Good morning. It's Monday, August 20, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Turner Broadcasting's most recent purchase in the sports category is one that execs are planning to use to bolster the company across all of its divisions. The acquisition of Bleacher Report, one of the fastest-growing sports digital properties on the Internet, not only gives the company one of the most-visited sports sites online, but also a localized access point that will now serve as a home of Turner's video and news.
Turner Sports, of course, currently manages digital properties on behalf of the NBA, NCAA and PGA, oversees ad sales for NASCAR.COM and has a strategic sales relationship with Yahoo! Sports. Cynopsis Sports spokes with David Levy, President of Sales, Distribution and Sports at Turner Broadcasting about the acquisition of B/R, how it impacts the company's digital plans and when we can expect the Turner touch on the site.
Levy on the decision to buy Bleacher Report: It was really a good deal for both parties. I think both sides had needs and wants and that made it a true win-win. For us, it added a strong asset to our portfolio of leading brands and businesses. For them, it now gives them the chance to position themselves with a strong media company with huge resources, as well as a vision and commitment that will help them continue to grow. One of the most important things that will go into this is the vast amount of television exposure that will go to a brand that wasn't getting it before.
So for us, it was an important factor to have a 24-hour, seven day a week, 52 weeks a year sports platform to promote the properties that we have as well as the properties that we don't have and stay in the sports business. As people consume content on all different devices, we saw an opportunity in that Bleacher Report had a very strong broadband and consumer base online and on mobile. We like being in that area and it is a key area for us to grow.
On how the site fits with other Turner Properties: We still want to continue to grow the digital properties with our league partnerships and ventures. Where this fits in is interesting. One of the strengths of Bleacher Report is their technology and the algorithms that they have. That's something that will help not only our sports business but all of our digital businesses, whether its animation, entertainment or news. So part of the opportunity in investing and purchasing Bleacher Report was for their technology and infrastructure.
But as far as from a sports perspective, the big asset for them was their Team Stream and their localization. I gave an example with some folks a few weeks ago using March Madness as an example. On Sunday night, there's a selection show and all 68 teams get selected, at that point we would know from Bleacher Report's database, who the fans are of those 68 teams. Let's say you are a fan of Syracuse and you had signed up for Syracuse information, when Syracuse plays on opening night, and they hit a winning basket, Bleacher Report would send out an alert. So now we will be able to put the highlight in that alert and then maybe also show the post-game interview breaking down the play. We didn't have that localization previously, we didn't have that one-to-one relationship with a certain team. That is what we will now build upon.
On the future of the site: Like we've done with all of our brands and all of our partnerships, the NBA is still the NBA brand, the PGA is still the PGA brand, but where Bleacher Report will become more emphasized is that fact that it will show up on CNN, it will show up on Headline News, it will show up in our studio shows on TBS and TNT. The brand itself will be exposed in far more places than it has ever been but it will still be Bleacher Report.
On working with sponsors: Revenues to date for Bleacher Report have been small relative to where we think we can grow it. But look at what they've done without video, and without being on television and I think what they have to offer would be very attractive to advertisers. Already, the advertisers have come to this brand and accepted this brand of what it is and I think we will be able to add to it from a national perspective, from a video perspective, from a three-screen environment perspective and add the fact that you bring in our sales force that is pretty deep and wide as well as our marketing capabilities and I think you are going to see huge growth in that as well.
On the Air
NASCAR, looking to beef up its appeal across demographics, locked in a deal with Fox Deportes to broadcast 15 races on the channel beginning in February, according to The New York Times. The agreement will reportedly include the broadcast of six live races, including the Daytona 500 (which will be broadcast in Spanish for the first time ever). In order to bring Latino viewers up to speed in the sport, the channel will produce four 30-minute educational programs before the races that will "explain the sport's history, rules, drivers and culture." The network will also create weekly and daily news segments about the sport.
Univision's coverage of the international friendly between the US National Team and the Mexican National Team reached 8.1 million viewers who tuned in to all or part the broadcast. In their first friendly played in Mexico in 28 years, Univision's coverage match ranked as the top program on the night regardless of language among Adults 18-34, Men 18-49 and Men 18-34. The Wednesday game averaged 4 million total viewers, as well as 2.2 million among adults 18-49 and 1.3 million in adults 18-34.
Thursday's NFL on FOX preseason matchup between the Bengals and Falcons delivered a 3.1/5 household rating/share to the network with 4.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen. The 3.1 rating is up 15% over the first NFL on FOX preseason game a year ago, Top markets included Cincinnati with a 12.4/20, followed by New Orleans and host market Atlanta.
