Good morning. It's Tuesday, May 1, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
ESPN is pulling together all of the company's soccer properties under one umbrella announcing the launch of ESPNFC, "a new multi-language and multi-country brand for soccer fans around the world across TV, radio, print, online, print and mobile." The launch comes ahead of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship and, beginning this week, fans will be able to preview ESPNFC with branded content online and on mobile platforms surrounding the EURO 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine. The new brand will later add global and regional contributors to ensure coverage of all news around the world. In addition, ESPNFC will have the ability to detect where a fan is accessing content online and via mobile to offer local content for that region. ESPNFC will also be integrated into ESPNdeportes.com and will rename its soccer debate and discussion show to ESPNFC PressPass.
On the Air
The NBC Sports Group is on deck to offer 14½ hours of Kentucky Derby coverage beginning on Wednesday, May 2 at 4p and galloping the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on NBC, Saturday, May 5 beginning at 4p. The expanded Kentucky Derby coverage includes 8.5 hours on Derby Day on NBC and NBC Sports Network with programming such as live coverage of the Kentucky Derby Draw and three hours of Derby Classics (Barbaro, Mine That Bird, Animal Kingdom) on NBC Sports Network. Bob Costas hosts, along with three-time Kentucky Derby winner Gary Stevens; contributing analysts/handicappers Mike Battaglia and Bob Neumeier; analyst Randy Moss; host Laffit Pincay, III; reporters Kenny Rice, Donna Brothers and Jay Privman; race caller Larry Collmus. In addition, Today's Jenna Wolfe will contribute features and Catt Sadler of NBCUniversal's E! will talk Kentucky Derby fashions and handle celebrity interviews.
UFC on FOX returns on Saturday at 8p live from Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ, anchored by Nate Diaz and Jim Miller's lightweight bout. FOX Sports' Curt Menefee hosts pre- and post-fight coverage alongside Randy Couture and Brian Stann before UFC announcers Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg call the fights. Coverage begins Friday at 4p with the live UFC Weigh-In on FUEL TV hosted by Karyn Bryant. The channel will also feature UFC Prelims at 5p on Saturday ahead of FOX's telecast. FOX Deportes simulcasts the prelims and main card fights beginning at 5p.
Overnight ratings for the NHL Playoff conference semifinals on NBC over the weekend scored the best numbers in eight years, according to Nielsen. NBC's coverage of its first two Conference Semifinal games averaged a 1.7 overnight rating, to mark the best for weekend coverage of the second round in eight years. The rating was up 6% vs. last year's coverage. Coverage of Devils/Flyers on NBC on Sunday generated a 1.9 overnight rating, up 19% year-to-year, while Saturday's Capitals/Rangers game on NBC scored a 1.5 overnight rating to hold even.
The NHL reports that the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs have been watched by more than 60 million individual viewers who tuned in for all or part of the first round on national and regional sports network telecasts. In the US, over 39 million individuals watched at least part of the action on NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC, NHL Network or an RSN, while another 21.2 million watched across Canada on CBC, TSN, TSN2, RDS, RDS2 and RDSI. In addition, NHL.com drew a record 15 million unique visitors for a boost of 11% over last year's Conference Quarterfinals.
ESPN's three-day marathon of the 2012 NFL Draft last week averaged 2,924,000 viewers with a 2.0 US rating based on fast nationals, according to Nielsen. The rating bests the 2011 cume as well as viewership numbers. During the three days of the draft, NFL content on ESPN's digital platforms generated an average minute audience of 78,000, for a 10% climb over 2011. Meanwhile, NFL Network set company records for ratings and viewership on all three days of the Draft with a three-day average of 757,000 viewers, up 34% year-to-year. On the digital front, the NFL also generated a record with uniques rising 46% over 2011.
The GoDaddy.com Bowl inked deals to pair teams from the Sun Belt Conference and the Mid-American Conference for at least six more seasons thanks to a new four-year extension. The next Bowl will take place on Sunday, Jan. 6.
ESPN began unveiling the Top 40 Female Athletes of Past 40 Years as part of the company's initiative The Power of IX. As part of the move to honor the 40th Anniversary of Title IX, SportsCenter, in conjunction with espnW, began a count down yesterday revealing on athlete a day, running through the Friday, June 22 where the top female athlete will be named. As part of the initiative, Honda will join espnW as associate partner of The Power of IX, leading up to the first national telecast of the Honda Sports Awards.
HRTV's coverage of the Kentucky Derby this week will include a special documentary, Garrett Gomez: 118 Days, which will offer a look at the champion jockey's recovery from a serious injury, and follow his to the track and securing a mount in the 138th running of the Derby. The special will air Thursday at 8p.
The New York Racing Association put its CEO Charles Hayward and Senior Vice President Patrick Kehoe on unpaid administrative leave due to a state investigation into $8.5 million in winnings that weren't paid out to bettors on horse races, according to the AP.
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The Brooklyn Nets will have more than a new home next season. The team unveiled its new colors and logo on Monday, swapping to black and white. The new team shield logo spells out Nets over a basketball with a block-type B and Brooklyn spelled out below the shield. The logo and color scheme were reportedly designed by minority owner Jay-Z.
The Sauber Formula One Team entered into a new partnership with the British Premier League Club Chelsea FC that will place the inscriptions "Out of the Blue" and "True Blue" on the engine covers of the Sauber C31 for upcoming races, according to the AP, beginning with the Spanish Grand Prix, from May 11-13.
With NASCAR's launch of a new digital experience for NASCAR.com set for Jan. 1, 2013, NASCAR Digital Media hired Colin Smith as Managing Director, Digital Platform for the sanctioning body's digital properties. Smith previously served as Raycom Sports' VP, New Media and Distribution and will now be responsible for the business of NASCAR's digital platform which includes NASCAR.COM as well as the tablet and mobile experience.
The Main Event
Nuggets/Lakers on TNT at 10:30p.
ON THIS DAY in 1983: Nolan Ryan surpasses Walter Johnson for most strikeouts in MLB history.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who was the MVP of the 2009 World Series? Hideki Matsui. Kudos: Noah Coslov-CineSport/NY; Bobby Coyle-New York Yankees Radio Network/NY; Ed Russo-Fuse Networks/NY; Katie Schenk-ESPN/NY; Matt Lederer-Comcast/Philadelphia; Matt Guertin-Active International/Pearl River; Art Salisch-SMR/New Jersey; Matt Oelbaum-West Virginia University/Morgantown; Jim Dittemore- I Will Race You/Kansas City; Jaime Maggio-Fox Sports West/LA; Matthew Morse-KGPE Television/Fresno.
In The Know: Who holds the record for most no-hitters in MLB? (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 Cyn opsis | Sports
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