Friday, February 24th, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Friday, February 24, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

With the NBA All-Star Game set for Sunday on TNT at 8p, Inside the NBA analyst Kenny Smith is once again set to join his colleagues for the network’s coverage of the weekend’s festivities. This year, however, will be different. The analyst will be able to watch his daughter Kayla Brianna, who recently scored a deal with Interscope Records, perform during the weekend as well.

Cynopsis Sports spoke with Smith about his expectations this weekend, why this game has become so appealing and what makes a great announcer. We also spoke with his daughter about her upcoming performance.

Smith on what makes a great announcer: Everyone cannot do what I do, and I cannot do what everyone else does. I am going to take you in the game and tell you what the guards are saying at that moment and what coaches are saying, because it is impossible for someone who hasn’t played to know what, exactly, is being said in that moment. So my job is to give you the bird’s eye view of what is going on in the huddles and the things that you can’t see that are going on behind the scenes.

On the appeal of All-Star Weekend: It’s like walking trading cards. You see past, present and future, NBA players, you see athletes, celebrities, entertainers, etc.. That is the fantastic part for me being around it.

On the growth of the NBA: One thing about basketball is that you know it’s the one sport that everyone in their life time that has ever played sports have a gotten a call to come do it even if it is going to the park to come and play. That is the only sport where you can do that. Baseball you can’t do it. Football you can’t do it. You have to get so many guys and organize to get there. Baseball you have to have the mitt and glove. Basketball is like you could be one on one or two on two, so I think there is always some type of connection with the average person and I think the second thing is that no matter what the product is, the incredible level of competition. When there is competition I think that brings out people to watch.

On his daughter’s budding music career: It’s about the work ethic, there is no secret. What is the secret of success? Get your butt in the gym and work hard, get your butt in the studios and sing and be around people who can actually evaluate talent. It’s funny because it’s like the whole Jeremy Lin story. To me the best thing that has happened in this business is that there are a lot of people who can evaluate talent. So for Kayla, being around people who know how to evaluate talent is crucial so then they can get the best out of her. For me as a player, for me as an announcer, it’s the same thing – being around the best producers. It’s the equivalent in every part of your life is people knowing how to evaluate talent.

Brianna on performing at an NBA event: I am really just excited about All Stars, because it is a three day weekend. It’s going to be a lot of excitement. It’s essentially my debut solo performance, so I am really excited about that. I grew up around the NBA and it’s really cool that now I am performing at one of the events that I always used to watch on TV. It’s always been a fun time for our family.

On the Air

MLB Network unveiled its 2012 Spring Training game schedule, which will feature a presentation of live in-game audio for the first time. Broadcasts will feature the live audio content on a brief delay throughout the Spring Training game telecast of the Indians/Diamondbacks on Wednesday, March 7 at 3p with as many as six players on each team wearing live microphones during the game. Of course, coaching staff will also wear live microphones throughout the game as well and microphones will also be positioned at each base, down the first- and third-base lines and along the outfield wall. Matt Vasgersian will call the game. Overall, MLB Network’s 2012 Spring Training game schedule includes 150 games featuring every MLB club in at least six matchups. The schedule begins on Saturday, March 3 the Yankees/Phillies at 1p.

The WWE discussed the future of the WWE Network during a conference call to review fourth quarter results, with executives noting that the company has spent $4 million on the launch so far, and that the launch was still planned for later this year.

FOX Sports Ohio locked in a deal with the Columbus Crew for a new television rights agreement where the channel will produce and televise 32 Crew soccer games, beginning Mar. 10 at Colorado. Dwight Burgess will call the action, while Duncan Oughton delivers analysis along with sideline reporter Ashleigh Ignelzi.

The New Orleans Saints have reportedly volunteered to take part in the Hall of Fame Game, according to FOX Sports, which will put the team in Canton for the induction of longtime Saint Willie Roaf. The game will be played on Aug. 5.

