11/20/14: Discovery enters the wrestling ring; NCAA gets seedy; Rugby hits the million mark



CYNOPSISSPORTS
11.20.14

Good morning. It’s Thursday, November 20, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Wrestling promotion TNA Impact Wrestling has landed a new home, announcing a new deal with Discovery Communications to bring the league to Destination America. The partnership includes the US premieres of additional series from the organization as well as specials and hands Discovery Communications with international broadcasting rights in select regions, to be announced at a later date. The company will see programming launch in January.

"We are very excited about Destination America being the new network for Impact Wrestling and the partnership with Discovery Communications both domestically and across the globe.  Their commitment to promote and grow our brand in innovative and compelling ways was instrumental in knowing we had found the right home," said TNA President Dixie Carter. "Together we will create an experience that takes our fans on a new journey that will push the envelope of technology, including where we take our cameras, going deeper into our superstars’ lives and showing the reality of what it takes to create a weekly professional wrestling show, all while showcasing the very best male and female athletes in the world."
 


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ON THE AIR

With ESPN’s series about the College Football Playoff rankings paying dividends, (led by Birmingham’s 4.8 rating this week), it would appear that men’s basketball is now up for a similar program. USA Today writes that the Division I men’s basketball committee is mulling offering weekly seed updates in a measure to offer "transparency" to the process. However, Dan Gavitt, the NCAA VP of Men’s Basketball Championships stated that he hasn’t talked to the tournament’s television partners, CBS/Turner, and didn’t suggest a specific time frame for the release, which could spotlight the top seeds or top 16 overall.

USA Rugby announced that the match between the USA Eagles and New Zealand All Blacks at Soldier Field on Nov. 1 saw more than one million viewers during three key, half-hour periods with an average of 927,000 viewers tuning in to the two-and-a-half-hour broadcast on NBC. "The figures tell a solid story," USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer Nigel Melville said. "The broadcast was excellent, millions of people saw rugby played at the highest level across America, and, as a result, the game will continue to grow faster than any other team sport in the U.S.A."

ESPN detailed plans for the Orlando Kickoff game, which will debut on Labor Day, 2016. The matchup will initially see Florida State take on Ole Miss in the Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium and carried nationally on Sept. 5. "We’re excited to bring regular season neutral-site college football games back to the Citrus Bowl and establish Orlando as a major kickoff destination for the future," said Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan. "Florida State and Ole Miss will undoubtedly be a game worthy of national attention and we can’t wait to welcome fans from Tallahassee and Oxford to Central Florida to start the 2016 season."

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.

FOX Sports 1 offers coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Awards Ceremony from the Trump National Doral Miami on Sunday at 7p. Two weeks later, the network carries the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony from Wynn Las Vegas on Dec. 5 at 9p. The joint NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series celebration will be hosted by NASCAR on FOX’s Adam Alexander and Krista Voda and feature musical performances by Gavin DeGraw and Jana Kramer. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony will see Danielle Trotta hosts the network’s coverage of the Awards Ceremony, while NASCAR on FOX’s Mike Joy and Voda handle hosting duties inside the ballroom for the event.

The upcoming EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Winter Classic and EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Stadium Series have locked in their dates on the channel. The two-part original series spotlighting the run up to the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will make its US TV bow on Dec. 16 at 10p on the network and offer up four weekly episodes following the Blackhawks and the Capitals. Meanwhile, EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Stadium Series premieres on Feb. 3 at 10p on the network with four eps as well.

Golf Channel and NBC will see Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge starting Dec. 4. The event will see the scheduled return to tournament competition of former World No. 1 Tiger Woods after a layoff while recovering from back surgery earlier this year. Golf Channel handles live coverage solo on Dec. 4-5, followed by weekend coverage on both Golf Channel and NBC on Dec. 6-7. Terry Gannon and Frank Nobilo will call the action for Golf Channel’s live tournament coverage while Dan Hicks and Roger Maltbie will anchor NBC’s weekend shift.

ESPN analyst and veteran NBA executive Tom Penn inked a multi-year extension to stay with ESPN. Penn regularly contributes front office and basketball operations insight to SportsCenter, NBA Coast to Coast, NBA Tonight and additional studio programming. He also provides analysis during ESPN’s exclusive coverage of the NBA Draft.


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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

The San Jose Earthquakes locked in a deal with Santa Clara-based technology company Avaya for naming rights to the MLS club’s new stadium, which will debut for the 2015 season and be known as Avaya Stadium. The multi-year deal includes installation of Avaya’s technology throughout the venue, making the stadium "one of the most advanced in professional sports" and become the first "cloud-enabled" venue in MLS.
 

DIGITAL & TECHNOLOGY

NCAA.com and its NCAASports app, both managed by Turner Sports, are slated to offer exclusive live video streaming coverage of the 2014 NCAA fall championships, with 16 championships on deck to be streamed on the site. Sports will include Division I, II and III field hockey; Division I, II and III cross country; Division II and III men’s and women’s soccer, Division II and III women’s volleyball; and National Collegiate men’s water polo. Coverage begins Friday at 12:30p with the Division III Women’s Volleyball Quarterfinals. 

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and WWE are officially entering a multi-year partnership for home video distribution of WWE programming that will start on Jan. 1 and include US distribution rights for physical and digital formats. The deal will include distribution rights to release new documentaries, match compilations and pay-per-view events, including WrestleMania and SummerSlam, as well as a robust catalog of collectible titles throughout the US. 

AOL’s Search for the Next Great Sportscaster found its winner, naming Nick Creegan, a multimedia producer for FOX Sports, as the victor. He will now get to host his own sports show on AOL. The format and start date of Creegan’s show will be determined in conjunction with AOL in the near future.

THE MAIN EVENT

Clippers/Heat on TNT at 8p.



ON THIS DAY in 1982: The band blocks the field as Cal upsets Stanford.

IN THE KNOW: Who is the only defensive tackle to be named Super Bowl MVP?  (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 Yesterday’s Question: Which NBA player was known as Big Country? Answer: Bryant Reeves. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports Network/NY; Tina Ofori-Discovery Communications/NY; Mike Donato-ABC/NY; Greg Conner-Tennis Channel/NY; Jon Clateman-Frozen Ropes/Syosset; Tim McGhee-MSP Sports/Summit; Rich Dubroff-CSNBaltimore.com/Baltimore; Jim DeLash-GlaxoSmithKline/Philadelphia; Gretchen Brady-KDAF/Dallas; Robert Teinowtiz-Live Action Media/Chicago; Jeremy Bowman-ESPN/Chicago; Karl Hoium-Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks/Fargo; Maureen Beston-Men’s Wearhouse Media/Vancouver; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco; Joe Soehn-Creative Charge/Chula Vista

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine
11.20.14

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