Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports
03/23/12

Good morning. It’s Friday, March 23, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The Media Behavior Institute released data on how fans are engaging with March Madness, researching how fans followed the event in the opening days of the tournament, when cross-media consumption is generally at its heaviest and fans look for real time results. Using USA TouchPoints data, the study showed that TV was used by 74% of those following the event, with online computer coming second with 28% and radio in third with 21%. While people followed the action throughout the day, numbers predictably grew steadily from morning to evening; 20% in the morning, 34% in the afternoon and 44% in the evening, with an average of 2.5 hours spent following the tournament across all media throughout the day. In addition, 54% of people followed the event with friends, family or coworkers while 46% followed it alone.

On the Air

NFL Network capitalized on a frenzy of league news from Monday through Wednesday, spanning Peyton Manning’s new team to the Saints’ punishments to Tim Tebow’s trade to New York (I’m begging outlets to stop saying “Timsanity” however) resulting in full day viewership jumping 213% over the same Mon.-Tues. in 2011 with with an average of 216,000 viewers. Meanwhile, Wednesday’s overnight ratings spiked 333% percentover last year, according to Nielsen. Online, the league’s digital media platforms — including NFL.com, NFL Mobile Only From Verizon and other NFL mobile products — posted a 502% rise increase in page views compared to the comparable Mon.-Wed time period last March.

And so there were ten. As of last night, Tennis Channel had counted down 90 of the top 100 players of all-time. With the Top 10 set for tonight at 7p, here are the top ten that made tonight’s cut, although not ranked in order…
The Top 10

  • Bjorn Borg
  • Margaret Court
  • Chris Evert
  • Roger Federer
  • Steffi Graf
  • Billie Jean King
  • Rod Laver
  • Rafael Nadal
  • Martina Navratilova
  • Pete Sampras

Tonight, Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith are taking First Take to prime time with a special presentation of First Take – #TebowTakesManhattan.  With the move to the Big Apple following the Manning deal to the Broncos, Bayless and Smith will discuss Tim Tebow’s likely role with the team and the impact the move will have on the future of both the player and the franchise. First Take – #TebowTakesManhattan will air at 7p on ESPN. 

With a CBA expiring, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters that he’s ready to meet with the player’s union to negotiate a new contract, although it would be up to the union to decide when that will happen, according to the AP. Bettman said the league has been ready to bargain for months, but the union hasn’t yet indicated that it’s ready. The seven-year deal will expire on Sept. 15.

Princell Hair has been promoted to Senior Vice President, News and Talent, for the NBC Sports Group, where he will oversee all talent recruitment, negotiation and development for the NBC Sports Group, including NBC Sports, NBC Sports Network, Golf Channel, and the 11 Comcast Regional Sports Networks, while also consulting with NBC Sports Digital. In addition, Hair will oversee the NBC Sports Group’s newsgathering operations and news strategy.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic will be featured on Sunday’s 60 Minutes where he will discuss how the war in Yugoslavia and the bombing of Belgrade impacted his career. He credits the war and the hardships it caused with “instilling a hunger in him that ultimately drove him to fulfill his dream of becoming the world’s top ranked player.” The episode airs at 7p.

Universal Sports Network announced production plans for the English-language telecasts of the 2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying soccer tournament. Coverage began yesterday at 9p and the network will air live all of the United States’ matches and the finals match, as well as provide a re-air of NBC Sports Network’s semifinal coverage, for a total of six games available on television and through UniversalSports.com’s online streaming. Glenn Davis calls the action along with analyst Allen Hopkins.

Integrated Sports Media announced that it will distribute the World Boxing Association Welterweight Championship fight on PPV between undefeated champion Vyacheslav Senchenko and No. 2-ranked challenger Pauli “Magic Man” Malignaggi. The showdown will run on April 29 from Donetsk, Ukraine at 1p. Senchenko vs. Malignaggi will also be available via on-line PPV on Ustream.tv at http://www.ustream.tv/integratedsportsppv.

The merger between the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA is just about complete, according to The Denver Post. A spokesman for the Mountain West portion of the new entity said that in addition to securing a name for the new conference, a location for offices and naming a commissioner, the presidents of the involved institutions will be “taking a hard look at expanding from 16 schools” and creating a possible multi-round playoff system at the end of the regular-season football schedule.

More speakers announced! Kevin LaForce, NFL Vice President of Media Strategy & Business Development, and Jennifer Storms, Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing at PepsiCo, have been added to the roster of panelists for Tuesday April 24 in New York. Join us for the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit. Register now at this site: http://www.cynopsissportssummit.com/.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Mastercard, the PGA Tour and Arnold Palmer announced that MasterCard will continue as presenting sponsor of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard for four additional years, running through the 2016 tournament.

Digital Fields

Raycom Sports has tapped Comcast Media Center’s Content Services unit to manage and deliver VOD programming that will include highlights from ACC college basketball and football games. The deal represents the premiere of Raycom Sports’ VOD slate of offerings.

Online streaming site Justin.tv won a partial dismissal of a lawsuit filed by UFC parent Zuffa, LLC for what Zuffa claimed were illegal broadcasts of UFC 121. The court has ruled that Zuffa can’t use trademark law to go after copyright violations, except what is ‘inherent to the broadcast’.

Yesterday reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Tony Stewart held a live “Ask Tony” video web chat session during an Office Depot store appearance on Thursday, March 22 in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Fans who weren’t able to attend Stewart’s store appearance had the opportunity to submit questions and watch the live streamed video web chat session. The event marked the first of four Stewart will conduct at Office Depot store locations throughout the season.

The Main Event

More tournament action throughout the weekend including the Indiana/Kentucky game on CBS at 9:45p.


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE

DEADLINE IS 1 WEEK AWAY!

Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards
HONORING TOP SPORTS PROGRAMS, CAMPAIGNS, AND PEOPLE

Click here to learn about the Awards program, eligibility period, and enter online!

Entry Questions: Jenn Sredzinski | Sponsorships: Mike Farina.


ON THIS DAY DAY in 1968: UCLA captures the 30th NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship besting North Carolina 78-55.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What MLB team has a mascot named Homer? No, not the Isotopes (ha!), the correct answer is the Atlanta Braves. Kudos: Noah Coslov-CineSport/NY; Terence Gaffigan-MSG Media/NY; Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Media/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Melissa Pattillo-Initiative/Atlanta; Sonia Durr-Aaron’s Sales and Lease/Atlanta; Alex Walton-CNN.com/Atlanta; George Finkel-MegaSport Productions/Myrtle Beach; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

In The Know: Since Peyton Manning was drafted, only three non-Quarterbacks have been taken with the first pick of the NFL draft. Name two. (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
03.23.12

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