07/10/14: Turner Sports elects a president, Brazilian blowout revs up ratings, social media, The NBA has a new CMO


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

Lenny Daniels has been named President of Turner Sports where his expanded role with the company will include oversight of all aspects of Turner Sports’ day-to-day management including production, programming, scheduling, league relations, business development, ad sales, marketing, digital, talent, events and operations. Daniels previously served as Executive Vice President and COO for Turner Sports.

“Lenny is an outstanding executive and has played a key role in growing our portfolio of premium sports content,” said David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. “His creativity and long track record of content and production innovation, as well as his ability to develop and lead an extraordinary team have made a positive impact on Turner Sports.”


ESPN’s telecast of Tuesday blowout shocker featuring Brazil/Germany in the FIFA World Cup semifinal match now ranks as the highest-rated and most-viewed World Cup semifinal match ever on any U.S. network, according to Nielsen. The contest averaged a 4.2 US household rating and 6,643,000 viewers, based on fast nationals. Excluding U.S. team matches, the game stands as the highest-rated World Cup match ever on ESPN/ESPN2, surpassing the 4.0 rating for Mexico-Netherlands from the Round of 16 on June 29. Top 10 markets for Brazil-Germany: New York (7.5), Hartford/New Haven (6.4), Washington, DC (5.8), San Francisco (5.8), Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (5.6), Boston (5.5), West Palm Beach (5.5), Los Angeles (5.0), Baltimore (4.9) and Richmond/Petersburg (4.8) 2.1 million unique viewers watched the semifinal on WatchESPN for a total of nearly 90 million minutes, the highest numbers ever for a non-U.S. team soccer match.

Univision Deportes’ own coverage of the Brazil/Germany game was also a record-breaker as the match delivered its most-viewed World Cup semifinal numbers ever, according to Nielsen. An average of 5.8 million total viewers tuned in and bested the previous semifinal high set on 7/7/10. Overall, Univision Deportes’ coverage of the 2014 World Cup is pacing ahead of its 2010 World Cup coverage by 38% in viewership through 61 matches.

ESPN announced plans for the 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby, set for Monday at 8p. ESPN’s Chris Berman will host the telecast with John Kruk while Buster Olney and Pedro Gomez will provide reports and interviews. This year’s coverage will feature Aloe Blacc opening the show performing Can You Do This, followed by a production tease set to a cover of his song Come Fly With Me. In addition there will be a special one-hour Baseball Tonight from the ballpark at 7p leading into the Derby. ESPN will also televise the 2014 Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game immediately following the conclusion of the Derby.

NHL Network’s Kathryn Tappen is joining NBC Sports Group where she will work on NHL Live, Football Night in America, Notre Dame Football as well as host additional studio programming. In addition, she will also be part of NBC Sports’ coverage from Super Bowl XLIX as well as NBC Olympics’ coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August 2016 and the XXIII Olympic Winter Games from Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February 2018. However, Tappen will continue to appear as a personality on NHL Network.

ESPN and Cox Communications locked in a carriage agreement for the SEC Network on Cox when the channel launches on August 14. The network will be available to fans in all Cox markets. “Cox is home to some of the biggest fans with five SEC schools in our markets,” said Jill Campbell, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Cox Communications.  “This is great news for alumni and fans across our footprint who will enjoy all the action and rivalries that have become synonymous with SEC sports.”
NBC Sports Group and the National Pro Grid League, the country’s first ever professional fitness league, inked an agreement to present more than 10 hours of the league’s inaugural playoffs across NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra. Coverage will culminate with a live telecast of the National Pro Grid League Final on Friday, October 3 at 10:30p on NBCSN, while NBC will broadcast an encore presentation of the NPGL Final on October 5 at 1p. In addition, NBCSN offers the National Pro Grid League Quarterfinals, September 23-24 from Charlotte and the NPGL Semifinals, September 30-October 1 from Las Vegas.

NBCSN is slated to carry Liverpool’s first match in the US in 2014 when the Reds face AS Roma in a Football at Fenway friendly at Fenway Park in Boston on Wednesday, July 23. NBCSN slated a special pre-match show at 7p with kickoff at 7:30p.

Amid the 2014 Tour de France, ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 series will examine one of the sports’ biggest rivalries with Slaying the Badger on Tuesday, July 22, at 8p on ESPN. The program takes a look at three-time Tour champion Greg LeMond and his fierce rivalry with friend, teammate and mentor Bernard Hinault.

SNY is bringing back Mets+ following its successful debut last month, with the telecast taking place tonight at 7p. Presented by Citi, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen will handle microphone duties once again with limited commercial interruption as SNY offers viewers with expanded in-game coverage and in-depth analysis, as well as specially designed segments integrating the booth with Citi initiatives and on-going community efforts.

On the radio front, for the 17th consecutive year, ESPN Radio will serve as the exclusive, national radio home for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game. Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton will call the action with on-site studio host Marc Kestecher and reporters Peter Pascarelli and Tim Kurkjian. ESPN Radio will also broadcast the Gillette Home Run Derby on Monday, July 14, at 8p. ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike will broadcast live from Kieran’s in Minneapolis on Monday, July 14, and Tuesday, July 15 with Greenberg and Golic also providing the in-stadium public address announcements for Monday night’s Gillette Home Run Derby.

FOX Sports Radio’s coverage of the All-Star Game will feature interviews with players, managers and Hall of Famers, as well as baseball insiders and experts leading into and surrounding the game. The network will highlight All-Star Game talk across all shows from Saturday through Tuesday, including FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman and Mike North, Jay Mohr Sports, J.T. The Brick, The Jason Smith Show and more. Steve Gorman SPORTS!

