Good morning. It’s Thursday, February 21, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
The Madness is rising. NCAA March Madness Live will take the authentication route leading into this year’s Men’s Basketball Tournament with multi-screen digital access to the event on more devices than ever. Produced by Turner Sports, NCAA March Madness Live will be free across all devices to pay TV subscribers throughout the tournament and feature social and interactive components. In partnership between the NCAA, Turner Sports and CBS Sports, all 67 games of the tournament will be made available via CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV, and can be launched from ncaa.com/marchmadness, CBSSports.com and bleacherreport.com, along with Google Play and the App Store beginning in March.
The third annual Hockey Day in America struck a chord with viewers as final ratings showed ratings spikes for Sunday’s games. In particular, NBC’s second game of its doubleheader averaged 1.81 million viewers with a 1.15 household rating, according to Nielsen. That marks a 31% uptick over last year’s late game. On the local front, Chicago’s 6.7 rating drew the market’s best-ever score for an NHL regular season game (not counting the Winter Classic) on NBC. Meanwhile, NBC Sports Network’s evening game was up 200% versus the comparable 2012 game as the Rangers win over the Caps was watched by 609,000 viewers.
The Real Madrid/Manchester United faceoff in UEFA Champions League Round of 16 a week ago scored as FOX Soccer’s most-watched UEFA Champions League match ever and the most-watched weekday afternoon telecast in network history, according to Nielsen. The telecast averaged 451,000 total viewers on the network, for a 258% spike over 2012’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 average audience. On FOX Deportes, FSMG’s Spanish-language telecast drew 696,000 total viewers, and was the most-watched sports telecast on all ad-supported cable that day. Together, the FOX Soccer and FOX Deportes telecasts combined to average 1.15 million viewers. Online, FOXSoccer.com experienced its second-biggest day of traffic ever for a non-major international tournament match day with 4.8 million page views through 349,000 visits.
HBO Boxing drew 1.4 million viewers for the live first-airing of Broner vs. Rees on Saturday. HBO World Championship Boxing saw viewership peak at 1.551 million viewers during Broner’s 5th Round TKO win over Gavin Rees. That also marks the highest audience ever for Broner.
While we’re on boxing, the February 22 edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra will feature an IBF Title fight between current Junior Welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs)and former Junior Welterweight titlist Kendall “Rated R” Holt (28-5, 16 KOs) in the 12-round main event. The bout will air live at 9p on ESPN2.
NBC Sports Group announced that its Fight Night boxing series will return to NBC on Saturday, April 20 at 4p with a live main event pitting Tyson Fury (20-0, 14 KO’s) vs. Steve “USS” Cunningham (25-5, 12 KO’s).
Universal Sports Network revealed its lineup of marathon programming for this year, beginning with the 2013 Tokyo Marathon on Saturday at 7p. The Tokyo Marathon is the latest addition to the World Marathon Majors (WMM) series, and one of four Majors to air on Universal Sports including the Boston, London and Berlin marathons. Overall, eight marathons are on deck on the channel this year.
Joe Garagiola has turned off the microphone. The famed sportscaster formally announced his retirement at the age of 87, after most recently serving for 15 years as the voice of the Diamondbacks. Garagiola began calling Cardinals games in 1955 with the likes of Jack Buck and Harry Caray in 1955 and eventually joining NBC’s national coverage in 1974.
CBS Sports Spectacular hits the weekend with a dose of Supercross and PBR/ On Sunday at noon, Frank Frederick narrates the Monster Energy Supercross-Mid-Season Review with a look back at the first half of the sport’s season as well as what lays ahead. Then, at 1p, the channel broadcasts the PBR 15/15 Bucking Battle featuring the world’s top 15 bull riders randomly matched against the 15 highest-ranked bulls in the business. Craig Hummer,Justin McBride, and J.W. Hart call the action for CBS Sports.
Outside Television is expanding its programming alliance with Red Bull Media House with two new original series that will debut in the next few weeks. eXplorers Adventures of the Century will launch this Friday while Momentum – What Drives You, makes its Outside Television premiere mid-March.
Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes will televise Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss’s memorial service today at 3p. The networks’ coverage then continues after the service with reflections and memories of Dr. Buss from service attendees.
Comcast SportsNet Chicago once again drew its highest Blackhawks regular season rating ever on Tuesday night, earning a 7.41 household rating for its live coverage of the Blackhawks/Canucks game. That record tops the previous high set on January 27 for the Blackhawks home game vs. Detroit (6.31).
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
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Susie Lokey (Golf Channel), Kate Guerra (INDYCAR)
Caty Marzi (NHL), Gabe Lozano (LockerDome)
NASCAR is tapping UPS for its Trackside Services operation this season, with the goal of reducing environmental impacts and creating a model for racing teams and sponsors to copy. Beginning with the events at Daytona International Speedway, UPS Trackside Services will operate with a truck equipped with a diesel exhaust fluid system used to reduce exhaust particulate matter. In addition, the service trailer has been outfitted with high-tech, state-of-the-art solar panels to help supplement sustainable energy needed to run the operation.
NASCAR entered an agreement with FDP Friction Science to make the company the “Official brakes of NASCAR.” Duralast will also participate in the NASCAR contingency program, with the creation of the “Brake in the Race Award” across both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series.
ESPN will debut a new promo paying homage to the legendary No. 3 of the late NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt during the telecast of Saturday’s season-opening NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
ESPN became the first to deploy cloud-based ad insertion for live digital audio streaming via ESPNRadio.com, according to Ando Media. The technology was developed in collaboration with Abacast and is currently deployed across ESPN Radio’s owned and operated station streams in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas. The technology allows ESPN Digital to serve ads in real time to listeners not only by device and operating system, but by location, age and gender as well.
NeuLion entered a partnership expansion with Sportsnet to offer the Grand Slam of Curling via an online sports streaming service. The company’s proprietary Television Everywhere (TVE) Platform, licensed by Sportsnet, now allows viewers around the world to watch all 4 major curling tournaments throughout 2013 as a pay-per-view service.
The Main Event
Heat/Bulls on TNT at 8p.
ON THIS DAY in 1948: NASCAR is incorporated.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What position did Kevin Costner play in Bull Durham? Answer: Catcher. Kudos: Chris Mccloskey-NBC Sports Group/NY; Deidra Maddock-ESPN/NY; Anne Vega-jumpNY/NY; Daniel Filiberto-UM/NY; Dan Parisi-Rowland Publishing/Tallahassee; Chris Schwieterman-Gray Television, Inc./Tallahassee; Sonia Durr-Aaron’s, Inc./Atlanta; Nikki Chanda-SPEED Channel/Charlotte; Steve Alexander-Octagon/Chicago; Robert Carzoli-Program Productions/Lumbard; Lucie Prann-The Richards Group/Dallas; Kristin Staskowski-Charter Media/Birmingham; David Hauptman/Denver; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Michael Jaquet-US
In The Know: Movie Week. What position did Kevin Costner play in Bull Durham? (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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