Good morning. It's Thursday, June 21, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
BCS conference commissioners appear to have finalized a plan for a four-team college football playoff, and will recommend a seeded format that includes the best four teams as chosen by a selection committee, according to CBSSports.com. The plan will now be taken to university presidents and the Presidential Oversight Committee will review the plan on Tuesday in Washington D.C.. The playoff would be slated to start after the 2014 regular season. Reports state that the selection committee would give more weight to conference champions in the decision-making process. The commissioners prefer to play the semifinals around New Year's Day within the current BCS bowl sites with the championship game played less than two weeks later on the Monday after the NFL wildcard round.
On the Air
Game 4 of the NBA Finals scored a 12.4 overnight rating on ABC, according to Nielsen, to mark the highest rating since 2004 and the second-highest Game 4 ever for the network. That mark is up 12% over last year with the game peaking at a 16.3 rating from 11:30 to 11:45p. Through four games, the 2012 NBA Finals is averaging an 11.6 overnight rating, also the highest since 2004, and up 6% from 2011. In Oklahoma City, Game 4 scored a 49.1 rating, the highest for an NBA game ever in the market. Miami saw a 34.6 rating. The series continues with a potential series clincher Game 5 on Thursday at 9p on the channel.
NBC Sports Group reports that the Final Round of the US Open ranked as the most-watched since 2008, averaging 9.6 million viewers for a gain of 30% over last year, per Nielsen. In addition, round three averaged 7.6 million for a boost of 65% over 2011 and marking the best numbers in a decade. In addition, Golf Channel's news coverage of the championship, highlighted by its signature series Live from the U.S. Open, produced the most-watched U.S. Open Week in the channel's 17-year history.
With 24 matches of the group stage of the UEFA European Football Championships 2012 under its belt, ESPN reports that its live English-language coverage of the event is averaging 784,000 households and 1,002,000 viewers, for markups of 79% and 82%, respectively, compared to the group stage matches the last time around in 2008. Overall, the most-watched match was a 1-1 tie in Group C between Spain and Italy on Sunday, June 10 with an average audience of 2.113 million viewers. The top 10 metered markets through the stage include: New York (1.6), Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (1.6), Providence (1.3), Los Angeles (1.2), Washington, DC (1.2), Richmond, Va. (1.1), Atlanta (1.1), San Francisco (1.0), Jacksonville (1.0), and Austin, Texas (1.0).
BTN will offer a preview of the NBA Draft tonight at 9p, with a special edition of the Big Ten Basketball Report. Dave Revsine and Jim Jackson will host the show.
Interleague play on FOX is set to wrap up this weekend with primetime coverage of Baseball Night in America on Saturday at 7p, anchored by the Subway Series between the Yankees and Mets. During the Yankees/Mets broadcast from Citi Field, Charlie Sheen is slated to visit Joe Buck and Tim McCarver in the broadcast booth. The game will be carried in 38% of the country. Other games on the docket include Braves/Red Sox in 15%, Brewers/White Sox in 15%, Dodgers/Angels in 14%, Nationals/Orioles in 8% and Giants/Athletics in 9%.
Canada may finally receive the MLB Network. According to multiple reports, Rogers Communications applied to the federal broadcast regulation body to bring the channel up north where is could be available in time for the start of the 2013 season.
SPEED has agreed to an eight-episode deal taking viewers inside the Level Cross, N.C., race shop that now builds custom cars for clients, including A-list celebrities, with Modern HotrodZ, which is set to debut in late 2012.
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Sponsorship & Promotion
Total advertising expenditures in the first quarter of 2012 increased 2.6% over year ago numbers, according to data released by Kantar Media, with sports again carrying year-to-year growth. The reports states that sports programming "was the engine behind year-over-year gains" of 7.4% in cable TV and 7% in network TV spending, with over two-thirds of the dollar volume growth coming from sporting events anchored by the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament as well as the NFL post-season.
Bridgestone is dropping its sponsorship of the Super Bowl Halftime Show, restructuring its deal with the NFL to spread its advertising throughout the season and maintaining its moniker as the "official tire" of the league.
The UFC and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the first annual International Fight Week that will center around UFC 148 from July 3 through July 7. Dubbed "the ultimate week-long experience for UFC fans," the event will feature the largest ever gathering of fighters and unprecedented access to UFC stars, the biggest UFC Fan Expo ever, open workouts with UFC 148 fighters, pool parties and pub crawls hosted by fighters and Octagon Girls, as well as a concert and UFC 148.
The country's top lumberjack competition, the 2012 U.S. Championships of the Stihl Timerbersports Series will honor the 50th anniversary of the United States Navy SEALs on Sunday, June 24 at 4p on Outdoor Channel. Marketing agency CSE developed and executed the tribute and reunited nine original Navy SEALS from Team ONE and Team TWO at the Championships held in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Less than three weeks before first pitch of Major League Baseball's 83rd Mid-Summer Classic, which takes place on July 10 at 7:30p on FOX, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is on pace to break Jose Bautista's 7.4 million single-season balloting record from last year, in balloting. Hamilton is currently around 2 million votes under the mark. Fans can vote online via www.allstargame.com.
The Main Event
Game 5: Thunder/Heat on ABC at 9p.
ON THIS DAY in 2002: Lennox Lewis retains boxing's WBC Heavyweight crown with a knockout over Mike Tyson in the eighth round.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What NFL player holds the record for most points scored in a season? LaDainian Tomlinson. Kudos: Terence Gaffigan-MSG Media/NY; Bob Melvin-NBC Sports Group/NY; Jon Clateman-Clato Productions/Port Washington; Michael Goodman-Radio One/Atlanta; Jon Latzer-CineSport/South Hackensack; George Finkel-MegaSport Productions/Myrtle Beach; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.
In The Know: What athlete won nine gold medals spanning every Summer Olympics from 1984-96? (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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