Good morning. It’s Monday, February 11, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Just days before the launch of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend, Turner Sports is preparing to move a battalion of crew and cameras into Houston to prepare for the festivities. With more than 160 hours of coverage on deck across TNT, NBA TV and on digital platforms, the company will start programming on Thursday with the TNT NBA Tip-Off Presented by AutoTrader.com from the city. Other events will see the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 15, at 9p, the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 8p as well as the 62nd annual NBA All-Star Game presented by Kia Motorson Sunday, Feb. 17, at 7p. In addition, live video player TNT Overtime will offer a redesigned look for NBA All-Star.
Cynopsis Sports spoke with Craig Barry, Senior Vice President, Production and Executive Creative Director of Turner Sports about the planning strategy for of the weekend, the mechanics involved in setting up production and the importance of on-air chemistry.
On how the festivities are rolling out: We go into Houston on Thursday where we do the live pre-game, halftime, and post-game for our doubleheader on Thursday. Then, of course, we move to the All-Star weekend events starting with the Rising Stars, the All-Star Saturday Night and then the All-Star Game on Sunday. The following Monday is new for us because on NBA TV, we will continue the All-Star theme and feature interviews with Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Charles Barkley. On Saturday Night, new for this year will be our exclusive Open Court which will air on TNT, with all of our network talent sitting around talking about all of their great memories of the event.
On the evolution of the weekend: We look at it from a 360 degree deal. It’s not just the All-Star Weekend on TNT, it’s the All-Star experience across all media. Whether it is on NBA.com or NBA TV or TNT proper, there will be more than 160 hours of content across TNT and NBA Digital platforms. So for us it really becomes about this large contingent of production people going to Houston and trying to create as much access and the most sensory experience for the fan that we can.
On technology: Every year technology changes and evolves, and every year we look to increase the opportunities behind that technology. I think for the most part, year-over-year, whether it’s adding new super slo-mos, changing the format of the event itself like East vs. West, or adding cameras to better cover the event because the new format calls for it to happen at both ends of the court, we look to deliver a better experience in any way we can.
For me, I’m a little bit of a content purist and any situation where we can mic the players, and any microtechnology that brings us to a place where we normally wouldn’t be is a favorite of mine. For example, when we have cameras behind the glass of the backboard and on top of the backboard, and then we have five super slo-mos on the floor, this gives us the ability to cover the event and give the fans a look at the competition [in a way] that they might not normally experience.
On the chemistry of the on-air talent: I feel that over the course of the years, whether it was by luck or by design, we’ve been able to create a dynamic between the talent that is unmatched. They are entertaining, outspoken, and after so many years of working together, they know how to feed each other. That’s not exclusive to the studio – I’d say the same for the guys in the booth. This year, we’ve had the opportunity to expand that dynamic and let Charles do some games, Chris Webber is in the mix and we are starting to see that we can rotate guys in and out between the booth and studio and although the chemistry may change, it is still equally as strong.
News Corp will officially unveil the company’s two new sports channels, Fox Sport 1 and Fox Sports 2, in early March as part of an upfront presentation to advertisers, according to Reuters. As part of the event, the company will hold a sports upfront featuring sales pitches for the two new channels as well as its 22 regional sports channels. Regis Philbin is in talks to host a daily afternoon show for the network and may also appear at the event.
The NBC Sports Network has made an offer for media rights to the Big East Conference, bidding between $20 and $23 million per year for their sports, according to ESPN. ESPN will have an opportunity to match deal. Basketball rights for the Big East Conference with ESPN and CBS expire at the end of this academic year, while the football side of the deal with ESPN expires after the following academic year.
NBA TV’s next NBA Fan Night presented by Sprint offering will feature the Miami Heat hosting the Portland Trail Blazers tomorrow at 7:30p. Fan Night host Ernie Johnson and analysts Greg Anthony and Chris Webber will offer analysis during the AutoTrader.com Pregame Show at 7p.
