01/13/15: ESPN, Tennis Channel serve up Australian Open; CBS scores with Colts upset; ESPN launches The Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund


Good morning. It’s Tuesday, January 13, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

ESPN and Tennis Channel are serving up the Australian Open starting this weekend. ESPN’s coverage begins Sunday at 7p, with over 100 live hours on deck on TV and WatchESPN and 800 hours slated from a record 13 courts on ESPN3. ESPN’s coverage wraps up with the women’s and men’s championships live on ESPN at 3a on Saturday, Jan. 31, and Sunday, Feb. 1, with an encore presentation later that morning at 9a on ESPN2. Programming will see ESPN2 offer daily, marathon, overnight telecasts from Melbourne, primarily starting at 9p through the women’s semifinals, when the action switches to ESPN.

Meanwhile, in its eighth year of Australian Open coverage, Tennis Channel will debut a live, hour-long, daily introductory show. Hosted Brett Haber, Jim Courier, Martina Navratilova and Jon Wertheim, Live at the Australian Open will air most nights from 6-7p immediately preceding the start of the day’s play Down Under. Overall, Tennis Channel will have 11 consecutive days and 40 hours of live coverage at this year’s Australian Open and will devote close to 200 hours to the two-week major. Coverage begins Jan. 19 at 7p, marking the first of 10 days of primetime match play beginning at that time and include the channel’s Australian Open Today daylong block of encore-match and highlight programming.


Good news for CBS, which saw Sunday’s telecast of the Colts win over the Broncos rank as the second-highest-rated Sunday AFC Divisional Playoff game in 19 years. The matchup delivered an average fast national household rating/share of 23.3/39, up 1% from last year with an average of 41.8 million viewers.

Meanwhile, the NFL released more info about the upcoming 4th Annual NFL Honors. With Seth Meyers set to host, the special will air on NBC on Jan. 31 at 9p and feature the newest Pro Football Hall of Fame class announced and introduced during the show. Kicking off the night will be Super Bowl Saturday Night presented by XFINITY, a red carpet show on NFL Network that runs from 8-9p, “featuring the sights and sounds of Super Bowl week and many of the stars who will be celebrating the best of the NFL later that evening.” Sponsors of NFL Honors are set to include Bose, Bridgestone, Lenovo, Nationwide, Surface, SAP and XFINITY.

Golf Channel is expanding its coverage of the 62nd annual PGA Merchandise Show. Partnering with the PGA of America and PGA Worldwide Golf Exhibitions, Golf Channel’s coverage will span Jan. 20-23 and offer nearly 15 hours of live programming over the four day period. Morning Drive will cover the PGA Merchandise Show Tuesday-Friday, while Golf Central will report live throughout the week and feature interviews and segments.

NBA TV announced plans to carry 10 live game broadcasts from the 2015 NBA D-League Showcase presented by Samsung starting Thursday. The Showcase will see each of the NBA D-League’s 18 teams play two games each with eight teams playing for the inaugural Showcase Cup. The network’s coverage will include highlights, interviews and daily recaps on both NBA GameTime and The Starters.

Only 9 days until deadline for the Cynopsis Sports Media Awards! Get your entries in NOW!

NBC’s NHL Game of the Week hits the ice for the first time this season on Sunday, with the network offering up the Rangers/Penguins at 12:30p on the network. Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, analyst Eddie Olczyk and analyst Pierre McGuire will have the call from CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The United States Golf Association, in partnership with Rolex, announced the premiere date of the documentary Nicklaus: The Making of a Champion. The one-hour special is produced by the USGA and Ross Greenburg Productions and will debut at noon on Jan. 18 on FOX and honors Nicklaus’ upcoming 75th birthday on Jan. 21.


