A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM GOLTV
Good morning. It's Monday, September 24, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
What was once an editorial add-on is now a full-blown mission for International Business Times, which recently announced that beta release of its new online platform SportsNet. The newly launched site is looking to generate a media hub for "fans and experts around the world to contribute on any sports related topics" while allowing fans around the world to interact. Taking advantage of the recent success in user-contributed content from a dedicated sports fanbase, the company is now looking to broaden its coverage on a global scale while utilizing local passions.
Cynopsis Sports recently spoke with Johnathan Davis, Co-founder and Chief Content Officer of IBTimes to look at the company's move toward sports, how it fits in to the overall readership of the organization and what makes it different from other sites.
Davis on the decision to launch SportsNet: We've been looking to broaden our coverage since 2010/2011 which included building a de facto sports vertical inside of our newsroom. Our editors have been doing a great job and they've been covering things that people care about. In particular, we honed in on things that the fans care about such as who was going to be traded as opposed to just giving the scores. That mentality got a lot of passionate people to the website, and the comments and activity on our articles was disproportionate in some ways. So we thought this could be a great opportunity for us to build a great platform and let fans engage among themselves and put out their perspective on how they see the games, players and sports in general. From there, SportsNet was born.
On the state of the site: We built this platform and it is in its first days right now. We are getting feedback already that we will use improve it and add more features but from a 30,000 feet perspective it is basically a platform where fans can come, find each other, engage and interact with other passionate people and do it on a global scale. The NFL is obviously hot in the United States, but last month the Olympics were hot and we are seeing a lot of interest in European soccer and F1 racing.
On the mission: The goals are for it to be as broad and well-entrenched as possible. We have about 400 contributors and there are different levels of contributors for the site. But even at 400, we are still just getting started. We are looking to go deep inside all the different topics that people are interested in whether it is a team, league or even along the lines of sports sponsorships.
On how the global aspect differentiates the site from competitors: There's a few aspects in our minds of how its unique. The IBTimes has been around six years and we've been able to garner a global readership for the business reporting that we are doing. We are looking at about 13 million readers right now at IBtimes.com and when we launched this, we had that international momentum already moving. We picked up in the US as expected. We are also seeing strong pickups in the international community such as Europe. There is a lot going on in the soccer world and they are striking a vein that maybe wasn't being met beforehand. Our own reporters can only cover so much and so the fans are able to report in from their own market and discuss trades and news. We also have a very strict process to bring in writers but what we get in the end is a high-quliaty user-generated platform.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
On the Air
The walls finally came crumbling down as NFL Network reached multi-year agreements with both Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to bring carriage of NFL Network and the NFL RedZone channel to their subscribers. Both channels debuted in Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks homes on Sunday with full launch set to be completed before Thursday. The two MSOs are major cable providers in the home markets for 12 NFL teams (Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Kansas City, New York Giants, New York Jets, San Diego and Tampa Bay). For Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, NFL Network will be available on the Digital Basic and Sports Pass tiers while NFL RedZone will be available to Sports Pass customers.
Speaking of MSOs, DISH Network resolved its differences with BTN and announced a multi-year agreement with FOX, a part owner of Big Ten Network, on Saturday for the rights to broadcast Big Ten Network. The contract had expired on September 14 and carriage resumed in time for Saturday's games. In a statement, BTN executives said, "We're pleased that both sides could eventually come together, and we thank fans for their patience."
Following the most-watched Thursday Night Football season opener in NFL Network history, Thursday night's Giants/Panthers game was watched by an average of 7 million viewers on the channel, which doesn't include over-the-air stations in New York and Charlotte. The game averaged a 4.6 household rating to mark the fifth-highest rated game in the seven seasons of TNF and making it the No. 1 program on cable television for Thursday, September 20. Facing a blowout, however, that viewership was down from 8.6 million the previous week.
