Monday, April 29th, 2013

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM BIG TEN NETWORK


BIG TEN NETWORK
On air, online & on the go, BTN tops collegiate coverage
 
BTN is the nation’s premier college sports network, with more appearances by Top 10 football and basketball teams than any other collegiate network. BTN airs 450+ live events yearly, including 40 football & 115 men’s basketball games & Emmy-nominated programming. In 52+ million homes nationwide, most outside the Big Ten region. BTN also has a wide range of digital, mobile & social media applications, including BTN2Go, the network’s 24/7 multi-platform extension.

Cynopsis: Sports
04.29.13

Good morning. It’s Monday, April 29, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The NHL released its broadcast playoff schedule last night with the 2013 Stanley Cup Conference Quarterfinal round set to begin tomorrow. NBC Sports Group will utilize NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC as well as NHL Network to carry national games beginning at 8p with Minnesota/Chicago on NBC Sports Network and Kings/Blues on CNBC. NBC Sports Network then carries Detroit/Anaheim at 10:30p. Other series will start Wednesday including Islanders/Pittsburgh at 7:30p on NBC Sports Network; Toronto/Boston on CNBC at 7p; and San Jose/Vancouver at 10:30p on NBC Sports Network. Thursday will see game one for Ottawa/Montreal at 7p on CNBC and NY Rangers/Washington at 7:30p on NBC Sports Network.

On the Air

ESPN appears to be going all-in on this year’s coverage of the College World Series, blanketing the tournament from all 16 game sites with as many as 152 games set to air. USA Today reports that ESPN will launch a Bases Loaded channel for the event, featuring whip-around coverage that will spotlight interesting moments in games, similar to the RedZone Channel. Lead CWS analyst Kyle Peterson will host.

The NFL Draft continues to be a primetime draw, with the combined telecasts of ESPN and NFL Network averaging 7.7 million viewers on day one of the event last Thursday. ESPN’s first round coverage averaged 6,199,000 viewers with a 4.1 US rating based on fast nationals, according to Nielsen. That rating is off 7% from last year when shiny new quarterbacks topped the list of college athletes, but still up 8% over 2011. NFL Network, however, was up 23% year-to-year in rating with a record 1.5 million viewers on average.

Former AEG chief Tim Leiweke is hearing north of the border to serve as the new President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment starting June 30. Of course, the group owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC, Maple leaf Square and three digital channels in Leafs TV, NBA TV Canada and GOLTV Canada.

Last week’s UEFA Champions League first-leg semifinal matches on FOX Deportes averaged a 5.7 Hispanic coverage-area score with average viewership hitting 560K for the dual Spain/Germany matches. That marks the strongest combined showing of the semifinal round since FOX Deportes began airing UEFA back during the 2009-2010 season and was up 11% over last year’s first leg. The second-leg semifinal matches are scheduled to air on FOX Deportes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

CBS Sports Network made its selections for Mountain West football games that will air this season, and released a slate of 21 of the games that will air on the channel with 13 Conference games on deck as well as eight non-conference match-ups. The schedule kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 29 with Hawaii hosting USC at 11p. That weekend, the channel also carries the Sunday, Sept. 1 matchup between Colorado and Colorado State at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver at 6p.

Speaking of college football, the Big Ten formalized new divisions for the 2014 season (now simply dubbed East and West) as well as a shift to a nine-game conference schedule that will begin in 2016. East division members will include Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers, all in the Eastern Time zone. West will consist of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin. Purdue and Indiana will play the league’s only annual division crossover game.

World Series winning manager Ozzie Guillen inked a deal to serve as an analyst for ESPN Deportes this season where he will appear on the channel’s Sunday Night Baseball, Beisbol Esta Noche and ESPN Deportes Radio Nueva York

beIn Sport lines up the Giro d’Italia this weekend, with coverage of the bike race set to begin on Saturday, May 4. The 96th edition of the race will be the first Grand Tour of the year.