Webinar: Generation Edge – Catching the New Wave of Viewers
Thursday, February 26, 2015 | 1:30PM to 3:00PM | Register Today

– The importance of a digital strategy aligned with Edgers’ viewing habits
– How to build influence by tapping into their passions through cause marketing
– How to market in an organic way, with an unscripted digital & social campaign

– When micro-targeting to different groups in this diverse population makes sense


The V Foundation for Cancer Research and family members representing Stuart Scott are launching a new cancer research fund honoring the memory of Stuart Scott. The Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund is designed to help continue Stuart’s fight against cancer and “assist some of the most vulnerable and disproportionately impacted communities battling this horrible disease.” Initially, V Scholar Grants and Translational Research Grants will be funded, awarded to investigators developing their own independent laboratory research projects.

ESPN sold its first “programmatic” ad for SportsCenter, according to the Wall Street Journal, with Turbo Tax running a 30-second ad during the Saturday 1a edition of the show. The report states that Turbo Tax purchased that ad via a Web-based auction, marking the first such “programmatic” ad the network has sold as part of a new initiative announced in December.


Global fantasy sports platform developer Mondogoal is adding FC Barcelona as a team partner, marking the first La Liga club partner. “Adding FC Barcelona to our stable of team partners is exciting for many reasons.   Barça is football, from Cruyff and Maradona on through Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry and of course Messi, Neymar, Xavi and Iniesta,” said Mondogoal CEO and Founder Shergul Arshad. “More importantly, FC Barcelona isn’t just football.  FCB is the largest, most engaged club in the world on social media, with over 80 million Facebook followers, and we know that following will be key to the success of our partnership. Their fans are passionate and involved in all things Barca, and this is a new, fun and innovative way for them to follow and participate with their friends and supporters around the world, in real time.”

New York-based digital consulting firm Omnicom announced the release of the official 2015 Rugby World Cup mobile app for its latest client, World Rugby. Omnigon was chosen to develop the app as part of the digital experience leading to the 2015 Cup with the app set to be released in three phases; the first phase is now available for iOS and Android smartphones internationally with news, team info and tournament details. The final two phases and a tablet version will roll out in advance of tournament commencement in September 2015.  

In 2014, streaming of ESPN Audio content generated more than 7.8 billion total listening minutes, according to the company, marking an 8% spike over 2013.  Streaming numbers include all online listening to live ESPN Audio programming  talk and event. ESPN On Demand (podcasts) totaled more than 302 million downloads in 2014.


Omnigon brought in Phil Sharpe as the company’s new Senior Vice President, Client Strategy and Engagement. The former Turner Broadcasting executive will focus on the development and quality execution of all client strategies and will also work closely with the executive management team to support organizational growth by spearheading new sales initiatives and assisting in expanding existing client relationships.
Minor League Baseball named Kurt Hunzeker as Vice President, Marketing Strategy where he will develop a strategic plan to identify new clients and partners for the marketing arm of Minor League Baseball, MiLB Enterprises. Meanwhile, Heather Raburn was promoted to Assistant Director, Account Services.


Spurs/Wizards on NBA TV at 7p.


2015 Cynopsis Sports Media Awards

The Cynopsis Sports Media Awards are open to all individuals and teams worldwide including: networks, MSOs, teams, leagues, associations, universities, production companies/studios, producers, video game developers/producers, website developers, app developers/producers, licensing companies, marketing companies, PR firms, ad agencies, creative services teams, and developers.

Eligibility Period
To be eligible, the entry/campaign initiative must have taken place between Jan. 1, 2014 – Jan. 1, 2015.

ON THIS DAY in 1999: Michael Jordan retires for the second time.

In The Know (take two): Which (now retired) NFL player hold the record for most consecutive seasons with an interception? (Hint: he had 19.) (Email [email protected] 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.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: At what school did coaching great Dean Smith play college basketball? Answer: Kansas. Kudos: Ben Sturner-Leverage Agency/NY; Jon Latzer-CBS Digital Media/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Ken Nice-Yoh/Silver Spring; Jonathan Norman-Bespoke Sports and Entertainment/Charlotte; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Wayne "World B." Otto-Pro-Am Sports/Boone; Suzy Shoup-Moroch/Dallas; Jeremy Bowman-ESPN/Chicago; Kevin Wicker-Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network/Mission; Chuck Gordon-WVTM-TV/Birmingham; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; Nick Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
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