A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM ESPN’S X GAMES
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Good morning. It’s Monday, November 19, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
With the launch of the USSA Network on YouTube last week, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association also launched its official push into the 2014 Winter Games. The channel debuted on November 14 with a mission to showcase original content focusing on athletes, events, as well as lifestyle and feature programming, anchored by weekly program Snow Globe. In addition, more than 20 hours of live streamed events will be featured exclusively in the channel.
On the broadcast front, the U.S. Ski Team and NBC Sports Network are partnering for the first-ever U.S. live TV broadcast of Audi FIS Alpine World Cup ski racing on Sunday as part of a pre-Sochi broadcast schedule by the two organizations. Coverage will begin on the channel at 2p as part of an extensive coverage package that will feature 11 hours on NBC and 22 on NBC Sports Network.
Cynopsis Sports spoke with USSA CMO Michael Jaquet about the year ahead leading into the Games, the importance of the YouTube Channel and how the organization is beefing up messaging this time around.
Jaquet on the year ahead: We have to have everything ready to go during an Olympic year. If we don’t have that ready to go now, as there are so many moving parts, we won’t be able to take full advantage of the attention we receive during an Olympic year. So launching the YouTube channel now provides us with a really good opportunity to work the kinks out, get our content out there, and create some really compelling storylines around our athletes that will all culminate with the Olympics. Every single athlete right now is putting in the time and effort it takes to be an Olympic champion right now and if they don’t have it this year, you can’t get it before the Olympics and that’s true with the business side as well.
On digital strategy: We needed to jump start our digital strategy and reaching out to the biggest video platform in the world seemed like a good idea. We were able to get into the meat of the deal really quickly and there was a level of trust there as well. We went through the process faster than if we were to poke around to find some partners. We received some great institutional knowledge from the YouTube team. Ultimately, what we needed to do was to have the opportunity to get our content and our athletes out there. We are not one of the big four sports so we need to take it upon ourselves to make sure that our athletes are well exposed and that our storylines are out there so when the Olympics happen and the entire world is watching our athletes, they have the backstory on it and that they are not just Olympians.
On sponsors: We have a partner summit every July and I was on the job three weeks before the partner summit, I didn’t want to promise too much to them, but I did promise three key things. One was to become much more alive and relevant with our live TV schedule, as the organization had previously had key events televised on a week’s delay. I knew with my cable background that this was one thing I knew we could deliver on. The other thing I wanted to do was launch this channel so we would be strong on the digital media space and we wouldn’t have to rely on anybody else to tell our story and get exposure for our athletes and our programs. We laid the groundwork for that, and launched it.
The third thing I wanted to do with them was to have a voice and be a part of the discussion with the industry and to do that we needed to have regular programming. Clearly from a business model standpoint, television wasn’t the right approach so we launch a show called Snow Globe on our YouTube channel. That weekly show allows us to make sure our athletes and sports and being promoted and that we were going to be part of the conversation and make sure our messaging was strong. So now we have television promoting digital and digital promoting television so all of our marketing strategy presents a great new future for the company.
On the live broadcast schedule on NBC Sports Network: When I was at CBS Sports Network, I worked directly with John Miller at NBC on the Mountain West conference football schedule we did with them. John Miller was the first meeting I took as CMO, I already had a good relationship with him and I asked him to trust me when I told him what my vision was and he totally helped make it happen. It took a lot of really difficult scheduling maneuvering to make this happen. It wasn’t just a decision that you make and then you do it. There is a lot that has to take place and production issues to address. In the case of some of our Birds of Prey downhill course, it is almost a mile long course and you’ve got a tremendous amount of production issues that could go wrong, especially in the mountains. So you need a good partnership with your production team and a great relationship with your distribution partner to make it work and we’ve got that.
The University of Maryland board of regents is slated to meet at 9a this morning to review a potential move from the ACC to the Big Ten Conference, according to multiple reports. If Maryland jumps, the Big East’s Rutgers is expected to join as well which could spell a massive payday for BTN with a sudden jolt of audience reach and potential tier upgrades along the Eastern seaboard from New York to DC. If the board approves Maryland’s move, a formal announcement is expected to come sometime this week.
Friday saw the announcement that Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc. approved a merger agreement with InterMedia Outdoors Holdings, LLC that effectively combines one-time rivals Sportsman Channel and Outdoor Channel. The merger now combines “industry leaders in outdoor television, print, digital and social media, as well as editorial and content production for the hunting, shooting, fishing and conservation categories.” Tom Hornish, CEO of Outdoor Channel, will serve as CEO of the combined company. Sportsman Channel CEO Gavin Harvey will now serve as InterMedia Outdoor Holdings’ President of television networks.
