Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, February 8, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

FOX Sports is revving its engines for the network’s 12th season of NASCAR coverage with the unveiling of the 2012 NASCAR on FOX broadcast schedule featuring 13 Sprint Cup points races and 15 events total. The slate of races will be highlighted by the 54th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26 beginning at 1p with a special one-hour pre-race program set for noon. Of course, the first flag officially drops a week earlier with the Budweiser Shootout on Feb. 18 at 8p.

Michael Waltrip joins the FOX NASCAR Sunday prerace team, along with big brother Darrell Waltrip and host Chris Myers (no relation). Darrell and Larry McReynolds return to provide race analysis for all NASCAR on FOX Sprint Cup events, with Mike Joy back as race announcer. Last year’s batch of races hit a three-year high averaging 8.6 million viewers per race, up 9% over 2010. 

On the Air

Multiple reports from the likes of ESPN and CBS Sports are stating that the Big East is on the cusp of adding yet another member to the conference, targeting Memphis as the latest addition to the league. Memphis would then join the league along with fellow Conference USA members Houston, SMU and UCF for the 2013-14 school year. The school is reportedly holding a conference call followed by a news conference today to discuss the university’s athletic affiliation. The addition would give the conference 12 football members (counting the upcoming departures of WVU, Syracuse and Pitt) by 2015.

Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ricky Rudd is back at the racetrack, this time with a microphone after signing with SPEED this week to serve as an analyst on weekend motor sports news program, SPEED Center. Rudd will debut on Feb. 12. In addition, SPEED has added former Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo to the network as a Social Media Reporter.

TNT will announce the 2012 NBA All-Star Reserves on Thursday at 7p, during a special one hour edition of NBA Tip-Off. Ernie Johnson will host along with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal followed by a doubleheader of Lakers/Celtics and Thunders/Kings. TNT’s coverage of the 2012 All-Star Game will air on Sun., February 26 at 7:30p.

A study commissioned by Dial Global found that 23.1 million people tuned in to hear a radio broadcast of Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, February 5, 2012. The survey found that listeners accessed the live broadcast in multiple listening environments, including the home, while driving, at work and other locations, on over 680 stations nationwide.

Golf Channel is extending Morning Drive to seven days this week, with live airings Wednesday from 7-9a, Thursday-Friday from 8:30-10:30a, and Saturday-Sunday from 8-10a

With an aversion to northern venues for the Super Bowl seemingly fading, the Seattle Seahawks submitted paperwork in an effort to land a future game, according to the local Fox News outlet. Host cities have already been picked through the 2015 and NFL owners are expected to vote on the 2016 Super Bowl site in October.

Spike TV is once again slating a MMA marathon to run against a UFC event, scheduling a slew of bouts featuring Diego Sanchez on Feb. 15. Sanchez is also headlining the UFC on FUEL TV 1 event that runs on the same day. The special will run from 7p through midnight. Meanwhile, online reports state that the UFC’s second “UFC Prelims” special on FX drew 1.4 million viewers to the channel.

Big Ten Icons is set to profile Illinois’ legendary Lou Henson, who won 423 games in 21 seasons as the Illini head basketball coach on Thursday’s episode on BTN. Keith Jackson will host, with the show set to air around 10:30p, right after the Illinois/Indiana men’s basketball game.

The Dodgers announced that the team will have 18 Spring Training games televised this year, with Prime Ticket carrying 13 games live while KCAL 9 will broadcast two. Steve Lyons and Eric Collins will cover some games, while Rick Monday and Charley Steiner will handle others. Jaime Jarrin and Pepe Yniguez will handle all games in Spanish.

LA-based sports and entertainment company Grand Prix Entertainment appointed Gary Marenzi – the former president of MGM Worldwide Television – as Chairman of Grand Prix Studios, a new operating unit responsible for the production and sales of Grand Prix’s sports broadcasting, pay-per-view, reality shows and other digital content related to its sports ventures starting with professional rugby in partnership with USA Rugby.

Sponsorship & Promotion

The Professional Bull Riders reached an agreement with Blue Tax Inc. to become the “Official Tax Solution Liaison” of the PBR. Through the deal, Blue Tax will activate the partnership via key camera-visible signage during PBR Built Ford Tough Series events at Detroit; Indianapolis; Uncasville, Conn.; Boise, Idaho; and Pueblo, Colo. The company will also sponsor the super-slow-motion “X-MO” replay system used during broadcasts of the events. As part of the partnership, Blue Tax also will advertise in CBS Sports Network’s PBR programming.

ESPN is promoting the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, in partnership with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and The V Foundation, for women’s cancer research during next week’s women’s basketball games on Sunday and Monday. The sixth annual initiative, is now dubbed Play 4Kay and named in memory of former North Carolina State head coach Kay Yow, who died Jan. 24, 2009, after a long, courageous battle with breast cancer.

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

After scoring an all-time audience record for Super Bowl XLVI, the game has also delivered a high mark for online streaming as well. An NBC Sports website states that the tight game drew more than 2.1 million visitors, a record for any sporting event shown via the Internet.

Van Halen is turning to to help promote their reunion album A Different Kind of Truth. The band took over portions of the ESPN website, with streaming tracks from six songs, a ranking of Van Halen’s albums as well as an “Are You Tattooed?” contest.

Top Social Programs in Sports for the month of January (games only), according to’s Social 100:
1.      NFL               NFC Championship Giants/49ers           FOX               1/22
2.      NFL               AFC Wild Card Steelers/Broncos           CBS               1/08
3.      NFL               AFC Championship Ravens/Patriots       CBS               1/21
4.      BCS               BCS National Championship                 ESPN              1/09
5.      NFL               AFC Divisional Playoff Broncos/Patriots  CBS               1/14

The Main Event

The always great rivalry: Duke/UNC basketball game on ESPN at 9p.


ON THIS DAY in 2002: The XIX Winter Olympics opens in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What was the last PAC-12 team to win the men’s NCAA Tournament? Arizona in 1997. Kudos: Todd Hommel – ESPN New York/NY; Jason Horowitz – Westwood One, Dial Global Sports/NY; Michael Neuman – Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; John Rough – DISH Media Sales/NY; Bob Ramsey – WCIU/Chicago; Paul Gygli – NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City.

In The Know: What college coach did “Forrest Gump” play for? (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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