06/04/15: Yahoo hits the grid; NBC Sports goes long with Belmont; CBS Sports gets a taste of MACtion


Good morning. It’s Thursday June 4, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Yahoo is about to make history, inking a deal with the NFL to become the league’s exclusive partner to deliver the first-ever live stream of an NFL game to a global audience. The matchup will see the Bills and Jaguars battle in London on Oct. 25, and will be showcased across devices for free via Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo Screen and Tumblr. “We’re thrilled that the NFL has chosen Yahoo for this historic opportunity,” said Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo. “It marks a significant change in the way users can access this amazing content. The NFL and Yahoo have both long engaged football fans around the world. Our partnership provides the ultimate football experience — with digital availability, designed for the modern fan.” The game will be produced by CBS and will still be available on free, over-the-air television in Buffalo (WIVB-TV) and Jacksonville (WTEV-TV) markets at 9:30a.


Just ahead of American Pharoah’s run for history this weekend, NBC Sports Group and The New York Racing Association locked in a long-term agreement extending NBCSG’s exclusive rights to the Belmont Stakes. The renewal includes multi-platform rights to the Belmont Stakes, Belmont Stakes Day, and key stakes races throughout each year, which will be televised on NBC and NBCSN and featured on NBC’s digital platforms. The Metropolitan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day, the Belmont Gold Cup Invitational, the Belmont Oaks on July 4, the Wood Memorial, various summer races from Saratoga, and the Jockey Club Gold Cup are also among the NYRA races in the lineup. NBC Sports International will continue to distribute NBC’s coverage of the Belmont Stakes globally through the term of the deal.

CBS Sports Network is getting in on the MACtion, striking a multi-year sublicensing deal with ESPN to carry college football and basketball games from the Mid-American Conference. The agreement will see the channel carry up to 12 football and 12 basketball games per year, with the first year slating six football games and up to seven basketball games, including two Thursday and three Saturday games, as well as one game on the Friday after Thanksgiving. “Today’s announcement is another important step in the continued growth of Mid-American Conference television coverage,” said Mid-American Conference Commissioner, Dr. Jon Steinbrecher. “Having CBS Sports Network join us is part of our vision for the growth of live national coverage for our fan base. This agreement provides another platform to showcase the outstanding students attending Mid-American Conference member institutions. I look forward to joining forces with the CBS family.”

The 2015 NHL Awards are tapping the services of actor and comedian Rob Riggle to host the 2015 NHL Awards. In addition, the ceremonies will see a live musical performance from rock band Daughtry followed by a full concert on Wednesday, June 24 at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The two-hour primetime awards show will run live at 7p on NBCSN in the U.S. and Sportsnet in Canada.

FOX Sports’ coverage of FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 will feature music from English rock band Florence + The Machine with the channel boasting the rights to all 11 songs featured on the group’s new album, “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful,” along with nine additional cuts from her catalog, including songs “Shake It Out” and “Dog Days Are Over.” The title track from the album will be tapped to close coverage most nights. Meanwhile, the company added Dr. John Gallucci to its World Cup roster where he will serve as a medical analyst on FOX broadcast network, FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.

Don’t see we didn’t warn you! Only 30 tickets remain before the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit once again officially sells out. Taking place on June 16 in NY, the day will offer some of the industry’s brightest minds offering you insight into the present and future of sports business. Do not miss out on the event and register here.

ESPN reports that the first two games of the 2015 Women’s College World Series Championship Finals between the Florida and Michigan has now resulted in the most-watched WCWS Championship Finals Game 1 ever and college softball’s highest overnight rating in eight years. The 2015 WCWS Championship Finals Game 1 was watched by 1,542,000 average viewers while Tuesday night’s Game 2 garnered a 1.2 overnight rating, resulting in college softball’s highest overnight rating since the 2007 WCWS Championship Finals Game 2. Additionally, 2015 WCWS Championship Finals Game 1 audience and Game 2 overnight are up 37% (1,126,000 viewers) and 33% (0.9 overnight rating), respectively, compared to the first two games of the 2014 WCWS Championship Finals Game 1 and Game 2.

NBA TV lined up its slate of WNBA games this season, carrying 47 regular season matchups starting Saturday with the Sparks/Storm at 9p. The schedule includes appearances from all 12 WNBA teams. Meanwhile, NBA TV will televise the 2015 WNBA Preview Show with Kristen Ledlow and LaChina Robinson tonight at 8:30p.

Fight Network inked an exclusive multi-year programming agreement with World Series of Fighting to carry live events and the existing archive in Canada and globally in over 30 countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The deal kicks off this weekend with the broadcast of WSOF 21: Palmer vs. Horodecki on June 6 at midnight.

Motor Racing Network’s Winged Nation is moving from webcast to TV with MAVTV Motorsports Network announcing that the show will debut on the channel on Saturday at 9:30a. The show is hosted by Steve Post and Kendra Jacobs, and is in its fifth year with 13 episodes set to be produced for the channel.



