Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, March 7, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Sandy Brown is stepping down as President of Univision Sports but will stay on as adviser to the organization, company sources confirmed. Brown will continue on as an adviser to the network, according to the AP, and spearheaded the development of the company’s upcoming sports channel, which is set to launch in April and is based in Miami. Brown has been with the company for just over a year.
On the Air

CBS Sports and Turner Sports are set to begin the Road to the Final Four, announcing broadcast plans for this year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. CBS Sports will unveil pairings on Sunday, March 11 at 6p with the NCAA Basketball Selection Show with Greg Gumbel, Greg Anthony and Seth Davis hosting.

Immediately following the Selection Show, truTV will air Infiniti NCAA Hardcore Brackets starting at 7p. The series is a new one-hour show providing in-depth analysis and will include the public release of the Selection Committee’s 1 to 68 team rankings for the first time in NCAA Championship history. Gumbel hosts and is joined by Turner Sports’ Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith as well as Anthony and Davis. Game coverage for the Championship tournament begins on Tuesday, March 13 and Wednesday, March 14 with the NCAA First Four truTV, and wraps up with National Championship game Monday, April 2 on CBS. Once again, all 67 games will again be available live across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.

ESPN tackles the brackets with over 13 hours of coverage on Selection Sunday, across ESPN, ABC, ESPN2 and ESPNU. Programming tips off with a two-hour College GameDay beginning at 11a on ESPN2 and continuing on ESPN at noon. ESPN’s studio coverage will include two Bracketology programs as well as a special SportsCenter at 6p, and a one-hour Crunch Time: Championship Week Special at 8p followed by the NIT Selection Show at 9p.

ABC’s broadcast of the Heat/Lakers on Sunday handed the channel with the most-viewed non-Christmas Day regular season NBA game ever. The showdown averaged 7,037,000 viewers according to Nielsen, with a 4.3 rating, to match ABC’s highest-rated non-Christmas Day regular season NBA game ever (Boston vs. L.A. Lakers on Jan. 30, 2011). Audiences were up 37% versus the comparable 2011 game.

What’s the over/under on number of times Peyton Manning is mentioned on-air today?

Sunday’s episode of The Journey: Big Ten Basketball 2012ranked as BTN’s highest-rated original program, according to Nielsen metered market data. The series drew a 1.16 household rating in the network’s eight metered markets and featured senior night festivities at four universities, including Michigan, Ohio State, Purdue, and Iowa. The series’ final episode airs at 8p on Wednesday, March 14.

ESPN is warming up for spring training, announcing 10 telecasts in its schedule, beginning with the Miami Marlins facing the Boston Red Sox on Monday, March 12, at 1:30p. The game will be available on ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN Mobile TV and WatchESPN. The slate will include three appearances by the Yankees, Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies; two appearances by the Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays; as well as an appearance by the Los Angeles Angels.

Formula One racing is prepped to open its 17th season on SPEED with live coverage of the Australian Grand Prix beginning March 16 with practice runs and wrapping up on March 18 with the race at 1:30a. Bob Varsha, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett return to the channel to call the action. will over live streaming coverage of the first and third F1 practice sessions.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Allstate Insurance Company has become an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, inking a deal with CBS Sports and Turner Sports. The announcement will allow the company to go all in on this year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, where the company will air new television commercials during coverage of the tournament on TBS, CBS, TNT, and truTV. Allstate will also have presence on-site in New Orleans at the NCAAMen’s Final Four at Bracket Town refreshed by Coca-Cola Zero.

Yahoo! is making the most of the Madness, lining up brands that include Mercedes-Benz and DiGiorno, for social and digital initiatives on Yahoo! Sports. As part of the deals, Mercedes-Benz will be integrated into Yahoo! Sports’ Connected TV app during the broadcast and IntoNow from Yahoo! as fans check-in during the game. The company will also sponsor takeovers on Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! Sports NCAA pages. DiGiorno is sponsoring the “Like” your bracket social feature, which will broadcast updates to users’ Facebook feed and is tied to Yahoo!’s “Tourney Pick ‘Em bracket.”

NASCAR Green partner, Growth Energy, is holding an executive leadership conference in Las Vegas from March beginning tomorrow and running through Sunday in conjunction with the NASCAR race in town this weekend. NASCAR CMO Steve Phelps and Steve O’Donnell, VP of Racing Operations will be in attendance to talk about NASCAR and NASCAR’s Green efforts.

The NBA has locked in a series of licensing deals in Canada, including Gillyboo Corporation (for toy and activity sets), X-Treme Worldwide (men’s apparel, loungewear, and sleepwear) and Gertex Hosiery (hosiery, sock, etc.) The deals were completed in partnership with Studio Licensing Inc.

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 At Bat 12 set records with its return to the App Store with the fifth edition of the app drawing 2.9 million accesses and delivering 450,000 live audio and video streams to score boosts of 132% and 83% respectively over the first weekend of Spring Training games in 2011.

Bloomberg Sports has entered a partnership with RightView Pro, an instructional and analysis system for high school and amateur athletes, to “help improve, define and standardize baseball and softball instruction and increase the data available to Bloomberg’s analytic tools.”

The Main Event

Hawks/Heat on NBATV at 7:30p


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ON THIS DAY in 1982: Selections for the NCAA Tournament selection are televised live for the first time.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What university has a mascot named Big Al? Alabama. Kudos: Noah Coslov, CineSport/NY; Keith Marder, Halstead Property, NY; Bret Roy-Turner Broadcasting/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Chris Wujcik-Anheuser-Busch/St. Louis; Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville; Joanna Kuebel-Entertainment Studios/Chicago; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Levin- KTVU FOX 2/Oakland.

In The Know: What number does (did) Peyton Manning wear for the Colts? (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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