Good morning. It’s Monday, December 9, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
As the first sport ever to hold a world championship and with nearly 22 million Americans who played last year, billiards/pool continues to carry the unfortunate label of fringe sport. Last week saw Kelly Fisher winning the 16th International Women’s Tournament of Champions. ESPN won’t televise the competition until Jan. 5 from 2-5p.
However, players are looking to push the sport back into the mainstream, bringing the spotlight back on the art of the game as well as its personalities. Cynopsis Sports spoke with champion player and producer Max Eberle about the state of the sport in the digital world and how he, along with other famed names in the sport, are positioning cue sports for the future.
Eberle on the state of the sport: Pool is a sport of giant opportunity, because it’s growing around the world, even if you don’t see a whole lot of it on TV anymore in the United States. In order to bring the public back in the game, it will take a big jump, like in 1986, when The Color of Money came out and pool saw a 25-year boom. Internationally, it is growing rapidly and the sport has switched from American domination to European and Asian domination in the international events. There’s opportunity there for television properties, and when something hits, the upside is unlimited because just about everyone knows how to play it.
On the impact of digital media: Digital media has been the saving grace of pool in recent years both domestically as well as worldwide. Because you aren’t really seeing it on the networks, the pool-playing community took it upon themselves to showcase tournaments and big money action matches on their own since streaming video became feasible. There’s a lot of power in the individual in pool now and there are so many videos on YouTube, which has actually listed pool as one of its favorite categories. Digital has also been instrumental in providing instruction for people who want to know how to play the game better.
On bringing the sport back to the mainstream: The sport needs to get back on television if it wants to revive public interest. This will include shows that feature the stars of the sport. In fact, tight now, I have a number of different projects in development and am working with multiple companies on shows and documentaries about pool. One involves the lifestyle players are living, another is designed for kids that teaches them about the sport. I’m also working on tournament properties and more. There is so much out there and pool has touched so many people in different ways.
Saturday’s college football conference championships once again drove primetime ratings to healthy numbers with FOX delivering the daypart’s highest scores with its coverage of the Big 10 Championship game that saw Ohio State knocked out of title contention. The contest drew 12.3 million viewers in unadjusted primetime preliminary fast national numbers from Nielsen, with a 3.9 in the adult 18-49 demo. ABC’s ACC Championship delivered 5.757 million viewers and a 1.7 in the demographic. CBS came off its SEC Championship game with primetime coverage of the Mountain West championship, earning 1.868 million viewers and a 0.5 in the demo.
And so, the very last BCS Championship Game will see Florida State and Auburn square off on ESPN on Jan. 6. The game will be played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. For a refresher, last year’s battle between Alabama and Notre Dame drew a 17.5
Speaking of the SEC, ESPN unveiled plans for the upcoming SEC Network, including a football doubleheader, its marketing campaign and road show host. The SEC Network will kick off the college football season with a doubleheader on Thursday, Aug. 28 that will include not only the previously announced Texas A&M/South Carolina matchup as well as Temple/Vanderbilt. The weeknight doubleheader will account for two of five games expected to air on the network that week. The SEC Network will showcase a two-hour traveling Saturday pre-game show, dubbed SEC Nation, that will see ESPN’s Joe Tessitore play host. The series will debut on Aug. 28 from Columbia with its first Saturday stop taking place in Auburn. Meanwhile, ESPN revealed its brand marketing campaign for the network, with the tagline “Take it All In” and will include a series of print, TV and online ads that not only focus on the SEC Network, but also on each of the 14 schools of the SEC.
FOX was crooning about its recent Fox Sports 1 numbers on Friday, announcing that November 2013 ranked as the channel’s highest-rated calendar month since its August launch, according to Nielsen. The record was bolstered by record-setting viewership for Oregon/Oregon State, as well as UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Finale and Prelims (11/30), which combined to make Thanksgiving week the network’s most-watched full week ever, in both prime time and total day. Overall the month’s total day averaged 134,000 viewers, up 17% over October and 33% over September.
Univision did some bragging of its own, announcing that Unimas outperformed NBCSN in 8 of the 13 Formula One telecasts which aired on both networks this season. According to Nielsen numbers, UniMas out-delivered NBCSN 72% among Adults 18-49 and 38% among Total Viewers.
