Good morning. It's Wednesday, April 18, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
The NFL released its 2012 schedule yesterday; with broadcasters revealing that the defending champion New York Giants, as well as Denver, San Diego, Green Bay, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh will be shown a league-high five times during prime time in 2012. Here's the breakdown...
NBC is slated to broadcast 19 primetime NFL games during the 2012 season, including the first game of the season when the Giants host the Cowboys on NFL Kickoff 2012 as well as Peyton Manning and the Broncos hosting the Steelers on the first Sunday Night Football game of the season. The channel's first Thanksgiving night game will showcase the Patriots and Jets. The schedule will feature three games each for Giants, Cowboys, Patriots, Steelers and Packers.
The Monday Night Football schedule will kick off for the 43rd season on ESPN with a doubleheader on Monday, September 10 Bengals/Ravens at 7p, and Chargers/Raiders at 10:15p. The schedule will continue for a total of 17 prime-time games. The Bears lead all NFL teams with three MNF appearances while eight teams (49ers, Broncos, Chargers, Eagles, Falcons, Jets, Lions and Texans) have two appearances each.
The 19th season of the NFL on FOX debuts Sunday, Sept. 9 with doubleheader coverage of seven games including the Packers/49ers matchup. Other week one games the Saints playing their first game without head coach Sean Payton as they hosting the Redskins in what could be Robert Griffin III's NFL debut. Overall, FOX Sports is slated to broadcast 103 regular-season games, including the traditional Thanksgiving Day game this year pitting the Redskins against the Cowboys in Arlington, TX. The 2012 NFL on FOX season includes 68 appearances of last season's playoff teams.
CBS hits its 53rd NFL season (which will include Super Bowl XLVII on February 3, 2013 from New Orleans) with a total of 105 games and New England, Houston and Cincinnati set for 11 appearances each on the NFL on CBS. The schedule will include the Patriots/Rams contest from London on Oct. 28 as well as the Thanksgiving Day game between the Texans and Lions.
NFL Network debuted its expanded lineup of games with a 13-game, regular-season primetime Thursday Night Football schedule that begins in Week 2 (Sept. 13) and features nine 2011 playoff teams. Highlights include the opener between the Bears and Packers in the 185th meeting, and Peyton Manning's first start for the Broncos in Oakland and nine divisional matchups.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
On the Air
UEFA made its move, locking in multiple international deals for its soccer events. Up north, Sportsnet announced that it has secured the Canadian multimedia rights to UEFA Europa League for the next three seasons, including 205 UEFA Europa Cup matches each season for television, online and mobile. The new deal marks the first multiple year, multiplatform agreement with Sportsnet for UEFA Europa League rights, and will partner with the outlet's three-year partnership extension with UEFA through the 2014-15 season for UEFA Champions League as well.
WrestleMania XXVIII, held April 1 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, set new records for pay-per-view buys and gross sales, according to the WWE with preliminary estimates showing that the event generated 1.3 million PPV buys with global gross sales in excess of $67 million including the live event. The annual tradition was seen around the world on pay-per-view in more than 105 countries and 20 languages.
The once-certain marriage between the Mountain West and Conference USA that would form a new NCAA league now appears to be less intimate than planned. In fact, CBS Sports reports that officials feel it "probably will not happen." The leagues had hoped to dissolve and reform as a bigger, national league or at least merge one conference into the other in time for the 2013-14 season, but those plans appear to now be in hold and the conference are instead expected to beef up their own numbers but maintain their operations alliance in order to share television, marketing and scheduling resources.
MSG's Game three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Rangers and Senators on Monday night drew a 3.45 household rating to tie as the highest-rated Rangers game on MSG since May 6, 1997, according to Nielsen. Through the first three games of the 2012 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals (Games 1-3), Rangers telecasts on MSG are averaging a 3.37 household rating, up 17% over the first three games of the opening round of the playoffs last season.
SPEED's coverage of Sunday's inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from Rockingham Speedway delivered a .88 household rating. So far this season, the NCWTS continues to build on last year's gains and is up 15% with HH over 2011 with a 1.20, up 24% among men 35-54 - with a 1.26 and up 60% among men 18-49 with a .72 score.
Discovery Enterprises International announced a one-year deal with CSI Sports Programming to acquire and distribute sports content from the CSI library, making DEI the exclusive worldwide distributor of more than 60 hours of select Fight Sports branded flight content. Titles include Greatest Classics, Wide World of Fights, and World Championship Kickboxing .
Top Gear Is about to hit NASCAR. The car series, which airs on BBC America, will explore the history of NASCAR and look at how the sport evolved. The episode air Monday, April 30 at 8:30p.
ESPN Radio's Mike Greenberg, of Mike & Mike in the Morning, will co-host Live! With Kelly today at 9a on ABC.
Next week marks the Cynopsis: Sports Business Summit, featuring the names and faces that are propelling the industry. For the full agenda and to register, visit: http://www.cynopsissportssummit.com/
Sponsorship & Promotion
The NBC-owned television stations and Comcast Sports Group announced a new national advertising sales partnership where the station group will now sell national advertising for four Comcast SportsNets (New England, Mid-Atlantic, Northwest and Philadelphia). The new partnership will be phased in across the four markets over the next several months, beginning with New England this month, Mid-Atlantic at the end of April, Northwest at the end of May and Philadelphia by the end of June. With the new partnership, Joseph Gallagher has been named Vice President of National Sales for the Regional Sports Networks.
Dow Chemical has begun its controversial wrap of London's Olympic Stadium with a $11.4 million curtain promoting the company. The move comes despite protests of the company's sponsorship of the Summer Games due to Dow being blamed for the 1984 gas leak in Bhopal, India that killed an estimated 15,000 people, although Dow denies responsibility.
The Chicago Bears ended a long-standing relationship with Coca-Cola and have instead inked an exclusive sponsorship deal with Dr Pepper Snapple Group, according to Crain's Chicago Business. The seven-year deal, is estimated to be worth $3 million annually, and will make RC Cola, 7UP and Dr Pepper some the primary brands that are served at Bears games.
The Army Athletic Association announced that its digital assets will now be housed under the Black Knights Digital Network, with content that includes the team's Twitter account with more than 5,000 followers, a Facebook page with more than 35,000 "likes," a YouTube channel, mobile applications and Pinterest page. The Black Knights Digital Network will include the digital, mobile and social online assets as a way to make it easier for fans to track the teams and interact with fellow fans.
The Main Event
Chelsea/FC Barcelona on FX at 2p.
ON THIS DAY in 1995: Quarterback Joe Montana announces his retirement from football.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What two teams battle annually for the Apple Cup? Washington/Washington St. Kudos: Michael Jaquet-CBS Sports Network/NY; Sarah Galvin-Flashpoint Marketing/NY; David Stern-BARD Entertainment/NY; Frank Costa-CBS Sports/NY; Andrew Feit-ESPN/Bristol; Barbara Brunner-Bright House Networks/St Petersburg; Jeff Miller-Meredith Corporation/Atlanta; Peter SP Gimber-CBSBoston.com/Boston; Tom Akers-Outdoor Channel/Chicago; Kevin Micklo-Initiative Media/Chicago; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Jeff C. Fellenzer-USC/LA; Brian Sullivan -KHQ-TV/Spokane; Damon Parry-Agency Division/Marina del Rey; John Christman-KAYU-KFFX-KCYU Television/Spokane.
In The Know: What number did Joe Montana wear during his professional career? (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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