10/06/15: MLB warms up for a postseason barrage; NBA finds the time; WTA has a new chief


Good morning. It’s Tuesday October 6, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

With clubs locked in, Major League Baseball unveiled start times for early round games. ESPN opens up the action with Astros/Yankees tonight at 8p, while TBS spotlights Cubs/Pirates on Wednesday. Division Series games will open the round when the Rangers/Blue Jays face off starting Thursday at either 3:37p or 4:07p, depending on the winner of the AL Wild Card Game. Then, the Royals hosts the Wild Card winner either 7:37p or 8:07p with both of games carried by FS1. Friday action warms up at 12:45p with Rangers/Blue Jays on MLB Network, with the Royals game set for 3:45p on FS1, followed by a pair of games on TBS starting at 6:45p with Wild Card/Cardinals followed by Mets/Dodgers at 9:45p.


TBS, meanwhile, announced that its postseason MLB coverage will include elements such as: Live Vu, capturing “the sights and sounds from the road team’s city” and incorporating that team’s fan base into the game telecast; a newly designed broadcast booth, Sony HDC-4300 Cameras; Statcast powered by Amazon Web Services, player microphones, and Pitch Trax presented by Chevrolet. Meanwhile, studio shows offer viewers: virtual reality ballpark models; offensive and defensive information; virtual monitors; and NLCS On-Site Studio Shows. Meanwhile, Turner’s Postseason.TV will stream fans up to 10 live alternative camera angles for every game televised by TBS during the MLB Postseason including the NL Wild Card game, NL Division Series and NL Championship Series. 

Continuing the theme, FOX Sports reports that the 2015 MLB regular season ended with boosts on multiple fronts, led by MLB on FOX game telecasts with a 16% spike in average viewers over 2014 numbers, hitting 2.2 million, while the Adult 18-49 demo rose 25% to a 0.5. FS1 contests drew a 22% average audience rise to 504,000. On FOX Sports’ RSNs, six different MLB teams ranked No. 1 in their respective markets in average primetime ratings, including the Diamondbacks, Tigers, Royals, Cardinals, Padres and Rays.

Sunday Night Football saw the Saints’ OT win over the Cowboys notch a 14.8/24 for NBC to win the night in households and Adult 18-49 ratings. The matchup was up 8% from the equivalent game a year ago. In each of first 5 games so far this season, NBC’s SNF overnight has been up over the prior year, marking the first time that has happened in the 10-season history of the franchise on the network.

Around the dial, CBS Sports’ Week 4 programming of The NFL on CBS, featuring regional singleheader action, generated an average overnight metered market household rating/share of 10.4/21, up 27% over last year’s 8.2/17.

CBS Sports also announced the its SEC on CBS selection on Oct. 17 at 3:30p will feature Alabama/Texas A&M. Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and reporter Allie LaForce call the contest from Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. 

Major League Soccer is partnering with FOX Sports Latin America to showcase live league matches in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America (sans Brazil). Just ahead of the playoffs, MLS will now be viewed in nearly 120 countries and territories around the world. The deals runs through 2018 and will see FOX Sports Latin America carry two exclusive MLS regular season matches per week, at least one Decision Day match, half of the MLS Cup Playoff games and the AT&T MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup in alternating years.

NBA TV is celebrating its Open Court series with a look back at some of the all-time most candid moments in a special Best of Open Court tonight at 9:30p. Host Matt Winer serves up some of the most memorable highlights from the five-year history of the show and spans more than 30 episodes dating back to the series debut in 2011.

Ronda Rousey is poised to become the first-ever female athlete to guest anchor ESPN’s SportsCenter. The UFC star will join the 6p edition of the show tomorrow with anchor Lindsay Czarniak. Rousey will also make appearances on Mike & Mike, First Take and the midnight SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt.

Editor’s Note: Please join the Cynopsis team and your industry peers for the half-day Programmatic TV Summit on Nov. 5. Register now.

E!’s The Soup will come live from Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 23 ahead of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup race. Joel McHale will host and be accompanied by NASCAR drivers, while “crashing the many events around the speedway that make this racing weekend one of the greatest parties in the world!”

As expected, Jason Whitlock departed ESPN following his dismissal as editor-in-chief of The Undefeated earlier this year. Sports Illustrated broke the news, with ESPN stating that: “We have mutually agreed to part ways, which was Jason’s preference following the shift from his role as editor in chief. Jason is a talented print and television commentator and we wish him success in his next chapter. ESPN remains fully committed to The Undefeated and plans continue toward an official launch.”

iN DEMAND announced that it will offer a 21-day free preview of NHL Center Ice on digital cable and telco systems from Oct. 7-27. The platform offers up to 40 live out-of-market NHL games every week across 14 channels with enhancements that include: a multi-screen mosaic; same day replays; and dual feed telecasts.


