10/09/15: Blatter gets a red card; Cubs deliver bullish numbers; GMR plays the eSports game


Good morning. It’s Friday October 9, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

FIFA’s Ethics Committee dropped a hammer on President Sepp Blatter, along with other executives, the will prevent them from representing the organization “in any capacity, act on the organization’s behalf, or communicate to media or other stakeholders as a FIFA representative” for at least 90 days. Issa Hayatou, as the longest-serving vice-president on FIFA’s Executive Committee, will now serve as Acting President of FIFA. The committee also punished FIFA’s Secretary General, Jerome Valcke while Michel Platini, who serves as a FIFA VP and is the head of UEFA, with “provisional” bans from the sport. Meanwhile, former FIFA VP Chung Mong-joon was exiled from the sport for six years and fined.

Although the suspensions took effect immediately, UEFA announced that it would not enforce the ruling. The NY Times reports that Platini released a statement through UEFA dismissing the allegations against him, noting “I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.”


The MLB Wild Card round nabbed another hit, as TBS’s coverage of the Cubs win over the Pirates averaged 8.3 million total viewers and a 5.0 household score, marking the highest rated and most viewed Wild Card Game ever, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals, as well as the largest audience for an MLB game telecast on cable television since 2011. The telecast was up 60% among total viewers and 52% in rating over last year’s TBS Wild Card game. Locally, the telecast drew a 21.8 HH rating in Chicago to produce the best rating for any MLB game in the market since the 2005 World Series.

ABC saw Game 1 of the 2015 WNBA Finals on Oct. 4 rank as the most-watched Game 1 ever on the channel and the most-watched Game 1 on ABC/ESPN networks since 1998. The Fever/Lynx matchup reeled in a 2% uptick in viewership, with 571,000 viewers according to Nielsen. The action continues tonight at 8p on ESPN2 with Game 3 of the series.

ESPN announced that it worked with the SEC, Big Ten and American Athletic conferences to make several schedule changes for Saturday’s college football games, given the on-going recovery from the recent flooding in South Carolina. The changes affect six games, with five remaining in their original time slot and venue with only the TV network changing. South Carolina’s home game against LSU, originally scheduled for noon on ESPN, will now be played in Baton Rouge and be shown live on ESPN at 3:30p. “It is important to recognize and thank our conference partners at the American Athletic Conference and Big Ten for their cooperation and understanding,” said Ilan Ben-Hanan, ESPN vice president, college sports programming. “The college sports community is great at lending each other a helping hand when changes like these need to be made."

Charles Barkley is on deck to join The NFL on CBS on Sunday. Barkley will visit the set of The NFL Today “to offer his unique insights for Week 5 and the NFL at this point in the season.”

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

ESPNU takes on the 2015-16 college basketball season with a one-hour special incorporating social media and web-based videos to showcase a sampling of the sport’s annual preseason parties from campuses around the nation. The special takes place on Oct. 23 at 9p, dubbed #MidnightMadness. Voting  including dunks, plays, championship commemorations, and celebrity appearances — will take place over the coming weeks through @ESPNCBB.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed season ratings at Wednesday’s league meeting, noting that the league continues to boast strong television ratings, pointing out the TNF franchise in particular (which could open up to bidding soon). NBC Sports reports that Goodell noted that “Ratings are incredibly healthy right now. We’re seeing increases, particularly on Thursday night, double-digit increases. This in light of the fact that obviously networks continue to struggle in prime time and we’re bucking the trend,” Goodell said.

beIN SPORTS saw a ratings spike with its live coverage of the Atletico de Madrid/Real Madrid Liga matchup. The channel delivered an average of 493,000 total viewers across both beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Espanol.

Fans of the Rugby World Cup 2015 will see Universal Sports Network offer digital and residential PPV for the knockout round stage of the 48-match tournament cost $99.99. Viewers can buy in starting Saturday with the additional option of seeing individual knockout round matches starting at $32.95 on digital or residential TV PPV.

BounceTV announced that its next edition of Premier Boxing Champions  The Next Round will be anchored by a battle between Tony “The Tiger” Thompson/Malik “King” Scott on Oct. 30. The 10-round heavyweight battle will anchor televised coverage also streamed live beginning at 9p.

BTN Originals releases another round of The Journey: Big Ten Football 2015 at 9p tonight, followed by Big Ten Elite: 2014 Ohio State Football at 9:30p. Wednesday’s episode of Big Ten Elite takes viewers and fans into Urban Meyer’s home during the College Football Playoff selection show, through his early days at Ohio State, into the 2014 regular season and along for the Buckeyes’ championship run.

Meanwhile Pac-12 Networks unveiled its talent roster for its fourth season of women’s basketball game coverage, which begins with the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day Special across all seven networks on Oct. 14 at noon, featuring host Ashley Adamson, analysts Ros Gold-Onwude and Mary Murphy, with an appearance from new analyst Chiney Ogumike. The season, the platforms will see talent that includes Onwude, Murphy, Tammy Blackburn, Anne Meyers-Drysdale and Maylana Martin Douglas as women’s basketball analysts. Play-by-play talent features names such as Ann Schatz, Krista Blunk, Anne Marie Anderson, Cindy Brunson, Rich Burk, Kate Scott and Jim Watson. Fresh faces on the channels include sportscasters Julianne Viani and Brenda VanLengen and play-by-play announcer Lisa Byington.



