Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, February 1, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

NBC is reporting that an average of 12.5 million fans tuned into the 2012 Pro Bowl on Sunday, to rank as the second most-watched NFL All-Star game since 2001, and trailing only last year’s game (which scored 13.4 million viewers). Top markets in Nielsen’s overnight ratings include New Orleans, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Norfolk.

On the Air

NBC’s sister channel NBC Sports Network had its own All-Stars on Sunday, with the NHL All-Star Game. The contest held even with last year’s rating, drawing a 1.0 score, according to reports, despite some of the league’s top stars not playing the game this year. That 1.0 is flat with 2010, and up 22% from 2009 which was the last time the event was held in Canada.

Keeping with the theme, TNT is gearing up to announce the 2012 NBA All-Star Starters on Thursday during a special one-hour edition of NBA Tip-Off. The show starts at 7p with Ernie Johnson hosting beside Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith and Chris Webber. The channel’s exclusive coverage of the 2012 All-Star Game from Orlando, FL will air on Sun., Feb. 26 at 7:30p. Following the show, TNT will showcase a doubleheader featuring the Bulls/Knicks and Clippers/Nuggets. Through 15 games of the regular-season schedule, the network is averaging a 1.9 rating, according to Nielsen, for a 46% spike, along with 2,930,000 total viewers (up 50%) and 2,162,000 households (up 46%) over last year’s corresponding coverage.

CBS Sports Network locked down a multi-year agreement with the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference that will begin in the 2013-14 season. Under terms of the deal, CBS Sports Network will be the exclusive national television partner for the conference. The agreement calls for a minimum of 18 conference game broadcasts, including the National’s semifinal and championship contests.

CBS Sports has announced that its Big Ten Wildcard college basketball game for Sunday, Feb. 19 at 1p will feature Michigan State at Purdue. Kevin Harlan and Clark Kellogg will call the game from Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.

NBC Sports Group is going live with the premier edition of Bob Costas’ live town hall series, Costas Tonight: Live From the Super Bowl on Thursday at 8p on the NBC Sports Network. The two-hour live program is set to take place in front of a live studio audience and include a one-on-one interview with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Also slated to appear will be Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, as well as players and coaches form around the league.

I rarely do requests, but here is the full lineup, time and tune-in info for ESPN’s slate of Bracketbuster college basketball games.

Friday, Feb. 17
7p: Northern Iowa at Virginia Commonwealth ESPN2
   9p: Valparaiso at Loyola-Marymount ESPNU

Saturday, Feb. 18
11a: Drexel at Cleveland State ESPNU
   Noon: Wichita State at Davidson ESPN or ESPN2
   1p: Buffalo at South Dakota State ESPNU
   2p: Akron at Oral Roberts ESPN orESPN2
   3p: Drake at New Mexico State ESPNU
   4p: Nevada at Iona ESPN orESPN2
   5p: Old Dominion at Missouri State ESPNU
   6p: St. Mary’s (Calif.) at Murray State ESPN orESPN2
   10p: Long Beach State at Creighton ESPN2

New HBO Sports President Jen Hershman said that the Manny Pacquiao/Floyd Mayweather bout had better happen soon, or interest will wane. The AP reports that Hershman stated that a matchup between the two biggest stars of the sport had a “sell-by date” of later this year or early next year, after which it becomes “less and less relevant.”

No wonder my seats always stink. The NCAA is reporting that a record number of fans attended football games this past season with a total of 49,699,419 hitting the stadiums. That mark bests the previous high which was set last year. Top five FBS schools (in order) were: Michigan (averaging 112,179 per game), Ohio St., Alabama, Penn St. and Texas. On the FCS front, the top five schools were Appalachian St., James Madison University, Montana, Yale, and Jackson St., all of whom topped the 23,000 mark, besting at least three dozen FBS schools.

BTN’s Super Wednesday Tip-Off Show will hit the road today, with live coverage of Wednesday’s Indiana/Michigan men’s basketball game from Crisler Center beginning at 6p. BTN will also do both pre-game and halftime interviews from Crisler, with Jim Jackson, Gary Williams and Dave Revsine onsite.

