Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports
10/04/11

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, October 4, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Tennis Channel and the French Tennis Federation have extended their rendezvous, inking a long-term agreement that will keep Tennis Channel as the primary non-broadcast home of the French Open through 2022. The new agreement continues the network’s previously existing exclusive U.S. non-broadcast media rights for all French Open matches as well as rights for streaming, digital, mobile, video on demand and “TV Everywhere,” and access to the FFT’s extensive media archives. Tennis Channel has covered Roland Garros since 2007.

On the Air

Last night saw the Hank Williams Jr. song that has become a staple of Monday Night Football for two decades was cut from ESPN due to the singer’s controversial comments comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler on Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” show on Monday morning. ESPN quickly released a statement that read:

“While Hank Williams, Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize that he is closely linked to our company through the open to Monday Night Football. We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result we have decided to pull the open from tonight’s telecast.”

NFL metered market ratings from the weekend are in and, for once, the Detroit Lions helped drive audiences. After years of struggling, the Detroit franchise is undefeated this year, with their game against Dallas on FOX helping the network earn a 14.9 overnight score, up 25% over last year equivalent. CBS drew a 13.8 with a Broncos/Packers game leading the charge, down 14% from 2010. NBC’s SNF game between the Jets and Ravens drew a 12.7 to win the evening, despite a drop of 11% from year ago numbers.

FOX Sports announced that they are turning to Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski for MLB post-season coverage this year, adding the player to serve as pregame and postgame analyst for the network’s coverage of the 2011 American League Championship Series and World Series. Pierzynski will join host Chris Rose and analyst Eric Karros live on-site for every postseason broadcast on FOX with his debut set for Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7:30p when the network presents exclusive live coverage of the American League Championship Series Game 1.Game one of the World Series will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 for the network.

In a move designed to stabilize the conference, Big 12 university leaders agreed to equally split the money earned from conference tier one and two television deals, provided its members agree to lock those top-tier TV rights into the league for at least six years. Third tier rights, however, will remain property of the schools. The conference is expected to meet this week to discuss expansion candidates for the depleted league.

ESPN reports that, for the fourth consecutive year, the company posted its most-watched fiscal year ever while matching its mark for the highest-rated fiscal year on record. The network averaged 1,067,000 viewers (P2+) on a 24-hour basis according to Nielsen, which bests last year’s record. The channel’s total-day rating for the last 12 months of 0.9 tied its best ever, and was set in 1990 and 2010. The ESPN family of six networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes) also set a fiscal year record for combined average total-day audience with 1,535,000 viewers.

The Arena Football League will continue for its third straight season on NFL Network. The league saw record ratings on the channel earlier this year, and league Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz announced that the network was officially bringing back Arena Football Friday for the 2012 season. The league will enter its 25thseason in 2012.

CBS Sports has made its selection for the channel’s SEC ON CBS football game for Saturday, Oct. 15, picking top-ranked LSU against Tennessee.Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson will call the game, along with reporter Tracy Wolfson.

ESPN Films is set to premiere Renee tonight. The film will showcase how transgender athlete Renee Richards fought to compete in the tournament after being barred from playing as a woman the year before. The film will premiere at 8p on ESPN/ESPN HD.

Conservationist Beau Turner is set to host his first series, and will debut Beau Knows Outdoors to Sportsman Channel on October 6 at 10:30p. Turner is the son of CNN founder Ted Turner and will focus the series on hunting and fishing as well as land conservation and management issues as he oversees Turner Enterprises’ more than two million acres.

The Los Angeles Dodgers at least have one rights package squared away, inking an integrated marketing and broadcasting rights deal with Clear Channel for next season through 2014.The multi-year contract moves games to KLAC-AM with English-language radio broadcast rights to all 162 regular-season games as well as a minimum of seven spring training games and all potential postseason games.

Sponsorship & Promotion

NASCAR has released details of the organization’s annual Champion’s Week in Las Vegas this year. The weeklong celebration will culminate with the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony on Friday, Dec. 2 at Wynn Las Vegas. SPEED will cover the ceremonies beginning at 9p. This year’s event will activities ranging from the NASCAR Victory Lap down the world-famous Las Vegas Strip to an anything-goes Q&A session between fans and drivers to the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon. About 300 tickets will be made available to fans which will be distributed by tracks, NASCAR partners and teams through various fan promotions.

In addition, NASCAR and the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company have renewed their partnership, extending Goodyear’s run as the exclusive tire used in NASCAR’s top three racing series for the next five years. The agreement runs through the 2017 season and lengthens the long running association between the two brands, which began in the 1950s.

Digital Fields

Worldwide Olympic Partner Samsung Electronics joined the U.S. Olympic Committee to announce the U.S. Olympic Genome Project, a new community for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games designed to pair American consumers with Olympians and Paralympians through social media. The project is expected to launch in March 2012. As part of the community, fans will be able to see what they have in common with past, present and future athletes and share that information with their Facebook friends. The app will also let fans to raise their Olympic “status” or profile by creating new athlete connections and completing actions such as “checking in” at real-world Olympic events.

Top Social Programs in Sports for the week ending Oct.2 (games only), according to Socialguide.com’s Social 100:

NFL                   Jets/Ravens                          NBC                 10/02
NFL                   Redskins/Cowboys                  ESPN                9/26
NFL                   Lions/Cowboys                       FOX                10/02
NFL                   Steelers/Texans                     CBS                 10/02
Premier League     Tottenham Hotspur/Arsenal      FOX Soccer       10/02

The Main Event

Philadelphia/St. Louis at 5p on TBS.


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ON THIS DAY in 1953: Mickey Mantle hits a grand slam in the World Series

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question:  What NFL standout (no coaches) played his way to win five Super Bowl rings? JMU graduate Charles Haley won two with the 49ers and three for the Cowboys. Others have five rings but include teams they coached for. Kudos: Jerehmy White – Nickelodeon/NY; Paul Brewer – Turner SI Digital/NY; Glenn Schineller – Time Warner Cable/Charlotte; Scott Ferris – Cablevision Ad Sales/Fishkill; Tom Akers – Outdoor Channel/Chicago; Greg Busch – Freelance Producer/St. Louis; Richard Murphy – Avail-TVN/LA; Don Surath – CBS Media Solutions/San Francisco

In The Know:  Lions player Calvin Johnson has the second-most career receiving touchdowns for the Detroit franchise. Who has more? (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
10.04.11

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