08/29/14: The Little League World Series is a home run for ESPN; Fox Sports 1, DISH call a truce; Topps gets into the fantasy game


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Good morning. It’s Friday, August 29, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The 2014 Little League World Series ranked as the most-watched ever on ESPN networks (ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 combined), according to Nielsen numbers. The average audience of 1,724,000 viewers was up 71% from 2013 via 54 games. In addition, the 2014 Little League World Series ranked as the highest-rated on ESPN networks since 2002 with an average 1.1 U.S. rating, up 57%. Little League World Series Championship weekend averaged 4,163,000 viewers and a 2.7 score, the best in both categories since 2002.


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Dish Network has worked out differences with FOX Sports and will now carry college games set to run this weekend on FOX Sports 1. In a statement, Dish said that it will now “deliver the full lineup of Fox Sports 1,” to subscribers to its America’s Top 200 programming package and above. Earlier this week, the satcaster posted a notice on its site declaring that Fox was seeking a "significant additional charge" to carry the games.

Ahead of the 2014 Ryder Cup, NBC Sports Group launches a month-long slate of Ryder Cup-themed programming starting Sunday on NBC at 2:30p. Hosted by Mark Rolfing, programming will see NBC and Golf Channel take viewers “inside the ropes for a look at everything that makes this event one of the most compelling in sports” in the three-part series, with replays of each episode airing on Golf Channel (part 2 runs Sept. 7 at 1:30p, and part 3 on Sept. 17 at 6:30p). The Europe and US Ryder Cup Captains (Paul McGinley and Tom Watson) will reveal their captain’s picks on Tuesday, Sept. 2 with McGinley’s shown on Morning Drive and Watson’s in primetime on Golf Channel at 7p. 

NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra slated more than 25 college hockey games this season, including 20 Notre Dame home games, six Hockey East games and the second annual Rivalry on Ice. A total of 19 games will be carried on NBCSN. Coverage begins on Oct. 17 at 7:30p p.m. ET with Lake Superior State University/Notre Dame.

The fall season of ESPN newsmagazine series E:60 begins on Sept. 2 at 7p with a feature on the Lions’ Ndamukong Suh. Bob Woodruff sits down with the NFL star. In addition, the episode will feature updated features on Marshawn Lynch and Tom Coughlin. Other stories that will run this season include a special report on the Ferguson, Mo., high school football team, a profile of Cam Newton and Morganna the Kissing Bandit. The E:60 brand now includes E:60 PROFILE as well, a series of specials on some of the biggest stars in sports.

Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart is heading back to the Pac-12, joining Pac-12 Networks as a studio analyst this fall. Leinart debuts Aug. 30, joining Mike Yam, Rick Neuheisel and Curtis Conway for Pac-12 Networks’ pregame, halftime and postgame show coverage in Week 1. In addition to his gameday duties on Saturdays, Leinart will also appear on the Networks’ series Pac-12 Football Weekly and will also be featured in the Networks’ bowl game and spring football coverage.

The Colonial Athletic Association announced that, for the first time, every conference men’s basketball game will be televised through partnerships with NBCSN, Comcast SportsNet and the American Sports Network, as well as CAA.TV, the conference’s new digital network. The conference returns to an 18-game league schedule this season with all 10 CAA teams facing each other at home and on the road. NBCSN offers seven regular-season contests along with the semifinals and finals of the CAA Men’s Basketball Championship and opens with a doubleheader on Jan. 24 as featuring Drexel/College of Charleston at noon and Northeastern/William & Mary at 2p.

ESPN made its game selection for the Sept. 14 edition of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell, with the Yankees/Orioles, likely marking the final appearance of Derek Jeter on the SNB franchise. Dan Shulman, analyst John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney will provide commentary for the telecast at 8p.


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ESPN launched a series of spots for the 2014-15 college football season. The promos will feature fans representing all 128 Football Bowl Subdivision schools, beginning with a 45-second spot titled “In Common.” A second spot in the series showcases how the new bracket format may produce some non-traditional Cinderella teams.

