Good morning. It's Wednesday, September 12, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
HBO Sports and ESPN locked in a multi-year programming and marketing agreement for boxing that will include support for major pay-per-view events, including programming content, cross-promotion, and highlight packages that will be featured across multiple ESPN and HBO platforms. Content is set to include the HBO behind-the-scenes series 24/7, which will run on ESPN and ESPN Deportes leading up to PPV fights. The deal also gives ESPN and ESPN Deportes access to key content and information surrounding marquee HBO Pay-Per-View boxing events, including fighter interviews.
On the Air
The return of Monday Night Football proved to be a mixed bag for ESPN, according to Nielsen overnight ratings. The early game, featuring a Ravens blowout, drew an 8.1 overnight score for a 21% drop off from last year's Patriots/Dolphins matchup. The later game notched a 7.9 for a 3% rise over the comparable game in 2011.
With national Nielsen numbers in, NBC's Sunday Night Football ranked as the highest-rated SNF game ever and tied the 2010 NFL Kickoff opener as the highest-rated regular-season NFL game ever on the channel. In addition, the game drew NBC's highest-ever regular-season primetime rating in the advertiser-coveted Adult 18-49 demographic. In households, the game drew a 16.5/26 to best last year's Week 17 finale by 5% and was seen by 27.57 million viewers.
CBS Sports coverage of the men's championship at the US Open on Monday was seen in all-or-part by 16.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen. That figure is up 37% from 11.8 million last year and up 175% from 5.9 million viewers in 2010. The match did decline in rating, however, with a 2.3 in overnights, for a 14% dip year-to-year.
The PGA Tour Playoffs continue to score for NBC and Golf Channel. Last weekend's tournament handed NBC with the best overnight numbers since the playoffs were created, with a 2.5 household rating according to Nielsen. That score is up 150% year to year, while Saturday's 1.8 overnight rating was bumped 125%. Round one on Golf Channel rated a 1.0 with 979,000 viewers to rank as the highest-rated and most-watched round one of the BMW Championship as a PGA TOUR Playoff event, while viewership for round two was up 200% with a 1.7/1,660,000.
Telemundo revealed that Friday's broadcast of the Rumbo al Mundial World Cup qualifying match between Costa Rica and Mexico averaged 2.58 million total viewers and 1.66 million adults 18-49 according to Nielsen. The game reached a national cumulative audience of 4.86 million total viewers and allowed Telemundo to deliver its highest rated Friday night of the 2011-12 season among total viewers and adults 18-49.
YES Network's Ryan Ruocco is broadening his role for the network, and has been named host of the network's This Week in Football NFL studio show. He will also remain a part of YES' Brooklyn Nets play-by-play broadcast team. As host, Ruocco will join analysts Howard Cross, Ross Tucker and Gary Myers to offer coverage of the New York Giants, New York Jets and the rest of the NFL.
WWE's Jerry "The King" Lawler is in recovery following an on-air heart attack during a live broadcast of "Monday Night Raw." The wrestling commentator underwent CPR following his collapse and had a subsequent coronary angioplasty procedure. The company released a statement updating fans on his condition, "We are hopeful Jerry makes a full recovery and returns to WWE in the near future. Our thoughts are with Jerry and his family." WWE finished the show without announcers following the incident.
ESPN released coverage plans for the 10 races that make up the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, beginning with Sunday's GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Nine of the 10 races will air on ESPN on Sunday afternoons, with the Saturday night, Oct. 13, race at Charlotte Motor Speedway running in prime time on ABC. ESPN's telecasts will include the return of NASCAR NonStop, a split-screen commercial format designed to bring more racing action to viewers, taking place at or near the halfway point of the races.
NBC Sports Network announced that the channel will offer more college hockey games this season than ever before, adding eight games to the slate and starting two months earlier than last season. Overall, the channel will carry 24 games, including two appearances by preseason No. 1 Boston College, beginning Friday, Oct. 12 with the 16th annual Ice Breaker Tournament.
The second episode of Sports Illustrated on NBC Sports Network will run tonight at 9p, featuring stories about Daron Roberts, West Virginia University cornerbacks coach; Mike Powell wrestling coach for Oak Park and River Forest High School (Oak Park, IL) and Aazar Abdul-Raheem, Head Football Coach for Washington D.C.'s Friendship Collegiate Academy.
FOX Sports Radio and KVNS-AM announced the launch of FOX Sports 1700 AM in Brownsville, Texas. Beginning September 17, the Dallas Cowboys affiliate will air FOX Sports Radio's 24/7 line-up that includes FOX Sports Daybreak, The Dan Patrick Show, The Jim Rome Show, Loose Cannons, Petros & Money, FOX Sports Tonight and more.
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Sponsorship & Promotion
New York and Boston are set to promote the upcoming movie Knuckleball with events next week. Boston's Regal Fenway Cinema will host Knuckleball Day on Tuesday, September 18 featuring knuckleballers Jim Bouton, Tim Wakefield, Phil Niekro Charlie Hough and Wilbur Wood on hand for a Q&A with the public. In NY, the IFC Film Center will host public screenings and a Q&A with Wakefield, Bouton, Niekro and Dickey. The film follows the MLB's only knuckleballers in 2011, Boston Red Sox Tim Wakefield and New York Met R.A. Dickey.
USC Athletics and Western Dental reached a new multi-year agreement that will make Western Dental the "Official and Exclusive Dentists of USC Trojan Athletics" and make the company the official presenting sponsor of USC Athletics' "Kids Corner" program. The agreement was facilitated by USC Sports Properties, the FOX-owned sales entity which manages the marketing and media rights on behalf of USC Athletics. Sponsorship details include: on-field signage and integration into the USC School of Dentistry designed to recruit students to positions with the company.
RushCard is debuting its first Spanish-language television spot this week featuring baseball star Alex Rodriguez. The Dynasty Prepaid Visa RushCard spot features Rodriguez recalling learning from his mother - who worked two jobs to support her family - the value of working hard as a means of achieving financial stability.
FOX Sports announced that the company's online coverage of the 2012 London Summer Olympics delivered "unprecedented" traffic to FOXSports.com on MSN, according to August 2012 comScore Media Metrix reports. The digital network, which includes FOXSports.com, Yardbarker, and Scout.com among others, reached 45 million unique visitors in August 2012, to easily surpass its previous high mark of 38.8 million uniques, set in November 2011.
The Main Event
Yankees/Red Sox on ESPN at 7p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1992: Stefan Edberg bests Michael Chang in a US Open match that spans 5 hours and 26 minutes.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What NFL team originally drafted John Elway? The Baltimore Colts. Kudos: Rick Alessandri-Univision Communications Inc./NY; Rob Thompson-Armada Group/NY; Jon Miller-NBC Sports Group/NY; Ben Sturner-Leverage Agency/NY; Dave McKeand-Grab Media/Richmond; Katie Copeland-XOS Digital/Orlando; Bob Rathbun-FOX Sports/Raycom Play-by-Play/Atlanta; Will Schwarz-Pennant Productions, Ltd./Towson; Steve McNair-CBS Radio/Houston; Jamie Raybon-KTXA Television/Dallas; Kevin Van Housen-Comcast Spotlight/Chicago; Kristin Staskowski-Charter Media/Birmingham; Brian K Broughton-BET Networks/LA; Eric Vogel-PAC-12 Enterprises/San Francisco; Dave Goldstein-NFL Network/Fox/Culver City; Chris Brooklier- University of Oregon/Eugene.
In The Know: Who is the only athlete to be picked in the first round of both the NBA and MLB drafts? (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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