Good morning. It's Monday, July 30, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Last week, officials at the EA Sports Maui Invitational, operated by KemperLesnik, announced matchups and schedules for this year's tournament, which begins on Nov. 19 and features the likes of Butler/Marquette, Mississippi St./North Carolina, Texas/Chaminade and USC/Illinois for its Island matchups. All games will be carried by the ESPN networks, and look to continue what has become a long-standing tradition to the college basketball season.
Cynopsis Sports spoke with former coach and current Tournament Chairman Dave Odom about the dynamics of the event, why he wanted the position and how college basketball is changing.
On his thoughts about this year's tournament: Every year is different, some years you go in with a packed lineup, and you are playing from strength. Last year was one of those years. We knew we had a powerhouse tournament waiting for us, and it ends up with Duke and Kansas in the finals. That's what everybody wanted and that's what you got. In other years, maybe going into the tournament, the teams aren't quite as highly regarded, but you end up having a better tournament because you've got so many unknowns that rise to the top. I think that is what we've got this year. We've got a lot of teams that have marquee value, North Carolina, Texas, Marquette, Illinois, etc. These are teams that are year in, year out widely known. But when you look at each team's roster, there were some heavy losses from last year and in some cases, like Southern Cal, they didn't have a good year last year and you think they probably won't be very good this year. But what people don't know is that they had five guys out redshirting or transferring in, and they are going to have an immediate upswing in talent. Butler is in the same situation. So this is one of those years when we may not have a top five team going in, but we'll probably have a top five team coming out.
On how the tournament can build a school's brand: I talk to teams every week, in fact I talked to two teams this week that have never been to this tournament who are from separate BCS conference. They understand that it is my job to make sure that the tournament each year has a certain marquee value, but I as a tournament chairman understand that it is important to keep new blood in this event. Teams that go get a certain value out of this that they are not getting and they look and see the benefits and want a shot at it. I think as tournament chairman that they earned the right to do it. There is a fine line between just getting the marquee teams, which I think we could do every year, and spreading the wealth. When you are a team like Gonzaga and they end up winning the tournament, that helps embellish their reputation as well as the reputation of the tournament.
On why he took the job after a career as a coach: When I stepped aside from coaching, I didn't know if I'd ever be involved in basketball again but this was the first call that I received. Dave Gavitt and Wayne Duke both did unbelievable jobs as former chairmen to get this tournament going. I think Dave recommended me and I didn't know it was in the works. So they called me and asked if I would consider it. That was on a Thursday and by the next Tuesday, I had the position. For me, it was the top tournament in the country, so of course I wanted to be involved with it, and it was held in Maui. Who wouldn't want to go over there at least twice a year? I do, my wife does (which had a lot to do with it). The third thing was that it allowed me to continue to have a voice in college basketball which I love so dearly.
On the changing nature of college basketball: I think the thing that has changed the most if the recruiting that is much different now than it has ever been. The access to social media, the Internet, tweeting, those things have changed the recruitment of individuals more than any other thing. I'm not sure all of that is good. I'm more of a relationship person and when relationships are built over fax machines, computers, voice mail and the like, I'm not sure that it is good for the game. But that is where we are and we are trying to make the best of it.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
On the Air
The first night of competition from the London Olympics continued NBC's strong start to the Games, after drawing a record audience for the Opening Ceremony on Friday, Saturday delivered the channel with the most-watched opening night for a Summer Games, according to Nielsen. The channel drew 28.7 million average viewers, to best the '96 Games by more than two million viewers the 2008 Beijing Olympics by nearly five million viewers. NBC's two-day primetime average of 35.6 million viewers is also the best start to a Summer Olympics on record. Saturday's program saw a 15.8/29 national rating/share, to mark the best for a non-U.S. Summer Olympics opening night in 36 years with the rating up 14% over the equivalent night in Beijing. In other dayparts, the 9:46a-noon block was up 56% in viewers and 49% higher in rating, the Noon-6p window was scored a 9.3/23, for an increase of 20% and 19%.
