A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM ESPN’S X GAMES
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Good morning. It’s Monday, November 12, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
As high school football prepares to hit the playoffs, the country’s largest high school sports media rights holder PlayOn! Sports is ramping up its own gameplan. The producer and aggregator of high school sporting events now boasts more than 5,000 annual high school events, covering 30 sports with more than 15,000 hours of event programming each year. In addition, member schools produce an additional 10,000 annual events through the School Broadcast Program. Thanks to recent deals with the likes of YouTube, contractual relationships with companies such as ESPN, FOX, and Comcast as well as the upcoming launch of its national live portal, the company is capitalizing on teen viewers as well as their parents through its distribution channels. In fact, in every metric, the company is up triple digits year-to-year with users now averaging 24.5 minutes per visit.
Cynopsis Sports spoke with PlayOn! Sports CEO David Rudolph about the growing business of high school sports, why he decided to take on the company, and how PlayOn! is using streaming technology to deliver these events to fans.
Rudolph on the business of high school sports: Our strategy is built around how the high school market rights are structured which means we have two very distinct approaches for how we attack the market. At the post-season level is a traditional sports media model, we acquire the rights from the state high school associations and license that and we then serve as the production company for those events and then we manage all the monetization and distribution of that content. While we do pick up both television and digital rights and produce both, we tend to view high school as best suited for a digital distribution strategy and I’d guess that over 95% of our events are digitally distributed. We now have exclusive rights agreements with 25 of the 60 state high school associations that are out there and that number will likely be north of 30 by the end of this year.
For the regular season, we can’t employ the same strategy because of how fragmented the markets, it would be a very difficult challenge to acquire rights to 15,000 individual high schools and then be responsible for production and monetization of that. So our approach is that we license our technology to those individual schools, using the same platform that we use to stream ours.
On school participation: They do it for visibility and promotion of the school. They do it for a new revenue stream. But the main motivation is that it gives their students a real life learning experience in terms of creating live content and live events. Video production is the norm for kids, everybody has a video camera on their cell phone, so making that jump and kids wanting to become a producer or talent, now have that opportunity.
On the new live platform: The next big push for us that we are now launching is live highlights. We will be using this so when games are in play, we can create and post live highlights and distribute them through social media. The next phase after that will start in January where we will extend that to schools and allow them to do it. The final phase, which we are really excited about which will happen in early first quarter, is that we will extend that to consumers and allow them to cut their own highlight live and post those to social media as well.
On the decision to move to the company: I believed in the technology platform that we built. Just in a macro- trend, I believe that as it got easier and cheaper to produce high-quality content and as the methods to distribute that content to people in multiple ways, I knew this model was going to be tremendous. I’ve always been a sports guy and I love sports from a business perspective because it is one of the few things where live really matters and is one of the few things out there where everybody on some level has a passion for.
Texas A&M’s upset of top-ranked Alabama on Saturday continued CBS Sports’ ratings momentum, with the game drawing an average overnight household rating/share of 6.6/14, according to Nielsen, for a 136% spike over last season’s 2.8/6 (pitting No. 20 Auburn/No. 15 Georgia). Saturday’s game ranked as the second highest-rated on any network-to-date in the metered markets for a college football game in the 2012 season, behind only CBS’ primetime game between Alabama/LSU a week before.
Meanwhile, ESPN announced that its College GameDay crew will head back up to Eugene to cover the new number one team this week, as Stanford takes on Oregon. ABC will telecast the game at 8p on Saturday.
College football conference commissioners are set to meet today in an effort to resolve whether or not the new post-season format will include six or seven-money games for the new college football playoff. Support has dwindled for a seventh marquee bowl game in the semifinal rotation, according to the AP, but commissioners are still reportedly looking for a way to give automatic access to the conferences who do not have a prestige bowl of their own.
UFC cousin Strikeforce is ready to tap out, according to reports, and the MMA organization will hold its final event on Jan. 12 as the promotion’s deal with Showtime expires. Popular Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey, meanwhile, will headline the UFC’s new women’s division as the talent migrates over to the fellow Zuffa company.
The fans have spoken; selecting the Nov. 13 Spurs/Lakers game to be featured on NBA TV’s NBA Fan Night presented by Sprinttelecast. The game will air at 10:30p and was decided by fan votes cast via NBA.com, the NBA Facebook page, Yahoo.com, NBA.com mobile web and mobileGameTimeApp and Twitter.
