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Good morning. It’s Wednesday, July 6, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
ESPN officially welcomed Wimbledon into its tent yesterday, announcing a 12-year deal with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for the Grand Slam event on Tuesday that will move all live event coverage to cable for the first time. However, some tape- delayed matches will run on ABC, including replays of the men’s and women’s finals.
Through the agreement, ESPN will offer Wimbledon on its slate of platforms which will allow for expanded coverage of the Round of 16 and live telecasts of all quarterfinals. ESPN will be home to the semifinals and finals with ESPN on ABC a three-hour highlights show on the “middle Sunday” of the tournament.
Quotables from ESPN’s media call to discuss the deal:
Ian Ritchie, Chief Executive of the All England Club on bringing the entire tournament into one company: I think if you have two separate organizations telling the story, inevitably there is a danger of it being confused. You want some consistency to it. You want to bring a combined and coherent promotional package to it as well. In the process that we’ve undergone in the last few weeks and months, we made it clear to our existing partners NBC and ESPN and to others, that we saw advantages of a coherent single partnership.
John Skipper, ESPN Executive Vice President, Content on a budding bidding war with NBC: Look, the next rights negotiation I get to do no with no other bidders will be the first. We have had competitions always for rights to major sporting events. We are cognizant of the fact that NBC Comcast is a formidable competitor and will be at the table, and has been at the table over the last six or eight months for rights. But we also expect to see some of our other longterm competitors at the table. We respect what they do.
Ritchie on matches being tape delayed: Well, I’m sure tape delay has its place. You look at this when you’re analyzing the ratings too. But certainly in my mind live is preeminent, and live is the nature of the game now on sports around the world not just for tennis, but for other ones as well. Certainly a factor we looked at in the new deal in the future was very much can we put live out.
Skipper on ESPN’s future relationship with Tennis Channel: We have genuinely enjoyed working with Tennis Channel. We have arrangements with them on the US Open, Australian Open and French Open. We have indicated an interest. I met with Ken Solomon of the Tennis Channel while I was in London. We’ve indicated an interest to continue working with them. The continued success of the Tennis Channel is advantageous to us. The more people that watch tennis throughout the year helps build an audience for the big events, which is where we’re principally at. So we’ve generally found cooperating with the Tennis Channel to be in our self interest.
Given some of the recent NFL lockout lawsuits, lawyers and paperwork have rarely been a good thing, but this might be the exception. Representatives for owners and players are reportedly now meeting for two days to expedite a CBA with Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith set to return to the tables on Thursday. One executive that appears incredibly optimistic is Pro Football Hall of Fame President Steve Perry, who told ESPN that the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame Game is still on track. Perry did note that ticket sales for the game between the Bears and Rams were off-pace from last year, due to the lockout.
HBO and Major League Baseball Productions are counting up to 3,000, teaming up for a production that will follow New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter’s quest for his 3,000th career hit. The one-hour special, dubbed “DEREK JETER 3K,” will take audiences behind the scenes as Jeter looks to reach the milestone. The documentary will feature extensive access to Jeter both at and away from the ballpark, with the player allowing camera crews to follow him in a variety of settings, including in his home and during his rehabilitation from a calf injury
MLB Network is reporting that second quarter ratings saw a 49% increase in viewers in prime as well as a 42% increase in total day compared to the same period in 2010. Some of those numbers are strengthened by MLB Network series MLB Tonight, which saw a 53% rise in viewers. In addition, the channel’s new afternoon block featuring The Rundown from 3-5p as well as Intentional Talk from 5-6p which grew viewership by 97% and by 73% in their respective timeframes in live plus same day ratings.
TNT continues to find its own year-to-year boosts, with the channel’s NASCAR Summer Series now averaging a 3.2 U.S. HH rating with 5,312,000 total viewers through the first four races of its coverage. Those numbers are good enough for a 6% bump from 2010, which a 3.0 HH and 4,990,000 total viewers. TNT’s NASCAR.COM’s Racebuddy coverage is on the rise, with an overall average of 936,000 video streams to date and had its second most-viewed race in RaceBuddy history with 1 million streams during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona Powered by Coca-Cola race last weekend, up 76%. That race scored a 3.4 metered market ratingand3,397,000 total viewers.
