Good morning. It's Friday, August 19, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
National networks are in line to broadcast 178 NHL games for the upcoming season. The NBC Sports Group will open the year, the first under the new 10-year partnership, with 100 regular-season games across NBC and VERSUS/NBC Sports Network. The lineup includes expanded cable coverage, with games on Wednesday and Sunday nights, as well as live 30-minute pre- and post-game shows for every game on VERSUS. NBC is also gearing up to launch a new tradition the day after Thanksgiving airing a Bruins/Red Wings game at 1p, marking the earliest a game has appeared on NBC since the lockout. Boston and Philadelphia are tied for the most scheduled appearances on the two platforms with 13, while Pittsburgh, Detroit and Chicago are set to appear 12 times. Not coincidentally, the broadcast season opens on Oct. 6 on VERSUS with the Bruins hosting the Flyers.
NHL Network will run 78 games, mostly on Thursday and Saturday nights. In Canada, TSN will air 77 games, TSN 2 offers 74 and CBC will televise 109.
On the Air
Fox Sports officially in the octagon with UFC yesterday, announcing yesterday that they were bringing the popular MMA programming to FOX as well as FX and FUEL TV. Under terms of the seven-year deal, four live UFC fights a year will be shown on FOX (beginning Nov. 12 at 9p) with 32 on FX. The FX programming will include 24 live fights tied to two seasons of UFC's reality show "The Ultimate Fighter," which is undergoing format changes. Additional programming launches January 2012 and is set to include live fights, pre and post shows on FUEL TV, countdown shows, UFC Unleashed, UFC Primetime, the UFC Knockout series, Best of Pride, as well as weigh-in specials and more.
ESPN and the Southeastern Conference unveiled their full 2012 men's college basketball regular-season schedule for the ESPN family of networks with 91 games set to run across its platforms. Conference games are set to run beginning Jan 7 with Florida visiting Tennessee on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com.
The 2012 London Olympics BMX track will make its broadcast debut when NBC Sports presents the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup Series this Sunday at 3:30p. The track runs about 450m long and is located in the north of the Olympic Park in East London. There is an eight-meter high ramp at the beginning of the track, followed by several different jumps, tight corners, and other obstacles. Calling the action in London for NBC will be Todd Harris and Allen Bestwick.
The 2011 GEICO ESPN High School Football Showcase is set to spotlight 16 televised games on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU beginning Sept. 2 at 8p when ESPNU televises an out of state game between 2010 Louisiana State Champion, Evangel Christian at 2010 Oklahoma State Champion, Union. The 15 games selected for the 2011 Showcase will feature 30 teams from 13 states.
Oceanic Time Warner Cable is launching a channel dedicated to University of Hawaii athletics and other local content. OC Sports will become the first regional sports network devoted to a specific university's athletic program, presenting live telecasts of University of Hawaii sports as well as an expanded menu of repeat telecasts throughout the year and will kick off of today with coverage of the University of Hawaii's women soccer team's opener against Washington State
HITS, Inc. is entering a multi-year partnership with HRTV and A Good Show to bring coverage of the 2011 Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix and other competition to broadcast television. As part of the deal, HRTV and A Good Show will also provide a free, live webcast of the second-annual Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix and first-ever Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final on Sunday, Sept. 11.
The NFL preseason is showing that the lockout didn't appear to affect fan interest with most channels finding gains over 2010. Through two games, ESPN is up 3% in households for a 3.1/5 over 2010 with 4.7 million viewers. NFL Network's Green Bay/Cleveland game on Aug. 13 scored gains with a 67% jump to a 1.0/2. Fox's coverage of the Buccaneers/Chiefs blowout suffered with a 19% dip to a 3.7/7 but still delivered the network with its highest-rated and most-watched Friday night since January's Cotton Bowl.
The debut of English Premier League Soccer over the weekend saw four matches on FOX Soccer grow 12% in total viewers compared to last year. Among key male demos, the M18-34 rating doubled 2010 and the M18-49 rating grew 85
Sponsorship & Promotion
Universal movie Fast Five is taking the title sponsorship for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday, September 16 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race, dubbed the "Fast Five 225," serves as a promotion for the movie's Blu-ray and DVD release in October. The movie's stars Tyrese Gibson and Jordana Brewster will serve as Grand Marshalls for the event.
The U.S. Olympic Committee is undergoing a rebrand of sorts, unveiling a new logo, and new campaign beginning with the USOC's Facebook page with the tagline "The team behind the team." The campaign was developed by Young & Rubicam
ESPN is tapping foursquare in a new deal between the two companies to deliver sports venue data to the social company's newly launched Events platform. As part of the experience, foursquare will now feature game time, teams, venue, location information and more when users check in as well as the ability to access ESPN news and info about the game.
The Main Event
Indians/Tigers look good tonight on MLB at 7:05. Saturday's Saints/Texans game on NFL Network should have some offensive firepower at 8p and Sunday Night Football opens at 8p featuring Chargers/Cowboys.
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ON THIS DAY in 1957: MLB's NY Giants vote 8-1 to move their franchise to San Francisco.
Answer to Yesterday's Sports Trivia Question: From which school was Trent Dilfer drafted? Fresno St. Kudos: Michael Jaquet - CBS Sports Network/NY; Patrick Mauro - Wieden + Kennedy/NY; Keith Marder - Halstead Property/NY; Kurt Lundberg - Ogilvy/NY; Jamie Raybon - Time Warner/Dallas; Paul Gygli - NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City; Tony Rice - Skipping Stone/LA; Jeff Cvengros - Triage Entertainment/LA; Paul Barrere - Telerep/LA
In The Know: What NHL goalie boasts the most all-time wins? (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 Cyn opsis | Sports
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