Good morning. It’s Thursday, June 13, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
ESPN is ending its 3D cable channel experiment after three years on the air and will be closing the doors on the network by the end of the year. ESPN 3D had been offering viewers 3D broadcasts of the likes of college football and basketball games as well as the Masters and more since launch. However, a spokesperson told reporters that ESPN will continue to experiment with technologies that include Ultra High Definition, or ultra HD, for its programming on ESPN and its sister channels.
Soledad O’Brien is making HBO her newest home. The reknowned journalist, who has been honored with the Peabody, Emmy and duPont Awards, has signed on to HBO’s magazine program Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. In addition, O’Brien and her production company, Starfish Media Group, will have an overall relationship with HBO that grants the network first look at scripted projects and long-form programming concepts that she and her team develop.
Another blowout, this time by the Spurs in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Monday night, once again ranked as the most-watched show in primetime, according to Nielsen. The matchup drew a 10.0 overnight rating, down 4% from last year. On the local front, Game 3 scored a 37.5 rating in San Antonio, the best local rating of the 2013 NBA Finals, while Miami delivered a 28.4 score. The KIA NBA Countdown pre-game show, however, saw gains over 2012 numbers, with a 3.8 overnight rating, up 46% over last year’s Game 3 Countdown show.
Saturday’s UFC on FUEL TV 10 programming handed FUEL TV with its highest-rated and most-watched primetime ever, according to Nielsen. The card also ranked as the second most-watched live UFC fight in the network’s history for both total viewers and in the key Men 18-49 demographic. Primetime, which consisted of the one-hour live Prefight Show and the three-hour main card, averaged 250,000 total viewers and a 0.51 household rating, up 468% and 538% respectively over the June 2012 Saturday average. The fights drew an average of 313,000 viewers for the network.
FOX Sports revealed an expanded schedule for college football this season, with nearly 100 games on deck across its broadcast and cable platforms, with matchups featuring teams from the Big 12, Pac-12 and Conference USA. The upcoming FOX Sports 1 makes its college football debut with three straight days of action starting Thursday, Aug. 29 with Utah State/Utah at 8p. Other Thursday night matchups will include UCLA/Utah, Arizona/USC and Oklahoma/Baylor. FOX Sports starts its second year of college football coverage on broadcast television the following weekend with the first of five straight Saturday games in prime time starting with Oklahoma/West Virginia on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7p. Thanksgiving weekend will include Texas Tech/Texas on Nov. 28 at 7:30p.
Univision Deportes saw its live coverage of the World Cup Qualifiers pitting Mexico and Costa Rica as well as USA/Panama reaching a combined 6 million viewers who tuned in to watch all or part of the matches on UniMas. The two broadcasts helped position UniMas as the No. 2 Spanish-language network for the night. Tuesday’s Mexico/Costa Rica match averaged 2.8 million total viewers, while the USA/Panama match averaged 1.2 million.
Around the dial, ESPN’s coverage of the USA/Panama match ranked as ESPN’s second most-watched and second highest-rated FIFA World Cup qualifying or international friendly match telecast. The game was seen by an average 1.436 million viewers, 888,000 households based on a 0.8 U.S. household rating, according to Nielsen.
Speaking of soccer, ESPN announced commentator teams for all 16 matches of the FIFA Confederations Cup. Ian Darke and Stewart Robson serve as the lead match commentator team and call the opening and title matches; Fernando Palomo and Alejandro Moreno will call Mexican National Team matches, and Adrian Healey and Kasey Keller also taking on some of the workload.
We are officially counting down to unveil this year’s lineup of speakers! The annual Cynopsis: Sports Business Summit is set to take place on Aug. 14 in NY, and will feature some of the biggest names driving sports today. In addition, we are holding our Women of Action cocktail event celebrating and discussing the impact women are having in the sports industry on Aug. 13.
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The NFLPA’s One Team Shop is launching One Team Pride Shirts, celebrating June as LGBT pride month. The One Team Pride Shirts will offer the option to add the jersey number of players such as Brendon Ayanbadejo, Connor Barwin, Scott Fujita, Steve Gleason, Chris Gocong, Chris Kluwe, Donte’ Stallworth, Terrell Suggs and Eric Winston. All net proceeds will go to Athlete Ally, a nonprofit organization that fights homophobia in sports.
