A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM FOX NETWORKS
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Good morning. It’s Wednesday, February 29, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
It may have taken a day and a half to go 500 miles, but that didn’t seem to put off viewers of the Daytona 500 on FOX. In spite of a rainout and fire-delay, more than 36.5 million Americans watched part of the race, according to fast national ratings from Nielsen, making the race the most-watched in network history. Overall, the race drew an 8.0 rating and 14 share in prime time with an average of 13.7 million viewers, which was down 8% from last year’s race but up 4% from 2010. The race also averaged a scored a 4.6 rating in the A18-49demo. Overall, FOX Sports delivered live coverage of the 54th Daytona 500 for more than 11 hours over the course of three days. briefing.
On the Air
ESPN also scored over the weekend with NASCAR programming, with an average of 4.4 million people watching the channel’s telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season opener to break the record as the most-viewed race ever on cable television for the series. The race drew a household coverage rating of 3.3, according to Nielsen, averaging 4,433,249 viewers. Ratings and viewership for the Daytona telecast were up 37 percent from ESPN’s telecast of last year’s race, which earned a 2.4 household coverage rating and averaged 3,246,875 viewers.
The NFL is looking to dodge President Obama this fall, and announced that the first game of the upcoming season would be shifted to Wednesday, Sept. 5 this year on NBC at 8:30p. The move was made to avoid running against the President’s Thursday night speech at the Democratic National Convention. The Giants will host the season-opening game.
Chris Evert, who joined ESPN last year to work Wimbledon and the US Open, has now gone full-time, inking a four-year deal to work all four of tennis’ majors and other events for the company. Her next assignment for ESPN will be the French Open.
To mark the 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point scoring night on March 2, 1962, NBA TV is slating Wilt 100, an original film about the player and his feat that will be narrated by longtime rival Bill Russell. The film will premiere on Friday, March 2, at 7p and utilize interviews with Chamberlain and recreate the day the Philadelphia Warriors won a 169-147 victory over the New York Knicks. There is no existing footage of the game, so NBA TV is using Chamberlain’s own recollections, as well as fresh interviews with Hershey natives in attendance that night and stories from Warriors employees to tell the tale.
Meanwhile, NBA TV scored its most viewed February of all-time, averaging 312,000 total viewers and 247,000 households for 22 games compared to 2010. Those stats are up 21% and 22% respectively. In primetime during the month, NBA TV averaged164,000 total viewers, for a boost of 38% over last year.
More ratings upticks… SPEED scored its highest household rating to date for a Monster Energy AMA Supercross event on Saturday night, up 24% from year ago numbers with a 0.47 score and averaging 630,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. Through five races this season, Supercross on SPEED is up 13%with households and 27% among M18-49.
Texas A&M and Missouri have agreed to pay $12.4 million each in order to leave the Big 12 and join the Southeastern Conference in July, according to the AP.
BTN is targeting the one and only Bobby Knight for the next episode of Big Ten Icons. Knight led the Indiana Hoosiers to 11 Big Ten titles and three NCAA Championships in 29 seasons as the head coach. The show will air Sunday following the Indiana/Purdue game, around 8:30p and feature interviews that include Steve Alford and Isiah Thomas; as well as Big Ten coaches Tom Izzo and Bruce Weber.
Golf Channel is slating Down the Stretch in its programming plans, a series of four half-hour programs via PGA TOUR Entertainment that offer an inside look at contending players at each of four tournaments held in Florida, beginning with this week’s Honda Classic. Players will be selected Saturday evening based on the leader board and storylines with cameras following the contender as he gets ready for Sunday’s round and follow him throughout the day. Each show will air at 11p the Monday after the respective tournament and include The Honda Classic (Monday, March 5), World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship (March 12), Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard (March 26) and THE PLAYERS Championship (May 14).
Two more athletes were added to ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” with Packers wide receiver Donald Driver and tennis great and Tennis Channel Analyst Martina Navratilova both on deck for some dance floor competition this season. Early odds place Driver as a favorite with 13/2 odds while Navratilova comes in at 20/1.
