Good morning. It’s Monday, August 12, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Just in case you missed it, this Saturday marks the debut of NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Premier League, with more programming available than anywhere else in the world. The fun begins at 7a NBC Sports Network with the Liverpool/Stoke City match and continues throughout the season on NBC, NBCSN and CNBC as well as the Premier League Extra Time bonus TV package, and streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra.
Cynopsis Sports spoke with Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network, about his plans for the league.
Miller on the appeal of the Premier League: We see the strength of the sport internationally. We saw that it was the number one port in the world and in our mind the Premier League is the number one league in the number one sport. We also thought we could bring a lot of innovation in the way that it is programmed, produced and marketed. So viewers will see a fresh energy to the sport, which is something that we are very proud of that we do for several of our other properties whether it is the NHL, our Olympic coverage, our Triple Crown coverage or the PGA Tour, or NASCAR coming back to us in 2015. We felt pretty good that we could bring lot of those assets to the table and we are ready to go.
On challenges: The challenge has been letting people know where the sport is now and we’ve had some fun doing that, whether it’s with the billboard in Times Square or the Jason Sudeikis piece or the combination of the tremendous promos our marketing department has assembled. One of the unique things here is that we are serving the Premier League fan and that was what we pitched to the league when we met with them. No matter what team you are pulling for, you will be able to watch your team every week because if you are in anyone of the major cable or satellite providers, you will be able to watch it either on a) NBC Sports Network or NBC or b) if it is the 10 o’clock windows, you will be able to watch it on the extra overflow channels, or you will be able to watch it live on your iPad, phone, you name it, all of it at no additional cost, which is the first time ever this much product has been made available to fans at no additional cost.
On the fit for NBC: There is a lot of content, it comes at a time of day that we can really maximize by being on Saturday and Sunday mornings and Monday afternoons with the games. It is a long season, the longest in all of professional sports going from mid-August to mid-May. It is a sport that allows us to use all of the assets at our disposal to market promote and showcase. The only other property we have like that we can do that with are the NHL, the Olympics, etc. We love taking on these properties where we can vertically integrate them throughout the company.
On partners: We are blessed that we have in my mind the best sales organization in the business, led by Seth Winter and his team. They have done a tremendous job of bringing in a lot of new sponsors as well as sponsors who have been around the Premier League for a long time. We’ve also gotten great response from the cable and satellite companies such as Dish and DirecTV, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, etc. Everyone with the possible exception of Charter, is taking the extra time channels, which is just tremendous. That bodes well.
On the Air
TNT’s third round coverage of the 2013 PGA Championship from the Oak Hill Country Club East Course in Rochester, N.Y., handed the network with a 1.6 rating in Nielsen metered markets, marking a 78% spike over the 0.9 rating in 2012. The score also marks network’s highest rating for the Championships’ third round since 2010. Through the third round, TNT’s live telecasts averaged a 1.4 rating, up 56% compared with the first three rounds of the tournament last year (0.9 rating).
Now on to FOX Sports 1 with a bevy of news…
FOX Sports lined up more content for FS1 and FS2, inking a multi-year, international multi-media deal with the FIA Formula E Championship, the world’s first fully-electric car racing series that kicks in this September. FOX Sports also has exclusive and non-exclusive rights in more than 80 territories including Canada, Latin America/Caribbean, Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia and other areas of Asia, India and Africa.
FOX Sports also locked in a five-year deal with the International Motor Sports Association that runs through the 2018 season. The agreement includes coverage of IMSA’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge for five years. Fans can expect to see a mix of races and shoulder programming available on both FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2. The deal also gives FOX Sports the right to stream all IMSA races as part of its FOX Sports GO product. IMSA retains additional digital rights including alternate camera angles and full race replays.
On to talent. Randy Moss seemed to tweet confirmation that he was heading to FOX where he is expected to contribute to FOX Football Daily on FS1.
Meanwhile, Golf Digest reports that FOX has offered Greg Norman the lead analyst job for FOX’s newfound coverage of golf via a 12-year deal with the PGA.
One talent deal that has been confirmed by FOX Sports is the addition of former MLB outfielder Gabe Kapler, who will join the FOX Sports 1 lineup in 2013 as an MLB analyst for FOX Sports Live.
One last note, FOX Sports announced that beginning Aug. 23, FOX High School Football will hit FS1, showcasing top prep players on the channel. The seven-episode series will spotlight the nation’s “best high school football teams as they battle their fiercest foes,” featuring looks spanning Texas, California, Ohio, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey and Louisiana. Calling the action on the field are MLB on FOX play-by-play announcer Daron Sutton and analyst Ben Leber, The first game will pit Mountain Pointe (Ariz.) vs. Bishop Gorman (Nev.) at air at 10p.
NBC is telling LGBT employees who may be involved in the Winter Olympics in Sochi that it looks to shield them following Russia’s passage of anti-gay law, according to the AP. The network circulated a memo stating that it finds Russia’s law and the prejudices it represents to be “deeply troubling and diametrically opposed to everything that the Olympics symbolize” and that Russia’s law violates the International Olympic Committee’s charter which is designed to unify “people and countries through the celebration of sport and it is our very strong hope that spirit prevails.”
