11/13/14: NBA nabs a piece of FanDuel; ESPN calls college basketball roster; Foster Farms gets in the bowl biz


Good morning. It’s Thursday, November 13, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The NBA is taking an equity stake in fantasy sports company FanDuel, which will serve as the one-day fantasy partner of the league. The multiyear deal will see FanDuel offer the first “Official One-Day Fantasy Basketball Game of the NBA,” that will be free to all fans on NBA.com and FanDuel.com, allowing fans in the U.S. to draft their own fantasy team and compete against others for daily NBA prizes. “Our new one-day fantasy game with FanDuel provides our fans with another way to connect with their favorite teams and players throughout the season,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum. “FanDuel has established itself as the leader in the marketplace and the new game will be a great addition to our overall fantasy offerings.”


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ESPN unveiled its roster of men’s college basketball talent for the new season, with more than 1,600 games slated across its family of channels. Assignment highlights include analyst Jay Bilas joining Dan Shulman and reporter Shannon Spake on the Saturday Primetime Presented by DIRECTV game that host’s that day’s College GameDay Driven by State Farm. Bilas and Dick Vitale will each call key ESPN weekday matchups across multiple conferences. Vitale will also work a marquee game each Saturday. On College GameDay, host Rece Davis and Bilas are joined by first-year GameDay analysts Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams, while Davis will also call a Thursday Night Showcase game involving Big Ten teams. Meanwhile, analyst Sean Farnham joins ESPN’s weekly Super Tuesday SEC telecast and will also join Joe Tessitore on the Thursday SEC telecast.

Speaking of talent, NBC Sports Group is swapping college football analysts Doug Flutie and Mike Mayock. The pair will switch broadcast positions on Saturday at 3p when Northwestern visits Notre Dame. Flutie, who has served as a sideline analyst for NBC’s first five Notre Dame games this season, now shifts moves to the broadcast booth this weekend alongside Dan Hicks. Mayock will in turn become sideline analyst for the game.

ESPN Deportes snagged Spanish-language rights to the Central American and Caribbean Games, Veracruz 2014. The event starts Nov. 14 with the Opening Ceremony at 8p and will see a total of 31 participating countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, take part. ESPN Deportes will provide daily live coverage, recaps, special reports and in-depth segments led by Eduardo “Lalo” Varela, Fernando Alvarez, Goga Ruiz Sandoval, Guillermo Celis and Pablo Viruega.

FIFA’s ethics committee chairman will release a statement Thursday about the organization’s investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar respectively. However, the Guardian writes that while individuals are expected to be called into question and that the report criticizes Qatar’s bid, there won’t be a rebidding process and the event will go on as planned.

For its final NASCAR broadcast, ESPN announced that Sunday’s Championship race in Miami will feature each of the four drivers in contention each assigned a tower camera that will only follow only them during the race, and the cars of all four will be equipped with onboard cameras. In addition, each contending team will have a robotic overhead camera in its pit stall to document pit stops. ESPN also will have a graphic below the scoring ticker across the top of the screen to show where all four are running at all times during the race. The green flag takes place at 3:15p.

WWE released its annual study on the economic impact of this year’s WrestleMania, with the 2014 even generating a record-breaking $142.2 million in economic impact for the New Orleans region this past April, according to a study conducted by the Enigma Research Corporation. Over the past seven years, WrestleMania has generated more than half a billion dollars in cumulative economic impact for the cities that have hosted the event. WrestleMania 30 also generated approximately $24.3 million in federal, state and local taxes.

FOX Sports booked its college football plans for Nov. 22, offering Big 12 and Pac-12 matchups including Baylor and Oklahoma State at 7:30p on the broadcast channel. FOX Sports 1 opens the weekend on Nov. 20 with Kansas State/West Virginia at 7p with the slate including Kansas/Oklahoma at noon on Nov. 22.

NBCSN offers a World Series of Fighting world championship tripleheader on Saturday at 9p, headlined by David Branch defending his middleweight title belt against Yushin “Thunder” Okami. The co-main event features Justin Gaethje defending his lightweight title against Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard  while Jessica “JAG” Aguilar defends her strawweight division title against Kalindra Faria. Todd Harris has microphone duties with analysts Bas Rutten and Joey Varner.


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Foster Farms is getting in the bowl business, announcing a deal with the San Francisco Bowl Game Association to become title sponsor of the annual post-season contest that will now be played at Levi’s Stadium this December. The game will henceforth be known as the Foster Farms Bowl as part of the multiyear deal and kickoff on Dec. 30 at 7p on ESPN, pitting teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten. “Nothing brings people together like chicken and football,” said Bryan Reese, Foster Farms SVP of Marketing, Sales and R&D. “As a longtime Northern California company with roots that date back more than 75 years, Foster Farms is thrilled to sponsor the first college bowl game to be hosted at the state-of-the-art Levi’s® Stadium.
FOX Sports is taking its soccer play local. The company announced a new partnership with the American Youth Soccer Organization that makes FOX Sports the premier sponsor of AYSO for the next five years. In addition, FOX will serve as presenting partner of the organization’s 50th anniversary campaign and deliver initiatives across its family of channels. 


Epix will make its Road to the Winter Classic programming available to fans on multiple platforms, according to Multichannel. The four-part NHL series debuts on Dec. 16 on the network and will also be offered to non-authenticated subscribers on Epix.com, NHL.com and their apps, as well as on their Facebook pages as well as on the websites for the clubs and their respective apps.


Bills/Dolphins on NFL Network at 8p.

ON THIS DAY in 1992: Riddick Bowe tops Evander Holyfield in 12 for the heavyweight boxing title.

In The Know: The 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta featured a computer-generated mascot. What was its name? (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: WWE stalwart Michael Hickenbottom wrestled under what moniker? Answer: "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels. Kudos: Jorge Briones-Warner Bros./NY; Ed Jones/NY; Zach Linder-WWE/NY; Rana Cocklin-CBS Sports Network/NY; J. Barry McMullin-WWE/Stamford; Kelty Carpenter-FOX Sports/Ft Lauderdale; Chris Faulds-Bell Media Digital/Toronto; Nick Gandy-Florida Sports Foundation/Tallahassee; Joe Lyons-Back Nine Productions, Inc./Dallas; Jacob Ullman-FOX Sports/LA; Adam Fried-FOX Networks Group/LA; Greg Dudsic/Venice; Dan Glenn-Warner Horizon/LA.

Later — Chris
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