Friday, March 2nd, 2012

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM FOX NETWORKS


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Cynopsis: Sports
03/02/12

Good morning. It’s Friday, March 2, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The America’s Cup is heading back to network television for the first time since ’92, inking a deal with the NBC Sports Group for live coverage of the sailing race. NBC and NBC Sports Network will both showcase the sport, with broadcasts beginning Sept. 7, 2013 from San Francisco. The first two days of racing will be broadcast on NBC, with the remaining races airing on the cable channel. In addition, Comcast SportsNet California will provide additional local coverage. As part of the deal, the NBC Sports Group also acquired the rights to the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup.

On the Air

The NBC Sports Group is gearing up to offer viewers a new way to watch the PGA Tour this weekend, with live traditional coverage of the third and final rounds of The Honday Classic airing on NBC, at the same time “Spotlight” coverage of the three signature holes known as “The Bear Trap” run at the same time on Golf Channel. Both broadcasts will start at 3p on Saturday and Sunday. The scheduling decision was designed to complement NBC’s traditional coverage, and give viewers a chance to focus on Nicklaus’ signature three-hole gauntlet. Golf Channel will also offer its usual Thursday and Friday early round coverage and weekend lead-in/early coverage.

ESPN is set for college baseball season, airing more than 150 regular-season and championship games this year across ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPN2 and ESPN. The company’s championship lineup includes six Regionals series, all eight Super Regionals series and the entire College World Series. ESPNU will showcase weekly games from the ACC and SEC on Mondays and Thursdays respectively. The action starts today at 1p on ESPN3 with Texas Tech/Arkansas.

ESPN inked former U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper and three-time U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year Kasey Keller to join the network as a soccer analyst. Keller will primarily serve as a studio analyst for select MLS and U.S. Men’s National Team matches, and be part of ESPN’s presentation of the UEFA European Football Championship 2012 from June 8 through July 1. Keller will make his debut on March 12 as part of the MLS opener between Portland/Philadelphia.

We are half-way through the NBA season and NBA TV will broadcast the2012 NBA TV Mid-Season Report on March 1, at 6p. TNT’s David Aldridgewill host the program along with NBA TV analyst Steve Smith and NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner in studio. Guest analysts Ken Berger from CBSSports.com and Howard Beck from the New York Times will join the studio team to look back from the lockout to the All-Star break and look ahead at potential trades and who could break out in the back half of the season.

The UFC hits Sydney this weekend with UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampmann, 2 tonight. FUEL TV kicks things off with UFC Prelims at 6p, hosted by Jay Glazer, with Stephan Bonnar and UFC Middleweight No. 1 contender Chael Sonnen adding analysis. Jon Anik and UFC Vet Kenny Florian call the fights live from just outside the Octagon. At 9p, FX then takes over the action at 9p.

CBS Sports staple James Brown has been Special Correspondent for CBS News, where he will contribute original reported pieces and will appear on various CBS News broadcasts. Brown begins his assignment tomorrow on CBS This Morning. Of course, Brown will also continue in his current role as host of The NFL Today.

Finals numbers for the 54th Daytona 500 on FOX delivered an 8.0/14 with 13.7 million viewers on Monday night, to hand the channel the top spot among both A18-49 and Total Viewers. The 8-11pm portion of FOX’s coverage averaged a 4.6 rating in the demo. Monday night’s average primetime audience of 14.1 million viewers became the network’s most-watched Monday night in sixteen months, dating back to Game 5 of the 2010 World Series. Overall, 36.5 million Americans watched at least six minutes of FOX’s coverage. In keeping with Nielsen policy, FOX was able to exclude most of the fire-delay from the race rating. Monday night’s 8.0/14 finished off 8% compared to 2011’s 8.7/20, which ran without interruption on a Sunday afternoon, but also scored 4% better than 2010’s 7.7/16.

The 2012 NBA All-Star Game on TNT handed the channel with a 4.4/7, and 7.1 million viewers on Sunday night according to Nielsen, to finish down 15% from last year’s 5.2/9 with 9.1 million viewers, although last year’s game did not run head-to-head against the Academy Awards.

A free preview of NBA League Pass on Digital Cable is now available via iN DEMAND until March 4 on most cable systems nationwide. The company is offering a half season offer cost of $89 for all games in the second half of the regular season until April 25. The package this year also includes access on digital via NBA.com and on mobile devices.