Starting today and running through Thursday, the BBWAA will announce the winner of an award in the AL & NL during one-hour programs on MLB Network. The specials start at 6p every day and mark the first time the BBWAA Awards announcements will be televised live. The schedule begins with the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year awards on Monday, followed by the Manager of the Year on Tuesday, Cy Young on Wednesday, and MVP on Thursday. Each program will also offer commentary from MLBN analysts, as well as interviews with this year’s award winners, finalists and members of the BBWAA.
ESPN 3D announced its 2012-13 men’s college basketball season slate with 47 games on deck starting Tuesday at 7p with the 2012 State Farm Champions Classic doubleheader. The schedule will wrap up for the first time with the ACC Tournament, held from March 14-17 this season. Other highlights on ESPN 3D this season include the Jimmy V Classic Presented by Corona Extra doubleheader on Tuesday, Dec. 4, as well as all eight weeks of College GameDay Covered by State Farm and the corresponding games.
FUEL TV is celebrating the return of UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre this week. Starting today, the channel will feature GSP WEEK, consisting of more than 34 hours of programs, promos and interstitials highlighting the MMA fighter, leading up to his return to the Octagon on Saturday at UFC® 154: ST-PIERRE VS. CONDIT.
FOX Sports Radio and Portland’s KPOJ-AM announced that the station will re-brand as FOX Sports Radio 620 and immediately begin airing FOX Sports Radio’s line-up of shows. The Oregon State Beavers flagship station will now air FOX Sports Daybreak, Loose Cannons, Petros & Money, FOX Sports Tonight and JT “The Brick,” as well as various weekend programming.
The Lakers are now actively campaigning against the decision by DirecTV and DISH Network to not carry the new home of the team on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes. In an email to season ticket holders, the team stated, “We want to remind you of your choices and what you can do to watch the games as well as all the immersive content on these networks. Verizon FiOS, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Charter, Bright House Networks, and AT&T U-Verse have all reached agreements to carry Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes.”
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Published: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26 Timed to coincide with the NASCAR Sprint Cup – Cynopsis Sports will report on everything you need to know about the Sprint Cup – as well as the latest news on NASCAR (the new events, network carriage deals, etc.) and a look into 2013.
Ad space is limited!Contact VP of Sales & Mktg: Mike Farina | 203.218.6480
The United States Olympic Committee announced that Liberty Mutual Insurance will serve as an official sponsor of the 2014 and 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams in Sochi, Russia, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The deal makes Liberty Mutual the Official Property and Casualty and Life Insurance Partner of Team USA. The sponsorship begins in January of 2013.
Canada’s TSN and the Hockey Hall of Fame announced an extension of their partnership with a new 10-year sponsorship deal that keeps the channel as the official TV and radio broadcast partner of the Hockey Hall of Fame through 2022. TSN is one of the first three founding sponsors of the Hockey Hall of Fame. As part of the renewal, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s new theater will be branded as the TSN Theatre, opening its doors to the public this week with its first 3D theatrical film: Stanley’s Game Seven.
The LPGA Tour and Golf Channel are launching a wide-ranging social media campaign in an effort to create the ultimate fan experience for the Tour’s season-ending event, the CME Group Titleholders which is held Nov 15-18. As the “Social Event of the Season,” for the first time in LPGA history, fans will create a grouping at an official Tour event with the top-three players with the most votes in the “Featured Grouping Contest” playing together for Thursday’s first round and spotlighted throughout Golf Channel’s broadcast. Voting continues until Nov. 12 at LPGA.com and GolfChannel.com. Other actions on deck for the event will span Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare and Pinterest and include: a Twitter takeover of @LPGA by European Solheim Cup star Sandra Gal; tweeting from players during tournament coverage; and “Social media caddies” who will activate several interactive onsite programs.
Major League Soccer launched the Google+ Daily, which will offer fans a chance to hang out and discuss the latest soccer news. Hangouts and posts feature a spicy blend of fan participants and sports personalities who dig in to everything from team prospects and playoff predictions to which MLS player would make the best U.S. president.
With the NHL lockout still in full gear, digital sports video news agency SendtoNews inked a multi-year deal with the American Hockey League to distribute nightly game highlights and other video content to its News partnership Network.
The Main Event
West Virginia/Gonzaga square off in a midnight hoops game on ESPN.
ON THIS DAY in 1970: The Cleveland Cavaliers notch their first-ever NBA victory, besting Portland 105-103.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What university has won the most titles from the College World Series? Answer: The University of Southern California with 12. Kudos: Keith Bielory-Step UP Management/NY; Carolyn Mailloux-VIP Marketing/Charleston; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville; David Hauptman/Denver; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Larry Hutchings/LA; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City; Kevin Fay-DIRECTavenue/Carlsbad.
In The Know: In 2009, the Miami Heat retired the number 33 in honor of what player? (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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