Good morning! It’s Wednesday, November 2, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
After being hunted throughout the fall, the Big East decided to become the aggressor, issuing invitations to six institutions, three for all sports and three for football only, to join the league. Multiple reports state that SMU, Houston, and UCF (all in Conference USA) received the all-sports invites, while Boise St., Air Force, and Navy getting the others. Of course, with the departure of West Virginia, one more invitation would have to be sent out as well if the conference wants to play a championship game. Meanwhile, CBS reports that Boise St., Houston, SMU and UCF are expected to announce on Friday that they will accept the invitations. Navy and Air Force are also expected to join the league.
Meanwhile, a Democratic congressman, Bobby Rush of Illinois, made noise on the NCAA front by comparing the organization to the Mafia at a congressional forum on college sports, over how it controls the lives of student athletes. Ouch.
Monday night’s Monday Night Football telecast on ESPN, featuring a 23-20 Kansas City Chiefs overtime victory over the San Diego Chargers, handed the channel with a win for the night among all networks in all key male and adult 18-34 and 18-49 demos, according to Nielsen overnights. The game averaged a 7.9 overnight rating with just over nine million households and over 12 million viewers. In local markets, San Diego drew a 15.8 rating on ESPN and a 18.3 rating on KFMB-CBS, for a combined 34.1 rating, while Kansas City scored a 14.3 rating on ESPN and a 29.8 rating on KMBC-ABC, for a combined 44.1 rating.
NFL Network announced its plans for the start of this season’s Thursday Night Football, which is set to begin Nov. 10 at 8p featuring the Raiders and Chargers. The schedule is set to offer eight nights of primetime NFL action over seven weeks featuring five division leaders as well as a brother vs. brother matchup on Thanksgiving pitting head coaches Jim and John Harbaugh against each other as the San Francisco 49ers face the Ravens. The broadcast booth will feature Brad Nessle and Mike Mayock. The Thursday Night Kickoff Presented by Sears pregame show brings Rich Eisen as well as Steve Mariucci and Marshall Faulk,Deion Sanders and Thursday Night Football newcomer Michael Irvin to the show
A tenuous Dodgers situation may soon be over. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt are reportedly close to a deal that would resolve the fate of the bankrupt team. The New York Post states that the two sides are close to a settlement that could see McCourt agree to sell the sports franchise provided he gets control over the sales process. MLB would then help him get the maximum value in exchange for the team.
NASCAR is bringing in Reba to serve as the host for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony on Dec. 2 at Wynn Las Vegas. The ceremony will honor the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and other drivers who finished in the top 10 of the final series standings. In addition to her duties as host, Reba will perform the song “Turn on the Radio.” The event will be broadcast by SPEED, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and MRN Radio from the Wynn’s LaFite Ballroom.
Universal Sports Network and NBC Sports are set to offer more than 10 hours of combined of television and online coverage of the 2011 ING New York City Marathon on Sunday beginning at 9a. The marathon will air live on Universal Sports Network, with live streaming on NYCMarathon.org and UniversalSports.com. NBC will run a two-hour marathon special from 2-4p hosted by Jimmy Roberts. Universal Sports Network is offering pre-race and post-race studio shows.
MSG Network is gearing up to launch two new original programs, Knicks Greatest Rivalries on November 20 as well as series First Person this winter. Knicks Greatest Rivalries will feature former Knicks players as they take fans inside some of the team’s most memorable games, while First Person will spotlight one player or entertainer as he or she recalls and shares the details of a classic performance.
Tonight, MLB Network is running the network’s third annual Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards at 6p. The special will showcase and honor the players that coaches and manager voted as the top offensive producers at each position in both the American and National Leagues in 2011. The show will be hosted by Matt Vasgersian and Harold Reynolds.
Spike TV’s UFC Prelims special for UFC 137 last Saturday drew 1.1 million viewers, up around 10 % over the previous special.
Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on SPEED scored a .82 for the network, for a 19% rise over the same race last year and marks the sixth year-to-year ratings increase in the past seven Truck Series races for the channel.
