Good morning. It’s Friday, May 4, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
The Mountain West Conference released its broadcast schedule for the upcoming season, and with branded channel the Mtn. down for the count, ESPN and NBC Sports Network will join CBS Sports Network to carry this season’s games. CBS Sports Network is slated to air eight games from the MW package while CBS will broadcast the Navy/Air Force game on Saturday, Oct. 6. NBC Sports Network will televise 10 contests while ESPN or ESPN2 will telecast four games. The ESPN entry stems from a one-year agreement with CBS Sports Network to televise two Friday, one Thursday and one Saturday contest hosted by a member of the conference and marks the first time ESPN has televised a group of Mountain West Conference home games since 2005.
The televised season kicks off on Thursday, August 30 with UNLV hosting Minnesota on CBS Sports Network at 11p. Newcomers Nevada and Hawaii will help open the conference slate in Honolulu on Saturday, Sept. 22 with a telecast on NBC Sports Network. The first of the four added games on ESPN featured Washington State at UNLV on Friday, Sept. 14, at 9p.
A three overtime thriller between the Rangers and Caps on Wednesday night was seen by 1.85 million viewers, making it the most-watched semifinal game ever on the NBC Sports Network and the most-watched Semifinal on cable in 12 years, according to Nielsen. In New York, the game pulled a 3.99 rating, the highest local rating ever in the market for an NHL game on the channel. DC saw a 6.82 rating. Through six days, the average viewership for the Semifinals on NBC Sports Network is 1,224,000, for a 50% bump over vs. the same timeframe last year.
As expected, the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors named Bob Bowlsby as the new Commissioner of the conference. Bowlsby most recently spent six years as Director of Athletics at Stanford. The vote was unanimous and Bowlsby now becomes the fourth Commissioner of the Big 12 when he starts on June 15.
The Kentucky Derby is tomorrow at 4p on NBC and our friends at HRTV offered Cynopsis Sports the picks from their own hosts and analysts who are in Kentucky covering the race:
- Richard Migliore — 1) Union Rags, 2) Gemologist, 3) Daddy Nose Best
- Jon White — 1) I’ll Have Another, 2) Daddy Nose Best, 3) Union Rags
- Aaron Vercruysse — 1) I’ll Have Another, 2) Liaison, 3) Sabercat
ESPN announced that Ian Darke and Jorge Ramos will anchor microphone duties for English and Spanish languages, respectively, during the company’s presentation of the UEFA European Football Championship 2012, which begins Friday, June 8 and runs through July 1. Darke leads a team of three UEFA EURO 2012 English-language match commentators that include Adrian Healey and Derek Rae. Ramos joins commentators Fernando Palomo and Ricardo Ortiz for ESPN Deportes. Overall, the three television networks ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will combine to present more than 200 hours of live coverage.
ESPN also announced four Big Ten Conference football games the will air this season on ABC, including Michigan St./Wisconsin that will air on Oct. 27 at 3:30p. Other games on deck: Illinois/Wisconsin on Oct. 6, Illinois/Michigan on Oct. 13 and Nebraska/Iowa on Nov. 23.
NBC Sports Network revealed its coverage plans for the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, starting Sunday, May 13 at 5p. For the first time ever, the final stage will air on NBC on May 20 at 1p before reairing on NBC Sports Network at 6:30p later that evening. NBC Sports Network’s live HD coverage includes an exclusive preview show on Sunday, May 6 at 4p, and daily highlights that will air on the network each night during the eight-day competition. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen will offer commentary for each day of coverage with Bob Roll serving as in-race reporter.
Golf Channel is bringing Lanny Wadkins back to television Friday after a five-year absence, where he will serve as a lead analyst for the network’s upcoming coverage of the Insperity Championship on the Champions Tour. Wadkins served as the lead golf analyst for CBS Sports from 2002-2006, and will now call the action with Curt Byrum and play-by-play man Brian Hammons. Coverage begins today at 7:30p.
MSG’s telecasts of the Knicks games this season averaged a 3.30 Nielsen household rating, marking the team’s highest-rated regular season ever on MSG. The 3.30 score was also up 81% compared to the previous season average.
FOX is scoring with MLB players this season, with ratings on the company’s RSNs up 20% to start this season. Overall, ten FOX RSNS are up year-to-year in April including FOX Sports Southwest, where the Rangers have propelled local ratings to a 7.5, up 89% compared to a April 2011. Other local spikes include Prime Ticket, which is up 67% to a 2.3 for Dodgers games, FOX Sports Arizona, up 54% to a 4.2 for the Diamondbacks, and FOX Sports Detroit, up 50% with a 9.2 for the Tigers.
Syndicated game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is presenting American Pride Week, which will feature Olympic athletes Dara Torres, Ryan Lochte, Dominique Dawes and Jonathan Horton on the hot seat to raise money for the U.S. Olympic Committee. The Dawes/Horton duo will appear on Friday, May 4 and the Torres/Lochte team will appear on both May 4 and Monday, May 7. Each Olympic team is guaranteed to win a minimum of $10,000 for the USOC.
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Sponsorship & Promotion Richmond International Raceway inked Federated Auto Parts to sponsor its September NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race which will serve as the last race of the regular season on Saturday, September 8.
Turner Sports held a massive building takeover in NYC’s Time Square to promote the NBA Playoffs and NBA on TNT, installing a wrap-around billboard that features Carmelo Anthony,Rajon Rondo, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker.
With the field set, the 2012 Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing announced two beverage sponsors, inking Pabst Blue Ribbon and Doublecross Vodka. Pabst Blue Ribbon will serve as the official Beer Sponsor, of the event with an onsite presence at the conclusion of each leg of the competition. Doublecross Vodka will support the Newport, R.I. prize giving on May 27. The skippers set sail on Thursday, May 11 at 6p.
Comcast Sports Group entered a deal with OneTwoSee to launch an in-game, audience participation app for Comcast Sports Group’s coverage of MLB games on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia (Phillies), SNY (Mets), Comcast SportsNet Chicago (Cubs and White Sox), Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (Giants) and Comcast SportsNet California (A’s). The new app, dubbed In Game Live, is free to all users and now available on Comcast SportsNet websites during all televised broadcasts. It offers a second-screen experience that includes pitcher/hitter statistics, live trending Twitter and Facebook components, and user-generated photos and comments.
On the Air
Lots to pick from this weekend. Standouts include the Kentucky Derby on NBC at 4p, followed by UFC on FOX at 8p.
ON THIS DAY in 1965: Willie Mays breaks the National League home run record. Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What Hall of Fame football player was one of “The Dirty Dozen”? Jim Brown. Kudos: Thomas Kelley-Octagon Marketing/NY; Jon Miller-NBC Sports Group/NY; Steven Widing-Zenith Sponsorship Intelligence/NY; Doug Lipman-NHL Network/NBC/NY; Benjamin J. Newman-CBS Local Media’s WBZ-TV & TV38/Boston; Barry Abrams-ESPN/Bristol; Alan Rosenfeld-Southeast Media Group/Miami Beach; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Benjamin Simonds-National Football League/Chicago; John Kukla-KDFW, KDFI/Dallas; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Patrick Reynolds-Reynolds Media Consulting/LA.
In The Know: What university has a mascot named Puddles? (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
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