11/19/15: FOX Sports gives NASCAR coverage a tune-up; State Farm Champions Classic scores; Mars reorbits the Super Bowl


Good morning. It’s Thursday November 19, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

With NASCAR set to crown a champion this weekend in Miami, FOX Sports announced tune-up plans for the 2016 broadcast season. The company unveiled its full broadcaster lineup for next year, including a new Sprint Cup Series team that includes Mike Joy on play-by-play with analysts Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Gordon. Pit road will see reporters Jamie Little, Chris Neville, Welch and Matt Yocum. Chris Myers hosts FOX NASCAR Sunday beside Gordon and Darrell and Michael Waltrip.

The Xfinity Series will see Adam Alexander once again handling fulltime play-by-play duties alongside analyst Michael Waltrip and a rotation of Sprint Cup drivers. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will see Vince Welch take over play-by-play with analysts Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip.


ESPN’s coverage of the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday, which saw Kentucky’s win over Duke and Michigan State take down Kansas, delivered a 1.7 overnight rating for the doubleheader for the network. That marks the second-highest rating in the five-year history of the event. Between the games, the channel also saw the College Football Playoff: Top 25 earn a 1.8 in overnight numbers, ranking as the best overnight in the history of the show.

Major League Soccer is deepening its ties with FOX Sports, announcing a deal for the company to carry league matches in Africa. With the deal, MLS will be now distributed to nearly 140 countries and territories around the world. The partnership will see FOX Sports Africa showcase live MLS matches during the 2015-2018 seasons in 25 countries and territories, including at least two live MLS regular-season matches per week; the AT&T MLS All-Star Game; the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoff games, and the MLS Cup. FOX Sports Africa will also carry highlights, player features and other MLS content across its digital platforms.

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini both lost appeals to shoot down 90-day bans from FIFA. According to the AP, Platini’s lawyer stated that FIFA had “perverted its own rules,” and taken more than two weeks to notify him of a FIFA appeals committee verdict, which was dated Nov. 3. The report states that Platini and Blatter will now file further appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where appellants are able to select one of the three lawyers to judge their case.

We are under two weeks, so get your tickets to the Cynopsis Sports Engagement Summit now! Hear from the experts on how to truly engage and activate audiences in 2016 with techniques ranging from social media and video to public relations and eSports. Wrap up 2015 by networking with a who’s who of sports companies that include: MLB, the PGA Tour, ESPN, the US Olympic Committee, Yahoo, Rentrak, Major League Gaming, Twitter, Major League Soccer, NBC Sports, UFC, Whistle Sports, Sports Illustrated, MVP Index, YES Network, GMR, CSE, Neulion, Turner Sports, ESL, UEG, the Atlanta United, Thuzio, Telescope, SportRadar, Endemol Beyond, World Surf League, OneTwoSee and more! Get your tickets here.

NBA fans may have another league to check out. According to USA Today, Carl George is looking to launch The Champions League, a new league comprised of former NBA players that would make up 16 teams that would employ around 250 players overall. Each team would feature two former NBA All-stars on the roster with a Hall of Famer in the front office. Around 30 games would be played over the summer in July and August, along with 10 charity/marketing events in non-NBA markets during the non-season month.

SiriusXM announced that UFC fighter Michael Bisping, ranked #7 as a middleweight contender, will now host a new weekly show on SiriusXM’s combat sports and entertainment channel, SiriusXM Rush. Bisping will pair with comedian Luis J. Gomez to host The Countdown, which debuts today and runs Thursdays from 6-8p each week, covering “the latest news from the world of MMA and go beyond the octagon to feature the hosts’ thoughts on news, sports, pop culture and more.”



Entry Deadline: December 10, 2015
Late Submissions: December 17, 2015
Awards Event: Summer 2016 (NYC)

Who Should Enter, How to Enter, Eligibility Period, Categories, Deadlines, Sponsorship Opportunities, Contact Information and more.


Mars punched its ticket to the Super Bowl. The candy company announced that both its Snickers and Skittles brands would be featured in new spots that will air during the Feb. 7 game on CBS. In addition, the brands will also launch the company’s first joint in-store promotion in a move to "Make Super Bowl 50 Even Sweeter." After featuring the likes of Betty White and Danny Trejo in previous commercials, Snickers will once again offer up an all-new 30-second "You’re Not You When You’re Hungry" piece  that will be produced by BBDO New York. The Skittles’ spot, meanwhile, will be produced by DDB Chicago.

A crackdown on daily fantasy sports sites could come at a cost, according to a new report from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Bloomberg reports that nearly 60% of the increase in ad sales last quarter came from the daily fantasy industry, totaling $134 million of total growth of $227 million. Earlier this fall, DraftKings and FanDuel were among the Top 10 biggest spenders on TV advertising, but have since pulled back, according to ad tracker iSpot.tv.


@TheBuzzer is getting a new host for the next month, with FOX Sports announcing that soccer analyst and former U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Stuart Holden will take over hosting duties for the digital series while regular host Christen Press is away playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team. In addition to Press and Holden, Kristen Balboni, Andy Nesbitt and Nicole Dabeau, currently on maternity leave, host @TheBuzzer.
Univision is opening the OTT door with Univision Now, which will offer live soccer matches in addition to entertainment programming. Contests will include Liga MX and Major League Soccer. The direct-to-consumer Internet video service will be priced at $5.99 per month.

NBC Sports announced plans to celebrate Jeff Gordon’s final laps in NASCAR, lining up multiple platforms to showcase his impact on the sport. Content includes: a 93 Win Vine showcasing a photo from every one of Jeff Gordon’s 93 wins; a Mosaic Video of his 93 victories; #24HoursOfJG today; as well as custom graphics and images featuring quotes from Gordon on social media throughout the weekend.

Major League Football entered into an agreement with STACK Media to bring “unique content to football audiences throughout the nation while also developing sponsorship and digital product opportunities for Major League Football.” "STACK was created to be a resource for athletes who want to reach their athletic potential. Partnering with MLFB will give our viewers access to technology and developmental content such as training, dietary and recovery information from some of the best football minds in the nation,” said Nick Palazzo, STACK Co-Founder and CEO. “We could not be more excited to become partners with MLFB and leverage our established relationships with numerous corporate partners to the benefit of all parties. We intend to blend this inherent synergy into enhancing brand and sponsorship awareness for all MLFB platforms.”


Home Team Sports hired Scott Harding to serve as Digital Account Executive for its HTS Interactive initiative. Formerly of Turner, Harding will work on integrated digital sales opportunities and focus on driving digital revenue across HTS’ entire platform and portfolio of properties.


Warriors/Clippers on TNT at 10:30p.


Special Recognition

Cynopsis Sports Athlete of the Year & Media Personality of the Year Awards are presented annually to two VIPs whose work in the sports industry has transcended how sports connect with fans. The Cynopsis team congratulates UFC’s Ronda Rousey and ESPN’s Adam Schefter on an outstanding year. Join us as we formally present these Awards at the Cynopsis Sports Engagement Summit on 11/2.

Register now to join the celebration

ON THIS DAY in 2004: The Malice at the Palace as a brawl between the Pistons and Pacers overflows into the crowd.

In The Know: Who holds the Cincinnati Bengals record for career passing yards? (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: Who is the only American woman to have six Winter Olympic medals? Answer: Bonnie Blair. Kudos: Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/NY; Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Media/NY; Francine Winiker-Franntasy Public Relations/NY; Art Salisch-Hearst Television/NY; James Stuart-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Kristin Staskowski-Spectrum Reach/Birmingham; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; David Hauptman/Denver; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Peter Steckelman-The Tennis Channel/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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