Good morning. It's Monday, May 16, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
With the NFL lockout currently mired in the courts, network executives are now preparing Plan B alternatives if the labor strife isn't settled in time for football season. Possible options now include reality series as well as college football games in an attempt to fill the gap.
NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt told reporters that he was optimistic that the dispute would be resolved in time for the network's airings of Sunday Night Football, and in a worst case scenario, games would be delayed for a few weeks. That said, Greenblatt noted that the network was working on "high-quality, live entertainment reality-type shows" that would fill the schedule, if football wasn't ready to return.
Another alternative would be to shift college football games into Sunday slots. One report over the weekend stated the officials from the Western Athletic Conference, which air on ESPN, would be willing to move games if necessary to accommodate programming holes. Bob Iger, CEO at ESPN's parent company Disney, said last week that college games overall would likely benefit from advertisers as well in the event of a sustained lockout.
"We can only say that if there is a work stoppage of even significant length, the impact to our bottom line should be negligible," he said. "That in part comes from a belief at ESPN that if there is a loss of NFL games, there will be a mad dash for male demos in other sports, particularly college football, where ESPN has almost 300 games across its platform, including ABC."
On the Air
After wrapping up the second round of the NBA playoffs as the most-watched and highest-rated in cable television history, TNT has laid out broadcast plans for the conference finals. The finals, which began airing last night, will now feature former player and current NBA TV.TNT Analyst Chris Webber in a virtual reality segment dubbed Webber's World, where he is superimposed into live game footage and "walks" onto the court to break down plays and strategy.
The channel's coverage of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Heat and Bulls will feature 26 total cameras for each game, including robo cams in locker rooms, a sky cam and aerial coverage of every game. Analysts will also host live steaming video chats after halftime of select games. NBA TV and NBA.com also will air every live press conference following both the ECF and WCF games.
Fresh from the Kentucky Derby, The NBC Sports Group has inked a deal with The New York Racing Association to broadcast seven weekends of horse racing dubbed Summer at Saratoga. The series will begin on July 23, and include the $1 million Travers Stakes the runs on Aug. 27. As part of the deal, Versus will televise five of the hour-long shows, while NBC will broadcast three, including the Travers event.
ESPN NHL Analyst Matthew Barnaby was arrested on Friday on suspicion of domestic violence but quickly pleaded not guilty to the charges. The former NHL player was reportedly involved in an incident involving his estranged wife and another adult, and police stated that there were no injuries or physical contact made with the alleged victims. Barnaby is charged with criminal mischief, criminal contempt, criminal trespass, harassment and aggravated harassment.
Tonight, Golf Channel features the debut of GolfNow Miami with host Lauren Thompson, the season premiere of Big Break Indian Wells and the season finale of Donald J. Trump’s Fabulous World of Golf with guest New York Jets Center Nick Mangold. The slate begins at 8p.
Versus is expanding its coverage of the 2011 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship Series later this summer. The channel will begin running the series on July 31, with 18 airing on deck. Versus will also co-sponsor the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship tournament banquet featuring fishing pro Hank Parker as the keynote speaker.
FOX Sports Arizona and Arena Football League team the Arizona Rattlers have announced a new television partnership. The deal will allow the Fox channel to air five Rattlers games this season, beginning with Saturday's contest against the Chicago Rush. The Rattlers are currently in first place in their division. In addition to Saturday's game, four more home telecasts are now slated to air, including, games against Cleveland, Iowa, San Jose and Spokane. One of the games will be a live telecast, while the others will air on a tape-delay basis due to the network's previous live programming commitments. If the Rattlers qualify for the AFL playoffs, FOX Sports Arizona would televise those games as well.
Fresh off a three-year deal with ESPN signed earlier this year, the Ohio Valley Conference is welcoming a new addition to the family. Conference officials stated that Belmont University, based in Tennessee and a regular in recent NCAA basketball tournaments, would be leaving the Atlantic Sun Conference effective July 1, 2012 to join the OVC. Belmont's departure will now leave the Atlantic Sun Conference with nine teams in the 2012-2013 season.
Chicago sportscaster Daryl Hawks has passed. The 38-year old lead sports anchor had been working for NBC5 in Chicago since 2008. He had flown to Atlanta Wednesday to cover Thursday's Game 6 of the Bulls-Hawks NBA playoff series and was found by hotel employees on Thursday. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Sponsorship & Promotion
NASCAR is partnering with the Armed Forces Foundation to form a Troops to the Track program that will welcome, recognize and host members of the Armed Forces throughout the year. The new program will provide over 100 wounded service members, or service members in jobs that are particularly emotional and physically demanding, an opportunity to receive an exclusive, VIP-style NASCAR race day experience in honor of their efforts.
CitiFinancial, which will soon be known as OneMain FinancialSM, has inked a deal to become title sponsor of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race to be held at Dover International Speedway on October 1. Dubbed The OneMain Financial 200, the sponsorship will be part of the rebranding initiatives being undertaken by the company.
