Good morning. It’s Monday, May 6, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Now that the NHL Playoffs underway, the league is marketing its second year of the NHL and NBC’s 10-year agreement that will see every Stanley Cup Playoffs game is being televised nationally in the U.S. Based on a theme of Every Game, Every Night, the league is looking to continue pushing regular season ratings upticks by utilizing increased exposure and promotion to drive the marketing strategy during the Playoffs for both the avid as well as casual fan.
Cynopsis Sports spoke with Brian Jennings, EVP of Marketing at the NHL, about the promotional strategy this year and how the league is evolving its message.
Jennings on the success of the regular season, despite the lockout: We’re very grateful that we were able to get through our shortened season but maybe most importantly, we are grateful for how the fans responded to it. As a hockey fan, this time of the year there may be nothing better than the early and late matchups and the sheer volume of tremendous hockey that goes on nightly.
On year two of the national broadcast strategy: The NBC alliance is at the epicenter for our success. Last year was the first time for us and the feedback from fans-whether it was through social media or just conversations we were having with partners- was that the hockey fan was being served like they had never been served at any time in the history of the league. The fact that there was every game on every night ended up being not just a rallying cry, it was really serving the fan. So many people have been saying ‘While I love the playoffs, there are some great series going on’ and they are all rubbing up against each other. So if I’m a fan and I’m displaced, I want to be able to see my team and that series. Last year it started, the fan won. I think when we can get to that scenario, for broadcast and sponsors as well as from a league perspective, I think that’s a good place to land on. This year will be even more of that with a high level of production quality and insights.
On creating the playoff campaign: In the end, the product itself is what ultimately gets people excited and tuning in. You want to have your campaign pivoting that the on-ice action, not to denigrate the regular season, is going to get to a level of intensity that you know you don’t see night in and night out. It doesn’t matter where your team finished, now there is a reset button and everybody has to earn their way through. This year, much like last year, is wide open. The competitive balance is so good and that balance is so important. In addition, with this year’s campaign, we had some fun from a fan’s perspective with the spot It’s Time to Get Weird. The other spot, It’s Time to Meet Some Characters, is really aimed toward the more casual fan to get into it. So as we pivoted from History Will Be Made, which we loved and was really about activating the avids, we have broadened that lens this year. You’ll see in a spot like Ding Ding, that it really reinforces the unique sacrifices that our players go through. I think that is a really unique spot.
On driving cultural relevance: We want to make sure that despite what your personal relevance is to the NHL Playoffs, as far as a favorite team, rooting interest or even favorite players, you don’t want to miss this. It is also about procuring music rights form various artists, we’ll go out and we’ll clear a bunch of different rights for our clubs for our broadcasters to use in and out of bumpers and those type of things. There’s a social relevance to that. We are also sending around to some influencers, radio stations and things like that, these 16 Stanley Cupcakes. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, but used to start some chatter around the playoffs. There is a social media value to that. Music, entertainment and some fun stunts and experiential marketing helps drive that relevancy.
Orb’s victory (Kudos to HRTV for their picks) at The Kentucky Derby on Saturday handed NBC Sports with the race’s best overnight ratings in 21 years, according to Nielsen. The race drew a 10.4 overnight rating and a 23 share for the race portion, up 16% from the 2012 race. Pre-race coverage on NBC scored a 6.2/15 overnight rating, up 15% from last year. Louisville ranked at the top of local market ratings, with a 43.7/69 for the race, with 47 of the 56 Nielsen metered markets showed ratings gains. The next race of the Triple Crown, takes place on May 18 with The Preakness Stakes with coverage starting at 3:30-p.
The tennis world bid a sad farewell over the weekend to ATP Tour Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett, who died on Friday after suffering from Motor Neurone Disease. Drewett was appointed in January 2012. “Tennis Channel laments the passing of our great friend and colleague Brad Drewett. Our heavy hearts are with his family and the entire tennis family today,” said Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO, Tennis Channel. “Tennis has lost a great leader and human being who accomplished so much for the sport he loved.”
TNT’s coverage of the second round of the NBA Playoffs tips off tonight, with a doubleheader that features Chicago/Miami at 7p, followed by Golden State/San Antonio at 9:30p. Coverage then continues Tuesday with Indiana/NY at 7p and Memphis/Oklahoma City at 9:30p. Marv Albert called the early game tonight, alongside analyst Steve Kerr and reporter Craig Sager, while Dick Stockton will provide commentary for the Warriors/Spurs matchup alongside analyst Chris Webber and reporter David Aldridge.
Major League Baseball announced broadcast plans for the upcoming draft, with will take place on June 6 at MLB Network’s Studio 42 in Secaucus, N.J. with the Astros once again picking first. MLB.com and MLB Network will offer live coverage of the Draft on Day 1 with the preview show starting at 6p, followed by the first two rounds and two Competitive Balance rounds. This year’s Draft will now run Thursday-Saturday instead of Monday-Wednesday, with rounds 3-10 taking place on Friday, June 7 at 1p and rounds 10-40 starting at 1p on Saturday, June 8.
Golf Channel announced that it will replay Saturday’s second round from the Champions Tour’s Insperity Championship this morning at 11a, featuring one of the final times “The Big Three” – Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player – are grouped together in tournament competition.
The San Francisco 49ers and KPIX 5 locked in a new television broadcast agreement with a 10-year extension of preseason game broadcast rights through the 2023 season. As part of the deal, all 49ers preseason game broadcasts will air in high definition on KPIX 5, and be rebroadcasted on CW 44 Cable 12 and will include 49ers Preview, the longest running weekly 49ers program in the Bay Area.
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The Chicago Cubs have added OfficeMax to its roster of corporate partners, inking a two-ear deal that makes the company the official office products supplier to the Cubs and Wrigley Field. Under the agreement, the OfficeMax logo will grace the top of the camera shed in center field, advertise on the Cubs website and carry the presenting sponsorship for Ernie Banks Jersey Flag Day at the ballpark.
Digital & Production
ESPN3 is offering more than 200 hours of live tennis matches during a two-week span from the ATP and WTA starting today and running through Sunday, May 19 that will help determine seeding for the French Open. Coverage of the Mutua Madrid Open starts today at 4:50a, while the Internazionali BNL d’Italia starts on May 13 at 5a.
The Main Event
Bulls/Heat on TNT at 7p.
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Entry Deadline: June 20
Late Submission Deadline: June 27
Awards Event: November 2013 (NYC)
ON THIS DAY in 1997: Rick Pitino becomes coach of Boston Celtics.
In The Know: Rick Pitino’s first head coaching job for the NCAA was with what school? (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 Hall of Fame athlete made an appearance in the Michael Jackson video Remember the Time? Answer: Magic Johnson. Kudos: Leopold Myrie-OMD/Sydney; Jonathan Lesson-FOX TV/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Gretchen Brady-KDAF/Dallas; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc./Santa Monica; John Whitlock-American Target Network/LA; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA; William “Chip” Beaman-Formosa Interactive/Hollywood.
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