Good morning. It’s Thursday, February 6, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
CBS has emerged the victor in the “Thursday Night” wars. The NFL announced that the broadcaster was the winning bidder for rights to produce and televise Thursday Night Football for the 2014 season. The new package will see CBS carry eight early season games that will also be simulcast on NFL Network. NFL Network will then televise eight late-season games in the run-up to the playoffs with the mix of games set to include two late-season games on Saturday. CBS will produce all 16 games, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms on all TNF games. In addition, NFL Network hosts and analysts will be featured in the pregame, halftime and postgame shows along with CBS Sports announcers.
“The NFL is the most powerful programming in television,” said Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports. “To add a primetime NFL package to our successful Sunday AFC package further strengthens our position in the sports marketplace. We look forward to having Jim and Phil and our top production team showcased in prime time on Thursday nights.”
NBC, ABC, FOX and Turner were also known to have made a play for the games.
“We were clearly interested in having Thursday Night Football at FOX in 2014, and submitted a bid that we were sure would be competitive with those offered by other parties,” said FOX Sports in a statement. “We had terrific dialogue with the NFL during the process, and we believe that the Thursday night franchise has great value going forward. While disappointed to learn that the league has decided to go in a different direction, we’re already looking forward to Sundays next season.”
David Beckham is officially back with Major League Soccer. The league announced Wednesday that the former LA Galaxy celeb exercised his option for an MLS expansion team and will look to Miami to host the club. According to the league, Beckham’s ownership group will now work with MLS and local officials to lock in a deal for a venue, which is slated to be built via private funds.
Get ready for a potential Olympic television channel. The AP reports that the IOC general assembly members approved of the idea of setting up a platform dedicated to the sports in the Games. The IOC said the channel would promote Olympic sports in the years between the games as well as help connect the games with younger people and they would create a feasibility study on the costs before making a final decision.
Winter is coming. NBC Olympics revealed that Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage will voice the opening tease to the Winter Games. The package runs Friday at 7:30, with the Games set to begin tonight at 8p on NBC with Snowboarding (Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle), Freestyle Skiing (Women’s Moguls), and Figure Skating (Team Event).
Speaking of the Olympics, FOX Sports announced that FOX Sports Live tandem Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole will be in Sochi to cover the Winter Games. The duo report live each night for FOX Sports 1’s flagship news, opinion and highlights program from Friday through Saturday, Feb. 22 at 11p. They will be joined by other FOX Sports analysts including Olympic medalist and figure skating icon Michelle Kwan, Olympic gold medalist skier Picabo Street, Hockey Hall of Famer and Olympian Chris Chelios and Olympic snowboarder Andy Finch.
CBS announced the launch of Summer Dreams, a new two-hour special that follows the players, personalities and behind-the-scenes action at the NBA’s official Summer League. The program will air on Saturday, March 15 at 8p on the broadcast channel.
Canada’s Rogers Media detailed plans for its new NHL deal, which will see the company showcase more than 500 regular season games across 13 networks, with up to 7 games every Saturday night, expanded NHL content on 7 platforms, exclusive windows for national broadcasts, “Hometown Hockey” every Sunday hosted from communities across the country as well as every game of the NHL Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final. Saturday will see game airing on CBC, City, Sportsnet, Sportsnet ONE, Sportsnet 360, and FX Canada. In addition, we’ll see a nationally-televised game every Sunday at 7p on City as well as nationally-televised games every Wednesday night on Sportsnet.
LeBron James’ new series got a green light. Starz has given an official series pickup to Survivor’s Remorse, a half-hour scripted comedy series that is executive produced by NBA star LeBron James, as well as Mike O’Malley, Tom Werner, James’ manager Maverick Carter and Paul Wachter, according to Deadline. The project will debut next fall and follow the world of professional basketball.
Universal Sports Network laid out plans for its slate of 23 international cycling events in 2014 both on air and at universalsports.com, including the final grand tour of the season, the Vuelta a Espana as well as the 2014 UCI Road Cycling World Championships. The network’s road cycling season coverage begins with this week’s Dubai Tour. Overall, there is over 180 hours of exclusive television coverage of the sport this year.
The newborn SportsNet LA, which will launch February 25, announced that it will televise all of this year’s Dodger Spring Training games, with the exception of two split-squad games. Vin Scully returns to call the inaugural game telecast on SportsNet LA on Wednesday, February 26 at noon. The network also announced that its signature live daily studio show Access SportsNet: Dodgers will air at 7p nightly during Spring Training, hosted live from the SportsNet LA studios in El Segundo with anchor John Hartung leading the show.
SiriusXM lined up a special radio series with Hall of Fame center and pioneering former Russian hockey star Igor Larionov. Dubbed Igor Larionov’s Triple Overtime Radio, the series will be hosted by Alyonka Larionov, Igor’s daughter, and air as a five-part series on SiriusXM Sports Zone (channel 92) starting tomorrow at 8p.
