Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Thursday, September 13, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Needless to say, yesterday’s news that Notre Dame was leaving the Big East for calmer ACC waters set the sports business world abuzz. The university announced that Olympic sports would move to the ACC, while the football team would remain independent, but play five games a year against conference teams once the school was able to join the league. Meanwhile, in a changing post-season climate, Notre Dame would receive full access to ACC bowl games and still potentially land a spot against the ACC Champ in the Orange Bowl.

From a TV POV, executives around the industry say that the move will help the ACC once again renegotiate its contract with ESPN, likely adding another million to each team’s team coffers with the added inventory. The move also hurts the Big East which is working on broadcast negotiations and now loses yet another nationally-recognized team. Notre Dame’s decision also bolsters NBC, according to executives, which is expected to re-sign a still-independent Notre Dame to a long-term football deal in the near future.

“In terms of the television contracts, yes, we will revisit that,” said ACC Commissioner John Wofford. “We’ve had some preliminary conversations with our television partners that would be prudent to do so.  We do think that this arrangement will enhance our television product and has value with our television product.”

On the Air

The University of Oklahoma entered a deal with FOX Sports on a long-term multimedia programming partnership to create Sooner Sports TV Powered by FOX Sports, a multi-platform network that will offer at least 1,000 hours of Sooner sports programming annually on a variety of FOX Sports outlets, including FOX Sports Oklahoma, FOX Sports Southwest, and FOX College Sports. The initiative began on September 1 before OU’s match up against UTEP. Programming blocks will now be distributed on FOX Sports Networks reaching approximately 9 million TV homes serving Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Outside of this four-state region, select programming from Sooner Sports TV will be made available nationally. The partnership also includes an online component with extensive “all-access” content not televised on FOX Sports networks set to include live streaming, archived games, and additional content created exclusively for the web.

The opening week of NFL action this season delivered a total of 105.9 million fans, according to the league, on CBS, ESPN, FOX and NBC. For the third consecutive season, three Kickoff Weekend game telecasts broke the 23 million average viewer mark, including the NBC Sunday night game, FOX’s national game telecast and the NBC Wednesday Kickoff game. On the local front, NFL games ranked first in all 30 NFL markets for the fourth consecutive Kickoff Weekend, led by Pittsburgh with a 50.3/70, followed by Milwaukee, New Orleans, Denver and Dallas.

The NHL made its latest proposal to the NHLPA today in New York City in an effort to prevent a lockout. A source told that the league’s counterproposal ran six years and offers players 49% of hockey-related revenue, before phasing it down to 47% over the course of the deal. The current CBA runs out on Saturday.

Time Warner Cable SportsNet announced a quartet of talent deals for the launch of the network on Oct. 1. The channel inks James Worthy, Chris McGee, Dave Miller and Mike Trudell to its on-air team. Worthy will serve as the main studio analyst for Lakers games; McGee now becomes a studio anchor for Time Warner Cable SportsNet; Miller will work as studio analyst, commentator and reporter for the channel, while Trudell will serve as a sideline reporter for all Lakers telecasts.

BTN announced a batch of new series, include The Journey: Big Ten Football, which will follow the backstories of Big Ten football student-athletes and coaches on and off the field and air on Wednesdays at 7:30p. The channel will also offer #BTNLive, a radio show broadcast on FOX Sports Radio in select markets that will be simulcast on BTN on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7p and Big Ten Elite a new documentary series that tells the story behind seven all-time great football and basketball squads every Tuesday at 8:30p.

ESPNU will debut ESPN Films’ Croon on Sept. 25 at 7p, marking the latest installment in the SEC Storied documentary series. The film chronicles Croom’s rise to become head football coach at Mississippi State University and the first African American head coach in the Southeastern Conference.

NBC Sports Network offers a behind-the-scenes look at last weekend’s Giants/Dodgers tonight at 9p on Caught Looking. The episode features in-game audio, highlighted by a wireless microphone worn by Giants pitcher Sergio Romo during Sunday’s game, as well as in-game audio from Dodgers outfielder Shane Victorino and in-depth interviews with managers Bruce Bochy and Don Mattingly. A peek of the episode can be found here.

ESPN joined forces with the CBF (Confederação Brasileira de Futebol [the Brazilian Football Confederation]) and SportPromotion to create the first ever Copa do Brasil Under-20 tournament. The inaugural edition will serve as a 32-team knockout competition and take place from October 2 to December 15, 2012. ESPN nabbed exclusive rights to the competition in Brazil through 2016 and will air 20 live and exclusive matches of the 2012 version beginning next month with Avai vs. Corinthians from Florianopolis on October 2 at 8p.

WTIC News Talk 1080 and the UConn-IMG Sports Network announced a new multi-year agreement to broadcast University of Connecticut football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball games, as well as all pre-game and post-game programming.

SportsCenter reached its 50,000 episode milestone at 6p. Congrats!


Cynopsis: Kids! Webinar: 3 weeks away!
Thursday, October 4, 2012  || 1:30 – 3:00pm ET

Digital & Social Media Strategies for Kids TV:  How To Attract & Engage Kids and Tweens

Get the latest insights and tactics on how to leverage social media and other digital platforms to increase engagement with the sometimes fickle and elusive Generation Z: kids and tweens 15 and younger. 


Sponsorship & Promotion

ESPN began a campaign to promote ESPN Insider yesterday, with promotion across television, digital, radio, and social assets, marking the first campaign featuring television spots in nearly a decade to push fans toward ESPN Insider’s premium content.

Digital Fields

The season’s NFL Kickoff boosted ESPN’s digital platforms – including, the ESPN mobile Web, ScoreCenter and Fantasy Football apps – to its most trafficked day ever on Sunday. The sites drew an average minute audience of 904,000, across Sunday and Monday. The ESPN/com NFL section saw 4.7 million unique visitors, up 4% compared to the same two days last season, with its average minute audience of 43,000 up 35% from last year.

The New York Islanders are partnering with social media startup SportsYapper, marking SportsYapper’s first sponsorship deal with a professional sports franchise. As part of this strategic partnership, SportsYapper will now sponsor the in-game promotion “You Gotta Yapp That” during all Islanders home games, which asks all fans at Nassau Coliseum to ‘Yapp’ about major highlights during the game.

PrePlay is launching its new MLB PrePlay app for the iPhone and iPad. The predictive game allows fans to predict every single at bat of a live game. Whenever a player steps in into the batter’s box, users will be presented with a basic Hit/Out/BB choice. Baseball fans can also make pre-game and between-inning predictions using the app.

The Main Event

Bears/Packers on NFL Network at 8p.


Cynopsis: Digital Video Measurement Summit
Monetizing Cross-Platform Video
November 14 | JWT, NYC | 11:30am-6pm | Register Now

Don’t miss out on the summit’s must-have insights on audience measurement, digital ad delivery & maximizing ROI. Mingle with the sharpest minds in strategic digital marketing, viewer engagement and cross-platform media planning & placement.

[Registration Questions: Jenn Sredzinski | Sponsorships Questions: Mike Farina]

[Sponsor: Tremor Video + Media Sponsor: Ad Club of NY]

ON THIS DAY in 1973: ABC announces that the network has obtained TV rights for the 1976 Olympic Games.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who is the only athlete to be picked in the first round of both the NBA and MLB drafts? Scott Burrell. Neither Winfield nor Ainge were selected in the first round by both leagues. Kudos: Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/NY; Rob Thompson-Armada Group/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Megan Lishamer-WFMY/Greensboro; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

In The Know: Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey joined the university in 2000 after coaching what school? ( 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

Denise O’Connor: Group Publisher, Media Entertainment
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