10/27/14:Bellator MMA President Scott Coker makes a move; The NFL goes deep in London; NBA Replay Center ready to roll


Good morning. It’s Monday, October 27, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Scott Coker’s presence since taking over the reigns as President of Bellator MMA earlier this year has quickly left its mark on the organization. With the promotion now moving away from weekly broadcasts of its tournaments into a monthly card designed to showcase stronger talent, the company is now moving forward as it continues its climb toward global popularity. New initiatives include: a live show on Spike TV once every month on Friday nights with three or four additional shows on the network that will feature its top matchups in a super card.

Ahead of its big Nov. 15 show in San Diego, which will feature the likes of Tito Ortiz/Stephan Bonnar and Will Brooks/Michael Chandler, Cynopsis Sports spoke with Coker about his vision for the organization, the new setup and whether he would ever work with another promotion on a co-branded event.

Coker on taking the job: Spike TV and I started talking right after my non-compete expired with the UFC. We had a couple of meetings and I felt like where they wanted to go was where I wanted to go. There’s a lot of synergy between how Spike TV President Kevin Kay and I see this working. I was heading in another direction with a different media company but Kevin swayed me over.

On initial goals: To evaluate the talent, evaluate the staff and the whole operation as well as evaluate what we can do to make this promotion better. The first thing was the tournament format, which as attractive as it may seem in the beginning, can be eliminated because you aren’t going to put on the fights that the fans want to see all the time. You are stuck with the bracket system. The fighters who I wanted to see face each other ended up not fighting each other. So, although I think there is a space and time for tournaments in martial arts, I just felt like this was our time to put on big super fights.

On super fight cards: I always felt like cards should be an event. When you start doing fights every week, you are kind of watering down the product and becoming like a Friday Night Fights. I wanted to take a step back, start growing the roster and put on big, monthly shows instead of smaller weekly shows. When you think about next year, we are going to do a monthly series and we are going to do four big, tentpole events with all of our superstars. You’ll see some big differences on what Bellator has done in the past on Nov. 15 in San Diego.

On the biggest lesson learned at Strikeforce: Be careful who your partners are. When you have a partner that wants to go one way and you want to do something else, it can become difficult.

On working with another promotion: My philosophy has always been, ‘Let’s keep the door open.’ If it is something where someone wants to work with us and it makes sense, than let’s do it. One of my proudest moments was when I was at Strikeforce and we worked with a company called Pride in Japan. We had a nice relationship with them and I am very proud of that.


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The NFL will continue to beef up its presence in London, according to The London Daily Mail. The report states that the league is slating five games in the city next season, topping this year’s three. The league is expected to make an official announcement on the additional London games soon. Of course, last week, British treasury chief George Osborne stated that the British Government wants an NFL team based in London and will do whatever it can "to make this happen."

Game 3 of the World Series pitched FOX to its third prime time victory last week, posting a 7.2/13 household rating/share with 12.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen fast nationals. That marks the network’s best performance for a Friday night since January of 2013, and best Friday night on any network since February.

FOX Deportes’ Spanish-language telecast of the game added an additional average of 228,000 total viewers, the best for a World Series Game 3 telecast in the channel’s history, and spiked 42% for total viewers vs. last year’s Game 3 (161,000). Through three games, the 2014 World Series on FOX Deportes is averaging 260,000 total viewers, the highest in Spanish-language television history.
A hot matchup on Thursday Night Football on CBS and NFL Network garnered an average overnight household rating/share of 13.6/23 in the 56 metered markets for a markup of 268% from last year’s comparable game on NFL Network and over-the-air-stations within the two team markets. The game also ranked as the second-highest rated TNF game in the metered markets. Through the seven games of the CBS/NFL Network schedule, TNF is averaging an 11.4/19, up 81% compared to last year’s 6.3/11 for the games on NFL Network. This week, TNF shifts to NFL Network alone with Saints/Panthers.

Are you on the Leaderboard? Find out at the Cynopsis Sports Social Media Summit on Dec. 8. Click here to submit your entry now. Features speakers at this year’s event are set to include: Laura Froelich, Head of Sports Development & Programming at Twitter and Frank Golding, Director of Google Thinking. Join us for these opportunities and more. Click here for more information and speakers.

Ted Bishop is out as President of PGA America following some remarks on Twitter. Bishop hit the platform to call British golfer Ian Pouter a “lil girl,” which led to the board of directors opting to remove him from the post. Bishop later apologized for the comments. "We understand and respect the PGA of America’s decision regarding Ted Bishop,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem in statement about Bishop. “During Ted’s presidency, he accomplished many positive things and the PGA of America and the PGA TOUR have worked in a much more collaborative and positive way as a result of his leadership. While his remarks on social media were unfortunate and inappropriate, Ted’s apology was heartfelt and sincere. We will always appreciate Ted’s commitment to the game of golf."

Correction: Friday’s issue should have read that MSG’s new series Nothing But Knicks will debut at 6:30p.


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


Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrated more than a NASCAR win this weekend, announcing an expanded deal with Goody’s. Starting in 2015, Earnhardt will drive the No. 88 Goody’s car in one race each year in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. This marks the first time Earnhardt will drive a Goody’s-sponsored car.


The NBA is opening a new, state-of-the-art NBA Replay Center with the launch of the new season this week. According to the league, the center will enhance the performance of NBA referees by allowing them to review multiple camera angles on one screen at the same time and make sure that they are provided with the best angles to make conclusive calls when a play is reviewable. The facility is located in Secaucus and be outfitted with 20 replay stations and 94 television monitors. The NBA Replay Center will be directly connected to all 29 NBA arenas.


Redskins/Cowboys at 8p on ESPN.

ON THIS DAY in 2004: The Red Sox win the World Series for the first time since 1918.

In The Know: Who was the last pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards in the AL? (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 NFL player was known as Captain Chaos? Answer: Chris Cooley. Kudos: Noah Coslov-CineSport/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

Later — Chris
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