06/10/14: ABC heats up with Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Brands prepare for World Cup offensive, FOX Sports, Omnigon play up second screen platform MatchTrax


Good morning. It’s Tuesday, June 10, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

After Game 1’s AC issues, ABC scored a cool 15 million viewers for Game 2 of the NBA Finals. The channel saw the Heat’s win over the Spurs deliver an average of 15,006,000 viewers to the network, according to Nielsen, averaging an 8.9 rating household score. That rating is up 5% over Game 2 a year ago, and pushed ABC to win the evening. Through two games, The Finals on ABC is up 4% this year, averaging 14,929,000 viewers. On the digital front, the matchup generated 310,000 unique viewers on ESPN3, up 56% from Game Two last season.


ESPN revealed its talent assignments for week one of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, with lead play-by-play commentator Ian Darke and analyst Steve McManaman calling the opening match featuring Brazil/Croatia from Sao Paulo on Thursday at 3:30p. Darke will join Taylor Twellman to call Ghana/USA on June 16, at 5:30p on the network. Other assignments include Fernando Palomo and Alejandro Moreno for Mexico/Cameroon on Friday at 11:30a on ESPN2, while Jon Champion and Stewart Robson make their ESPN FIFA World Cup debuts with Spain/Netherlands on Fri, a rematch of the 2010 FIFA World Cup final, on Friday at 2:30p on ESPN.
HBO staple Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel is adding journalist Carl Quintanilla of CNBC to its roster as a correspondent. Quintanilla will continue his anchoring and reporting assignments for CNBC. “Carl is a great addition to the Real Sports franchise,” said Joe Perskie, Vice President, HBO Sports. “He is a well-respected journalist who we are counting on to provide in-depth reporting on important and timely stories that impact the sports world. He brings a wealth of experience to our franchise.”

The NBA locked in plans for its third annual NBA Canada Series presented by Bell, featuring two preseason games in Vancouver and Montreal. This year will see the Toronto Raptors will play the Sacramento Kings at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Oct. 5, while the Raptors will face the Knicks at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Oct. 24. The NBA Canada series will once again celebrate basketball with live NBA action, interactive fan events and community outreach programs designed to further develop the game in Canada.

Speaking of basketball, CBS Sports Network and the Naval Academy are partnering up to create a new college basketball event, dubbed the Veterans Classic at the Naval Academy. Designed to match up teams from across the country in celebration of Veterans Day, the inaugural event tips-off on Friday, Nov. 14, and features Tennessee/VCU at 6:30p, followed by Michigan State/Navy at 9p. CBS Sports Network also will feature on-site pre-game, halftime and post-game studio coverage, live from Annapolis.

CBS Sports Network also announced that the channel will now be offered in HD to Verizon FiOS TV customers. Last week, the introduction of CBS Sports Network in SD and HD was completed for all customers who subscribe to the FiOS TV Ultimate and Extreme packages.

Save the date! The 2014 Cynopsis Sports Summit is set for NY on Aug. 19-20 this year. Don’t miss out on some of the industry’s most dynamic and influential speakers breaking down the most important issues of the industry. The agenda/list of speakers for the Summit and this year’s Women of Action will announced shortly.

Pac-12 university presidents and chancellors doubled down on the need for reform in college athletics at the conclusion of the conference’s summer meetings, stating that the Pac-12 CEO Group was finalizing a proposal to address the needs of athletes while supporting the universities’ academic mission. In addition, the league also announced that a new 11a PT television window on the Pac-12 Networks for the upcoming football season in an effort to reduce the number of night games for the conference.

SNY announced Mets+, the channel’s “first-ever collection of limited commercial interruption telecasts” which will debut on Thursday with the Mets/Brewers 7p telecast. In partnership with Verizon FIOS, the SNY telecast will minimize commercial interruption between innings in order to offer unique and unprecedented in-game audio enhancements, features, and on-field access. Additional segments will include: In-game interviews featuring Mets field reporter Kevin Burkhardt and Mets players and coaches; a live behind-the-scenes look at the Mets ground crew; in-game discussion between lead studio analyst Bob Ojeda and Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling; and specially produced segments including Mets Memory vignettes, player reports, and player profiles.

AXS made plans for the 250th broadcast of AXS TV Fights, with Lion Fight 16 slated for July 4. To celebrate the milestone, the channel will carry a special edition of Inside MMA an hour early at 8p immediately followed by bouts at 9p. Lending their voices to the broadcast will be five-time MMA world champion Pat Miletich and Michael “The Voice” Schiavello.

World Fishing Network reports the channel’s highest single-month viewership in the history of the network during the month of April as part of the network’s North American free preview offering. Overall, the network saw a 265% increase in average audience viewership in the U.S. during the preview period.