Northern Trust Corp. will be putting its name on the annual PGA golf tournament for another four years. The LA-based event, named the Northern Trust Open, takes place every February at Riviera Country Club. The new deal will run through 2016.
For the first time, a professional sporting event in the U.S. is donating its title sponsorship to charity. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge has decided to give the sponsorship to Millennium Promise, a non-profit organization dedicated solely to helping end extreme poverty. In addition to the sponsorship donation, the UPCC and Millennium Promise will also launch "Spokes of Change," a philanthropic campaign using the tagline "If we move faster, we win," designed to motivate cycling enthusiasts and sports fans in the global movement to end extreme poverty. The campaign will seek to equip mobile health workers in Africa with bicycles, cell phones, medicines, and other necessary supplies to deliver basic medical care to young children and mothers in rural locations.
Herbalife is turning to soccer. The nutritional supplement company has signed on a title sponsor of The Herbalife World Football Challenge, which features global teams such as Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Manchester United against MLS teams as part of the event. The games will run from July 13 through Aug. 6 with Boston, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Chicago, Miami, Dallas and Landover, Maryland serving as the host cities.
Major League Baseball has announced the launch of its "My Dad, My MVP" online contest with an eye toward Father's Day as an opportunity to give fans a way to recognize the father figures in their lives. The contest on MLB.com allows fans to submit short stories about why their father figures, or someone they know, are extraordinary in their daily lives and why they want them to be the Father's Day "MVP Dad" for their favorite team. Entries will be accepted through June 1 at MLB.com/mvpdad. One "MVP Dad" per club will take part in pregame activities, be honored during an on-field ceremony and receive blue MLB merchandise and two tickets to the game.
New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry debuted in the top spot of the first-ever Castrol Index for MLS, a digital ranking of player performance maintained by Castrol. The Index monitors every move a player makes on the field and determines whether it has a beneficial or detrimental impact on his team. A similar digital system is also used by UEFA Champions League.
Of the Field
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig on the possibility of expanding the number of teams involved in the MLB Postseason: "I can tell you, and everything has been very confidential but they won't mind. This group has voted 14-0 for more playoffs. We're moving there but we have details to work out and the details are difficult. But I'm very confident that we're moving inevitably."
NBC Sports Group Producer Tommy Roy on the company's approach to The Players Championship: "Our mantra is to give the viewer the best seat in the house. We've added a few cameras this year that we're experimenting with that are point-of-view cameras that we're putting in places to give the viewers a better sense of being at the event, especially in that arena that is the 16thand 17thhole. We are quite excited and can't wait to get going tomorrow."
FOX Sports Executive Producer and Co-President & COO, FOX Sports Media Group, Eric Shanks on the addition of Gus Johnson to the broadcast team: "We're going to see one of the most dynamic announce teams that college football has seen in a long time."
Tonight's Main Event
The Yankees look to close the gap on the division-leading Rays as New York visits Tampa Bay at 6:40p on YES.
ON THIS DAY in 1869 - The Cincinnati reds played their first game, winning 41-7.
Answer to Yesterday's Sports Trivia Question: What female player won last year's French Open? FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE. Kudos: Ken Nice - Yoh/Silver Spring; Mark J. Freibott - OMD/New York; Pam Wise - The E.W. Scripps Company/Cincinnati; Greg Moloznik - GLM Media Dynamics/Scottsdale; Anne Wettig - FX Network/Los Angeles
In The Know: Who did Belmont play in the NCAA Men's Tournament this year? (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
May 16, 2011
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I have an issue with any organization that establishes a competition platform that...
A championship should simply be based on objective head to head competition between which teams (or individuals) won the most games. If any other evaluation factor needs to be included, it would have to be a second objective criteria such as total points scored. If this means that the coach of Team A chooses to "run up the score" in a game against Team B, in an effort to showcase the teams prowess and establish a stronger position in the final selection process, that's simply playing to win...nothing more...nothing less.
Votes of coaches, sportswriters, etc...computer analyses and all the other"stuff" simply clouds the issue and turns straight up competition into an ultimate political contest.
Simply stated..."MAY THE BEST TEAM WIN"...period!!!!
I love the new Cynopsis Sports! Keep up the great work.
As for the Fiesta Bowl, I can't believe that this isn't going on in some shape or form in the other BCS game cities. John Junker has always been a slimy fellow, and it didn't surprise me one bit. I live in Phoenix, and the Fiesta Bowl and the BCS National championship mean so much to the valley. Not only with the dollars it brings in for tourism, but it is a game that everyone looks forward to every year. I think keeping it a BCS game was the smart choice. Who doesn't love coming here in the dead of winter to support their team?!?!
I do think the fine could have been more, but I do think the bowl moved quickly in removing the offenders, and trying to immediately fix the problem.
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