This week’s NBA Fan Night presented by Sprint on Tuesday will see a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals with the Heat/Pacers on Tuesday at 7p. NBA Fan Night host Ernie Johnson and analysts Chris Webber and Greg Anthony will offer analysis during a special one-hour AutoTrader.com Pregame Show starting at 6p. In addition, fans will be able to relive the intensity of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals between the teams starting Tuesday at 10a with all seven games airing in sequence on NBA TV.
Reports last week that NASCAR had extended its deal to keep Champion’s Week in Las Vegas appear to have been premature. In fact, NASCAR has not yet released any information regarding renewing our deal with Las Vegas to extend Champion’s Week in the future.
FOX Deportes is launching a new studio show entitled Debate Final. The weekly, one-hour series will look to offer “interviews, special reports, team and player news, in-depth analysis and opinion based discussions.” Talent will include Alberto Garcia Aspe, Daniel “El Ruso” Brailovsky, Raul Orvananos, Fabian Estay and top anchor Alejandro Blanco.
ESPN analyst Jon Gruden isn’t heading back to the sidelines soon. ESPN.com reports that Gruden will remain a part of Monday Night Football, despite attempts to lure him back to coaching, at least through 2014.
Meanwhile, we may be seeing Tim McCarver again sooner that we thought. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the former FOX commentator may return to the booth as a member of the Cardinals broadcast team next season, likely in a limited role.
Tomorrow! Join Cynopsis Sports next week for the All-Star webinar on December 10, Sports’ Social Media Superstars: Insider Secrets to Engaging Sports Fans on Multiscreens. Don’t miss an amazing lineup of speakers that will include: Scott Carliss, VP, Digital & Social Media at AEG Global Partnerships; Jayar Donlan-VP, Social Media at WWE; Megan Hueter-Director, Digital/Social Strategy at Catalyst; and Amanda Perkey-Social Media Senior Manager at FOX Sports. Click here to register!
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
2014 CYNOPSIS SPORTS MEDIA AWARDS Honoring the best and brightest work from around the spectrum of sports business, with categories that include our Legacy and Vision Awards, the Award of Distinction as well as honors for best series, live coverage of a sporting event, social media excellence, marketing campaign, app and more!
For more information & to enter, visit the awards webpage:
Sponsorship & Promotion
Coors Light inked a deal to serve as the presenting sponsor of upcoming series NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other. The behind-the-scenes docu-series will feature all nine teams participating in the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series games and Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic. It will debut on Jan. 22 on NBSSN and on Jan. 23 on CBC.
Digital & Technology
Spike TV’s VGX 2013, honoring the year’s best video games, saw NBA 2k14 win the Sports Game of the Year category. The franchise bested FIFA 14, MLB 13: The Show and NHL 14 for the Vector Monkey.
The Main Event
Cowboys/Bears on ESPN at 8:40p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
How to Drive Tune-In & Ad Dollars with Apps and Games
Wednesday | December 11, 2013 | 1:30-3:00 p.m. ET
You will learn how to:
~ Time the launch of apps and games to maximize engagement
~ Measure success and evaluate ROI around launches and sustained campaigns
~ Parlay popular existing apps into additional engagement and revenue
ON THIS DAY in 1965: The Reds trade Frank Robinson to the Orioles.
In The Know: As the BCS prepares for its finale, what team has the most all-time appearances in the Championship Game? (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: What university’s teams are known as the Green Wave? Answer: Tulane. Kudos: Jim Seifert-Sao Paulo; Jay Goldstein-Vector Media/NY; Michael Brown-PGA TOUR/NY; Peter King Hunsinger-Golf Digest/NY; Chris Long-USA Today Sports Group/NY; Jon Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Tim Overmyer-20th TV/Atlanta; Tom Wetzel-MMSI/Warwick; RT Harris-WideOrbit/Detroit; Chuck Gordon-Clear Channel Media/Mobile; Joe Haack-Time Warner/Lincoln; Kristin Staskowski-Charter Media/Birmingham; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Steve Morrow-Eclipse Television/Mill Valley; Brian Sullivan-KHQ-TV/Spokane; Mike Burke-20th Century Fox Television/LA; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Tomorrow Dec 10 || 1:30-3:00pm ET
Insider Secrets to Engaging Sports Fans on Multiscreens
Hear from the following panelists:
Jayar Donlan (VP, Social Media) from WWE
Amanda Perkey (Social Media Senior Manager) from FOX Sports
Megan Hueter (Director, Digital/Social Strategy) from Catalyst an IMG consulting company
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
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