ESPN analyst and Super Bowl winning coach Mike Ditka has been released from a Chicago hospital after suffering a mild stroke on Friday. In true Ditka fashion, he will be on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike at 8:15a this morning. ESPN reports that he plans on hosting his radio show again on Tuesday and is looking to return to his NFL shows soon.
CBS Sports Radio found its overnight voice, announcing that Damon Amendolara will serve as host of the network’s weekday overnight show. His program will be called The D.A. Show and is slated to debut on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 2a, when the network launches. Amendolara joins the network from CBS Radio Boston’s WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub, where he has served as evening host since the station’s launch in August 2009.
ESPN Deportes unveils its first live morning show this morning at 10a with Raza Deportiva. The simulcast of the soccer features hosts from three cities: sportscaster David Faitelson and soccer expert Rafa Ramos in Los Angeles; Omar Orlando Salazar in Miami; and Oscar Restrepo in Bogota, Colombia. The foursome deliver updated information regarding Mexican soccer, including interviews with some of soccer’s biggest personalities.
NBA TV announced that Tuesday’s NBA Fan Night presented by Sprint telecast will feature the Nets/Lakers matchup on Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 10:30p.
MSG Network will premiere the new hockey series New York’s Greatest Hockey Rivalries tonight at 9p. The 16-part series examines some of the most intense games between the Rangers and Devils and the Rangers and Islanders over the past three decades. Each two hour episode will feature host Bill Pidto alongside a pair of MSG’s expert hockey analysts, all of whom played in many of the showcased games.
International Tennis Hall of Famer Chris Evert, Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Davenport and tennis commentator Justin Gimelstob will all guest star in an upcoming episode of CSI that will air in January on CBS. The three tennis personalities will appear as themselves when the CSI team investigates the death of a professional female tennis player. I think Evert did it since no one would ever suspect her.
Anyway, feature documentary American Man took home the Championship Belt for Best Feature Documentary at the 4th Annual All Sports Los Angeles Film Festival. The film told the story of former football superstar Kevin Turner who has to reflect the price he is paying for his glory years after doctors tell him his once elite body is withering away due to ALS and comes from HBO’s Jon Frankel.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
How to Harness this Ever Changing Platform to Boost Engagement and Revenue
Thursday * November 29, 2012 * 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET
Hosted by: Lisa Ball, Editor Cynopsis along with panelists:
Patricia McDonough, Senior Vice President Insights and Analysis, Nielsen
Jeff Siegel, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Advertising, Rovi
NASCAR unveiled a new look for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car designed to offer more visibility to sponsor logos. Changes are set to include: the driver’s last name featured on the windshield; sponsor decals will not be permitted on the headlights and taillights in order to showcase the auto manufacturers’ brand; car numbers will be moved from the lights to the front and rear bumpers; a single sponsor logo will be permitted on the roof under the number; and team sponsor decals will be permitted to extend past the front edge of the b-post.
The International Tennis Federation entered into an agreement with StarGames to launch World Tennis Day in order to promote tennis participation around the world. The inaugural World Tennis Day will be held on March 4 and feature a series of high profile exhibition events around the world, including the BNP Paribas Showdown in Madison Square Garden. Each of the events will be organized by promoter StarGames and feature current and former professionals playing together.
NASCAR Chairman Brian France announced during his annual state of the sport speech last weekend that a digital cockpit may be on the way to Sprint Cup cars as soon as 2014. “We’ll soon be talking to you about a digital cockpit that will coming down the road as early as 2014, and smart devices and smartphones and other devices can have an effect on manipulating the technology that is now going to be in the cars,” he said. “We have to be careful with that. And so that’s why our policy is that you’re simply not going to be allowed to take a device into the car with you.”
The Main Event
Bears/49ers his MNF at 8:30p on ESPN.
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.
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ON THIS DAY in 1991: Cal Ripken wins his 2nd AL MVP for the Orioles.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who was the first player to be featured alone on the famed Madden cover? Answer: Either of two answers is acceptable. Garrison Hearth graces the cover for the PAL version of Madden NFL 99, while Eddie George was the first player to be featured on a national release for Madden NFL 2001. Kudos: Jason Newman-Univision Deportes/NY; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.
In The Know: The Philadelphia Eagles retired the number 99 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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