Good morning. It's Tuesday, March 27, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
As expected, Tiger Woods return to victory drove NBC with a huge bump over 2011 numbers. The overnight rating for Sunday's final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the network was up 129% over last year and delivered the best overnight for this event in three years, according to overnight data from Nielsen. The round drew a 4.8 overnight rating and 10 share. Golf has been a performer for the network recently, all four tournaments on NBC this year heading into Bay Hill (WGC-Accenture, Honda Classic, WGC-Cadillac, Transitions Championship) have seen viewership increases. To date, NBC's golf is averaging 2.83 million viewers for eight broadcasts, up 21 percent over 2011 and the best since 2008.
On the Air
While Tiger's resurgence may bode well for CBS's upcoming coverage of The Masters, his win probably didn't help ratings for the tournament. CBS Sports' early NCAA game, featuring Kentucky/Baylor scored a 5.3 in preliminary numbers and dipped 29% over last year's comparable VCU/Kansas game, according to Nielsen. The later Kansas/North Carolina matchup was down 20% from 2011. Overall, the tournament is off 9% from last year, but still up from its regionalized coverage in 2010.
Meanwhile, ABC also felt the heat from stiff competition, opening the new season of IndyCar with a 1.1 in the overnights, down slightly from last year's 1.2.
Another carriage showdown is in the works, with Tribune television stations in 16 markets across the country now informing DIRECTV subscribers that they will lose the programming, including sports, at midnight, March 31, when Tribune's contract with DIRECTV expires. Subscribers would theoretically lose MLB and NASCAR as a result, including Mets game via WPIX, Cubs and White Sox games in Chicago, Phillies games from WPHL as well as WGN sports programming.
CNN will be broadcasting replays of HBO's four-part reality series 24/7 Mayweather/Cotto at midnight on the channel beginning Saturday, April 14. The series leads up to the PPV showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto for the world super welterweight title. HBO premieres the series earlier at 9:45p.
Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference are scrapping plans to disband and reform as a new conference, according to CBS Sports, and will now instead mull a merger or an alliance that will share operations and revenue. The reports states that the leagues are looking to have everything squared away by early June. According to the story, they entities were told by the NCAA that if they disbanded and reformed as a new organization, they would lose one of their automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament as well as payment credits from past participation.
CBS Sports Network is set to run Court of Champions Delivered by UPS on Sunday at 9p. The series is described as a one-hour documentary that traces the making of the 2012 Final Four court from its origination in Wisconsin to its design in Indianapolis to its installation in New Orleans.
NBC is bringing back The Father/Son Challenge, a tournament that saw many legends of golf team up with their sons in the championship event. The Challenge will return this fall after a three-year hiatus thanks to PNC Bank inking a deal to serve as title sponsor. The multi-year agreement begins with the event's return December 15-16 and be broadcast on NBC. The Father/Son Challenge was founded in 1995 by NBC Sports and IMG.
Sportsman Channel is rolling out a slate of new series this week including Fish TV and Force on Force as part of the "Strike & Set Saturdays" lineup as well as Working Man's Retriever, Bullets and Broadheads, Pure Hunting, Fish TV, BDC World Championships and Point Blank Outdoors.
Sponsorship & Promotion
The NFL will be opening up an official pop-up shop in Manhattan on April 2 dubbed NFL Shop at Draft where the league will unveil products from their new partners including Nike, Under Armour and New Era. The shop will be located in Bryant Park and will feature Commissioner Roger Goodell manning one of the cash registers on opening day.
Tim Tebow's meet up with the media yesterday as part of the Jets franchise, is estimated to have given Toyota as much as $2 million in media exposure due to the company having its logo behind the quarterback during the press conference.
Sportsman Channel named Graig Hale as Vice President, Business Development for the network where is will lead the network's endemic sales and producer programming sales initiatives. Hale will continue to manage the network's relationships with program producers, and will play a role in scheduling, acquisitions, and program strategy.
Outdoor Channel announced plans for a pre-game gathering with Comcast XFINITY TV at the Boston Celtics game on Wednesday, March 28th. The outlet will take over the Comcast HD Zone at TD Garden, where they will host meet-and-greets with Dave Cowens, along with raffling off prizes and giveaways .
ESPN is bringing Arne Rees to serve as ESPN International Vice President, International Digital Media. Rees will be responsible for expanding the digital growth of ESPN around the world, working in close conjunction with the company's regional offices. He most recently serve as Vice President, Assistant to the President.
ESPN has opted to allow employees to wear hoodies in their online avatars, according to multiple reports, for the Trayvon Martin case, after initially warning them not to take a political stance. Employees such as Michael Smith and Grantland's Jonathan Abrams had previously changed their pictures to feature them wearing a hoodie in support of Martin.
With the Final Four in place, CBSSports.com reports that of the 5,136,592 brackets filled out on the site, 17,979 or 0.35% of its applicants correctly predicted the foursome. On ESPN.com, predictions were similar with 0.4% of 6.45 million brackets correctly picking all four Final Four teams in the tournament.
The Main Event
NIT Semifinals on ESPN2 starting at 7p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
ON THIS DAY DAY in 1951: Kentucky bests Kansas to win the 13th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Mascot week. What is the name of the mascot of the University of Southern California? I accepted both Tommy Trojan and Traveler. Kudos: Jordan Goldberg-Disney and ESPN Media Networks /NY; Barry Werner-The Daily/NY; Sarah Galvin-Flashpoint Marketing/NY; Aaron Paquette-Nielsen Entertainment TV/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; George Finkel-MegaSport Productions/North Myrtle Beach; Greg Finch-Time Warner Media Cable/Dallas; Bill Robertson-Tunheim Partners/Bloomington; Paul Tarrants-RTM Productions/Nashville; John Sutton-Charter Digital Media/LA; Valerie J Tucker-VALJTUC Management/Garden Grove; Warren Weideman-Producer/LA; Michael Madnick-Saban Brands/LA.
In The Know: What school has a mascot named Ralphie? (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.)
Later -- Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
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