Online reports state that FUEL TV will air the first international edition of the UFC’s reality series The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil for American audiences, with the series beginning in Brazil on March 25
While we are on the subject, FX’s broadcast of the UFC Prelims continues to gain traction on the network, scoring 1.5 million viewers over the weekend for UFC 144. The pre-PPV cards have grown from under 900,000 viewers for UFC 142 to 1.3 million viewers for UFC 143.
The yet-to-be-announced FOX Sports San Diego has its first face for its upcoming broadcasts of Padres games, according to multiple reports, with Minneapolis sports anchor Mike Pomeranz leaving KARE 11 to becomes a broadcaster for the team.
SAVE THE DATE: The Cynopsis Sports Business Summit is April 24 in Manhattan. Details revealed soon.
London celebrated the 150 day benchmark for the countdown to this Summer’s Olympic Games by floating giant Olympic rings down the Thames River. The rings measured 36 feet tall, and traveled via barge on Tuesday.
MLB Advanced Media held an event last night for its biggest fans, offering a preview of the 2012 lineup of digital media products, including MLB.TV and MLB.com’s At Bat mobile application. The event, dubbed Fan Upfront ’12, offered a first look at its platforms, devices, fantasy gaming and other offerings for the coming season.
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.
Trade Deadline Day delivered some nice bumps for NHL.com, with the league reporting that online coverage, which included a live stream of NHL Network, scored as the 7th highest Regular Season Daily Unique Visitor day on record. Unique visitors were up 29% year-over-year and page view grew 41%. In addition, page views on NHL Mobile Web were up 129% YOY; to mark the highest all-time day on NHL Mobile Web for the category.
ESPNsoccernet is launching a new mobile application to give fans access to its content, announcing that the app is now available for Apple products and will later be offered for Android, Windows Phone 7 and Symbian devices. The app is designed to “offer fans the depth and quality of soccer coverage that the ESPNsoccernet website provides.” Features include personalization, exclusive video and audio and push notification.
Top-ranked pool player and former champion Max Eberle is turning the sport into a social experience, launching Poolplayerbook.com, for the more than 43 million players in the US. The site will offer fans of the sport an opportunity to share their love of the sport, exchange information, and learn a few pointers or two and provide member profiles, photo and video sharing, and groups, as well as a member forum and blogging capability.
One NASCAR driver, Brad Keselowski, scored a social victory at Daytona, using his phone during the fire-caused delay on the track to tweet status updates. The result was more than 100,000 new followers in a span of less than two hours.
The Main Event
Division leaders Bulls/Spurs go at it at 9p on ESPN.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
HONORING TOP SPORTS PROGRAMS, CAMPAIGNS, AND PEOPLE
Entry Deadline:March 16, 2012 | Late Submissions: March 30, 2012
Awards Event: Summer 2012 (NYC) Click here to learn about the Awards program & enter online!
ON THIS DAY in 1980: Gordie Howe becomes the first NHL player to score 800 career goals.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What was the last ACC team-other than UNC or Duke-to win the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament? : Maryland in 2002. Kudos: Shawn Gerchicoff-Turner Sports/Atlanta; Christy Burrows-NASCAR/Charlotte; Amanda Anderson-ESPN/Bristol; Adam Zimmerman-CSE/Atlanta; Lance Williams-Comcast Spotlight/Chicago; Paul Tarrants-RTM Productions/Nashville; Will Allmendinger-Captivate Network/Chicago; Frank Forgey-Missouri Broadcasters Association/Jefferson City; Patrick Kang-20th Century Fox TV/LA; Bradley Haag-Yahoo! Commerce/Santa Monica; Matthew Morse-KGPE Television/Fresno; Trevin Youman-KPIX/San Francisco.
In The Know: For which Big Ten school did Bobby Knight play basketball in college? (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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