Good morning. It’s Wednesday, September 19, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
The sports world mourned the death of a true sports media innovator yesterday with the passing of NFL Films President Steve Sabol. Sabol spent five decades as the creative force behind the league’s groundbreaking storytelling and cinematography that redefined how fans see football. Sabol died at the age of 69 after an 18-month battle with brain cancer.
“Steve Sabol was the creative genius behind the remarkable work of NFL Films,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Steve’s passion for football was matched by his incredible talent and energy. Steve’s legacy will be part of the NFL forever. He was a major contributor to the success of the NFL, a man who changed the way we look at football and sports, and a great friend.”
“Steve was a legend in this business – a dynamic, innovative leader who made NFL Films the creative force it is today,” said ESPN President John Skipper. “The work he and his dedicated and talented team create every day is one of the many reasons why so many more fans love the game of football today. On behalf of everyone at ESPN, I offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Penny, and the rest of the Sabol family.”
“It is with tremendous sadness that we learned of the legendary Steve Sabol’s passing,” said former FOX Sports Chairman, and current News Corp. Senior Executive Vice President, David Hill. “He was a terrific man and a skilled and talented artist. Steve and his father Ed built NFL Films from nothing and were pioneers in sports television and filmmaking, and after taking the reins from his father, Steve put his own stamp on NFL Films, and its ability to capture football’s nuance and subtlety. When we started FOX Sports, no one was more helpful than Steve, and in a short time he became a great, great friend. He was always there to listen to one of my idiotic ideas. Nothing was ever too much trouble for Steve, and no one, absolutely no one could rock a pink shirt while talking about the NFL as well as he could. He was greatly respected and will be missed by everyone at FOX and the entire NFL community.”
ESPN’s Peyton Manning homecoming on MNF delivered a 10.0 US household rating to the network with 15.5 million viewers tuning in. The game won the night for the network among all networks broadcast or cable – in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos. In Denver, the game delivered an 18.9 rating on ESPN and a 21.4 rating on KTVD-IND, for a combined 40.3 in the market. In Atlanta, the game drew a 12.5 rating on ESPN and a 16.3 rating on WSB-ABC, for a combined 28.8 in the market.
Showtime scored big with Saturday night’s Showtime Championship Boxing telecast of Knockout Kings. The channel drew record ratings for the Canelo Alvarez/Josesito Lopez bout with over one million viewers tuning in. The event was promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo Promotions in association with Goossen Tutor Promotions and Thompson Boxing Promotions. That viewership marks that second-highest rating for a boxing telecast on the premium network since 2007.
NBC’s Sunday Night Football officially drew 21.33 million viewers, according to Nielsen, and drew an adult 18-49 demo score of8.9. Meanwhile, pre-game show Football Night in America saw 11.74 million viewers at 8p.
The polls and fates have been kind to ESPN’s outlets, which are hitting the weekend with coverage of each of the top five teams in the Associated Press Top 25 poll on Saturday, and four in primetime. ABC’s weekly Saturday Night Football Presented by Windows broadcast will feature an ACC showdown in No. 10 Clemson/No. 4 Florida State at 8p. ESPN showcases a doubleheader with No. 2 LSU/Auburn at 7p, followed by No. 22 Arizona/No. 3 Oregon in a matchup of undefeated Pac-12 programs at 10:30p. ESPN2 offers No. 5 Georgia against Vanderbilt at 7:45p.
NBC Sports Group locked in an agreement with Robby Gordon’s Stadium SUPER Trucks to televise the 2013 Inaugural Stadium SUPER Trucks Season on NBC and NBC Sports Network. Starting in April of next year, the two channels will televise 12 races (11 domestic and one international) on their schedules, wrapping up on Nov. 10 on NBC.
The America East Conference revealed the league’s largest television package in conference history, announcing the ESPN will carry four championship games, both the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments and a minimum of 36 games for ESPN platforms, which marks a 44% bump over last season.
Golf Channel will unveil its hour-long film War by the Shore on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 9p. The special will center around the competition between the U.S.A. and Europe on Kiawah Island, S.C., in 1991 that transformed the Ryder Cup from a friendly exhibition to a high-stakes rivalry. The program comes from 51-time Emmy® Award-winning producer and former president of HBO Sports Ross Greenburg.
Entercom Boston and ESPN Radio announced that starting on Friday, October 5, Boston’s WEEI will split its AM/FM simulcast and begin broadcasting ESPN Radio on 850 AM. ESPN on WEEI will now air ESPN’s entire national lineup, including the entire upcoming MLB postseason schedule, the NBA, and college football and college basketball starting at 6a on Oct. 5.
Comcast SportsNet Chicago tapped Susannah Collins as the channel’s new anchor/reporter for SportsNet Central. She previously worked as a reporter for showtime Sports, the NFL Network and as a weekend sports anchor at WCBS in NY.
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Leo Burnett USA has been tapped as the lead advertising, branding and communications agency for the NCAA where the company will take part in strategic planning, creative development and national advertising. The NCAA is now ramping up to “extend its scope, from a TV-centric PSA approach to a multi-platform one that includes digital, social and non-traditional media.” The first campaign produced by Leo Burnett will launch in the spring of 2013.
Say goodbye to the TicketCity Bowl. The title sponsor announced that TicketCity will not continue as the title sponsor of the bowl game played at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas. The company stated that executives are now actively evaluating new bowl sponsorship opportunities.
MLS W.O.R.K.S., Major League Soccer’s community outreach initiative, is teaming with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to celebrate Goals for St. Jude Week this through Sept. 22. The week-long program asks soccer fans to join forces with their favorite MLS teams to support the lifesaving work of the hospital. Throughout the week and through September, PSAs about St. Jude will run in-stadium and on broadcasts featuring athletes from the league.
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Well with the NHL lockout in full swing, the drama has now received the Taiwanese animation treatment. Next Media Animation unveiled the viral video on YouTube, which can be found here.
Cloud-based video management and licensing services company T3Media, Inc. signed an exclusive agreement with the Professional Bull Riders to digitize PBR’s video library for global accessibility and licensing. The PBR Collection will be available exclusively through www.t3licensing.com.
The Main Event
Post-season contenders A’s and Tigers square off on ESPN at 7p.
ON THIS DAY in 1947: Jackie Robinson is named the Rookie of the Year.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: The Carolina Hurricanes were previously known as what NHL team? The Hartford Whalers. Kudos: Jay Goldstein-Vector Media/NY; Mike Donato-CBS/NY; Ross Molloy-CBS Sports Network/NY; Brad Klein-NASCAR/NY; Gregg Morriss-ESPN/Bristol; David Koonin-MELT/Atlanta; Christopher Doyle-CBC Sports/Toronto; Carol Teichman-Comcast Spotlight/Bloomfield; Bill Robertson-Tunheim Partners/Minneapolis; Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville; Eric Jackson-Richardson Bike Mart/Dallas; Tom Akers-Outdoor Channel/Chicago; JC Sullivan/Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; David Hauptman/Denver; Jerry Silbowitz-Size Sports & Entertainment/Beverly Hills; Jason Pecora-AT&T U-verse/LA; Bob Ware-CBS Local 2/Palm Desert; J.D. Carter-Actor/LA.
In The Know: What university has produced the most Olympic Gold Medal athletes? (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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