07/24/15: Good news for Suzy and Trey; ESPN tweaks college crew; NBA makes a media modification


Good morning. It’s Friday July 24, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Longtime ESPN pillars Suzy Kolber and Trey Wingo will remain part of the company for a foreseeable future after inking long-term extensions. The new deals will broaden their responsibilities with Kolber becoming the new full-time host of ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown pregame show while continuing to host weekday editions of ESPN’s NFL Insiders and being a part of ESPN’s NFL Draft and Super Bowl week coverage. Meanwhile, Wingo will continue to host NFL Live and NFL PrimeTime on Mondays. The new deal, however, will see him host new series NFL Insiders: Sunday edition beginning Sept. 13 at 10a. With the new series, ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown now shifts back to a two-hour format from 11a-1p this fall.


ESPN locked in its lineup of faces for college football season. Tweaks are set to include Rece Davis joining ESPN College GameDay built by The Home Depot this fall, taking over for long-time host Chris Fowler starting Sept. 5, and joining Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack. Meanwhile, John Saunders continues to anchor Saturday’s ABC studio coverage with analyst Mack Brown and Mark May, who switches from ESPN’s studio. That leaves ESPN’s new studio trio with host Adnan Virk and analysts Joey Galloway and Danny Kanell, who will handle pre-game, halftime and post-game reporting on Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the season. Butch Davis and Robert Smith will again team up for ESPN2’s Saturday studio coverage with new host Chris Cotter.

UniMas’ coverage of the Gold Cup Semifinal matches on Wednesday, simulcast on UDN, saw the Mexico/Panama matchup average 4.4 million Total Viewers 2+ and 2.6 million Adults 18-49 with overall viewership growing 20% among Total Viewers 2+ versus the 2013 Semifinal match between the same two countries. Meanwhile, the USA/Jamaica upset snared an average of 1.9 million Total Viewers 2+ and 928,000 Adults 18-49.

ESPN entered a 10-year extension with the Missouri Valley Conference designed to boost coverage of conference events across ESPN platforms through the 2023-24 academic year. The new deal will see ESPN and the conference work jointly to develop in-house production capabilities at each campus for multiple sports on ESPN3 with hands-on educational opportunities for students. As a result, ESPN3 will showcase a minimum of 820 events a year in the final six years of the agreement. The network also keeps rights to the Men’s Basketball Tournament semifinals and championship and Women’s Basketball Tournament championship each year.

AXS TV Fights is going another round with New Japan Pro Wrestling, announcing a multi-year extension with TV Asahi to continue to air the series, which first premiered on the network in January. The deal will see AXS TV adding 17 additional episodes to its current season, bringing the total number aired in 2015 to 42.

The Southland Conference and Cox Sports Television extended their broadcast agreement through the 2016-17 academic year. The deal will see Cox Sports Television feature a minimum of 10 annual live broadcasts from the 13-team league beginning this fall with football and continuing through the conference’s spring sports season.

CSN Mid-Atlantic serves up a new a monthly interview series on July 26 at 6:30p, dubbed The Donald Dell Interview. Hosted by sports agent Donald Dell, the series will feature “in-depth conversations with high-profile athletes and newsmakers from around the sports world.” Episode one will feature former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.


Cynopsis Kids Announces
!magination Awards Finalists and Event Details

The finalists for Cynopsis Kids’ fourth annual !magination Awards have been announced. The event will highlight the most outstanding cross-platform programming and marketing – and the executives behind them – in the highly competitive and dynamic kids media industry.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to celebrate our industry’s very best,


The NBA handed its media planning and buying keys to Starcom Mediavest Group, according to Ad Age. The league’s media had previously been run by Media Storm. According to the article, the NBA spent $135.8 million on measured media last year, up from $93.6 million in 2013, according to Kantar Media. 