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CYNOPSIS Social Good Awards

Media professionals’ commitment to community is honored in the Cynopsis Social Good Awards, recognizing individuals and organizations who give back to the public through innovative linear TV, digital and marketing campaigns. We’ll be celebrating promotions for diversity, environmental initiatives, anti-bullying and much more.



The NBA locked in a partnership with TISSOT via a multiyear global partnership that makes the Swiss watch brand the first Official Timekeeper of the NBA, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), and NBA Development League (NBA D-League). The deal marks the first Official Timekeeping partnership for TISSOT with a major North American sports league and the largest partnership in the company’s history of more than 160 years. The partnership will tip off this week during NBA Global Games 2015-16.

Heritage brand Chalk Line struck a licensing agreement with WWE. The company will release a collection of “Fanimation” jackets paying homage to the likes of Ultimate Warrior, Andre the Giant and Macho Man Randy Savage. The collection is set to hit retailers towards Holiday 2015.

Delta Air Lines renewed partnerships with the New York Mets and the New York Yankees. The company’s new eight-year agreements extend the airline’s sponsorships with both teams, originally forged in 2008, and keep Delta’s designation as the Official Airline and Private Jet Carrier of both New York baseball teams through 2023. New elements of the deal with the Mets include a slate of community outreach programs, a road trip experience for fans, sponsorship of all cultural-themed regular season home games, and brand integration within the Ballpark app, giving fans unique access and benefits while at Citi Field. The Yankees deal will see Delta maintain its signature Delta Sky360 suite and be part of hospitality events and promotions for fans during spring training and the regular season. 


Univision Deportes, in partnership with the NBA, announced the launch of the official Spanish-language NBA digital destination at NBA.com/enebea. The joint partnership will serve as the online hub for Hispanic basketball fans and offer live updates of each NBA game, post-game highlights and stats for each player and team in the league. Additionally, the site includes exclusive content relevant to Hispanic basketball fans, such as news coverage and interviews with the players and coaches.

Sling TV continues to bolster its sports offerings, announcing that it will launch Campus Insiders. The platform will be accessible on all devices supported by Sling TV as part of the $5 per month “Sports Extra” pack, available to customers who subscribe to the “Best of Live TV” core package. “We are thrilled to join the growing sports lineup on Sling TV,” said Brooks Boyer, CEO of parent company Silver Chalice. “With our commitment to covering the world of college sports and delivering the live games of our conference partners to a wider audience, Campus Insiders’ growth is a testament to the insatiable appetite of the more than 100 million Americans who call themselves college sports fans.”

Just ahead of hockey season, NBC Sports Live Extra will, for the first time, feature new broadcast-quality enhanced data graphics that provide an improved streaming experience for NHL fans. The service will provide streaming coverage of all 105 regular-season games on NBC and NBCSN this season.


The Women’s Tennis Association has a new boss, announcing that the Board of Directors named Steve Simon as its new CEO. Simon has served as the Tournament Director and Chief Operating Officer of the BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells Tennis Tournament. "Steve Simon, with his successful career leading one of tennis’ most prestigious tournaments, is the perfect person to run the WTA," the Board said in a statement. "Steve produced results, pursued excellence and he kept innovating, making the fan experience even better. He has a very clear vision for the sport and is held in high regard by all."


Wild Card! Astros/Yankees on ESPN at 8p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1995: The Colorado Avalanche play their first NHL game under their new moniker.

In The Know: In The Mighty Ducks, what profession was Emilio Estevez’s character before being forced to coach the youth hockey team? (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 portrayed Ricky Vaughn in the movie Major League? Answer: Charlie Sheen. Kudos: Lauren Varga-FOX Station Sales/NY; Howard Goldberg-Ithaca College/Ithaca; Karen Van Vleet-Insight Strategy Group/NY; Joshua Duboff-TSBX Networks/NY; Chaz Kiernan-NBC Sports/Stamford; Tim Newman-York College of Pennsylvania/York; Sonia Durr-Carat/Atlanta; Chris Schwieterman-Gray Television/Tallahassee; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Gretchen Brady-KTVT/Dallas; Suzy Shoup-Moroch/Dallas; Karl Hoium-Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks/Fargo; Scott Sarra-Universal Sports Network/Denver; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; Brian Sullivan-KHQ-TV/Spokane; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA; Jordan Cohen-Southport Marketing/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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