SiriusXM takes on All-Star Week with the national broadcast of both the All-Star Game on Tuesday as well as the Chevrolet Home Run Derby on Monday on the MLB Network Radio channel. Pre- and post-event will feature hosts Casey Stern and former GMs Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette broadcasting live from the field. On Sunday, July 13 at noon, SiriusXM will present a round table discussion hosted by Stern and featuring several MLB Network Radio hosts/analysts as well as the exclusive radio broadcast of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, featuring the top minor league prospects from the U.S. facing off against their counterparts from around the world. 

WORLD CUP TRENDS: CSE’s Social Branding at the World Cup

As the matches head into the final round, brands are continuing to engage in World Cup conversation. Though many team sponsored brands have gone quiet as their teams have been eliminated, FIFA and World Cup sponsors have not lost momentum in engaging in World Cup conversations. How has this commitment to real-time marketing affected their follower count on Twitter?
CSE’s analyses of top brands with World Cup-focused Twitter campaigns have shown interesting changes in follower growth. Adidas football, a heavily engaged brand during the tournament, not surprisingly gained an increase of 15.6%. Coca-Cola saw a dramatic increase in average follower growth from the group stage, with a 35% increase by the end of the quarterfinals. The international beverage brand did not share content after every scoring play, or even every game, though it was able to gain the biggest increase in follower growth. It remains to be seen if this increase came from simple yet effective hashtags and campaigns (i.e. Panini packs and viewing party ideas) or general exposure during the tournament.
According to CSE’s data, McDonalds’ Twitter account experienced a decrease in follower growth during the round of 16, then a slight increase before the quarterfinals. Remember #fryfutbol? Twitter fans had difficulty relating to this now infamous hashtag forcing McDonald’s to change their strategy. In an effort to turn the tides before the quarterfinals, McDonald’s decided to revert back to #McdOneGoal soon before the round of 16 began. By the time the quarterfinals began, its average twitter growth increased close to what it was at the beginning of the group stage (almost 2,000 daily new followers). Monitoring sentiment and reaction to its content saved McDonald’s from losing additional followers-an important learning for other brands hoping to strengthen their social media campaigns.
Puma Football, a multiple player sponsor during the tournament, shared relevant and engaging content with fans of the beautiful game. Interestingly, its average daily follower growth decreased 22% by the quarterfinals. While Puma Football’s content did resonate with followers (many of their posts receive over 100 engagements), does follower count really have an impact on subsequent product purchases?


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The NBA has a new CMO, as the league named Pamela El to the position effective Aug. 18. El will be charged with the NBA’s global marketing operation, directing brand development, overall marketing, and advertising for the NBA, WNBA, and NBA Development League.  She spent over a decade with State Farm Insurance in the role of Marketing Vice President where she led sales and marketing strategy for the U.S. and Canada. “With an extraordinary track record of success in the marketing industry, we are thrilled that Pam will be joining the NBA,” said Tatum.  “Having personally worked with Pam for many years on the NBA’s partnership with State Farm, she will be a huge addition as we work to build our brand on a global scale.”

ESPN revealed its slate of sponsors for the 22nd annual ESPYS, presented by Capital One and running live on Wednesday at 9p. In addition to returning as the presenting sponsor, Capital One will also serve as the presenter of the nomination show and ESPY voting, while also bringing a new photo angle to the red carpet, with the Capital One Quicksilver Cam. Returning associate sponsors include Gatorade, GMC, MillerCoors, which will be sampling Miller Fortune to guests, Nautica and Old Spice.  First-time associate sponsors include Brand Jordan, GREY GOOSE, and Verizon Fios. GMC will be the presenting sponsor of the BODY at ESPYS Tuesday night pre-party. Additionally, Miller Fortune will be the presenting sponsor of the official ESPYS Post Party.


A Brazilian blowout courtesy of Germany rocked social media channels. Facebook reports that the World Cup match saw the highest level of conversation on Facebook for any single match as 66 million people globally had more than 200 million Facebook interactions (posts, comments, and likes) related to the game.

According to Twitter Data, over 35.6 million Tweets were made relating to the Germany/Brazil matchup to rank as the most-talked about sports game on the social media site. The previous record was held by Super Bowl XLVII between the Broncos and Seahawks at 24.9 million Tweets.


SendtoNews locked in a multi-year agreement with MLB Advanced Media for the global syndication of Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball short-form digital video content. The deal will see SendtoNews receive digital distribution rights to MLB game highlights, interviews, top plays and other MLB-related video to local news sites throughout the United States and Canada.

InStadiumTV launched this month, offering content to 125 million adults, according to the company, via jumbo screens in 40-plus MLB and minor league baseball stadiums. The launch marks the first stage of a planned expansion to hundreds of venues in major pro and college leagues nationwide. Produced by agency Erwin Penland, InStadiumTV’s content explored topics that include: The Drama of Sports; The Human Spirit; The Fascination of New Video Technology; and the Science of Sports. The initial launch will run approximately 15 minutes prior to game time, engaging 50% of each game’s daily audience who are seated and watching on-screen content.


Athletics/Giants on MLB Regional at 3:45p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1999: The US Women win the World Cup.

In The Know: Before finding fame as an actor, My Name is Earl star Jason Lee was a professional in what sport? (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: Who is the only person to win the MLB Home Run Derby three times? Answer: Ken Griffey Jr. Kudos: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Nick Gaetano-MLB Network/NY; Anthony Dattolo-ZenithMedia/NY; Randy Ingram-WBTW-TV/Myrtle Beach; Rick Wiener-Harmelin Media/Bala Cynwyd; Charles Kundrat-The Band Inc./Denver; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Jeremy Kove-National Media Services/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Anne Wettig-Fox Sports 1/LA.

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