The NFL and GE revealed the six final winners of the up to $10 million Head Health Challenge I, designed to award work that speeds diagnosis and improve treatment of mild traumatic brain injury. Winners included Banyan Biomarkers, Inc., San Diego, Calif.; BrainScope Company, Inc. Bethesda, Md.; Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wis.; Quanterix, Lexington, Mass.; University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), Santa Barbara, Calif.; and University of Montana, Missoula, Mont., with each receiving a $500,000 award in addition to $300,000 previously awarded to the 16 first round winners of the Head Health Challenge I.

Chris “Ludacris” Bridges is getting in the ring with Premier Boxing Champions, taking part in Bounce TV’s promotion for upcoming series Premier Boxing Champions – The Next Round on Aug. 2 at 9p. Ludacris appears via a new series of promotional videos which can be found at bouncetv.com.

The Topps Company announced the release of the 10th anniversary edition set of Allen & Ginter cards, described as “the most unique and eclectic set of trading cards the company produces.” This year’s set includes autographs that span world champions, sports media personalities, famous fictional sports characters, musicians, actors and baseball players. With this being the 10th anniversary, Topps culled some of the most popular subjects from the past decade to sign cards including Bonnie Blair, Danica Patrick, Greg Louganis, Hulk Hogan, Joey Chestnut, Jennie Finch, Jeanette Lee, Kerri Strug, Mario Andretti, Mia Hamm, Mark Spitz, and Wendy Guey.

Learfield Sports locked in a deal with Manhattan College, which will now outsource its athletic multimedia rights. Learfield will now launch “Jasper Sports Properties” to manage all aspects of the Jaspers’ rights including signage, digital, corporate sponsorships, television and radio play-by-play, and coaches’ shows.


SiriusXM is teaming up with Pro Football Focus, one of the leading fantasy football information sites on the web, to launch new daily show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. The series, Pro Football Focus on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, debuts this week and will air every weekday from 10-11a with Editor Mike Clay hosting the show with regular contributions from Cris Collinsworth, as well as other experts from the PFF staff.


FOX Sports’ Jamie Horowitz is bringing in a familiar name, announcing the appointment of Charlie Dixon as Executive Vice President of Content for FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2, overseeing all content and production on the channels. Dixon joins FOX Sports from NBC, where he was most recently Senior Vice President of Development, working with MSNBC and NBC News. Dixon and Horowitz previously worked together at ESPN, where they co-developed Olbermann, Numbers Never Lie, Colin Cowherd’s New Football Show and a revamped First Take.

Jonathan Leess was promoted to Executive Vice President of Operations for the Pac-12 Networks. He will now oversee all Pac-12 Networks operations, including remote and studio production operations, travel, engineering, facilities and broadcast ingest transmission systems (BITS).


NASCAR returns to the Brickyard with Sprint Cup action on NBCSN on Sunday at 3p.



Every player within the online advertising ecosystem is affected by it, but what does it mean, how can you combat viewer fraud and increase the bottom line in digital environments? These questions are top of mind for advertisers, publishers and media vendors, and Cynopsis will bring together industry experts to provide the answers.


ON THIS DAY in 2012 – Female athletes will be allowed to compete for Saudi Arabia at the Olympics for the first time .

In The Know: Which athlete’s autobiography is entitled Bad as I Wanna Be? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who hit the first golf ball on the moon? Answer: Most popular response was Neil Armstrong, but correct answer is Alan Shepard. Kudos: Mitch Burg-Impact Communications/Israel; Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Media/NY; Lewis Blaustein-Lewis Brand Solutions, Inc./NY; Zach Kuhn-AMC Networks/NY; Barry G. Waldman-Vistrada/NY; Joe Guarnieri-ESPN/Bristol; Ged Young-GC Marketing LLC/Garden City; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Chris Faulds-Bell Media Digital/Toronto; Andy Pittman-TAMUCollege Station; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Lance Phegley- Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Bob Chasse-Professional Bull Riders/Pueblo; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc /Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
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