Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports
05/29/12

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, May 29, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Since even before YouTube struck a deal with the Indian Premier League in 2010 to offer live cricket matches, pundits have wondered about the direction and challenge the platform will pose to traditional sports broadcasters in the US and around the world. Now with dedicated channels from leagues, teams and recently, the US Olympic Committee and IndyCar, YouTube’s dedication to sports continues to grow. 

Cynopsis Sports spoke with Frank Golding, YouTube’s Head of Sport – North America about the company’s partnerships with teams and leagues, the benefits of utilizing the platform, and whether YouTube will become a bidding in upcoming rights negotiations.

Golding on YouTube vs. broadcasters: It isn’t about how we grow sports on YouTube, because there is already a tremendous amount of sports content there. It is about positioning YouTube so that it becomes a starting point of your day when it comes to finding something about sports video before you then go off and look for other things elsewhere. Ideally we would have sports clips, sports events, sports archives, everything you can think about related to sports on YouTube. For leagues, colleges, high schools and the like, when you have sports that are already pretty well served, YouTube doesn’t need to come in replace existing rights holders. We don’t need to come in and compete with existing broadcasters. Fans already have a terrific experience. Our promise to fans is not how do we replace that, but how do we augment it. So if you want to watch a great game, go out and watch the game. But if you want to see a unique press conference, a training drill or a unique aspect of it that can’t be found elsewhere, YouTube becomes a perfect area in which a rights holder can experiment. YouTube offers not just the opportunity to give the niche view into a popular sport, but also the popular view into a niche sport.

On which leagues have made the most of YouTube: There are a numbers of different ways to gauge success. Often what I say to folks coming on board, typically a licensor comes and says here’s content that makes you platform better, thereby you should pay me X. With YouTube, it’s different. I typically say to rights holders, “Before you come here, why do you want to come to YouTube.” If the reason you want to come is because you want to license content to us, then that’s not necessarily the best use of your time or our time. One company that does well is IPL, we have quite a number of live cricket games available on YouTube right now one a channel through a subscription basis. They have done really well, in part because they bring you content that you would otherwise not get and they also have a very robust data widget that as you’re watching the games, gives a really nice experience.

Another type of client is the kind that is looking to serve their fan base more effectively. An example of someone doing really well in this department is the WWE channel. You have an entity where they have embraced the idea that of putting great content on YouTube, but they also market the fact that content exists there and they are going to do this on their own. We don’t require them to do this, they do it because its driving their fans to consume more of their content. Their numbers are spectacular.

On whether YouTube will be bidding on rights in the near future: We’re going to be live streaming more. There will be more content on YouTube. That brings up the question of whether we are going to get into the rights business. The thinking is no, that is not what we are trying to do. This is really meant to be a platform.

On the Air

Media experts questioned whether or not “small market” teams such as the Thunder and Spurs would deliver ratings and the early answer is yes. The first game of the 2012 Western Conference Finals between the franchises delivered a 4.8 fast national rating with 5,542,000 HH impressions and 7,764,000 viewers to rank as the most-viewed and highest-rated WCF Game 1 ever on TNT, according to Nielsen. Compared to the first game of the 2011 WCF on ESPN between the Thunder/Mavs, the 2012 WCF Game 1 is up 12% in rating and 11% in households over year-ago numbers.  Oklahoma City was the top-rated local market with a 25.6 DMA rating and San Antonio ranked second with a 24.9 DMA rating.

Another thrilling end to the Indianapolis 500 wasn’t able to top last year’s numbers, according to Nielsen overnights. The overnight rating for Sunday’s race on ABC scored a 4.1, down from last year’s 4.3 but up from 2010 numbers. Next Sunday, ABC again takes the wheel, with the open-wheel Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

NHL Network and NHL.com revealed coverage plans for the 2012 Stanley Cup Final between the Kings and the Devils. NHL Network will begin coverage on Tuesday, May 29, at noon with four hours of exclusive programming from the League’s annual Media Day. On game days, NHL Network will have three hours of live coverage ahead of the contests beginning with Cisco NHL Live from 5-7p followed by NHL Tonight. On Sunday, June 3 at 8p, NHL Original Productions will launch Inside the Cup, featuring selected players wearing microphones during games.

Conference sports network the Mtn officially fades to black on Thursday. The channel, which featured teams and games from the Mountain West Conference, will feature a look back at some of the top moments on the network before signing off. The Mtn. was a joint venture between Comcast/NBC Universal and the CBS Sports Network that began in 2006 and took its spot in broadcast lore as the first cable network devoted to the coverage of one college conference.

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive continues to support a four-team playoff in lieu of the seemingly resurgent plus-one model to launch the FBS playoffs. He told the AP that “I think what’s in the best interest of college football is a four-team playoff. I think it’s better for everyone involved in the game. The plus-one narrows the postseason in a way that’s not necessarily in the best interest of all the conferences.” The playoff format will be part of the agenda when SEC presidents, coaches and athletic directors hold spring meetings next week.

Next week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover will mark the end of an era when Dick Berggren, NASCAR’s longest-serving TV pit reporter, gives his final pit report for NASCAR on FOX and will wrap up a career that spans 31 years. Berggren made his NASCAR broadcasting debut at Dover in 1981 alongside Mike Joy, his NASCAR on FOX and SPEED colleague. He may continue to make appearances on pit road at NASCAR races periodically and founded a corporation with the intent of building an auto racing museum at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Sportsman Channel announced today that it will be available to all DISH Network customers as a free preview through June 19, 2012.  DISH Network provides the Sportsman Channel as part of its America’s Top 250 and OutdoorSports packages.

Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic announced that the channel will continue its relationship with the Washington Mystics for multiplatform sports coverage for a third consecutive season. The agreement is marked by a 10-game regional television schedule, which begins on May 30 when the team hosts the Minnesota Lynx. Comcast SportsNet will also present docu-series Mystics Magazine, which follows the Mystics on and off the court during the team’s 15th anniversary season which debuts Saturday, May 26, at 9:30a.


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Sponsorship & Promotion

Kumho Tire U.S.A. is partnering with the U.S. Soccer Federation to become the official tire sponsor of the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Soccer teams. As part of the deal, Kumho will host an autograph signing May 30 with Ben Olsen, former star midfielder and current manager for Major League Soccer’s (MLS) D.C. United team, ahead of the match between the U.S. and Brazil national teams at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Digital Fields

The All England Lawn Tennis Club has inked an exclusive deal with Dailymotion to stream live coverage from this year’s Wimbledon tournament, according to Marketing Week. As part of the agreement, the AELTC will use the platform to launch Live@Wimbledon, a digital media service that shows matches as well as pre-filmed content that includes interviews, match previews, highlights and archive footage. Coverage will be streamed on Wimbledon.com, the tournament’s official iPhone and Android apps, as well as on Dailymotion.

The Main Event

Can the Spurs continue the streak? Thunder/Spurs on TNT at 9p.


ON THIS DAY in 1922: The Supreme Court rules that organized baseball is classified as a sport instead of as a business and is not subject to US antitrust laws.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Michigan has the largest college sports venue with a capacity of 109,901 at Michigan Stadium. Who has the second largest? Penn State’s Beaver Stadium with 106,572. Kudos: Michael Neuman-Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; Bob Eisenstaedt-Granite Springs Productions/Tampa; Peter Gimber-CBSBoston.com/Boston; Michael Goodman-Radio One/Atlanta; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Chris Loprete-ABC/Hollywood.

In The Know: What two Spurs players have won the NBA MVP? ( 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
05.29.12

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