Good morning. It’s Friday, December 21, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Another two weeks down the drain. The National Hockey League formally announced the cancellation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through January 14, marking a total of 50.8% of the season with 625 regular season games now off the books.
The NBA’s famed State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will have a new look. For the first time, a new format will pit the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference in order to raise money for charity. The challenge will hand out points earned by each conference throughout the four All-Star Skills Competitions that will determine which conference will earn the title of 2013 State Farm All-Star Saturday Night Champion. NBA Cares and State Farm will make a joint donation of $500,000 as part of the event, with $350,000 going to the winning conference’s charities and $150,000 to the runner-up conference’s charities. State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will take place on Saturday, Feb. 16 in Houston and will be televised live by TNT at 8p.
ESPN welcomed Aussie TV personality Romana Bruland, who will take over as the new host of the X Games, where she will be making six stops in four countries next year. She has previously appeared on the Discovery Channel and PlumTV.
MLB Network is offering unique take on the game, bringing viewers into the lives of the 2012 World Series Umpires with The Third Team: All-Access 2012 World Series. The one-hour special debuts Thursday, Dec. 27 at 9p with behind-the-scenes access and never-before-heard audio of Fieldin Culbreth, Gerry Davis, Brian Gorman, Dan Iassogna, Brian O’Noraand Joe West, as they worked this past year’s Fall Classic between the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers.
ESPN announced that Rob Parker will be allowed to return to the air after a 30-day suspension for comments made toward Redskins quarterbackRobert Griffin III.
SPEED and SPEED.com will be revving up for the 2013 Sprint Cup season live from Daytona International Speedway with coverage of the Jan. 10-12 test session in its entirety. John Roberts, Jeff Hammond and Matt Clark host SPEED’s on-air coverage from the studio above pit road at the start/finish line at Daytona.
Showtime series Inside NASCAR is on the outs, according to USA Today and will not be brought back to the channel. NASCAR executives told the paper that they were now shopping the series to other outlets.
BTN is offering a special preview all five New Year’s Day Bowl games on the BTN Football Report: Bowl Preview, at 7p on Sunday, Dec. 30. Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith will break down the matchups of the Rose Bowl, the Capital One Bowl, the Outback Bowl, the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl and the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Then, on New Year’s Day, the trio will offer Big Ten Bowl coverage starting at 11a BTN Pregame Show: Bowl Edition, before running the Rose Bowl Preview Show at 4:30p.
The Knicks continue to prop up ratings for MSG Network, with Wednesday night’s battle against the Nets drawing a 3.35 household rating for the game. Through 19 Nielsen-measured games on MSG this season, Knicks telecasts are averaging a 3.41 household rating, up 86% over the first 19 games of the 2011-12 season.
The Television Syndication Company picked up three GameDay Productions sports programs for its 2013 syndication slate. Series will include Sports Stars of Tomorrow, RaceWeek Powered by Sporting News and Future Phenoms.
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The NBA is releasing two new spots, including one written and directed by Spike Lee. Lee’s commercial, The King of New York, marks the newest installment of the NBA BIG campaign, and features the famed director reminiscing about the night Bernard King scored 60 on the Nets. The second spot features Kevin Durant’s mom Wanda Pratt and a breakdown of her physical expressions during a game. The pair will air during the league’s Christmas Day games on ESPN and ABC.
Cargill Beef is once again sponsoring Trevor Bayne and the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford Mustang when the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season begins in February. The extension marks the company’s fourth year as the primary sponsor of the car.
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Coming off a successful 2012 fantasy golf season that marked a 200% increase in players in its second season, Golf Channel has announced the launch of the 2013 Fantasy Challenge. The 2013 game will offer players new enhancements, weekly prizes, interactive capabilities and for the first time will expand to include the five major championships on the 2013 LPGA Tour schedule.
Speaking of golf, Dan Robertson has been named publisher of Golf Digest/Golf World. He had served as associate publisher of both titles since 2010, and as associate publisher of Golf World from 2009 to 2010. Robertson was also previously VP of Sales for Golf Channel.
Bloomberg Sports is entering a new data analytics partnership with Gala Coral, one of Europe’s largest betting houses. The partnership will give Gala Coral subscribers free access to the advanced analytics data from the recently-launched BSports Match Analysis football product.
The Main Event
A nice western battle on Sunday with 49ers/Seahawks on NBC at 8p.
ON THIS DAY in 1959: Tom Landry accepts coaching job with the Dallas Cowboys.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Since forming in 1978, what school has won the most FCS Football Championships? Answer: Georgia Southern with six. Kudos: Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; DeWitt Mosby-KPIX|KBCW/San Francisco
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
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