09.09.15 Good morning. It’s Wednesday September 9, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
The NBA is shaking up its playoff seedings. The league announced that the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved changes to seeding and qualification procedures that will now see the eight postseason teams in each conference seeded by regular season record. Most recently, every division winner was guaranteed a top four slot. The changes will kick into gear with the 2015-16 season coming up. The league also changed up its tiebreakers, shifting head-to-hear records above division winner status.
The NFL is apparently looking for a repeat performance for Super Bowl 50. Entertainment Weekly writes that Bruno Mars has been asked to headline the halftime show this season. He previously held the spot for Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014 with a guest appearance from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Reps for Mars and the league did not respond to EW’s request for comment.
On to college football. Monday night’s Ohio State/Virginia Tech matchup on ESPN handed the channel with a 6.6 overnight rating, according to Nielsen, to mark a 144% increase over the 2014 Labor Day matchup. That marks the best score for a college football game on opening weekend since 2010 across all networks. In addition, ESPN reports that the game also became the most-streamed college football regular-season game on WatchESPN of all time, with an average minute audience of 194,000 users and a total of 708,000 unique viewers on WatchESPN, accumulating 41,900,000 million minutes viewed throughout the game.
CBS saw its Louisville/Auburn battle on Saturday hand the network with a 2.6/6, to rank as the highest rated afternoon college football game on that day. That score also marks a 117% jump over the channel’s coverage of the US Open a year ago.
With more numbers in, Notre Dame’s win over Texas handed NBC with an average of 4.1 million viewers and drew a 2.42 HH rating, per Nielsen’s fast nationals. That now ranks as the most-watched and highest-rated season opening Notre Dame Football game on NBC in nine years. The network’s coverage bested last year’s season opener viewership by 95%. Meanwhile, NBC Sports Live Extra’s digital coverage of Texas-Notre Dame also posted record traffic with 2.8 million live minutes were streamed across all platforms.
Speaking of college football, the Southeastern Conference, along with AMB Sports & Entertainment (AMBSE) and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA), announced that the SEC Championship Game will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta through 2026. The deal also allows the SEC the option of adding up to two successive five-year extensions. The Georgia Dome has hosted the SEC Championship Game for 21 years beginning in 1994.
NFL Network detailed plans for new series that will launch this season. Football Town kicks off on Sept. 22 at 9p with Barrow, Alaska,’ in additions to two, one-hour specials: Catching Odell and the exclusive NFL Films special Do Your Job: Bill Belichick and the 2014 Patriots. In addition to the new original programming, NFL Network will return Undrafted for a second season, along with the fifth season of A Football Life and the one-hour show, America’s Game. Undrafted will see a special premier on CBS on Sept. 16 at 10p, before debuting on NFL Network on Tuesdays at 8p starting Sept. 22.
Cynopsis Sports is pleased to host its second annual Leaderboard; a showcase of the best 2015 Social Media Campaigns in the Sports Industry. Enter the LEADERBOARD today and don’t miss this chance to have your team rank among the marketing elite as we recognize the best of the best from a historic year.
NBA TV will exclusively carry the 2015 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on Friday at 7:30p. This year’s event marks the first time a Hall of Fame ceremony has been presented without commercial interruption. The evening launches with the 2015 Hall of Fame Red Carpet Show at 6:30p, hosted by Matt Winer beside David Aldridge and Rick Kamla. Coverage throughout the week will include memorable performances of the 2015 inductees’ careers.
truTV and Top Rank return to the ring with MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout on truTV on Friday at 10p. Commentators for the event will include Bruce Beck providing play-by-play with analysts Timothy Bradley and Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and reporter Crystina Poncher.
Elsewhere, FIGHT SPORTS announced plans for this weekend’s (last?) Mayweather bout on Saturday vs. Andre Berto. The company acquired the international rights to this event to over thirty five (35) countries in multiple languages throughout Europe (including Spain, Italy, etc.), Asia (including Singapore, Indonesia, India, etc.) and the Caribbean. In addition, they will carry a lineup of the best of Mayweather and Berto’s past Championship fights.
