Good morning. It’s Thursday, March 14, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
FOX Sports Media Group is doubling down on the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer, announcing that, for the first time ever, the company will televise all 25 matches of the tournament. Another first will see FOX Sports broadcast a live match from the group stage, quarterfinal round (should the U.S. advance) as well as the final, which is set for Sunday, July 28 at 3:30p. FOX Soccer will carry much of the load with coverage starting Sunday, July 7with a live doubleheader. Viewers will also get access to the entire tournament via FOX Soccer 2Go.
Ray Lewis and ESPN are officially an item. The 12-time Pro Bowler, who helped the Raven win the Super Bowl last month, will join the company to serve as a NFL studio analyst, appearing on Monday Night Countdown, Sunday Night Countdown and SportsCenter, while also contributing to ESPN’s annual Super Bowl coverage.
NBC and NBC Sports Network are on deck to present a marathon of MLS coverage this weekend, with 10 consecutive live hours of coverage that will feature seven games on Saturday, March 16. As part of the lineup, every MLS game played on that day will be covered, including three live games one on NBC and two on NBC Sports Network. In addition, a special two-and-a-half hour studio “whip-around” show, MLS Breakaway will cover all four games being played at that time, starting at 5:30p. NBC opens the day at 12:30; with the Red Bulls/United, before jumping to NBC Sports Network with two more games at 3p and 8p.
Cable outlet Outdoor Channel Holdings agreed to a $227 million offer from Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s company Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, which will now take over the business. The deal, of course, means that the previous bid from InterMedia Outdoor Holdings (which operates the Sportsman Channel) was turned down despite an offer reported to be $208 million. Kroenke Sports & Entertainment LLC operated that likes of the Colorado Avalanche, the Nuggets, and Colorado Rapids.
Hotel entertainment distributor LodgeNet is bringing in NFL Sunday Ticket as part of a new agreement with DirecTV, according to reports, which will allow hotels to offer guests out of market games.
BTN is hitting the Big Ten Tournament with four live games featuring Gus Johnson, as well as pre- and post-game shows, post-game press conferences, and a Sunday night special following NCAA Tournament selections. Tournament coverage on BTN and BTN2Go starts Wednesday, with the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament Preview Show at 8p and hosted by Dave Revsine and analysts Jim Jackson and Shon Morris. Games begin on Thursday at noon with Illinois/Minnesota.
ESPN will carry every session of the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships this year with coverage of the First Round, Second Round, Quarterfinal, Semifinal, Medal Round and Final match from March 21-23. The action starts with ESPN3’s coverage of the First and Second Rounds on Thursday, March 21 at noon and 7:30p, offering a four-screen, four-mat viewing experience. Then, ESPNU will pick up two of the four Quarterfinals, as well as the Semifinals with the Finals set for ESPN on Saturday, March 23 at 8p.
Spike TV will run a special Bellator 360 Road To The Championships on today at 11p heading into the MMA tournament and the season so far. Jimmy Smith will take viewers through the five current tournaments and breaks down each Tournament Championship fight to take place over the next month on Spike.
Famed Knick Patrick Ewing will join MSG Network’s postgame coverage of the Knicks on Wednesday, March 20 when the team faces the Magic, as well as on Sunday, March 31 when the team takes on the Celtics. The 11-time NBA All-Star will appear on MSG’s Knicks postgame coverage, including the “Ford Knicks Postgame Show” and “Knicks Extra,” with host Al Trautwig and analyst Alan Hahn from the Geico MSG Studios.
Tickets are now available for the Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards, which will take place on April 17 at Yale Club in Manhattan. Click here for more info.
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LeBron James is taking home the top spot in this year’s Bloomberg Sportfolio/Horrow Sports Ventures 2013 Power 100 ranking of athletes. The report utilizes off- and on-field measurements to determine rankings. Along with athletic performance, the methodology took into account endorsements, social media, and fan touch points including trustworthiness, likability, and awareness. Tiger Woods ranks second with Peyton Manning third, followed by Drew Brees and Roger Federer.
CBSSports.com revealed plans for the upcoming NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament that will offer fans access to their brackets, insight from bracketology experts as well as in-game coverage. The redesigned CBS Sports mobile app will offer fans access to all CBSSports.com bracket games, a live NCAA Tournament bracket, as well as expert picks and in-progress game tweets. In addition, the new iPhone version will offer audiences live streaming of games and events that are available on CBSSports.com including the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament Semifinals and Championship on Saturday and Sunday, March 17-18.
On the video game front, EA Sports confirmed that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 will feature the LPGA Tour for the first time, according to reports. The addition of an all-female league will mark a first for any EA Sports game, according to producers. Among the players who will be introduced in the game will be LGPA player of the year Stacy Lewis and 18-year-old Lexie Thompson, according to Digital Spy.
Production & Technology
MLB Advanced Media and mobile technology company Experience are entering a partnership that will offer seat and experience upgrade technology at participating ballparks, beginning with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics. All of those teams will launch the service in April. The service, At The Ballpark, offers mobile ticket purchases, check-in, sharable social media functionality, interactive maps, offers and rewards, favorite ballpark customization, directions and parking information as well as mobile food ordering at select ballparks.
The UFC is tapping Aspera’s transfer software to fuel its file-based content delivery workflows, with teams using the technology during live event production as well as for global distribution. Aspera will serve as the anchor or the promotion’s digital asset management system that allows crews to pull existing content from venues all over the world for inclusion in the live broadcasts.
Chyron Corporation is acquiring Hego Group, the provider of graphics and data visualization solutions for TV and sports. After the acquisition, the combined company will now be rebranded as ChyronHego. Hego specializes in live sports production via augmented reality and virtual product placement, as well as telestration.
Back9Network has found its president, announcing that Carlos Silva will take on the role for the lifestyle multiplatform media company. Silva has advised Back9Network for the past two years through his position as partner and managing director at Park Lane and will remain a partner while at the channel. Silva previously served as president and COO of Universal Sports Network.
The Main Event
Syracuse/Pittsburgh in Big East Tournament action on ESPN at 2p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
WEDNESDAY | APRIL 17, 2013 | 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.
THE YALE CLUB NY
Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards Program
**Finalists announced soon**
Register here: http://www.cynopsis.com/events/sports-awards/.
ON THIS DAY in 1976: Jockey Bill Shoemaker wins his 7,000th race.
In The Know: What schools has the most NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament appearances without reaching a Final Four? (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: What two teams have the most Final Four appearances in the NCAA Men’s Tournament? Answer: UCLA (with 17) and North Carolina with (18). Kudos: Zac Salamon-Northwestern Mutual/NY; Andrew Feingold-NBC Universal/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Michael Bell-NCC Media/Dallas; Jim Dittemore-I Will Race You MotorSports Management/KC; Steve Hebel-Continental TV Sales/Chicago; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc./Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
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