Sponsorship & Promotion
Mortgage lender Quicken Loans Inc. is teaming with Stewart-Haas Racing to serve as the primary sponsor of SHR’s No. 39 team and driver Ryan Newman for nine races in 2012. In addition, for races in which the company is not primary sponsor, they will be an associate sponsor of the car. Quicken Loans will be an associate sponsor on the No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Impala of Stewart throughout the 2012 Sprint Cup season. To kick off this partnership, Newman and the No. 39 team will carry a special paint scheme that showcases the upcoming Quicken Loans Carrier Classic during this weekend’s Sprint Cup event at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
New York Road Runners is updating its brand, including a new look; a new logo with the runner as the central design element; as well as an enhanced digital presence. In addition, in order to bolster awareness, NYRR is launching a new consumer PSA campaign in 2012 based on its new “Run for Life” tagline and manifesto.
The New York Rangers are partnering with Spring44 Distilling in a new multi-year marketing partnership designed to promote Spring44 Gin. As part of the marketing partnership, Spring44 Gin branding will be showcases on the LED and GardenVision center-hung scoreboard at Madison Square Garden. In addition, fans will have the chance to participate in promotional activities in-arena presented by Spring44 Gin.
The Rangers are also working with Coca-Cola, the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and Boys & Girls Clubs to launch the second year of a program designed to give free indoor youth hockey clinics for more than 1,500 New York City youth over the winter. This year’s expanded program includes additional NYC Parks & Recreation centers and a new partner in the Boys & Girls Clubs, which will triple the number of locations and participants for the clinics. Rangers Defenseman Ryan McDonagh and Alumni Nick Fotiu kicked off this year’s program yesterday by hosting a special indoor youth hockey clinic for 50 youth at the Chelsea Recreation Center in Manhattan.
The Southeastern Conference, with is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the SEC Football Championship game, is launching The Greatest Championship Moment campaign, allowing SEC fans the opportunity to select the best play from the previous 19 SEC Championship games. The campaign is built by the SEC Digital Network and presented by JCB Construction Equipment. Over the next four weeks, the moments will be narrowed down to the top two plays of the previous 19 championship games via online voting with the winner announced on Saturday, Dec. 3 at SEC Fanfare prior to this year’s championship game.
Yahoo! Sports is bringing sports writer and broadcast personality Pat Forde into the fold. In addition to contributing multiple original stories each week, on a variety of sports topics, Forde will also offer video analysis on Yahoo! Sports and make frequent appearances on Yahoo! Sports Radio. Forde was previously the national columnist for ESPN.com and a regular on shows across the ESPN platform, as well as a writer for ESPN The Magazine.
NASCAR is expanding its presence in the video game world with release of NASCAR Unleashed, a video featuring stars from the world of NASCAR that includes a “Rival” mode – a unique twist where an enemy driver attempts to knock you out of the lead. The game is available for Xbox 360,PlayStation3, Wii Nintendo 3DS. NASCAR tracks featured in the game include Daytona International Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Martinsville Speedway and more. To promote the release of the game, Activision is taking is taking rivalries off the track and into the kids of NASCAR drivers, as their dads coach and their moms manage them in the tournament in a move to raise money for charity.
The Main Event
A nice looking MAC game is set for ESPN at 9p featuring Temple/Ohio.
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ON THIS DAY in 1960: Roger Maris edges out Mickey Mantle as the AL MVP by a vote of 225-222.
Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: Who was the first University of Alabama player to win the Heisman trophy? Answer: NC State. Kudos: Jordan Goldberg – Disney and ESPN Media Networks/NY; Bob Rathbun – FOX Sports South, Raycom Play-by-Play/Atlanta; Holli Sarner – FOX Sports Net, HTS/NY; P.J. Fitzgerald – Zimmerman Advertising/Ft. Lauderdale; Ron Salcedo – Zimmerman/Nashville; Joanna Kuebel – Entertainment Studios/Chicago; Jan Beach – Made in the Shade/Harvest; Matt Cowie – Feld Motor Sports/Aurora; Greg Moloznik – GLM Media Dynamics/Scottsdale; John DeLeon – DLP Entertainment/LA; Nick Monroe – Monroe Photography/San Diego; Richard Murphy – Avail-TVN/LA; Ramzi Bettendorf – Disney/ABC TV Digital Media Distribution/Burbank; John Bassett – John Bassett Productions/Toronto; Steve Walker – Saatchi & Saatchi/Toronto
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