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The NCAA agreed to a $20 million settlement over disgruntled college athletes featured in basketball and football video games produced by Electronic Arts. The deal, according to the AP, comes just over a week after the company agreed to a $40 million settlement in a similar but separate case.

On a related note, Ed O’Bannon took the stand in a civil case against the NCAA yesterday, seeking an injunction to prevent the organization from denying athletes a share of the profits from the use of their names, images and likenesses in television broadcasts, games and other media. O’Bannon stated that he spent 40 to 45 hours a week on basketball during the playing season and a little over half that the rest of the year, noting that he signed documents, including a waiver giving permission for the NCAA to use his image.

TV ads for soccer events have jumped 43% since the last World Cup, according to Nielsen NV via Businessweek. Revenues hit $378 million in 2013, with networks that include ESPN, Fox, NBC and Univision carrying 3,891 soccer telecasts last year, up from 11 networks and 2,613 telecasts in 2010.

In other soccer news, Samsung released the first episode of Galaxy 11: Final Match, ahead of the World Cup, marking the latest installment of the Galaxy 11 global marketing campaign. The seven-minute video provides fans with a first-look at the “winner takes Earth” football match against aliens featuring players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Wayne Rooney. Sumsung also released the Galaxy 11 Anthem, a Striker Soccer Galaxy 11 mobile game and the Galaxy 11 World Tour stop in Sao Paulo.

T-Mobile kicked off its own 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign with Univision. Known as El Gran Pase, the campaign allows anyone to participate by submitting a video with the hashtag #GranPase, showcasing their best kick of the soccer ball and be included in “the longest pass in the world,” with fans such as Jorge “Soccer Machine” Perez, T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Shakira herself. The campaign will see T-Mobile deliver unique FIFA mobile content to customers on the TMO TV channel. On game days, fans will be served up mini feature video packages calling out the highlights of the day including “Goal of the Day,” “Save of the Day,” and “Team Spirit of the Day.” The brand will debut spots focusing on soccer fandom including the first-ever English-language spot with Shakira.

ESPN reporters confirmed an SBJ report that Frito-Lay was no longer in the mood for the Fiesta Bowl. The Tostitos brand had an 18-year association with the bowl. Rights holder ESPN is now hunting for a new Fiesta sponsor.


The Heat/Spurs battles continue to take the top of the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings Weekly Top Ten, according to the company for the week ending June 8. The June 5 matchup on ABC saw a unique audience of 9,121,000 with 3,091,000 Tweets. Rounding out the top five were the June 8 Heat/Spurs contest, followed by the June 4 Rangers/Kings game, the 146th Belmont Stakes and the June 7 Rangers/Kings contest.

XFINITY is bringing back its contest for the Ultimate Sports Social Media Job for the third year. This year’s “application” will see the elimination of the video submission, which is now replaced by a new list of publicly-viewable Twitter tasks. When each candidate registers and submits a resume at www.xfinitydreamjob.com, they will be emailed a “Twitter Task List” that must be completed within the open submission period. Each task is aligned with the daily responsibilities of the @XFINITYSports job and taps into Comcast partners along the way.


FOX Sports partnered up with Omnigon to create MatchTrax, a “second-screen data visualization tool” designed for soccer matches. The platform debuts this week, ahead of the World Cup, offering fans live commentary, statistics, social media engagement, and more. Starting June 12, the mobile and desktop experience will enable fans to experience every single pass, shot, goal and shoot-out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Features include: live match commentary; real-time field views; a leaderboard and stats; as well as a “Hash Clash,” allowing fans will be able to participate in match discussion and see, in real time, the winner of each match’s social media battle. “As part of our ongoing relationship with FOX Sports to engage consumers and bring them closer to the action, MatchTrax was created to totally immerse soccer fans in a complete, virtual World Cup experience,” said David Nugent, Partner, Business Development, at Omnigon. “We are proud to partner with FOX Sports and look forward to bringing more exciting, digital experiences through to their fans in the future.”


Spurs/Heat on ABC at 9p.


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Check out our CYNSIDERS blog:
What’s Behind the Resurgence of the Historical Miniseries
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ON THIS DAY in 1981: Pete Rose ties Stan Musial’s NL record of 3,630 hits.

In The Know: Which three South American countries have won the men’s FIFA World Cup? (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 two numbers traditionally flank the number 20 on a regulation dart board? Answer: 5 and 1. Kudos: Michael Brown-PGA TOUR/NY; David Stern-BARD Entertainment/NY; Matt Guertin-Active International/NY; Chris Schwieterman-Gray Television Group Inc/Tallahassee; Chris Faulds-Bell Media Digital/Toronto; Randy Ingram- WBTW-TV/Myrtle Beach; RT Harris-WideOrbit/Detroit; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Will Allmendinger-Zoom Media/Chicago; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA.

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