Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Monday, June 3, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Next week’s coverage of the U.S. Open on NBC and Golf Channel will feature over 70 live hours of tournament and news coverage starting on Sunday, June 9 with 17 dedicated hours of action on NBC and 56 set for the cable channel. At the heart of the programming will be Molly Solomon, Executive Producer & Senior Vice President, Productions & Operations for Golf Channel, who is charged with keeping viewers enthralled while monitoring as many as 24 golf balls in the air at once across a playing field that can span a couple of square miles.

Cynopsis Sports asked Solomon about the production challenges golf brings to the table, what we can expect from this year’s US Open and the endurance required for Golf’s Longest Day (which takes place on Golf Channel today).

Solomon on approaching the US Open: We are excited to see the U.S. Open back at Merion Golf Club for the first time since 1981. NBC has covered the U.S. Open for the last 18 years so we have experienced a lot of different set-ups. Tommy Roy, the producer for NBC’s golf coverage who also produces the coverage for ESPN, and his crew live and breathe golf – I know because I used to work on this crew – and share an incredible passion for our national championship. The USGA is part of the NBC Sports DNA much in the same way as the Olympics. However, each U.S. Open is special and Merion poses its own unique challenges because of its small footprint as a golf course.

On new features: We are excited about “FlyCam,” which you’ll see on Golf Channel’s Live from the U.S. Open news shows, as well as NBC’s coverage of the championship. This cable cam will traverse the entire length of the practice range and give a unique angle with a bird’s-eye perspective of the leaders as they warm up for the round.

On the uniqueness of the tournament: As a golf fan, I can’t wait to see Merion on television. What’s unique this year at the U.S. Open is that the championship is returning to a place that a generation of golfers has never seen, and yet it’s considered one of our country’s great golf courses. That gives Golf Channel and NBC the opportunity to reintroduce this grand old golf course and its amazing history. We’ve planned more “Tee to Green” features during the lead-up coverage to help familiarize the viewer with the layout and its esteemed list of Open and U.S. Amateur winners – including Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, and Lee Trevino.

On Golf’s Longest Day: It’s complicated to coordinate 11 reporters across the country, but this is a passion project for our Golf Channel team. Last year, our News Director Matt Hegarty said why don’t we cover sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open? From that idea, our coverage of Golf’s Longest Day was born with a 17-hour marathon dedicated to covering the 36-hole qualifiers at 11 different sites. It’s an aspirational show where we tell the stories of everyday golfers trying achieve their dreams, playing in our national championship. So, we’ve deployed reporters and satellite trucks across the country from sunrise in the East to sunset in the West. Additionally, Kelly Tilghman and Tim Rosaforte, our insider, will be posted at Merion to begin to unveil this gem of a course to the golf fan.

On the Air

After striking a record last week with the NHL Conference Semifinal matchups, NBC continued to roll with the Finals, tying a 15-year high in the overnights on Saturday, according to Nielsen rating reports. Game 1 of the Penguins/Bruins NHL Eastern Conference final handed the channel with a 2.5 overnight rating a record for any Stanley Cup playoff game excluding the Stanley Cup Final- since 1998. On the local front, Game 1 of the matchup scored 23.2 in households in Pittsburgh while Boston drew a 19.6.

Meanwhile, the Heat/Pacers series on TNT drew a 6.6 overnight score for Game 5 last Thursday with about 8.5 million viewers to take the night for the channel. Viewership for the overnight Nielsen score is on par with Game 5 of the network’s Western Conference finals a year ago.

The newly-retired Ronde Barber appears to have a post-NFL career lined up, reportedly signing a deal with FOX Sports. Barber’s reps told them Tampa Tribune that he would be taking on a “hybrid role” for the company that is expected to include both game and studio work for FOX and/or FOX Sports 1.

The Big Ten has yet another bowl game under its umbrella, and is expected to announce today a new partnership with the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, according to the AP. The conference will replace the Big 12 starting in 2014 and is expected to face an ACC team in the game. The report also states that the Big Ten is looking to strengthen its California ties and could soon be adding the Holiday Bowl in San Diego and the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco to its lineup.

Artie Kempner, the lead director for FOX Sports NASCAR and NFL, apologized during the pre-race driver’s meeting before Sunday’s Sprint Cup race for the broken television cable that interfered with last week’s Coca-Cola 600, noting that FOX “didn’t ever want to be the story.” He added that the investigation into the malfunction continues.