ESPN FC on TV debuted on Sunday with the company announced four new contributors to the show over the weekend, including Julie Foudy, Colin Udoh, Julien Laurens and Alison Bender. Regular segments on the show will spotlight Americans Abroad (Monday), the EPL Team of the Week (Monday), Bloopers with Tommy Smyth (Tuesday), Shaka Hislop’s Power Rankings (Thursday) and EPL Weekend Previews (Friday).
NBC Sports Network might soon get its own bowl game via a new post-season matchup being proposed dubbed the Legends Bowl. The Charleston Post and Courier writes that the matchup would pit teams form the MAC and Sun Belt in Charleston and be held on Dec. 20 on NBCSN.
Sirius XM Radio and beIN SPORT are teaming up to offer beIN SPORT’s live English-language play-by-play of soccer leagues – including Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1. Games will run on SiriusXM’s dedicated soccer channel, SiriusXM FC, channel 94, and other SiriusXM play-by-play channels. Additionally, SiriusXM will carry Spanish-language beIN SPORT en Espanol on SiriusXM channel 158, starting August 15.
Golf Channel’s In Play with Jimmy Roberts returns tomorrow night at 10:30p with a look “inside the ropes with some of the best photographers to ever capture the game.” Other stories will include a look at Dallas teenager Lester Bell, who overcame poverty through the power of golf; and trick shot artist Dennis Walters, whose paralysis opened a new door to life.
Grab the last seats while you can. From NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to the launch of FS1 to Turner’s David Levy to a league CMO Roundtable and more, don’t miss the action! Get your tickets to the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit before they are all gone. Register now at http://www.cynopsissportssummit.com
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Cynopsis: Sports Women of Action | YALE CLUB NYC | 4pm – 7pm
Join us for a stimulating 2-hrs with a dynamic group of women in senior sports positions talking candidly about the challenges that women still face in landing shot-calling, game-changing positions in the sports world, as well as the opportunities those same challenges present.It’s Not Too Late!!! REGISTER NOW Questions: Pete Romas.
The Special Olympics had its first-ever global agency of record for the organiation’s marketing efforts, announcing a deal with Y&R. The account will be led out of Y&R’s New York office, and feature a new global, integrated campaign, scheduled to launch early next year, will include TV, print, digital, social media, youth activation and leadership, fundraising efforts and large global events.
The PGA Championship paid dividends to PGA.com, managed by Turner Sports, with live streaming of the tournament across platforms (broadband and mobile) rising 88% through the first three rounds of the Championship. Meanwhile, live streaming hours across platforms grew 94% compared to the first three days in 2012.
Sports-entertainment platform The Whistle tapped Julie Kikla will serve as the start-up’s Head of Content Partnerships and Digital Strategy where she will manage a series of deals for the platform. Kikla joins from Google. The move comes after last week’s announcement that Major League Lacrosse has joined the NFL, PGA Tour and other groups as equity investors in and content partners with The Whistle.
The Main Event, the featured game of the day sponsored by Thuuz, real-time sports discovery for mobile & connected TV platforms
Orioles vs. Diamondbacks at 9:40p. Thuuz rating: 65
Two teams fighting to stay in the postseason race. On local channels.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
SPORTS BUSINESS SUMMIT | AUG. 14 | GRAND HYATT | NYC
ON THIS DAY in 1851: The US schooner America beats British yacht Aurora in the first-ever America’s Cup.
In The Know: Easy one. What baseball player has won the most World Series Championships? (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: Which NBA player was known as “The Glove”? Answer: Gary Payton. Kudos: Jim Seifert/Sao Paulo, Brazil; Maxine Dillon-Mediavest/NY; Brendan McGovern-Google/NY; Chris Halpin-NFL/NY; Robert Dudelson-Impressions MediaWorks/NY; Jonathan Weaver-ESPN/Bristol; G. David Brown-FOX Sports Carolinas/Charlotte; John Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Jack Valente-InStadium/Detroit; Robert Teinowitz-Live Action Media/Chicago; Joe Lyons-Back Nine Productions, Inc./Dallas; Joe Haack-Time Warner Cable Media/Lincoln; Gretchen Brady-KDAF/Dallas; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Michael Jaquet-U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association/Park City; Steve Morrow-Eclipse Television/Mill Valley; Anne Wettig-Fox Sports 1/LA; Damon Parry-MediaVest/LA; Casey Armstrong-WebbROI/Laguna Beach.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
AUG. 13 | YALE CLUB | NYC
A sampling of the powerful line-up of speakers:
Susan Cohig – SVP, Integrated Marketing (NHL)
Erin Harvego – VP, Marketing (Big Ten Network)
Mary Lobbestael – VP (Octagon)
Laura Gentile – VP (espnW)
View the complete list of speakers & register:
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
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