Good morning. It's Monday, June 11, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
A league that once produced stars ranging from Hershel Walker and Jim Kelly to Reggie White and Steven Young made headlines months ago when it was announced that the USFL was on the cusp of returning to the field. The league, which originally ceased operations in 1987, is taking a different tact this time around, with new owners from EndZone Sports Management who are looking to work with the NFL by developing players instead of competing against it.
EndZone Sports Management President & CEO Jaime Cuadra spoke with Cynopsis Sports about the league's return, how the company plans to succeed where others have failed, and the lasting legacy of the USFL.
Cuadra on the decision to bring back the USFL: I think about that every day. It is a daunting task, it's not something that is easily put together. I've always been a huge football fan, I've been watching and following all of these leagues that failed or struggled to stay alive, so we sat down in August of last year and figured out how to do this. At the end of the day for me, it's to put together something that lasts and has a national footprint. So we created EndZone Sports and acquired the rights from the individual who had purchased it a few years ago. The deal was struck in December and then we started to put together our team that we thought could do this. So it was about the desire to do something that would have a national footprint and leave a legacy in sports.
On creating fans and driving a passion for the game: The sports content landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years. The vehicles we have today that allow us to get to the fan on almost a one-on-one basis is tremendous compared to the past. So what we're planning on doing is be innovative in the game. That doesn't mean we want to change the rules of the game, it means how we are going to interact with the fan and what we can do to bring the fan back into the game, let them know that they own it and that this is their league. So we are doing from the beginning is to do all we can form the social media aspect, and then be smart about how we parcel out the content. We're putting together a team of people that will study that and really give us a best approach on how we take advantage of all those platforms. But initially it's about connecting with all of those fans that are out there, so them a little bit about what the old league was about and give them a look at what we're doing and how we are doing it.
On the history of the USFL: A lot of people remember the Steve Youngs and Hershel Walkers and Jim Kellys and all of those guys, but the guy that I think epitomizes what we plan to do when we reincarnate the USFL is Sam Mills. There's a guy who was 5' 9" who probably had no business playing the NFL, but because of the USFL and what people were able to see him do there, they took a chance on him and he was able to come and play for the Saints.
On the road ahead: Our franchises will become official prior to September 1. We are in the process of vetting some potential team owners right now. That process has to be very detailed because we want to make sure that every owner that we bring into the league is one that can sustain a three to five year commitment. We don't want to see a team come in for a year and then fade out because they didn't have the capital, they will have be able to sustain some losses in the first two or three years. One of the things we are doing is trying to be very good in our business model in order to have these guys be successful and at least know what they are getting into.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM THE CITY OF HOPE NESVIG GOLF CLASSIC
On the Air
Game 7 delivers for ESPN. Saturday night's NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 7, which saw Miami advance to the NBA Finals, scored a record 9.1 overnight rating, according to Nielsen, to mark the highest rating for an NBA game ever on cable. The contest peaked with an 11.9 rating from 10:45p to 11p quarterhour. Thus far, the 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN have drawn the three highest overnight ratings for NBA games ever on cable, with a 9.1 (Game 7); 8.2 (Game 6) and 7.9 (Game 4). In Boston, the game saw a 21.7 rating, while Miami saw a 25.0 score. The Finals on ABC begin Tuesday, June 12, at 9p pitting the Heat and Thunder with Mike Breen serving as the voice of The Finals along with analyst Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Doris Burke.
The sudden scratch of I'll Have Another from the Belmont Stakes may have felt like a sucker punch to NBC, but the channel still managed to rise over last year's numbers. In fact, overnight ratings were up 13% over 2011 numbers, according to Nielsen, to a 5.4 and 13 share. The race was also up 74% over the 2010 telecast on ABC and drew the best overnight rating for a non-Triple Crown Belmont since 2005. Top markets include Ft. Myers with an 11.2/23, followed by West Palm beach, New York, Baltimore and Orlando.
Rain delayed the conclusion of a tight Men's French Open final yesterday and play will conclude this morning on NBC Sports Network at 7a. The finale will also be streamed live to all desktops and iOS devices at NBCSports.com. Following the conclusion of the match, the entire Nadal/Djokovic will re-air on NBC Sports Network. Host Ted Robinson anchors coverage.
The Professional Bull Riders announced that MGM Grand Hotel & Casino will serve as the Official Host Hotel for the 2012 PBR Ford Tough World finals which will take place from Oct. 24-28 at the Thomas & Mack Center. Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino will host the PBR Fan Zone and Marketplace for the ninth year, featuring five days of interactive exhibits, shopping, and live entertainment.
