Good morning. It's Thursday, May 31, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
After mulling an end to the NFL's Pro Bowl tradition, the league and the NFL Players Association are giving it another go. The NFL announced that the 2013 Pro Bowl will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii for the 33rd time on Sunday, January 27 on NBC at 7p. CBS will televise Super Bowl XL VII a week later from New Orleans. The 2012 Pro Bowl on NBC was watched by an average of 12.5 million viewers, the second most-watched NFL All-Star game since 2001 behind 2011’s game, which drew 13.4 million viewers.
"The players have made it clear through the NFL Players Association that they would like the opportunity to continue to play the Pro Bowl in Hawaii," said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson. "We will support the players on this initiative to improve the Pro Bowl. We have had many discussions with the players in recent years about the Pro Bowl and they recognize that the quality of the game has not been up to NFL standards. We look forward to working with the players toward the goal of improving the competitiveness of this season’s game."
On the Air
Game 2 of the 2012 Western Conference Finals on TNT between the Thunder/Spurs handed the channel with a 4.6 fast national rating, according to Nielsen with 7,299,000 viewers. That ranks as the second most-viewed and second highest-rated WCF Game 2 ever on the network. The rating continues TNT’s pace of delivering the second most-viewed and second highest-rated playoffs ever on the network. The 4.6 score is up 5% over last year’s 4.4 on ESPN. San Antonio ranked as the top-rated local market for Game 2 with a 29.4 DMA rating and Oklahoma City ranked second with an 18.0 DMA rating.
Last night saw Hornets take home the first pick in the NBA Draft due to the lottery. Second pick went to the Bobcats, while the Wizards slid to the third.
MLB Network reports that viewership for the channel’s Memorial Day weekend programming averaged 99,000 viewers in total day averages, up 38% over the same three-day period in 2011, according to Nielsen. The lineup included 30 live hours, with 15 hours of MLB Tonight and four live games, including the Yankees/Angels on Monday at 9p, which averaged 292,000 viewers.
NBC and the NBC Sports Network locked in plans for the 2012 USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship with eight hours of live programming this Saturday and Sunday from Philadelphia. Matches will air on NBC Sports Network on Saturday from 2-4:30p before transitioning to NBC from 4:30-6p. Sunday finds NBC Sports Network carrying the Semifinal matches from 2-4p with the Championship Final on NBC from 4-6p. Veteran announcer Todd Harris will handle play-by-play for all telecasts, and will be joined in the booth by Brian Hightower. Marty Snider will report all the action from the sidelines.
Ratings for Saturday night’s UFC 146 preliminary broadcast on FX drew an average audience of 1.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen. The prelims marks the fifth broadcast on FX, and have averaged 1.34 million viewers per run.
Meanwhile, FUEL TV is set to televise three live shows around UFC's The Ultimate Fighter Live Finale. Coverage begins today with the UFC Weigh-in on FUEL TV, hosted by Karyn Bryant with Rashad Evans. On Friday, FUEL TV’s carries the night’s undercard, hosted by Jay Glazer, with Evans adding analysis. Jon Anik and Kenny Florian will call the fights.
FOX Sports' Baseball Night in America this weekend will be anchored by the Yankees/Tigers with Joe Buck, Tim McCarver and Ken Rosenthal handling the microphone with the game set to air in 63% of the country. Other action will see the Reds/Astros in 16%, Cubs/Giants in 12% and Twins/Indians as well as Diamondbacks/Padres who are both in 4%.
FOX also revs up for its 2012 NASCAR finale this Sunday at 12:30p, at the Dover International Speedway. Last week’s Coca-Cola 600 actually scored a 4.4 on the channel according to fast national data, which is higher than previously reported, with 7.4 million viewers.
2010 U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell will join host Gary Williams on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive this week as a guest host on Thursday and Friday as part of the show's expansion to seven days this week.
NCAA and Turner Sports have given BTN and BTN2Go the rights to air all of the Boilermakers’ games in the 2012 NCAA Baseball Tournament’s Gary (Ind.) Regional with the first game slated for Friday at 8p. On Saturday, BTN will televise Purdue’s second game, which will be against Kent State or Kentucky in either the winners' or losers' bracket, given the double-elimination nature of the regionals.
Comcast Sports Net Mid-Atlantic named Tarik El-Bashir as Redskins Insider where he will lead coverage of the Washington Redskins across Comcast SportsNet's digital media platforms and serve as a contributor for the network’s news and entertainment programs. El-Bashir will offer daily Redskins news, analysis and features to CSNwashington.com, including its Redskins Talk blog, and across the network's mobile and social media platforms as well as make appearances on the network's daily news and entertainment shows.
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Sponsorship & Promotion
General Motors is revving up for a marketing deal between Chevrolet and the Manchester United soccer club, according to the AP. The reports state that the company has slated a press conference with the club on today in Shanghai, while GM's head of marketing will announce a ''global sports marketing initiative'' in Detroit on Thursday morning. Earlier this month, the company announced it would not advertise in next season’s Super Bowl due to a price increase by CBS.
That pullout hasn't stemmed Super Bowl buys, however. Ad Age reports that CBS has sold 50% of its ad inventory for the 2013 broadcast of the game and could reach 80% in the next few weeks.
WGN Sports announced a "first-ever" giveaway promotion involving a Chicago major league baseball team that will give e away tickets every inning through Labor Day. The promotion starts with the White Sox game vs. Tampa Bay and will feature the channel giving away four tickets per inning for a total of almost 700 tickets to see a White Sox game at U.S. Cellular Field. Overall, 19 White Sox games will be broadcast on WGN-TV between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
PGATour.com is offering exclusive online and mobile streaming coverage of the2012 Memorial Tournament through its signature LIVE@franchise starting today and running through Sunday, June 3, from 11a-6p. Coverage will provide fans with online viewing of all four rounds of the par-3 12th hole and par-5 15th hole.
The Main Event
Spurs/Thunder on TNT at 9p.b02f1ff00 00000000009001000000000440002243616c6962726900000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000040000002d010100040000002d0101000
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
ON THIS DAY in 1985: The New Orleans Saints are sold for $70,204,000.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Two number one picks in the history of the NBA Draft came from UCLA. Name one. Answer: Bill Walton & Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) Kudos: J. Barry McMullin-Professional Bull Riders/NY; Bob Melvin-NBC Sports Group/NY; Joe Isabella-WCBS-TV/NY; Phyllis Starsia-Tangible Media/NY; G. David Brown-FOX Sports Carolinas/Charlotte; Larry Kahn-Golf Channel/Orlando; Barry Abrams-ESPN/Bristol; Art Salisch-SMR/New Jersey; Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville; Frank Forgey-Missouri Broadcasters Association/Jefferson City; Mike Patterson-Turner Digital/Chicago; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Larry Meyers-Time Warner Cable Sports/LA; Steve Hirsen-Director/Sherman Oaks; Valerie Tucker-VALJTUC Management/Garden Grove; Susan Torrey-New Day Marketing/Santa Barbara.
In The Know: Who was the only top NBA draft pick to come from Louisville? (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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