Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Thursday, February 2, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

In spite of (or maybe because of) the late start, the NBA is red hot for its networks right now. TNT reports that for the first six weeks of the season, NBA on TNT is outpacing last year’s ratings records, with double-digital increases compared to the same point in 2011 according to Nielsen. So far, games are pulling an average of 2.93 million viewers, which is a 50% spike, with a rating of 1.9 which is up 46%. Even better for the channel, TNT delivered triple-digit increases in key adult and male demographics during the six weeks including a rise of 175% among adults 18-34 and up 160% among adults 18-49.

Over on NBA TV, the channel’s first 34 games of the season are drawing an average of 391,000 viewers with 306,000 total households, to grow 74% and 78% respectively. In the demos, NBA TV is up 105% among adults 18-34 and 78% among adults 18-49.

On the Air

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. is getting in his Cinco de Mayo festivities one way or the other, even without Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather said on Wednesday that he has a deal in principal pitting him against Miguel Cotto on May 5 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. At stake will be Cotto’s WBA junior middleweight title for the PPV. Meanwhile, Bad Left Hook is reporting that Pacquiao’s representatives offered Mayweather $50 Million for a potential fight between the two stars, with the winner also taking a 55/45 split from the PPV.

FOX is offering its own football on Super Bowl Sunday with live Barclays Premier League coverage of Chelsea hosting Manchester United at 10:30a. The match marks the second live Barclays Premier League game in two weeks on U.S. broadcast television after scoring 1.3 million viewers on Jan. 22. Coverage begins with Rob Stone alongside FOX Soccer analyst Eric Wynalda and CNN talk show host and soccer enthusiast Piers Morgan. FOX Soccer, meanwhile, opens the day with coverage of Newcastle/Aston Villa at 8:25a.

NFL Network will announce the 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrines on Saturday, in a pre-Super Bowl tradition. The ceremony will take place at 5:30p on the special Road to Canton: Pro Football Hall of Fame: Class of 2012 presented by Allstate. Fran Charles hosts alongside quarterbacks Dan Fouts and Warren Moon. Portions of the announcement ceremony will also be available live on This year’s finalists include: Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Jack Butler, Cris Carter, Dermontti Dawson, Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Chris Doleman, Kevin Greene, Charles Haley, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin, Bill Parcells, Andre Reed, Willie Roaf, Will Shields, Dick Stanfel, and Aeneas Williams.

Golf Channel announced that its reality series Big Break will island hop, moving from Ireland to Atlantis, Paradise Island for the show’s 17th season. This year’s ensemble will feature an all-female cast with a special guest appearance from Women’s World No. 1, Yani Tseng. The new season will premiere on May 14 and debut a new format.

CBS Sports reports that the Big 12 released a 10-team football schedule to its TV partners for the 2012 season, indicating that West Virginia, which is mired in lawsuits in an attempt to leave the Big East, will be on hand for conference games. Meanwhile, a West Virginia judge has declined to stay the university’s lawsuit against the conference while a separate lawsuit plays out in Rhode Island.

The Daytona 500 announced that this year’s race will offer a purse of more than $19 million, according to the AP, with the winner guaranteed at least $1.4 million.

ESPN has lined up a slate of Black History Month programming that began yesterday and will include more than 150 hours of programming throughout February. Highlights include a new documentary about Reece “Goose” Tatum, an original member of the Harlem Globetrotters, new “Free to Be” vignettes about life-changing sports moments and back-to-back weekends of ESPN Films on Classic devoted to Black History Month. 

MSG Networks will offer its own take on Black History Month with special blocks of programming on both MSG and MSG+ that will include new vignettes, called Voices of Harlem, that features teenagers from Urban Word NYC, a youth development and education program that partners with the New York Knicks each year for “Knicks Poetry Slam.” Throughout the month on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, MSG+ will show classic episodes of Halls of Fame and The Game 365 featuring host Fran Healy as he interviews prominent African-American athletes and figureheads.

Outdoor Channel is joining with Orion Entertainment; Ford, and the Professional Bull Riders, to launch of a new show on Outdoor Channel called Ford’s PBR Outdoors. The series will air during the second half of 2012 with host Steven LeBlanc. Every episode will showcase the biggest names in PBR “from their wild rides in front of thousands of screaming fans to their wild hunts across North America.”

Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc. also announced that Tom Allen has been named COO of the company, effective immediately. Allen will continue to serve as Outdoor Channel’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Univision Radio is on deck to serve as the home of Super Bowl “En Espanol” for the sixth consecutive year. The radio network’s signature sports program, “Locura Deportiva” will open the broadcast with a one-hour Super Bowl pregame edition at 5p on Super Bowl Sunday ahead of the big game. Rafael Hernandez Brito then returns to the booth to handle play-by-play duties of the game along with analyst Raul Striker Jr. and reporter Joaquin Duro.