The Chicago Bulls and Comcast SportsNet will showcase the NBA Chinese New Year Celebration at the United Center tonight as part of the team’s home game against the Spurs. The game will feature a game open video featuring CSN’s Luke Stuckmeyer from Chicago’s Chinatown and the incorporation of Chinese language text placed throughout the game telecast. Other activities will include “The Magical Strings of Youth” children’s violin group performing the National Anthem, and video of the Chicago Chinese Cultural Center on-court performance of “Lion Dance” among the festivities. The telecast will also be televised live on China’s CCTV-5 broadcast station to millions more overseas.
FUEL TV is getting its first-ever UFC title fight. The card, from Wembley Arena in London, will air on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 3p and will be anchored by Renan Barao’s first interim title defense in the bantamweight division against top contender Michael McDonald. The Postfight show will see the channel debut its Fan CAMeo, a feature that allows viewers to submit video reactions to the fights via the FUEL TV website or app.
Bellator MMA’s fourth week on Spike TV is holding steady so far on the network, drawing 807,000 viewers for Thursday’s Bellator 88, according to reports. In addition, another 268,000 watch the immediate replay. Those numbers are up from Bellator 87, which drew just over 700,000 viewers.
NFL Network announced a slew of new production promotions within the company. Roster changes include: Mike Muriano moving to Senior Coordinating Producer Event Production; Ronit Larone to Senior Coordinating Producer Studio Production; Jim Cohen to Senior Coordinating Producer Editorial; Matt Kallinger takes on the role of Production Operations Coordinating Producer; while Bardia Shah-Rais and Charlie Yook have been upped to Coordinating Producers.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Cynopsis Sports Webinar
How to Leverage Social Media to Boost Fan Engagement
Tuesday * February 26 * 1:30-3:15p.m. ET
Moderated by: Mike Trudell (Lakers.com Beat Reporter + TWC’s SportsNet Lakers Sideline Reporter), along with:
Kate Guerra, Social Media Manager, INDYCAR
Susie Lokey, Sr. Director Consumer Marketing, Golf Channel
Gabe Lozano, Co-Founder/CEO, LockerDome
Caty Marzi, Manager of Social Media Business Devel., NHL
Register here: http://www.cynopsis.com/webinars/sports-social-media/.
The Miami Heat are teaming up with the Miami City Ballet for a joint 25th anniversary celebration. As part of a local and national campaign to promote the arts scene in the city, photos of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade paired with Miami City Ballet Principal Dancers Jeanette and Patricia Delgado will anchor the promotion.
With NCAA March Madness just weeks away, contenders for the Naismith Student Section of the Year have been whittled down to 16 to determine the best student section in college basketball. With schools that range from Gonzaga and Colorado to Syracuse and VCU. The Naismith Student Section of the Year Award is presented through a partnership of The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC), an affiliate of IMG College, and the Atlanta Tipoff Club, administrators of the Naismith Awards.
Graphics pioneer SMT announced that NBC and Golf Channel will be utilizing its technologies for the 2013 PGA Tour season. Features will include: PuttVision, a display of the optimal putting line on a 3D model of the green; 3D Landing Zone, a real-time graphic predicting where a tee show will land on a par-3 green; and Virtual Driving Grid, a graphic the showcases yardage markers and the distance of a player’s tee shot.
The Main Event
An in-state rivalry of two-ranked teams as Kansas St. visits Kansas on ESPN at 9p.
ON THIS DAY in 1990: Buster Douglas shocks the world with a knockout of Mike Tyson.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What MLB team originally drafted Alex Rodriguez? Answer: Seattle. Kudos: Bob Melvin-NBC Sports Group/NY; Jon Latzer-CineSport/NY; Anthony Dattolo-ZenithMedia/NY; Gina Stallone/iTVX/New York; Jonathan Weaver-ESPN/Bristol; G. David Brown-Fox Sports/Charlotte; Dave Bardua-FOX 8 WGHP/Greensboro; Jeff Miller-Meredith Corporation/Atlanta; Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville; Kevin Micklo-Maxus Media/Chicago; Dan Radman-Anheuser Busch/St. Louis; Bill Adusei-Comcast SportsNet/Houston; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Larry Hutchings/Pacific Palisades; Joe Pedri-KLAS/Las Vegas; Brian Sullivan-KHQ-TV/Spokane; Justin Bitensky-OMD/LA.
In The Know: Who did Bill Self replace as coach of the Kansas men’s basketball team? (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.)
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
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