Monday, May 14th, 2012

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Cynopsis: Sports
05/1412

Good morning. It’s Monday, May 14, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

A spectacular ending to the season on the newly-dubbed “Survival Sunday” yesterday handed FOX Sports as well as ESPN all the drama they could hope for during the cross-platform event that featured multiple games on multiple channels at the same time yesterday. For FOX Sports, which is readying for the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final on Saturday, executives are looking to hit a new ratings benchmark for the weekend’s game, with coverage starting at 1p on FOX Soccer, before FOX network takes over at 2p for the match between German club Bayern Munich and England’s Chelsea FC.

Cynopsis Sports spoke with David Nathanson, Fox Soccer Channel Executive Vice President and General Manager about the strategy behind the “Survival Sunday” setup, how soccer audiences are changing and what to expect for Saturday’s final.

Nathanson on the lead-up to “Survival Sunday”: This has always been one of the most exciting days in sports and particularly in the sport of soccer. There’s more money and glory on the line for these clubs on this day. About six months ago, I had a conversation with Eric Shanks about exploring this, it’s never been done before. FOX Sports Media Group has never done a programming roadblock, with the same product across all these different networks. With Eric and Randy’s support we worked together to make this happen. We believe it will pay dividends for us in the upcoming months and in the upcoming seasons.

On the pitch to sponsors: The pitch was pretty simple, we are going to be able to showcase sponsors across six different television properties and two digital outlets and it’s a unique opportunity to cast such a wide net. Certainly, you can do so on one network with a broad audience and a broad show, but to so it across all those different networks with a unique live event on each of those that has its own drama, and to be able to own that in such an exciting time at the same time is a unique opportunity for advertisers and they’ve responded in kind.

On the evolving audience as the sport grows: Every day we are intrigued by how the audience is changing and becoming more and more attractive. The average age for FOX Soccer now is at the youngest age, I believe in its history. Our median age is 38 which skews extremely young, we have very high household income, I believe it’s at $78,000 so it skews incredibly high in that area. They are college educated, they are predominately male but we are getting our fair share of females to tune in as well. The most significant factors is that we have the most sticky network in sports television, when people tune in, the average viewing time is more so than any other sports network on cable. Part of the reason is that you have two 45 minute halves that are uninterrupted but the result is that when the audience tunes in they stay with us. As a result, we continue to bring in new advertisers and I’m proud to say we’ve never lost an advertiser.

On Saturday’s Final: The Champions League Final is on FOX for the third year in a row. The big news there is that we’ve continues to grow year after year as we’ve promoted the Champions League and driven exposure to it. We believe there is a lot of momentum leading into this year’s Champion’s League Final. With this year’s talent, we are going to be showcasing some new bells and whistles live from Munich where the game will be. We have a very exciting show set. It should be an unprecedented event for us. We grow each year and we’ve learned lessons from each broadcast.

On the Air

Univision found its new head of sports, naming Juan Carlos Rodriguez as president of Univision Deportes. Rodriguez will now oversee Univision’s sports division across all platforms and will report to Cesar Conde, president of Univision Networks. Rodriguez joins the company from Televisa Deportes Network (TDN) where he held the post of CEO and developed the brand, spearheading the launch of TDN and its sister properties TDN HD, TDN2.0, TDN Centro America and TDW, the top Mexican sports radio brand in Mexico.

The new ACC television deal with ESPN ruffled some feathers over the weekend, with the chairman of Florida State’s Board of Trustees telling Warchant.com that the deal was skewed to favor basketball schools and as a result he “would be in favor of seeing what the Big 12 might have to offer.” A Yahoo! report over the weekend added fuel to the fire, stating that while the schools were reported to be set to jump up to $17 million a year, the bulk of the raise won’t come until 2021. The chairman has since backed off his stance.

Speaking of disgruntled conference members, the University of Pittsburgh has become the latest outgoing Big East member to sue the conference in an effort to get out early. The AP reports that the school filed a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County on Friday claiming that the conference waived its right to enforce a 27-month withdrawal notice when TCU and West Virginia left and that the university should be allowed move to the ACC without further penalty by the 2013-14 conference year.

With Golf Channel set to unveil the latest season of Big Break tonight with Big Break Atlantis, the network is stepping up the profile of the franchise. On Tuesday at 7p, Golf Channel will debut Big Break Academy, where Michael Breed will work with eliminated competitors from the previous night’s episode of Big Break Atlantis to focus on “the key moments and shots that defined her appearance on the series.” The 11-week series will utilize the same holes and props featured on series, with varying instruction based on the contestant featured.

