Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Thursday, February 23, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

CBS Sports and Turner Sports revealed their broadcast team lineup for their second year of combined coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. The broadcasters will utilize two studios, based in both New York and Atlanta, to cover all the action and anchored by Greg Gumbel and Ernie Johnson with Charles Barkley, Greg Anthony and Kenny Smith offering analysis throughout the tournament from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York. Matt Winer anchors the coverage from Turner Broadcasting’s Atlanta studio and will be joined by Seth Davis and Steve Smith.

With 67 games on deck across four national television networks – TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV  the action begins March 13 with the NCAA First Four on truTV. Jim Nantz,Clark Kellogg and Steve Kerr will call the action from Dayton, Ohio on March 13, with Tracy Wolfson reporting. Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel,along with courtside reporter Lewis Johnson, handle the call for the First Four games on March 14.

Pairings for the second and third rounds include:

  • Jim Nantz / Clark Kellogg*
  • Marv Albert / Steve Kerr*
  • Verne Lundquist / Bill Raftery*
  • Kevin Harlan / Len Elmore / Reggie Miller
  • Ian Eagle / Jim Spanarkel
  • Brian Anderson / Dan Bonner
  • Tim Brando / Mike Gminski
  • Spero Dedes / Bob Wenzel

Tracy Wolfson, Craig Sager, Lesley Visser, Marty Snider, Lewis Johnson, Jaime Maggio and Otis Livingston will serve as courtside reporters throughout the tournament.

On the Air

More college realignment, with The New York Times breaking the news that Temple was on the verge of a jump to the Big East as soon as next season. The move was since confirmed by other media outlets, and MAC Commissioner Jon A. Steinbrecher released a statement acknowledging the potential loss in football, stating that the league is “aware that Temple has been in discussions with the Big East regarding membership”. If Temple does leave, that would leave the MAC once again with 13 football members and also take away a key member of the Atlantic 10 for basketball and other sports.

With the Daytona 500 revving up this weekend, FOX Sports opens with the FOX NASCAR Sunday prerace show hosted by John Roberts, and analysis from Darrell Waltrip and Michael Waltrip. Veteran analyst Jeff Hammond will now shift to the garages and pit road. Special features are set to include: Dale Earnhardt Jr. discussing about his chances, Danica Patrick sitting down with Darrell Waltrip to discuss her switch to stock car racing and how she expects to gain respect from her fellow competitors, a live performance by Lenny Kravitz. Grand Marshals for the race are set to be Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model Kate Upton and Glee’s Jane Lynch.

Former New York Yankees player, manager and general manager Lou Piniella has signed on with the YES Network as a special contributor for the channel where he will provide Yankees game and studio analysis, will be involved in the network’s Spring Training as well as potential post-season coverage, and will contribute to YES special event programming. Piniella will also contribute to

In a potential shot to the a la carte proponents, results from Beta Research Corp’s annual Cable Operator Evaluation Study showed that ESPN scored as the network with the most perceived value for the twelfth straight year, according to operators. Cable operators also named ESPN as the most important network in their cable system for the eighth straight year with 96% of operators describing ESPN as “very important” for subscriber retention and acquisition. The study was conducted via 110 interviews with a range of representatives from individual cable systems between August and October 2011.

MSG has punished a radio announcer who used an offensive term about Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, according to the AP. The network says the phrase announcer Spero Dedes “unintentionally and inadvertently” used during a broadcast was “inappropriate and inconsistent with the high regard we have for Jeremy Lin as a member of our MSG family, as well as for the Asian community.” Dedes said that he has apologized to Lin and will be more sensitive about his choice of words.

For the 16th year, ESPN Radio is set to cover NBA All-Star weekend, wrapping up with Sunday’s All-Star Game. Jim Durham will provide play-by-play for the events with analyst Dr. Jack Ramsay. They will be joined by on-site studio host Mark Kestecher, analyst Will Perdue, insider Ric Bucher and reporter Shelley Smith.

CBS Sports announced that it has chosen its Big Ten Wildcard college basketball game forSunday, March 4, selecting Ohio State/Michigan State for 4p. Verne Lundquist and analyst Clark Kellogg will call the game from the Breslin Center in Columbus, Ohio.

SiriusXM NASCAR Radio announced its Daytona plans, carrying coverage of the race beginning at 7a and offering listeners 15 hours of live coverage from the speedway. SiriusXM will also offer additional Driver2Crew Chatter channels that will carry the in-car audio of drivers as they compete. Drivers featured will include Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and more.

Bellator Fighting Championships announced that the promotion will be heading back to Casino Rama in Ontario, Canada on Friday, May 4 for Bellator 67. The event will also be broadcast live starting at 8p on MTV2 and commercial-free on EPIX.

Dan Henderson is set to serve as the first guest on Spike TV’s new primetime MMA magazine show, Spike’s MMA Uncensored Live tonight at 11p. The premiere episode will also feature a look at MMA in Japan on the eve of UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson.

