Good morning. It’s Wednesday, February 19, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
CBS Sports is giving The NFL Today an overhaul, announcing that former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez was coming to the show as an analyst, joining James Brown, Bill Cowher and Boomer Esiason. He will also contribute to Inside the NFL on Showtime and CBS Sports Network’s Sunday pre-game show, That Other Pregame Show. Leaving the show will be Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe, who contributed to the program for over a decade.
“While we welcome Tony, we want to acknowledge Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe who have contributed greatly to the success of THE NFL TODAY for more than a decade,” said Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports. “Dan and Shannon are true Hall of Famers on the field and in front of the camera. As they pursue other professional opportunities, we thank them for their hard work and dedication and wish them nothing but the best.”
NBC notched gold on Monday, drawing its most-watched and highest-rated second Monday of the Winter Olympics since Salt Lake City in 2002. The telecast averaged 23.5 million viewers and a 13.8 household rating/21 share, according to fast national data from Nielsen. That also bests the comparable second Monday for the 2010 Vancouver Games by 12% and 10% respectively.
Around the dial, NBCSN drew another daytime viewership milestone on Monday with a network weekday-record 1.6 million viewers tuning in for coverage which featured ice dancing, men’s ski jumping and Team USA women’s hockey.
Finally, NBC announced that its 20-minute feature, Long Way Home: The Jessica Long Story will air within NBC’s Olympic coverage this weekend. The story chronicles the story of Long, “a world-class swimmer, 12-time Paralympic gold medalist, and 21-year old American from a Baltimore suburb, who was born in Russia and adopted by American parents” and tracks Long’s journey to meet her birth family.
Allen Bestwick locked in a new multi-year deal with ESPN where he will become the lap-by-lap announcer for ABC’s telecasts of the IndyCar Series, including the Indianapolis 500, in 2014. Bestwick, who has been part of ESPN’s NASCAR coverage since 2007, will continue to anchor the network’s NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series telecasts in 2014, which marks the final year of ESPN’s contract to televise the sport. Bestwick will also branch into other sports beginning in 2015, calling play-by-play on college football telecasts for ESPN, a variety of collegiate sports on the upcoming SEC Network, and on ESPN interactive television productions of golf and tennis.
WWE is on the open market, looking to find a home for Raw and Smackdown (as well as other series) after failing to lock in an extension with NBCU, where the shows are running on USA and Syfy. Still, NBCU has the right to match any potential deal that WWE reaches with any other channels. “WWE’s exclusive negotiating period with NBCU for our flagship television programs, Raw and Smackdown, has now expired,” the company said in a statement. “While we were unable to reach an agreement with NBCU during this period, we have certainly appreciated our long and productive partnership.”
NFL Media announced plans for its 10 year of coverage of the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine Presented by Under Armour with over 60 hours of programming on deck. Coverage launches tomorrow when NFL Network, NFL.com and NFL Mobile broadcast live from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and features a 23-man roster of talent to cover the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, with live coverage of on-field workouts starting Saturday with the offensive linemen, tight ends and kickers. Technological enhancements will include a total of 17 cameras, NFLN-Focus Camera Technology, Simulcam Camera Technology and Cablecam Technology.
For the seventh consecutive year, BTN will carry seven winter Big Ten Championships, including wrestling, men’s and women’s swimming & diving, men’s and women’s indoor track & field and men’s and women’s gymnastics. Coverage begins at 10:30a on Sunday with the Big Ten Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships from Minnesota, followed by the conference Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships at 10:30a on Sunday, March 2.
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Heineken unveiled the latest installment of its Road to the Final campaign for the UEFA Champions League. The brand is delivering fans with premium experiences via social media through a partnership with Foursquare called The World of UEFA Champions League, that highlights the different alliances to UCL teams across the U.S. The experience also offers an interactive Fan Footprint Heatmap that showcases bars and restaurants where fans are viewing their team and find the best places to enjoy a match.
John Deere signed on as a corporate sponsor for pro golfer Zach Johnson. Johnson is the seventh-ranked player in the official World Golf Rankings and will now carry the John Deere trademark on his golf bag at all events he plays during the sponsorship deal.
Back9Network locked in a content-sharing and advertising sales partnership with FOX Sports Digital properties, FOXSports.com, and blog network, Yardbarker. The deal will see Back9Network content and individual stories appear throughout FOXSports.com and Yardbarker, while editors will work in regular collaboration with their Back9Network and FOXSports.com counterparts.
High school sports media company PlayOn! Sports announced the acquisition of Digital Scout, the industry leader in high school sports statistics tracking and live gamecasts. Digital Scout content will be fully integrated across PlayOn’s suite of products by the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.
Digital sports video agency SendtoNews reports that its News Partnership Network delivered 3.9 million digital and broadcast views, according to Nielsen, over the past 10 days from the Olympic Winter Games opening ceremony to Sunday February 16th.
NBC’s Olympics coverage at 8p is highlighted by the short program in ladies’ figure skating where reigning U.S. champion Gracie Gold makes her individual program debut after winning bronze in the team event.
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ON THIS DAY in 1996: Patrick Roy nabs his 300th win as an NHL goalie.
In The Know: Who is the Houston Rockets’ all-time leading scorer?(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: John McEnroe has appeared in four Adam Sandler movies. Name two. Answer: Mr. Deeds, Anger Management, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Jack and Jill. Kudos: David Greenwald-LIRR/NY; David Stern-BARD Entertainment/NY; Synda Kollman-NBC Network Commercial Operations/NY; Drew Nelson-Marketing Architects, Inc./Minneapolis; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA.
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