IMG is launching a new unwired college sports radio network. The IMG College Radio Network will aggregate inventory from 40 university radio broadcasts across 400 affiliate stations in the top 200 markets, according to Inside Radio. IMG says advertisers can now reach 4 million listeners in the 25-54 demo each weekend by stitching together audiences tuning in to different games in different markets.

NBC Sports Group’s Sunday Night Football bus is once again making the rounds this season, traveling the country to hit host cities of all 17 Sunday Night Football games. The bus will arrive in each city two to three days prior to the game, with stops at local landmarks and events before heading to the game site on Sunday. In each city fans will have the opportunity to interact with America’s most-watched primetime television show via exclusive memorabilia, and an interactive 55 inch touch screen housing social media elements, photos and video.

Now that the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised over $88 million for ALS, marketers and planners are wondering: How can I replicate this viral video success? Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness planning director Erica Martinez has tips and pointers in the latest Cynsiders column.


The Topps Company is jumping into fantasy football, integrating NFL.com Fantasy Football insights into its card. In 2014 Topps Football, all 300 base cards featuring the most prominent veterans and the hottest rookies will feature new NFL.com Fantasy Football stats on the backs including: Fantasy Football Position Rank; Fantasy Football Points Per Game; Topps Fantasy Focus cards and Fantasy Strategy cards.

FOX Sports says it will live stream more than 140 college football games this season via FOX Sports Go and BTN2GO. FOX Sports GO will carry all college football games airing on FOX broadcast network, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports Regional Networks, FOX College Sports, and FOX Deporte, while BTN2Go serves as the digital extension of the Big Ten Network.

ESPN released a new update to its SportsCenter app, offering new and enhanced features for sports fans in time for the start of football season. Updates include a new on-air section, enhanced NFL and College Football pages and enhanced alerts.

NBC Sports’ live stream of the final event of the 2014 Lucas Oil Motocross season drew 40,000 uniques and 2.8 million minutes, marking a spike of 114% and 294% over last year, respectively. Overall, motocross events averaged 35,000 uniques and 2.3 million minutes this season, an increase of 38% and 74% versus last year, respectively, according to Adobe Reports & Analytics.

In addition, Monday’s stream of the Manchester City/Liverpool on NBC Sports Live Extra delivered 86,000 uniques and 4.4 million minutes watched, making it the most streamed Premier League match ever.

Raycom Sports launched the 2014 edition of gaming app, ACC Football Challenge. The app allows fans to compete in several field goal kicking challenges and gives them the chance to represent their school and win prizes, including a suite at the 2014 ACC Championship game. The 2013 debut edition was downloaded over 500,000 times and had over 12 million games played.

Sports Marketing Surveys launched SportsTargeting.com, designed as an online database that allows users to identify and download sports participation data by zip code. For 10 cents per sport / per zip code (with a minimum $350 order), users can download sports participation data. Data also offers support for executive level decision-making in areas of site selection, market development, business expansion, promotional strategy, targeted merchandising, new product launches, and more.


Wisconsin/LSU on ESPN on Saturday at 9p.

ON THIS DAY in 2004: Brazilian runner Vanderlei de Lima is attacked by a spectator while running a marathon at the Summer Olympics in Athens.

In The Know: The Simpsons’ Drederick Tatum is a spoof of what athlete? (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 San Diego Chargers retired #55 in honor of what player? Answer: Junior Seau. Kudos: Teddy Coleman-Teddy Coleman Inc Prods/NY; Aymon DeMauro-Discovery Communications/NY; Tom Turner-Active International/NY; Chris Long-USA Today Sports Group/NY; Ken Nice-Yoh/Silver Spring; G. David Brown-FOX Sports/Charlotte; Michael G. Hawkins-Francis Marion University/Florence; Tony Tsonis-Bright House Media Strategies/Maitland; Bob Ramsey-Weigel Broadcasting/Chicago; Andy Pittman-Texas A&M University/College Station; Rhett Grametbauer-Foam Finger Nation/Austin; David Hauptman/Denver; Bob Chasse-Professional Bull Riders/Pueblo; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc./Santa Monica; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Larry Hutchings/Pacific Palisades; Alan Perris/Beverly Hills.

Later — Chris
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