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Good morning. It’s Monday, September 16, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Since launching his own site MMQB.com in July, perhaps no other NFL media personality has drawn as much attention as Sports Illustrated’s Peter King. After forging a new contract with his publication that would bolster his resources for his own football-themed site, King was quick to draw headlines when it was announced that he would not use the term “Redskins” on MMQB. Since then, other national reporters have followed suit, and reopened the dialogue about the name.
Cynopsis Sports spoke with King about the state of sports journalism, his site and the road ahead.
King on the state of sports journalism: The biggest thing to realize when you look at sports journalism is that you have to ask yourself how independent a journalist can be. I talked to advertisers for our site, and one of the things I told them is that this site is not going to be beholden to the NFL, we don’t have any business deal with them. We are going to be totally independent, so we are going to be able to be a watchdog over the NFL. I don’t think anybody, other than a few people, knows the true story about ESPN and Frontline and the NFL, but that’s the kind of story that if we spent that much time doing, it wouldn’t have been a case where we would lay off if asked. For me, if you are in a situation where the NFL asked us to lay off, unless we found out we were wrong, we are going to run with it anyway. You always have to ask yourself who has what relationship with what company.
On launching his site: The thought struck me over the past couple of years that there’s so much stuff out there right now when it comes to NFL coverage. It’s endless. We posted something on the site last week that there are 27 hours of new, in-week and pregame shows on five NFL broadcast partners this year. It was already an absolute avalanche. How could there be 27 more hours a week? In addition, there seem to be new sites cropping up with coverage so for the last couple of years I kept thinking to myself how can we really be different? How can we stand out from the crowd? I thought, “Why couldn’t we be the thinking man’s site?” So we wanted to cover the league with some longer thought pieces, we do videos that basically both accompany the story and are stories themselves. I wanted to have a different way to do it and give an insider’s view. I also thought it wouldn’t work unless we could do things that other sites either couldn’t or wouldn’t do because of some of the access that I have and that some of my writes have. Luckily Sports Illustrated was interested.
On the year ahead: We’re coming up on the eighth week now and there really have been so many opportunities to do good stories, all of which have taken you inside the game in as way you haven’t been able to go before. We’re working on a story that saw us inside an operating theater in Dr. James Andrews clinic and saw him perform an ACL surgery while one of his surgical associates gave us the play-by-play. So they went through the whole surgery. Who has ever seen that? Who has been inside the room to an NFL coach as he gives his pre-training camp speech to his team? Those are the things that we’ve shown you and I think over time, we are going to try to do more of those stories. I’m not saying that there is an infinite amount of those stories but we have been able to do things like that and we have a bunch more planned.
On editorial talent: When I proposed that we do this, I said that we needed some good aggressive people who cover the NFL now. They may not be household names but they’ve been around and I’ve been around enough to know that they are tireless. They live and breathe their jobs. It was more important to me that instead of having the best, established writers, we wanted people who are very hungry.
CBS Sports kicked off its 2013 SEC on CBS college football slate on a high note with the much-touted Alabama/Texas A&M game setting a 23-year high mark, according to Nielsen. Saturday’s game garnered a 9.0/21 overnight rating/share up 200% over last year’s opener pitting Alabama and Arkansas. That is also good enough to mark the network’s highest-rated afternoon regular season college football game (not counting the SEC Championship game) since 1990.
The return of Thursday Night Football handed NFL Network with a 5.5 household score and an average of 8.8 million viewers tuning in to see the Jets and Patriots, not counting over-the-air viewers in the local markets. The Nielsen number makes the game the highest-rated and most-watched opener in the eight seasons of the franchise. That also marks the third highest-rated NFL Network game ever, behind only the 2009 Cowboys-Saints (5.7) and 2007 Packers-Cowboys (5.6), and the fourth-most viewed game behind 2011’s 49ers-Ravens (10.7 million), 2009’s Cowboys-Saints (10.5 million) and 2007’s Packers-Cowboys (10.1 million)
Bleacher Report found another outlet, lining up a new pr4ogam with Sirius XM Radio on SiriusXM Sports Zone (Sirius channel 92 and XM channel 208). The new daily sports talk show, Bleacher Report Radio, launches today at 11a and is hosted by SiriusXM’s Steve Covino and Rich Davis who will char with some of Bleacher Report’s contributors, including Mike Freeman, Matt Bowen, Matt Miller, Michael Schottey, Adam Kramer and Michael Felder among others, with team-specific news and analysis.
FOX Sports takes the field this week with the return of UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and CONCACAF Champions League programming. Coverage will include over twenty matches over three days beginning tomorrow at 2p with Manchester United facing Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen on FOX Sports 1. A half hour later, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Real Madrid face Turkish champions Galatasaray on sister channel FOX Sports 2. Rob Stone hosts pregame, halftime and post-game UEFA Champions League coverage from Los Angeles with analysts Eric Wynalda, Warren Barton and Brian McBride.
