Good morning. It’s Thursday, August 4, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Showtime Sports and CBS Sports are teaming up to focus on one of the greatest traditions left in sports. The two companies are set to produce A Game of Honor, a two- hour docu-drama that goes behind the scenes of America’s two oldest military academies – The United States Military Academy and The United States Naval Academy as the midshipmen and cadets prepare to serve their country as well as face each other in the annual Army-Navy game. The program will premiere on Dec. 21, just ten days after this year’s game. In addition, Showtime will air exclusive content across multiple CBS platforms including a special preview show about the making of the docu-drama on Nov. 23 on Showtime and on CBS Sports on Dec. 3. Online, CBSSports.com will run a 10-episode weekly original web series beginning Oct. 17, leading up to the event
Top Rank executive Bob Arum told reporters that he expects to announce whether HBO or Showtime will get the rights to the Manny Pacquiao v. Juan Manuel Marquez PPV bout that is set for Nov. 12 in Las Vegas. The company recently switched to Showtime after a history with HBO and both companies have been making their pitches to carry the fight.
Time Warner Inc. beat Wall Street expectations with revenue climbing at the fastest pace in four years for second quarter earnings, with a big chunk of change derived from sports. The company reports that advertising revenue rose 8% during the quarter, and was driven by an 11% increase at the company’s television networks, primarily due to sports programming, including the addition of the NCAA basketball tournament which aired on TBS, TNT and truTV.
ESPN announced its plans to cover the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2011 enshrinement ceremony on Saturday at 7p from Canton, Ohio. NFL Live’s Trey Wingo will host the three-hour primetime telecast alongside analyst Tom Jackson. Correspondent Sal Paolantonio will also be on hand to report for Sports Center and other ESPN programs throughout the Hall of Fame weekend. The members of this year’s class include Marshall Faulk, Ed Sabol, Deion Sanders, Shannon Sharpe, Richard Dent, Chris Hanburger, and Les Richter. CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz will also be the 2011 recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award, honoring “long-time exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football.” Nantz will receive the award during the Enshrinees Dinner on Friday. He is the youngest recipient ever of this award.
Versus announced the national premiere of documentary Out. The Glenn Burke Story, set to Aug 9 at 10p. The story follows the career and challenges of MLB’s first openly gay player Glenn Burke and was nominated for a Northern California Area Emmy Award and was a nominee for Outstanding Documentary at the 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards. The documentary originally premiered on and was produced by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area last November.
Longhorn Network is lining up more programming for the new 24-hour University of Texas channel, adding new programs to its Sept. schedule and beyond. New series will now include: Longhorn Legends, The Season: 2005 Texas Longhorns, Texas’ Greatest Games, Texas’ Greatest Athletes and Traditions.
Hmmm. If Dubai is able to land the 2024 Summer Olympics, it could end up being held in the winter. Arabian Business reports that the United Arab Emirates will likely bid for the 2024 Summer Games, but the UAE Olympic Committee could try to dodge the summer heat and instead shift the event’s usual August dates into a cooler winter/spring month if they are awarded the Games.
RIP Officer Hightower. Former NFL Star and actor Bubba Smith has died. He was 66.
A classic rivalry is on deck for the Fox Saturday Baseball Game of the Week, with the channel set to air the first-place Red Sox and the second-place Yankees in the AL East division at 4p. Pregame will come from Fenway with host Chris Rose, with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver calling the action. The game will run in 81% of the country. The rest of nation will get another good-looking game, with the Phillies visiting the Giants. Kenny Albert and Eric Karros will call that game.
The NBC Sports Group is moving ahead with its seventh straight weekend of “Summer at Saratoga” live horse racing from Saratoga Race Course with two shows on Versus on Saturday, from 5-6p. with coverage of the Whitney and Test and Sunday, 5-6p with coverage of the Vanderbilt and Honorable Miss. Saturday’s coverage will be hosted by Laffit Pincay, III with analyst Randy Moss.
GolTV is kicking off the 2011-2012 German Bundesliga season this weekend coverage of Borussia Dortmund vs. Hamburg on Friday at 2:30p. The all-soccer network will also offer live coverage of the VfB Stuttgart/FC Schalke 04 team on Aug. 6 at 9:30a.
