08/12/15: It’s Showtime for Notre Dame; FOX Sports tweaks its NFL talent teams; NHL stays Sirius


Good morning. It’s Wednesday August 12, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Showtime is growing its sports portfolio, announcing multiple projects that will hit its programming lineup, anchored by a series chronicling Notre Dame’s hunt for a college football championship. The new behind-the-scenes show, A Season with Notre Dame Football, will debut on Sept. 8 at 10p, three days after the school’s opening game vs. Texas. Weekly 30-minute episodes will then run every Tuesday night with cameras delivering access to the team and coaching staff. In addition, channel execs announcing that upcoming docu Play It Forward, spotlighting Tony Gonzalez, will debut on Oct. 6 at 9p. The channel will also showcase Victor Cruz in I am Giant: Victor Cruz, which will debut this fall on Showtime.

“We’re honored and thrilled to be granted access to profile a college football program with a legacy as storied and as fascinating as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Showtime Sports. “The passion of the players and head coach Brian Kelly will make for a compelling television series that will appeal beyond hardcore college football fans to all viewers who appreciate great storytelling.”


FOX Sports locked in its broadcast teams for the upcoming NFL season. The NFL on FOX will once again see Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, along with reporter Erin Andrews as the lead announce team, kicking off the season on Sept. 13 at 1p with the Packers/Bears. Other groupings will include: Kevin Burkhardt/John Lynch/Pam Oliver; Kenny Albert/Daryl Johnston/Laura Okmin; Thom Brennaman/Charles Davis/Tony Siragusa; Chris Myers/Rondebarber/Jennifer Hale; Dick Stockton/David Diehl/Kristina Pink; and Sam Rosen with a rotating slate of analysts that include the likes of Chris Cooley, Matt Millen, Kirk Morrision and Brady Quinn.

SiriusXM, SiriusXM Canada and the NHL struck a multi-year extension to offer SiriusXM subscribers live game broadcasts through the 2021-22 NHL season. The deal will see SiriusXM continue to carry live NHL games across North America from the pre-season through the Stanley Cup Final. In addition, SiriusXM NHL Network Radio will continue to offer coverage of news and events from around the League; player, coach and executive features; as well as game analysis and interviews from the most recognized hockey broadcasters in North America. This season will see content made available to “more subscribers than ever before” and will be accessible on all radios with SiriusXM’s most widely distributed subscription package.

With more Nielsen numbers in the books, NBC Sports announced that its telecast of Sunday night’s NFL/Hall of Fame Game averaged 11.0 million viewers. That ranks as the most-watched preseason NFL game on any network in five years, since NBC’s telecast of the 2010 NFL/Hall of Fame Game and tops last year’s NFL/Hall of Fame Game telecast by 29%.

NBA TV announces the 2015-16 NBA regular season lineup of games on Wednesday at 6p on a special one-hour NBA Schedule Release Special. Rachel Nichols hosts with Dennis Scott along with contributions from personalities around the NBA, including NBA TV and TNT analysts. In addition, NBA.com and the NBA app will post the entire 2015-16 schedule in conjunction with the NBA TV show.

FOX Sports 1 is touting a strong Saturday thanks to UFC Fight Night and a baseball doubleheader that pushed FOX Sports 1 to the top spot among all ad-supported cable sports networks from 4p-2a. The network averaged 697,000 viewers over that span. The entire main UFC card averaged 1,159,000 total viewers and scored 684,000 in the A18-49 category, making it the sixth most-watched UFC FIGHT NIGHT in FOX Sports 1 history in both categories. Earlier in the day, the Pirates/Dodgers battle averaged 516,000 viewers and 152,000 in A18-49, up 34% on viewership and 42% among A18-49 over to last year’s non-exclusive game average. While the Cardinals/Brewers matchup scored 519,000 viewers, up 34% from last year’s non-exclusive average.

ESPN unveiled broadcast plans for the 17th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge as ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU carry 14 games of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge from Nov. 30-Dec. 2. ESPN programming includes Virginia/Ohio State at 7:30p & Maryland/North Carolina at 9:30p on Dec. 1, as well as Louisville/Michigan State at 7:15p and Indiana/Duke at 9:15p on Dec. 2.

The NFL is heading back to Chicago for the 2016 NFL Draft from April 28-30. The league will again team with the city on week-long Draft events, including an expanded Draft Town and additional youth clinics and community programs. In addition, the league announced plans to develop a selection process for determining locations of future Drafts, which will include Chicago.

