08/26/14: DIRECTV on the verge of punching its ticket; ESPN hits up NFL Films for MNF Campaign; USA Today launches the College Football Fan Index


Good morning. It’s Tuesday, August 26, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

DIRECTV continues to move closer to locking up the NFL Sunday Ticket Package, and is reportedly close to finalizing an extension of their deal with the league to keep it into the next decade. SBJ writes that the average annual rights fee will rise from $1 billion under the current four-year contract to $1.3 billion-$1.4 billion under the new deal and run through 2021 or 2022. The current deal expires at the end of this season.


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Sunday Night Football’s Bengals/Cardinals preseason clash on NBC handed the network with broadcast primetime’s top-rated show with a 4.8/8 HH overnight rating, according to Nielsen. Top markets include Cincinnati with a 20.3/31, followed by Phoenix, Dayton, New Orleans and Memphis. 

Speaking of NBC Sports Group, the company will carry more than 100 hours of FedExCup Playoffs news and tournament action from the final three tournaments of the 2013/2014 PGA TOUR season. Golf Channel delivers first- and second-round live coverage, as well as weekend lead-in coverage ahead of Golf Channel on NBC’s coverage of the third and final rounds. Golf Channel’s Spotlight Coverage also returns for the Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship, complementing NBC’s weekend coverage by focusing on each tournament’s signature holes down the stretch. Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller will anchor NBC’s weekend coverage while Terry Gannon (Deutsche Bank) and Rich Lerner (BMW and TOUR Championship) will handle play-by-play duties for Golf Channel’s early round and lead-in coverage, with Frank Nobilo serving as lead analyst.

CBS Sports Network picked up another distributor, announcing a deal with Buckeye CableSystem to carry the channel on Buckeye throughout Ohio beginning yesterday. CBS Sports Network will be available on Buckeye’s Digital Basic lineup on Channel 170 (SD) and 586 (HD).

Networks continue to serve up volleyball, with BTN announcing plans to showcase over 100 women’s volleyball matches across all platforms. Matches will air on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from late August through late November. The action begins Aug. 30 with Louisville/Minnesota at 8p.

Yahoo! Sports Radio is launching Sports Kings’ NFL Weekly Countdown on Saturday from 7-8a. The series is hosted by MeanGene “The Sports Machine” and Sports Host Ronnie Brooks, counting down to each weekend’s games and covering headlines. The program, which has aired in Phoenix, Tampa, Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago, in addition to streaming live at SportsKings.net and via podcast on iTunes, PodBean and TuneIn, will now be distributed nationwide via yahoosportsradio.com and Yahoo! Sports Radio’s affiliate network.

Westwood One Sports firmed up its college football slate, which will begin Thursday with Texas A&M/South Carolina at 5:30p. Season highlights include Florida State’s games against Clemson and Florida and teams that include Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Oregon, Michigan State and Stanford. John Sadak will be the lead play-by-play voice.


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Just ahead of the new MNF season, ESPN is teaming with NFL Films for a new campaign with the tagline “No Other Night is Monday Night.” The campaign will run throughout the season, with the first spot, Tunnel, featuring up-close, documentary-style footage of some of the NFL’s top players: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Dez Bryant, Robert Griffin III, Brandon Marshall, Cam Newton and Jason Witten. Throughout the season, the promos will feature a NFL Films original musical score in the background and highlight the weekly match ups on the MNF slate. 

The NBA and its 30 teams totaled $679 million in in sponsorship revenue for the 2013-2014 season, according to IEG Research. That is up 5.7% over the previous season and was bolstered by new league deals with Diageo, Foot Locker, Kumho Tire and Samsung. The year-over-year spending increase exceeds the 4.9% projected increase in the sports category and 4.3% increase in the overall sponsorship industry.

Bleacher Creatures, the NFL and NFL Players Inc. announced the launch of the 2014 NFL player plush collection, which includes more than 50 NFL stars. Each of the 10-inch plush toys retails for $19.99 and will be available September 1 at NFL stadium stores, NFLshop.com and at bleachercreatures.com.


USA TODAY Sports debuted the College Football Fan Index presented by Degree, designed as a digital index that “combines social media activity and online fan voting to determine the ultimate college football fan base.” The index will measure fan bases through social chatter aggregation and online fan voting via weekly editorial fan-driven themes such as best tailgates and best traditions. “College football fan bases are the most passionate and rabid in all of sports,” said Dave Morgan, President, USA TODAY Sports Media Group. “The Fan Index is designed to actually quantify the passion each school’s fan base generates beyond the games themselves, as well as to determine which traditions and fan experiences resonate the most with fans around the country.  We’re excited to partner with Degree on our inaugural launch as we believe their brand embodies the energy and physical attitude of some of the best college football fan bases in the country.”

Journalist Allison Glock is heading to espnW.com as a full-time, regular columnist beginning September 1. She will also contribute four enterprise pieces yearly, with her first feature a joint effort with ESPN The Magazine. “Allison’s addition to the team further positions espnW as a leading voice not only for women in sports, but within the sports world on the whole,” said Alison Overholt, espnW editor-in-chief. “Her experience and unique perspective will be a tremendous asset as we strive to produce high-quality and highly engaging content.”

Yahoo! Sports Radio entered a partnership with Stadiums USA to extend the brand’s all-in-one collection of stadium information to radio. The program is currently available online at StadiumsUSA.com and examined in-depth conversation focusing on popular venues across sports. Bill Hazen hosts and talks with athletes, coaches, authors and newsmakers who share their experiences and connections to the most storied structures and stadiums in all of sports. The weekly show debuts Saturday, August 30 at 8a.


Twins/Royals on FOX Sports 1 at 8p.

ON THIS DAY in 1939: TV station W2XBS in NYC broadcasts a doubleheader between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati reds, marking the first MLB game ever aired on TV.

In The Know: Which former NFL QB took part in the film Cannonball Run? (I’ll double your options and make it either the original or the sequel.) (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: The late Kevin Duckworth played the bulk of his career with the Trail Blazers but was drafted by which team? Answer: The Spurs. Kudos: Scott Henkle-Westwood One/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Joe Lyons-Back Nine Productions Inc./Dallas; Will Allmendinger-Zoom Media/Chicago; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Willie Price-American Forces Network(AFN)/Riverside.

Later — Chris
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