A faceoff between the Devils and Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals plays into the hands of MSG Networks, which announced coverage plans for the games with a one-hour simulcast postgame show on MSG and MSG+ following every game between the rival teams in the Eastern Conference Finals starting Monday. The postgame show will feature both Rangers and Devils experts in-studio and rinkside. Al Trautwig will host the show alongside former Devil Ken Daneyko and former Rangers Brian Leetch and Ron Duguay.

Talks between the USOC and the International Olympic Committee on revamping their revenue sharing agreement are looking promising, according to AFP. USOC chairman Larry Probst said that the two sides had not “gone backwards” during the discussions, with the IOC believing that the US gets too much revenue, while US officials believe the issue has prevented the country from hosting the Games.

Scratch the Jets off the list of teams that might be a part of HBO’s Hard Knocks. The New York Daily News reported that the team is no longer under consideration and that HBO still has time to decide which franchise to feature.

The NCAA reports that men’s basketball attendance for all three NCAA divisions in 2011-12 tallied 32,781,399 fans, for a bump over the previous year and ranking as fifth all-time. The Big Ten Conference led the nation for the 36th consecutive year in conference attendance and with the addition of Nebraska this season, the Big Ten’s 12 teams totaled a league-high 2,856,785 fans and averaged 12,868 per game, while SEC team Kentucky led the nation in home attendance average at 23,721 fans per game.

Sponsorship & Promotion

BTN announced that they channel will kick off the 2012 College Football season by hosting the inaugural BTN Big 10K and post-race FanFest and Tailgate party on July 28 in downtown Chicago. The race will take place the day after the 2012 Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon and wrap up the Big Ten Media Days. As part of the event, runners will be encouraged to show their school spirit with school-inspired costumes and accessories. In addition, BTN will also host a 5K, a family-friendly run/ walk option. The channel will partner with Fleet Feet Sports – Chicago to put on both races.

MLB Network hired Chris Lee as the channel’s Director of Sales, Western Region. He will be based in the network’s new Los Angeles-based advertising sales office and previously served as Sales and Marketing Director, Western Region for the Disney Channel.

Aquaphor inked a deal that will make the company the new title sponsor of the Aquaphor New York City Triathlon. The new partnership is a three-year agreement that includes naming rights, as well as a variety of marketing and promotional components for the Olympic-distance race. More than 3,000 athletes from 44 states and 10 countries will compete in the 2012 Aquaphor New York City Triathlon on July 8, 2012.


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE

What are you waiting for?
We’ve announced the Cynopsis Kids !magination Award finalists, now join us in saluting them at the Awards breakfast!

Date: June 7, 2012
Time: 8:00-10:30 a.m.
Location: Le Parker Meridien, NYC
Register: http://www.cynopsis.com/events/kids-awards/

Questions?
Registration: Jenn Sredzinski; 203.906.4603
Sponsorships: Mike Farina; 203.218.6480



Digital Fields

Patriots receiver Chad Ochocinco posted an open letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell aka “Dad” about the health issues of players in the league on his site, OCNNReport.com. Here were his thoughts…

Dear Dad,
I know it has been a rough week, so I wanted to reach out. Players dying, players suing and on top of that my peers are just going off on you in the media. It does not help that ESPN has all of a sudden become Medical TV with damn near every brain expert on the planet. This has got to be the worst week ever. Since no one is showing any support, I figured I would be the first. You are in one big ass catch 22 and quite frankly, I am not sure there is any solution. One thing I think can help is killing the NFL PR machine.
Y’all do a darn near perfect job at portraying this game as one played by heroes.

But let’s be real dad. This is a nasty, dirty and violent game with consequences. Sign up or go get a regular job. Watch it or turn off the TV and go fishing with your kids. It is really that simple. I know there are probably legal and financial implications that prevent this blunt depiction, but am not sure if you have a choice. If you don’t say it now, the mounting evidence being revealed publicly will say it for you very soon. In all, I love you and if anyone can lead us out of this mess, it will be you. Oh by the way, I have a deal for you. Am having a rebound year and plan to do a lot of celebrating in the end zone. Can my fine money go to supporting ex-players suffering?
Sincerely,
Chad

The Main Event

76ers/Celtics on TNT at 7p.



ON THIS DAY in 1918: Sunday baseball becomes legal in Washington DC.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: On what team did Greg Maddux make his final MLB appearance? The Dodgers. Kudos: Noah Coslov-CineSport/NY; Scott Jenkins-Tribune Media Services/Queensbury; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Daniel Goldstein-CSE/Atlanta; David Perlmutter-MediaOcean/Chicago; Jay Sheppard-Zimmerman/Oakbrook Terrace; Jim Dittemore-I Will Race You MotorSports Management/Kansas City; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Bryan Geidt-Direct Avenue/Carlsbad; Susan Torrey-New Day Marketing/Santa Barbara

In The Know: What NBA great holds the record of most rebounds in a game with 55? (Hint: it isn’t Rodman) (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
05.14.12

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