Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Thursday, April 12, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Joe Steranka is retiring and will leave his position as CEO of The PGA of America. Steranka held the role for the past seven years, running events that include the PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup, the PGA Grand Slam and the Senior PGA Championship.

On the Air

A new face will be joining the Monday Night Football family, with ESPN naming Lisa Salters to serve as the new sideline reporter for the franchise. Salters will join play-by-play commentator Mike Tirico and analyst Jon Gruden on the telecasts and provide live stadium reports during ESPN’s Monday afternoon studio shows throughout the NFL season. Salters has covered the NBA, college football and more since joining ESPN in 2000 and serves as a featured correspondent on the ESPN news magazine, E:60. Before arriving at ESPN, Salters was a Los Angeles-based correspondent for ABC News.

Masters Week coverage helped Golf Channel forward its momentum, with the outlet drawing a 0.2 household rating from April 2 through April 8 with an average of 197,000 viewers, according to Nielsen data. Overall, coverage of the event outpaced 2001 by 12% on Tuesday, 9% on Wednesday, 22% on Thursday and 50% on Saturday for records on each of those days. The channel also drew its most-watched Live From ever, pulling a 0.9 rating and 876,000 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on April 7.

Lots of rumors on the next team to be the subject of HBO’s Hard Knocks. ESPN reports that while the Jets surfaced as a contender a couple of weeks ago, their sources say that the Falcons are now a leading candidate for the series. The Florida Times-Union reports that the Jaguars are interested in the series, but Fox Sports Adam Schein states that the Broncos declined the chance to be on the series and that HBO has placed the Ravens and 49ers on the network’s wish list. So, anyone left?

FUEL TV executives told reporters that the channel will offer UFC on FUEL TV 4 in July, UFC on FUEL TV 5 on Sept. 4, and UFC on FUEL TV 6 in November. Meanwhile, MMA Junkie also reports that The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil is expected to get US airtime on FUEL TV this June.

GolTV has reached an agreement to broadcast more than a dozen exclusive Argentina National team matches through 2014. The channel’s most recent Argentina national team match against Switzerland on February 26 handed GolTV with its highest ratings for an International FIFA match in the network’s history, outperforming programming on competing networks by more than 250% during the same timeframe.

MLS executives are bringing in Chelsea FC to face the MLS All-Stars in this year’s AT&T MLS All-Star Game. The match will be played Wednesday, July 25 at PPL Park and broadcast live on ESPN2, TeleFutura, and in Canada on TSN and RDS starting at 8:30p. Chelsea’s addition marks the ninth time in the event’s 17-year history that an international club will take on the MLS All-Stars, who have a 5-2-1 record in this format.

FOX is objecting to the proposed sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to multiple reports, stating that the company remains unsure whether or not Time Warner Cable is involved in the purchase. The company’s Prime Ticket subsidiary filed the objection to the sale and requested written assurance that Time Warner wasn’t contributing funds being used for Guggenheim Baseball Management’s purchase of the team.

Week two of the FOX Saturday Baseball Game of the Week starts at 12:30p on the 14th, with the Angels/Yankees taking center stage in 63% of the country. Joe Buck, Tim McCarver and Ken Rosenthal call the action. Other regional telecasts will include Cubs/Cardinals in 23% of the country and Rangers/Twins in 13%.

Legendary journalist Bud Collins will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit on April 24 in New York. Collins is, of course, a longtime staple of the sport as a reporter, television commentator, and historian whose experience includes NBC, CBS, ESPN and Tennis Channel. Join us at the Grand Hyatt to honor Collins’ work and dedication to his craft where he, along with Dr. Harvey Schiller and Tony Ponturo, will receive this year’s Award. Register now at this site:

Sponsorship & Promotion

New York City’s Times Square has some new eye candy, a 21-foot high, 6,600-pound replica of the Stanley Cup.The giant trophy will stand for three days total, where it will serve as a working water fountain, and allow hockey fans and visitors from around the world to ‘Drink from the Cup,’ a time-honored tradition. NHL Live host Liam McHugh emceed the unveiling ceremony, which was attended by Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the NHL, Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group, and Carter Strickland, NYC DEP Commissioner.

Havas Sports & Entertainment is expanding, acquiring marketing agency ignition, with offices in the USA, London and Moscow. According to the release, the acquisition forms part of Havas Sports & Entertainment’s strategy to “up-weight its global brand engagement offer, particularly in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the 2014 FIFA World Cup (TM) Brazil.”

Digital Fields

It’s down to the final four in voting for the cover of Madden NFL 13. More than 18 million fans nationwide have cast their votes to determine the next cover athlete via since the competition began on March 7. The last four will pit Cam Newton against Patrick Willis and Aaron Rodgers against Calvin Johnson.

Sirius XM Radio announced an agreement with the National Hockey League to stream live radio broadcasts of NHL games on smartphones, mobile devices and online for SiriusXM subscribers nationwide. Coverage began last night. Throughout next season and beyond, SiriusXM will stream all 1,230 NHL regular season games, the NHL All-Star Game and every postseason game to subscribers.

The Main Event

Caps/Bruins at 7:30p on NBC Sports Network.



Cynopsis: Sports Business Summit

9:00am: NASCAR: Steve Phelps, Sr. VP & CMO

Brian Hughes, SVP Audience Analysis Practice Lead
Brian Monahan, EVP Managing Partner

3:45pm: Athletes First: David Dunn, Chairman & CEO

ON THIS DAY in 1992: Fred Couples wins the 56th Golf Masters Championship, shooting a 275.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What is the only NFL team with its logo on only one side of the helmet? The Pittsburgh Steelers.  Kudos: Greg Schoen-NCC Media/NY; Mike Lee-Zenith Media/NY; Todd Braverman-Turner/NY; Michael Jaquet-CBS Sports Network/NY; Bob Scanlon-Velocity Network/Silver Spring; G. David Brown-FOX Sports Carolinas/Charlotte; Bill Norris-WSLS-TV/Roanoke; Chris Faulds-Bell Media Interactive/Toronto; Travis Dennis-Comcast Spotlight/Nashville; Benjamin Simonds-National Football League/Chicago; Mary Ryan-Raycom Media/Dallas; Steve Jorgenson-FOX 47 KXLT/Rochester; Brian Sullivan-KHQ-TV/Spokane; Roman Saienni-FOX Sports/LA; Dirk W. van de Bunt-Guthy|Renker/Santa Monica; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City.

In The Know: What person’s silhouette is featured in the NBA logo? (Email 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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