ESPN announced that Mexico City-based reporter John Sutcliffe will lead ESPN’s comprehensive English- and Spanish-language coverage of the Mexican National Team through the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013. Sutcliffe will be with El Tri as the Gold Cup champions represent the region in the quadrennial tournament, reporting primarily for ESPN’s English-language coverage of the two-week event in Brazil from June 1530.

ESPN also revealed that it will celebrate the great Vince Lombardi with a one-hour special dubbed Lombardi’s Legacy on Thursday at 9p. The special will be hosted by Chris Berman coincide with this month’s 100th anniversary of the NFL coach’s birth (June 11, 1913).

The WNBA’s Seattle Storm announced a broadcasting partnership with KING broadcasting that will ensure that every Storm game will be carried on TV, on radio or streamed online. Under the deal, all Storm games will be carried on either KONG or Live Well Seattle that are not on ESPN 2 and NBA TV. Live Well Seattle will handle 13 games while KONG will broadcast three home games as well as one road game.


Cynopsis: Digital BIG Monetization Summit
June 18 | 10 on the Park (TWC) | NYC

A sampling of the powerful line-up of speakers:
Marc DeBevoise, EVP & GM, Entertainment, News & Sports [CBS Interactive]
Raymond Dooley, VP, Marketing [Sundance Channel]
Jill Griffin, SVP, Branded Content & Storytelling [LiquidThread USA]
Liz Jenkins, VP Corporate Development [Media Rights Capital]

View the complete list of speakers & register:

Sponsorship & Promotion

Cartoon Network launches its fourth annual Move It Movement Live Tour this summer with partners that include NBA and WNBA FIT, NFL Play 60 and the PGA of America. The 16-market tour kicks off on June 8 in Atlanta and offer activity stations and feature appearances from mascots and local cheerleaders.

ShopRite has signed on with the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games as a Founding Partner for the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, which will take place in New Jersey June 14-21, 2014. In addition, ShopRite will serve as the Official Supermarket of the Games, offering daily lunches, snacks, and beverages for the athletes and volunteers and will provide all floral arrangements for the various receptions and special events throughout the week. ShopRite will also include the 2014 USA Games in much of its promotional efforts over the next year including broadcast recognition, outdoor signage and in-store exposure. 

WNBA rookie Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky is already building up her endorsement roster, inking deals with brands such as Nike, DuPont and Genesis Today. Elena’s brother and certified WNBA player agent Gene Delle Donne, spearheaded the new sponsorship deals and will be managing his sister’s business affairs moving forward.

Digital Fields

The WNBA is looking to use referee cams as early as this season, according to the AP. The use of the technology would mark the first professional league in the U.S. to actually put a camera on the referee, according to WNBA President Laurel Richie. Microphones may also be added to the mix to hear interaction between the officials and players and coaches.

ESPN reports that based on April metrics and 11.9 million social media comments, its networks rank as the “most social” on television for the month. The company also ended April with 8.7 million Facebook fans, while the SportsCenter Facebook page totaled 6.8 million fans.2.5 million people engaged with the ESPN Facebook page while 2.4 million engaged with the SportsCenter page.

The Main Event, the featured game of the day sponsored by Thuuz, real-time sports discovery for mobile & connected TV platforms

Pacers vs. Heat Tonight 8:30p. Thuuz rating: 93
Game 7. Pacers are starting to believe. On TNT.


SAVE THE DATE: Cynopsis Sports Business Summit
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 | Grand Hyatt NY

It will examine how the industry is using content, context and digital connectivity to build audiences, engage fans and integrate sponsors locally, nationally and on a global stage.

For sponsor information, please contact Mike Farina at (203) 218-6480.

More information to follow…

ON THIS DAY in 1991: Thomas Hearns captures the WBA light-heavyweight title.

In The Know: What tennis player was known as “Boom Boom”? (Email 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 served as baseball’s first commissioner? Answer: Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Kudos: Mitch Burg-Syndicated Network Television Association/NY; Denis Barry-CBS Television Station Sales/NY; David Danowski, AE-FOX Sports Media Group/NY; Justin Elliott-USA TODAY Sports Media Group/NY; Tom Wetzel-MMSI/Warwick; Larry Kahn-Golf Channel/Orlando; Tim McGhee-MSp Sports/Summit; Brad Stern-Bellavia Blatt/Mineola; Jim Dittemore-I Will Race You MotorSports Management/KC; Don Cardona-Universal Sports Network/Denver; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Joe Pedri-KLAS/Las Vegas; Larry Hutchings/Pacific Palisades.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports

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