Golf Channel locked in East Lake Golf Club and the East Lake Foundation to create the East Lake Cup, a new collegiate two-day match-play championship featuring top-performing teams from the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships. The event will take place at historic East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, and air live on Golf Channel from Nov. 2-3. “Viewers will get to know the teams through our coverage of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships and see first-hand how the drama and intensity of match play, combined with the student-athletes’ school spirit, makes for a captivating event. Not only will the East Lake Cup highlight top-level collegiate golf, but also it will shine a light on the important work the East Lake Foundation has undertaken in its community and the blueprint it has provided for other communities across America,” said Mike McCarley, president of Golf Channel.
ESPN detailed its production plans for the 46th season of Monday Night Football. This year will see a new show open, as well as new graphics, animations, and a new shield logo for the franchise. Production will also feature a new booth backdrop; while weekly telecasts will utilize four Dreamcatchers, six Sony 4300 cameras in high frame rate 1080p, one Sony 4300 in high frame rate UHD 4k at the high end zone, and two iMovix Phantom cameras in high frame rate UHD 4k on the goal lines as well as the Pylon Cam.
GoPro announced the limited availability of Odyssey, a new 16-camera rig designed for Google’s 3D, 360-degree virtual reality platform, Jump, through the Odyssey Limited Access Program (LAP). Beginning today, professional content creators and producers can apply to participate and purchase an Odyssey rig for delivery later this year. Odyssey offers a 360-degree camera array for stereoscopic 3D content capture. Features include genlock camera synchronization, multi-camera control and extended battery life aim to eliminate challenges faced by content creators at the forefront of immersive content capture. GoPro’s Odyssey and Google’s Jump platform will make it possible for anyone to experience a time or place like they’re actually there via 3D, 360-degree content.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
2015Content Leadership Awards At this year’s event, we will be recognizing four of the industry’s top programming pioneers; presenting them with the2015 Content Leadership Award, followed by a roundtable discussion on the State of Kids Content. These honorees, along with dozens of category finalists, will be honored on FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 at the CYNOPSIS KIDS AWARDS breakfast. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to celebrate our industry’s very best, REGISTER TODAY!.
As the season hits the homestretch, NASCAR is bringing back the battle, announcing an open call for fans to rally behind their favorite driver “nations” as part of an integrated marketing campaign to promote the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. New television spots, interactive digital experiences, fan parties and a social media push will celebrate The Chase launch and encourage fans to join the Battle of Nations. The campaign was introduced last year to promote NASCAR’s revamped Chase format and invites fans, teams and sponsors to show support for their favorite Chase drivers and share content using the hashtag #TheChase. USA TODAY Sports will introduce the first-ever NASCAR Fan Index to aggregate social chatter and host weekly, online fan votes to help determine which Chase driver has the greatest nation (see below).
EVsdrop reports that the most discussed brand during the US Open was Grey Goose, using geolocation technology to collect and analyze the social buzz generated by those fans actually sitting in the stands, on-sit, at the tournament this week. Of all the total posts captured, 5% were related to sponsors. Data showed that Grey Goose created the most buzz, generating a 33% share among all sponsor posts. Heineken and American Express were the 2nd and 3rd most frequently mentioned sponsors, respectively, with each garnering roughly 15% of sponsor mentions.
The National Hockey League Players’ Association and the NHL announced the launch of Hockey Scholar, a new hockey-themed STEM education course that will serve as part of the NHL & NHLPA Future Goals Program. The course takes students “on an exciting educational journey with the goal of winning a virtual Stanley Cup. As they guide their team, students complete 12 learning modules that educate them and test their knowledge on core STEM concepts covering data analysis, geometry, life science, and physical science.” Hockey Scholar is developed in accordance with state and provincial math and science standards, as well as the national U.S. NGSS and CCSS Math standards.
The Patriot League renewed its exclusive multimedia rights agreement with Learfield Sports through 2020. Learfield and local entity Patriot League Sports Properties will see to continue driving corporate partner relationships and selling certain League assets, as well as overseeing on-site marketing and promotions at all 23 League Championship events. Additionally, Learfield will produce League-wide radio spots and online banner advertising for member schools to use respectively in helping to promote the Anniversary milestone with uniform messaging.
WWE announced that it has raised $213,000 for “Answer the Call,” the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund. As part of WWE’s community outreach initiatives during SummerSlam week, the company partnered with Charitybuzz.com for an online auction that featured 40 unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences with WWE Superstars and Divas, as well other sports and entertainment celebrities.