Canada's CRTC gave its seal of approval on Thursday for the sale of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment as well as its sports television channels to two of Canada's biggest media companies, BCE and Rogers Communications. As part of the approval, BCE and Rogers will now be required to spend $7.5 million over the next seven years to develop new sports-themed programming through Canadian independent producers. The country's federal broadcast regulator continue to press that the companies are forbidden from offering television programs on an exclusive basis to their mobile or Internet subscribers. MLSE owns the NHL's Maple Leafs as well as the Toronto Raptors basketball team and Toronto FC soccer team.
SNY announced the network's upcoming college football programming lineup, which will feature more than 350+ hours of Big East football this season, highlighted by up to 33 games. As part of its programming, SNY will also feature the 'Big East Game of the Week' which will be wrapped by pre game shows halftime shows and post game shows. The action gets underway on Thursday, August 30th at 7p with the UConn Football Preview Show, followed by the UConn/UMass football game at 7:30p. The channel's on-air talent roster will include analysts Don McPherson, Sean Mulcahy and host Jonas Schwartz
The Idaho State Board of Education voted to let the University of Idaho compete in the FCS as an independent, due to the mass defections from the WAC that will leave the team without enough schools to play. The team will now also begin discussions to join the Big Sky Conference for men's and women's basketball, volleyball, track and other Vandal teams.
The NBA announced that former league Deputy Commissioner and National Basketball Players Association executive director Simon Gourdine has passed. NBA Commissioner David Stern issued a statement the ran on the NBA site honoring his work. "Simon Gourdine made an extraordinary impact on the National Basketball Association over his nearly 20 years of service with our league. As both the NBA's Deputy Commissioner and Executive Director of the Players Association, Simon brought the same zeal, integrity and excellence that he exhibited from his days as an Assistant U.S. Attorney," Stern said. "The NBA family has lost an innovator and a great friend. On behalf of the league, I want to express my condolences to Pat, their children, David, Peter and Laura and the entire Gourdine family during this time. Simon will always be remembered by his friends at the NBA."
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CONCACAF is looking for a production company to supply all Host Broadcast services for this top tier international tournament. RFP materials can be downloaded from the following link: http://www.concacaf.com/staticFiles/9a/b7/0,,12813~178074,00.pdf
To bid must meet the following criteria:
Sponsorship & Promotion
The Army National Guard will remain a sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 NASCAR Sprint Cup team, extending its deal with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2013 season. The contract was scheduled to expire at the end of 2012, and was jeopardized by a bid to block sports sponsorships from a 2013 defense bill.
NASCAR announced that tickets are on sale for the 2012 NASCAR After The Lap fan event sponsored by Ford and Coca-Cola. The event returns to Las Vegas for its fourth consecutive year on November 29 at 5p at Planet Hollywood. ESPN pit reporter Jamie Little will host the event with fans able to interact with the top-12 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers.
ESPN is working with the Ad Council as part of FEMA's annual Ready campaign on a new PSA designed to encourage viewers to prepare for emergencies and disasters. The PSA will lead into FEMA's National Preparedness Month in September. The announcement is called Hero and calls on sports fans to be heroes to loved ones during emergencies by building an emergency kit and developing a family plan for natural disasters and emergencies.
YouTube announced stats from its streams covering the Olympics around the world, with 231 million streams watched across the US and 64 countries in Africa and Asia. 72 million total streams came from IOC YouTube Channel. In the US, YouTube powered online coverage for NBCOlympics.com, delivering more than 159 million total streams.
The Main Event
West coast battle for first as the Giants visit the Dodgers on ESPN2 at 10:10p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1920: Jim Thorpe is among the men in Canton to meet and create the American Professional Football Conference, the forerunner to the NFL.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who is the only Dodgers player to pitch a perfect game? Sandy Koufax in 1965. Kudos: Ben Sturner-Leverage Agency/NY; J. Barry McMullin-Professional Bull Riders/NY; Joe Tafuri-Tennis Channel/NY; David Kalan-NHL.com/NY; Keith Allo-Golf Channel/NBC Sports/Orlando; Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/Orlando; Juan P. Delgado-Telemundo/Hialeah; Jerry A. Kapner-Kapner Group/Montclair; Mike Patterson-Turner Digital/Chicago; Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville; Bill Goodfriend-Charter Media/St. Louis; David Hauptman/Denver; Jeff C. Fellenzer-University of Southern California/LA; Bill Phillips-Turner Broadcasting/Burbank; Michael Chavez Booth-Fleishman-Hillard/LA; RT Harris-WideOrbit/San Francisco.
In The Know: Before moving to Atlanta, the Braves were previously based in what city for 12 years? (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.)
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Later -- Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
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