10/22/14: Manning record is a boon for NBC; Florida State squeaker ends up roses for ESPN; College Bowl games double down on chicken



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Good morning. It’s Wednesday, October 22, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Peyton Manning’s record-breaker pushed NBC Sports to a season high, according to Nielsen. The Broncos victory ranked as NBC’s most-watched Sunday Night Football game of the season, with an average of 23.8 million viewers. Through eight NFL telecasts, NBC is averaging 22.1 million viewers. Top markets include Denver with a 47.1/68, followed by Sacramento, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Phoenix.


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ESPN saw a Steelers win on Monday Night Football propel the channel to its own win for the night among all networks in viewers, households and all key male and adult demos. The game averaged an 8.1 household US rating and 13,275,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. Through the first seven weeks (eight games), MNF is averaging an 8.3 household US rating; 9,618,000 households and 13,355,000 viewers.

Saturday’s showdown between Florida State and Notre Dame handed ABC an average of 13,251,000 viewers and a 7.9 household rating, making it the most-viewed college football game of the 2014 season and largest audience for a regular-season game on an ESPN platform since November 24, 2012. The contest also drew average minute audience, unique viewers and total minutes audience records for WatchESPN.

Wrapping up ratings news, NBA TV continues to snags viewership bumps for its Open Court series. The program’s first two episodes of the season averaged 157,000 total viewers, for a markup of 104%over the comparable airings last year. The show is also delivering a 67%increase among men 18-49 over last year. In addition, the channel’s Mavericks/Cavaliers telecast on Friday averaged342,000 total viewers, making it the most-viewed NBA preseason game on NBA TV in three years.

FOX Sports announced its 2015 slate for the 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross with Feld Motor Sports. Programming is set to include 17 live races as well as the first-ever live FOX network broadcast of the sport from MetLife Stadium on April 25. The season opens Jan. 3 with the first of 12 live races on FOX Sports 1. Three races currently are scheduled to air live on FOX Sports 2, with all races available live through the FOX Sports GO app. Each race will start 30 minutes earlier this year, at 7p. Ralph Sheheen, Jeff Emig and Jenny Taft return for microphone duties.

With Bushwacker set to retire, CBS Sports Network will ride over 17 hours of programming this week for the PBR World Finals, beginning today and running through Sunday. Coverage will be highlighted by legendary bull Bushwacker’s last rides, as he competes for the final time at the 2014 World Finals from Las Vegas. Throughout the week, the channel will air Inside the PBR World Finals live at 8:30p through Saturday and on Sunday at 3:30p. Craig Hummer, Ty Murray, Justin McBride, Cody Lambert and reporter Leah Garcia announce. The network will also showcase a half-hour documentary Bushwacker: Legend of the Bull on Nov. 2 at 1p.

HBO Sports, along with executive producers Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey, are releasing four new editions of the series State of Play beginning Nov. 18 at 10p. The first episode, Happiness, explores the science behind the emotion and follows Brett Favre, Tiki Barber and Wayne Chrebet as they search for happiness once their careers are over.

ESPN premieres The Grantland Basketball Hour on Thursday at 7p on ESPN with editor-in-chief Bill Simmons and ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose, along with special guests Michelle Beadle, Jeff Van Gundy, Zach Lowe and Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.

WWE and Nickelodeon are teaming to carry WWE Slam City, a WWE’s kids property that includes an original animated short-form series. The program debuts tonight during the NickSports programming block from 911p. The 26-episode series is comprised of two-minute shorts featuring the likes of John Cena, Randy Orton, Sheamus, The Miz, Rey Mysterio, Kane and Mark Henry in an animated world.
NBA TV is plotting special daylong programming on Monday to honor the 2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs. The network will premiere three original programs  Champions Revealed: 2014 San Antonio Spurs, Open Court: NBA Champions Edition and 2014 San Antonio Spurs: Go Spurs Go – along with re-airs of past NBA Finals performances and season reviews from the Spurs’ five title-winning seasons.

HRTV is gearing up for The Breeders’ Cup, which is set to run on Nov. 1. The channel will carry all of the Breeders’ Cup races live with the exception of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, with coverage that include paddock updates, full post parades, up-to-date information, and expert race-by-race analysis along with the unveiling of the pre-entries and the draw. For the third consecutive year, HRTV will serve as the official simulcast partner of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships and will again produce and simulcast the Breeders’ Cup Players’ Show

SEC Network hired Gail Goestenkors to serve as part of a staple of women’s basketball commentators this season, with more than 190 Southeastern Conference games slated across the network’s television and digital platforms this season. Commentators will include Paul Sunderland, Cara Capuano and Brenda VanLengen with Debbie Antonelli, Nell Fortner and Goestenkors on board as analysts, along with Carolyn Peck, Steffi Sorensen and Carol Ross.

It’s been 25 years since Laura Palmer promised us she’d be back on Twin Peaks, and thanks to Showtime, the David Lynch cult classic TV show is actually returning. So how can the premium cable network make one of TV’s most eccentric shows a hit in the new millennium? Saatchi & Saatchi marketing maven Erica Martinez has some excellent ideas  so read it while you drink a darn fine cup of coffee at Cynsiders.

