Good morning. It’s Friday, October 21, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Game 1 of the World Series delivered FOX with 8.7/14 fast national rating and 14.2 million viewers watching the game to score as the highest-rated and most-watched telecast in primetime for the network on Wednesday. That score, however, is off 2% from last year’s Game 1 numbers and ranks as the lowest-rated Game 1 of the World Series since 2006’s 8.0/15. That said, FOX took the night among Adults 18-49 (4.2) and Adults 18-34 (3.6). St. Louis led all markets with a 47.3/66 to rank as the best home market rating for a World Series Game 1 since 2007 while Dallas took second among the markets with a 34.2/51.
Golf Channel is adding a slate of programming investments designed to broaden its fourth quarter programming through the end of the year. For the first time, the channel is set to run all four rounds as well as over 27 hours of the Presidents Cup, Live From Australia; USA Challenges Internationals. Other fourth quarter tournaments will include the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic on Oct. 26, as well as the World Golf Championships HSBC Champions, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational (LPGA Tour), the Emirates Australian Open, and the Thailand Golf Championship.The cable network will also line up a week of instructional programming in December featuring golfing legends Nick Faldo, Johnny Miller and Raymond Floyd for the series 7 Nights at the Academy.
With the NFL continuing to invest in its British fanbase with games such as Sunday’s Bears/Bucs matchup at Wembley Stadium, members of Parliament are gearing up to push for the league to add a franchise based in the country. BBC reports that Richard Fuller, the Member of Parliament from Bedford, recently stated, “We hope to be able to develop participation in the sport at grassroots level, create opportunities for British players to reach their full potential in the sport and support the pathway to having eventually a UK-based team.” The NFL has a fan base of around 11 million in the U.K., including 2 million deemed as “avid fans,” a 32 percent increase over two years ago. Some 8 million Brits watched the Super Bowl last year.
ESPN 3D released its slate of college basketball games this season, lining up 43 matches for the channel, including the channel’s first-ever women’s basketball game featuring Kentucky/Tennessee on February 13. In addition, the first ever 3D editions of College GameDay Driven by State Farm will air with four episodes of the Saturday morning show during the season. The action tips off Friday, Nov. 11, with the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic featuring Michigan State/North Carolina at 7p.
Speaking of 3D, UFC is partnering with digital theatrical distribution company Cinedigm Digital Cinema to present the first ever, live 3D broadcast of a UFC Pay-Per-View event with the Feb. 4, 2012 fight card running in more than 120 theatres across the country. The 3D broadcast will be the first of four annual PPVs set to air in theatres via the partnership between UFC and Cinedigm.
FIFA has locked in scheduling for the 2014 World Cup, slating the opening game of the tournament to be played in Sao Paulo on June 12, with the final set for Rio de Janeiro. Ten other cities will also host games during the event.
Long-running FUEL TV series The Daily Habit is finally set to end its run next month, according to multiple reports. The final taping is set for Nov. 22 and the show will continue running through the end of the year.
NBC Sports and Universal Sports Network are set to showcase their first ice skating event of the season beginning Saturday with the 2011 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating’s first event this season, 2011 Hilton HHonors Skate America. NBC will begin its coverage at 3p with live coverage of the Men’s Free Skate and the Free Dance. Universal Sports launches its season on Sun., Oct. 23 at 1:30p with the Short Programs: Pairs and Ladies. The commentators for Skate America will include play-by-play announcer Terry Gannon alongside analysts Scott Hamilton, Sandra Bezic and Tracy Wilson with Andrea Joyce handling interviews.
The National Hockey League and Modern Times Group (MTG) are entering a multi-year deal that delivers the Scandinavian broadcaster with the rights to telecast every NHL game via television, mobile and broadband throughout the Nordic region, including Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. As part of the deal, MTG has the rights to show live coverage of all 1230 regular season games as well as every Stanley Cup Playoff game each season on its pay-TV channels and Viaplay online multi-screen video streaming service across the Nordic region.
With four races left in the 2011 season, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on SPEED is showing ratings upticks of 5% compared to the same point last year, according to Nielsen Media Research. The Truck Series is also up 8% among M35-54 (.70 vs. .65) and is on pace to best the record-setting 2009 season.
