09/30/14: Networks get their MLB postseason lineup; ESPN poised for Midnight Madness; WWE back in the ring with Susan G Komen


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Good morning. It’s Tuesday, September 30, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The MLB postseason is set to take the field tonight beginning with the 2014 AL Wild Card on TBS featuring the Athletics/Royals at 8p. Ernie Johnson handles play-by-play for the game with analysts Ron Darling and Cal Ripken and reporter Matt Winer. Pregame coverage will begin at 7:30p on the channel, hosted by Casey Stern with analysts Pedro Martinez and Gary Sheffield. Turner Sports also announced that the network’s coverage of the 2014 MLB Postseason will also include: 6X Cameras, Super Slo Mo Cameras and Chevrolet Pitch Trax. In a first, Facebook will partner with Turner Sports throughout its MLB Postseason coverage and will be embedded in the TBS control room in Atlanta during the opening week of the postseason  providing Facebook and Instagram content in real-time to best support on-air social integrations. Content will include fan maps, polls and fan profiles for each team participating in the postseason.

Meanwhile, the network’s exclusive American League Division Series (ALDS) coverage will begin Thursday with Tigers/Orioles at 5:30p if KC wins the Wild Card and 6p if Oakland takes the game. The winner of the Wild Card will then face the Angels later that day starting at 9p if KC wins and 9:30 if Oakland emerges victorious.

ESPN will showcase the NL Wild Card at 8p with Giants/Pirates on deck. If Pittsburgh wins, Friday’s schedule will see Pirates/Nationals at noon on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes, Tigers/Orioles on TBS at 3p, Cardinals/Dodgers on FOX Sports 1/Fox Deportes at 6:30 and the AL Wild Card winner/Angles later that evening. A Giants victory will push Tigers/Baltimore to noon and Giants/Nationals to 3p.

MLB Network officially gets in the game with Game Two of the NLDS series pitting the Cardinals/Dodgers. Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds, Tom Verducci and Ken Rosenthal handle microphone duties on Saturday at 9:37p. The channel will also carry a second NLDS game on Monday, October 6 between the Nationals and the winner of the NL Wild Card game. The games will see the channel use its real-time defensive alignment graphic “Shift Trax,” as well as PITCHf/x, and 4K (Ultra HD) and X-Mo camera technology.


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ESPN detailed plans to tip off the 2014-15 college basketball season with Midnight Madness coverage from 11 campuses on Oct. 17. ESPNU Midnight Madness at 6p will offer studio and remote coverage with six schools in the spotlight, including the 2014 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division I National Champion UConn Huskies. The ESPNU special will also involve Arizona, Florida, Gonzaga, Kentucky, and San Diego State. On ESPN3, the platform spotlights six college basketball programs’ Midnight Madness celebrations. In addition to UConn’s “First Night” at 7p, ESPN3 will also feature Harvard’s “Crimson Madness” at 6p, Mercer’s “Mercer Madness” at 6:10p, Kentucky’s “Big Blue Madness” at 7p, NC State’s “Throwback with the Pack” at 8p and Florida Gulf Coast’s “Dunk City after Dark” at 9p.

FOX Sports is pouncing on a prime Oregon/UCLA matchup for national coverage on Oct. 11 at 3:30p on the broadcast channel. Pregame starts at 3p, hosted by Rob Stone with analysts Joel Klatt and Dave Wannstedt while Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Molly McGrath have the call live from Pasadena. Around the dial, FOX Sports 1 will offer a Big 12 doubleheader on Oct. 11 beginning with West Virginia/Texas Tech at noon and followed by Oklahoma State/Kansas at 4p.

Speaking of FOX Sports, the company is also fine-tuning its NFL coverage, utilizing its flex scheduling for week 6. The channel will now carry Patriots/Bills at 1p on FOX, while Bears/Falcons shifts to 4:25p.

BTN offers its most-ever extensive Big Ten women’s basketball coverage this season, with 48 conference matchups on the schedule, as well as four  non-conference games and 10 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament games. More than 100 additional games will be streamed on BTN Plus on BTN2Go, and many of those will air on delay on BTN as part of the Student U initiative. The season will tip off at 7p on Nov. 19 with Notre Dame/Michigan State.

ESPN reports that MLS team Chivas USA is expected to cease operations at the end of the season. The club would then remain dormant for at least two years before a possible return. One ESPN source added that the league has agreed to sell the club to an undisclosed investment group for a fee in the neighborhood of $100 million, and that going on hiatus is a condition of the sale.

