Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, October 12, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

CBS Sports announced its plans for the network’s upcoming 31st consecutive season of college basketball. The network’s slate will include 44 games this year from 11 different conferences including the Big Ten, Big East,Atlantic Coast, SEC, Pac-12, Big 12 and Atlantic 10 with the action starting on Sat., Dec. 3 at noon with national coverage of the North Carolina/Kentucky matchup. CBS Sports’ lead college basketball announce team will once again feature Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg.

On the Air

With the NBA scratching the first two weeks off of the schedule, networks, particularly regional outlets, are bracing for a hit. Various reports around the country stated that regional sports channels looked to be heaviest affected by the cancellations due to lack of alternative programming. Meanwhile, reports said that ESPN would fill in the gaps with more college football and basketball games, while TNT would pull from its entertainment slate of movies and series. ESPN was set to carry a 90-game regular season schedule while TNT has 52 games on the docket.

ESPN’s MNF telecast featuring the Bears/Lions, delivered the channel with a 11.3 metered market rating, according to Nielsen, to rank as the second highest game of the season for the outlet. In Chicago, the game delivered a 18.7 household rating on the channel as well as a 13.3 household for WCIU, for a combined 32.0 rating in the market. Detroit drew a 10.7 household on ESPN and 25.7 on WXYZ, with a combined 36.4 rating in the market.

The NFL is booking a quick return to Phoenix, announcing that the 2015 Super Bowl has been awarded to the city. Phoenix last held the event in 2008 at University of Phoenix Stadium. Next year’s game will be held in Indianapolis, followed by New Orleans in 2013 and the New York/New Jersey area in 2014.

NFL owners also approved a resolution on Tuesday to continue playing regular-season games in the United Kingdom through the 2016 season. The agreement also allows the league to determine how many games per season will be played in the country. This year’s Oct. 23 game between the Bucs/Bears will be the fifth NFL regular-season game played at London’s Wembley Stadium.

VERSUS is set to air a special dedicated to the banner raising and championship ring ceremonies for the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins tomorrow night from 6:30-7p. The special will be followed by NHL Live before heading into the channel’s first exclusive Wednesday night Game of the Week pitting the Bruins against the Hurricanes.

ESPN has promoted Freddy Rolon to Vice President of ESPN Deportes Programming and Business Initiatives for the company. In his new role, Rolon will oversee the ESPN Deportes programming team while retaining responsibility for the ESPN Deportes Radio and the ESPN businesses.

BTN has made its selections for its Oct. 22 football games, choosing Indiana/Iowa at noon, with Penn St./Northwestern at 7p. 

Boston College Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo apologized to ACC presidents and ADs for stating in an interview with the Boston Globe that ESPN told the league to add Pitt and Syracuse to the conference. The comments set off controversy from pundits who questioned the company’s role in the affairs, with the New York Times calling it a “stunning” admission. DeFilippo now states that he was erroneous when he made the comments. 

The AP reports that England’s Football Association has renewed its relationship with FOX soccer, inking a deal to give the channel U.S. rights to national team home games, the FA Cup as well as the Community Shield through the 2017-18 season. The deal includes rights in all languages and also covers the Caribbean. Under terms of the deal, Fox also gets rights to England’s Under-21 team games and FA tournament draws.

Universal Sports Network is lined up to present multi-platform coverage of the 2011-2012 International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine Ski World Cup events with 36 international competitions on deck for the season, including the World Cup Finals. Overall, the network will offer more than 130 hours of total television coverage throughout the season, which begins in Solden, Austria on Sat., October 22. The broadcast team will feature play-by-play announcer Steve Porino joining analyst Doug Lewis.

The UFC 136 Prelims special on Spike TV drew an all-time low for the channel, scoring a 0.8 household rating with one million viewers tuning in. The previous special delivered 1.6 million.

Armada Sports & Entertainment has reached an agreement with CBS Sports to broadcast the company’s four Million Dollar Invitationals in the fall and winter of 2012 and 2013. The Million Dollar Invitationals are a series of four golf events known as The Golf Championships, which culminate in a nine-hole shootout format. CBS will broadcast the events on Saturday afternoons in the fall-winter of 2012.

The LA Times reports that the NFL is considering creating a Spanish-language version of its popular RedZone Channel, in a continuing effort to court Hispanic viewers.

HRTV is set to debut the 2011 Aachen World Horse Festival in its lineup tomorrow at 9:30p. The World Equestrian Festival took place in Aachen, Germany in July, and drew more than 380 riders.The festival serves as an anchor for the channel’s series of equestrian shows throughout the Fall season.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Kantar Media released data yesterday from August showing notable growth in its football category, which drew in 16.6 million unique visitors, to score a month-over-month increase of 94.6% percent and a 22.2% percent rise year-over-year for the sport. This interest showcased that fans were ready to forgive and forget the lockout, according to the company.

Armada Sports & Entertainment has appointed Mary Beck to the company’s Board of Directors, effective October 15, 2011. Beck currently serves as Senior Vice President of Marketing & Promotion for MLB Network.

Digital Fields

With hockey season underway, the NHL is reporting online traffic continue to rise, with unique visitors to up 7% compared to best last year’s record opening weekend number. Internationally, the trend continues with traffic up in: Finland (82%), Sweden (47%), Germany (40%), Czech Republic (252%), Russia (31%) and Slovakia (79%). In addition, the league found a 57% increase in video starts and subscriptions to NHL GameCenter LIVE are up 105% over the same period last season

Retailer Dreams has partnered with Comcast Sports Group to create regional online fan shops at that are designed to sell sports memorabilia products associated with local teams across markets that include: Baltimore, Bay Area (San Francisco), Chicago, New England, Philadelphia and  Washington D.C. As part of the partnership, Comcast SportsNet will target local fans via on-air promotions and advertising through Comcast affiliated sports channels in their respective markets.

Top Social Programs in Sports for the week ending Oct.9 (games only), according to’s Social 100:
1.      NFL                Jets/Patriots            CBS                        10/9
2.      MLB                Tigers/Yankees           TBS                        10/6
3.      MLB                Cardinals/Phillies               TBS                        10/6
4.      NFL                Packers/Falcons          NBC                        10/9
5.      MLB                Yankees/Tigers           TBS                        10/4

The Main Event

The MLB post-season continues… Rangers/Tigers on FOX at 4p, Brewers/Cardinals on TBS at 8p.

ON THIS DAY in 1992: Washington Redskin Hall of Famer Art Monk sets an NFL record with his 820th reception

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question:  What NBA star has made the most 3 pointers in the league? Answer: Ray Allen. Kudos: Blayke Scheer – YES Network/Stamford; Anthony Diaz – Sporting News/NYC; Peter Finan – Optimum Sports/NY; Brian Traynor – FOX Sports Net, HTS/NY; Jay Goslee – Comcast Spotlight  Nashville/Nashville; Scott McAdams – INTERSPORT/Chicago; Dan Radman – Busch Media Group/St. Louis; Paul Gygli – NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City; Randy Sollenberger – One Three, Inc./LA

In The Know:    What team was Boston College playing when Doug Flutie threw the famed immaculate reception?  (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 Cyn opsis | Sports

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