Good morning. It’s Wednesday, December 21, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
For the first time, the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl and NBC’s Wild Card Saturday doubleheader will be available via streaming for fans to access online and via mobile. NBC’s postseason games will be broadcast on NBC as well as streamed live on NFL.com and NBCSports.com, and will be available on NFL Mobile from Verizon. This marks the first time ever that postseason games will be available in the U.S. via live online streaming and via a mobile app with the feed offering extra features such as additional camera angles, in-game highlights, live statistics and other interactive elements.
ESPN and ABC is revamping the long-running Kia NBA Countdown, shifting production to Los Angeles at the ESPN Los Angeles Production Center at L.A. LIVE, and expanding Magic Johnson’s role within the show. The pregame series will begin on Christmas Day, Sunday, Dec. 25, at 2p. Johnson will be a featured analyst joining Jon Barry, Michael Wilbon and Chris Broussard on the show throughout the entire season and will also continue to conduct interviews and provide analysis for SportsCenter and other ESPN shows. New elements on the show this season will include a roundtable format, increased access to players, and beefing up social interaction.
An FCC Administrative Law Judge ruled in favor of Tennis Channel in the network’s carriage complaint hearing against Comcast Cable Communications. As a result of the ruling, Comcast will have to pay $375,000 and is prohibited from discriminating against Tennis Channel in carriage in comparison to Versus or Golf Channel. The decision marks the first time that a cable operator has been found to violate the program carriage anti-discrimination rules that the FCC put into place in 1993 and now requires Comcast to carry Tennis Channel at the same level of distribution that it provides to similar networks, with a limited exception for certain analog systems. Comcast told reporters that it disagreed with the decision and will ask the full commission to review the ruling.
ESPN’s telecast of Monday Night Football featured a 49ers blowout over the Steelers as well as two delays due to blackouts, but still managed to win the night among all networks broadcast or cable. The game averaged an 10.1 rating with 16.677 million viewers. ESPN won the night among all networks in households, viewers, and all key male and adult demos. In local markets, Pittsburgh drew a 15.6 rating on ESPN and a 28.6 rating on WTAE-ABC, for a combined 44.2 rating. San Francisco generated a 11.4 rating on ESPN and a 16.8 rating on KPIX-CBS, for a combined 28.2 rating.
Ten months after a brutal bout, former World Champions Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto agreed to a rematch and will square off once again on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. live on SHOWTIME at 10p. Repeat or Revenge: Ortiz vs. Berto II is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and DiBella Entertainment.
Speaking of boxing, ESPN’s Friday Night Fights is set to kick off its 14th season on January 6 at 9p on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN3 with a battle of super middleweights Dyah Davis and Alfonso Lopez. The 10-round main event, outdoors at Mallory Square in Key West, Fla., is presented by DiBella Entertainment. The January-August series concluded the 2011 season with an average of 543,000 viewers, up 9% from 497,000 viewers in 2010. ESPN’s Friday Night Fights also saw gains in younger demos among adults ages 18-34 (+19%)and 18-49 (+22%).
NHL Network U.S. and USA Hockey entered a long-term media extension that will keep the Network as the exclusive television and streaming home for the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in the United States through the 2018. As part of the deal, NHL Network U.S. will provide live broadcasts and NHL.com will provide live streams of the U.S. National Junior Team games running from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5. NHL Network also will televise all medal-round games and five additional preliminary-round match-ups, airing a total of 15 games from the tournament. Matt Rosen, Dave Starman and Rob Simpson will call NHL Network’s coverage of Team USA’s games.
Spike TV continues to program against the departing UFC, announcing Tuesday that the channel was creating a new Friday night programming block of classic episodes of The Ultimate Fighter that will launch on Friday, March 2 at 9p. That, of course, is the same night that the UFC and FX announced that a new season of TUF would be launching on its new network.
HRTV has slated a batch of special programming on Christmas Eve beginning at 6p, with three-and-a-half hours of original shows, recapping a memorable 2011 racing season, as well as preview the upcoming 2012 campaign. A one-hour show, Pursuit of the Eclipse Awards, will open the block at 6p and be followed at 7p with a 30-minute show, Pursuit of the Horse of the Year. Following the awards overviews, will be HRTV Rewind: 2011 Year In Review and HRTV Winter Racing Preview.