FOX Sports foray into the backstage world of soccer paid off as Being: Liverpool handed the channel with a 1.1/2 household rating/share, with an average audience of 1.6 million viewers last week. That score is up 10% over last year's 1.0/2 for a same-day encore airing of a Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea. Because of the success of the docu-series, Sunday afternoon showings have now been added to the schedule going forward as the series shifts to its home on FOX Soccer.
The NHL and NHL Players' Association are set to meet face-to-face today, although a new collective bargaining agreement won't be on the agenda, according to the AP. Instead the two sides will review the accounting for last season's hockey-related revenue when they meet in Toronto. This will mark the first time they've met since Sept. 12.
Meanwhile, with NHL players inking deals with Russian league KHL during the lockout, the organization announced on its website that the UFA Sports agency, which acts as the KHL's marketing service partner in nations outside the League's borders, has is receiving interest among North American TV companies looking to broadcast matches in the KHL Championship, mainly the games that involve Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeny Malkin, Sergei Gonchar and other NHL stars.
Comcast SportsNet Houston announced Tiffany Blackmon, Marius Payton, and Leila Rahimi have joined the network to serve on the broadcast team. Blackmon joins from NBC affiliate KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City. Payton joins Comcast SportsNet Houston from the Mountain West Sports Network, while Rahimi was most recently the on-field reporter for San Diego Padres broadcasts on Fox Sports Net.
MSG Networks is launching a new hockey series this fall dubbed The Essential Games that will look back at the Rangers and Devils 2011-12 seasons. The 12-part series will premiere on MSG tonight at 8p with the first Rangers episode. The Rangers' series will feature Joe Micheletti and John Giannone while the Devils' lineup will feature Steve Cangialosi and Glenn "Chico" Resch.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Sponsorship & Promotion
The Sacramento Kings are hurting for sponsors. Local station CBS 13 reports that the NBA team is losing almost half of the team's sponsors including one-time stalwarts such as Carl's Jr. The Maloofs, who own the team, are reportedly now offering companies one-year sponsorship deals, with no long-term commitments.
MLB took questions of who is in and who is out to a new level heading to the post-season. The league reports that the @MLB handle picked up an estimated 10,000 new followers on Twitter following stunt that seemingly threatened to make the official account private. The league began posting #MLBMembersOnly early last week before warning people on Thursday "follow @MLB... while you still can." Less than an hour later, MLB's Twitter account went private and the league's Tweets could only been seem to its 2.4 million followers. The news made #MLBMembersOnly a trending topic throughout the day. Of course, six hours later the account went public again, mission completed.
MLB also announced that with the release of iPhone 5, MLB.com At Bat will now be available for a one-time price of $3.99 for the rest of the season. The app is already nearing the six million download mark for the season.
The Main Event
Packers visit the Seahawks on MNF on ESPN at 8:30p.
ON THIS DAY in 1982: Tennis great Bjorn Bork retired at the tender age of 26.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What longtime NFL player was a "pawn in game of life" in the movie Blazing Saddles? Alex Karras. Kudos: Lew Blaustein-Lewis Brand Solutions, Inc./NY; David Tratner-Rodale Inc. Active Living Group/NY; Barry Katz-NEP/NY; Roger Furman-Voodoovox/NY; Bob Scanlon-Velocity Network/Silver Spring; Ged Young-GC Marketing LLC/Garden City; Brad Stern-Mobileye, Inc./Jericho; Jon Latzer-CineSport/New Jersey; Chuck Gordon-WABM-TV/Birmingham; Pam Tierney-Actress/VO/Chicago; John Kukla-KDFW/Dallas; Will Allmendinger-Captivate Network/Chicago; Lucie Prann-The Richards Group/Dallas; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Gareth Provan-Opening Act/West Hollywood; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc./Santa Monica; Jack Simmons-Fox Sports/LA; Christopher M. Montgomery-MGM Studios/Beverly Hills.
In The Know: What NFL player ended the playing career of Joe Theismann? (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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