According to TiVo, the top five moments on NBC's prime time broadcast on Saturday were:
1) Lochte winning the 4x100m Individual Medley over Michael Phelps
2) Jonathan Horton of the US Gymnastics team dismounts from the Pommel Horse midway through his routine
3) John Orozco's nails his Pommel Horse routine during the qualifying
4) Michael Phelp's interview after his disappointing 4th place finish
5) Sun Yang winning the 400m freestyle to become the first Chinese athlete to win an Olympic swimming event.
Up north, the broadcast consortium led by CTV drew a record Summer Olympic Games audience for Canada during the Opening Ceremony. The platforms drew an average of 6.4 million Canadian TV viewers, bested only by the opening for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The group reports that 16.6 million viewers, or half of all Canadians, watched at least part of the event.
Across the pond, the Opening Ceremonies scored as the most-watch TV program of the year in the host nation with an average of 22.4 million viewers and a five-minute peak record for BBC1 and a share of 82.5% of TV viewers in the country watching the event.
Changing subjects for the moment. NFL Network debuts its new morning series NFL AM at the crack of dawn today, starting at 6a. The premiere edition is set to include an interviews with Jets head coach Rex Ryan and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, as well as Eric Davis' top 10 storylines heading into training camps and a fantasy football roundtable. Talen will include Davis as well as Mark Kriegel, Brian Webber, Nicole Zaloumis and Steve Wyche.
Golf Channel is set to feature a reunion on Big Break Atlantis tonight at 9p, featuring the entire cast will reunite for the first time since the series concluded filming in January. The reunion will be hosted by Stephanie Sparks and Tom Abbott and take place before a studio audience at Universal Orlando CityWalk.
Apparently, Dancing with the Stars still loves its athletes. The All-Star edition of the ABC reality show will be represented by a bevy of sportspersons including INDYCAR's Helio Castroneves (who is having a pretty good racing season by the way), as well as Apolo Ohno, Emmitt Smith, and Shawn Johnson. The will join Pamela Anderson, Kirstie Alley, Kelly Monaco, Drew Lachey, Gilles Marini, Joey Fatone, Melissa Rycroft and Bristol Palin in the new season, which begins at 8p on Sept. 24.
We are virtually sold out! Join your colleagues in NYC on August 9for the Sports Media Awards Breakfast! View finalists & register to attend: http://ow.ly/bObiI.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM CABLEFAX
Sponsorship & Promotion
Procter & Gamble expects a healthy return on its Olympic sponsorship investments, according to the Business Recorder, with executives telling reporters that its 2012 participation is expected to generate $500 million in additional sales for the company over the course of the year.
Twitter announced that Friday's Olympic Opening Ceremony in London drew 9.66 million mentions on across the platform. That number is already better than the entire 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Of course, some of those Tweets may have inadvertently caused some trouble with broadcasters. (No, not Hope Solo complaining,) The IOC said that heavy social media use in London helped create GPS problems during Saturday's men's cycling road race, according to the AP, making broadcasters unable to tell viewers much information about the location and timings of riders on the 155-milecourse. An IOC spokesperson said that the service was jammed by "hundreds of thousands" of people texting and using social media.
The Main Event
Ryan Lochte hits prime time and tries to claim his 2nd gold medal of the London Olympics in the 200-meter freestyle tomorrow night on NBC at 8p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
ON THIS DAY in 1996: Carl Lewis wins his fourth consecutive long jump at age 35.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What number did Reggie Lewis wear for the Celtics? 35. Kudos: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; J. Barry McMullin-Professional Bull Riders/NY; Chris Connaughton-SEASON Sports/NY; Bob Dudelson-Trifecta Entertainment & Media/NY; G. David Brown-FOX Sports Carolinas/Charlotte; Tony Ferranti-MMSI/Warwick; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Paul Tarrants-Nashville Predators/Nashville; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Dick Murphy/Avail-TVN/LA; Mary Downey-Mary Downey Productions/Burbank.
In The Know: Dave Odom finished his coaching career at what university? (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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