06.05.14 Good morning. It’s Thursday, June 5, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Facebook Live is taking center court for the 2014 NBA Finals, which will offer the most extensive use of the platform ever. For the first time, fans will be able to ask players questions during practice media availability and NBA Facebook Live will offer 30-minute shows available on www.facebooklive.com and www.facebook.com/nba. In addition, there will be a barrage of new social media elements during the Finals that include: a Facebook Fandom Map; real-time in-game highlights with #NBARapidReplay via Twitter’s new video player; Snapchat; Reddit "Ask Me Anything"; and select NBA players who will "guest Skimm" about The Finals on the daily newsletter.
Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) asked FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to quickly vote on an order to eliminate sports blackout rules within the next two months. In a letter to Wheeler, they wrote, "We agree wholeheartedly with the Commission that ‘the sports blackout rules have become obsolete and we believe the record clearly supports the FCC’s tentative conclusions in favor of eliminating this unnecessary rule.’"
ESPN’s second consecutive year of showcasing every NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Regional matchup from all 16 sites saw viewership growth. ESPN2 and ESPNU’s combined 20 game telecasts reached 13,129,000 viewers, marking a 2% rise over last season. On the digital front, ESPN3 and WatchESPN also scored audience upticks throughout the four days with fans watching 124,500,000 minutes of Regional action for a 34% rise. In fact, ESPN3’s audience growth for exclusive games was marked by a 40% increase, highlighted by its most-viewed NCAA baseball game ever for coverage of LSU/Houston on Monday, June 2, which hit 156,000 viewers that watched 12,800,000 minutes of the action. ESPN’s coverage continues with the Super Regionals starting Friday.
After 90 years of marriage, the Cubs and WGN Radio are breaking up. The team announced a new radio deal, agreeing to a seven-year contract with WBBM Newsradio 780 AM that starts next season, ending nearly a century of the Cubs/WGN relationship. WGN utilized an opt-out clause in its contract due to declining ratings for the games as well as a dip in revenue last fall, but couldn’t come to terms on a new contract.
MLB Network is on deck for the 2014 MLB Draft today from MLB Network’s Studio 42. The event will also be simulcast on MLB.com at 6p with the first round starting at 7p. Seven amateur players are slated to attend along with club representatives that include four Hall of Famers, three Cy Young Award winners, two MVPs and 28 All-Stars. MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger, Peter Gammons, John Hart, Harold Reynolds and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo will anchor the live coverage with contributions from MLB Network’s Scott Braun, Cliff Floyd, Dan Plesac, Bill Ripken, Sam Ryan, Tom Verducci and Matt Yallof, as well as Jim Callis of MLB.com and John Manuel of Baseball America.
The Mavericks brand and its big wave surfing competition, Mavericks Invitational, have been acquired by Cartel Management. The new owners will look to "develop, produce and re-format the most prestigious big wave surfing event in the world." "Mavericks and its talent deserve this innovation and respect," said Cartel Management owner Griffin Guess. "Now is the time to harness its power for the world to experience. These athletes amaze me with each wave ridden; I am honored to take on such an empowering responsibility. I look forward to celebrating these artists of big wave surfing through showcasing the most important wave in history."
ESPN made its game selection for the June 22 edition of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell, choosing the Rangers/Angels battle at 8p. Dan Shulman, analyst John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney will provide commentary for the telecast.
Twenty-five current and former NFL players, ranging from Deion Branch to Brady Quinn to Amani Toomer, are slated to take part in the eighth annual NFL Boot Camp: Broadcasting at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel from June 16-19. The four-day program will break down topics and lessons with on-air and production instructors from each of the NFL’s broadcast partners, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, NFL Network, SiriusXM, and WestwoodOne Radio. Sessions include tape study, editing, show preparation, radio production, studio preparation, production meetings, field reporting and game preparation. Each player will tape segments as a game analyst and as a field reporter and serve as a live guest host on SiriusXM NFL Radio. Of the 168 players who took part in NFL Boot Camp: Broadcasting from 2007-2013, more than one-third have earned broadcasting jobs as a result of their participation in the program.
