL playoff matches, which includes the two semifinal games on August 23 and 24, and the championship game on August 31. In addition, ESPN3 will also live stream three regular season NWSL games.

Longhorn Network, dedicated to The University of Texas, is now available to DISH customers on channel 407 in the America’s Top 120+ and higher packages nationwide. Programming this week will include the debut of two Texas football specials, the best of LHN’s exclusive All Access series as well as daily news and information shows.



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Speakers Include:
Erin Dippold – VP, Consumer Products {DHX Media}
Kirk Bloomgarden – SVP, Global Consumer Products {Saban Brands}
Greg Economos – SVP, Global Consumer Products {Sony Pictures}
Marty Brochstein  – SVP Industry Relations and Information {LIMA}
Manuel Torres – SVP Global Toys and Publishing {Nickelodeon}


With just two weeks until the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Brazil, Unruly released the top related ads that scored the most shares online. With The Brazilliant Brands Tracker, Unruly featured 11 brands to represent the number of players on a team, and found brands not affiliated with the sporting event drove (54%) of the total 2.4 million shares. The top player was non-sponsor Nike, with 1.27 million shares and three of the top most-shared 2014 soccer ads so far at a share rate of 1.5 percent. However, Castrol is the most shared World Cup sponsor so far, with 962,206 shares through the ad Footkhana. Those in the top 11 by most shared soccer ads are as follows: Nike, Samsung, Castrol, Coca-Cola, Emirates, ESPN, Adidas, Powerade, Visa, FIFA and Cerveza Cristal. "The top trending ads show advertisers making use of exhilaration, shared passion, zeitgeist and reaction-seeking to drive sharing," Unruly VP of Marketing and Insight, U.S. Devra Prywes told Cynopsis. "One finding that surprised us is that non-sponsors are actually generating more shares than official World Cup sponsors, with Nike in the lead from its Winner Stays ad earning over a million shares. We’ll see if another brand can knock Nike out of its top spot before the World Cup finals."

Canadian media company Rogers Communications locked in a six-year deal with Bank of Nova Scotia for the bank to sponsor the company’s exclusive NHL programming throughout the country. The deal runs through 2019-20 and reportedly make Scotiabank the title sponsor of Wednesday Night Hockey and Hockey Day in Canada programming, as well as other content.


Following the success of its three-part documentary Arnie, Golf Channel is now turning to fans of the famed golfer to submit videos capturing their personal stories via a dedicated page on GolfChannel.com. Stories submitted will now be used in a fourth installment of Arnie, highlighted by user-generating content from Arnie’s Army. Deadline for submissions is December 31, 2014. Meanwhile, the company’s newest documentary Payne premieres Sunday, June 8 at 5p on NBC and Monday, June 9 at 10p on Golf Channel, leading into the week of the 2014 U.S. Open Championship.


The Rangers look to close out the series on NBCSN at 8p while the Thunder/Spurs square off on TNT at 9p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1922: The US Supreme Court rules that organized baseball did not violate antitrust laws.

In The Know: How far is the free throw line from the backboard in the NBA? (The one it faces, not the one at the opposite end of the court which I know some clever person will submit.) (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 WWE wrestler played Blain in the movie Predator? Answer: Jesse Ventura. Kudos: Anthony Sedita-Dish Media Sales/NY; Keith Legaz-ESPN International/NY; Mike Lee-BPN/NY; Dean Freire-Discovery Communications Inc./NY; Chris Madigan-Octagon/Charlotte; Jason Fleissner-Discovery Communications/Atlanta; Chris Faulds-Bell Media Digital/Toronto; James Taguchi-WTVR/Richmond; Jay Goslee-Comcast Spotlight/Nashville; Michael Bell-NCC Media/Dallas; Victor Cates-UT Martin/Martin; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Jacob Ullman-FOX Sports/LA; John Sutton-Charter Digital Media/LA; Sean Boardman-Q13 Fox/Seattle; Evan Wecksell-Comedian/LA.

Later — Chris
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