The 2015 World Series of Poker returns to ESPN this month with coverage across ESPN and ESPN2. The 2015 schedule begins with the $1 million WSOP National Championship tournament on Tuesday, Aug.18, at 9p on ESPN2. Lead commentator Lon McEachern and analyst Norman Chad return to call the action, along with roving reporter Kara Scott.

Los Angeles is proposing a budget of $4.1 billion as well as a $400 million contingency if the city becomes the US candidate for the 2024 Olympics, according to the AP. The sum includes $200 million to cover city expenses, with the city projecting revenues topping $4.5 billion with “a significant profit.” The budget would come from sources as broadcast revenue, sponsorships and tickets, according to the report.



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UFC will continue to hook up with USA Wrestling, announcing a renewal of their promotional partnership to promote interest in the sport and MMA, and working together on a slate of projects. USA Wrestling and its activities will be featured across several areas such as UFC’s broadcasts, social and digital media while USA Wrestling will offer its 250,000 member community exclusive opportunities to experience UFC through a range of platforms including: UFC events, UFC Fight Club, UFC GYM locations, UFC FIGHT PASS, UFC Rewards and International Fight Week.

Alaska Airlines is drumming up a promotion for LA Galaxy fans attending the upcoming match against New York FC on Aug. 23 who will receive, as part of a promotion for the upcoming launch of the airline’s new flights from Santa Ana to Mexico, 12,000 half-off flight vouchers to fans. “The launch of our new flights to Mexico out of Orange County, will make travel to these popular vacation destinations even more convenient and accessible for Los Angeles-area residents who don’t live near LAX,” said Halle Hutchinson, Alaska Airlines’ managing director of marketing and brand communications. “This is one of the biggest promotions we’ve launched in the region to-date, and our valued partner, the LA Galaxy, with their diverse and devoted fan base, was the perfect partner to kick-off the new program.”

The New York Liberty named Blueprint for Athletes by Quest Diagnostics as the team’s official  Performance Testing Partner for the 2015-2017 seasons. Quest Diagnostics is currently piloting Blueprint for Athletes at athletic performance events in select regions and expects to make the service available nationally by early 2016. Throughout the remainder of the season, the Blueprint for Athletes logo will be featured on the Liberty’s practice jersey and Quest Diagnostics will be integrated on the Liberty’s website and GardenVision.

Sony is adding snowboarder Amy Purdy to its family as part of Team Action Cam. Purdy, a top ranked adaptive snowboarder, a three-time World Cup Para-Snowboard winner and the 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist, now joins the likes of action sports stars that include Tony Hawk, Ricky Carmichael, Robbie Maddison, Danny Davis, Torah Bright, Nick Goepper, Angel Collinson, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Nigel Sylvester and more.


PGA.com announced that its Marquee Group coverage will feature Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Zach Johnson as part of its streaming tomorrow at 2:20p. At 9:15a, the platform will follow Tiger Woods, Martin Kaymer and Keegan Bradley. PGA Championship LIVE will offer live streaming along with social content and new interactive features that include shot-by-shot, laser-generated data for the Marquee Group and an alternative live leaderboard displaying players on the course by group.


ChyronHego has acquired VidiGo, a Dutch provider of IT-based software solutions for live broadcast production workflows. Based in Amsterdam, VidiGo provides a suite of tools for the creation and management of broadcast-quality video content. "The broadcast industry is currently quite fragmented and is primed for consolidation, with a key driver being the migration to all-IT, software-based production environments. With our recent acquisition by Vector Capital, ChyronHego is well-equipped to take a lead role in that consolidation and the industry’s IT transformation," said Johan Apel, president and CEO, ChyronHego. "The acquisition of VidiGo, together with its products and core competencies in production automation, is an important first step in this process."


Pirates/Cardinals on ESPN at 8:15p.



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 1851: The first America’s Cup is held as US schooner America bests British yacht Aurora.

In The Know: What college football team was the first (among FBS squads) to finish the season 0-13? (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 is the only person to have played in the Little League World Series, the College World Series, the Olympics, the World Baseball Classic and MLB’s World Series? Answer: Jason Varitek. Kudos: Joseph Tafuri-Haversack Consulting/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Nello Pesci-Discovery/NY; Michael Wooters-Eagle TV Sales/NY; Larry Kahn-Golf Channel/Orlando; Adam Samrov-Digital First Media/Vermont; Jesse Demastrie-GMMB/Washington, DC; Tom Wetzel-MMSI/Warwick; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Kevin Wicker-Chiefs Radio Network/Mission; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco; Joey Olson/Manhattan Beach; Neal Stevens-Stevens & Associates/Beverly Hills.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
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