06/19/15: BET bets big on NBA Players; FOX prepares for Sweet 16; ESPN serves up SEC dishes


Good morning. It’s Friday June 19, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

BET Networks will broadcast first annual Players’ Awards in partnership with the National Basketball Players Association. The ceremony will tape in Las Vegas in July to air exclusively on the channel. Categories include: Most Valuable Player; Best Rookie; Man of the Year; Best Defender; Global Impact Player; Hardest to Guard; Clutch Performer; Coach You Would Want to Play For; Best Home Court Advantage; and Player You Secretly Wish Was on Your Team.

"We at BET pride ourselves on our track record of producing outstanding awards shows and special events and we are thrilled that we’ll be working with the National Basketball Players Association to bring what will be a an incredible night of entertainment," said Stephen G. Hill, President of Programming, BET Networks. "This will be a unique show and we are looking forward to being the only network to dedicate a night to recognizing and celebrating the league’s most exceptional and rising stars for their extraordinary abilities on the court."


Hitting the round of 16 at the Women’s World Cup, FOX Sports lined up its slate of broadcasters for the next phase of the tournament with the first knockout round set to begin Saturday and all matches set for FOX Sports 1. JP Dellacamera, Tony DiCicco and Cat Whitehill call the US match versus Colombia on Monday, June 22 at 7p as well as China/Cameroon affair on Sat. at 7:30p. Other broadcast teams in the mix include Jenn Hildreth and Kyndra de St. Aubin; Justin Kutcher and Aly Wagner; and John Strong and Danielle Slaton.

ESPN revealed game times and network designation of 32 SEC football games for the new season, including the first three weeks of action across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and SEC Network. The season kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 3, with two non-conference matchups: the Belk College Kickoff Game pitting North Carolina/South Carolina on ESPN at 6p and Western Kentucky/Vanderbilt on SEC Network at 8p. Within the first three weeks, every SEC football team will play on SEC Network.

Amid record numbers for the NBA Finals, NBA Digital had its own victories during the series, scoring new records and audience growth across each of its multimedia platforms. NBA TV’s NBA GameTime saw 11% growth for its pre-game episodes and 15% for post-game coverage during The Finals. Other upticks included original programs The Starters and NBA Inside Stuff. On the digital front, a record 336 million videos were viewed across NBA.com and NBA Mobile, globally, to set a new high mark. Domestically, NBA.com and NBA Mobile (including the NBA Game Time App) combined to garner a 28% surge in page views while NBA Mobile netted a 75% spike in video views over last year’s comparable time period.

Premier Boxing Champions appears set to move quickly with FOX Sports. ESPN writes that sources confirmed that the company would soon be locking in a deal with the promotion, which would replace Golden Boy Promotions on the schedule. It would appear that the June 30 edition would serve as its last with FOX Sports 1 with the article stating that the deal will run out at the end of this month. “We have had interest from a number of English-language television stations — beyond our existing extensive work with HBO — to put on Golden Boy fights,” Golden Boy spokesman Stefan Friedman told ESPN.com.

Meanwhile, Golf Channel continued its run during US Open Week. Wednesday’s Golf Central Live From The U.S. Open and Morning Drive drove Golf Channel to its most-watched U.S. Open Wednesday Total Day audience to average 133,000 viewers per minute. That is up 13% over 2012 at Olympic, (the most recent comparable West Coast hosted U.S. Open) and up 22% over last year at Pinehurst.

ESPN’s expanded coverage of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which offered a new format this year, ran to record viewership on ESPN networks. The competition, which spanned June 10-13, averaged 367,000 viewers, making it the most-watched NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship on ESPN. In addition, the men’s championship (Friday, June 12 on ESPN) and the women’s championship (Saturday, June 13 on ESPN2) averaged 579,000 and 534,000 viewers, respectively. Oklahoma City ranked as the highest rated market, followed by Portland, New Orleans, Kansas City and Atlanta.

SportsCenter hits the road this summer for six events around the nation for five consecutive weekends starting at the end of this month. The three-hour SportsCenter on the Road programs will begin with the Spokane Hoopfest, the world’s largest 3-on-3 street basketball tournament on Sunday, June 28, from 10a-1p on ESPN. Other locations will include the annual Nathan’s International Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4, at 9a on ESPN2; the World Championships of Cornhole X on July 11; the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association World Tournament on July 18; while July 25 will see that show at the Saratoga Race Course and from the WNBA All-Star Game.

