Monday, March 11th, 2013

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Cynopsis: Sports
03.11.13

Good morning. It’s Monday, March 11, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Last year’s acquisition of Formula 1 racing broadcast rights gave NBC Sports Group the two big players in open-wheel racing. Now, with the new season of Formula 1 set to rev up on March 16 (while IndyCar starts on March 24), NBC Sports is announcing broadcast and promotional plans as the sport settles into its new home. Cynopsis Sports spoke with Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network about the welcome Formula 1 will receive from the network, its potential as well as the challenges that must be overcome for Formula 1 to grow stateside.

Miller on the Formula 1 investment: We made a major commitment not only financially, but programming-wise, promotionally, etc. It matches up with IndyCar very well, so we are now the home of open-wheel racing which we think is very important. With Formula One, one of the things we are going to announce is that Monaco will be live on NBC, and we believe that will be the first time that Monaco has been broadcast live on network television ever. We will come on at 7a that morning with all the excitement and glamour and glitz of Monaco. Obviously, we have already started with a F1 Countdown show on NBC Sports Network with a strong talent team. So we have a pretty aggressive approach to the sport and I think a lot of the people who may not have been familiar with Formula 1 will be captured much the way we were by its excitement, its technology and I think that by marrying it up with IndyCar, they can both make some great strides. I believe we will have 13 IndyCar races on NBC Sports Network this year which is the most we’ve ever had.

On building the Formula 1 brand: We started talking with them last year about ways we could help launch, showcase and make the brand really important in this country so we met with the key people in Formula 1 and presented to them a strategy of what we thought we could bring to the table and it included utilizing all of our assets including NBC broadcast, NBC Sports Network, CNBC is actually going to air some races, and we will are working on a streaming app. We are very excited about wrapping Formula 1 in all for the platforms we have, sales have been really strong and we attracted a really good roster of blue chip advertisers. ExxonMobile is involved, Mercedes Benz is as well. Conversations are ongoing with others of that caliber. We think it is going to be a lot of fun for us and we take a lot of pride in the fact that we build our partners brands. It’s the NHL on NBC, it’s the PGA Tour on NBC, it’s the NFL on NBC, this is Formula 1 on NBC. We are not putting ourselves in front of the brand. We are putting the brand first.

On increasing the profile of the drivers: I went to my first Formula 1 in Austin and I had heard a lot about it. What was amazing is how many people came to that race that had never seen a Formula 1 race but the drivers are true rock stars. They are not as accessible, for example, as NASCAR or IndyCar drivers are. So one of the things we’ve been trying to impress upon Formula 1 is that by making these drivers more accessible and telling the story of Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton who just left to go to Mercedes, those kind of stories are unbelievable stories in the Formula 1 world and they are going to be incredibly advantaged by allowing us to tell those stories.

On the IndyCar season: While they have had some leadership and management changes, they’ve done a good job over there. We’re excited about a lot of the moves that they’ve made going forward. We obviously think that the addition of Formula 1 gives us a very strong promotional platform, in fact several weekends over the course of the year, you will have Formula 1 races in the morning leading into IndyCar races in the afternoon. So we think that it only helps expose the racing audience that way.

On the growing hockey ratings: It goes to show that people missed hockey, we are excited they came back. There has been very little fallout for the missed games. I think the NHL did a great job in the way they scheduled these 48 games and in keeping everybody in conference. The launch of Rivalry Night on Wednesdays has been a huge success for us. We are seeing numbers we honestly didn’t think we would see for several years. So Rivalry Night has really worked well. Obviously a team like the Blackhawks and their stream is spectacular. We are going to have some great teams in the playoffs and I think these races are going to go down to the wire.

On the Air

The seven Catholic schools in the Big East officially announced departure plans for the newly-split league, (although they will be taking the Big East moniker with them). The group of seven will formally break away on June 30. “I am pleased that this agreement has been reached,” said Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco. “With the long-term well-being of our outstanding institutions and their student-athletes of paramount importance, each group worked through a number of complex issues in an orderly, comprehensive and amicable manner marked by mutual respect. We part ways as friends and colleagues and look forward to the success of both conferences.”

