Good morning. It’s Monday, July 14, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Amid the free agent frenzy last week, the NBA opened its slate of Summer League games. NBA Digital continued to invest in the events with game coverage that included 25 Orlando Pro Summer League games as well as 67 Samsung NBA Summer League 2014 game telecasts from Las Vegas through July 21. NBA TV is carrying more than 60 Summer League games live, while all 92 NBA Summer League games will also be available via the NBA Summer League Live subscription package on NBA.com and NBA Mobile.
Cynopsis Sports spoke with NBA Vice President and Executive Producer of Content, Turner Sports Scooter Vertino about the rise in popularity of the Summer League and his production plans.
On the NBA calendar: The NBA is now a 12-month behemoth. There really isn’t an off-season from our standpoint as a partner through NBA TV and NBA Digital. The season runs its course, segue ways into the playoffs which transitions into the Finals. Then you have the chance to catch your breath for a moment before the Draft happens, followed by the free agency period, followed by the Summer League. It is an ongoing entity and it is very important for us because it is the center of the basketball universe for the days that we are in Orlando and Las Vegas. You’ll see VIPs, execs, coaches, and players all just walking in the street. It is a one-stop shop for anyone who works in the NBA.
On the growing importance of Summer League: Social media has opened the doors for some of these players. For others, for people like Andrew Wiggins, those guys are ready for prime time, at least that’s what everyone is hoping for. People want to check them out. There is another level of curiosity as well. Someone like Otto Porter was injured, while Anthony Bennett didn’t have a particularly great rookie year. Those guys are all going to play in Las Vegas so they are getting a second bite of the apple which is very cool and I think intriguing for fans of their teams.
On production: Our schedule is that best of both worlds. You’ve got your digital component for Summer League Live and then you’ve got all the live games on NBA TV. I believe we tap out at 67, which includes the tournament, which adds another level of interest to Summer League. From a manpower standpoint, we are bringing in over 50 people to work it behind-the-scenes, with close to 30 announcers to work it as well. We’ll try some things at Summer League that we wouldn’t normally try during a regular season game. For the Semifinals and the Finals, the plan is to use a steadicam that walks on the court and gives the viewer a point of view that they are not use to seeing. If there is a place to experiment and try new things, this is the place to start.
On Las Vegas: The other great thing about Las Vegas, because there are so many executives who are there, guys come by the table and we are able to get interview after interview after interview. It is a much more relaxed atmosphere and they are more than willing to sit down and talk shop. That’s fantastic for us because a lot of time those folks all have day jobs during the regular season and it is difficult to get a hold of them and this just adds another layer to our portfolio.
FOX Sports’ coverage of MLB’s 2014 All-Star Game tomorrow will feature music from Hypnotic Eye, the upcoming album from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Songs from the album will be incorporated into the broadcast’s opening tease, commercial bumpers and video montages, as well as numerous other programs across FOX Sports, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, FOX Deportes, FOX Sports Regional Networks and other platforms during All-Star Week and through the end of August. Game day coverage of MLB’s 85th All-Star Game begins at 4:30p on FOX Sports 1 with a special three-hour edition of America’s Pregame before shifting to the broadcast network at 7:30p.
Meanwhile, ESPN has lined up its annual cavalcade of celebs for the The 2014 ESPYS. This year’s presenters are set to include Jessica Alba, Jeff Bridges, Cameron Diaz, Victor Cruz, Kevin Durant, Colin Kaepernick, Dan Marino, Floyd Mayweather, Danica Patrick, Cal Ripken, Jr., Maria Sharapova, Kiefer Sutherland and others. The show will also feature musical performances by Ozomatli. The 22nd annual celebration will be shown live from the Nokia Theatre on Wednesday at 9p.
Golf Channel staple Holly Sonders is departing the network. The channel posted a goodbye message to the Morning Drive personality on its site over the weekend, following reports from Golfweek that she would be joining FOX Sports. There, according to the article, she will covering golf as well as work as a sideline reporter during NFL games. “We wish her the best in her future endeavors,” a Golf Channel spokesperson said.
It’s finally here. Join us on Aug. 19-20 for the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit, taking place at the NY Athletic Club. Don’t miss panels that include a look at one of sport’s biggest changes, the birth of the College Football Playoffs featuring CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock as well as ESPN’s Ed Placey and Ilan Ben-Hanan. Don’t miss out as they share the behind-the-scenes work that went into the groundbreaking postseason and what we can expect in the year ahead. For more info and to register, click here. More speakers and details will be announced in the coming days.
While Germany may have won the World Cup, broadcasters are also reporting winning scores. CBC reports that the semifinal match which saw Argentina defeat the Netherlands in a shootout on the network ranked as the most-watched game of the tournament so far in Canada and the second-most-watched FIFA World Cup game ever. Overall, nearly 9.1 million Canadians tuned in to at least part of yesterday’s live match coverage with more than three quarters of a million people watching online. The match garnered an average audience of more than 3.1 million viewers on CBC and a share of nearly half of the entire available English television audience in Canada during the match.
UFC welterweight contender Chris Lytle will serve as an analyst for UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Miller on FOX Sports 1 tomorrow. UFC on FOX analysts Kenny Florian, Daniel Cormier and host Karyn Bryant join Lytle, who makes his debut at the weigh-in tonight and will also work prefight and postfight coverage. Jon Anik and Brian Stann call the fights on FOX Sports 1 while Victor Davila and Fabricio Werdum call the action for FOX Deportes.
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IMG College Licensing locked in renewals for exclusive representation agreements with six partner institutions: Boston University, East Carolina University, Grambling State University, University of Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt University, and University of Virginia. These schools are among 30 clients that have renewed with CLC this year.
Cynopsis is introducing a new web feature called “In Case You Missed It,” a quick, concise, roundup of the top stories of the previous week. Check it out at In Case You Missed It.
Back9Network has its digital chief. The golf lifestyle multiplatform media network announced that Brian Kalinowski is joining that executive team in the newly created role of Executive Vice President, Digital Media. Kalinowski joins Back9 Network from LiveClips, where he served as Chief Operating Officer from February 2012 through their sale to DIRECTV earlier this year. Prior to joining LiveClips, Kalinowski served as Executive Vice President, Digital Media for World Wrestling Entertainment.
Tim Connolly is joining QuintEvents, a travel, experience and hospitality provider, as a Principal, where he will look to enhance and expand client relationships and event partnerships. Connolly was most recently the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Green Bay Packers and held senior management positions with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Tour de France on NBCSN at 7a.
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ON THIS DAY in 1968: Hank Aaron hits his 500th homer.
In The Know: Easy one. Comerica Park replaced what venue for Detroit’s baseball team?(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 is Tiger Woods’ birth name? Answer: Eldrick Tont Woods. Kudos: Chris Long-USA Today Sports Media Group/NY; Lewis Blaustein-Lewis Brand Solutions, Inc./NY; Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/NY; Michael Dittelman-SportsOnEarth.com/NY; G. David Brown-FOX Sports/Charlotte; Matt Meachem-Gracenote, Inc./Queensbury; Jodi Reilly-National Golf Foundation/Jupiter; Erik E. Schmitz-Turner Broadcasting System, Inc./Atlanta; Bob Ramsey-Weigel Broadcasting/Chicago; Bill Robertson-WCHA/St. Paul; Steve Hebel-Continental Television Sales/Chicago; David Hauptman/Denver; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Brian Sullivan-KHQ-TV/Spokane, Kevin Fay-DIRECTavenue/Carlsbad; Larry Hutchings/Pacific Palisades; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City.
Later — Chris
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