11/24/14: NFL Network goes deep on unscripted; Andrea Kremer to be inducted into Cynopsis Sports Hall of Fame; CLC targets Louisville


Good morning. It’s Monday, November 24, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Amid the new season of games on NFL Network, the channel has launched a dramatic shift in its programming plays. Opening the door to a slate of unscripted reality series that include Finding Giants and UNDRAFTED (which has been drawing over a million viewers in recent weeks), the network is looking to shift to a deeper connection with its audiences.

Cynopsis Sports spoke with Ron Semiao, Vice President of Programming for NFL Network who joined following a long run as a programming executive at ESPN, about the show shift and the future of the network.

Semiao on the decision to move to NFL Network: Overall, the opportunity to once again work with former ESPN colleagues Mark Quenzel and Steve Bornstein, two people I admire and respect very much. In particular, the NFL is a leader in producing the best sports entertainment in the world with a goal of reaching the broadest possible audience. How cool is that?

On the programming mantra: We developed the following theme to keep in mind as we decide what to program and when to program it: The Overall Controlling Theme is presenting the NFL as: An association of enduring and cooperating individuals who stay connected through a community of interests, a clearly marked identity and a recognized purpose  for the good of pro football.
The unscripted reality genre has proven to be a successful one in the world of sports and specifically the NFL. Hard Knocks is probably the best example. Outside of the games, fans want to have the opportunity to explore the lives of athletes both on and off the field and unscripted reality allows that vantage point. As the only network devoted to the NFL 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we are the ideal home for reality series such as UNDRAFTED that tell the stories of these great athletes.
On the success of Finding Giants and UNDRAFTED: We’ve had some really nice success with both series. The past few episodes of UNDRAFTED have attracted an audience of over a million viewers so we’re starting to see fans become aware of these programs and slowly build a loyal audience.
On NFL Now: With the launch of our new digital video network this season, NFL Now, we now have the ability house select NFL Media shows and clips in a digital environment where fans can watch them when, where, and how they want. Everyone is aware of the changing consumer habits when it comes to media consumption so it is really important that we offer our fans as many options as possible to access our content. Both Finding Giants and UNDRAFTED are available through NFL Now and this type of delivery is an important part of our programming strategy going forward.
On the road ahead: We are looking to expand our authentic unscripted content and we have a significant content initiative surrounding the upcoming Super Bowl 50 Celebration.


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Cynopsis Sports is proud to announce that Andrea Kremer will become the first-ever inductee into its Hall of Fame, with the ceremony taking place at Yale Club in New York on Dec. 8. The event will honor Kremer’s roles both in front of and behind the camera – from NFL Films and ESPN to NBC and NFL Network  and her work telling groundbreaking stories that transformed the media’s approach to sports and how the business serviced its audiences. The multi-award winning Kremer, of course, currently serves as: Chief Correspondent at NFL Network; Correspondent at HBO Sports; and Co-Host of CBS Sports Network’s We Need to Talk. Join us for this special ceremony, by clicking here.

Derek Sprague was officially named the 39th President of PGA America, after serving as Interim President since October. Sprague has held leadership roles at both the National and Section PGA levels since 1998 and previously served as PGA Secretary from 2010-12, and as Vice President from 2012 until this year. Succeeding Sprague as Vice President is Paul Levy who served the past two years as Secretary while Suzy Whaley was elected Secretary. Sprague, Levy and Whaley will each serve two-year terms.

ABC notched the top two college football games this week, according to overnight ratings from Nielsen. The 3:30p window featuring Boston College/Florida State and Wisconsin/Iowa scored a 3.6 for the network while the USC/UCLA game delivered a 3.3 in the 8p slot.
FOX Sports 1 carries the Official Draw of FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 on Dec. 6 at noon, which will determine the Group Stage configuration of the global tournament. This marks the first time since 1999 that the Official Draw of FIFA Women’s World Cup is being televised in English in the United States. Rob Stone anchors and Kate Abdo hosts the programming. Expanded coverage, with additional post-draw analysis, continues for thirty minutes more on FOX Sports 2 and FOX Sports GO.

This week’s NBA TV Fan Night presented by Sprint will see Warriors/Heat tomorrow at 7:30p on the network, based on fan voting via NBA.com, the NBA.com mobile web, NBA Game Time App, and via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Host Ernie Johnson and analysts Chris Webber and Greg Anthony will offer analysis during theAutoTrader.com Pregame Show at 7p.

The UFC announced plans for its UFC on FOX 15 telecast in April. The promotion will return to Newark for the card, set for April 18 at Prudential Center. The program will mark the first over-the-air broadcast from the venue, after multiple events on PPV.

ICYMI, the Jets/Bills game set to be played on Sunday will now take place tonight at p from Detroit. The game will be regionally broadcast airing on CBS in: New York (WCBS), Buffalo (WIVB), Syracuse (WTVH), Rochester (WROC),Albany (WRGB), Elmira (EENY), Binghamton (WBNG), Watertown (WWNY) and Erie (WSEE).  CBS Sports’ Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots call the action.

FOX Sports is bringing a blast from the past to its Thanksgiving Day lineup, slating a rebroadcast of 1962 U.S. Open: Jack’s First Major at 3p on the broadcast network. The 60-minute film was produced in 2012 in collaboration with the USGA Museum and Ross Greenburg Productions and showcases Jack Nicklaus’ 1962 U.S. Open Championship victory over Arnold Palmer at Oakmont Country Club.

Longtime communications executive Denny Darnell died Saturday. Darnell is credited as an instrumental factor in the growth of NASCAR over its history. “NASCAR offers its sincere condolences to the friends and family of Denny Darnell,” said Brett Jewkes, NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer. “For decades working with Bristol Motor Speedway, RJ Reynolds, NEXTEL and Dodge, Denny was a familiar and friendly face in media centers and NASCAR garages throughout the country. He approached his job seriously and professionally, but few could bring laughter like Denny. He was a public relations institution, and will be greatly missed."


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For questions or comments please contact Trish Pihonak.


CLC, the licensing affiliate of IMG College, locked in a 10-year extension of its partnership with University of Louisville and will continue to manage the school’s trademark licensing program. Since partnering with the school, Louisville’s licensing program has seen annual royalty increases the past five years and a 355% increase in royalty-generated revenue over the past 10 years.
Coca-Cola is having doubts about FIFA, according to FOXSports.com, and has expressed disappointment over the controversies surrounding Michael Garcia’s World Cup bidding report. Brand executives stated that there were concerned over "conflicting perspectives" of the report into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 finals. A Coca-Cola spokesman, quoted in The Sunday Times, said: "The current conflicting perspectives regarding the investigation are disappointing. Our expectation is that this will be resolved quickly in a transparent and efficient manner."

On Saturday, hotel chain Super 8 took an aggressive approach to marketing, sponsoring the world record for largest pillow fight that took place between the first and second quarters of South Dakota State University’s rivalry game against University of South Dakota. 4,501 students took part in the record-breaking event to mark Super 8 hotel’s 40th anniversary.


Ravens/Saints on ESPN at 8:30p.

ON THIS DAY in 1960: Wilt Chamberlain grabs 55 rebounds for the Philadelphia Warriors to set an NBA record.

In The Know: Continuing the Thanksgiving theme, which team has lost the most T-Day NFL games? (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: Three NFL teams have a perfect record on Thanksgiving Day games. Name one. Answer: Saints, Texans, Ravens. Kudos: Lewis Blaustein-Lewis Brand Solutions, Inc./NY; Michael Strauss-COXREPS/NY; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica.

Later — Chris
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