NBCSN offers 10 hours of cycling’s 2014 Criterium du Dauphine from France starting Sunday at midnight with Stage 1 in Lyon. Programming will then continue throughout the week and wrap up with Stage 8 from Megeve to Courchevel on Sunday. NBC Sports Group’s play-by-play announcer Steve Schlanger is joined by analyst Bob Roll to call the action.
SNY will debut its newest series, Oh Yeah…, on June 12 at 10:30p. The program will revisit "the most entertaining, offbeat, and perhaps forgotten local sports topics over the past 40 years with each episode devoted to a specific year." The series will then shift to its regular timeslot on Sundays at 10p beginning June 22.
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For one year, the Super Bowl will ditch Roman numerals. The league announced that the 50th edition of the game will be dubbed Super Bowl 50 in lieu of Super Bowl L. The game is set to take place in February 2016 in Santa Clara, California. The league will then go back to its traditional moniker in 2017, with Super Bowl LI.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is partnering with Angie’s List to serve as title sponsor for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis through 2016. The Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2015. Angie’s List will play host to 5,000 service providers at a Festival of Service during race weekend as a way to "thank" them for playing a role in the company’s growth.
The American Basketball Association named The TDG Company as its marketing company. TDG is an international brand marketing firm based in Scottsdale, AZ with clients that have included Jim Beam, Sauza Tequilla, Canadian Club, Welch’s, Seattle’s Best, Starbucks, Organic Valley, Foster Grant, Costco as well as the NBA, CBA, NFL and MLB.
Univision Deportes Network locked in a partnership with Facebook that will see the channel add content from the social network to its telecasts, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The channel will feature posts from athletes and teams, as well as comments from fans, Instagram pics and Facebook data on trending topics.
ESPN Films and espnW are relaunching the short documentary series, Nine for IX Shorts in July. A preview of the series, entitled Love & Payne and directed by ESPN’s Hannah Storm, debuted yesterday on espnW.com/, and examined the legacy of golfer Payne Stewart through the eyes of his widow, Tracey. Nine for IX Shorts will cover various sports stories including a feature on basketball star Brittney Griner, Ronda Rousey’s rise to become the top female MMA fighter, and a look at the driving force behind autistic basketball player Jason McElwain: his mother, Debbie. One short film will premiere per day beginning Monday, July 28, through Friday, August 1. Robin Roberts and Jane Rosenthal will return as executive producers of the series.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals on ABC at 9p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Primetime Emmy® Awards: Before the Ballot Special eReports
A 4-part series publishing from June 11 – 25, 2014 We explore the Categories before Nominees are determined
Nonfiction Specials/Series (June 11)
Reality Host/Competition/Program (June 18) – SOLD OUT
Actor/Actress (June 23)
Drama (June 25) Space is limited. To advertise, contact Mike Farina – 203-218-6480
ON THIS DAY in 1993: Julie Krone wins the Belmont Stakes to become the first female jockey to win a Triple Crown race.
In The Know:Which actor and former superhero rode Seabiscuit to a 2004 Best Picture Oscar nomination? (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: Boxer Eric Esch was known by what nickname? Answer: Butterbean. Kudos: Mike Donato-ABC/NY; Bob Dudelson-Cross-MediaWorks/NY; Art Salisch-HEARST Television/NY; Rick Rosenfelt-ESPN New York/NY; Matthew Meachem-TMS/Queensbury; Scott Jenkins-TMS/Queensbury; Tom Wetzel-MMSI/Warwick; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Harry S Vested Jr.-GCSN/Denver; Jack Simmons-Fox Sports/LA; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc./Santa Monica; Guy Cacciarelli-Madison Square Garden Media/LA; John Sutton-Charter Digital Media/LA; Brian Robin-Brener Zwikel & Associates. Inc./Reseda.
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
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