Jon Gruden is set to resume his ESPN series of specials, dubbed Gruden’s QB Camp. Over the past two years, he mentored quarterbacks such as Cam Newton and Tim Tebow on the show, and this year will feature ten of the top quarterbacks in the 2012 NFL Draft class. Among the names in the mix will be expected top pick Andrew Luck of Stanford, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III of Baylorm as well as Kirk Cousins (Michigan State), Nick Foles (Arizona), Case Keenum (Houston), Kellen Moore (Boise State), Brock Osweiler (Arizona State), Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M), Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State), and Russell Wilson (Wisconsin). The specials begin Sat. March 31 at 7p with Luck.

MSG+ is scheduled to present a special telecast of New Jersey Devils hockey Friday night as the team honors legendary announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick before their game against Vancouver. Coverage will begin with Devils Game Night at 6:30p and include live coverage of the Devils’ pre-game presentation. Emrick served as an announcer with MSG Networks for 23 years, winning seven New York Emmy Awards, and spent 21 years in the New Jersey Devils’ broadcast booth, in which he called three Stanley Cup seasons, until his retirement in 2011 and subsequent move to NBC Sports. The telecast will feature vignettes throughout the night, with Devils players and broadcast peers reflecting on their time with Doc, including Martin Brodeur, Zach Parise, Patrik Elias, Ken Daneyko, Stan Fischler, Chico Resch, Howie Rose, Mike Lange, Bill Clement, Rick Jeanneret and Bob Chase.

Golf Channel series Feherty is set to return for its second season on Monday night, with a lineup of guests slated to include golfer Sergio Garcia in episode one, as well as Bill Russell on March 5 and Butch Harmon on March 12. The new, hour-long format will shift to the 10p slot following The Haney Project.

TSN and RDS announced broadcast plans for the upcoming MLS season, with 36 games on deck that include the Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The schedule will kick off on March 10 with a Montreal/Vancouver game at 6p. Other schedule highlights include five games featuring the LA Galaxy and three games spotlighting the DC United.

Michigan State’s Jud Heathcote, who led the Spartans to 339 wins in 19 seasons as the head men’s basketball coach, will be profiled Saturday on BTN with a new episode of Big Ten Icons. The show will be hosted by Keith Jackson and run following the Michigan State-Nebraska men’s basketball game around 10:30p and include interviews with Heathcote; Michigan State coach Tom Izzo; journalists Jack Ebling and Dan Wetzel; former MSU All-American Greg Kelser and others.

Sportsman Channel will air the 100th episode of Easton Bowhunting TV tonight at 10p, with a tour of the Easton plant to meet the President on the eve of Easton’s 90th anniversary.

SAVE THE DATE: The Cynopsis Sports Business Summit is April 24 in Manhattan. Details revealed soon.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Anheuser-Busch and Major League Fishing announced that Busch Beer will serve as a primary sponsor of the organization. Busch Beer sponsors two individual anglers – Kevin VanDam and Denny Brauer – that compete in MLF.

Although half the fun of the NCAA Tournament is criticizing and second-guessing the selections, the NCAA has decided to give a group of fans the chance to understand the challenges of the DI Men’s Basketball Committee face during Selection Weekend. The ten fans participating were chosen via a contest on the NCAA March Madness Facebook page. As a result, the Super 10 committee, which is made up of nine men and one woman, will travel to Turner Studios in Atlanta the weekend of March 9-12 to take part in a Mock Selection experience for the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament before releasing their 68-team bracket at the end of Selection Sunday.

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.

Digital Fields

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is joining as a columnist where he will write bi-weekly pieces covering a range of topics, as well as tap into his perspectives as a retired professional athlete and as a fan.

The Main Event

NASCAR’s back. Daytona 500 on FOX Sunday at noon. Then the NBA All-Star Game on TNT at 8p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1980: The USA Olympic hockey team beats Finland, 4-2 to win the gold medal.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What driver has won the Daytona 500 the most times? Richard Petty. Kudos: Sarah Galvin-Flashpoint Marketing/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Jeff Miller-Meredith Corporation/Atlanta; Brad Stern-Direct Printing Connection/Floral Park; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; William “Chip” Beaman-Soundelux Design Music Group/Hollywood.

In The Know: What NBA team originally drafted Kareem Abdul-Jabbar aka Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor? (Email 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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