Longhorn Network announced its first taste of football, scheduling two Texas games to the newborn network this season. The first will feature Rice vs. Texas airing on Saturday Sept. 3 at 5p, with a re-air set for 10p. The second game will feature a Big 12 intra-conference contest that will be determined later in the season. The channel will launch Game Plan with Mack Brown on Sept. 1 at 6:30p, with will showcase a two-hour Texas GameDay two hours prior to the first kickoff.
CBS Sports is looking to the future with this weekend’s upcoming special PGA Tour 2011: The Future is Now presented by Mercedes-Benz, which will look at the wave of rising, young stars I the sport. Midway through the 2011 season, nine players in their 20s, including four rookies, have been victorious on the PGA TOUR and the special will showcase the names behind the success Saturday at 2p.
The 2011 ESPYs will be honoring Dewey Bozella with this year’s Arthur Ashe courage Award. Bozella was convicted in 1983 for murder, and sentenced to 20 years to life for the crime, before new evidence exonerated him after 26 years behind bars. While imprisoned, Bozella became a model prisoner, earning his GED, bachelors and masters degrees and became light heavyweight champion of Sing Sing prison. He now works a non-profit to help recently released prisoners rehabilitate back into the world and returned to boxing where he is a trainer to kids and aspiring fighters, all the while maintaining his dream to fight one professional fight as a free man. The ESPY’s will air on Wednesday, July 13 at 9p.
The men’s ATP World Tour has announced that they will increase prize money over the next three years, and break the $90 million mark for the first time by 2014. The money will boost purses for all ATP tournaments, with the exception of the four Grand Slams, with prizes rising 9% in each of the next three years. Meanwhile the bonus pool for the top 12 eligible players will grow 33% to $8 million in 2014.
For the fourth year in a row, HRTV will be on-site at Calder Casino & Race Course for the Summit of Speed which takes place on Saturday, July 9. The race will showcase foursix-furlong graded stakes races worth a total of$1.05 million, is annually one of the summer’s biggest race days. Peter Lurie and Caton Bredar will cover the action for the channel.
Big news on the homefront! Cynopsis Media has been acquired by Access Intelligence, the third such acquisition for A.I. in the past six months. Access Intelligence, an integrated media company serving a global audience, delivers award-winning business intelligence to executives in the media, communications, healthcare, aviation, energy, defense and chemical markets through conferences, trade shows, networking events, publications, books and emedia offerings. Personally, I’m thrilled to be working with Access Intelligence who is committed to growing the Cynopsis brand. Utilizing the much larger AI platform and extensive resources, we will be able to extend Cynopsis beyond the business of eletters into several new areas, providing me and the entire Cynopsis team with an extraordinary and exciting opportunity to reach further than ever before. Very cool!
This year’s PromaxBDA Promotion, Marketing and Design Awards were well represented on the sports front with Fox Sports and Versus among the companies taking home top prizes. Fox Sports Media Group announced that it was honored with a total of 29 awards, including World Gold ‘Marketing Team of the Year,’ at last week’s event. FUEL TV took home 14 awards, including six golds with its campaigns. Versus walked away with 15 awards, including North America’s Best In-House Creative Team of the Year.
While Derek Jeter looks to break the 3,000 hits mark, multiple reports say Jeter’s marketing team is telling companies not affiliated with the Yankees shortstop to avoid inappropriate kudos to the star. Apparently, Jeter’s agent Casey Close is looking to prevent companies from profiting from Jeter’s milestone through guerilla marketing and with the exception of Jeter-affiliated brands such as Gillette, Nike’s Jordan and Gatorade, organizations may not run ads with Jeter’s image, name, the number 3,000 or the word “captain.”
