10/17/14: TBS wraps up the improbable; ESPN cements college basketball coverage; USA Hockey adds Kraft to its cupboard



CYNOPSISSPORTS
10.17.14

Good morning. It’s Friday, October 17, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Three sweeps and two small ALCS markets equated one grand MLB postseason for TBS’ coverage of the American League. With its playoff coverage in the books, the channel averaged 4,294,000 total viewers for 11 telecasts. That marks Turner Sports’ most-viewed postseason coverage since 2010 with a 3% bump versus an average of 4,160,000 total viewers for 24 games a year ago. TBS also won the night across cable television six times during the 2014 MLB Postseason and delivered growth across all key demos. The Royals’ sweep in the ALCS averaged 5,071,000 total viewers for four game telecasts, up 2% over the network’s six-game NLCS series in 2013. TBS’s ALCS coverage averaged a 3.2 U.S. HH rating and the network’s overall.

Meanwhile, MLB announced broadcast times for the World Series, with the first pitch in all games at 8:07p on FOX. The fun begins Oct. 21 at KC, with Game Two slated for Oct. 22. Games 3-5 would then take place Oct. 24-26, before (if necessary) returning to KC for the final two matchups on Oct. 28 & 29.


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ON THE AIR

FOX Sports, of course, is still in the game, with Game 4 of the NLCS setting a viewership record for FOX Sports 1. The Giants’ victory scored 5.092 million viewers, making it the most-watched telecast in channel history and shattering the previous mark of 4.367 million set on Oct. 12 for NLCS Game 2. FOX Deportes also set new highs, delivering 234,000 total viewers for the game, making it the most watched LCS game ever. 

In addition, FOX Sports announced that David “Big Papi” Ortiz will join its World Series pregame and postgame show roster for the first two games of the 2014 Fall Classic. Ortiz will join fellow major leaguer Nick Swisher, World Series Champion Gabe Kapler and Hall-of-Famer Frank Thomas as analysts live from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City beginning Tuesday, October 21 at 7:30p on the network. Kevin Burkhardt anchors all of FOX Sports’ World Series pregame and postgame coverage.

ESPN unveiled its full 2014-15 men’s college basketball season coverage plans, which will include more than 1,500 games spanning ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPNEWS, SEC Network and Longhorn Network. The action is slated to tip off on Nov. 14 with the third annual Armed Forces Classic matching Minnesota/Louisville from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen in Puerto Rico at 7p on ESPN, as well as a SEC Network doubleheader and four matchups on ESPNU. New telecast components will include a flexible schedule for College Gameday, six Battle 4 Atlantis tournament matchups from Paradise Island in the Bahamas, a record number of Big Ten games and every Big 12 matchup that was previously available through syndication will now be televised on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and for the first time, ESPNEWS.

CBS Sports is feeling the love for The NFL Today. The channel reports that the pregame show is averaging 3.6 million viewers this season, marking the highest viewer average for the show six weeks into the season in 16 years. Its 2.4/7 also sets a new benchmark as the highest average rating for The NFL Today six weeks into the season in 13 years.
 
Speaking of the NFL, game telecasts ranked first and second overall in viewership among all TV programs last week. FOX’s national telecast, anchored by Cowboys/Seattle, scored first with an average of 30 million viewers, while the Giants/Eagles matchup on NBC’s Sunday Night Football took second with 18.1 million average viewers. On the local front, Seattle led all markets with a 45.2 rating/34 share, followed by Milwaukee, Buffalo, Denver and Cleveland.

Are you on the Leaderboard? Find out at the Cynopsis Sports Social Media Summit on Dec. 8!

CNN pulled the plug on Unguarded with Rachel Nichols. (I don’t editorialize, but that show was terrific.) The move comes amid multiple cancellations on the channel, including Sanjay Gupta MD and CNN Money, according to reports. However, sources say that Nichols will continue with the network and remain a correspondent for Turner Sports which will include sideline reporting for the NBA.

ESPN announced plans for the return of NBA Countdown on ABC and ESPN. The pregame studio show will see Sage Steele, in her second season as host, joined by returning analysts Jalen Rose and Doug Collins for Friday shows on ESPN and Sunday shows, usually on ABC. The trio make their debut on Oct. 22 at 7:30p ahead of ESPN’s preseason doubleheader. Meanwhile, regular Wednesday editions of NBA Countdown on ESPN start Nov. 5, at 7:30p featuring ESPN NBA Insider Doris Burke and analysts Jalen Rose and Avery Johnson.

When FOX showcases the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series telecast on the broadcast channel since 2009 on Saturday, viewers will see talent pay homage to long-time colleague Steve Byrnes. As part of the company’s collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer, the NASCAR on FOX on-air crew will wear special ribbon pins in support of head-and-neck cancer awareness. Byrnes last week took a medical leave of absence to focus on his health and family after receiving news he has suffered a recurrence of cancer. 

