Good morning. It’s Friday, May 31, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
The UFC is launching a 24 hour UFC Channel, having inked a deal with Televisa Networks to start a subscription network carrying UFC programming in 20 Spanish speaking countries in Latin America. The international channel will launch in late 2013 and offer MMA programming that will include live UFC events as well as legendary fights and original programming such as reality series.
“The launch of the UFC Channel will be a game changer for our sport and its fans throughout Latin America,” said Lorenzo Fertitta, owner and co-founder of Zuffa, LLC. “UFC is the fastest growing sports organization in history and with the strength of Latin America’s premier media group Televisa, the UFC Channel will become the fastest growing sports network in television history.”
On the Air
NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins/Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks/Los Angeles Kings begins with a doubleheader on Saturday at 5p with Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on NBC Sports Network followed at 8p by Game 1 of the Bruins/Penguins showdown on NBC.
Meanwhile, Wednesday night’s Western Conference Semifinal Game 7 delivered a 2.07 rating and averaged 3.354 million viewers for NBC Sports Network, making it the highest-rated NHL game ever on the channel, and the most-watched Semifinal game ever on cable. The game was up 109% vs. last year’s sole Semifinal Game 7 rating with average viewership was up 99%. (3.354 vs. 1.684).
Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s next bout could break PPV records, according to analysts, after the boxer inked a deal to fight Saul (Canelo) Alvarez (41-0-1) on Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Mayweather broke the news on his Twitter account, writing, “I chose my opponent for September 14th and it’s Canelo Alvarez. I’m giving the fans what they want.” This will mark the second in a six-bout, 30-month deal that Mayweather signed with Showtime earlier this year.
TNT revealed that as the channel prepares for its portion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the network will offer fans all-access coverage throughout the six-week leg beginning Sunday, June 9, at 1p. TNT’s all-access pass will include behind-the-scenes content featuring a select driver and their team being followed as they travel and prepare for the upcoming race throughout the NASCAR Summer Series. Featured drivers will include Denny Hamlin (Pocono), Brad Keselowski (Michigan), Juan Pablo Montoya (Sonoma) and Kurt Busch (Kentucky), among others. The all-access pieces will air weekly during the pre-race Countdown to Green Presented by Kelley Blue Bookshow.
Golf Channel continues its ratings momentum into May, announcing that the month as ranked as the network’s most-watched May ever, according to Nielsen, and marks five consecutive record-setting months for the platform. Overall, Golf Channel drew 16.9 million unique viewers in May while 24-hour Total Day viewership averaged 133,000 viewers per minute, up 19% versus May 2012.
Univision Deportes announced that its live coverage of the Liga MX final on Sunday featuring Club America vs. Cruz Azul delivered 4.5 million Total Viewers 2+, 2.6 million Adults 18-49 and 1.3 million Adults 18-34, according to Nielsen. The final marked the highest rated Liga MX match on any network ever among Total Viewers 2+.
The WNBA is also showing growth. The league’s season-opening Memorial Day doubleheader on ESPN2 averaged a 0.3 household coverage rating and an average of 366,000 viewers according to Nielsen. That score includes the most-viewed regular-season game on ESPN2 in nine years with the 5p game featuring Chicago/Phoenix delivering a 0.4 rating with 455,000 viewers.
Canada’s TSN locked in a multi-year broadcast agreement with the PGA Tour that will allow the company to continue to broadcast nine events a year through 2018, as well as early round coverage of the 2015 and 2017 Presidents Cups. The deal gives TSN exclusive early round coverage of the RBC Canadian open as well as events such as the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AM and the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship.
Major League Soccer announced that Italian giants AS Roma will face the MLS All-Stars in the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game this year, set to be played on Wednesday, July 31. The annual game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and UniMas at 6p.
NBC Sports Network’s Pro Football Talk, co-hosted by Mike Florio and Erik Kuselias, is creating a new series, dubbed Faces of the Franchise; Who’s on Your Team’s Mount Rushmore? The segments will look to determine the four most influential people in the history of each NFL team and will begin on Monday at 5p on the channel. Multiple NBC Sports Group platforms, including NBC Sports Network, ProFootballTalk.com, NBC Sports Regional Networks, and numerous NBC Sports social media assets, will participate in the series to select that famous faces.
FOX Sports announced coverage plans for the annual Fun City Bowl between the New York City Police and Fire departments, with lead NFL on FOX play-by-play announcer Joe Buck and analyst Troy Aikman calling the action, while Tony Siragusa patrolling the sidelines on Sunday, June 2. The game is being produced by an NFL on FOX crew, and this marks the first time the contest between the Finest and Bravest is earmarked for national television. Condensed coverage of the game then airs on FOX Sports 1 on August 17, as a companion to the FOX Sports Originals documentary Being: The Finest.
CBS Sports’ Ian Eagle sits down with CBS NCIS star LL Cool J and movie actor Ethan Hawke for a special hour-long CBS Sports Spectacular on Saturday at 2p with Stars on Sports. The episode will see LL Cool J share behind the scene stories from the movie Any Given Sunday, while Hawke talks about his beloved Knicks and why he wishes he could have played the role of Branch Rickey in the recently released movie, 42.