ESPNRadio.com has unveiled a new digital audio player that gives fans the ability to build their own custom sports audio experience through ESPN Audio NOW through a new recommendation engine that records audience preferences based on previous choices. Listeners can also find specific audio content through tags flagged on different sound bites. Other new features include: 30 live streams including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Cleveland, Milwaukee and more; access to over 100 podcasts and social media integration.
With the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint (#FinalVote) now past the halfway mark, clubs continue to push balloting for their favorite players to fill the last spots. More than 22 million online votes have already been cast in support of the 10 candidates with club partnerships that include “Send Paul and Andre Home” for Phoenix natives Andre Ethier and Paul Konerko; “Vote the Beltways Ballot” for Mike Morse and Adam Jones; “Help Zo Go and Vote Ian In” for Ben Zobrist and Ian Kennedy; “Vote Rox and Royals” for Todd Helton and Alex Gordon; and “Vote Victor/Victorino” for Victor Martinez and Shane Victorino.
ESPN will debut the latest video from Funny Or Die, entitled Field of Dreams 2: Lockout, on SportsCenter today at 9:30a. The video will feature movie stars, NFL players and sports personalities paying homage to Field of Dreams, with a spoof the current NFL lockout. Set to appear in the video will be Twilight’s Taylor Lautner, who plays the role of Ray Kinsella while Ray Liotta, who played “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in the original movie, now plays NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. NFL players such as Ray Lewis, Tony Gonzalez, and Dwight Freeney also appear, as do ESPNSportsCenteranchor Steve Levy and the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen.
The Main Event
Sweden/US as the tournament moves to the next stage in the Women’s World Cup at 2:30p on ESPN
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ON THIS DAY in 1986 – Boris Becker beats Ivan Lendl to win the gentlemen’s championship at the 100th Wimbledon
Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: From what university was Michael Vick drafted? Virginia Tech Kudos: Michael Brown – IMG: Sports_Entertainment_Media/NY; Mike Pannacciulli – INDEMAND/NY; Catherine Clowers – Eastman Radio/NY; Esdra Lamy – Warner Bros Domestic TV Distribution/NY; Travis Dennis – Comcast Spotlight/Nashville; Jamie Raybon – Time Warner/Dallas; Steve Krone – Starcom/Chicago; Dan Radman – Busch Media Group/St. Louis; Greg Moloznik – GLM Media Dynamics/Scottsdale; Joe Pedri – KLAS-TV/Las Vegas; Bob Ware – KPSP/Palm Springs; Tony Rice – Skipping Stone/LA; Rich Allport – MTV Networks/LA
In The Know: In what year was Jeter the World Series MVP? (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.)
In My Opinion …
- With the official birth of the Pac-12, and the tip of my hat to Larry Scott for propelling that conference to new highs, I’m still curious how, exactly, they play to launch the Pac-12 Network. As the Big Ten found out, it’s not easy out there and after spurning Comcast in TV negotiations (Comcast is prominent is a slew of Pac-12 markets) but where now does the Pac-12 turn? Reports this week suggested that instead of Fox or Comcast, the conference may instead look to Apple or Google as a de facto MSO for a branded channel. That, of course, could be subscription-based and spawns questions on whether that the best way to for an organization with millions of dollars worth of content at its disposal to reach new highs. Commissioner Larry Scott has quickly surprised people before, so I wouldn’t bet against him
I would agree that spurning Comcast presents a challenge, but this is not your typical stand alone looking for distribution. This is a network that enjoys strategic alliances with both FOX and ESPN. I think it will depend completely on how much either, or both, of these heavyweights are prepared (or contractually obligated) to go to bat for the Pac-12. As for Apple and/or Google, it should be fascinating to see what transpires if Larry Scott does choose to go in that direction. But whether he does or not, I think most would agree that the big digital players are likely to emerge as the primary distribution platforms of the future.
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cyn opsis | Sports
July 6, 2011
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