Our thoughts are with ESPN’s Curt Schilling who was diagnosed with cancer. In a statement to the press, Schilling wrote “With my incredibly talented medical team I’m ready to try and win another big game. I’ve been so very blessed and I feel grateful for what God has allowed my family to have and experience, and I’ll embrace this fight just like the rest of them, with resolute faith and head on.” Schilling was set to join the Sunday Night Baseball team this season, although there has been no word on a change of plans.
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Michael Hussey, CEO,PeekAnalytics
Thomas Ziangas, SVP, Research, AMC Networks
Audrey Siegel, President & Co-Founder, TargetCast tcm
Peter Katsingris, VP, Industry Insights, Nielsen
Ron Geraci, EVP, Research & Planning, Nickelodeon Group
The Texas Rangers locked in a deal with Globe Life And Accident Insurance Company for a 10-year agreement that makes Globe Life Park in Arlington as the new name for Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The name change of the park is effective immediately. The deal will also see Globe Life will be the Official Life Insurance Partner of the Texas Rangers.
NBC Olympics is partnering with the USOC and the winter sport national governing bodies in the US for a ground-breaking initiative, called the Olympic Gold Map. The program will promote grassroots youth involvement in Olympic and Paralympic sport. The initiative will be integrated into NBC Olympics’ multi-platform coverage of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, via a series of short promotional features driving viewers to a special section of NBCOlympics.com that will host an overview video and provide links to the various U.S. winter sport national governing bodies. Users will be encouraged to select the sport or sports that they are interested in, and the NGB websites, in turn, will provide further information about how children can get involved in their sports.
Visa launched its newest Olympic-themed spot from its “Everywhere you want to be” campaign, entitled “Night Swim.” The film see Team Visa freeskier and first time Olympian Torin Yater-Wallace skiing on a mountain alone at night. The spot then goes on to encourage consumers to imagine their own “everywhere,” or the aspirational place they want to be in life.
Turner Sports and DC Entertainment announced the release of The Justice League Goes Inside the NBA: All Star Edition, a comic book that pairs TNT’s Inside the NBA studio team and The Justice League from DC Comics. The 12-page, limited-edition comic book will be distributed free to fans at NBA All-Star Jam Session in New Orleans during NBA All-Star from Thursday, Feb. 13 through Sunday, Feb. 16. It will also be available digitally vianba.com beginning Wednesday, Feb. 12.
Non-profit organization KaBOOM! and WWE announced a partnership to build a playground in New Orleans during WrestleMania Week. Together, they will build a new playground at Woodland West Elementary School in Harvey, Louisiana, which serves more than 700 children in grades K-5. To kick-off the project, WWE Superstar Kofi Kingston hosted a Design Day at Woodland West Elementary yesterday during which children had the chance to brainstorm, draw and design their dream playground.
NBC Olympics and Twitter are set to collaborate on NBC’s broadcast of the XXII Olympic Winter Games in order to “magnify the Olympic conversation on Twitter and encourage tune-in to NBCUniversal’s multi-platform coverage of the Games.” The deal will see Twitter incorporate NBC Olympics’ content into the center of its Olympic dialogue throughout the Games as well as populate its Sochi Olympics event page with @NBCOlympics most compelling Tweets. Both @NBCOlympics and Twitter will notify fans with relevant content for those looking for more info. In addition, compelling data compiled by Twitter about the Olympic social media buzz will be used by NBC throughout the Games.
LockerDome is teaming with Mayweather Promotions to run a poll on which fighter Floyd Mayweather should fight next. The survey will run through midnight on Feb. 10 and can be found on mayweatherpromotions.com.
The Winter Olympics begin with NBC’s coverage starting at 8p.
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Entry Deadline:March 14, 2014
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ON THIS DAY in 1993: Tennis legend Arthur Ashe dies of complications from AIDS.
In The Know: With what team did Curt Schilling make his major league debut? (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: In an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David is held responsible for the injury of what NBA player? Answer: Shaquille O’Neal. Kudos: Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/NY; Andrew Feingold-Nielsen Sports/NY; Barry Waldman-Vistrada/NY; Paul Abramson-TOURGOLF/NY; Jeff Pomeroy-JDP Communications/Atlanta; Jerry A. Kapner-Kapner Group/Montclair; Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville; Greg Dudsic/Venice Beach; Alan Perris/Beverly Hills; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA; John Sutton-Charter Digital Media/LA.
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Let’s be honest the Big Game is the only time we actually look forward to watching the commercials. So tell us which one you enjoyed the most.
One participant will win a $50 StubHub gift card + the winner will be announced on Monday, FEB 10th.
DEADLINE TO SUBMIT IS TOMORROW.
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
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