06/12/14: ESPN, Univision kick off World Cup; NBA Finals go three for three; New studies detail engagement outlook for Brazil


Good morning. It’s Thursday, June 12, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

And so it begins. ESPN and Univision kick off the 2014 FIFA World Cup today, with both companies carrying the Brazil/Croatia matchup at 3:30p. ESPN drew headlines yesterday with the signing of Landon Donovan, who played with the past three FIFA World Cup squads, to the network’s coverage of the tournament. Donovan will contribute analysis from ESPN/ABC studios in LA, and debuted yesterday as part of the FIFA World Cup Preview. Donovan will contribute to pre-, halftime and post-match coverage, as well as editions of SportsCenter, World Cup Tonight and other shows. Overall, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will offer more than 290 hours of live original HD programming with all 64 matches carried live in HD on ESPN (43 matches), ESPN2 (11), and ABC (10).

Meanwhile, Univision Deportes’ coverage from Brazil will take center stage across UCI’s broadcast, cable, and digital platforms. On the broadcast side, the Univision will air the most live matches with 56 on deck, all simulcast on Univision Deportes Network. Play-by-play announcers and commentators include Enrique “El Perro” Bermudez, Felix “El Gato” Fernandez, Jesus “El Profe” Bracamontes, and Luis Omar Tapia, among others. Broadcast network UniMas and Spanish-language cable leader Galavision will air eight live games and special programming during the month-long tournament; Galavision will also broadcast the best match of the day in primetime in a 60 minute format.


Game 3 of the 2014 NBA Finals continued to roll on ABC as the Spurs’ victory scored a 10.3 overnight rating from last year’s equivalent game. The makes the 40th straight time that the Finals have won the night on television, and averaged 14,775,000 viewers, up 5% over 2013. Top local markets included San Antonio (40.5), Miami (30.9), West Palm Beach (18.2), Austin (17.9) and Memphis (14.8). In addition, ESPN3 generated 346,000 unique viewers, up 61% over a year ago. Game Four hits ABC tonight at 9p. 
Forbes revealed its annual list of best-paid athletes from the past year, with Floyd Mayweather Jr. easily taking the top spot by earning an estimated $105 million. Rounding out the top ten were: Cristiano Ronaldo ($80M); LeBron James ($72.3M); Lionel Messi ($64.7M); Kobe Bryant ($61.5M); Tiger Woods ($61.2M); Roger Federer ($56.2M); Phil Mickelson ($53.2M); Rafael Nadal ($44.5M); and Matt Ryan ($43.8M). Top three women included: Maria Sharapova ($24.4M); Li Na ($23.6M); and Serena Williams ($22M).

Univision Deportes Network reports that the channel ranks as the top Spanish-Language Sports Network in primetime among Total Viewers and Adults 18-49 in 2014. Viewership has been bolstered by broadcasts of the top 5 most-viewed soccer matches among both Total Viewers and Adults 18-49 in 2014, entering World Cup play. Nielsen also reports that UDN ranked as the fastest-growing cable network in 2014 in primetime among Adults 18-49, up 86% in A18-49 in primetime and 109% in 109% in total day.

MTV revealed results of a new survey gauging young people’s excitement for the World Cup across eight of its regions, including Australia, UK, France, Latin America (Argentina, Colombia and Mexico), Germany, Italy, Southeast Asia (Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore) and Spain. The survey found that 61% of Millennials believe the World Cup will be more exciting than the Summer or Winter Olympics, according to the report. Stateside, a similar survey found 74% of American Millennials believe the World Cup is an important event in uniting people around the world, while nearly half agree Millennials are more engaged in the World Cup than older Americans.

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.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter isn’t taking calls to retire to heart, all but confirming on Wednesday that he will once again run for re-election, according to Reuters. "My mission is not finished," he told officials at the close of the annual Congress. "Congress, you will decide who will take this great institution forward, but I can tell you I am ready to accompany you in the future."

