Good morning. It’s Wednesday, January 18, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
After a five month standoff, Tennis Channel and Verizon FiOS TV announced a deal yesterday that will cement a new multiyear carriage agreement between the two companies. Verizon has already started rolling out Tennis Channel to FiOS TV subscribers in time for its 2012 Australian Open coverage with the channel now available in Texas, Florida, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and upstate New York FiOS TV markets. The network will be available in all other FiOS markets by today.
Numbers for the weekend’s playoff games continue to roll in and continue to be staggering. In fact, an average of 36.6 million viewers watched the Divisional Playoffs on Saturday and Sunday, the most ever for a Divisional Weekend. Viewership is also up 4% over 2011. FOX announced that Sunday’s Giants/Packers upset drew an average of 45.1 million viewers to rank as the most-watched Divisional Playoff game in history and became the most-watched show anywhere in the country since the Super Bowl. The contest also drew a 25.3/42 in fast-national household rating/share numbers form Nielsen.
MLK Day on TNT proved a boost for the network, which featured the TNT Studio team outside of Staples Center in LA for the Mavericks/Lakers matchup. The game delivered a 2.3 average metered market household rating, which was up 21% over the same day a year ago.
DIRECTV and the Big Sky Conference locked in a five-year deal to carry conference sports on the ROOT SPORTS regional network where it will become the home of the league’s football and basketball games. ROOT SPORTS has a footprint from the Northwest through the Rockies. The deal called for 18 televised football games each season, including the annual Montana/Montana St. rivalry game beginning in 2012. In addition, the channel will carry as many as 12 regular season conference basketball games as well as the Big Sky quarterfinal and semifinal tournament games.
MLB Network has named Mark Loomis as Senior Vice President, Production, for the channel. He will be responsible for overseeing the look and presentation of MLB Network’s game coverage and studio programming, including MLB Tonight. Loomis joins MLB Network from ESPN.
The UFC has solidified the new commentary team for FX and Fuel programming, tapping Kenny Florian to join Jon Anik beginning Friday with UFC on FX 1, according to multiple reports. Anik will serve as the play-by-play voice while Florian will handle color commentary.
Golf Channel series Morning Drive will feature former President Bill Clinton on Wednesday, marking the first time the former Commander-in-Chief will appear on the series as he sits down with Annika Sorenstam at the Humana Challenge. Golf Channel and NBC News will partner this week to cover the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, which kicks off tomorrow at 3p.
WWE Network is looking to lock up some of its classic 80s stars, developing a series called Legends House for the upcoming WWE Network, according to Entertainment Weekly. Among the stars signed on to participate in the reality series will be Roddy Piper, The Iron Sheik and Dusty Rhodes, as well as “Mean” Gene Okerlund, who was named in a separate article. The series is already in production and will feature eight to ten legends of the ring living together under the same roof.
The San Diego Chargers renewed radio rights with Clear Channel’s Active Rock KIOZ, and Sports KLSD-A (XTRA SPORTS 1360) for the next three seasons. ROCK 105.3 has served as the team’s flagship station since 2005, while KLSD was added for AM coverage in 2008.
Formula One Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial, the organization that locked in the sport’s first race in New Jersey for the first time next year, announced that Tom Cotter will serve as President of the organization, while Dennis Robinson has been tapped as COO.
Sponsorship & Promotion
DIRECTV is converting Victory Field into the world’s largest indoor beach on Super Bowl Weekend as celebrities, NFL athletes and fans converge on DIRECTV’s Sixth Annual Celebrity Beach Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 4. The game and performance will air live on over 25 networks including DIRECTV’s Audience Network, DIRECTV’s n3D and all of DIRECTV’s and Fox Sports Network’s Regional Sports Networks. The game features stars vs. NFL greats in flag football on more than one million pounds of sand. Programming begins at 1p with a pre-game show hosted by Dan Patrick and Kevin Frazier. The game follows at 2p, with Patrick, Nancy O’Dell and sideline reporter Tony Siragusa handling microphone duties.
- H&M will run a 30-second spot featuring David Beckham in the second quarter of the game, promoting Beckham’s new collection of men’s underwear.
- Lexus will debut its first-ever Super Bowl commercial, a 30-second spot that is set to run in the first half of the game.
- M&Ms debuts a new character during the first quarter of the game, adding Ms. Brown to the mix and marking the sixth character from the brand.
- Kia will advertise its Optima family sedan tapping the talents of Mötley Crüe, Chuck Liddell and supermodel Adriana Lima during the game.
The NBA announced that the league will host its first-ever NBA Chinese New Year Celebration from Jan 21-28, with a week-long campaign that will pay tribute to the league’s Chinese fan base via live games, customized coverage and a variety of NBA-themed events in China as well as the U.S. The league, with the support of its television and digital partners in China, will recognize and celebrate the Year of the Dragon with customized coverage of 21 games across CCTV 5, BTV, GDTV, GZTV, NowTV, NBA TV, Sina, and Tencent. NBA China marketing partners Boshiwa International Holding Limited, Dongfeng Aeolus and PEAK Sports will serve as co-presenting partners of the NBA Chinese New Year Celebration 2012.
CBS released more information about the company’s new open fantasy platform at CBSsports.com, announcing that six companies, including MLB.com and Bloomberg Sports, signed on as the initial Fantasy Platform partners who will have apps available when the site’s Fantasy Baseball product launches on Jan. 31. Other participants will include Advanced Sports Media, Rotowire, StatSheet and Ziguana.
Results of the Tenth Annual NBA.com GM Survey found that the vast majority of the league’s top executives feel that the Miami Heat will win the Finals this year. The survey found that 74% of the GMs predicted the Heat to take the title, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Kevin Durant is expected to be named the 2011-12 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player while Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving will take 2011-12 Rookie of the Year. The complete survey results are now posted on NBA.com. The results mark the first time in three years that the GMs didn’t predict the Lakers to win the title.
The Main Event
It’s a good night of basketball all around. In college basketball, CBS Sports Network airs a nice-looking Mountain West matchup of San Diego State/New Mexico at 10p. In the NBA, ESPN has a Mavericks/Clippers clash at 10:30p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
ON THIS DAY in 1983: The IOC restores Jim Thorpe’s Olympic medals a full 70 years after he was stripped of the honors for being paid $25 in semipro baseball.
Answer to Friday’s Sports Trivia Question:Name three players of Michigan’s famed “Fab Five.” Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson, Jimmy King. Kudos: John Miller – NBC Sports/NY; Michael Jaquet – CBS Sports Network/NY; Julie Goldstein – SMG/NY; Leopold Myrie – OMD/NY; Scott McAdams – Intersport/Chicago; Russ Williamson – 924 Sports Management/Dallas; Paul Tarrants – RTM Productions/Nashville; Kevin Van Housen – Telerep/Chicago; Eric Zapakin – Troika/LA; Jordan Cohen – USC Athletics/LA; Rich Allport – Viacom/LA; Eric LaVanchy – MindGames/LA.
In The Know: What is the name given to the annual Texas/Oklahoma football game? (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.)
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM CABLEFAX
The Next Big Thing
January 25, 1:30-3:00 p.m. ET
The sports content marketplace can be lucrative but is not without challenges. This 90-minute webinar provides tips and strategies on how your organization can profit from cable sports content through insight on what’s next! Speakers from LHB Sports, Charter Communications and Comcast.
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