Good morning. It’s Friday, December 14, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
The newest twist in the never-ending game of conference realignment was thrown down by a number of reports yesterday that the seven Catholic basketball members of the Big East Conference had enough and were about to take their ball elsewhere. Barring a change of heart, the reports state that Villanova, Georgetown, Marquette, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Providence, and DePaul had all but decided to break away from the conference and would instead form a new group of schools with similar vision. If it does go through, settlement terms to be discussed include the use of the Big East label, tournament payout credits, and potential reimbursement to incoming, remaining as well as the outgoing schools.
Larry Merchant is calling it quits. The famed sportscaster will wrap up his 35-year run as a ringside boxing commentator for HBO Sports with the season finale of World Championship Boxing on Saturday night at 9:30p. Following the telecast, Merchant will then move into another phase of his esteemed career. “Starting in January, I will become a Tom Brokaw-like senior kibbitzer on major news and events in boxing,” Merchant said. “I was extraordinarily lucky to land with HBO when it was just a startup. I’m proud to be associated with so many talented people who made us into a groundbreaking network. I’m looking forward now to my new role and to new adventures in television, writing and the expanding media universe.”
Cox Communications inked a long-term distribution agreement with The Walt Disney Company to deliver Disney’s lineup of sports, news and entertainment content to customers across televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and internet-enabled televisions. As part of the new multi-year agreement, WatchESPN was launched immediately as the first of TWDC’s existing authenticated products available to Cox customers. Sports channels involved in the deal will include: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN 3D, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN Full Court, ESPN3, and Longhorn Network. ESPNEWS and ESPN Classic will also be added to Cox TV Connect, Cox’s proprietary app.
Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters that the league is mulling playoff expansion, and will discuss the move at the NFL’s owners meetings. Both 14 and 16 team models will be considered and, if it goes forward, would change a format that has been in place since 2002, with 12 teams in play since 1990.
NBA TV will showcase Jeremy Lin’s return to New York with the Rockets visit the Knicks on Monday, Dec. 17, at 7:30p. The game marks Lin’s first return trip to Madison Square Garden since he signed with the Rockets as a free agent during the off-season. Leading up to the game, NBA TV will also replay memorable Lin games from last season including the Lakers at New York(2/10/12 — Linscores 38 points) on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 3p and the Mavericks at New York(2/19/12 Lin scores 28 points and tallies 14 assists) on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 7p.
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel will wrap up its 18th season on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 10p on HBO with a special roundtable review of 2012. Gumbel will lead correspondents Mary Carillo, Frank Deford, Jon Frankel, Bernard Goldberg, Armen Keteyian and Andrea Kremer in a roundtable discussion, covering everything from favorite stories of the year to the interviews and segments that had the greatest impact on them.
MSG Network and the New York Knicks are set to honor Knicks television and radio announcer John Andariese tomorrow night when the team hosts the Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden. Andariese retired from the broadcasting booth before the start of the 2012-13 Knicks season.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem named longtime Tour executive Jeff Monday to the newly created position of President, PGA Tour Canada. Monday most recently served as the Web.com Tour’s Senior Vice President of Tournament Business Affairs.
The Mets and ESPN Deportes Nueva York 1050 AM entered an agreement for the station to broadcast Mets games in Spanish for the 2013 season. Under the deal, 1050 AM will broadcast 150 regular season games, including select spring training, and postseason. Coverage will also include pre/post-game shows for each game.
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Nike has picked up sponsorship of the United Soccer Leagues following the sale of the Umbro Brand, effectively immediately. “We’ve gone from a partnership with an iconic soccer brand to a partnership with the world’s biggest sports and soccer brand, which is great news for everyone involved with USL,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis.
comScore reports that its video metrix rankings saw Perform Sports take the top spot for the month of November in total audience digital sports video viewership with over 24.5 million unique total viewers for the month. Rounding out the top ten rankings in the category were ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, Cinesport, NFL Internet Group, CBS Sports, Bleacher Report Turner Sports Network, FOXSports.com on MSN, XOS Digital Media and Sporting News on AOL.
With two new additions in the Big Ten Conference, BTN is taking it to the fans to vote on the makeup of the two divisions that will make up the new-look conference. The three options would include: keeping the current set-up with Rutgers going in one division and Maryland the other; dividing the conference between east and west teams; and keeping the central core together while the outlayers – ranging from Maryland to Nebraska – would then be placed together.
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HONORING TOP SPORTS PROGRAMS, CAMPAIGNS, AND PEOPLE Our awards show continues to spotlight the groundbreaking work created by sports media, don’t let your 2012 efforts go unnoticed!
Entry Deadline: February 1, 2013 | Late Submissions: February 8, 2013
Awards Event: April 2013 (NYC)
Learn about the awards program & how to enter: http://www.cynopsis.com/events/sports-awards.
ON THIS DAY in 1985: Roger Maris dies of cancer at age 51.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: The first Winter Olympics to be take place on American soil originated from what city? Answer: Lake Placid, New York in 1932. Kudos: Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Media/NY; Jay Goldstein-Vector Media/NY; David Kalan-NHL.com/NY; Michael A. Neuman-Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; Carol Teichman-Comcast Spotlight/Bloomfield; Matthew Meachem-Tribune Media Servies/Queensbury; Bob Eisenstaedt-Granite Springs Productions/Tampa; George Finkel- MegaSport Productions/Myrtle Beach; Thom Sutton-Telemundo/Chicago; Steve Morrow-Eclipse TV/Mill Valley; Warren Weideman-Producer/LA; Jack Simmons-Fox Sports/LA; Adam Frank-Lionsgate/Santa Monica.
In The Know: With number did the Yankees retire in honor of Roger Maris? (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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