Good morning. It’s Wednesday, March 21, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
ESPN led the list of contenders on Tuesday when the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 33rd Annual Sports Emmy Awards. Overall, over 170 nominees were announced in 33 categories with the Awards set to be handed out on April 30th, 2012 in New York City. The ESPN family of networks topped nomination tallies with 55, the NBC Sports Group drew 32, CBS-based entries received 26 nominations, while Turner Sports (TNT, TBS, NBA TV, NBA.com & truTV) have 22. Other entities to draw a bevy of nominations include: HBO with 19, FOX Sports Media Group with 16, NFL Network with 12 and MLB Network boasting 8. Among shows, HBO’s 24/7 had the most nods with 8 which ESPN2’s E:60 scored 7.
Networks report that the second and third rounds of the NCAA Tournament through Sunday averaged a 5.6 household rating across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV, which matches last year’s numbers and is up 13% over 2010 scores, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals.
Monday night’s Rangers/Devils game on NBC Sports Network drew a 1.94 HH rating in New York, marking the highest numbers ever for the market for a regular-season game on the channel. Locally, that rating was up 30% over the same matchup earlier this year. On a national scope, the game pulled a .36 HH rating. Meanwhile, Sunday’s Penguins/Flyers faceoff on NBC generated a 1.0 overnight rating, up 43 percent from last year’s comparable coverage.
Tennis Channel extended its deal with Mary Carillo, who will now add Wimbledon and select domestic tournaments to her repertoire through the multiyear deal. Carillo initially joined Tennis Channel’s French Open and US Open telecast teams in 2011.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem announced changes to the structure of the qualifying system for the PGA TOUR, which will beef up the importance of the Nationwide Tour by establishing it as the primary pathway to the PGA Tour. In addition, the PGA Tour season will now start earlier, beginning in October 2013 and conclude in late September 2014 with the Tour Championship by Coca-Cola, the fourth and final FedExCup Playoff event.
NBA TV is going inside one of the surprising trades at this season, with an upcoming episode of The Association: Denver Nuggets, which will go behind-the scenes at the trade that sent longtime Nugget Nene to Washington for JaVale McGee. The episode runs tonight at 6:30p on the channel.
With Kim Jones gone, YES Network is adding Meredith Marakovits to the roster, where she has been named the channel’s New York Yankees clubhouse reporter, and will report on the team within the network’s Yankees game telecasts, pre- and post-game shows, and Yankees Batting Practice Today show. Marakovits will also take part in YES’ special Yankees programming and will contribute to YESNetwork.com. Most recently, Marakovits worked for several Comcast SportsNet regional sports networks including SNY in New York, where she was an anchor and also contributed to SNY programs.
The Jockey Club, along with the NBC Sports Group, CNBC and six racetracks, is set to offer live coverage of the Road to the Kentucky Derby this Saturday at 5p on NBC Sports Network. The series of six major prep races ahead of the 2012 Kentucky Derby will be run over four consecutive weekends. Laffit Pincay III will host NBC Sports Network’s coverage this Saturday joining analysts Gary Stevens and Randy Moss; and reporters Donna Brothers, Jay Privman and Millie Ball.
HBO Sports is offering a new boxing-themed series that will be hosted by the sport’s famed commentator Jim Lampley. The series will be called The Fight Game With Jim Lampley and will premiere on HBO on May 12. The series will focus on the storylines, newsmakers and issues within the sport and will also be available on HBO On Demand and HBO GO.
The Madison Square Garden Company announced it has promoted Beth Collins to corporate Senior Vice President, Business Development where she will work closely with MSG President and CEO Hank Ratner to support the company’s overall strategic objectives, working with senior management across the company’s divisions to develop and facilitate high-level projects and new business initiatives that drive the company’s growth
NASCAR is on the hunt for a new agency, announcing that due to a change of marketing needs, the company “is embarking on a review to secure a class-leading full-service agency to support those expanded needs.” Officials said that the racing outfit is looking for three to four agencies, in addition to incumbent JUMP, to review Core areas of support required include new targets, strategic acumen, media, events/promotions and digital.
Three of the 32 candidates in the EA SPORTS Madden NFL 13 cover vote will be campaigning for votes when they hit the ESPN campus today as part of SportsNation’s “Madden Cover Vote Special” airing on ESPN2 from 6-7p. The three current NFL players will appear on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes and multiple television shows throughout the day, including editions of SportsCenter and NFL Live.
NBA star Jeremy Lin is taking on pitching, inking a two-year deal to promote Volvco cars in the US and China, according to Bloomberg. He will reportedly begin appearing in commercials for the carmaker after the current NBA season wraps up.
espnW is teaming with Colavita to create a new professional women’s cycling team. Colavita/espnW Pro Cycling will help promote espnW, as well as look to grow the sport of women’s cycling. The new team will compete in US-based events beginning with the SRAM Tour of the Gila on May 2 in Silver City, NM.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer honored Golf Channel’s 17-years-plus history in the community with a new street named for the cable network, Golf Channel Drive. The channel is also launching Feherty Sweepstakes on Facebook, allowing fans to test their wits “Feherty-style” and participate in activities for chances to win Cobra PUMA Golf equipment and merchandise. The 15-week sweepstakes will feature three different phases lasting five weeks each through July 2 including creating captions, guessing the location of Frank the rooster and “Feherty Yourself.”
The Professional Bull Riders reached an agreement with All-American Licensing & Management Group (AALMG) to serve as a licensing agent for the company. AALMG will be responsible for categories that include interactive games, health & beauty, snacks, foods, and non-energy and non-alcoholic beverages.
Beginning on March 21, ESPN will host a slate of Hangouts, a multi-person video-based live chat featured on the Google+ social platform, featuring college basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb. The Hangouts will be broadcast live directly from the ESPN Google+ page and made available for viewing later on the ESPN YouTube channel. Three randomly selected fans will be able to interact directly with Gottlieb during each of the Hangouts. The first starts today at 10:30a.
The Main Event
Good-looking Red Wings/Rangers matchup on NBC Sports Network at 7:30p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards
Late Submission Deadline: March 30
Awards Event: Summer 2012 (NYC)
ON THIS DAY in 1994: Wayne Gretzky ties Gordie Howe’s NHL record of 801 goals.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What NBA player was known as “The Worm”? Dennis Rodman. Kudos (NY expanded edition): Chris Connaughton-USA Today Sports Media Group/NY; Deidra Maddock-ESPN/NY; Bob Melvin-NBC Sports Group/NY; Todd Parker-Professional Bull Riders/NY; Katie Copeland-XOS Digital/Orlando; Patty Youngross-GroupM Matrix/Atlanta; Adam Zimmerman-CSE/Atlanta; James Taguchi-WTVR/Richmond; Jennifer Hernandez-Comcast SportsNet/Chicago; Jennifer Ciminillo-Tribune Media Group/Chicago; Liz Murray-Turner Broadcasting/Chicago; Paul Tarrants-RTM Productions/Nashville; Michael Madnick-Saban Brands/LA; Allan Kass-Viamedia/LA; Gary MacKinney-www.FilmTrack.net/Studio City; Aaron Paquette-Nielsen Entertainment TV/Hollywood.
In The Know: Mary Carillo famously teamed up with what tennis great to win her two Grand Slam Mixed Doubles titles? (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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