11/18/14: The NCAA tournament takes root through 2018; The UFC stakes claim of 2015; Microsoft, Real Madrid partner up


Good morning. It’s Tuesday, November 18, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

More news on the NCAA front, as the organization fleshed out its men’s basketball tournament plans over the next few years. The University of Dayton will continue to be the beneficiary of the First Four games through 2018, extending its tradition for the games since the NCAA altered the format in 2011. Meanwhile, the next two rounds of games will revert to being known as the first- and second-rounds respectively.

The committee also unveiled preliminary round hosts for the 2016-18 championships. The 2016 tournament offers two brand new hosts as Brooklyn and Des Moines join the fray along with Providence, St. Louis, Raleigh, Oklahoma City, Denver and Spokane as first- and second-round sites. The East Regional will be played in Philadelphia, the Midwest Regional will take place in Chicago, the South Regional in Louisville and the West Regional in Anaheim. Houston will host the 2016 Final Four. 2017 will see Salt Lake City as a first- and second-round site for the 2017 championship, joining Buffalo, Greensboro, Milwaukee, Orlando, Tulsa, Sacramento and Indianapolis, Kansas City hosts the Midwest Regional, San Jose the West, Memphis the South and Madison Square Garden the East. Charlotte will host first- and second-round games of the 2018 championship with Pittsburgh, Detroit, Nashville, Dallas, Boise, San Diego and Wichita. The committee opted for Boston as the East Regional host, while Omaha was selected to host the Midwest Regional, Los Angeles was selected to host in the West and Atlanta was chosen in the South.


The UFC opened the books on its 2015 plans, slating 45 events around the world. The slate begins on Jan. 3 with UFC 182: Jones vs. Cormier and runs through December 19. At the public unveiling, which marked the first time in company history that the entire schedule for a calendar year was revealed to the public in a single instance, Dana White revealed that the events will take place in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Brazil, Europe, Australia and Asia with half of the events stateside including six in Las Vegas. 13 events will be available here on PPV, with four cards airing on FOX and 18 on FOX Sports 1.

CBS Sports’ all-female weekly hour-long sports show We Need to Talk is hitting the broadcast channel with the company announcing that the series will offer a year-end special on Dec. 27 at 1p on CBS. “The launch of We Need to Talk was a very proud moment for CBS Sports,” said David Berson, President, CBS Sports. “We could not be more pleased with the quality of the show and the hard work of all the women in front of and behind the camera. The response to the show has been extremely positive and we are excited to showcase the year-end special of We Need to Talk to a broader audience.”

A Patriots victory over the Colts on SNF handed NBC with a 13.6/21 in the Nielsen overnights. Top markets included Boston at a 40.2/57; Indianapolis 37.1/54; Providence 32.0/44; Las Vegas 19.2/29; and San Diego 17.1/30

Speaking of football, the NFL on CBS’ Week 11 coverage saw its singleheader deliver an average household rating/share of 11.7/22. That ranks as the network’s highest-rated singleheader of the season, up 13% over last year. Coverage was highlighted by Denver/St. Louis, Cincinnati/New Orleans, Minnesota/Chicago, Houston/Cleveland and Oakland/San Diego.

New sessions added to the Cynopsis Sports Social Media Summit on Dec. 8! Don’t miss keynotes from Facebook’s Dan Reed and Bleacher Report’s Dorth Raphaely as well as a special Q&A with Google’s Frank Golding from former IMG Sports and Entertainment President George Pyne. This is shaping up to be a terrific event so make sure to register at sportssocialmediasummit.com.

Pac-12 Networks are tapping the services of former Arizona State wrestler Anthony Robles, who will make his broadcasting debut this season as an analyst throughout the channels’ slate of 11 televised wrestling matchups. His first appearance will take place on Nov. 24 at 7p, when his alma mater Sun Devils visit Oregon State.

The new Root Sports Southwest RSN is up and running, replacing Comcast SportsNet Houston. Managed by DirecTV and AT&T, the network is now available in more than 4 million Houston-area homes.



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Microsoft is turning to the world’s most valuable soccer team for its next partnership, according to Forbes, and will announce a four-year business, technology & marketing partnership with Real Madrid. The deal is expected to include “exclusive digital content and virtual experiences delivered to fans through a new digital platform, and business solutions to increase efficiency and performance of the staff.”


Richard “Digger” Phelps has a new gig and is joining Campus Insiders as a college basketball analyst for the 2014-15 season, offering regular analysis and conducting select interviews with coaches. He will also be part of Campus Insiders’ conference tournament, Selection Sunday and NCAA Tournament coverage, and will be on-site for the network at the NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis.

LiveU is teaming with the New York Jets to provide the team’s live video technology solution. LiveU’s LU500 video transmission backpack allows the Jets’ digital media team to transmit live video from any location directly to the team’s website, mobile app and post-production facility. 

AOL today announced an open audition to find the next great sportscaster to host its new sports show with #AOLSportsSearch now underway. AOL is asking prospective hosts to submit auditions via social media channels Twitter, Instagram and Vine using the hashtag. All submissions will be evaluated by the AOL sports production team and AOL users.

The Washington Post’s Mike Wise is leaving the paper to help ESPN launch Jason Whitlock’s new site focused on the intersection of sports, culture and race, according to the paper.


Westwood One upped Julie Boruchov to Vice-President, Sports Sales and Marketing, East Coast, in its network sales division.  She will now work more closely with Westwood One’s sports partners and agency clients to help drive revenue and maximize brand initiatives and activations. 


Michigan State/Duke on ESPN at 7p.

ON THIS DAY in 1969: Sandy Koufax retires.

In The Know:Which NCAA program features three mules as its mascots?
(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.)

Yesterday’s Question: Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon set a new record for rushing yards in a game over the weekend, breaking the record of what famed athlete? Answer: LaDainian Tomlinson. Kudos: Hector Calix-MEC/NY; John O’Neill-InStadium/NY; Kyle Helm-CBS Sports Network/NY; Margaret LaMura-Dara-The CW Network/NY; Howie Schwab-Tandem Enterprises/West Hartford; Jonathan Norman-Bespoke Sports & Entertainment/Charlotte; Brad Vonick-MEC Global/Atlanta; Robert Edgan-IAB Certified-Digital Media Sales/Beachwood; Andy Pittman-Texas A&M University/College Station; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Lucie Prann-The Richards Group/Dallas; Steve Hebel-Continental Television Sales/Chicago; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Mindi Sue-black & blue star/LA; Robb Rothfarb-AdMore/Temecula; Don Surath-KPIX-TV  KBCW-TV/San Francisco; John Baghdassarian-Olympusat/LA

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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