10/28/14: World Series/SNF duke it out; MLS formalizes its future; NBA, BBVA make a move


Good morning. It’s Tuesday, October 28, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Game 5 of the World Series on FOX handed the channel with a 7.3/12 household rating/share, according to Nielsen fast nationals, with 12.6 million viewers tuning in. That is up 16% in rating and 16% in in audience versus Game 4 despite tough competition from the NFL (see below). The first five games of the World Series averaged a 3.1 in Adults 18-49 and has increased FOX’s season-to-date average in the demo by 15%. Adding on FOX Deportes numbers, Game 5 drew 12.8 million viewers, second only to Game 2 in this World Series. On the local front, Kansas City again led all markets, posting a 48.0/64, followed by San Francisco which recorded its highest rating this MLB postseason (34.1/58).

Meanwhile, if the Royals are able to force a Game 7, the World Series on FOX Pregame Show presented by Chevrolet will expand to a 60-minute special edition on Wednesday at 7p. Tonight’s game will see FOX Sports 1 offer a special 90-minute edition of America’s Pregame at 6p.


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Around the dial, NBC Sports reports that the Packers/Saints SNF matchup saw overnight ratings of 11.4/18 in households, down from the previous week versus World Series competition. Top markets included New Orleans 50.2/65; Milwaukee 45.0/61; Minneapolis 17.4/26; Memphis 15.9/21 and Denver 15.8/25.

Major League Soccer detailed playoff plans as well as a new strategy for the LA market. The league stated that, effective immediately, Chivas USA will cease operations and the organization stated that on Thursday, it will announce a new MLS Los Angeles club and ownership group set to begin play in 2017. 20 clubs will play in the 2015 season with the addition of Orlando City SC and New York City FC in 2015 that will shift the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City will move to the Western Conference, creating two 10-team conferences. Playoffs will begin Thursday at 8p on ESPN2 with Sporting Kansas City/New York Red Bulls and wrap up Dec. 7 with the MLS Cup at 3p on ESPN.

CBS Sports made its game selections for the SEC on CBS doubleheader on Nov. 8. The first game of the doubleheader at 3:30p will showcase Texas A&M/Auburn while the 8p game features Alabama/LSU.

ESPN2 is changing up Numbers Never Lie, announcing that the series will now be known as His & Hers with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill starting Nov. 3. The 60-minute studio show will continue to air at its normal time on weekdays at noon on ESPN2, live from Bristol. The company states that the name change was inspired by the success of Smith and Hill’s His & Hers podcast, which was launched in 2012.

NBC Sports Group announced plans for the Formula One United States Grand Prix from Austin from Oct. 31-Nov. 2. Coverage will include practice, qualifying and wrap up with NBC’s live presentation of the race on Sunday at 3p. For the first time ever, NBC Sports Group will present live qualifying on NBC on Saturday, as well as complete coverage of all three practice sessions across NBC and NBCSN. Talent will include play-by-play commentator Leigh Diffey, who will be joined by David Hobbs, Steve Matchett, Will Buxton and Kelli Stavast.

Speaking of racing, former NASCAR Sprint Cup race winner Ricky Craven will remain with ESPN, announcing a new contract to serve as a NASCAR analyst for SportsCenter and other ESPN news platforms.

Submit your entries now for the Leaderboard, with 2014 winners set to be announced at the Cynopsis Sports Social Media Summit on Dec. 8. Click here to submit your entry now. Meanwhile, we are thrilled to welcome another great name to the roster with Major League Gaming President and Co-Founder Mike Sepso set as a keynote speaker at this year’s event where he will address the explosive growth of eSports and its impact on the industry. Register at http://www.sportssocialmediasummit.com.

SiriusXM booked its NBA plans, with the season tipping off tonight. Programming will include live play-by-play of every game from Opening Night through the NBA Finals, plus daily in-depth talk and analysis on SiriusXM NBA Radio. The action starts tonight with a tripleheader featuring the Spurs hosting the Mavericks at 8p. New to the roster of analysts this season will be former All-Star forward Antonio Davis, former Kings/Suns/Sonics guard-forward Eddie Johnson and veteran broadcaster Kevin Harlan.

AXS TV revealed its 2014 plans for the Battle 4 Atlantis Men’s College Basketball Tournament from the Bahamas over Thanksgiving week from Nov. 26 to Nov. 28. Coverage begins with Wisconsin/Alabama at 7p. AXS TV will then broadcast the two evening session games on Thanksgiving Day, followed by two games on Nov. 28. ESPN will televise the afternoon session games all three days of the tournament.


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The NBA locked in a deal with BBVA to extend their marketing partnership, and cementing the global financial services group’s role as Official Bank of the NBA, the WNBA and the NBA Development League. The new partnership will see BBVA debut new NBA-themed advertising with its global ambassadors, Kevin Durant and James Harden. BBVA’s U.S. banking franchise, BBVA Compass, remains the Official Bank of the NBA in the U.S. and will maintain its role as title partner for the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.

Speaking of the NBA, the league is partnering with New York Road Runners for the first-ever marathon relay. The NBA All-Star Relay at the TCS New York City Marathon will take place on Nov. 2 during the 44th running of the race. The relay will see NBA and WNBA personalities teaming up with students from NYRR’s youth running programs with twenty-four pairs of runners participating in the 26.2-mile tour of New York City’s five boroughs. Commissioner Silver will run the relay’s first leg, up and over the bridge into Brooklyn, and NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo will serve as the team’s anchor when the relay comes to a close at the iconic Central Park finish line.

The Fiesta and Cotton Bowls have found new naming-rights sponsors. ESPN reports that Vizio and Goodyear have signed on to the postseason contests, which will now be known as the Vizio Fiesta Bowl and the Goodyear Cotton Bowl. Vizio replaces Tostitos while Goodyear swaps in for AT&T. 

Microsoft has its latest project, signing on for a multi-year partnership with the Special Olympics that will see the company creating a long term strategy for technology, provide software and hardware, and support Special Olympics 2015 World Summer Games in Los Angeles as well as Special Olympics 2017 World Winter Games in Austria. In addition, for the first time, the Special Olympics Games Management System (GMS) a desktop-based system built in the 1990s  will be upgraded with the latest Microsoft technology to report on the health, fitness, sports participation and personal bests of Special Olympics athletes in real time across computers, tablets, and mobile devices all over the world.

The New York Knickerbockers and ZTE USA today announced a comprehensive multiyear marketing partnership that makes the handset manufacturer the official smartphone of the Knicks starting this season. The deal will see integration across the Knicks’ promotional and marketing platforms, including an extensive presence in-arena during Knicks home games with courtside LED signage.  They will also be featured on NYKnicks.com and will use the team’s website to conduct special sweepstakes for fans.


Digital sports content producer and distributor CineSport announced another new partnership, teaming with Anthem Media Group. The deal will see CineSport curating, producing and distributing Anthem Media’s content to its network of news and information sites and collaborate in the development of Anthem’s SportsGrid.com into a video-centric sports portal.


The MLB season could wrap up tonight on FOX with World Series Game 5 at the same time the NBA season gets underway with Mavericks/Spurs on TNT at 8p.

ON THIS DAY in 1995: The Braves best the Indians in six games to win the World Series.

In The Know: Mean Joe Greene gave up his jersey in a commercial for what brand? (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: Who was the last pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards in the AL? Answer: Pedro Martinez. Kudos: Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA; Larry Hutchings/Nipomo; Neal Stevens-Stevens & Associates/Beverly Hills.

Later — Chris
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