12/05/14: Universal Sports Goes behind the Olympic Scene, MLB shakes up its leadership batting order, Barclays forms a board


Good morning. It’s Friday, December 5, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Major League Baseball Chief Operating Officer and Commissioner-Elect Rob Manfred announced a new organizational structure of MLB’s Central Offices and related entities. The changes, which are effective immediately, are being made in anticipation of Manfred’s becoming the 10th Commissioner in the game’s history on January 25, 2015. Bob Bowman, President and CEO of MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) since its founding in 2000, will serve as MLB’s President, Business & Media. Pat Courtney, MLB’s Senior Vice President for Public Relations, will be Chief Communications Officer. Dan Halem, Executive Vice President for Labor Relations, will be MLB’s Chief Legal Officer. Jonathan Mariner, currently Executive Vice President, Finance & Chief Financial Officer, will become MLB’s Chief Investment Officer. Tony Petitti, President  & CEO of MLB Network since its 2008 inception and its 2009 launch, will fill the role of MLB’s COO. Bob Starkey, of Starkey Sports Consulting, will become MLB’s Chief Financial Officer & Senior Advisor. Joe Torre, Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations since 2011, will be MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer. 


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Universal Sports Network and Lagardere Unlimited announced plans for Beyond the Medals  The Business of Sport, an original sports program that provides viewers with an inside look at the world of Olympic sports. Hosted by Rick Horrow, the 18-episode one-hour magazine show will air on the third Wednesday of each month exclusively on Universal Sports Network beginning January 21, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The series began production this week in Colorado Springs, Co. for the premiere episode, which will feature an interview with U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun and delve into the Olympic host city bid process.

ESPN’s nearly 15 consecutive hours of college football studio and game content on Saturday, Nov. 29  beginning at 9 a.m. ET with College GameDay Built by The Home Depot and concluding with its most-viewed regular-season game on record (since 1990) for Alabama’s victory over Auburn – averaged 6,266,000 viewers and a 3.6 HH US rating, helping to make it the network’s most-viewed Saturday ever during the regular-season (August to December).

The Federation Equestre Internationale has renewed its long-standing broadcast partnerships with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and IMG through the end of 2022 in agreements that will generate markedly increased coverage of the world’s most prestigious equestrian events.

The IOC announced that China state broadcaster CCTV secured the Chinese broadcast rights to four Olympics through 2024.


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Learfield Sports has acquired Strategic Marketing Affiliates, expanding its licensing, merchandising and brand marketing services within its portfolio of college businesses. Indianapolis-based SMA has 20 employees, and Learfield will be combining SMA with its licensing division, Licensed Resource Group.

The Barclays Center is forming the Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment Advisory Board, a group of nearly 30 sports, entertainment, and media industry execs, plus entertainment personalities. The group will contribute to the programming strategy and direction for Barclays Center, the new Nassau Coliseum and other future venues.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is collaborating with Pfizer. The agreement, which covers all new medicines being developed by Pfizer, will allow the company to share information on pipeline products with a potential for athletic performance misuse, while permitting WADA to pass on intelligence about substances that are being abused by athletes.


The ACC Digital Network will provide fans with the exclusive opportunity to tune in live as bowl selections are revealed beginning at 5:30 pm ET on Sunday, December 7th on theACC.com. 

CBS Sports will stream select games from its 2014-2015 college basketball schedule, complementing the game broadcasts, on CBSSports.com and on the CBS Sports mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android beginning with Wisconsin at Marquette on Saturday, Dec. 6.


NBC Sports Group added Kyle Petty to its race day broadcast team on NBC and NBCSN.  Petty will work alongside host Krista Voda as an analyst during pre- and post-race shows surrounding Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series race coverage, which launches this July.

Fox Sports announced that U.S. women’s national soccer team F Alex Morgan will serve as a guest studio analyst for FS1’s coverage of the official draw for the ’15 FIFA Women’s World Cup on December 6.

Olegario Vazquez Rana has been re-elected President of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF).

The Trail Blazers named former player Terry Porter a team ambassador.


The MAC Football Championship will be on ESPN2 at 7:00 pm from Ford Field in Detroit, when Bowling Green meets Northern Illinois.

ON THIS DAY in 1996 – Portland’s Jermaine O’Neal, who celebrated his 18th birthday on October 13, became the youngest player ever to participate in an NBA game.

In The Know: With both the Heisman Trophy announcement and the Army-Navy game on the horizon next weekend, how many players from the two service academies have won the famed award in total? (Email trivia@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: Which NFL team has lost the most times on Monday Night Football? Answer: The Miami Dolphins Kudos: David Westberg, SAG AFTRA, Kevin Wicker, Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, Tom Moore, Kalt Productions, David Stern, BARD Entertainment, Brian Quinn, Comcast Spotlight, and Michael Ritz, BucStar Consulting.

Later — Chris
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