Good morning. It’s Friday, December 23, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
ATP has ended their long(ish) search for a new face of the tennis organization, tapping Brad Drewett as the new Executive Chairman and President. He will begin his role on Jan.1. Drewett was elected to a three-year term and currently serves as CEO of the ATP International Group, where he has overseen operations in the Middle East, Asia and Pacific regions since 1999. He was also once ranked as a player, winning two ATP World Tour titles.
Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt went on the offensive in the company’s battle with MSG, calling for sports networks to be sold separately from other general TV packages, according to The Wall Street Journal. “What was a minor problem is turning into an astronomical problem,” he told the paper. “The ultimate solution is to get that programming on some sort of smaller packaging scheme.” TW Cable and MSG continue to drum up support ahead of the New Year’s Eve deadline for a new carriage agreement.
Chris Paul’s debut with the Los Angeles Clippers delivered NBA TV with its most-watched preseason game in network history. The victory over the Lakers on Monday was seen by 509,000 viewers, besting the previous high of 501,000, set last year when the Heat beat Detroit in their first game featuring the trifecta of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Although the NBA’s new CBA is signed, sealed and delivered, reports have surfaced that five owners ended up voting against the agreement when all was said and done. Mark Cuban and Heat owner Micky Arison have already been revealed as two of the five. Arison told the AP that his ballot was designed as a “protest vote” against the revenue-sharing agreement.
New York seems hungry for basketball. Wednesday night’s MSG Network telecast of the Knicks/Nets preseason game from Madison Square Garden delivered a 2.28 Nielsen household rating for the channel, marking the highest-rated preseason game on the network since 2004. The game also bested the Knicks 2010 preseason home opener ratings, and was up 332% in rating versus 2010.
What could possibly represent football and Christmas better than Betty White? With the season finale of ESPN’s Monday Night Football falling right after the holiday, the network tapped the 89-year old actress to star in the game’s holiday themed segment. The open, dubbed, “A White Christmas,” was taped in California for Monday’s Saints/Falcons game.
Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson has told The AP that the team has held talks with Rogers Communications to extend the team’s annual series of games in Toronto. He said in an interview that the Toronto-based company said a deal would be contingent on lowering ticket prices. The current deal expires next year after the Bills play a preseason and regular-season game in the city.
Arnold Palmer is slated to make his first appearance ever on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive Holiday Special this morning. In the interview, he shared the origins of the Golf Channel, and his relationship with co-founder Joe Gibbs. The special will air this morning at 7a.
ESPN Radio’s SportsCenter update reporter Dan Davis has decided to call it a career and will close his mic for the last time on Friday. “The Duke” has called college football, college basketball, the PGA Tour, NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball games as well as events such as the Kentucky Derby and the Olympics. He initially joined ESPN radio in 1992.
I typically avoid these, but since it’s the last issue of the year and just for fun… on yesterday’s SportsNation, co-hosts Michelle Beadle and Colin Cowherd counted down the list of top 101 Sports Jeers from 2011. Here’s the top ten:
1. SD Charger Nick Novak Pees on Sideline
2. X GAMES 17 Moto X Enduro Women’s Fail
3. Old Timers in CFL Fight at Alumni Lunch
4. Patriot’s Tom Brady Dancing at Carnival
5. Mr. Commodore (Vanderbilt Mascot) Punches Fan
6. Cheerleader Falls into Pool at the Pan Am Games
7. NY Jets Mark Sanchez Wildcat Flinch
8. Ryan Braun Falls Attempting Inside the Park HR
9. Charles Barkley Breaks Golf Club on 1st Tee
10. LeBron James Video Montage for the Top Sports Jeer includes LeBron Dunking on a Young Camper, Choking in the Finals, Hitting D. Wade in the Face
NHL Network is unveiling a new look, announcing a series of features including a new logo, a re-branded highlight show and a new ad campaign. On December 26, NHL Network will officially debut to its new logo and launch NHL Tonight a relaunch of the 10p edition of NHL On the Fly featuring Kathryn Tappen joined by a rotating lineup of hockey insiders and analysts. The national ad campaign will launch on that day as well, positioning the show as the source for all of the night’s highlights from around the NHL using the new show slogan “Every Highlight. Every Game. Every Night.”
How’s this for branding? The Green Bay Packers were picked by nearly a quarter of voters in a national survey by Public Policy Polling as their favorite NFL team, toppling “America’s Team” the Dallas Cowboys who finished second with 11% of the vote. The Cowboys did, however, top the list of least favorite team.
The Indiana Pacers home will now be called Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Signs are expected to be completed in early 2012.
NASCAR is in negotiations to buy out the last two years of Turner’s contract for the sport’s digital content, according to SBJ. If negotiations go through, the racing organization could have its online content rights back in time for the 2013 season.
Anheuser-Busch is using Facebook to hunt for a Super Bowl correspondent to cover the game from a 180-room branded hotel that the company renovated in Indianapolis. The selected correspondent will receive a salary from the company to star in a series of videos that will be posted on their Facebook and YouTube pages.
The Main Event
With over a week to cover, make sure to tune in to the NBA’s tip off on TNT, ABC and ESPN on Christmas Day, as well as the NHL’s Winter Classic on NBC on Jan. 2, as well as the end of the NFL’s regular season (various networks). Enjoy!
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Happy Holidays | Merry Christmas | Happy New Year
Cynopsis Mediawill be off from December 23, 2011 January 2, 2012.
Don’t forget to read the 2011 Year in Review on January 1st 2012!
Past editions, classifieds, & industry calendar of events can always be found on our website..
ON THIS DAY in 1951: The first ever coast-to-coast telecast of a football game featured that LA Rams beating the Browns 24-17 the NFL Championship game.
Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: What quarterback led Hawaii to the university’s only trip to a BCS Bowl? Answer: Colt Brennan. Kudos: Greg Mize – Turner Sports/Atlanta; Michael Jaquet – CBS Sports Network/NY; David Stern – BARD Entertainment/NY; Jay Goldstein – Screenvision/NY; Tom Akers – Outdoor Channel/Chicago; Bill Robertson – Tunheim/Bloomington; Narvin Russaw III – Thinkfactory Media/LA; Gene Miller – Gene Miller Productions/Beverly Hills; Roman Saienni – FOX Sports/LA; Dave West – Sandbox Pictures/Burbank.
In The Know: What was the original name of the San Antonio Spurs? (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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