Speaking of FOX Sports 1, the network officially apologized on Twitter for inadvertent in-studio feed that saw an unknowing Terry Bradshaw dropping an f-bomb while telling an off-color joke. The channel posted that it was sorry to both Terry and viewers and that they were “reviewing our procedures to make sure this does not happen again.”
ESPN and ESPN Deportes will launch a month-long initiative tomorrow at 8p with One Nacion: ESPN Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Hispanic Heritage Month, a show that counts down the top 10 most influential Hispanic athletes of all time, highlighting some of the most renowned Hispanic athletes, such as Roberto Clemente, Mariano Rivera, Lionel Messi and Oscar de la Hoya. One Nacion will be hosted by ESPN Deportes’ Adriana Monsalve and ESPN’s SportsCenter anchor Max Bretos. The show will also unveil a special donation to the Bresee Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Los Angeles.
Pedro Martinez is reportedly returning to the postseason as a member of team Turner, where he will join host Keith Olbermann in the studio for coverage of the MLB playoffs.
Canada’s highest rated original format of all time, Battle of the Blades, is announcing some changes before it returns for season four on Sept. 22. Hosted by Ron MacLean, the new season will find a new judging panel that will include four-time World and Canadian Champion Kurt Browning, Olympic and World Champion pair figure skater Jamie Sale, and Hockey Night in Canada panelist P.J. Stock. The series marries athletes from figure skating and hockey in a skating competition for charity.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Cynopsis Webinar: Reaching Millennials: New Ways to Activate Viewership & Revenue
SEPT 18 ~ 1:30-3:00pm ET ~ $295/site
This 90-min webinar we’ll show you the must-have strategies that will help you attract and connect your properties across multiple platforms, from mobile to tablet, and from Facebook to Tumblr.
Kent Rees (Pivot/Participant Media), Joe Ortiz (MTV),
Noel Cottrell (Fitzgerald + Co), Patty Gillette (Turner Broadcasting’s Young Adults Group)
Sponsorship & Promotion
The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to host their first lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender night on Sept. 27, according to the AP. The team said on Friday that LGBT Night Out will feature a celebrity first pitch, a special guest performing the national anthem with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and fireworks at Dodger Stadium for the game against Colorado.
Former Chicago Bears Linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer is taking gaming to the next level, announcing the launch of OverDog, a new mobile sports app that connects professional athletes and their fans to play video games together on Xbox and PlayStation. Hillenmeyer co-founded the head-to-head video gaming service and has locked in over 200 Official OverDog Athletes to take on fans in games that include Madden NFL, FIFA 14, Call of Duty and NBA2K, along with many other multi-player games. Athletes include the likes of Matt Forte, Ray Rice and DeSean Jackson as well as non-NFL athletes that include MLB’s David Price, WWE’s Booker T. and Olympic swimmer Conor Dwyer.
The Tokyo Olympic Games will see the use of production equipment that support 8K, according to THR. Meanwhile, at the International Broadcasting Convention, FIFA announced that, with Sony, it would record the World Cup Final next year in 4K.
The Madison Square Garden Company named Patrick Jones as Vice President of Corporate Hospitality for Madison Square Garden Sports where he will be responsible for driving overall revenue, service and operating performance for the corporate hospitality department and manage long-term suite license sales as well as the single night suite rental business for all sports and entertainment events at Madison Square Garden.
The Main Event
Steelers/Bengals on MNF on ESPN at 8:40p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Cynopsis Editors will take a look at the viewing patterns of various Demographics. Each of these Special eReports will uncover the Who, What and the Where – who these people are, what they are watching, where they are watching… and more!
OCT 3 // African Americans
OCT 6 // Women (sold out)
OCT 16 // Millennials
OCT 31 // Kids, Tweens & Teens
NOV 5 // Hispanics Advertising space is limited. Contact Mike Farina: 203.218.6480
ON THIS DAY in 1957: The LA City Council approves a 300-acre site in Chavez Ravine to build a stadium for the Dodgers.
In The Know: In what sport would you find a “kiss shot”? (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 four NHL teams made up the Patrick Division when it originated in 1974? Answer: NY Rangers, NY Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Flames. Kudos: Eric Newman-Bleacher Report/NY; Jerry A. Kapner-Kapner Group/Montclair; Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Cynopsis Future TV Summit:
Content Innovation and Next Gen Advertising Models
October 17| Grand Hyatt NYC | ONE-DAY SUMMIT
Evan Shapiro: President at Pivot
Justin Fromm: Executive Director at ABC TV Network
Neela Sakaria: Executive Vice President/Managing Director of Latitude
Howard Shimmel: Senior Vice President at Turner Broadcasting System Silver Sponsor: A+E Network | Participating Sponsor: TruthCo. | Media Partner: IAB
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
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