12/19/14: New York FC says YES; UFC packs a wallop for FOX ; NHL seeks neutrality


Good morning. It’s Friday, December 19, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Newborn MLS franchise New York City Football Club inked a multi-year deal with the YES Network to make the channel the Club’s exclusive local television home. New York City FC is set to begin its inaugural season in March 2015 at Yankee Stadium. The network will televise all New York City FC home and away regular season matches, presented by Etihad Airways and sponsored by New York Presbyterian Hospital and Tri-State Ford Dealers throughout New York State and Connecticut; north and central New Jersey; and northeastern Pennsylvania. In addition, all New York City FC matches televised by YES will be streamed live free via the FOX Sports GO app.


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UFC Fight Night on FOX was a hit for the channel on Saturday, as the Dos Santos/Miocic main event handed the channel with first place finishes in primetime across several key demos, including Men 18-34, Adults 18-34 and Men 18-49. Overall, the broadcast averaged a 1.6/3 with 2.8 million viewers for the night. Meanwhile, prelims on FOX Sports 1 at 5p that evening delivered a .58 rating with 654,000 viewers, up 7% from last December’s UFC on FOX Prelims.

NBCSN announced that the network is on pace for its best year ever in total day viewership, according to live plus same day data released by Nielsen. The channel is averaging 145,000 viewers through the first 50 weeks of the year and will finish 2014 with as “the fastest growing sports cable network” in the category, thanks the Sochi Olympics, the NHL regular season and Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Premier League. NBCSN has averaged 145,000 Total Day viewers to-date in 2014 with Total Day viewership growth of 54%. Excluding the Winter Olympics, NBCSN has averaged 116,000 viewers to-date, for a markup of 23% from 2013.

Meanwhile, the FIFA Club Champions semifinal on FOX Deportes pitting Cruz Azul and Real Madrid drew 423,000 total viewers and 279,000 P18-49 on Tuesday. That marks the highest audience delivery for a FIFA Club semifinal in Spanish television history.

ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards has a new home. The company announced a move to the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience in downtown Atlanta as part of a new multi-year agreement between ESPN and the Hall of Fame. The program will run live on ESPN on December 10, 2015, featuring the presentation of nine honors in college football and pay tribute to the remarkable successes of each year’s standout student-athletes both on and off the field. 

Yahoo! Sports Radio bolstered its lineup for 2015, with new talent set to run in the New Year. New faces are set to include Sports Talk host Anthony Pepe from 10a-noon starting Jan. 5, while Matt Perrault handles microphone duties Saturdays and Sundays 2-6p starting on the 3rd. Launching January 4 and airing Sundays 6-8p will be morning anchor and Sports Talk host Tim Murray who will deliver professional and college football talk, with a college hoops focus. Finally, The Big Lead founder and publisher Jason McIntyre offers a roundup of the week’s sports headlines and entertainment Sundays from 11a-2p beginning Jan. 11.

ESPN unveiled plans to carry the five-part documentary style series Snoop & Son: A Dad’s Dream starting Jan. 14. The series follows “Snoop Dogg’s journey with his football star son Cordell Broadus” with the series running Wednesday’s at 7p on ESPN. “I’ve been known for my work in many industries, but what I am most proud of is my beautiful family. My son is an extremely talented athlete and my wife and I will be by his side wherever he chooses to play. I’m looking forward to the world watching me go through this journey with my family,” said Snoop.

FOX is set to preview next year’s racing season with NASCAR 2015: A New Era on Sunday, adjacent to NFL on FOX coverage. The program is hosted by Danielle Trotta with a focus on the 1-2 punch of the Daytona 500 and the season’s second race at Atlanta Motor Speedway; the “West Coast Swing;” schedule changes; team, driver and crew chief swaps; TV partners; rule changes; championship predictions; and power rankings. In addition, Terry Crews of FOX’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine takes on the Daytona 500.

beIN SPORTS is adding The African Cup of Nations to its programming plans, featuring top national teams and players from across Africa. The 30th edition of the competition starting Jan. 17 with the opening match between Equatorial Guinea vs Congo. 

