Good morning. It’s Tuesday, July 26, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Football is officially off the sidelines with the end of the NFL lockout, as the NFLPA executive board and 32 team reps voted unanimously to approve the terms of the 10-year deal. However, it may be the broadcasters who are most relieved by the new contract. Risking $3 billion in revenues and a ratings behemoth if the season was shut down, Monday’s approval was all networks needed to begin marketing the season. NBC quickly unveiled a new 15-second spot that aired last night in primetime on NBC, as well as on Versus, Golf Channel and the Comcast Regional Sports Networks featuring Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. Network executives, meanwhile, were quick to express their relief.
Eric Shanks, President of FOX Sports on the agreement: Like every NFL fan around the world today, we are elated that the lockout has come to an end and the 2011 season will kick-off as scheduled. We would like to congratulate Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners and DeMaurice Smith and the NFL Players Association on their new 10-year agreement. We are excited to be back open for business and are looking forward to our NFL on FOX opening broadcast weekend on Sunday, September 11.
Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group on the return of the NFL: We are excited to get back to football. From NFL Kickoff to Super Bowl XLVI, each and every week ‘Sunday Night Football’ will feature strong rivalries and compelling matchups.
What happens next? Today the teams open facilities for training, can start signing draft picks and undrafted free agents as well as negotiate with free agents. Tomorrow, players can begin reporting to training camps. On Thursday, the waiver period starts and teams can begin cutting contracts. Friday will begin the first day of full free agency.
With NASCAR ratings continuing to climb, ESPN is taking the wheel for the Sprint Cup Series season on Sunday with the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. New elements to the telecasts this year will include the first-ever use of dual path transmission for onboard cameras, a modernized graphics package, and the expanded use of pointers to help audiences identify cars. ESPN will utilize 76 high definition cameras in the Brickyard 400 telecast, including Bat Cam. Taking microphone duties in the booth will be Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree and Allen Bestwick. Online, ESPN.com RaceCast is set to showcase a live animated graphic display, track information, lap leaders, race leaders, driver information as well as live in-race chat with ESPN announcers, reporters and editors through Racing Live!.
On to the X-Games, which are back this week with ESPN readying 25 hours of live programming on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC from July 28-31. In addition to the nine live competition shows, X Center will air nightly on ESPN2 while ESPN 3D has slated 21 hours of X Games 17 live with 29 hours total. This year’s event will also be televised in over 192 countries and territories to more than 232 million homes. Once again, the X Games will be hosted by Sal Masekela with athletes such as Tony Hawk, Jeremy McGrath and Dennis McCoy set to join him. New additions are set to include Kevin Robinson, Toby Moody and Emile Bouret.
Spike TV is set to serve as the official broadcast partner for UFC 138: Leben vs. Munoz, set to be held on Nov. 5 from Birmingham, England.
The BTN will be kicking off its coverage of the 2011 Big Ten football season on Thursday with in-depth television and internet coverage of Big Ten Football Media Day from the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago. The channel will serve nearly five hours of coverage, including the full press conferences for all 12 head coaches, as well as Big Ten supervisor of football officials Bill Carollo, BTN President Mark Silverman and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany. Mike Hall and Chris Martin are on deck to anchor from the BTN studios beginning at 11a. BTN will also air a the Big Ten Football Kickoff Luncheon Special at noon ET on Saturday, Aug. 6.
With Nebraska now an official addition to the Big Ten, DISH Network is offering customers in the state who subscribe to the America’s Top 120 Plus programming package or greater the ability to watch Husker regular season home football games during the team’s inaugural season in the Big Ten Conference as well as a slew of other Nebraska sporting events, including men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, baseball, Olympic sports and more.
ESPN’s first-ever daily live coverage of the World Series of Poker Main Event last week drew double digit gains over every daypart on ESPN2 compared year-ago numbers, according to Nielsen. The channel’s ten telecasts averaged a 0.4 household coverage rating, 351,000 households and 415,000 viewers.
Across the Pacific, the National Rugby League is about to cash in. Multiple reports from Australia and New Zealand say that the league has raised the prospect of pulling as much as $1.5 billion on its next TV deal when negotiations are complete. The figure was mentioned to club heads during meetings.
Sponsorship & Promotion
NASCAR has added Sean Downes to its crew hiring the recent Madison Square Garden executive to Managing Director, Business Development. Downes will report to Jim O’Connell, NASCAR chief sales officer. From 2005 to 2009, Downes served as Director of Partnership Marketing for NASCAR and was responsible for managing a number of official partners including Coca-Cola, Mars and P&G among others.
ESPN Consumer Products, in tandem with the Southeastern Conference, is launching an “SEC on ESPN” t-shirt line. The collection will feature slogans and logos from each of the twelve schools and include nine graphics (six men’s and three women’s). The shirts will be available throughout the southeast at Dick’s Sporting Goods stores, the Official Sporting Goods Sponsor of the SEC. The product will also be available online at DSG.com, ESPNShop.com and SECStore.com.
CBSSports.com is beefing up its football coverage, expanding RapidReports to include 40 of the largest college football programs. Reporters will file multiple news nuggets per day from each school’s venues which will appear across CBSSports.com, CBS Sports Mobile, and multiple other CBS platforms.
Turner/SI Digital is set to launch a new homepage today dedicated to the Nationwide Racing Series section at NASCARNationwideSeries.com. The new page design will offer an updated look and easier navigation, while the video player and live chat features are set to stake a more prominent position with a new social media feed incorporated into the site.
Sirius XM Radio is teaming with Big Lead Sports to offer fantasy sports fans a lineup of nightly programming on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. The shows will launch on Aug. 2 with Big Lead Sports personalities hosting every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night to talk with listeners from coast to coast about the latest fantasy sports news, drafts, injury updates, stats, roster moves and more.
Twitter reaction by players to the end of the NFL lockout:
- Can anybody guess why I have a #HugeSmileon my face right now 🙂 Dante Stallworth
- Finally its time for America’s team to get back in action… Watch out world here we come!!! Go JAGS!!!!!! Maurice Jones-Drew
- Hey Laaaa hey Laaaa my girlfriend’s (Football) back Larry Fitzgerald
- I’m turning cartwheels in the parking lot Chris Harris
- Just got that call from my agent,,.. It’s GO time!!!!! (Starts Packing) David Clowney
The Main Event
A clash of division-leading teams with the San Francisco Giants @ Philadelphia Phillies on MLB at 7p.
ON THIS DAY in 1944 – The Yankees, Dodgers and Giants play a three team six inning game to raise money for war bonds, with each club playing successive innings before sitting for an inning. The final score was: Dodgers-5, Yanks-1 and Giants-0.
Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: How many ACC schools were once full members of the Southern Conference? Nine – Clemson, Georgia Tech, UNC, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Duke, Wake Forest. Kudos: Nobody. Ya’ll forgot about Wake Forest!
In The Know: What stadium has hosted the most Super Bowls? (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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