Good morning. It’s Friday, July 15, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. And a heads up — Cynopsis Sports is on vacation next week, returning on Monday, July 25th — have a good week!
Turner Sports has officially signed a free agent veteran to its team, inking 15-time NBA All-Star and four-time NBA Champion Shaquille O’Neal,to serve as an analyst across its portfolio of NBA assets. Shaq’s broadcasting career will begin with the 2011-12 season (if there is one), with O’Neal will joining TNT Inside the NBA alongside Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley. Shaq will be a part of the network’s NBA All-Star weekend and NBA Playoffs coverage as well as serve as a contributor to NBA TV and NBA.com. The agreement also includes a development deal with Turner’s entertainment and animation networks.
David Levy, President of Sales, Distribution and Sports for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. on the response from Inside the NBA analysts on O’Neal joining the team: “Charles was one of the biggest proponent of bringing Shaquille on board. We have always had four people sitting up there in any way shape or form. I think there will be enough to go around for everybody and certainly Shaquille’s insight will only enhance the overall show. We are always looking for ways to improve the show and we believe bringing Shaquille on will do that.”
O’Neal on being courted by other networks: “I was very blessed to have many people come after me. Out of my respect for everybody I didn’t want to make it a ‘this and that’-type of war. I made my decision very quickly and very professionally. I thought TNT and Turner was the place for me and I’m going to have fun doing it.”
Fresh off of Wednesday night’s 2011 ESPYs Awards, ESPN garnered nearly 2 million viewers and a 1.0 rating among viewers 18-34 for the event, as well as an Emmy nomination for the 2010 event. This year’s winners included the Mavericks, who were honored for Best Team, coach Rick Carlisle took home an ESPY for Best Coach and Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki won for Best NBA Player and Best Male Athlete. The Best Championship Performance and Best NHL Player went to Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins.
Tuesday night’s Copa America match on Univision featuring Uruguay and Mexico drew 7.4 million total viewers 2+ to the broadcast, according to Nielsen, including 1.1 million viewers between 18-34.
ESPN Deportes is set to debut E:60, the first sports newsmagazine on Spanish-language primetime television in the U.S., on Tuesday July 19 at 6p. The series will feature hosts Jose Ramon Fernandez, David Faitelson and Jorge Ramos as well as a team of reporters that included Fernando Palomo, Fernando Schwartz, Guillermo Celis, Carolina Guillen and Martin Ainstein. The premiere episode will feature a look at the experiences of Latino players in Major League Baseball and their impact in the league and give an overview of what players go through to be recognized by coaches and independent trainers. The episode will examine the case of Brazilian soccer idol Bruno Souza, who allegedly planned the gruesome murder of his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child.
Upcoming MLS team the Montreal Impact and the Quebecor Media Group have inked a five-year deal in preparation of the club’s debut in 2012, naming as the official broadcaster of the club. Under terms of the deal, TVA Sports will offer 24 of the Impact’s games next season in high definition. The remaining games are set to be televised on Reseau des Sports.
TNT wraps up its NASCAR season on Sunday with the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway at 1p. Adam Alexander is on deck to handle play-by-play with analysts Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach in the booth. The network’s pre-race coverage will get underway noon with Countdown to Green delivered by Pizza Hut with Lindsay Czarniak, This week, the channel’s Pride of NASCAR series will feature a profile of the Cotton Owens.
Sports technology, data and content provider STATS LLC has added Eric Shanks, Co-President and COO of the FOX Sports Media Group, to the company’s board of directors. Shanks now joins Tom Curley and Ken Dale of the Associated Press and Gary Ehrlich of FOX Sports Enterprises on the board. STATS is owned jointly by the Associated Press and News Corporation.
Golf Channel series Feherty has announced its guests for the next few weeks, lining up commentator and Hall-of-Fame player Johnny Miller will join on Tuesday’s telecast at 9p, followed by 22-year-old U.S. Open Champion Rory McIlroy on July 26 and the Ian Poulter on Aug. 2.