Golf Channel closes the year with the biggest moments from 2014, showcasing the year’s top storylines during the final two weeks of December. In addition, Golf Channel will feature its original programming from 2014, highlighted by Arnie and Payne on Christmas and New Years’ Day. The slate starts Dec. 20 with RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship Finals at 3p on NBC and on Dec. 21 at noon on Golf Channel.
NBA TV carries a special One-on-One with Ahmad Rashad on Friday, Dec. 19, at 6p with interviews with NBA All-Stars Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis and Kyrie Irving.

Tennis Channel offers exclusive live coverage of Roger Federer facing Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka on Dec. 21 at 2:30p on behalf of Federer’s charity which supports children living in poverty. The Match for Africa 2 will be held at Zurich’s Hallenstadion, Switzerland’s largest multifunctional hall.

MSG Network is bringing back Knicksmas for a third year, offering 24-hours of Knicks programming hosted by Walt “St. Knick” Frazier and shot at his NYC apartment. The block launches Dec. 24 at noon with Knicks in 60: Knicks vs. Charlotte.


Check out Cynopsis Digital’s tune-in guide, categorized by platform and network. Programming includes digital premieres, ongoing shows, live-streamed events and linear TV digital integrated series.

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The NHL named Constellation, a competitive energy and services company, as the official preferred energy provider for the league where Constellation will work to conduct energy efficiency analyses and  recommend energy management strategies for the League’s facilities. At the NHL’s request, Constellation will also provide Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and Carbon Offsets to match the League’s estimated total carbon footprint  550,000 metric tons  for the 2014-15 season. “Our partnership with Constellation advances our commitment to promoting responsible energy use by the NHL, including our teams, our venues and our fans,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Our sport was born on frozen ponds and relies on winter weather. Everyone who loves our game will benefit by taking an active role in preserving the environment and the roots of the game.”

USA Network and the NFL are once again teaming up for the 4th annual NFL Charaters Unite documentary, which will debut the week after Super Bowl XLIX on Friday, February 6 at 7p. The film looks to fight bullying, prejudice and discrimination. This year’s documentary will feature Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, Philadelphia Eagles running backDarren Sproles, Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams and 2014 Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl champion cornerback Richard Sherman and coach Pete Carroll and is hosted by Cris Collinsworth.

HBO just announced that it will no longer release overnight series ratings. Is this a smart decision? Vote in our poll.

The Big East Conference is joining FOX Sports and the league’s presenting sponsor New York Life for #BEgood, an “overarching marketing activation program developed to inspire student-athletes, fans and students to “BE good” and “do good” in the community.” The campaign launches this month and wraps up with the Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden in March via a community outreach program, the #BEgood Digital Challenge, and a renewal of New York Life’s Girls in the Game partnership.


ESPN formally announced the hiring of three additional editorial staff members Jason Whitlock’s upcoming site for the company. New faces will include Mike Wise, Jerry Bembry, and Justin Tinsley, who will offer in-depth coverage, commentary and insight on race and culture through the lens of sports.


Home Team Sports named Bill Robinson as Vice President, Partnership Development for the FOX-owned company. Robinson will be charged with partnership development throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions as well as oversee prospecting and strategic direction for MLB advertising opportunities at Home Team Sports.  

MLB Network upped Senior Coordinating Producer Dave Patterson to SVP of Production for the channel, where he will report to new MLB Network President Rob McGlarry. Meanwhile, Senior Coordinating Producer Mike Santini was also promoted to VP of Production.


Seahawks/Cardinals at 8:30p on Sunday on NBC.

ON THIS DAY in 1917: The NHL opens its first season.

In The Know: What move was banned in college basketball in1967, only to be reinstated in 1976? (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: What was the first US city to host an Olympic Games? Answer: St. Louis. Kudos: Tom Buffolano-LTNGLOBAL/NY; Jay Goldstein-AdMore/NY; Lewis Blaustein-Lewis Brand Solutions/NY; David Stern-BARD Entertainment/NY; David Schaefer-Golf Channel/Orlando; Larry Kahn-Golf Channel/Orlando; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Kevin Burns-Boxing Cat Media/Fairfield; Andy Pittman-Texas A&M University/College Station; Robert Teinowitz-Live Action Media/Chicago; Eric Jonke-KemperSports/KemperLesnik/Chicago; Bob Chasse-Professional Bull Riders/Pueblo; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco; Nick Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego; John Sutton-Charter Digital Media/LA.

Later — Chris
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