Good morning. It's Wednesday, May 30, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
The NBC Sports Group rolled out coverage plans for the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals which begins tonight with Game 1 between the Eastern Conference Champion New Jersey Devils and the Western Conference Champion Los Angeles Kings at 8p on NBC. NBC will broadcast Games 1-2, as well as any potential Games 5-7, while NBC Sports Network offers coverage of Games 3-4 of the series. Each game night, NBC Sports Network will present a one-hour pre-game show beginning at 7p as well as a half-hour post-game show. Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick will handle play-by-play, with Eddie Olczyk as analyst and Pierre McGuire as the ‘Inside-the-glass’ analyst.
On the Air
DIRECTV announced that Derek Chang will depart his position as Executive VP of Content Strategy and Development at the company where he oversaw the regional sports channels as well as programming acquisition, original content, and ad sales groups. Dan York will take the spot as was previously President of Content and Advertising Sales for AT&T.
The hunt is over and the Miami Dolphins will officially become the latest team to appear on HBO’s Hard Knocks this summer. HBO announced the decision to make the franchise the focus of the seventh season of the series, which will premiere Aug. 7, with four more one-hour episodes airing on subsequent Tuesdays. Due to the lockout, the series was not produced last year but in 2010 the Jets took the spotlight on the show.
With more ratings info in the bag, Nielsen and ESPN revealed that Sunday's Indianapolis 500 had more viewers than any time since 2008. Sunday's race drew nearly 6.9 million views and a 4.34 rating, besting 2011's score of 4.03. Those numbers now rank as the most-watched Indianapolis 500 in Scott Dixon’s victory in 2008.
According to Nielsen's fast national ratings for Sunday, the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 in primetime handed FOX with 6.9 million viewers along with a 4.1 rating/6 share in households. Among adults 18-49, the race drew a 2.1 score.
Sportscaster Carlos Albert is no longer a member of the ESPN Deportes team, according to various reports. Publications such as RadioFormula state that he was let go following tweets he wrote telling soccer fans in Mexico to watch a presidential debate instead of a game on TV Azteca, although no official reason has been given for his ouster.
ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 are combining to offer a record of up to 83 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship games spanning June 1 through June 26, and wrapping up with the College World Series. This year's coverage will include as many as 14 additional games over 2011 programming plans. The schedule includes complete coverage of six Regionals, all eight Super Regionals sites and every College World Series game. ESPN3 will double its exclusive coverage from last year - its first for exclusive games - offering a possible 28 contests from five Regionals sites. ESPNU will carry up to 20 games from the Regionals and Super Regionals while ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to cover a maximum 35 games from all three rounds.
Butler is accelerating their departure for the Atlantic 10, and will now join the league a year early on July 1, 2012. The reasoning for the shift was that the Horizon League presidents favored making the university’s teams ineligible for the Horizon League's championships during the lame duck year.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Sponsorship & Promotion
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird will narrate new spots to promote ABC's coverage of the 2012 NBA Finals as part of ESPN's "A Champion Will Rise" campaign for ABC’s coverage of the 2012 NBA Finals. The spots feature the superstars giving their perspectives to footage-based spots that highlight their shared legacy as rival NBA champions. Wieden + Kennedy served as the creative agency for the campaign. The NBA Finals are scheduled to begin on ABC on June 12.
A new global survey released from market research agency Kantar, revealed that Manchester United ranks as the world's most popular soccer franchise. The study, deemed the largest soccer survey ever conducted, gathered 54,000 respondents from 39 countries around the world. The survey also found that soccer remains the world's most popular sport, with 1.6 billion followers globally.
The Harlem Globetrotters inked their largest international sponsorship deal in company history, agreeing to a partnership with Chinese company Inner Mongolia Mengniu Dairy Industry in the People's Republic of China. The two companies will partner on the the team’s year-round initiatives in China, including the upcoming multi-show China Tour, clinics in schools all throughout the country, and multiple, high-profile promotional visits. No word on if the Washington Generals found any interested parties yet.
NBC Sports Group reports that NBCSports.com's ProHockeyTalk has experienced a 140% uptick in unique visitors and a 289% in page views compared to last season.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Time Warner is in discussions to acquire the user-driven sports site the Bleacher Report. The site drew 9.6 million uniques during the previous month.
THE MAIN EVENT
Kings/Devils in Game 1 on NBC at 8p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
ON THIS DAY in 1911: The first Indianapolis 500 is run.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What two Spurs players have won the NBA MVP? David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Kudos: Rick Alessandri-Univision/NY; Gary Trenaman-MLB Network/NY; Joe Tafuri-Tennis Channel/NY; Matt Denerstein-Mindshare/NY; Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/Orlando; James Taguchi-WTVR Television/Richmond; Juan P. Delgado-Telemundo/Hialeah; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Bill Robertson-Tunheim Partners /Minneapolis; John Kukla-KDFW, KDFI/Dallas; David Hauptman-Katz Television Group/Denver; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Larry Hutchings-Retired/LA; Daniel Harrison-Level 3 Communications/LA; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA; Dave Goldstein-NFL Network/LA
In The Know: Two number one picks in the history of the NBA Draft came from UCLA. Name one. ( 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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