Universal Sports Network and NBC Sports will hit the weekend with live coverage of the year’s first international gymnastics competition, the 2012 AT&T American Cup on Saturday with coverage beginning on Universal Sports Network at 11:30a and continuing on NBC at 1p. NBC’s Olympic gymnastics broadcast team of Al Trautwig, Elfi Schlegel, Tim Daggett and Andrea Joyce will call the action from Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The Portland Timbers announced the creation of the Portland Timbers Television Network, which will allow fans in additional Oregon markets the chance to watch all 34 of the team’s regular-season games in 2012. The team is partnering with NTVZ/Central Oregon’s CW in Bend, Ore., KEVU/MyNetworkTV in Eugene, Ore., and KFBI/My 48 in Medford, Ore., to run the club’s local package of matches that originate on KPTV/Fox 12 in Portland.

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

Sponsorship & Promotion

Penske Racing is switching from Dodge to Ford next year, shocking some insiders. Penske Racing originally drove Fords in the Sprint Cup Series from 1994-2002, before switching to Dodge in 2003. Of course, Chevy drivers have won each of the last seven Sprint Cup championships.

The NCAA has told officials at the University of North Dakota that if athletes, cheerleaders or band members wear or display the school’s Fighting Sioux nickname and American Indian head logo, teams could be automatically forfeited from competition, according to the AP. The NCAA maintains that the nickname and logo are detrimental to American Indians and that players may not wear uniforms that have the nickname or logo during post-season contests. Last year, the North Dakota Legislature launched a law that mandated that the university use the logo and nickname.

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

Grantland.com’s Editor in Chief Bill Simmons scored a coup, landing an interview with President Obama to discuss sports and pop culture for his podcast The B.S. Report. The interview is now available on Grantland.com, at ESPN.com’s Podcenter and on iTunes. The discussion touched on topics that ranged from Jeremy Lin to the Chicago Bulls, and the President seemed pleased to see that progress was being made to create a college football playoff. “Well, I’d rather see it eight teams, but four is a good place to start. I think that gets us on the right trend. Nothing is more frustrating than at the end of the season, nobody knows who won.”

Turner Sports and the NCAA announced today that fans will be able to watch the 2012 NCAA Winter Championships, with more than 340 hours of live video streaming coverage from more than 135 events on NCAA.com. Live coverage begins Wednesday, March 7 with the National Collegiate Skiing Championship in Bozeman, Montana and continues through April 21. A total of 21 Championships will be streamed live exclusively on NCAA.com, including: Division III Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Division II and III Wrestling, National Collegiate Women’s Ice Hockey and National Collegiate Men’s Gymnastics.

Bloomberg Sports formally launched its third season of “Front Office,” the latest version of its fantasy baseball analytic tools. Updates this year will include opportunities for users to obtain instant updates via text and email on players on their roster through the new ALERTS! Feature, and the chance to obtain a free customized analysis of their fantasy team, showing how they compare to other teams on each scored stat. The product will keep its previous features, including the ability to sync with the major hosting sites that include Yahoo!, ESPN.com and CBSSports.com.
 
The Main Event

It’s time to separate the pack. North Carolina/Duke on Saturday night at 8p on ESPN. Sunday brings Ohio St./Michigan St. on CBS at noon.


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE

Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards

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 1962: Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points in an NBA game.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Bo Jackson was originally drafted in the NFL by Tampa Bay, but spent his entire football career with which team? The Raiders. Kudos: Terence Gaffigan-MSG Media/NY; Matthew & Charles Mannino-Tyco Electronics Subsea Communications/Eatontown; J. Barry McMullin-Professional Bull Riders/NY; Bob Melvin-NBC Sports Group/NY; Greg Finch-Time Warner Cable Media/Dallas; Derek Crownover-Crownover, Blevins Law Firm/Nashville; Kyle Jones-CNN Digital Sales/Chicago; Sean Long-WCIU-TV/Chicago; Brienne Chance-Republic Media/Phoenix; David Hauptman-Katz Television Group/Denver; Jess Schoep-STARZ Entertainment/Englewood; Randy Sollenberger-One Three Television/Santa Monica; Mitch Burg-Syndicated Network Television Association/LA; Michael Madnick-Saban Brands/LA; Josh Mischel-Comcast SportsNet Bay Area/San Francisco.

In The Know: What NFL team boasted players known as “The Killer Bees”? (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
03.02.12

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