A shocking split decision that ended Manny Pacquiao's undefeated streak on Saturday may not bring about the rematch that everyone thought. The Los Angeles Times reports that also Pacquiao has a contractual right to request a rematch against Bradley, fight promoter Bob Arum stated that ticket brokers told him they would have trouble selling seats to a Bradley rematch. "The brokers are telling us if we make a Bradley rematch, no one will go," Arum said.
ESPN Radio's third straight broadcast of the U.S. Open Championships is set to tee off Wednesday, June 13 with a one-hour preview special that will open the network's 24 hours of tournament play Thursday-Sunday. Commentators are set to include: Doug Bell, Bill Kratzert, Sean McDonough, Dennis Paulson, Bill Rosinski, Curtis Strange and Bob Wischusen. Chuck Wilson will host U.S. Open studio programming featuring a preview and Rounds 2-3-4 recaps, while Amy Lawrence will host the opening round review show. Tournament play coverage begins Thursday at 1p.
Meanwhile, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is beefing up his microphone duties, launching that weekly "Jay Cutler Show", for Chicago's ESPN 1000. The multi-year agreement will bring the quarterback to the booth between noon and 1p CT every Monday, pending the team's schedule. The show is presented by Miller Lite, which is the official beer of the Chicago Bears.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Sponsorship & Promotion
Executives for Right Guard brand and USA Basketball announced a new marketing partnership that dubs Right Guard as "the official deodorant and body wash of USA Basketball." As part of the deal, Right Guard will serve as the presenting partner of NBA TV's documentary The Dream Team, that at 9p on June 13. In addition, Right Guard will also debut a new USA Basketball-themed broadcast spot that will launch in June.
NASCAR partner American Ethanol announced a comprehensive campaign to boost awareness among NASCAR fans about the benefits of using the fuel. The campaign includes national promotion spanning June 8 through August 31, as well as paid media with Turner Sports for NASCAR on TNT and NASCAR.com, race entitlement sponsorships at Iowa Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway. In addition, RCR driver Joey Coulter will sport the American Ethanol paint scheme on the No. 22 Chevrolet in the Camping World Truck Series at Iowa Speedway on July 14.
While we're talking about NASCAR, Twitter ran the company's first-ever television commercial during Sunday's 2012 Pocono 400 NASCAR race, featuring Brad Keselowski snapping a picture with his iPhone and featured the URL: Twitter.com/#NASCAR
Golf's Back9Network locked in a commercial partnership with Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio program Fairways of Life with Matt Adams that includes primary naming sponsorship during fan call-ins throughout the program. The newly dubbed Back9Network Fan Line is available weekdays, 7 - 9a. The deal also includes appearances by golf broadcaster Ben Wright, commercial units, digital banner ads and presence on the show's website homepage.
Pac-12 Enterprises is partnering with Ooyala to develop and launch the Pac-12 Digital Network, a sports entertainment network built from the ground up for integrated broadcast and broadband entertainment. The enables customers of Pac-12 Network's distribution partners to watch live content on connected devices, with TV-Everywhere authentication and marks the first time this type of technology has been designed alongside the broadcast network experience at launch which is slated for Aug. 15.
The Main Event
Nadal/Djokovic French Open Men's Final concludes on NBC Sports Network at 7a.
ON THIS DAY in 1955: A car accident at the Le Mans race kills 83 spectators.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What NBA player was known as "the Admiral"? David Robinson. Kudos: David Danowski-Fox Sports Media Group/NY; Keith Bielory-Step UP Management/NY; Rick Wiener-MediaCom/NY; Maxine Dillon-Starcom MediaVest Group/NY; Rob Thompson-Armada Group Live/Saratoga Springs; Eric Dorfschneider-AVANT~GARDE Media & Events/Short Hills; Ged Young-GC Marketing/Garden City; Robert Twilley-Jupiter Entertainment/Knoxville; David Perlmutter-MediaOcean/Chicago; Mary Ryan-Raycom Media/Dallas; Jay Goslee-Comcast Spotlight/Nashville; Dan Radman-Anheuser-Busch/St. Louis; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman-Katz Television Group/Denver; Michael Jaquet-United States Ski and Snowboard Association/Utah; Warren Weideman-Producer/LA; Justin Isham-US International Media/LA;Bob Ware-CBS Local 2/Thousand Palms; Marco Barba-AECG/Studio City; Todd Gordon-Atlas Digital/LA.
In The Know: What NBA team has the longest run without an appearance in the Finals? (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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