Good morning. It’s Friday, September 16, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
With NASCAR’s Chase officially set to begin this weekend, ESPN is adding some new twists to its coverage for the final ten races of the season. The network will offer a new look with its telecast, introducing NASCAR NonStop, a split-screen commercial format that will show the advertisement on the left side of the screen and a continuation of race on the right side. Meanwhile, ESPN’s scoring ticker will continue to scroll across the top of the screen, allowing NASCAR fans to follow the running order of the race during the breaks. The format will kick in at or near the halfway point of the race, with the first half of the race presented in the traditional commercial break format before switching over.
More NBA drama and one peaceful resolution. Players Association head Derek Fisher, in move to ease fears about the direction of CBA talks, sent an email to colleagues, according to SI.com, implying that league owners were divided amongst themselves on some of the concessions that could be made and were working out their differences in a private meeting yesterday. The good news however, is that one labor issue has been resolved, with the league reaching a five-year deal with its referees and avoiding at least one lockout this season.
Turner Sports continues to ramp up its presence in the world of college basketball, inked a deal with one of the sport’s early centerpieces, the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Rights for the tournament will kick in next year, with truTV slated to semifinals, consolation and finals of The Classic. As part of the deal, Turner Sports will oversee national sponsorships sales for the event, which will then be housed at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The newbie Longhorn Network has lined up 12 Texas men’s basketball games for its inaugural season covering the court. The slate includes nine non-conference games as well as three Big 12 matchups. The network also announced that it will run basketball-themed programs to cover the season including Texas GameDay. The action will begin on Nov. 13 when Boston University visits the university for a 6p game. Conference games will include Oklahoma St., Texas Tech, and Iowa St.
Golf Channel’s reality competition Big Break is about to get a plug from its big brother, with NBC airing the show as a special on Sunday at 1:30p, and marking the first time that a Golf Channel original program will air on NBC. After fifteen seasons, Golf’s Big Break will look back at the history of the franchise and highlighting several of the series’ biggest names who have used the series as a springboard to kick start their professional golf careers. The special will reair on Golf Channel at 5:30p. The special will wrap with a sneak peek at Big Break Ireland, the 16th season of the show, set to premiere on Sept. 20 at 9p.
MSG Network series Hockey Night Live is set to return for its sixth season on Saturday with the first of three consecutive Saturday night season-preview specials. All three shows will be telecast at 11p. Al Trautwig will host and be joined by Ken Daneyko, Dave Maloney, and Billy Jaffe for the three preseason episodes looking at the upcoming seasons for the Rangers, Devils, Islanders and Sabres. For the first time, HNL will incorporate the use of social media into its telecasts this season by asking viewers to express their thoughts and questions via Twitter.
More signs of a Big 12 upheaval. Oklahoma’s Board of Regents has set an agenda for a meeting on Monday that “will discuss potential legal ramifications of athletic conference realignment options and/or consider new athletic conference membership and take any appropriate action.”
In spite of new reports stating that development for Rio’s 2014 World Cup was running behind, FIFA delivered a rosier report, with 1000 days remaining before the tournament, that Brazil was “already starting to look like a country that is ready to host a FIFA World Cup.” In addition, the sport’s governing body announced that Mohamed Bin Hammam’s appeal to lift his lifetime ban from international soccer failed with the panel rejecting the former executive’s quest to return to the sport. Bin Hammam said he’s now heading to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to resolve the issue.
- With the US Open off the docket, CBS Sports will kick off its SEC on CBS coverage on Saturday with Tennessee facing Florida at 3:30p. Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson will call the action with Tracy Wolfson reporting from the sidelines.
- On the NFL front, CBS leads with a Chargers/Patriots game on Sunday, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the action at the 4:15 start time as part of the channel’s doubleheader weekend.
- FOX counters with a Bears/Saints game that will air in 38% of the country, featuring Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver behind the microphones. Fox then is set to begin its Barclays Premier League soccer coverage following the early games, with a Manchester United/Chelsea FC matchup. The match airs live on FOX Soccer at 11a with the encore presentation on Fox at 4:30p.
- In college football, FX brings in Gus Johnson and Charles Davis for a Syracuse/USC game at 8p.
- The NBC Sports Group is set for two college football games on Saturday when Notre Dame squares off against Michigan State on NBC while VERSUS showcases a New Mexico/Texas Tech game. Both games are set for 3:30p. NBC will team play-by-play commentator Tom Hammond with analyst Mike Mayock and sideline reporter Alex Flanagan for its match while Paul Burmeister, will join Shaun King and Anthony Herron for VERSUS.
- CBS Sports Network’s college football coverage on Saturday will Northwestern at Army with Gary Thorne and analyst Randy Cross calling the game.
- Tennis Channel features the two men who played in the US Open men’s championship, with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal playing in the Davis Cup semifinals with live telecasts of each match and same-day replays over the weekend. The network will cover Spain and France’s competition in Cordoba, Spain, beginning at 6a, followed by Serbia and Argentina’s matches in Belgrade, Serbia at 8p.
Stats for the week ending Sept. 11
College football season-to-date ratings
Network Household Rating Change vs. 2010
ABC 3.6 +38%
NBC 2.1 -40%
ESPN&ESPN2 1.7 -6%
FX 0.4 N/A
For all you up and coming movers and shakers learning about the industry, ESPN has created an innovative way to learn all about ratings, with puppets no less. The SportsCenter-meets-Sesame Street video can be found here … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UqKLSNmvEU
Walter De Gregorio has been tapped to run communications for FIFA, according to reports. The executive and former sports editor recently oversaw the reelection campaign for FIFA head Sepp Blatter.
Kudos to FOX Sports Southwest, which raised $156,375 from the online auction that ran during Tuesday’s Indians/Rangers game to benefit the Shannon Stone Memorial Fund. Stone died from injuries that occurred at the park during a Rangers game earlier this year.
The NHL has unveiled a new social media policy for its players, coaches, etc., mandating that there will be a social media blackout before, during and immediately after games, as well as during practice and team activities. The policy echoes the format established by other leagues.
Sports Illustrated has unveiled the Sports Illustrated Football Rivals app, designed to provide fans with an in-depth look at 10 of the greatest rivalries in football history with features that include more than 300 pages of content, photos, 3D interactivity, documentary style videos, game highlights, as well as an interactive timeline of each rivalry, historical stats and more. The free app, presented by Coke Zero, is available for the iPad, iPhone and Android Smartphones.
The Main Event
Saturday finds Mayweather/Ortiz on PPV at 9p as well as top five teams Oklahoma/Florida St. on ABC at 8p. On Sunday, Vick goes home when Eagles take on the Falcons on NBC at 8:20p.
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ON THIS DAY in 1957: The LA City Council approved a 300-acre site in Chavez Ravine for the Los Angeles Dodgers
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