Grant Hill and Christian Laettner’s passion project looking inside the walls of Duke for Turner Sports with the documentary, dubbed DUKE 91 & 92: Back to Back, set to air on truTV on NCAA Selection Sunday, March 11, at 8p. The documentary will look back at the team’s journey to back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992, when the Blue Devils became the first school to win back-to-back National Championships in nearly 20 years. The doc includes interviews with former Blue Devils Clay Buckley, Ron Burt, Marty Clark, Bobby Hurley,Greg Koubek and Erik Meek.

Cartoon Network nearly doubled its kids 6-11 demo with this year’s Hall of Game Awards compared to the show’s debut a year ago, according to Nielsen. The event drew year-over-year gains among kids and boys ages 2-11, 6-11 and 9-14, with increases as much as 92%. Total viewership was up 74% vs. last year’s program with 2.6 million viewers ages 2+. 

FOX Sports regional networks are set to air a new episode of Connected with Jason Whitlock, dubbed The Greatest on the Greatest, featuring the columnist joined by Barry Bonds and Jim Brown to celebrate Black History Month and take a look back at Muhammad Ali’s life and career. Also joining the discussion will be Warren Sapp, John Salley, UC Berkeley professor Dr. Harry Edwards and sportswriter Jerry Izenberg. The hour-long special debuts this week on FOX Sports regional networks around the country.

Sponsorship & Promotion

The US PGA Tour inked a five-year contract extension with sponsor FedEx that will run through 2017 and help keep the FedEx Cup funded with $35 million in total bonus money to players. Beginning in 2013, the four-tournament PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup will officially be called the FedExCup Playoffs.

NASCAR announced outstanding achievements to individuals and organizations for promoting diversity at the fifth annual NASCAR Diversity Awards Luncheon. Darrell Wallace Jr. won for NASCAR Drive for Diversity Participant, Walter Thomas III took home the Young Racing Award, the NASCAR Partner Award went to International Speedway Corporation and Steve deSouza was recognized as NASCAR Industry Ambassador.

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is holding a new interactive game during the NASCAR festivities, creating Throw Down, an oversized “Plinko”-like game that gives fans the opportunity to drop an authentic race-used Goodyear Eagle tire down the 40-by-15-foot game board for a chance to win prizes. To participate, fans will answer Goodyear Racing related trivia questions. The company is also holding at the track’s midway experience area Show Stopper, an interactive exhibit that considers the alternatives NASCAR drivers would be faced with if they were not competing on Goodyear racing tires.

During a conference call with reporters, Rich Feinberg, ESPN Vice President, Motorsports said that after a successful NASCAR run during the 2011 season, the company will bring back the NASCAR NonStop initiative for all of their Chase telecasts, featuring commercials in a two box format. 

NBC Sports Group unveiled its latest promotional spots for the upcoming season of Major League Soccer, dubbed “All Rise” and featuring the Timbers Army singing the National Anthem in the background. The broadcast season debuts on March 11.

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Think you’re an MVP in the world of sports media or will your rivals steal the spotlight? Enter the Cynopsis Sports Awards and bring home a crystal award for your shelf, recognizing the grit and strategy you’ve shown all year long. The awards will cover the best of 2011 from the world of television, radio and online, with categories that range from news shows to apps to marketing campaigns.

Digital Fields

MLB Advanced Media is partnering with The USA TODAY Sports Media Group on a joint venture to develop and produce new content and products for sports fans across all digital and mobile platforms.

Looking to this year’s NFL Combine, NFL Network and’s commentator Rich Eisen is creating #RunRichRun, asking fans to video themselves running the 40-yard dash at work in their best work threads. The best and worst runs will air on NFL Network as inspiration for Rich just before he takes the field and looks to top his best time of 6.18 seconds.

The Main Event

Knicks/Heat on TNT at 7p.


Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards


Entry Deadline: March 16, 2012  |  Late Submissions: March 30, 2012
Awards Event: Summer 2012 (NYC)

Click here to learn about the Awards program & enter online!

in 1988: The Chicago Cubs are given the right to install lights and begin playing night games at Wrigley.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What was the last Big Ten team to win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament? Michigan St. Kudos: Mitch Burg-Syndicated Network Television Association/NY; Noah Coslov-CineSport/NY; Bobby Coyle-New York Yankees Radio Network/NY; David Mulhern-Sucherman Consulting Group/NY; Scott McAdams-Intersport/Chicago; Frank Forgey-Missouri Broadcasters Association/Jefferson City; Neil Shurts-Dish Network Ad Sales/CO; Larry Hutchings-Retired/LA; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City; Tom Donatelli- S Callan Advertising/Burbank; Paul Barrere-Cox Reps/LA.

In The Know: What driver has won the Daytona 500 the most times? (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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