Good morning. It’s Thursday, September 27, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
The Big Ten has the bulk of its television schedule in place for the upcoming men’s college basketball season with ESPN announcing a slate that will include 38 conference games across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. The lineup will include multiple appearances by top-ranked Indiana, as well as Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Conference action begins on Dec. 31 at 2p with a doubleheader featuring Michigan St./Minnesota followed by Indiana/Iowa at 4p.
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Around the dial on BTN, the channel has lined up 67 men’s basketball conference matchups for its schedule, including four Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament games and an additional number of non-conference games. Gus Johnson returns to BTN for his fifth season. As part of the programming slate, the channel will air doubleheaders as part of its “Super Wednesdays” lineup for 10 straight weeks as well as run games on most Tuesdays and Thursdays and a number of doubleheaders on Saturdays and Sundays. Conference games will begin on Jan. 2 at 6:30p featuring Nebraska/Ohio St. and 8:30p with Illinois/Purdue.
The media firestorm of the NFL’s replacement referees and sparked criticism from seemingly everyone ranging from Bob Costas to Ellen DeGeneres may nearly be over. Multiple reports state that the league has broken through in negotiations with the refs and an agreement in principal has been locked in to end the lockout. Although some reports speculate that the officials could be back on the field as early as this weekend, most sources seem to think that the following week is more likely.
With ratings for ESPN2’s morning series First Take on the rise, (year-to-year ratings are up 33% among viewers), the company announced that broadcast journalist and television personality Cari Champion will join the debate show as host on October 1. Champion will now joins commentators Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith as a full-time member of the show where she will moderate the debate topics. Champion joins ESPN from the Tennis Channel where she was an anchor and a courtside reporter, most recently covering the 2012 U.S. Open.
NBC Sports Network announced that the inaugural Navy-Marine Corps Classic, will feature Florida/Georgetown on Friday, Nov. 9 at 9p. The game will be played on the deck of the USS Bataan at Mayport Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Fla. The Navy-Marine Corps Classic is collaboration between the Department of the Navy and the City of Jacksonville to raise continued awareness for the military. This year, NBC Sports Network will televise more than 50 college basketball games, the most in the channel’s history.
HBO Boxing After Dark makes a return on Saturday with a tripleheader featuring Edwin Rodriguez/Jason Escalera, Luis Del Valle/Vic Darchinyan and Alex Perez/Antonin Decarie starting at 9:30p. Bob Papa, Max Kellerman and Roy Jones Jr. will be ringside for the event, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.
Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes are launching two original unscripted series “Backstage: Lakers” and “Laker Girls” on October 1. The two new programs will provide an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the season while it unfolds as well as offer a look at the making of the team’s dance squad. The first episode of Backstage: Lakers will run at 9p with subsequent episodes taking place on Wednesdays at 5p. Laker Girls will premiere at 8p on Oct. 2.
The newly minted Comcast SportsNet Houston revealed its schedule for the 2012-13 Rockets season. The network’s schedule features every regular-season game, seven preseason contests, and pregame and postgame coverage with Rockets Pregame Live and Rockets Postgame Live. The channel’s live coverage of the team begins with the team’s preseason opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Oct. 10 at 7p. Coverage will be led by longtime Rockets play-by-play announcer Bill Worrell, and incorporate a three-man booth for all home games this season, with Matt Bullard and Clyde Drexler providing analysis. Bullard and Worrell will handle announcing duties for road games.
NBA TV begins its coverage of the WNBA Conference Semifinals on Saturday with a doubleheader – Western Conference Semifinals Game 2 featuring Sparks/Silver Stars at 3p and Eastern Conference Game 2 showcasing Liberty/Sun at 7p. NBA TV’s NBA GameTime, with host Vince Cellini, analyst Steve Smith and guest analyst Swin Cash, will provide a recap of both games immediately following the doubleheader.
The NFL reports that league telecasts this past week topped the ratings in all 30 NFL markets marking the first time NFL telecasts have been the No. 1 rated show locally in all markets for each of the first three weeks of a season. Among NFL markets, Pittsburgh pulled that highest household rating, according to Nielsen, with a 47.1 score. Rounding out the top five were New Orleans, Denver, Baltimore and Boston.
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AdvoCare International signed on to serve as sponsor of the November NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. The AdvoCare 500, which is the next to last event of the Sprint Cup season, takes place on Nov. 11.
Sports video platform SEASON announced the availability of cost-per-completed-view (CPCV) pre-roll advertising, designed to make “it easier for sports advertisers to draw a corollary between traditional DVR-proof sports TV advertising and digital video advertising.”
Marketing agency CSE announced that its multicultural team was handling cross-divisional efforts in the marketing, production and promotion for the 24th annual Bank of America Atlanta Football Classic, set for Saturday, Sept. 29 at 3:30p. Services include production of the game telecast to be seen live nationally on NBC Sports Network. CSE also helped bring AT&T into the HBCU space and enhancing Coca-Cola’s HBCU partnership by developing and activating multiple strategies to reach the black college consumer for both companies.
Mobile marketing technology provider Phizzle inked a deal with James Madison University to power digital marketing campaigns designed to increase revenue streams for collegiate sponsorships and drive audience loyalty via in-stadium fan engagement, score and stats alerts as well as social media integration. Front Row Marketing helped lock in the agreement.
ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Shorts series kicked off yesterday with Arnold’s Blueprint, a 12-minute film focusing on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s teenage years in the Austrian Army. The 30-part digital
The countdown to the 2012 ING NYC Marathon is on, and NYRR is launching “NYRR on the Run” leading up to the Nov. 4 race. The weekly running lifestyle podcast that will air every Wednesday night at 8p through the Marathon and is hosted by Karla Bruning, who will feature behind-the-scenes stories of pro athletes, local stars, and charity runners.
The Main Event
NFL Network offers a rivalry game in Browns/Ravens at 8p.
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Deadline: October 10
Late Submission Deadline: October 15
Awards Event: December 11 (Scholastic, NYC) Click here to learn about the Awards program & enter online!
ON THIS DAY in 1923: NY Yankee Lou Gehrig knocks the first of his 493 lifetime HRs.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What NBA player ranks at the top of the all-time list for total number of blocked shots in the playoffs? (Well, this one ended up being a stumper for ya!) Hakeem Olajuwon. Kudos: Rich Cherecwich-WIT Strategy/NY.
In The Know: Who caught the famed “Immaculate Reception?” (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.)
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
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