FUEL TV is getting in the ring with former UFC Heavyweight Champ Bas Rutten, announcing the production of a comedic, street fighting survival series dubbed, Punk Payback with Bas Rutten. The half-hour series is set for ten episodes and will debut on FUEL TV’s schedule November 2 at 9:30p. The series is designed to take on serious subject matters in humorous ways, with Rutten showcasing combat moves that can help viewers avoid being “punked” on the street.
ESPN has officially broken ground on Digital Center 2, designed to accommodate digital media formats and emerging technology for both domestic and international studio programming. The new center will be located just east of the current Digital Center in the center of the 116-acre ESPN campus, DC 2 will be ESPN’s 19th and largest building at 193,000 square feet and will open in 2014 and will be the new home of ESPN’s flagship program, SportsCenter.
Sirius XM Radio is launched its seventh annual SiriusXM NFL Radio Training Camp Tour yesterday, and will be broadcasting live from all 32 NFL team training camps between now and the start of the 2011 regular season. All shows will air on SiriusXM NFL Radio, and hosts will broadcast live on location from training camp sites around the country to give audiences access to teams and players as they prepare for the coming season. Hosts include former NFL MVP Rich Gannon, former NFL head coach Brad Childress, three time Pro-Bowl offensive lineman Randy Cross,and longtime Dallas Cowboys pro personnel executive Gil Brandt, among others.
The NFL is gearing up for the new season with an estimated $10 million ad campaign dubbed: “It’s Good to be Back. Back to Football.” USA Today reports that the spots are the earliest the NFL has ever launched ads to tout a new season.
Scratch off the Humanitarian Bowl, now that organizers of the bowl game have inked a deal to rename the annual game as the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The name and logo change are due to a new six-year naming rights deal set to begin this season and continuing through 2016. This year’s game will be held on Dec. 17 at Bronco Stadium and feature top teams from the Western Athletic Conference and the Mid-American Conference.
Golf Channel is unveiling a new consumer promotion designed to introduce players in “The 25” to fans and provide a chance at a trip to Hawaii. The Nationwide Tour Hawaiian Getaway online promotion will feature one Nationwide Tour professional currently within “The 25” spotlighted on GolfChannel.com with an interview airing on the channel that week. Viewers will then have the opportunity to go online and answer a trivia question about the player. The grand prize winner receives a VIP trip for two to Honolulu to attend The Sony Open in Hawaii.
UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva has inked a deal with Sport Club Corinthians to carry the colors of the team into the cage of UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro. The fighter has also inked sponsorships with Nike and Burger King.
US Sailing is launching a new website to spotlight sailing athletes ahead of the 2012 Summer Games. Highlights of the new website include live coverage from Olympic and Paralympic Team Selection events, news, photo slideshows, profiles, audio and video highlights from major regattas and Facebook and Twitter streams. To kick off the new website, the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics communications team is hosting live coverage of the U.S Team competing at the London 2012 Olympic Test Event.
The Main Event
The return of Tiger. Golf Channel airs the WGC-Bridgetone Invitational at 2p.
ON THIS DAY in 1984: Carl Lewis wins the gold medal in the 100-meter dash at Summer Games in Los Angeles
Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question:Which Big East football team was the last to finish the regular season undefeated? You guys are all over the place with this one! But Cincinnati went undefeated through the regular season in 2009. (They later lost to Florida in the Sugar Bowl.) Kudos: Thomas Scheuer – Optimedia/NY; Kenneth ‘Pipes’ Allen II – ICRC/Cincinnati; Kevin Micklo – Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago
In The Know: Who is the only Naval Academy alumnus in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? (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.)
In My Opinion …
- The upcoming Pac-12 networks are taking a look, the Longhorn network is taking a look, and now the NCAA is taking a look. Is high school sports on a university-branded TV network really a sly recruiting advantage or is it inevitable in a digital society desperate for content? The answer, of course, is both and I give props to the NCAA for quickly pulling together the summit to explore the issue. If a university or conference feels its brand is strong enough to carry a network, great, but how much more friction will the have-nots be able to handle? Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said Thursday he was concerned about the potential negative effects of high school football games on Texas’ Longhorn Network calling it a “Pandora’s Box.” And that is literally what it is. Of course, I fully expect games to (eventually) be allowed.
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