The Anaheim Ducks are going long with FOX Sports Prime Ticket, inking a contract extension for the next decade. A club-record 75 games will be carried live on Fox networks this season, including 71 on Prime Ticket/Fox Sports West & four on KCOP-13. “We are very pleased to extend our longstanding relationship with the Anaheim Ducks organization,” said FOX Sports West/Prime Ticket Senior Vice President and General Manager Steve Simpson. “Coming off of a record-breaking season in 2013-14, it’s an exciting time for Ducks hockey on Prime Ticket, and we are proud to deliver even more coverage to Southern California sports fans for years to come.”


Do you work at a traditional network but want to transition to a digital publishing position?

Cynopsis is presenting a career-focused webinar on Thursday, November 6, 2014 to educate TV executives (and by that we mean senior managers and above) on how they can move successfully into the digital world and take advantage of the job opportunities it offers  without having to start all over in an entry level slot.

Don’t Wait… Register Now!

Reinventing Yourself – Transitioning from Traditional Media to New Media Webinar


Buffalo Wild Wings made its New Year’s plans official, signing on as the new title sponsor for Orlando’s New Year’s Day bowl game. The 2015 Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl will air live on ABC on New Year’s Day at 1p in the new Orlando Citrus Bowl stadium. The game is in its first year of a new cycle and will feature teams from the Big Ten or ACC facing a Southeastern Conference team. “We are honored to add Buffalo Wild Wings as a title sponsor and business partner,” said Steve Hogan, chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Sports. “Buffalo Wild Wings is deeply connected to college football and the fan experience, and they’ve already shown that with their interest in returning to our traditional Citrus Bowl name. We’re fortunate to begin an exciting new era for Orlando’s New Year’s Day game with a partner who loves the game as much as we do.”

While we are on the subject of chicken, Zaxby’s struck a deal with the Heart of Dallas Bowl to become the new title sponsor of the collegiate post-season football game in a four-year deal. The Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl will be played on December 26 at Cotton Bowl Stadium. The game will feature a team from Conference USA versus the Big Ten.

Are you on the Leaderboard? Find out at the Cynopsis Sports Social Media Summit on Dec. 8. Nominations open this week! In addition, save the date and sharpen your skills at the combine, with speakers set to include Twitter, Google, Stumbleupon, Lockerdome, MVPIndex, leagues, networks, teams, sports platforms, global brands and a stacked agenda that you will not want to miss.


Twitter’s top 5 most mentioned players and teams during Week 7 of play for the week ending 10/20.

The top five most mentioned players on Twitter:
1.  Peyton Manning
2.  Percy Harvin (@Percy_Harvin)
3.  DeMarco Murray (@DeMarcoMurray)
4.  Tom Brady
5.  Dez Bryant (@DezBryant)

The top five most Tweeted games, as measured by Nielsen Social:
1.  @49ers vs. @Broncos (NBC)
2.  @Giants vs @dallascowboys (FOX)
3.  @HoustonTexans vs. @Steelers (ESPN)
4.  @NYJets vs. @Patriots (CBS; NFL Network)
5.  @Seahawks vs. @STLouisRams (FOX)


The Whistle Sports Network continues to grow. The company is launching its next single-sport vertical this fall that will spotlight basketball. The basketball vertical will feature 39 creator channels already in place and include ncludes an existing YouTube subscription base of 5.4M basketball fans.

Digital sports video content producer and syndicator CineSport announced distribution deals with Advance Digital, Lee Enterprises, and MSN. Microsoft’s MSN will feature CineSport video content in its Bing App as well as in the sports section of MSN.com. CineSport will also be featured on the 15 newspaper sites in the Advance family including the Newark Star-Ledger, Cleveland Plain Dealer and New Orleans Times-Picayune. In addition, CineSport renewed its long standing partnership with Lee Enterprises’ flagship property, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


Giants/Royals on FOX at 8p.

ON THIS DAY in 1992: Red Barber dies at 84.

In The Know: In the movie For Love of the Game, Kevin Costner plays a pitcher for which MLB team? (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 team did the Royals face in its last World Series appearance? Answer: The Cardinals. Kudos: Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/NY; Andrew Bogdan-Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment/NY; Michael Brown-Lagardere Unlimited/NY; John Lappas-Home Team Sports/NY; Keith Allo-Golf Channel/NBC Sports/Orlando; Tom Wetzel-MMSI/Warwick; Jerry A. Kapner-Kapner Group/Montclair; Randy Ingram-WBTW-TV/Myrtle Beach; Frank Forgey-Missouri Broadcasters Association/Jefferson City; Kevin Wicker-Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network/Mission; Jim Hall-True Media/Columbia; Ryan Nolan-Sportsman Channel/New Berlin; David Hauptman/Denver; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; Tamara Brcka-Fox Consumer Products/LA; Anne C. Wettig-Fox Cable Networks/LA; Irma Lozano-NUVOtv/Glendale; Sarah Godfrey-Warner Bros. Int’l Television Distribution/Burbank.

Later — Chris
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