10.26.15 Good morning. It’s Monday October 26, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
With the MLB Postseason on a viewership tear this year, the Royals/Mets battle royale in the World Series takes the mound tomorrow night at 8p in Kansas City, with all broadcasts set to be carried by FOX and FOX Deportes. The league announced, following the Royals win over the Blue Jays, that the slate of games will then take part on Oct. 28, Oct. 30 and Oct. 31 with potential telecasts on Nov. 1, 3 and 4 as well, all at 8p.
FOX Sports, of course, hits sweet 16 in its coverage of the 111th World Series, bringing in Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci to call the action for one of sport’s crown jewels. On the digital front, FOXSports.com and Just a Bit Outside, FOX Sports’ baseball blog, will feature game previews, expert predictions, analysis on game defining plays, and game recaps with coverage led by Ken Rosenthal, Jon Paul Morosi, and Rob Neyer. Cynopsis Sports spoke with John Entz, President, FOX Sports Production and Executive Producer, to preview what fans can expect from the telecast, as well as the additions of Pete Rose and Alex Rodriguez and what a championship would mean for the Mets.
Entz on studio plans: We will be putting forth as much effort into the World Series as any telecast we’ve ever had. For our studio shows, Kevin Burkhardt will be our host for every show and we’ll be using a combination of Alex Rodriguez, Pete Rose, Frank Thomas, Raul Ibanez beside him. We’ll be mixing and matching depending on what’s going on. Once the game ends on the broadcast channel, we’ll steer people toward FS1 with continued coverage with that same crew.
On Pete Rose’s return: Pete is a fascinating guy who lives and breathes baseball and I think he’s felt reinvigorated by being around our group all year but especially now that it’s October. As far as a television analyst, he’s really unique in that he’s himself on the air as well as off the air. Very unpredictable. You never know where he’s going. At times, that can be daunting but overall it is the kind of banter and feel and vibe you try to shoot for in a studio show where, hopefully, everything doesn’t feel scripted.
On adding Alex Rodriguez: Alex has an incredible baseball mind and he loves the game. There are a ton of players who, when they aren’t playing, they aren’t interested but with Alex that couldn’t be further from the truth. Alex is a baseball junkie and watches games, and he’s done that throughout his career. The insight that he can provide is really interesting and he loves to break down the mechanics of baseball. This isn’t something where he is felling like he is forced to do it, it is something that he loves to do. You can tell the enthusiasm he has for it by just being around him. When he is finished playing, you know that he’ll be watching every night and when you combine that kind of motivation with the kind of player he has been, it is really unique to get that.
On the Mets return to the World Series: Obviously New York is a fantastic baseball town and the Mets haven’t been to the World Series in many years, so we expect the atmosphere to be incredible. You can see that they are ready to celebrate. From our end, you can’t ask for much more than going back to New York and having them involved because it is as good a baseball town as there is in the country.
On tech for the games: One of the things we get the best feedback all year on is our Phantom Cam for the baseball playoffs, and that’s that beautiful shot that gets you the cinematic view of the ball hitting the bat or the flight of the ball and other various things. The shot people remember the most is when Hunter Pence hit that ball a few years ago. We’ve got HawkEye ball tracking, we’ve got the 4K superzoom, and we’ll be using the Dirt-Cam, buried near the first base foul line. Statcast, in conjunction with MLBAM, is another element we’ll be tapping into.
Tomorrow night will also see the NBA regular season tip off with Turner Sports opening the books with a doubleheader that will now see chart-topping rock band X Ambassadors perform live as part of the NBA on TNT Opening Night Concert Charged by Mtn Dew. A portion of the live performance will be carried live during the hour-long NBA on TNT Opening Night 2015 presented by Autotrader pre-game show at 7p, as well as throughout the evening’s broadcast. Inside the NBA once again takes the stage with Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal offering live pre-game, halftime and post-game coverage throughout the evening. Kevin Harlan will call the early Cavs/Bulls telecast with analyst Reggie Miller and reporter David Aldridge, while Marv Albert offers play-by-play for Pelicans/Warriors with analyst Chris Webber and reporter Craig Sager.
In ratings news, Saturday saw ABC serve up two of the three highest-rated college football games for the day, including primetime’s top matchup in Ohio State/Rutgers, which drew a 3.3 rating, according to Nielsen. Meanwhile, regionalized action at 3:30p featuring Indiana/Michigan State and Texas Tech/Oklahoma reeled in a 3.2 score, up 19% from the same window in 2014. Meanwhile, ESPN2 pulled its highest overnight numbers of the season with the Florida State/Georgia Tech shocker at 7p, to earn a 1.4. In late night action, Washington/Stanford handed ESPN with a 1.6 score, up 45%. Meanwhile, College GameDay from James Madison University earned a 1.4 for ESPN, up 8% over last year.
In Thursday Night Football action, CBS and NFL Network’s Seattle/San Francisco contest was once again up over 2014 numbers, drawing an average of 17.1 million viewers to the telecast, according to Nielsen fast national ratings. That is up 6% from from last year’s sixth TNF game and earned a household rating/share of 10.5/18, for a 4% markup.
Finally, FOX Deportes took the top spot among all Spanish-language sports programs on last Wednesday with UEFA Champions League coverage of group stage match between Paris Saint Germain/Real Madrid. The contest scored 305,000 total viewers and 191,000 P18-49, making it the second most-watched group stage match of the season after the Roma/Barcelona face-off on 9/16/15.