ESPN Radio is finally back in Motown. The company launched on 1090-AM yesterday, marking the first time ESPN Radio has served the Detroit market since Sept. 2007. Meanwhile, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Chicago and ESPN Deportes Radio launched 97.5 ESPN Deportes, a new Spanish language sports radio station in Chicago yesterday as well. The channel will be Chicago’s first commercial FM radio station devoted to broadcasting continuous Spanish language sports coverage.

Endemol announced that the company will restructure its sports business, with content now set to be managed locally and come under the direct supervision of the group’s operating companies around the world. As part of the revamp, Managing Directors Gregg Oldfield and Lawrence Duffy will depart the company. The group’s projects currently include the Dutch Premier League ‘Eredivisie’ channel in the Netherlands, the English Premier League channels for Abu Dhabi Media in the Middle East, and The Guinness Football Challenge Pan Africa.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Anheuser-Busch announced its slate of Super Bowl commercials for Sunday’s game, where it will debut four-and-a-half minutes of new creative during the broadcast, and marks the company’s 24th consecutive season as the exclusive malt beverage category advertiser for the Super Bowl. As part of the commercial inventory, Bud Light and Budweiser will each get two ads. Bud Light continues its “Here We Go” campaign, highlighted by a “secret spot” at the end of the second quarter, while Budweiser will evolve its “Grab Some Buds” campaign with two 60-second ads, including one with the Budweiser Clydesdales. The company’s newest brand, Bud Light Platinum, will make debut with two 30-second ads as well.

The LA Clippers are suddenly hot with sponsors as well. The team signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with car loan company 1-800-LoanMart that will give the company extensive brand integration across a variety of Clippers promotional and marketing vehicles, including an in-arena presence that includes courtside signage, branded in-game promotions and features, exposure on the jumbotron, and the rights to use Los Angeles Clippers team marks and logos in external and internal marketing and advertising campaigns.

DISC Sports & Spine Center, which serves as an official medical services provider for the U.S. Olympic Team, announced that the organization will sponsor eight Team USA hopefuls through its “Champion Care” program. Athletes include track and field stars Lolo Jones, Brianna Glenn, Jenny Adams and Brad Walker, swimmers Eric Shanteau and Jessica Hardy, BMX’s Mike Day and triathlon athlete Sarah Haskins.

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

For the first time, the NFL is publishing a Super Bowl XLVI Commemorative App presented by NFL Magazine. The app, designed for both Android and Apple tablets, will chronicle the Giants’ and Patriots’ road to Super Bowl XLVI, with season recaps for both teams, player video-highlight reels, interactive polls, Super Bowl history, and the best photos from each team’s championship season. After the game, the app will then offer extended highlights of the winning team with breakdown of key plays and the presentation of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The pre-game discount for the app runs for $2.99.

Today marks another Super Bowl tradition, with the annual Madden Bowl. The game will be held at the Bud Light Hotel in Indianapolis with fans able to watch the competition via ESPN3 and Xbox 360. Coverage on ESPN3 begins at 9p with stars that include Drew Brees, Larry Fitzgerald and Tim Tebow.

MMA Promotion Bellator Fighting Championships announced a deal with Score Media that runs through the organization’s seventh season. The extension will give Canadian MMA fans access to another year of Bellator fights across theScore’s multiplatform assets including theScore Television Network as well as and app ScoreMobile.

Major League Fishing is hitting the PPV scene, with a seven-week, Internet-based plan that begins on Feb. 13 offering one episode per week. The web-based broadcasts will be called Advance Cast and allow viewers to receive more than twice the coverage that the televised portion on Outdoor Channel, as well as commentary and unedited reactions.

The Main Event

Bulls/Knicks on TNT at 8p.



Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards
Honoring Top Sports Programs, Campaigns, and People.

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

Visit our website for additional information on:

Who Should Enter, How to Enter, Eligibility Period, Categories, Deadlines, Sponsorship Opportunities, Contact Information and FAQs.

ON THIS DAY in 1876: The National League is formed with teams from Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Hartford, Louisville, New York, Philadelphia, and St Louis.

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: What was the halftime score the last time the Giants/Patriots played in the Super Bowl? New England Patriots  7, New York Giants, 3. Kudos: Rob Caravello – Golf Channel/Orlando; Phyllis McQuillan – MSG Media/NY; Sam Ballah – DoD Company/NY; David Stern – BARD Entertainment/NY; Richard Levine – AT&T Operations/LA.

In The Know: What team did the ’72 Dolphins beat in the Super Bowl to finish the season undefeated? (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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