ESPN made its game selection for the July 6 edition of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell, picking up the Rays/Tigers matchup for 8p on ESPN. Dan Shulman, analyst John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney once again have the call.

NBCSN hits the adidas Grand Prix on Saturday at 4p, with three-time Olympian Lolo Jones (two Summer Games and one Winter Games) slated for the women’s 100m hurdles and Olympic gold medalist Jenn Suhr competing in the women’s pole vault. Leigh Diffey, Ato Boldon, Lewis Johnson and Dwight Stones call the action from Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York.

A Los Angeles County judge scheduled a four-day trial from July 7-10 to determine whether Clippers co-owner Donald Sterling was properly removed as a trustee from the Sterling Family Trust, according to ESPN. The trial will determine whether Shelly Sterling was allowed to sell the franchise to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on May 29 for $2 billion.


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A new study from social marketing platform Crowdtap found 74.2 percent of World Cup viewers plan to use social media while watching games. The research polled more than 850 people to understand how social media relates to the World Cup and advertising, showing: 43.4 percent expect to post to Facebook, 34.1 percent expect to Tweet and 13.1 percent will blog. Additionally, 52.1 percent of viewers are more likely to “like” or “follow” a brand after the World Cup, and 49.1 percent will do the same with a team. When it came to World Cup ads, 55.8 percent of viewers were likely to share a spot from a brand they liked, 49.7 percent would share a new product and 31.7 percent would share a World Cup ad to show they are “in the know” about best ads and products.

The United States Golf Association is partnering with American Express to launch the “Play 9” program, designed to promote how nine-hole rounds can help more golfers enjoy the game in less time. A creative USGA PSA starring Rickie Fowler will debut during 2014 U.S. Open Championship television coverage, showing the 25-year-old PGA Tour pro finding time to play the game with family and friends while still fulfilling other daily commitments and interests.

ESPN announced that music from Carlos Santana will now be featured on ESPN and ESPN Deportes’ coverage of select sports events, spanning a variety of studio programming and platforms this summer beginning June through August 2014. As part of The Summer of Santana, three songs from Santana’s recently released album Corazon (Heart) will see Saideria showcased in June, Yo Soy La Luz in July and La Flaca in August.


TuneIn will offer eight new ESPN 24/7 podcast channels, including Mike & Mike, SVP & Russillo, Paul Finebaum, The Thundering Herd, ESPN Fantasy, ESPN Today In Sports, ESPN Talk Show Podcasts, and ESPN Perspectives. TuneIn will also offer ESPN Radio’s coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup including all 64 matches and 600+ live hours of FIFA World Cup-related news and information programming.

Bleacher Report unveiled its newest installment of its NBA-themed Game of Thrones spoof, Game of Zones. The second edition features Phil Jackson, Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah, Marc Gasol and Dwyane Wade all making an appearance. The first edition was viewed more than 2.6 million times. Here’s the link to episode 2.


Bellator MMA announced that Eric Burak has been named Vice President of Digital Marketing and International Distribution. Previously, Burak held marketing positions at both FOX Sports and Brand Affinity Technologies.


World Cup kicks off on ESPN and Univision at 3:30p.



Who is your favorite TV DAD of all time?

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ON THIS DAY in 2011: The Dallas Mavericks clinch the 65th NBA Championship, besting Miami 4 games to 2.

In The Know: What famed coach made an appearance in the Will Ferrell movie Kicking & Screaming? (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 was the last host country to win the World Cup? Answer: France in 1998. Kudos: Marc J. Beck-MLB/NY; Jack Huckel-National Soccer Coaches Association of America/NY; Jon Piereth-Food Network/NY; Margaret LaMura-Dara-The CW Network/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Jeff Crehan-Media Storm LLC/Norwalk; Regina O’Brien-Golf Channel/Orlando; Paul Mugler-CBS Sports Network/Chicago; Steve Johnson-Intersport/Chicago; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Jack Simmons-Fox Sports/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA.

Later — Chris
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