Good morning. It’s Thursday, June 9, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
ESPN has gone west, inking an eight-year contract extension with the West Coast Conference that will broaden coverage of the conference’s men’s and women’s basketball games as well as Olympic sports content across multiple platforms just n time for BYU’s entry into the league. The deal now runs through the 2018-19 season, and will raise the minimum numbers of men’s basketball appearances for the conference to 48, that includes more coverage of the WCC Men’s Basketball Championship than ever with telecasts of the championship on ESPN or ESPN2, semifinals on ESPN2 and two quarterfinal games on ESPNU. The deal also includes at least five events annually across women’s basketball, soccer, volleyball and baseball on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
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Game 4 of The NBA Finals on ABC, which saw Dallas once again rally in the fourth quarter to edge Miami 86-83 and tie the series, delivered the network with an a 9.6 rating and 16,126,000 viewers and was the highest-rated program of the night in prime time, according to Nielsen. In Miami, the game drew a 34.2 metered market score and a 30.5 in Dallas. The NBA Finals on ABC are averaging 15,536,000 viewers through four games, to rank as the most-watched NBA Finals in seven years, and is up 1% over last year.
Univision saw its coverage of the opening soccer matches of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament deliver the second highest rating Sunday night among adults 18-49, men 18-49, adults 18-34 and men 18-34, ranking only behind game three of the NBA Finals. The network’s second match between Mexico and El Salvador reached 6.8 million viewers. The games tripled the channel’s audiences compared to the last tournament in 2009.
Here a look at some of the spikes in local markets:
- Los Angeles: Viewers 2+ (+175%), Adults 18-49 (+100%), Adults 18-34 (+78%), Men 18-49 (+127%) and Men 18-34 (+89%)
- New York: Viewers 2+ (+51%), Adults 18-49 (+15%), Adults 18-34 (+6%), Men 18-49 (+24%) and Men 18-34 (+34%)
- Miami: Viewers 2+ (+62%), Adults 18-49 (+11%), Men 18-49 (+25%) and Men 18-34 (+8%)
- Houston: Viewers 2+ (+745%), Adults 18-49 (+681%), Adults 18-34 (+586%), Men 18-49 (+521%) and Men 18-34 (+598%)
- Dallas: Viewers 2+ (+272%), Adults 18-49 (+260%), Adults 18-34 (+283%), Men 18-49 (+260%) and Men 18-34 (+379%)
- Chicago: Viewers 2+ (+361%), Adults 18-49 (+249%), Adults 18-34 (+301%), Men 18-49 (+143%) and Men 18-34 (+302%)
CBC Sports has locked in a five-year deal with the International Skating Union that will give the company rights to deliver events that include the 2011 ISU Grand Prix Final in Quebec City, December 8-11, 2011, the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships, the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, the ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships plus all international Grand Prix events. For Speed Skating and Short Track Speed Skating, the agreement includes all of the major ISU Championships including the ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships in Calgary on January 28-29, 2012 as well as the ISU World Cup Short Track in Saguenay, Quebec on October 28-30, 2011.
NBA: Players and owners continued their conversations from the past two days with the hope of a breakthrough before the current deal expires on June 30.
NFL: The NFL and the players’ association released a joint statement Wednesday acknowledging that the two sides had continued “confidential discussions” in New York in an effort to break the stalemate. Attending were Commissioner Roger Goodell as well as owners Robert Kraft of the Patriots, John Mara of Giants and Jerry Richardson of the Panthers, among others. Player representatives included NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith, Colts center Jeff Saturday and Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel.
The 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes is set to deliver a lot of media coverage, beginning with race host NBC Sports Group, which will offer audiences 6½ hours of coverage of the final Triple Crown race this year. Programming will begin on Friday at 4p on Versus and culminate with the race on Saturday at 5p on NBC. NBC Sports coverage of the Belmont Stakes is co-hosted by Bob Costas and Tom Hammond alongside two-time Preakness winner Gary Stevens.