Save the date! The annual Cynopsis: Sports Business Summit is set to take place on Aug. 14 in NY, and will feature some of the biggest names driving sports today. In addition, we are holding our Women of Action cocktail event celebrating and discussing the impact women are having in the sports industry on Aug. 13.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Cynopsis: Digital Model D Awards
Entry Deadline: June 20
Late Submission Deadline: June 27
Awards Event: November 2013 (NYC)
Sponsorship & Promotion
NASCAR reports that nearly one-in-four (117) Fortune 500 companies now use NASCAR as part of their marketing makeup, according to an analysis of sponsors currently in the sport when compared to the magazine’s annual list released this month. The analysis encompassed companies currently involved as a sponsor of NASCAR’s sanctioning body, teams, tracks and/or as media partners.
Golf Channel is launching an initiative to tackle the issue of slow play head on and will direct its resources during the month of June toward a company-wide campaign called “It’s About Time.” The promotion will look to develop ideas and enterprises that improve pace of play in golf and assist with the growth of the game. According to a recent study commissioned bed the network, 90% of serious golfers are bothered by slow play and more than 70% believe that pace of play has worsened over time. The campaign will be conducted in partnership with the United States Golf Association, and starts on Saturday. The network’s daily morning show, Morning Drive and GolfChannel.com also will serve as the primary drivers for the messaging, utilizing features, roundtable discussions, interviews to educate viewers.
Digital & Production
The Professional Bull Riders will offer exclusive and behind-the-scenes content via PBR 360, a new digital portal developed by the PBR to serve as an ultimate online destination for fans. PBR 360 will look to combine information normally found on multiple pages of a website into a compact, easy to navigate online application. PBR 360 will also offer never-before-digitized historical video and photos, as well as special merchandise offers and past issues of the popular Pro Bull Rider magazine.
Sporting News Media announced the launch of five new ‘made for digital’ video programming initiatives that will roll out over the next few months including: the weekly Hot Reads with Troy Aikman; Fantasy Source Waiver Wire Watch; Round the Track with Bob Pockrass; First & 10 with Matt Hayes; and Hot Corner with Anthony Witrado. The company also revealed that it hit the top-ranked position for digital sports video per April’s comScore rankings and came in at number five in digital sports media
FOX Sports named Bill Dallman to serve as Vice President/News Director for the upcoming FOX Sports 1 where he will work with affiliates and FOX Sports Regional networks in managing the news-gathering operation and overseeing the editorial format of FOX Sports Live, the network’s signature three-hour news, opinion and highlight show. Dallman moves from KMSP FOX 9 News in Minneapolis/St. Paul, where he served as Vice President/News Director.
Sporting News Media appointed Rich Routman to Chief Revenue Officer as of July 1. Routman will lead the company’s efforts to tell its brand and product story to advertiser and media agency clients and contribute to the overall strategic development of the company.
The Main Event, the featured game of the day sponsored by Thuuz, real-time sports discovery for mobile & connected TV platforms
Miami/Indiana battle it out in Game 6 with the series on the line on Saturday at 8:30p. On TNT.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Cynopsis: Digital BIG Monetization Summit
Your gateway to the must-have insights on next generation business models and strategies for developing and distributing quality digital programming.
8:30am-5:30pm | June 18 | NYC
(early bird registration ends 5/30)
ON THIS DAY in 1935: Babe Ruth grounds out in his final at bat.
In The Know: Who served as baseball’s first commissioner? (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.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What four sports are played indoors at the Winter Olympic Games? Answer: Hockey, Figure Skating, Speed Skating and Curling. Kudos: Deidra Maddock-ESPN/NY; Kristen BonaOMD/NY; Lon Samuelson-CBS Sports/NY; Noah Coslov-CineSport/NY; Linh Le-National Geographic/DC; David Koonin-CSE/Atlanta; Jon Banack-Play Hard Entertainment/Toronto; John Bassett-John Bassett Productions/Toronto; Brent Carter-Time Warner Cable Media/Dallas; Robert Teinowitz-Live Action Media/Chicago; Kristin Staskowski-Charter Media/Birmingham; Chris Wujcik-Anheuser-Busch/St. Louis; Aly Stogol-KOLD/KMSB/KTTU/Tucson; Denise M. Abbott-Professional Bull Riders, Inc./Pueblo; Michael Jaquet-US Ski and Snowboard Association/Park City; Lila Brown- Ella Bee Media Group/LA; Katie Rosenthal-Cox Communications/San Diego; Pam McNeely-Tantara Media Partners/Pasadena; Catherine Philbin-Universal Sports Network/LA.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 | Grand Hyatt NY It will examine how the industry is using content, context and digital connectivity to build audiences, engage fans and integrate sponsors locally, nationally and on a global stage.
For sponsor information, please contact Mike Farina at (203) 218-6480.
More information to follow…
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
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