Join Cynopsis Media on Thursday, October 15 to celebrate this year’s 2015 Rising Stars.

If you would like to purchase a sponsorship or congratulatory ad in the reception program, please contact VP of Sales & Marketing, Mike Farina at 203.218.6480.

Register today to attend the Rising Star Cocktail Reception


Busch announced today that the brand will return to NASCAR in 2016, signing on to sponsor Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 team of Stewart-Haas Racing for select races in the Sprint Cup Series. Busch, Busch Light and other special-edition Busch paint schemes will be featured for 12 races in 2016 beginning with the Feb. 13 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona. In conjunction with the NASCAR announcement, and to remain in touch with Busch drinkers, Busch is expanding its social media presence by launching the brand’s first-ever Twitter handle with fans able to follow @BuschBeer and use the hashtag #BuschIsBack. 

Madison Square Garden renewed and expanded their partnership with Major Energy in a multi-year deal, naming the New York-based energy supply company the Official Gas and Electricity Energy Partner of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers, as well as an Official Partner of Madison Square Garden. The deal will see Major Energy score brand exposure at The Garden during all Knicks and Rangers games, including courtside LED signage throughout the Arena for all Garden events, the “Knicks Noise Meter Presented by Major Energy” and “Rangers Celebrity Welcome” features on GardenVision (the center-hung scoreboard), and the Presenting Partner of the Knicks and Rangers “Moment of the Month.”

The ECHL locked in a multi-year deal with GEICO that will see the brand become the Official Auto Insurance of the league. The deal sees the insurance company nab “first-of-its-kind” branding as the official goal sponsor for all 27 U.S. based teams. In addition, GEICO will receive a slate of marketing assets across the 28-team league. This agreement was brokered by Denver-based Impression Sports & Entertainment (ECHL) and Division ONE Sports (GEICO).

Fanatics continues to add to its collection, signing an exclusive autograph and memorabilia partnership with Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. Fanatics Authentic, the company’s memorabilia division, will now serve as the exclusive seller of Rodgers’ authentic autographed memorabilia offering hundreds of unique products. Other athletes on the roster include:Steph Curry, David Ortiz, Peyton Manning, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Alex Oveckin, Conor McGregor and more.


Facebook is tackling college football by offering fans a custom overlay to their Facebook Profile Pictures. Available team frames can be found at https://www.facebook.com/gameface as part of the company’s new expression tools. University of Florida was the first partner to test the new feature, in addition to Miami, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, Oregon and Texas.


The season opening NHL game on Wednesday between the Rangers and Blackhawks saw 3.7 million live minutes streamed with 64,000 unique users on NBC Sports Live Extra. That makes it the platform’s most-streamed regular-season NHL game ever. The game was up 128% in live minutes and 56% in unique users versus last season’s opener.

RR Media unveiled plans to offer a new value-added online sports platform for sports organizations, in partnership with Pi Telecom. Users would get access to various free and subscription based premium content on any screen and device that opens up premium content to sports fans around the world. Users can access and watch on-demand and exclusive content and services from sports federations, leagues, teams, broadcasters, channels and media rights agencies including: official on demand and live streaming content channels; archive content, such as classic matches; premium highlights and feature interviews; multi-lingual content; and services such as merchandise and ticketing and accessing social media. The platform is already being used by FC Barcelona for their Game PASS service.

SendtoNews locked in a deal with ECHL that will see the company distributing nightly game highlights for the 28 teams throughout the US and Canada through its News Partnership Network. “The ECHL is committed to working towards new digital and video initiatives for our fans to capture the in-arena excitement at home or on the road,” said Ryan Crelin, Sr. Vice President of Business Operations for the ECHL. “SendtoNews allows us to take our game highlights and immediately get them out via our local market news distributors, so that avid and casual fans alike can quickly get all of the ECHL action.”


GMR is launching a new eSports consulting practice designed to formalize decades of experiential, digital, creative and strategic expertise in the gaming space and reach young, digitally-minded consumers via integration into eSports competitions, teams, media and game design. "As millennials continue to trade traditional mediums like television for digital, mobile and social engagement, eSports offers a massive marketing platform authentic to how this consumer audience lives, communicates and pursues their passions," says Parsons. "GMR’s eSports consulting practice will help brands navigate uncharted opportunities to reach and influence eSports fans, teams, competitors and tournaments." GMR’s global eSports consulting practice will be headquartered in the U.S., with key hubs across the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific.


Mets/Dodgers on TBS tonight at 9:45p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1915: Woodrow Wilson becomes first US President to attend a World Series game.

In The Know: Which brand sponsored Sacha Baron Cohen’s car in the movie Talladega Nights? (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 is the all-time leader in MLB Grand Slams? Answer: Alex Rodriguez. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports Network/NY; Jon Clateman-Frozen Ropes/NY; Ed Flamos-Rentrak/NY; Cindy O’Connor-HRP-Cox Reps/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; Nello Pesci-prosper/Salt Lake City; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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