TVG is offering its own spin to the race, beginning Friday with a live Belmont Stakes edition of Blinkers’ Off at 11:30p and concluding with a one-hour Belmont Pick 6 Central at 8:30p. TVG will finish its Belmont Stakes programming package with a 30-minute Belmont Stakes Wrap-Up show that follows the conclusion of NBC’s coverage of the race.
BTN has announced that it will carry Ohio State’s press conference with Luke Fickell at 4p on Monday, as well as stream it live on www.BTN.com .
After recently adding UMass to their football roster, the Mid-American Conference has extended Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbracher’s contract with an additional two years which will run through the 2015-16 academic year. Steinbrecher initially took the position in May of 2009 with an original five-year contract.
The Huntsville Times reports that the SEC may be reevaluating its TV deals only three years after they took place. The paper says that although the SEC says it is happy with its partnership with ESPN and CBS, valued at $3 billion over 15-years, the conference may call for a “look-in” review with ESPN to reevaluate the terms of the deal.
ESPN and ESPNU are scheduled to showcase a 90-minute in-depth discussion with Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski in its upcoming special Difference Makers: Life Lessons with Paterno & Krzyzewski, set to air on June 30. The famed coaches are set to share the stage to deliver insight to the lessons they have learned throughout their lives and passed on to others. The show will air at 8p on ESPN and continue at 9p on ESPNU. Rece David will host.
CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network will be teaming up for the sixth straight year to provide live coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships on beginning Friday at 7:30p on CBS Sports Network and resuming Saturday at 1p on CBS when the champs will be crowned.
Sportsman Channel has set the premiere for the third season of On Your Own Adventures with Randy Newberg for Thursday, June 30 at 9p.
MLB on FOX reporter and FOXSports.com senior MLB columnist Ken Rosenthal has been sporting a bow tie during every MLB on FOX broadcast this season to show support of NFL player Dhani Jones’ BowTie Cause initiative. Now the company is offering fans the chance to design a bow tie for Rosenthal to wear on the final regular-season broadcast of 2011, while supporting the US military at the same time via bowtiecause.org. The top 32 designs received by the June 11 deadline will be entered into the Bow Ties for the Troops Tournament, launching June 17 where fans will vote, bracket-style, for five rounds to determine a winner.
The NCAA is partnering with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association for “StrikeOut Cancer Night,” during Game 1 of the championship series of the 2011 NCAA Women’s College World Series on Monday. The NCAA will donate $1 for every ticket sold with proceeds heading to the Oklahoma region of the American Cancer Society. During the regular season, the NFCA gave teams throughout the country a chance to designate games to support this initiative with 175 schools have reporting back so far and more than $112,000 has been raised.
With under five weeks to go before the 82nd Mid-Summer Classic MLB All-Star Game on Fox, the network reports that online voting has propelled Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun past Albert Pujols as the top vote-getter in the National League. Meanwhile, in the American League, Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista became the first player in this season’s balloting to earn more than two million votes. Fans can vote at www.allstargame.com.
DirecTV is partnering with NeuLion to power the newly launched websites for DirecTV Sports Network’s three regional sports channels at Rootsports.com. The microsites will be launched to include on demand, sports video content for the Root Sports television networks (formerly known as FSN Northwest, FSN Rocky Mountain and FSN Pittsburgh until this past April.
The Main Event
The Heat and Mavericks look to break a 2-2 series tie in the NBA Finals at 9p on ABC.
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ON THIS DAY in 1973 – Secretariat becomes 1st Triple Crown winner in 25 years by winning the Belmont Stakes.
Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: Who is the current UFC Middleweight Champion? Anderson Silva. Kudos: Brendan McGovern – Google/NY
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- In My Opinion …
- Sure you can knock his movies… or his music… or his TV shows, but no one can knock the trailblazing way Shaquille O’Neal could promote and play with his fans. His announcement on Wednesday to retire as a player from the NBA via Twitter was par for the course for the perennial All-Star. Whether it was by constantly connecting with his 3.8 million Twitter followers, landing sly endorsement deals, or promoting his latest project, Shaq’s engagement with fans will leave a legacy that lasts far longer than his feuds on the court. I look forward to following his next venture, be it behind the microphone, as a team owner or wherever (ok, maybe not the movies). .
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