“We’ve moved from a nation of fans sitting together to take in the game to a global sports community wanting to engage with, share & comment on what they want to see, and when. The move to social communities of shared sports interests will only accelerate.”
– Jeff Urban Whistle Sports Co-founder and President


Sponsored by MP & Silva, espnW & Thuuz


Amid the chase for the Triple Crown, American Pharoah has a sponsor, with Zayat Stables agreeing to a marketing deal that will blanket the horse with logos from energy drink brand Monster. The deal was negotiated by Leverage Agency and is believed to be one of the biggest single-horse sponsorship deals in history. The deal will give the brand rights to feature its logo on the horse’s prerace cooling blanket and on the collar of jockey Victor Espinoza as well as for the Monster girls to surround the horse leading up to the Belmont Stakes.

UFC revealed its new Athlete Marketing and Development program, introduced to “provide athletes with programs and tools to help them maximize their careers and succeed long-term, both inside and outside the Octagon.” The initiative will see the promotion team with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Fusionetics, and EXOS to push athlete development. On June 1 and 2, UFC gathered up-an-coming athletes for its Athlete Summit to unveil the new anti-doping policy and deploy its new Athlete Marketing and Development program, offering classes featuring experts in financial planning, nutrition, and health and wellness, as well as press and social media training.

The Walt Disney Company and the NBA are launching “The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort” at Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The destination will offer fans “hands-on activities that put families and guests of all ages right in the middle of NBA game action.” Guests will also see “immersive” NBA video productions and numerous interactive experiences, as well as a restaurant and a retail store. “We look forward to uniting the passionate, global fan bases of the NBA and our longtime partner, Disney,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Working with the world’s top creator and operator of themed entertainment attractions, we can’t wait to bring the magic of Disney and the excitement of the NBA to guests from around the world.”

USA Swimming is offering the art of SwimJitsu as a new hook to get people into the sport. Teaming with the North American Sports Group, the initiative offers an in-water obstacle course that includes a series of entry-level swimming skills stages and 10 tasks. Four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin has joined as a Grandmaster to promote the event.  SwimJitsu will make an eight-city nationwide tour this summer, over a nine-week stretch beginning on June 13 in Denver.


Twitter is partnering up with the NBA ahead of the championship series to create the NBA Finals Twitter Timeline, offering fans #NBAFinals related Tweets, commentary and analysis, as well as exclusive video and Vines from the NBA and both teams. The timeline will also feature live scores during the games that will air on ABC. The timeline launches today at 9a and marks the first U.S. major sports league to partner with Twitter on a Timeline experience.


Showtime’s announcement that it would be offering an OTT steaming service in July via Apple also creates a heavy sports ripple. The stand-alone service, appropriately dubbed SHOWTIME, will offer one monthly price ($10.99) to view on all Apple devices with sports content that includes flagship franchise Showtime Championship Boxing, 60 Minutes Sports and Jim Rome on Showtime.

FloSports acquired Full Count Softball, a site covering fast-pitch softball news. The acquisition continues FloSports’ growth into additional sports in 2015. The new site will become FloSoftball.com, and joins FloTrack, FloWrestling, FloElite, MileSplit and Gymnastike as dedicated sports verticals under the FloSports header. “Full Count Softball fits seamlessly into FloSports’ fast-growing offering for millions of passionate fans who crave content around the sports they love,” FloSports co-founder and CEO Martin Floreani said. “Full Count Softball’s rankings, compelling human interest stories and expertise are coveted and recognized nationally, and this acquisition enhances our ability to provide high-quality content at every stage of the competitive cycle.”

Outdoor Sportsman Group  Integrated Media announced the launch of Rigged & Ready Powered by RAM, described as a “new online program aimed at putting anglers onto the hottest places to fish this season.” In-Fisherman.Com/Rigged-Ready offers the best places to fish by dividing the United States into five easy-to search regions with content that includes top fishing destinations, local angling legends and weather information, regional fishing tips, gear recommendations and recipes for local fish dishes.


IMG College named Doug Fillis to the newly created role of Associate Vice President of the East region. He will focus on helping attract partnerships and drive revenue to partner schools Connecticut, Syracuse, Rutgers, and St. John’s. Fillis joins IMG from New York City Football Club (NYCFC), where he was Senior Vice President, Partnerships.


Cavaliers/Warriors tip off on ABC at 9p.

ON THIS DAY in 2010: UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden passes away at the age of 99.

In The Know: What was John Wooden’s nickname? (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: What NFL team is the only one to neither play nor host a Super Bowl? Answer: Cleveland. Kudos: Mitch Burg-Impact Communications/Israel; David Tratner-Rodale Inc. Sports Group/NY; Mario Prosperino-AP Sports/NY; Ron Simon-Paley Center for Media/NY; Tim Gardner-IMG/NY; Anthony Antonelli-UFC/Toronto; Carolyn Sloss-Allied Integrated Marketing/Atlanta; Ron Cioffi-USTA/Atlanta; Corey Goff-Turner Sports/Atlanta; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; Adam Licker-CBS/Dallas; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Jeff Mirkin-The Game Plane/Hollywood; Jack Simmons-Fox Sports/LA; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
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