Good morning. It's Thursday, August 2, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
With the London Olympics continuing to outpace Beijing in the ratings, NBC executives told analysts on Wednesday that despite initial projections anticipating a financial loss on the London Games, the broadcaster now expects to break even financially. NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke stated that the company is way ahead of their initial projections, and instead of the expected 20% ratings drop versus 2008, NBC's ratings gains allow the company to open up ad inventory that will pull budgets out of the red.
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On the Air
Tuesday night's primetime coverage kept rolling for NBC, drawing a 21.8/35 national rating/share to mark the highest-rated night in any Summer Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Games. 38.7 million viewers watched the events, and the 21.8 rating was 9% higher than the first Tuesday night of the Beijing Olympics. Through five days, 168.1 million Americans have watched the Olympics on the NBCUniversal networks and the five-night average household rating of 19.5/33 marks the highest for any non-U.S. Summer Olympics through the first Tuesday since the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Top markets so far include Salt Lake City with a 27.1/48, followed by Kansas City, Denver, Milwaukee and San Diego.
Most watched moments from Tuesday's prime time Olympics coverage according to TiVo:
1. McKayla Maroney in the finals of women's gymnastics team event
2. Gabrielle Douglas on the uneven bars
3. Michael Phelps wins a silver in the men's 200m breaststroke
4. Russia's Anastasia Grishina loses her balance in a floor exercise in the middle of her routine
5. Women's Gymnastics Team USA watches the scoreboard to see whether they took home the gold
Around the dial on Telemundo, coverage of the first three days of the 2012 London Olympics bested the 2008 Beijing Olympics audience delivery with 69% growth in total viewers and 58% among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen. Overall, the Telemundo Olympic broadcast delivered a total cumulative viewership of 9.4 million viewers for the first three days, up 12% from the first three days of the Beijing Olympics. Locally, Telemundo's Houston and San Francisco stations reported an overall growth of 310% and 547% among adults 18-49, respectively, compared to the first three days in 2008.
CBC/Radio-Canada are taking the Olympics back, snagging broadcast rights to the 2014 and 2016 Games in a deal with the IOC. CBC has broadcast the Olympics on 19 different occasions, most recently during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.
ESPN, ESPN2 and Longhorn Network will combine to televise 34 regional games of the 2012 Little League World Series. The regional games will lead into ESPN's multiplatform coverage of the Little League World Series from Williamsport, Pa. from Aug 16-26. ESPN's regional coverage will begin with 12 Southwest region games on Longhorn Network Aug. 3-6 before ESPN and ESPN2 combine to televise the remaining 22 regional games Aug. 7-12. Danny Graves will serve as a guest analyst for all Longhorn Network telecasts, working alongside Tommie Hart. In addition, former Major League catcher Paul Lo Duca will return for his second year of Little League coverage, working as an analyst for ESPN's Bristol-based regional games with Karl Ravech.
The Breeders' Cup and HRTV announced a multi-year media rights agreement that will make HRTV the official simulcast partner of the Breeders' Cup World Championships as well as the preferred Horse Racing Network provider of the event. As a part of the agreement, HRTV will produce and simulcast the Breeders' Cup Players' Show airing all 15 Breeders' Cup races live to off track wagering sites around the globe, and streaming them live on HRTV.com and breederscup.com. HRTV will also televise all of the Breeders' Cup races, with the exception of the Breeders' Cup Classic, which will be carries by NBC. NBC Sports Network will also televise live 14 Breeders' Cup races.
How does FOX Sports top the famed Catcher Cam, Diamond Cam and Gopher Cam? For the UFC, the company will introduce Ref Cam to UFC fans on Saturday at 8p as part of the two-hour broadcast. During Saturday's broadcast, the lens will be placed at the top button of the referee's shirt.
Pac-12 Enterprises locked in an agreement with Frontier Communications to carry the Pac-12 Networks for customers in the Pacific Northwest. The new networks, consisting of one national and six regional channels, launch on August 15.
Outdoor Channel HD will be launching in Utah via Comcast's XFINITY TV, according to the company. Effective immediately, the channel will become available to subscribers in the Salt Lake City, Provo, Sandy, Ogden, Logan, Park City, Utah markets, in addition to other regions throughout the Beehive State.