UFC has shifted another main event due to injury, placing former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz into the Phil Davis’ slot to face Rashad Evans as the main event at UFC 133. The PPV event will take place on Aug. 6 from Philadelphia.
Horseracing network TVG has announced its programming plans for the 2011 Del Mar race meet beginning Wednesday. In addition to airing all the action from the 37-day meet, TVG will, for the second consecutive year, serve as title sponsor of Del Mar’s signature event, the $1 Million TVG Pacific Classic.
Stats for the week ending July 10
ESPN’s coverage of the Women’s World quarterfinal between the US and Brazil scored a 2.3/6 with 3.9 million viewers in Nielsen final numbers, to rank as the top-rated event of the day. Sunday’s game opened with a 1.2 rating at 11a and continued to climb, peaking with 2.8 and 5 million viewers at 2pm with the shootout win.
Fox Saturday Baseball saw a 6% spike over last year’s comparable program. For the season, the games are up 13% among men-18-34, up 10% among men 18-49 and up 8% among men 25-54.
Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race on TNT, averaged a 3.0/6 with 4.97 million viewers, to mark a 7% hike over last year’s equivalent race, the Chicago 400. With one race left to go, the series is averaging a 3.2/7 with 5.3 million viewers this year, up 3% . The channel is showing growth among men 18-34, with a 25% climb to a 1.0, but is off pace by 5% among men 18-49 and down 7% among men 25-54.
Sponsorship & Promotion
Shark Fight Promotions has announced its sponsors for the upcoming Shark Fights 17 event in Frisco, TX. Mentom Eyewear, Xzavier Clothing, Sports Clips, Venom Energy, Lexani Wheels, Twin Peaks Restaurants, Fist First Athletics, House of Pain, Condom Depot, Execution Fight Gear, and Plush Nightclub Downtown Dallas have all finalized agreement to sponsor the July 15th event.
The NHL and NeuLion, have jointly stated that the 2010-11 NHL season delivered records on the league’s digital platforms on PCs, gaming consoles, mobile and other connected devices. NHL GameCenter LIVE scored a 31% rise in new subscriptions this year as well as an 83% increase in renewals. During its rookie season on Apple, Android, BlackBerry and Nokia mobile devices, the NHL GameCenter application was installed more than 2 million times worldwide.
The Main Event
Women’s World Cup Finals on Sunday with the US squaring off against Japan with the Championship on the line. The game will run on ESPN at 2p, as well as Galavision.
ON THIS DAY in 1876 – George Washington Bradley of St. Louis pitched the first no-hitter in baseball in a 2-0 win over Hartford.
Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question:What school has recorded the most NCAA Division I Hockey Championships? Michigan with nine. Kudos: Valerie Achkhanian Bertram – Cox Reps/NY; Allison Wright – MTV Networks/Detroit; Josh Raskin – Leverage Agency/NY; Barry G. Waldman – Vistrada/NY; Ali Demulling – Sportsman Channel/Milwaukee; David S. Hauptman – Katz Television Group/Denver; Joe Brooks – MTV Networks/Santa Monica; Bob Ware – KPSP Local 2/Thousand Palms
No trivia question today! Cynopsis Sports is on vacation for the next week, returning on Monday, July 25th. Have a good week!
In My Opinion …
- Funny thing about the bargaining table for the NFL CBA talks. A slew of reports on the discussions show that two of the biggest sticky points between owners and players aren’t about taking care of who is playing in the league, but what to do with the people who aren’t. Issues involving incoming rookies and retired players continue to surface as stumbling blocks in negotiations.
- In fact, some former players recently filed a class-action complaint against the teams, the league, as well as DeMaurice Smith, the head of the NFL Players Association, suggesting that talks “are conspiring to depress the amounts of pension and disability benefits to be paid to former NFL players in order to maximize the salaries and benefits to current NFL players.” Recent articles suggest that current players do not want to help foot the bill for a retirement fund that would provide better pensions and post-career medical plans, something the owners are pushing for. That’s a short-sided view from the players who are only a bad hit away from retirement themselves.
- So which should it be, paving the road for the future or taking care of the past? Hopefully, both will be taking care of.
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