Monday, October 14th, 2013

Cynopsis: Sports
10.14.13

Good morning. It’s Monday, October 14, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Golf Channel has officially teed off on Long Drive Month, delivering October with a themed month that offers four weeks of the Re/Max World Long Drive Championship with more than 20 hours of programming on deck. Coverage showcases the men and women who compete in long drive, beginning with grassroots local and regional qualifying, and culminating with the finals in Las Vegas, where eight finalists will compete for a winner-take-all $250,000 prize. Golf Channel is also integrating the Long Drive theme into other programming throughout the month.

Cynopsis Sports spoke with Tom Knapp, SVP, Programming at Golf Channel about the telecasts as well as the channel’s partnership with the NFL and its new extension for Ryder Cup rights.

Knapp on programming: One of the things our viewers are very clear about is that they want to see people compete. So since coming together with NBC, we’ve evolved to a very defined live and event strategy, which means watching the best players in the world as often as possible or putting them in a position where they are watching people compete for something meaningful. So both Long Drive – which is a $250,000 winner-take-all- and Big Break – which is a life changing event by being given the chance to compete on the PGA or LPGA TOUR – really works for them.

On Long Drive Month: It’s golf’s version of the home run hitting contest. It’s been going on since 1975 but didn’t really have a platform. We decided this was something we wanted to make a big part of our annual programming because television has evolved and putting something on the air just once doesn’t really work anymore. That’s why we turned it into a month. Now, since we know the viewers love the long ball, we decided to explain it and show it for a month so our viewers get to understand the science behind it as well as the personalities within the sport. 

On NFL Big Break: NBC Sports Group and the NFL have a long-standing relationship and we started talking to the NFL in the beginning of 2012 about doing a partnership because there are so many NFL players that are extremely dedicated to golf and are extremely passionate about it. Very few people are more competitive than NFL athletes. So we thought that we could get come great competition pitting NFL players with a single digit handicap against each other in this format. We were able to have some fun with it and it let us showcase the competitive nature of those players.

On the Ryder Cup renewal: There will be more content than there has ever been before in the Ryder Cup. For the first time ever, we’ll be televising the practice round and we will be using as many assets as we can from the NBC Sports Group to showcase what has become the ultimate team competition from our sport. We couldn’t be happier about the deal. One other component that we are looking forward to is the chance to showcase the teaching professionals that are the lifeblood of PGA of America. We are in a position to really promote them and show what they do and how hard they work. That partnership allows us to come together and showcase them, as well as draw more attention to the game and help bring people into our sport. 

On the Air

FOX Sports took the mound with its MLB Postseason coverage with the 2013 ALCS on Saturday, and nabbed a 4.2/8 national household rating, according to Nielsen, with 6.8 million viewers watching the Detroit victory. That is good for a 20% spike over Game 1 of the 2011 ALCS (the last time the network carried the series) on FOX. The score is projected to deliver FOX its best Saturday night prime time since the NFL playoffs in January.

TBS’ NLCS Game 2 telecast on Saturday averaged a 2.2 U.S. household rating, according to Nielsen fast nationals, up 16% over Game 2 of the channel’s last presentation of the NLCS in 2011. The corresponding 3.4 million total viewers for this year’s telecast also marks a 13% increase over the 2011 game. Through two games, the NLCS is averaging a 3.0 score with 4.7 million total viewers, for boosts of 50% and 47% respectively over the first two games in 2011
 
In college football, ABC’s Texas/Oklahoma telecast averaged a 3.7 overnight rating, according to Nielsen, to rank as Saturday’s highest-rated college football game. Top five markets included (to no one’s surprise): Oklahoma City (32.2), Tulsa (27.2), Austin (23.0), Dallas-Ft Worth (13.2), and San Antonio (8.7).

NFL Network’s TNF game scored a 5.0 household rating with an average of 7.8 million viewers, not counting over-the-air broadcasts in New York and Chicago. That bested last year’s contest by 19% in rating and 13% in viewership, according to Nielsen. Through five games this season, TNF is averaging a 5.1 score for a 28% markup over the average in 2012.

NBC Sports Group continues to invest in Notre Dame, announcing a three-year agreement to annually telecast 12 Notre Dame Hockey home games on NBCSN. In addition, NBC Sports Live Extra will live stream all 12 games telecast on the network, as well as an additional eight home games. This season, NBCSN will now carry more than 20 college hockey games this season including 12 Notre Dame home games, five Hockey East games and five Big Ten games.

ESPN Regional Television announced the birth of the Boca Raton Bowl via a six-year agreement that begins in 2014. The pre-Christmas bowl game will be linked with the AAC, conference USA and the MAC with each conference participating an expected four times during the six-year span. The game will take place at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton and televised on either FAU Stadium in Boca Raton.

ESPN stepped up to keep a streak alive by joining a slew of sponsors to take care of the remaining 9,000 tickets left to sell for this week’s Monday Night Football game in San Diego. The game would have been blacked out locally without the assist and ended a streak of no MNF blacked out games since 1999. 

Steve Lyons and Eric Collins will no longer be in the broadcast booth for the Dodgers next season. The LA Times writes that the team will make a change next year ending a run that saw Lyons working on the Dodgers’ television broadcasts for nine years, most recently as an analyst on road games and on pregame and postgame shows. Collins has covered the team for five years, and handled play-by-play on televised games outside California and Arizona which were also games that the legendary Vin Scully did not travel.


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Sponsorship & Promotion

The Professional Bull Riders roped in Tyson Foods to serve as a partner of the PBR Built Ford Tough Series and the first-ever title sponsor of the PBR Fan Zone at the organization’s World Finals event in Las Vegas Oct. 23-27, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The events will kick off a multi-year agreement that will focus on moms. “Mom and her family are the focal point of our Tyson-branded advertising, messaging and product innovation, and there are a lot of moms who watch PBR events,” Tyson spokesman Worth Sparkman said to the paper.

Digital & Technology

NeuLion announced the deployment of iOS and Android-based mobile apps for 14 NHL franchises that will see exclusive team content and interactive features that allow fans to connect with their favorite teams. The new apps feature content that includes real-time game data, post-game video highlights, pre- and post-game editorial content, multiple alert settings for team and game news, customized video and editorial feeds and channels, interactive team rosters, photo galleries, and more. On top of that, the app integrates with the clubs’ Twitter and Instagram feeds enabling fans to achieve a more socially connected experience with the team before, during, and after the game. 

The Main Event

The Dodgers look to make finally a dent against the Cardinals on TBS at 8p.


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ON THIS DAY in 2003: Cubs fan Steve Bartman snags a fly ball and breaks the hearts of fans.

In The Know: Before St. Louis and Los Angeles, the Rams originally played in what city? (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: Lisa Andersen is a four-time world champion in what sport? Answer: Surfing. Kudos: Shie Gabbai-ESPN/NY; Joshua Duboff-TSBX Networks/NY; Tim DeLaney-Showtime Networks Inc./NY; Nicholas V. Quinn-MC Media/Initiative/NY; Chris Crowley-Outside Television/Westport; Jon Show-Show Sports Media/Charlotte; Gordon Beck-Beck Communications LLC/Northeast Harbor; Roger Furman-SBG Media Sales/Union Beach; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Adam Quinn-Turner Sports/San Francisco.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
10.14.13

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