Good morning. It's Monday, July 23, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Fresh off recent deals with the likes of UFC as well as schools such as UNC and Miami, NeuLion has gone for another big fish. The company announced the first ever launch of a new premium HD streaming service in China for the 2012 Olympics with China Network Television, a new media agency of CCTV. The service will leverage NeuLion's TVE technology and Video Platform infrastructure throughout the country with over 5,600 hours of live HD Olympic coverage, including a 24/7 live channel from CCTV and daily live event coverage of nine Olympic sports.
Cynopsis Sports spoke with Chris Wagner, Executive Vice President of NeuLion about the significance of the deal, doing business in China and his views on the future of sports audiences.
Wagner on the impact of the deal: China has 1.3 billion people. CCTV has the exclusive rights to the Olympics inside of China and when you have a population that size that will be broadcasting 5600 hours of programming digitally, which will be their Olympic channel, it is a big deal for us. This is also very different for their audiences because most of the video in China is free and it streams at really low bit rates, around 300 to 500 kilobits, and this is a service they will have to sign up. Post-Olympics, they will actually bring more programming through it that you will pay for and the plan is to bring more and more programing through the platform which will charge transaction fees, subscriptions fees or PPV.
On the challenges of creating a new media platform in China: China's tough. What's great about our CNTV relationships is that they have the required licenses to stream in China and to collect money in China. There's a censorship requirement that the government mandates so having CNTV helps take care of the licensing issues. I also think it's cool that third-party rights holders have an opportunity to work with CNTV and NeuLion so it's just a matter of making a business arrangement. But it becomes a platform for programming for other companies interested in bring content to China.
On trends impacting sports business: I think the speed in which people are moving to digital, which is probably twice as fast this year as it was last year. So I think there is a sense of urgency to get it done this time. Last year it was more about what the business models are going to be whereas this year it is the cost of doing business because consumers want to have access son any kind of device. Consumers want to be able to watch television on any kind of device. That trend has accelerated this year which is driving programmers to come up with TV Everywhere solutions and cable companies to come up with multi-screen services inside the house.
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On the Air
The Canadian Football League has found a new home in the US, inking a deal with NBC Sports Network that will see the channel telecast 14 CFL games in 2012, including the CFL semifinals, finals and the 100th edition of the Grey Cup. Coverage of the CFL begins Monday, Aug. 27 at 7:30p when the Edmonton Eskimos host the Toronto Argonauts and wraps up with the 100th Grey Cup on Sunday, Nov. 25 at 6p.
Univision Deportes agreed to terms to become the U.S. home of Chivas de Guadalajara, one of the most popular soccer teams in the United States and Mexico. The multi-year deal is effective as of July 2013 and includes all languages and platforms with rights to all of Chivas' Liga MX, Copa Mexico and worldwide friendlies across all platforms.
Pac-12 Enterprises locked down a long-term deal with the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) for carriage of the Pac-12 Networks. The channels, consisting of one national and six regional networks, will be available to NCTC participating members starting August 15, when the new networks launch. In addition, NCTC members will have access to all of the Pac-12 Networks live programming through TV Everywhere on the NCTC WTVE platform and other industry platforms by authenticating their service on various connected devices.
ESPN gets its turn at NASCAR on Sunday, beginning with the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to lead off the final 17 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. This year's telecasts will feature 14 set for ESPN with three Saturday night events that will air on ABC. For the final 10 races in the Chase, ESPN will bring back NASCAR NonStop, a split-screen commercial format that the company used for the first time in 2011. Coverage will feature analyst Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree and and lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick in the booth. Rusty Wallace and Ray Evernham will serve as analysts for NASCAR Countdown with host Nicole Briscoe and analyst Brad Daugherty.
Seven years after being cut from the Olympic Games, baseball and softball officials are looking to get back in, agreeing to merge into a single international federation to mount a joint bid to return, according to the AP. The two sports were last played at the 2008 Beijing Games, and the heads of the two governing bodies said on Saturday that they will now unite into the International Baseball and Softball Federation in order to increase their chances.
ESPN scored a 3.0 overnight rating for Saturday's The Open Championship, to mark the tournament's best rating since ESPN took over coverage of the event.
The premiere episode of Sports Illustrated presented by Lexus is set for tomorrow at 9p on NBC Sports Network. The first show will feature stories on Jackson's Gym, which has produced some of MMA's biggest stars, a look at the development of Oriole's pitching prospect Dylan Bundy, and an impromptu scrimmage before the Olympics pitting Michael Jordon's team against Magic Johnson's dubbed The Greatest Game Nobody Saw.
Former Mexican soccer player and manager Tomas Boy is joining ESPN Deportes as a soccer analyst where he will be a part of Futbol Picante and Los Capitanes.
The Patriots are losing a staple of the franchise with the retirement of Gino Cappelletti, aka Mr. Patriot, from the broadcast booth. Cappelletti forged a 32-year career as a color analyst.
Join your colleagues in NYC on August 9th, for the Sports Media Awards Breakfast! View finalists & register to attend: http://ow.ly/bObiI.
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Sponsorship & Promotion
NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters that team owners favored placing 2.5-by-2.5-inch sponsor patches above the heart on team uniforms in a move to bring sponsors to league uniforms. The plan still needs formal approval before going forward but the move could create at least $100 million per season for the league's 30 teams.
NASCAR announced the launch of the inaugural interactive fan event: NASCAR Contenders Live sponsored by Toyota and Sprint. The event will allow fans to interact directly with the 12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contenders at the House of Blues on Wednesday, Sept.12 at 1:30p, marking the first time the top-12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will be in one room at the same time answering fan questions.
The ACC Digital Network is launching a new partner channel on YouTube that will deliver live and on-demand video created by the digital channel. The deal marks the first and only official partnership between YouTube and a major collegiate conference so far. As part of the partnership, the ACC Digital Network will deliver twenty live events in Olympic sports with this fall's live game schedule set to be announced in the coming weeks. New to the ACC Digital Network programming line-up is a weekly live studio program on Saturdays throughout the Football and Basketball seasons.
ESPN announced that traffic continues to climb for WatchESPN and ESPN3 in June, propelled by EURO 2012, the NBA Playoffs and Finals, French Open, Wimbledon, the NCAA Baseball Championships and more. Overall, the tandem delivered 1.1 billion live minutes viewed with an average minute audience of 24,467 across computers, smartphones, tablets and Xbox.
The Main Event
Red Sox/Rangers on ESPN at 8p.
ON THIS DAY in 2009: The White Sox' Mark Buehrle becomes the 18th pitcher to throw a perfect game.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who was the last NFL player who wasn't a running back or quarterback to win the league's MVP (AP voting)? Lawrence Taylor. Kudos: Noah Coslov-Cinesport/NY; Frank Costa-CBS Sports Research/NY; Anthony C. Sedita-DISH Media Sales/NY; George Finkel-MegaSport Productions/Myrtle Beach; Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/Orlando; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.
In The Know: The Texas Rangers were originally known as what MLB franchise? (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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