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers is launching a season-long promotion with the Seattle Seahawks to give fans the chance to earn free food at participating Red Robin restaurants in Washington and Oregon. Beginning with the first regular season game on Sept. 13, every Tuesday after the Seahawks score a red zone touchdown, a Tavern Double Tuesday promotion will be triggered and Red Robin guests will be eligible for a free Red’s Tavern Double Burger and Bottomless Steak Fries with the purchase of any burger, entree or salad and $5 appetizer.
NASCAR and USA TODAY Sports launched the first-ever NASCAR Fan Index, a digital index that blends social media activity and online fan voting to determine which Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver has the greatest “fan nation” in this year’s “Battle of Nations.” Starting this week and running through Nov. 22, the NASCAR Fan Index will rank the top driver fan bases based on aggregated social chatter and weekly online voting. The index is measured based on the social activity of each Chase driver’s nation, including sharing photos and videos, as well as the voting results across themes such as best driver nickname and best paint scheme.
Following yesterday’s ESPN report that claimed that Bill Belichick and the Patriots involvement in Spygate was far worse that reported, the franchise is threatening ramifications against the company. In a statement, the team called the report unsubstantiated while Tom Brady told Boston radio station WEEI that he will cut back on interview availability to ESPN, according to FTW.
Today will see Yahoo News Live, Global News Anchor Katie Couric interview legendary tennis icon Billie Jean King at 1p. Discussion will include the U.S. Open, the impact of her own career on the sport of tennis and strides women continue to make in professional sports. King will also speak openly for the first time about a new development in her personal life.
Dan Patrick is getting back into the fantasy game, signing a deal with FanDuel for an exclusive, multi-year partnership agreement. Patrick will now return to fantasy sports after nearly a decade with FanDuel now the exclusive Fantasy Sports partner of Dan Patrick and his radio and TV programs, including The Dan Patrick Show. The alliance includes live, in-program elements throughout the NFL and MLB playing seasons, including real-time fantasy contests played by Patrick himself and the member of Dan’s team, the Danettes, as well as a slate of sports figures and celebrities. “We’re extremely proud that the high quality of the FanDuel product is bringing a figure like Dan back into fantasy sports,” said Nigel Eccles, FanDuel CEO and co-founder. “As a fantasy sports ‘junkie’ and an iconic American sportscaster, Dan’s personality and style are a natural alignment for our company.”
120 Sports is launching ‘Fantasy Lunch Hour,’ an hour-long block of programming dedicated to fantasy sports insights, advice, discussion and strategy. The programs went live yesterday and will run Monday-Friday from 1-2p. Tyler Jacobs hosts, and will cover all fantasy sports; including baseball, basketball and hockey as well as football. 120 Sports football Insider and Yahoo Shutdown Corner’s Eric Edholm and Sports Illustrated fantasy sports writer Michael Beller will appear daily alongside Jacobs.
SiriusXM announced that All-Pro wide receiver Roddy White will host a new weekly fantasy football show on SiriusXM throughout the 2015 NFL season. Going Deep with Roddy White will run every Tuesday night at 6p on the SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio channel, with White joining John Hansen to take calls from listeners and offer advice for drafts, trades, waiver wire moves and other fantasy football matters throughout the season.
Audio engagement company DGital Media is hitting the fantasy sports market by announcing major audio partnerships that include fantasy sports company Rick Wolf and Fantasy Alarm, Kay Adams, RotoGrinders, FNTSY Sports Network, Swish Analytics, Erik Kuselias and others.
WWE upped Brian Flinn to Executive Vice President, Marketing & Communications where he will continue to lead all WWE Marketing, Corporate Communications, Corporate Social Responsibility and Consumer Insight departments. Additionally, he will assume responsibility for WWE Network marketing and WWE’s global communications functions.
Dodgers/Angels on ESPN at 10p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
ON THIS DAY in 1965: The Dodgers’ Sandy Koufax pitched a perfect game in a 1-0 victory over the Cubs.
In The Know: Name two football movies starring Dennis Quaid. (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: Mean Joe Green became on the second Steeler to have his number formally retired by the franchise. Who was the first? Answer: Ernie Stautner. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Gregg Hess-NCC Media/Atlanta; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco.
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