We've sold out! Join your colleagues in NYC on August 9 for the Sports Media Awards Breakfast! View finalists & register to attend: http://ow.ly/bObiI
CSE President, Marketing Adam Zimmerman is in London to the Olympic Games for the next week and is sharing his daily perspective of the events from a business perspective for Cynopsis Sports. Here is a portion of his first entry, which can be read in its entirety here...
My trip to Olympic Park left me dazed, somewhat perplexed. The park wasn't open to the public. Ordinary Britons view the Games as "something that happens in Stratford" i.e. - something foreign, something outside the reach of ordinary Britons.
It seems a miss to not have public events. Conventional post 9/11 wisdom would hold that large public events are to be avoided, but something is lost by not allowing everyday citizens access to the inspiration that is the Games. I have the distinct impression that the Games are something "other" for the average Londoner. The rest of the city seems reflective of this- the popular and populated neighborhoods of Soho, Covent Garden and Kensington are devoid of activation- it is almost as if the Olympics are taking place elsewhere.
Activation is stunning on the tube (London system). Sponsors have fully utilized the opportunity to market to the thousands who will take the transit system. A standout for me today was PowerAde's ad which incorporated clever LED usage- mimicking a can being sipped- and the signage reflecting the intake of liquid.
Read the rest on his Olympics entry at Cynopsis.com.
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Sponsorship & Promotion
Yesterday ESPN launched the newest spots for the "It's Not Crazy, It's Sports" campaign, with the promos exploring the trend of sports-themed funerals and expressions of fandom postmortem. Errol Morris was commissioned for the project, which includes 15, 30 and 60-second "trailers", as well as a short documentary about the phenomenon. Wieden + Kennedy NY serves as the creative agency for the campaign.
Gearing up for college football season, The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), a division of IMG College, and NCAA Football announced the launch of Pledge Your Allegiance for College Colors Day, an inaugural national spirit competition that will be powered through ESPN.com. The website-based rivalry competition includes 165 participating colleges and universities went live yesterday will run through the entire month leading up to College Colors Day on August 31. The winning institution will be crowned winner of the College Colors Day Spirit Cup and will receive $10,000 toward its general scholarship fund.
USC Athletics locked in a deal with JetBlue Airways to become the Official Domestic Airline Partner of the Trojans. The multi-year agreement kicks off with the 2012-'13 academic year and will include all 21 USC Division I teams. The agreement was facilitated by USC Sports Properties, the Fox-owned sales unit, which manages the marketing and media rights on behalf of USC Athletics. Featured elements of the deal include a presenting sponsorship of select USC football and men's basketball games, the creation of new "JetBlue luxury seats" in the LA Memorial Coliseum and signage at LA Memorial Coliseum (Football), Galen Center (Basketball/Volleyball), Dedeaux Field (Baseball), and McAlister Field (Soccer).
SOUL Electronics tapped Tim Tebow to serve as its new brand ambassador where he will be featured in the company's "SOUL of Greatness" video series and campaign as well as represent the brand during various events throughout the year.
Sportsman Channel agreed to a multiplatform sponsorship with Dick's Sporting Goods. The new agreement kicks off in full this fall.
Google+ is partnering with the NFL to bring the company's Hangout video chats to the league's fantasy football platform where fantasy rivals can now stare down their opponents during the draft as well as brag about big performances throughout the season. According to the company, any fantasy league set up through NFL.com/fantasy page will have access to a Google+ Hangout button that will be integrated on the team page and can launch the group into video chat mode.
The Main Event
Gymnastics awards its all-around women's Olympic champion on NBC at 8p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1992: Jackie Joyner-Kersee wins another gold in the heptathlon.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What American holds the Olympic record in the 400 meters men's event? Michael Johnson. Kudos: Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; David Hauptman/Denver; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Ryan Hayden-UTA/Beverly Hills; Lila Brown-Ella Bee Media Group/North Hollywood; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.
In The Know: The last time any quarterback was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, two players at the position were inducted. Who were they? (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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