Good morning. It's Friday, May 18, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
TBS is set to televise the American League and National League Wild Card games in 2012 and 2013 thanks to a new deal with MLB. As a result, MLB Network will now receive two Division Series games in each of the two seasons as part of the shift. The new postseason format will feature the two Wild Card teams in the American League and National League playing in a single-elimination game that allows each winner to move on. In 2012, TBS will now televise 18 of 20 potential Division Series games and will have exclusive coverage of the American League Championship Series (ALCS). The channel will also continue to televise any needed regular season tie-breaker games. MLB Network now gets live postseason games for the first time in channel history and broadcast teams and additional production details for the games will be announced later this year.
On the Air
NBC Sports Network unveiled its role in the upcoming Summer Games, with 292.5 hours of Olympics coverage in the cards, including 257.5 hours of original programming for an average of over 14 hours per day - the most-ever for an Olympic cable network. Coverage will begin on Wednesday, July 25, at 11:30a, two days before the Opening Ceremony, when Team USA takes on France in women's soccer. The channel is stated to air up to 20 medal rounds and 22 Olympic sports, including Team USA basketball, women's soccer and field hockey and wrap up on Sunday, August 12.
ESPN announced that it had earned the company's most-viewed Barclays Premier League season in 2011-12. Sunday's title-clinching match was seen on ESPN2 by 600,000 viewers, to rank as the third most-watched Premier League match on ESPN networks, with an additional 189,000 Hispanic viewers watching on ESPN Deportes, according to Nielsen. This season saw an average audience of 321,000 viewers watching each Premiership match on the networks to mark a 7% boost over the 2010-11 season.
This weekend features the second race for the Triple Crown with NBC Sports Group lining up 6.5 hours of coverage of the Preakness Stakes. Coverage begins today at 3p on NBC Sports Network and will wrap up with the Stakes on Saturday at 4:30p on NBC. NBC's coverage of the race will be hosted by Tom Hammond alongside Gary Stevens; and Randy Moss.; contributing analysts/handicappers Mike Battaglia and Bob Neumeier; host Laffit Pincay, III; reporters Kenny Rice, Donna Brothers and Jay Privman; and race caller Larry Collmus, a Baltimore native.
Meanwhile, Cynopsis Sports returned to HRTV talent Jon White and Aaron Vercruysse for their Preakness picks (both picked the winning horse correctly at the Kentucky Derby). Here are their selections...
WWE performer John Cena announced via Twitter during USA's upfront presentation that WWE Monday Night Raw will expand to a three-hour event 52 weeks a year. The extended telecast will start on July 23 at 8p on the channel, which also marks the 1000th episode of WWE Raw.
Conference USA stuck another blow on the Colonial Athletic Association with the announcement the Old Dominion University would be departing the CAA to join the league in July 2013. The school will subsequently move its football team from FCS to FBS beginning with the 2015 season.
NBA TV is celebrating the 20th anniversary of USA Basketball's "The Dream Team" with a special presentation on Wednesday, June 13, at 9p. The documentary is narrated by Ed Burns and features interviews with all 12 members of the squad, including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Charles Barkley as well as showcase unseen footage of the team.
CBS Sports Network is set to debut Dangerous Game: Inside PBR as a one-hour special on Sunday at 3p. The program will offer an inside look at the sport of Professional Bull Riding and include a round-table discussion with World Champion and PBR co-founder Ty Murray; PBR bull rider Luke Snyder; Bullfighter Shorty Gorham; and two-time Stock Contractor of the Year Jeff Robinson. Craig Hummer hosts.
Sports Network beIN SPORT announced the date of its US debut, with August 1 set to showcase soccer from around the world. The channel has lined up matches from the Spanish, Italian and French soccer leagues as well as international tournaments such as Copa America and 2014 America World Cup Qualifiers as part of its lineup.
ESPN Radio is hosting its owned and operated stations from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas as well as 12 affiliates in a day-long event on May 23. Those 16 stations as well as some network shows will broadcast throughout the day from the second annual "Audio Avenue" that is being held outdoors on the quad of ESPN's headquarters in Bristol, Conn. Network broadcasts are set to include Mike & Mike in the Morning (6-10a/ESPN2); The Herd with Colin Cowherd (10a-1p/ESPNEWS); and The Scott Van Pelt Show (1-4p/ESPNEWS until 3 p.m.). Participants will include network and affiliate management, account executives, program directors, clients, ESPN employees and those involved with ESPN Audio's promotions, marketing and sales.
Women in Sports & Events is honoring CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus with the second annual WISE Champion Award as part of its 2012 WISE Women of the Year Awards Luncheon. The WISE Champion Award is given to a male executive who has championed women in the workplace.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Sponsorship & Promotion
The House Appropriations Committee reportedly passed a defense bill that blocks the Pentagon from spending marketing dollars on NASCAR, professional fishing and professional wrestling. The amendment would theoretically save $80 million. The National Guard sponsors Dale Earnhardt, while the US Army sponsors Ryan Newman, the Air Force sponsors Aric Almirola.
Over Memorial Day, Comcast SportsNet and the Phillies are hosting a "Phillies at the Beach" viewing party on in Atlantic City at Arkansas Avenue and the Beach. The stunt will allow fans to watch the team face the Mets via a mobile movie screen on the sand. The Comcast SportsNet broadcast of the game begins at 1p. Other festivities will include a visit from the Phillie Phanatic and Phillies Ballgirls, and a baseball hunt.
As part of its Preakness Coverage, NBC Sports Group is featuring Preakness Extra as an online connection to coverage of the race. Features are set to include an online-only isolation camera on Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another during the race; online-only analysis by NBC and NBC Sports Network commentators and replays and highlights from the Kentucky Derby and earlier prep races. In addition, the company will be using the hashtag #Preakness to stimulate conversation that will appear on screen as part of NBC's Preakness coverage.
The Tampa Bay Bucs revealed a new social game on the team's Facebook page that challenges fans with mini-games that must be completed in order to save five chosen Facebook friends from walking a virtual plank. If successful, the fan can then enter for a chance to win autographed prizes from a team sweepstakes. The game was developed by Sportsdigita.
The Main Event
UEFA Champions League Final on FOX Sports on Saturday at 2p.
ON THIS DAY in 2004: Randy Johnson throws a perfect game at the age of 40.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What number was Wayne Gretzky famous for wearing? 99. Kudos: James Stuart-NBC Sports/NY; Mitch Burg-Syndicated Network Television Association/NY; Rob Thompson-Armada Group/NY; Eric Goldberger- The Madison Square Garden Company/NY; Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/Orlando; Pete Gautieri-AE Networks/Stamford; Christopher Doyle-CBC Sports/Toronto; Adam Zimmerman-CSE/Atlanta; Bob Ramsey-WCIU/Chicago; Laura Raymond-Millennium Sales& Marketing/Chicago; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman- Katz Television Group/Denver; Michael Madnick-Saban Brands/LA; Brian Sullivan-KHQ-TV/Spokane; John Sutton-Charter Digital Media/LA; Joshua Clark-US International Media/LA.
In The Know: What quarterback led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their only Super Bowl victory? (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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