TiVo announced that the top TV moment of the year was Rothlisberger’s incomplete pass late in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl before losing the game. The company’s list of best moments in 2011 determined by ranking the most time-shifted programs throughout the year, with the pass beating out Charlie Sheen’s funeral on Two and a Half Men for the top spot.
Modern Family actor Kevin Daniels has been tapped to star as Magic Johnson in the upcoming stage production of Magic Bird. Daniels will join Tug Coker who will co-star in the play as Larry Bird.
Another bowl game is facing scrutiny, with a number of public health organizations calling on the Orange Bowl and the NCAA to clip a three-year sponsorship deal with Camacho Cigars. Organizations including the American Cancer Society, state that tobacco promotions have no place in sports and shouldn’t be allowed under federal tobacco marketing restrictions. The bowl’s Camacho Cigars sponsorship runs through the 2014 Orange Bowl as well as the 2013 BCS National Championship.
The Olympic Stadium in London is hunting for a name, with officials announcing that they were looking to sell naming rights to the venue, according to the AP. The sponsor would help cover costs of converting the new stadium to a regular facility following next summer’s Olympic Games.
Roush Fenway Racing inked a deal with Best Buy to serve as the primary sponsor on Roush Fenway’s No. 17 and No. 99 cars for several races next season. As a result of the agreement, the retailer will be leave Richard Petty Motorsports. The company will be the primary sponsor for Matt Kenseth for nine races next season as well as Carl Edwards for two.
Outdoor Channel’s new sponsorship deal with GEICO for Major League Fishing is set to launch in 2012, where the insurance company will join sponsors such as Bass Pro Shops to launch the new competition. “GEICO is extremely pleased to offer sponsorship support to Major League Fishing. GEICO has a track record of supporting powersports, and we believe Major League Fishing is bringing fresh ideas and renewed energy to the traditional sport of competitive bass fishing. Major League Fishing has a tremendous future, and GEICO is delighted to be part of that growth,” said Ted Ward, GEICO’s vice president of marketing.
USA TODAY Sports Media Group has named Mark Kortekaas as the group’s Senior Vice President of Digital. Kortekaas most recently worked with the BBC, where he served as General Manager of its online technology group and, previously, as its controller for audio & music & mobile.
AccuWeather announced that it has expanded its sports-related products/services with the distribution of an Interactive Touch Screen tool. The tool featured custom sports applications, features and capabilities designed specifically around the Interactive Touch Screen for sports productions already in place with the likes of FOX, BTN, NESN, NFL, and more.
Score Media announced that its top soccer app ScoreMobile FC is now available for Windows Phone with coverage in both English and Spanish.
The Main Event
NHL division leaders Philadelphia and Dallas square off on Versus at 7:30.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Happy Holidays | Merry Christmas | Happy New Year
Cynopsis Mediawill be off from December 23, 2011 January 2, 2012.
Don’t forget to read the 2011 Year in Review on January 1st 2012!
Past editions, classifieds, & industry calendar of events can always be found on our website..
ON THIS DAY in 1969: Vince Lombardi coaches his last football game.
Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question:When Cosell made his famous call “Down Goes Frazier! Down Goes Frazier! Down Goes Frazier!” in 1973, who was Joe Frazier fighting? Answer: George Foreman. Kudos: Rick Rosenfelt – New York Jets/Florham Park; Dave Patterson – MLB Network/NY; Fred Kopecki – Comcast/Philadelphia; Phyllis McQuillan – MSG Media/NY; Frank Forgey – Missouri Broadcasters Association/Jefferson City; Bill Robertson – Tunheim Partners Communications/Bloomington; Greg Moloznik – GLM Media/Scottsdale; Don Wollman – Big Brother/LA.
In The Know: When Magic Johnson won the NBA Finals MVP as a rookie, which team did Johnson and the Lakers beat? (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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