Tennis Channel is set to showcase the women’s tennis season-ending championship competition, with close to 35 hours of coverage of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, from October 25-30. The network will follow six-and-a-half hours of live weekday telecasts with comprehensive encore coverage each evening in prime-time, for close to 80 hours of additional programming. During weekdays, Tennis Channel’s live coverage will begin at 10a.
With Thursday marking the third straight day of talks with a federal mediator for NBA owners and players reps, ESPN states that the league’s top players are wrapping up plans for a two-week exhibition tour around the world with six games slated across four continents. Among the players expected to participate are Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and more. Atlanta business mogul Calvin Darden is reportedly putting the tour together with the players’ agents. The tour is scheduled to begin Oct. 30 and end Nov. 9 with stops in Puerto Rico, London, Macau, and Australia.
ESPN STAR Sports has nabbed the broadcast rights of Karp Group’s Hong Kong Cricket Sixes for a three-year term starting with this years’ events. The rights cover non-standard TV, Internet as well as the mobile streaming.
Ken Meyerson, President of Tennis for Lagardere Unlimited, passed away late Wednesday at his home in Florida at the age of 48. In 2009, Meyerson joined Lagardere, where he was named President of Lagardere Unlimited Tennis. Ken is survived by his wife, Claudia, and daughters Charlotte and Emily.
Papa John’s is intensifying its relationship with the NFL, inking a deal with the league that makes the pizza company the Official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL in Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom. The multi-year deal broadens the chain’s sponsorship of the NFL and the Super Bowl with the new deal effective immediately and includes providing Papa John’s category exclusivity and rights to use NFL and team logos and trademarks in marketing and advertising. Papa John’s also will be the Official Pizza Sponsor of the NFL’s International Series game played annually during the regular season in the United Kingdom.
InsideOut Sports + Entertainment announced that PowerShares QQQ has signed a multi-year agreement to serve as title sponsor of national tennis circuit the Champions Series. The company currently serves as title sponsor for the Chicago leg of the series but will now become the umbrella sponsor of the entire series beginning next year. The Champions Series features tennis stars such as Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier. Jimmy Connors, Michael Chang, Mats Wilander, Ivan Lendl and more competing in one-night tournaments
Digital Media services provider XOS Digital and Research In Motion announced that the SEC Digital Network has released an entirely upgraded 2011-12 SEC mobile application for BlackBerry smartphones that will offer fans with free, all-access coverage of the SEC through a partnership with Ram Truck. The SEC Mobile app includes high definition video and audio, faster navigation, auto-updating scores and the ability to watch local SEC affiliate coverage in select markets.
BTN has hired Tom Dienhart to serve as its senior writer for BTN.com, where he will cover football and men’s basketball for the network’s site. Dienhart comes to the network after serving as the senior national college football writer at Rivals.com/Yahoo! Sports since 2008. In addition to his role with BTN.com, Dienhart will contribute to the network’s on-air and social media platforms.
On the Air
Game 3 of the World Series on FOX on Saturday at 8p. Wisconsin/Michigan St. on at the same time on ESPN.
ON THIS DAY in 1979: Ozzie Newsome begins his NFL streak of 150 consecutive games with a reception
Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question:What was the last university to go undefeated and win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament? (Division I only please.) Answer: Indiana. Kudos: Michael O. Brown – IMG World/NY; Larry Kahn – Golf Channel/Orlando; Christy Burrows – NASCAR/Charlotte; J.R. Whalen – Wall Street Journal Digital Network/NY; Mike Vest BTN/Chicago; Ronald D. Chong – Warner Bros TV/Hollywood; Gregory Bunch – Ovation TV/LA; Miriam Aardahl – OMD/LA; Brian Sullivan – KHQ-TV/Spokane; Cary Okmin – Disney Online Originals/LA; Richard Levine – AT&T Operations/LA; Steve Walker – Saatchi & Saatchi/Toronto
In The Know: Which university holds the all-time record for most consecutive men’s NCAA Tournament appearances? (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.)
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