With NFL free agency set to kick off at 4p tomorrow, NFL Network and NFL.com announced coverage plans for the 2013 free agency period that will feature 19 hosts, analysts and reporters offering up-to-the-minute updates on the latest player movement. Coverage begins today at 7p with a two-hour NFL Total Access Free Agency Frenzy show. In addition, former NFL general managers Mike Tannenbaum and Scott Pioli will join NFL Network’s roster. On NFL.com, fans can track all of the player movement in real time via the site’s Free Agency Tracker.

Preliminary ratings for Friday’s round two coverage of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Golf Channel marked the highest rated and most watched early round in the history of the tournament, according to Nielsen. Round two scores hits a 1.5 household with 1,471,000 viewers for a 24% markup over the same round in 2012.

NBA TV’s NBA Fan Night presented by Sprint telecast will pit the Heat and Hawks on Tuesday, March 12, at 7:30p. Fan Night host Matt Winer and analysts Greg Anthony and Chris Webber will offer analysis during the AutoTrader.com Pregame Show at 7p.

Gregory G. Rodriguez, host of A Rifleman’s Journal on the Sportsman Channel was shot and killed in Montana, by a man who later killer himself on Thursday night. Rodriguez was visiting the wife of the shooter at the time.

Manny Acta signed on to serve as an ESPN bilingual baseball analyst, according to USA Today, debuting on Baseball Tonight yesterday. He will also serve as a studio analyst for ESPN Deportes.

Tickets are now available for the Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards, which will take place on April 17 at Yale Club in Manhattan. Click here for more info.


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


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WEDNESDAY | APRIL 17, 2013 | 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.
THE YALE CLUB NY

Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards Program

**Finalists announced soon**

Register here: http://www.cynopsis.com/events/sports-awards/.


Sponsorship & Promotion

NCAA Corporate Champion CapitalOne, along with the NCAA and Turner Live Events, announced the lineup for the 2013 NCAA Big Dance Concert Series in Atlanta, in celebration of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Final Four, with talent that includes the Dave Matthews Band, Sting and Grace Potter & The Nocturnals set to perform. The bands will appear at the Capital One Jam Fest on Sunday, April 7, as part of the free, three-day music festival produced by Turner Live Events and the NCAA.

Ford Motor Company was named the recipient of the 2012 NASCAR Driving Business Award by NASCAR. The annual award is bestowed upon the Official NASCAR Partner that demonstrate extraordinary leadership and results through its participation in the NFFB Council. With its win, Ford becomes the first two-time recipient of the Driving Business Award. In 2012, Ford sold more than 5,500 vehicles to NASCAR Official Partners through its “Partner Recognition Program,” with one of its largest vehicle sales deals being worth more than $5 million.

Boyd Gaming extended its sponsorship of the Las Vegas Nationwide race through 2017, according to local reports. The Nevada-based gaming has been a title sponsor in the Nationwide series, the Sam’s Town 300, since 1998.

Digital Fields

As Bleacher Report looks to broaden its brand under the Turner Sports umbrella, the company uploaded a new video to YouTube detailing the editorial process behind the fourth largest desktop sports website in the U.S., and the second largest mobile sports website, according to comScore. The video is designed to offer a glimpse behind the curtain, noting that “contrary to the assumptions of many in the traditional media, we didn’t get there by ‘gaming SEO’ to ‘trick’ readers into clicking.”

The Main Event

Thunder/Spurs square off on NBATV at 8:30p.


ON THIS DAY in 1986: The NFL adopts instant replay.

In The Know: What was the nickname of the defensive line that anchored the Vikings for three Super Bowls in four years? (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: The Detroit Pistons retired the number two in honor of whom? Answer: Chuck Daly. Kudos: Keith Marder-Halstead Property/NY; J. Barry McMullin-Professional Bull Riders/NY; Noah Coslov-CineSport/NY; Kyle Helm-CBS Sports Network/NY; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Jets, LLC/Florham Park; Allison Wright-Viacom Media Networks/Detroit; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; George Finkel-MegaSport Productions/Myrtle Beach; Tim Webb-KWKT-FOX 44/Waco; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc./Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
03.11.13

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