06/18/15: Warriors battle lets ABC plunder; WWC continues record pace; FOX Sports give US Open then VR treatment


Good morning. It’s Thursday June 18, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The 2015 NBA Finals finished with a boom, benefiting ABC as the Warriors victory helped the series rank as the most-watched and highest-rated ever on ABC, according to Nielsen. The six-game series averaged 19,939,000 viewers with an 11.6 U.S. household rating, up 30% and 26% respectively, over the 2014 slate. The deciding Game 6 scored an average audience of 23,254,000 viewers with a 13.4 score. Meanwhile, the NBA Finals on ESPN Deportes averaged a 0.7 Hispanic Household Rating with 144,000 Hispanic viewers to tie with 2014 as the highest-rated ever in Spanish-language.


Continuing the NBA Finals breakdown, TiVo ranked the top moments from the 2015 series.
1.  June 7 – With only one second remaining in the third quarter and the Cavs up by 3, the Warriors Draymond Green intercepts Dellavedova’s pass and lobs the ball to Speights who misses the easy dunk.
2.  June 7 – LeBron drives to the basket and misses his layup with 2.5 seconds remaining, Tristan Thompson fails to tip it in for the Cavs and time runs out with the score tied at 87.
3.  June 14 – Up by 8 with under 2 minutes to play Curry hits a 3-pointer extending the lead to 11.

Meanwhile, FOX continued its power play for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, as the USA/Nigeria matchup delivered 5 million viewers to the network, making it the most-watched FIFA Women’s World Cup Group Stage match ever and the most-watched soccer match ever on the network, breaking the marks set Friday for USA/Sweden, per Nielsen. Overall, the three USA Group Stage matches on FOX and FOX Sports 1 averaged 4.3 million viewers,  up 207% over the 1.4 million viewers the three USA Group Stage games averaged in 2011 on ESPN. Top 10 markets for USA/Nigeria: St. Louis (6.5); Austin (5.1); New York (4.9); Milwaukee (4.8); Washington D.C. (4.7).

Bill Simmons could have a new home soon, according to THR. The publication writes that the former ESPN personality is in discussions with HBO following his headline-grabbing split with ESPN a month ago. According to the piece, “insiders say conversations at HBO have focused on a TV show  something Simmons is believed to want  along with heavy digital extensions that make the prolific personality tailor-made for the HBO Now era.”

NBC Sports Group launches coverage of the 2015 Dew Tour season on Saturday at 2:30p on NBC. Overall, the company will offer up four hours of coverage on the broadcast channel, and more than 10 hours across NBC Sports Live Extra and DewTour.com while NBC UNIVERS serves up Spanish-language coverage at that time as well.

Game of Thrones fans can get a taste of The Mountain when CBS Sports offers the return of the World’s Strongest Man on CBS Sports Network and CBS Sports starting this weekend. Competitors include Hafthor “Thor” Bjornsson aka Gregor Clegane aka The Mountain of the HBO series. CBS Sports Network will carry ten 30-minute episodes leading up to the finale, beginning on Thursday, June 25 at 6p and running through Thursday, Aug. 27. The season finale airs Sunday, Aug. 30 at 1p on CBS and re-airs that night at 9p on CBS Sports Network. Brent Stover calls the action, along with Aaron Taylor and Bill Kazmaier.

Golf Channel reports more record viewership for US Open Week, as Tuesday’s Golf Central Live From The U.S. Open and Morning Drive delivered the network with a Total Day audience average of 118,000 on Tuesday. That is up 2% versus last year at Pinehurst.





The inaugural NFL Prep Academy, an invitation-only program designed for elite high school football student-athletes designed to “teach the values of education, character, leadership, and community outreach” kicked off yesterday at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. The four-day program offers a slate of classroom presentations that include “Goal Setting,” “Values,” “Academic and Career Planning,” “Healthy Relationships,” “Life Beyond Football,” and “Leadership & Character Development.” Sessions will include instruction from former NFL players who are trained as Transition Coaches with Anthony Munoz delivering the keynote address.

To celebrate Stephen Curry’s season, Unilever’s Degree is donating $10,000 in Curry’s name to ThanksUSA, a non-profit that provides college, technical and vocational school need-based scholarships for the children and spouses of US military personnel. Curry has served as the national spokesperson for ThanksUSA since 2010. “Supporting military personnel and their families through ThanksUSA has been an amazing experience for me,” said Curry. “Family and education have played, and continue to play, a huge part in my life. I am so grateful for the sacrifices these honorable men and women make each day. This donation will benefit future students throughout the country and I am very appreciative that Degree would partner with me for such a worthwhile cause.”


NBA Finals Social Media tallies:
Facebook reports that 32 million people had 173 million Facebook posts, comments and likes related to the NBA Finals from June 4-16, with total views from 132 videos uploaded to Facebook in that span drawing 98 million video views.

Top 5 States:
1.  Ohio
2.  Mississippi
3.  California
4.  Illinois
5.  Georgia

Top 5 Demos:
1.  Men, 18-24
2.  Men, 25-34
3.  Women, 18-24
4.  Women, 25-34
5.  Men, 35-44

On Twitter, Tweets about the Finals were seen 7.6 billion times on Twitter and across the web. Twitter’s hashflags (a way to add color to Tweets) saw over 7 million Tweets since the #NBAFinals. Most Tweeted about moments in the series:
1.  End of series: @warriors with the #NBAFinals
2.  End of Game 2: @Cavs defeat @warriors 95-93 in overtime
3.  Game 5: @StephenCurry30 cross over and three pointer against @matthewdelly with 2:44 left in game.


The US Golf Association put a clamp on Periscope, Meerkat and Facetime, announcing that live-streaming will not be tolerated at the U.S. Open. CNN reports that “enforcement officers” will be patrol the crows to prevent unauthorized streaming while  officials will monitor streaming and social media websites.


FOX Sports continues to drive innovation for the US Open, teaming with NEXTVR to offer virtual reality viewership available to fans visiting select hospitality areas of the course. Attendees at VIP tents at the tournament as well as FOX Sports spots in NY, LA and Vancouver will be able to experience the Open from the perspectives of five spherical camera rigs that will be placed at vantage points around the course. “Our ongoing efforts with NextVR are exactly the kind of relationships we are exploring with our new Fox Lab platform,” said John Entz, President of Production at Fox Sports in a statement. “Virtual reality is most certainly delivering a new level of excitement to next-generation production possibilities and it will be great to gauge the reactions of the audiences who get to sample it at the U.S. Open."


ESPN named Vikram Somaya to serve in the newly created role of SVP, Global Data Officer at the company where he will be charged with leading ESPN’s data strategy as well as working closely with the Disney Media Networks to identify new revenue models and drive key sales strategies. Somaya joins ESPN from The Weather Company, where he served as general manager of AdFX and analytics.


FOX Sports tees off on its inaugural presentation of the US Open starting at noon on FOX Sports 1 and continuing on FOX at 8p.

ON THIS DAY in 2012: LaDainian Tomlinson retires.

In The Know: Steve Kerr became the first NBA rookie head coach to win a championship since… (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: Before being called the Hokies, Virginia Tech teams assumed what nickname? Answer: The Fighting Gobblers. Kudos: Chris Long-FloSports/NY; Sandra Carreon-John-M&C Saatchi Sport & Ent/NY; Tammy Ross-HBO/HBO Sports/NY; Katie Carlson-Turner Broadcasting/NY; Chris Schwartz-International Speedway Corporation/Charlotte; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston;Kevin Wicker-Chiefs Football Network/Mission; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

Later — Chris
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