How did Yahoo do in its first-ever global live streamed NFL game? What will they do with the numbers and volumes of data they received from the event? Hear from Yahoo’s Marissa Bataille about the company’s historical presentation as part of the “Mining Data and How to Strike it Rich” panel at the Cynopsis Sports Engagement Summit on Dec. 2 in NY. Register now at www.sportsengagementsummit.com.
Premier Boxing Champions mastermind Al Heymon saw one of the two lawsuits against his company dismissed. A lawsuit by Top Rank, claiming violations of the Sherman Act, California Unfair Competition Law and the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, was tossed by Judge John F. Walter of the Central District of California, according to Boxing Insider. The ruling stated that the allegations by Top Rank did not satisfy the anti-trust standards for injury, noting that, “…Top Rank has not adequately alleged injury to itself, which is not only an element of antitrust injury, but also of Article III standing… Without any additional factual allegations, the Court cannot determine whether Top Rank has alleged an injury-in-fact, let alone whether that injury flows from that which makes the conduct unlawful.”
Editor’s Note: Please join the Cynopsis team and your industry peers for the half-day Programmatic TV Summit on Nov. 5. Register now.
After the FIFA scandal threw plans in disarray, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and the U.S. Soccer Federation announced Friday that plans to hold the Copa America Centenario stateside next summer would continue on course. ESPN reports that the USSF had refused to move forward with the tournament unless complete transparency could be ensured by CONMEBOL and CONCACAF.
RIP to Minnesota Timberwolves President and coach and former ESPN analyst Flip Saunders, who passed away on Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 60 and saw a 35 year career in the NBA that topped 1,000 victories.
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How to Leverage Influencers on Social Media With an overwhelming majority of consumers saying they trust peer recommendations over advertising, the right social media influencers on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and more are the key to increasing ratings and driving action. Join us on Thursday, October 29 to learn the tactics needed to identify and reach influencers who can share your content and increase engagement.
After reporting its first-ever $1 billion sales quarter in company history, Under Armour is now bringing Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson into the fold as its newest endorser. The Rock announced that deal on Twitter, stating “IT’S OFFICIAL. The Rock/Under Armour partnership has been years in the making and we’re proud and pumped to have it come to fruition. The goal is to bring you innovative and bad ass products that inspire men, women and kids to stay hungry, humble and always be the hardest workers in the room.”
The U.S. Cross Country Ski Team is taking on a starring role in a national TV spot from new partner L.L.Bean, dubbed A Whole New World. The spot showcases world champion snowboarder and L.L.Bean testing and design partner Seth Wescott and includes footage of the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team training in New Zealand, running on select national cable networks and in 13 spot markets across the country. Additionally, L.L.Bean will run digital video units across national outlets such as CBS, Hulu, YouTube and Facebook, and is executing “high-impact” display ad placements across weather and news sites throughout the campaign.
Out-of-market package NBA League Pass is exploring new worlds, announcing that the league will now offer one-step access to live games via social media and an NBA Single Game option. Fans will have access to the new features during the free trial beginning tomorrow and continuing through Nov. 3. For the first time, the package will offer fans with one-step access to live games available on the service via posts from the league’s social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook.
ESPN is yanking videos from YouTube following the launch of YouTube’s ad-free subscription service, Red. The move was due to rights issues and fans will now need to head to ESPN-owned sites for its videos, according to the AP.
The WWE announced that, staring Nov. 2, WWE Network will be available in India. Fans in India can sign up online by going to WWENetwork.com and can watch WWE Network on their desktop, laptop and mobile devices. Subscribers in the country will receive their first month of service free and have access to the U.S. English language version. “India is a strategically important market for WWE and we are thrilled to make WWE Network available to our fans there,” said George Barrios, WWE Chief Strategy & Financial Officer. “The global expansion of WWE Network is a key driver in our commitment to growing the WWE brand internationally.”
Ravens/Cardinals on ESPN at 8:30p.
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THE CYNOPSIS SPORTS ENGAGEMENT SUMMIT
From the e-sports explosion to the take-no-prisoners evolution of social media and more, Cynopsis Sports will reveal the tech and trends that are keeping fans tuned in. Join us for this one-day conference on December 2nd and get the lowdown that will keep your business growing.
ON THIS DAY in 1997: The Marlins win the World Series.
In The Know:Which NFL team drafted Steve Spurrier? (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: Trivia Question: What sport is portrayed in the movie Over the Top? Answer: Arm wrestling. Kudos: Ed Jones/NY; Bruce Cohen-MEC Global/NY; Ranfi Rivera-Viacom/NY; Matt Charchan-Time Warner/NY; Christian Matthews-Washington Redskins/DC; Mike Antolini-Tiger Woods Foundation/Boston; Chris Faulds-Bell Media Digital/Toronto; G. David Brown-FOX Sports/Charlotte; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-Back Nine Productions/Dallas; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Scott Sarra-Universal Sports Network/Denver; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Steve Morrow-Eclipse TV/Mill Valley; Mike Petrocelli-Friend MTS/LA; Damon Parry-NCC Media/LA; Betsy Ockerlund-Spectrum/LA.
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