Golf Channel is staging a reunion, lining up a field of 40 former Big Break competitors to compete in full tournament conditions for the first time at the inaugural Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation, a four-day invitational tournament airing live on Golf Channel through Friday from 3-6p.

RIP to boxing promoter Dan Goossen, who died on Monday at 64 following a battle with liver cancer. ESPN released a statement from Brian Kweder, ESPN Senior Director of Programming and Acquisitions on Goossen’s passing: “Dan Goossen was an absolute titan in the boxing industry and a great friend to ESPN. He was the mastermind behind bringing the WBC World Heavyweight Championship bout between Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola to the masses via ESPN back in May. He will be sorely missed.”


WWE is one again teaming with Susan G. Komen for the third annual breast cancer awareness campaign, expanding the alliance starting last night on Monday Night Raw,, which saw WWE Superstars and Divas wearing co-branded Susan G. Komen and WWE apparel and WWE platforms “going pink.” The “Courage Conquer Cure” campaign will continue throughout National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and WWE will donate 20% of the retail sales price of all co-branded merchandise sold on WWEShop.com and at WWE live events, as well as 5% of all other WWE merchandise sold on WWEShop.com to the organization. WWE and Komen will also feature special “Keep Calm and Never Give Up” t-shirts inspired by John Cena, “Support the Twins” t-shirts as well as pink Hulk Hogan “Hulkamania” t-shirts as well as WWE Network, TV and pay-per-view broadcasts, live events, PSAs, digital and social media to generate awareness.

In connection with NBA All-Star 2015, the league is teaming with HealthCorps, a 501(c)(3) organization co-founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz, to offer health education to teenagers across New York City’s five boroughs. The announcement comes as part of the NBA’s NBA Cares All-Star efforts to reach hundreds of thousands of New York City youth throughout the five boroughs with fun, fitness-related basketball activities.

Humana is dropping out as title sponsor of the PGA Tour’s tournament following January’s event at PGA West and La Quinta Country Club, according to the AP. The PGA Tour said it is searching for a new sponsor in consultation with Desert Classic Charities and the Clinton Foundation.

Under Armour signed on with the NFHS Network, the nation’s leading high school sports media company, via a new multi-year partnership that makes the brand the first Anchor Partner of the Network. The deal will see Under Armour receive a full slate of traditional sponsorship and digital media elements including in-game promotions and featured content, pre-roll video ads and integrated site takeovers. Both Under Armour and the NFHS Network will work collaboratively to develop integrated and unique original programming and content opportunities.


The ACC Digital Network is on board to share content with Fancred’s community of sports, becoming the first collegiate focused sports digital network to join the app and web platform, which is designed to help sports fans capture and share their favorite sports moments in the form of photos, GIFs, videos, articles, and more.


2014 AL Wild Card on TBS featuring the Athletics/Royals at 8p. Meanwhile CBS Sports Network debuts We Need to Talk at 10p.

ON THIS DAY in 1984: Don Mattingly overtook teammate Dave Winfield to become the first New York Yankee to win the American League batting championship since Mickey Mantle won the triple crown in 1956. Mattingly went into the game trailing Winfield .3394 to .3410, but went 4 for 5 against the Tigers while Winfield went 1-4. (Courtesy FOX Sports).

In The Know: Who was the last pitcher to throw a complete game in the World Series? (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: Which former Saturday Night Live star served as a commentator for Monday Night Football? Answer: Dennis Miller. Kudos: Mitch Burg-Impact Communications/Israel; Julie Souza-ESPN/NY; Tom Turner-Active International/NY; Erin B. Weissman-Marketing Consultant/NY; Rob Maffei-INSP/NY; Dan Higgins-Golf Channel/Orlando; Austin Ames-Signature Sports Voice Overs/Atlanta; John Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Andrew Saltzman-PlayOn! Sports/Atlanta; Derek Crownover-Dickinson Wright-Entertainment Law Group/Nashville; Bob Ramsey-Weigel Broadcasting/Chicago; Robert Teinowitz-Live Action Media/Chicago; Kevin Wicker-Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network/Mission; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Brienne Chance-G/O Digital/Phoenix; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; David Hauptman/Denver; Mary Downey-Mary Downey Casting/Burbank; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA; Jeff Mirkin-The Game Plane/Hollywood; Alan Perris/Beverly Hills.

Later — Chris
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