WWOR-TV/My9 announced that the station is extending its relationship with the Yankees and will once again serve as the local broadcast home of franchise, lining up 21 games on the channel. The broadcasts begin on April 10 against the Orioles at 7p.

Sponsorship & Promotion

NBA TV is observing Black History Month with a series of video segments, dubbed Barrier Breakers, which will run throughout February on the network series GameTime. The first segment will highlight Bill Russell, the 12-time All-Star, Hall of Famer, first African American NBA coach, Civil Rights Activist and the 2011 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. Others will include Wilt Chamberlain, Chuck Cooper, and Earl Lloyd.

Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic is honoring Black History Month in its own way, slating a variety of special shows and vignettes throughout February beginning Feb. 13 at 6:30p with Comcast SportsNet Celebrates Black History Month. The series is hosted by Chris Miller and will examine “the influence that minority athletes have had in the region and whether they continue to serve as agents for social change.” Comcast SportsNet will also deliver encore presentations of My Life 365 and present special Black History Month vignettes throughout the month.

Pepsi MAX announced yesterday that the brand would run a new 30-second spot during the Super Bowl. The commercial, dubbed “Check-Out” will become the latest play on the Cola Wars, depicting a competitor’s deliveryman trying to discreetly purchase a bottle of Pepsi MAX at the supermarket when he unexpectedly becomes the grand prize winner of “Pepsi MAX for Life.” The spot will then bring in Regis Philbin as the “on the spot” reporter. Pepsi MAX tapped Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles to record a renowned country ballad to accompany the spot.

The NFL settled with a Louisiana recording company over a legal dispute for the famed Saints chant “Who Dat?” The lawsuit stemmed over who owned the merchandising rights, according to the AP, and the company, which recorded a song in 1983 with the popular cheer, claimed that the NFL violating its trademark of the phrase.

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Think you’re an MVP in the world of sports media or will your rivals steal the spotlight? Enter the Cynopsis Sports Awards and bring home a crystal award for your shelf, recognizing the grit and strategy you’ve shown all year long. The awards will cover the best of 2011 from the world of television, radio and online, with categories that range from news shows to apps to marketing campaigns.

Digital Fields

ESPN’s video output in the digital space surged, based on the new unified tracking measurements via comScore. The company reports that in December 2011,, ESPN3 and WatchESPN video online put ESPN in the top spot in the Sports category in Minutes (2.2 billion), Unique Viewers (24.7 million) and Category Share of Sports Video Minutes (36%).

The New Jersey Devils digital communications initiative, dubbed ‘Mission Control,’ was selected as a multi-award winner by the 2011 Bulldog Awards, winning Gold Awards for awards for Digitally/Socially Engaged Brand of the Year and for Best Use of Digital/Social in an Arts/Culture/Entertainment Campaign. Congrats!

The Main Event

A couple of good hardwood matchups in a ranked battle between Indiana/Michigan on BTN at 6:30p, while longtime rivals Connecticut/Georgetown square off on ESPN2 at 7p.


CableFAX Awards
Call for Entries

CableFAXIES Awards  Enter Today!
Call for Entries Late Deadline Extended: Friday, February 3, 2012

CableFAX Sales Executive of the Year Awards  Enter Today!
Call for Entries Deadline: Friday, February 3, 2012

For a list of events, visit us at .

ON THIS DAY in Janet Jackson suffers a wardrobe malfunction during the half-time show of Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: In what stadium was the very first Super Bowl held? The first battle, now dubbed Super Bowl I, took place at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. However, the name wasn’t official until the third game in 1969, which took place at the Orange Bowl. Kudos: David Kalan –; Michael Brown – IMG Worldwide/NY; Pete Gautieri – AETN/Stamford; Art Salisch – SMR/New Jersey; Bill Robertson – Tunheim Partners/Bloomington; Mary Ryan – Raycom Media/Dallas; Allan Kass – Viamedia/Los Angeles; Miriam Aardahl – OMD/LA; Larry Hutchings – Retired/LA; Don Wollman – Big Brother/LA.

In The Know: What was the halftime score the last time the Giants/Patriots played in the Super Bowl? (Email 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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