Good morning. It's Friday, May 25, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
NBC Sports unveiled its coverage plans for the upcoming French Open, with 20 hours on deck beginning Sunday at noon and running through the Men's Final on Sunday, June 10. With a win this year, defending champion Rafael Nadal will surpass Bjorn Borg for the most men's French Open championships in the Open era. Ted Robinson anchors NBC's coverage, and will be joined by analysts John McEnroe and Mary Carillo.
On the Air
ESPN locked in an agreement with Major League Eating, in conjunction with Nathan's Famous, Inc., that gives the network exclusive rights to televise the traditional live, one-hour show of the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest every year through 2017. Last year's July 4th telecast set a viewership record with 1.95 million live viewers and nearly nine million viewers total on July 4, including two re-airs. This year's event will be televised live on ESPN on Wednesday, July 4, at 3p, following ESPN's coverage of the Wimbledon Gentlemen's Quarterfinals.
The NHL's 2012 Western Conference Finals, which was won in five games by the Kings delivered an average of 1.02 million viewers for the four games on NBC Sports Network, up 18% over last yea's Western Conference Finals, while the NBC telecast crew 1.4 million viewers, down from 2011. Meanwhile, game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals scored a 6.47 rating in the New York market, marking a local record for an NHL game on NBC Sports Network. Overall, the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs are averaging 973,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network through Tuesday, May 22, up 21% over last year.
The 2012 UEFA Champions League Final averaged a 1.1/3 for FOX Sports with just under two million viewers. That was down 21% from 2011's high-profile matchup between Manchester United and Barcelona but still up 25% over 2010 numbers in average audience to mark the second most-watched UCL Final ever.
ESPN is set to present the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery on May 30, which will be held for the first time at ABC's Times Square Studios in New York City with the Kia NBA Countdown pregame show set for 7p and the Lottery drawing slated for 8p. Mark Jones and Jay Bilas will host coverage with Heather Cox reporting. Magic Johnson, Jon Barry, Michael Wilbon and Chris Broussard will provide reaction and insights.
NBC's coverage of the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes was down 10% year-to-year with a 3.8/10 and 5.7 million viewers. That said, with a Triple Crown on the line ratings for the Belmont Stakes are primed to become appointment television as the last time a Triple Crown was at stake, the Belmont earned a 7.2 national rating.
ESPN International is set to air over 1700 event hours of the London 2012 Olympic Games in Portuguese and Spanish throughout South America. The company will dedicate six networks at least three per country to offer coverage of London 2012 in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Although this is the fifth time that ESPN Brazil will carry the Games, it will mark the first time that ESPN in Spanish-speaking Latin America will air the Olympics. Coverage will be tailored to athletes and competitions of the most regional and national importance. ESPN's Spanish-speaking South America team of journalists includes: Pablo Ferreira, Tito Puccetti, Miguel Simon, Juan Yankilevich and Quique Wolff.
ESPN platforms - ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3 - will jointly offer 12 hours live of the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals from Washington, D.C. on May 30-31. This will mark ESPN's 19th straight year of televising the Spelling Bee, and the second year every speller on stage will be featured on an ESPN network. Preliminary rounds begin Wednesday, May 30 at 8a on ESPN3 with TV coverage set for May 31 at 10a with the semifinals on ESPN before moving to ESPN at 8p with the Final. ESPN3 will also carry a second "Play Along" version, allowing fans have the option to watch coverage without seeing the words.
The completion of the 2011-12 television season on Wednesday placed NBC's Sunday Night Football at the top of all primetime entertainment programming to become the first sports series to finish the full fall-spring TV season as the most-watched show in primetime, according to Nielsen.
WFN and DIRECTV are partnering to produce a special 3D edition of Hookin' Up with Mariko Izumi that will offer a whole new look for the show and mark the first time the series can be seen in 3D. The special will air on DIRECTV's HD 3D channel, n3D on Saturday, May 26th at 8p.
FOX Sports North announced that Tom Hanneman has joined the FOX Sports North team as the channel's main studio host for the regional sports network, covering Minnesota Timberwolves, Twins, Wild and Gopher Hockey.
MSG announced its programming lineup for its fourth annual Summer Block Party, which will include themed programming blocks every night starting at 8p. Evenings will include Movie Mondays and Tuesdays, Countdown Wednesdays, Knicks Thursdays, Music Fridays, Saturday Night Originals and Sunday Night Fights. Programming begins on memorials Day and runs through Labor Day.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Sponsorship & Promotion
GE and the USOC inked an extension of their sponsorship partnership beginning with the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia and running through the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea and the 2020 Games. GE will remain the USOC's exclusive provider of certain products, technology and services.
CBS Sports Network promoted Ryan Briganti to Vice President, Ad Sales where he will manage CBS Sports Network's Ad sales group and be responsible for driving all advertising revenue for the cable network. Ryan previously served as Account Executive, CBS Sports Ad Sales.
Marketing agency CSE announced that it has signed Lindsey Harding, point guard for the Atlanta Dream and one of only two women to have her uniform number retired by Duke University. CSE will be representing Harding in all non-basketball playing contract areas including marketing, endorsements, brand building as well broadcasting, coaching and future endeavors.
NASCAR fans will determine which NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver will take the cover of the upcoming NASCAR The Game: Inside Line video game in the "Drive for the Cover" campaign. This campaign lets fans vote in a bracketed tournament that will be hosted entirely on NASCAR The Game's Facebook page. Fans can vote up to one time per day on Facebook, although voting will also be featured on each driver's Facebook page as well as their teams' and participating sponsors' Facebook pages. The tournament will last four-rounds, and seven-weeks.
The Main Event
Racing weekend. The Indianapolis 500 on ABC on Sunday at noon, followed by The Coca Cola 600 on FOX at 5:40p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
ON THIS DAY in 1935: Babe Ruth hits his last home run.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What university has a mascot named Cosmo? BYU. Kudos: J. Barry McMullin-Professional Bull Riders/NY; Noah Coslov-CineSport/NY; Matthew Nicholson-IMG/NY; Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/Orlando; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Tony Marinaro-Lin Media/New Haven; George Finkel MegaSport Productions/Myrtle Beach; Mike Donohoo-Northern Illinois IMG Sports Marketing/DeKalb; Brad Hattendorf-CBSSports.com College Network/Carslbad.
In The Know: Michigan has the largest college sports venue with a capacity of 109,901 at Michigan Stadium. Who has the second largest? ( 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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