NBA TV laid out plans for the 2015 NBA Draft presented by State Farm with weeklong programming that will tip off with 2015 NBA Rookie Draft Desk presented by American Express, a roundtable discussion with four of the draft’s top prospects  Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell and Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky  hosted by Jared Greenberg on June 22, at 7p. June 24 will see NBA TV Mock Draft 2015 at 9p and then live draft day coverage begins June 25, at 5p with the 2015 NBA Draft Preview special, hosted by Matt Winer.


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iSpot.tv estimates that ABC snared a cool quarter-billion dollars in ad sales revenue ($223.9 million) for the NBA Finals, according to Ad Age. The six game series saw promotion from the likes of Columbia Pictures ($11.5 million) to showcase "Pixels" and "Spectre," while Universal ($9.3 million) offers spots for “Jurassic World” and "Minions." In addition, Warner Bros. ($7.6 million) pushed "Max," “Magic Mike XXL" and "Vacation."

Georgetown became the latest school to throw in with FOX, announcing a new long-term multimedia rights agreement in which FOX-owned Home Team Sports will become the exclusive sales and marketing representative on behalf of the Hoyas. The rights will be managed by Georgetown Sports Properties, a newly-created entity, and will include radio, corporate hospitality, in-venue signage, digital and social media integration, promotional activities, and intellectual property rights, as well as other mutually agreed upon inventory.

Meanwhile, VCU Athletics selected Learfield Sports to represent the Rams’ media and sponsorship sales efforts in a long-term agreement that runs through the 2024-25 collegiate athletic season. The 10-year partnership marks the first time VCU will have an outside entity oversee its athletic multimedia rights. Learfield Sports will manage all aspects of the Rams’ rights including signage, digital, corporate sponsorships, television and radio play-by-play, and coaches’ shows.

The New York Liberty and Resorts World Casino New York City, who serves as the Presenting Partner of New York Liberty Pride Month, are launching a vacation contest for fans as part of the WNBA initiative in support of the LGBT community.  The first ever New York Liberty Pride Month Vacation Contest begins today as contestants can enter by submitting a photo and caption of what the New York Liberty means to them on Twitter or Instagram using the #RWCNYLPrideContest for a shot at a 14-day cruise for two aboard Crystal Cruises Symphony ship. 


WWE Network offer Tough Talk, a live recap show hosted by The Miz, starting Tuesday, June 23 at 9p, right after WWE Tough Enough runs on USA Network. During the half-hour program, The Miz will have exclusive interviews with eliminated competitors, judges, coaches and special guests.


FanDuel named baseball and football All-Star Bo Jackson as host their 2015 World Fantasy Baseball Championship at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on August 21 and 22. Jackson will also host FanDuel’s first ever Home Run Derby at Las Vegas’ Big League Dreams on August 21. The WFBC will see 90 fantasy players compete in a one-day league vying for the first place prize of $1 million.


More US Open action starting today at noon on FOX Sports 1 before moving to the local FOX stations at 8p.


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Organized by show name, date, and platform, we have everything you’ll need to be caught up on digital premieres, ongoing programs, live-streamed events and integrated series.

ON THIS DAY in 2010: Former NBA center Manute Bol dies at the age of 47.

In The Know: In 1991, NBC ran an animated series called Pro Stars that featured a trio of famed athletes fighting crime. Name two of those do-gooders. (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: Steve Kerr became the first NBA rookie head coach to win a championship since… Answer: Pat Riley. Kudos: Mitch Burg-Impact Communications/Israel; Paul Sucec-ESPN/NY; Luke Tarby-A+E Networks/NY; Jon Piereth-Food Network/NY; Candice J. Shaw-Viacom Media Networks/Nickelodeon; NY; Richard Sanders-Visit Panama City Beach/Panama City Beach; James Taguchi-WTVR/Richmond; Glenn Schineller-Time Warner Cable Media/Charlotte; Allison Lerer-Turner Sports/Atlanta; Gretchen Brady-KDAF/Dallas; Julie Syers-Briggs & Caldwell/Houston; Robert Teinowitz-Live Action Media/Chicago; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Warren Weideman-Producer/LA; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Jordan Cohen-Southport Marketing/LA; John Mazur-KCET Studio and Production Facilities/Burbank.

Later — Chris
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