Good morning. It’s Thursday, October 20, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Bids for the rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups have officially been submitted, with ESPN, Fox and NBC all making their best offer to snare the event. The winner will be determined via closed-door meetings at FIFA headquarters and the winner could be announced Friday. The 2010/14 package earned around $425 million for FIFA, with ESPN paying $100 million for English rights while Univision paid $325 million for Spanish rights. All expectations foresee the big making a significant jump this time around despite the World Cups being slated for Russia and Qatar.
The US Open is open to some changes. Tournament Director Jim Curley told the AP that the USTA is in conversations with broadcast rights holder CBS to move the men’s final off the traditional Sunday timeframe and shift it to Monday. The change would give players a day off between the semi-final and final and would mark the first of the Grand Slam tournaments to permanently slate a Monday final. The proposal would also move the women’s final from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon.
ABC’s college football broadcasts are rolling this year, and continue to post gains over 2010. The network is averaging a 3.7 rating, with 4,223,000 households and 5,730,000 total viewers this year. Those numbers are good enough for increases of 16%, 14% and 12% respectively, over last year at the same point. Saturday Night Football is averaging a 4.3 rating for a boost of 26%. On Saturday, the channel posted the most-viewed and highest-rated college football telecast with the Oklahoma State/Texas and Ohio State/Illinois split game scoring a 3.8 rating.
In NFL rating, the FOX national telecast (which featured the Cowboys/Patriots game) on Sunday officially scored as the most-watched sporting event since Super Bowl XLV. The telecast averaged 28.4 million viewers.
ESPN inked a six-year rights deal with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference that will deliver enhanced coverage of MAAC men’s and women’s basketball across multiple national platforms. The extension features a record 80 national appearances across 40 scheduled contests, for a 25% boost over last season and the most ever for the MAAC. All 10 member institutions will receive a minimum of three men’s basketball and one women’s basketball appearances this year. The agreement includes the men’s championship game on ESPN or ESPN2 as well as the women’s championship game on ESPNU, two men’s basketball appearances on ESPN or ESPN2, and the continuation of a weekly game on ESPNU. The agreement also features a new National MAAC Game of the Week on ESPN3.
The AP reports that Big East Commissioner John Marinatto’s latest attempt to develop long-term stability in the conference involves schools handing over television rights, something the league was considering before the defections of Syracuse and Pitt.
With the 30th anniversary of the NASCAR Nationwide Series on deck for 2012, the organization announced that the celebratory season will feature 33 race dates, including the series’ first visit to Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the inaugural Brickyard event is set for July 28. The season will also feature Danica Patrick and Austin Dillon riding full time.
BTN made its football broadcast selection for Oct. 29, picking the Northwestern/Indiana game at noon, followed by Iowa/Minnesota at 3:30p.
Universal Sports Network was awarded top honors at the CableFAX Program Awards with the network’s first-ever original series Take A Seat: Sharing A Ride Across America taking home Best Show or Series Sports. The series featuring British adventurer Dominic Gill documenting his journey across the United States on a tandem bicycle with the help of 10 companions, all of whom suffer from a different physical disability.
Sponsorship & Promotion
ESPN inked a deal with 5-hour ENERGY to serve as title sponsor of one of college basketball’s earliest tournaments. The 5-hour ENERGY Puerto Rico Tip-Off is scheduled to run Nov. 17, 18 & 20, with teams that include Alabama, Colorado, Iona, Maryland, Purdue, Temple, Western Michigan and Wichita State.
GuyRilla Marketing Group is set to host its third annual “BroCon” summit on Oct. 28 at the New York Athletic Club, and have tapped SportsCenter host Robert Flores to lead panels about marketing to men. Executives from the likes of the NBA, NHL, and NFL are all set to present.
NBCUniversal Media is partnering with deltatre to create “the most event oriented website in the world” for next summer’s London 2012 Games on NBCOlympics.com. Executives state that the site will be designed to create a complete fan experience for the event that will bring together video, articles, schedule, results, as well as social aspects for a community feel.
EA Sports is set to bring back a gamer favorite, announcing that an all-new HD version of videogame NFL Blitz will be available in January 2012 via digital download on Xbox LIVE Arcade and PLAYSTATION Network. The revived NFL Blitz will give gamers the opportunity to battle rivals 7-on-7, fight their way through the Blitz Gauntlet, or take over the online leaderboards in Blitz Battles.
The Main Event
World Series Game 2 at 7:30p on FOX
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ON THIS DAY in 1992: The first World Series game outside of the US is played as Toronto hosts Atlanta
Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question:What four players have won the NBA MVP as 76ers? Answer: Dr. J, Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone & Allen Iverson. Kudos: Andrew Siegel – truTV/NY; Kevin Byrnes – NBC Sports Group/NY; Tony Ferranti – MMSI/Warwick; Doug Drotman – Drotman Communications/Commack; Ron Salcedo – Zimmerman/Nashville; Alan Berkes – R&R Partners/LA; George NeJame – Tribune/LA; Chris Loprete – ABC/Hollywood
In The Know: What was the last university to go undefeated and win the NCAA men’s basketball tournament? (Division I only, please.) (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.)
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