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Sponsorship & Promotion

Nike signed another top pick, inking new WNBA star Britney Griner to an endorsement contract. The deal is notable as it marks the first time Nike has signed a deal with an openly gay professional athlete.

Digital Fields

The Ivy League is partnering with NeuLion to create the conference’s first-ever digital sports network. The network will offer up individual channels for the conference’s eight schools as well as on League-wide channel for nine total across the conference. The new outlet will be powered by the NeuLion College Platform and offer League-wide sports calendars and access to live and on-demand content from multiple devices starting this August.

One-on-Ones

In a move to promote and drive engagement for gymnastics in non-Olympic years, the first Pro Gymnastics Challenge is set to take place from May 11-12 at Lehigh University’s Stabler Arena. The event pits former, current and future male and female Olympic gymnasts from the US and around the world together to test style, and athleticism in front of fans. Conceived by longtime gymnastics coach Brent Klaus the event brings together the likes of two time Olympian and silver medalist Jonathan Horton, 2012 Olympian Jacob Dalton and six time NCAA champion, Stephen Legendre, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Sam Oldham of Great Britain, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Marcel Nguyen of Germany, and six time Olympian and gold medalist Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan. ESPN2 carries the event over three prime time nights from May 21-23.

TV veterans Neil Pilson and Jay Rosenstein oversee the creative and production of the event. Cynopsis Sports asked Rosenstein, who has had 35 years of sports television, marketing and public relations experience, about the impact the PGC could have on the sport as an entertainment property and the challenges that come with launching a new brand.

On what intrigued them about the event: Gymnastics is one of the most popular sports in the Olympic Games, but the sport has not grabbed national attention in the years between summer Olympics. The PGC will fill that void with a unique athletic competition that will excite those who do follow gymnastics as well as casual sports fans. Everyone is familiar with the schoolyard basketball game of “HORSE.” These PGC athletes will bring that easy-to-understand concept to the highest level of gymnastics.

On expectations: We anticipate a very good reception for the first event, not only from the prime time ESPN2 shows, but also through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. The goal will be to grow the PGC into a professional gymnastics league where teams will be in a season-long competition.

On challenges: The PGC has an experienced television production team, so we have no doubt that ESPN2’s coverage of the competition will capture the PGC’s intensity and authenticity. The challenge with any new sports event is to build awareness prior to the telecasts and capitalize on the success afterwards. Our sponsors will be getting in on the ground floor of a concept built for the long term.

On industry trends: In this internet and social media age, television has become an even bigger driver of interest in sports and the expansion of the sports economy. The creation of more subscriber-based sports television networks, both national and regional, has reached a near-frenzied level. Twenty-five years ago, the total number of hours of sports television coverage was perhaps ten percent of what the total is today.

The Main Event

Bulls/Nets on TNT at 7p.


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


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ON THIS DAY in 1961: ABC’s Wide World of Sports debuts.

In The Know: What late-night host was once a reporter for ABC’s Wide World of Sports? (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: Who does the Vezina Trophy honor every year? Answer: The NHL’s top goaltender. Kudos: Navin Singh-Wasserman Media Group/NY; Rick Rosenfelt-ESPN Radio New York/NY; Pete Gautieri-A&E Networks/NY; Chris Long-USA Today Sports Media Group/NY; Joe Guarnieri-ESPN/Bristol; GreggHess-NCC Media/Atlanta; Karen Yaldoo-Comcast Spotlight/Bingham Farms; Dave Goren-National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association & Hall of Fame/Salisbury; Paul Tarrants-Nashville Predators/Nashville; Rick Selah-TargetSpot/Dallas; Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville; Jim Dittemore-I Will Race You MotorSports Management/KC; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; J.D. Carter-Actor/LA; Jeff Mirkin-Mirkinsports/Santa Monica; Don Surath-KPIX 5/KBCW/San Francisco.


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Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
04.29.13

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