Good morning. It’s Friday, February 10, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
First it was viewership records, then they set new streaming benchmarks, now the NFL is announcing that Super Bowl XLVI set an all-time high for Hispanic viewership with an average of 10.4 million Hispanic fans tuning in to the game, according to data from Nielsen. That number marks the second consecutive Super Bowl with at least 10 million Hispanic viewers as well as a68% spike over numbers from the game five years ago.
Golf Channel is deepening ties with the LPGA, announcing that nearly 90% of LPGA tournaments in North America will be carried on the network, and that all of the weekend rounds at North American events will be shown live in 2012. The announcement follows last month’s news that the LPGA on Golf Channel scored a 30% lift in overall ratings in 2011. In addition to the increase in live telecasts, the 2012 LPGA Tour television schedule will also feature 22% more original telecast hours than 2011, bolstered by the addition of new tournaments to the 2012 schedule, as well as extended coverage at several events.
NBC Sports unveiled coverage plans for the 2011-12 HSBC Sevens World Series with games running on NBC, NBC Sports Network and Universal Sports Network. Overall there will be ten hours of programming across two days of the USA Sevens in Las Vegas with coverage set to include full matches as well as highlights from the two-day tournament. In addition, UniversalSports.com will provide live streaming of the match for $9.99 or the full season’s offerings for $29.99. Action begins Saturday at 3:30p on NBC and continues at 7p on NBC Sports Network. On Sunday, Universal Sports Network is on deck at 12:30p, NBC Sports Network at 2:30p and wrapping up at 4:30 on NBC.
Next year’s NHL Winter Classic is poised to set an attendance record with Michigan Stadium officially locked in to host the 2013 Winter Classic between the Red Wings and Maple leafs. The game will return to the Jan. 1 date and take place in a venue that once held more than 104,000 fans for a college hockey game in 2010. Detroit’s Comerica Park, meanwhile, will play host to other events during the weekend, including games involving minor league and college teams as well as the Red Wings/Maple Leafs alumni match.
MLB Network reports that the first round of the channel’s first-ever game show, Baseball IQ which ran from Jan. 24 through Feb.8, drew a 22% increase in viewers compared to the same period in 2011, according Nielsen estimates. The second round of MLB Network’s Baseball IQ began last night and will continue every Tuesday through Thursday through February 23, running through the start of Spring Training.
Ron Wechsler has been named VP of Original Programming & Development at NBC Sports Network where he will create original programming and branded entertainment for the channel. Wechsler previously served as VP, Series Development and Production at the ESPN Content Development unit and at ESPNU.
HDNet Fights hits Tennessee tonight with Drew Fickett and Jamie Varner squaring off in the main event of “XFC 16: High Stakes.” Michael “The Voice” Schiavello and Pat Miletich are slated to call the action for the channel beginning at 9p.
The Southeastern Conference revealed its official 2012 SEC Baseball television schedule that will include 66 broadcasts on the ESPN networks in 2012. In addition, all games from the 2012 SEC Tournament will continue to be televised, with the championship game airing again nationally on ESPN2. ESPNU’s Thursday Night SEC Baseball Game of the Week will debut on Thursday, March 22, at 7:30p, featuring Florida and South Carolina, and continue eight weeks through May 17.
Sponsorship & Promotion
The NFL utilized its viewers on Super Bowl Sunday with a call-to-action promotion and viewers responded. The league was promoting its new $1 million NFL Perfect Challenge, and subsequently received 1.7 million texts in response to the commercial. The advertisement marked the first time the NFL launched a digital product with a Super Bowl ad, with fantasy team owners for next season looking to pick that week’s highest-scoring player at each position. Meanwhile, the league reports that traffic to NFL.com increased 35% while users across all of the NFL’s mobile properties rose 88%.
The Professional Bull Riders announced an agreement with Ainsworth Pet Nutrition to make their DAD’S Pet Foods line of products the “Official Pet Food” of the PBR. As a result, DAD’S Pet Foods will have pre-event concourse displays at 12 Built Ford Tough Series events as well as in-store promotions at Tractor Supply Company stores. DAD’S Pet Foods will also be donating 1,000 pounds of pet food to a local humane society, animal rescue, or animal care center in each city the BFTS visits.
CALL FOR ENTRIES: Think you’re an MVP in the world of sports media or will your rivals steal the spotlight? Enter the Cynopsis Sports Awards and bring home a crystal award for your shelf, recognizing the grit and strategy you’ve shown all year long. The awards will cover the best of 2011 from the world of television, radio and online, with categories that range from news shows to apps to marketing campaigns.
More data from the big game. Yahoo! announced that during the week of the Super Bowl, 17.7 million users consumed Super Bowl content and that 7.5 million of those users visited Yahoo! the day of the game. The day after the game, nearly 11 million users visited Yahoo! to engage with game highlights as well as watch Super Bowl commercials.
espnW.com launched their first weekly digital video series this week, dubbed The Word. The series features female journalists and television analysts who discuss current sports issues in a roundtable conversational format. Participants include ESPN commentators Julie Foudy and Jemele Hill, as well as site writers Sara Spain and Jane McManus and ESPN anchors Prim Siripipat and Cassidy Hubbarth. The first episodes feature a discussion on whether women’s pro sports leagues can succeed and whether female athletes using their sexuality too much to build their brand. New segments will be posted two or three times per week.
The Main Event
Saturday features a Connecticut/Syracuse game on CBS at 1p, while Sunday finds Caps/Rangers on NBC at 3p while Bulls/Celtics hits ABC at 3:30p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
HONORING TOP SPORTS PROGRAMS, CAMPAIGNS, AND PEOPLE
Entry Deadline:March 16, 2012 | Late Submissions: March 30, 2012
Awards Event: Summer 2012 (NYC) Click here to learn about the Awards program & enter online!
ON THIS DAY in 1989: The WWF (now WWE) admits pro wrestling is an exhibition to a New Jersey court in order to gain deregulation.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question:Who beat Memphis in the finals of the 2008 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament? Kansas. Kudos: Michael Jaquet – CBS Sports Network/NY; Rachel Yelsey – ESPN/NY; Evan Perlmutter – One Line Sports Agency/NY; Bob Rathbun – FOX Sports South/Atlanta; Frank Forgey – Missouri Broadcasters Association/Jefferson City; Suzy Shoup – Moroch Partners/Dallas; John Ward – NBC Sports/Chicago; Rachel Rubin – TM Advertising/Dallas; Sabrina Sherman – Cox Media/Phoenix; Miriam Aardahl – OMD/LA; Tom Moore – Kalt Productions/LA; Paul Barrere – Cox Reps/LA.
In The Know: What university did Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson play football for? (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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