Major League Soccer and its players’ union are partnering to launch an anti-discrimination campaign with a group called the You Can Play Project. The program includes educational resources and training for teams. The move comes less than a month after Robbie Rogers became the first openly gay male athlete to play in a major U.S. professional league although plans were reportedly underway before his decision.
The United States Golf Association is looking to address pace of play and its impact on the game of golf via a comedic PSA campaign around the theme of “While We’re Young” (from Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack). The PSAs feature the likes of Tiger Woods, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Palmer, Annika Sorenstam, Paula Creamer, and Butch Harmon.
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott was presented with the Americanism Award by the Anti-Defamation League during a tribute dinner in his honor on Tuesday in New York City. The honor recognizes individuals who “illuminate and exemplify the noblest ideals and traditions of the United States and of the Anti-Defamation League.” The organization recognized Scott’s battle alongside Billie Jean King to achieve equal prize money for women at the four grand slam events. The other was his insistence that Shahar Pe’er and other Israeli athletes be allowed to participate in a Dubai tennis tournament.
The Professional Bull Riders and its Oklahoma City-based sponsor Express Employment Professionals will each donate $25,000 in cash for a total of $50,000 to the United Way OK Strong Disaster Relief Fund to help victims of the Oklahoma tornados. In addition, goods and support from other PBR corporate partners, including Ariat, Big Tex Trailers, Cooper Tires, Dad’s Pet Food, Dickies, Ford, Kawasaki, Wrangler and Yeti Coolers, will push the total to $100,000 in cash and merchandise form the PBR family.
North American Sports Group, the owner and operator of Hoop It Up 3×3, inked a deal with FIBA to serve as an official Global tournament partner for U18 and Master level men’s and women’s 3on3 teams qualifying for the 2013 FIBA World Championships.
NeuLion and Bright House Networks announced the signing of a new multi-year partnership agreement designed to provide local high school sports fans with a digital sports network. The network will be powered by the NeuLion TV Everywhere Platform, and will offer fans access to Florida high school sports content on multiple devices including PCs, smartphones and tablets. Beginning in August 2013, Bright House Sports Network will stream its Game of the Week broadcasts.
Following its first year of leveraging LiveU technology for live cellular-based video transmission, University of Oklahoma the LU-Xtender external antenna to its arsenal, to beef up cellular bandwidth and range in highly congested and remote venues. OU operates 21 different sports programs and produces over 1,500 hours of programming per school year.
Sports destination SB Nation is adding David J. Roth to its writing staff. Roth has previously written for the likes of The Wall Street Journal, The Classical, The Awl, VICE, and Sports on Earth.
The Main Event, the featured game of the day sponsored by Thuuz, real-time sports discovery for mobile & connected TV platforms
U.S. Open Golf Championship. Today. Thuuz rating: 91
Woods, McIlroy and Scott tee off together at 1:14pm ET. On ESPN.
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ON THIS DAY in 1955: Disaster at Le Mans kills over 80 people.
In The Know: What MLB team has a mascot named Screech? (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.)
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who are the two tallest players in NBA history who actually played for the league? Answer: Gheorghe Mure?an, Manute Bol.Kudos: Barry McMullin-Professional Bull Riders/NY; Andrew Feingold-NBC Universal/NY; Yussuf Khan-The Shadow League/NY; Jon Latzer-TuneIn/NY; Rich Dubroff-CSNBaltimore.com/Baltimore; Michael Goodman-Radio One Atlanta/Atlanta; Jerehmy White-BusyBuddy Books, Inc./Glen Rock; Simon Bassett-CBC Sports/Toronto; Ryan NolanSportsman Channel/New Berlin; Bill Adusei-Comcast SportsNet; Derrick Stasica-KHOU/Houston; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Neal Stevens-Stevens & Associates/Beverly Hills.
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Kathryn Friedrich, Head of Video Strategy, Americas [Google & YouTube]
Michael Rourke, Co-Founder & CEO [Hud:sun Media]
James Smith, SVP/Digital Media Sales [Crackle]
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