Continuing the racing theme, with three races remaining in the 2014 Formula One Season, including NBC’s presentation of the U.S. Grand Prix on Nov. 2, NBC Sports Group revealed that its coverage of the first 16 races set several viewership milestones across NBC, NBCSN and CNBC, according to Nielsen. NBCSN has averaged 377,000 viewers for its first 11 races, up 93% vs. last year and on-pace for the best-ever F1 season for a cable network (since 2002). Combined, NBCSN and CNBC (three races) are averaging 348,000 viewers through 14 races, up 86% vs. 2013. Overall F1 coverage is averaging 452,000 viewers through 16 races, up 49% vs. 2013.

Universal Sports Network hits Winter sports season with multi-platform coverage of the 2014-15 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup on air and at UniversalSports.com starting with the season opener in Soelden, Austria on Oct. 25 and 26. Through March 2015, Universal Sports will showcase more than 65 international alpine competitions and 100 hours of exclusive television coverage, including the World Cup finals from Meribel, France. Coverage will feature the veteran play-by-play announcer Steve Porino and analyst Doug Lewis. This year’s broadcasts will also include the newly-designed Audi Race Room where the network’s analysts give viewers an insider’s look at the elite competition by breaking down the techniques and technologies behind individual performances.


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Digital Model D Awards Luncheon
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Celebrate with us on Friday, November 14th at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.

View Finalist List Here: http://www.cynopsis.com/event/digital-awards/.


SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

USA Hockey is reeling in Kraft Foods as an official sponsor in a multi-year agreement. The deal will be highlighted by USA Hockey’s support of the KraftHockeyville program, which is launching in the United States on Jan. 1. In addition, Kraft will be designated as the presenting sponsor of USA Hockey’s highly successful national Try Hockey for Free Days, the first for the 2014-15 season which is set for Nov. 8.

LeBron James has signed a new deal, this time with Kia in a multi-year partnership. James now takes on the role K900 Luxury Ambassador. “I was a Kia K900 driver and fan before we decided to become partners, so I’m really excited to be Kia’s first-ever luxury ambassador," said LeBron James. "This partnership is about the power of great style and performance. Kia and the K900 are out to challenge conventional wisdom and show people how to think differently, and I can relate to that. For me, a partnership has to be authentic and real to who I am, and that’s what makes this one so special."

DIGITAL & TECHNOLOGY

Bolstered by ESPN Fantasy Football and coverage of the NFL, MLB pennant races, and College Football, ESPN announced a record-setting 94.0 million unique visitors in the U.S. in September, up 29% from year ago numbers. On mobile devices, 70.1 million unique users accessed ESPN content, setting a category record for mobile reach, with 47.8 million people visiting ESPN.com via smartphones and tablets.

Campus Insiders unveiled its plans for Mountain West college basketball broadcast coverage for the upcoming season. The Mountain West Network powered by Campus Insiders will feature nine games, all of which will be exclusively produced by Campus Insiders with a slate that includes appearances by eight Conference teams, including San Diego State. The action begins Dec. 17, when UNLV hosts the University of Portland.

Derek Jeter’s new platform The Players’ Tribune added another All-Star to its roster, announcing the NBA’s Blake Griffin would serve as a Senior Editor. He now becomes the third senior editor to be named, following the previous announcements of NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and quarterback Russell Wilson. Griffin’s first piece of content for The Players’ Tribune “explores his uncomfortable experience dealing with former LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, a man who was ultimately banned from involvement with the NBA for making racist comments.”

ROSTER MOVES

NASCAR named Matt Summers as Senior Director of Entertainment Marketing and Content Development of NASCAR’s Los Angeles, Calif.-based Entertainment Marketing division. Summers will now be responsible for leading the development, sale and steering of original NASCAR television, film and digital content projects, as well as the development and execution of strategic entertainment partnerships and platforms. Summers joins NASCAR from Crowfly Pictures Entertainment.

The Los Angeles Chapter of Women in Sports and Events named the trio of Kristin Bachochin Klein (Senior Vice President-AEG Sports & Executive Director-Amgen Tour of California), Ronit Larone (Senior Coordinating Producer, Studio Production-NFL Network) and Janet Marie Smith(Senior Vice President, Planning & Development-Los Angeles Dodgers) as the recipients of the 2014 WISE Los Angeles Women of Inspiration Award. The honors will be presented at the annual gala on Nov. 20 at the Dorothy Chandler Music Hall in Downtown Los Angeles.

THE MAIN EVENT

49ers/Broncos on NBC on Sunday at 8:30p.



ON THIS DAY in 1989: An earthquake in San Francisco cancels the third game of the World Series.

In The Know: Which MLB franchise has won the World Series from three different home cities? (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 Yesterday’s Question: Brooklyn Nine Nine star Terry Crews was a professional athlete for what sport? Answer: Football. Kudos: Teddy Coleman-Teddy Coleman Inc. Prods/NY; Andrew Feingold-Nielsen/NY; Mike Lee-BPN/NY; Deborah Kapetanakis-Universal McCann/NY; Randy Ingram-WBTW-TV/Myrtle Beach; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Chris Faulds-Bell Media Digital/Toronto; Wally Bruckner-NBC/Norwich; Andy Pittman-Texas A&M University/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Dory Petsrillo-HRP/Dallas; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc./Santa Monica; Anne C. Wettig-Fox Cable Networks/LA; Robb Rothfarb-AdMore/Temecula; Karen Owens-Zenith/LA

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine
10.16.14

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