01/15/15: NBC Sports punches up boxing slate; FOX Sports details MLS return; ESPN tees up Sunday Night Baseball lineup


Good morning. It’s Thursday, January 15, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

NBC Sports Group is expanding its presence in the ring, announcing a multi-year deal to carry the boxing series PBC on NBC this spring. The deal will see 20 live boxing shows featuring Premier Boxing Champions in 2015 on NBC and NBCSN starting Saturday, March 7, at 9p on the broadcast channel. The debut show will be hosted by Al Michaels, who will also host subsequent primetime PBC shows on NBC. Overall, programming will include 5 Saturday shows in primetime on NBC, 6 in the afternoon and 9 in primetime on NBCSN. In addition, NBC UNIVERSO, the general entertainment cable channel for Latinos launching on Feb. 1, will televise encore presentations of select shows.


FOX Sports 1 revealed its inaugural regular-season Major League Soccer TV slate from its new deal with the league, with coverage set to launch on March 8 with the first of three doubleheaders, starting with the New York Red Bulls/Sporting Kansas City at 7p. Overall, the slate consists of 34 matches, with 33 games scheduled for FOX Sports 1, one on FOX Sports 2, and most matches kicking-off in prime time at 7p on Sundays. All MLS games are set to be simulcast on FOX Deportes, and streamed on FOX Sports GO in Spanish.

Meanwhile, ESPN opened the books on its early-season 2015 Sunday Night Baseball schedule, beginning with MLB Opening Night presented by Scotts featuring the Cardinals/Cubs on ESPN2 on April 5 at 8p. Early season games are set to showcase the likes of New York Yankees/Boston Red Sox (Apr. 12, May 3), St. Louis Cardinals/Cincinnati Reds (Apr. 19) and New York Yankees/New York Mets (Apr. 26). Dan Shulman will return for his fifth season as the voice of Sunday Night Baseball and will be joined by returning analysts Curt Schilling and John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney.

Golf Channel is bringing its game to the Super Bowl as sister channel NBC prepares for the big contest. Golf Channel will, starting Jan. 27, offer a slate of events and themed programming from Phoenix throughout the week. Programming includes Golf Central on the road to the site of the PGA TOUR’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. On Jan. 28 at 7p, an extended version of Golf Central will showcase the Phoenix Suns Shot at Glory, a closest-to-the-pin contest for charity featuring celebrities, business leaders and Wounded Warriors. On Monday, Jan. 26 at 9p, season five of Feherty will begin with a visit with Al Michaels. David Feherty will also offer two Feherty Live stage shows that will air on the network on Jan. 28 and 29 at 10p. Local fans will have the chance to win tickets to a Feherty Liveshow via a social media scavenger hunt titled #FindingFeherty with 49 pairs of tickets up for grabs that will be hidden in high-trafficked, public places in the Phoenix area.

More good news from the College Football Playoff National Championship, as ESPN Deportes scored the most-watched, highest-rated college football game ever on Spanish-language television. The game averaged a 0.9 Hispanic household and 229,000 Hispanic P+2 viewers. The Championship game also broke record as the highest-rated and most-watched football game ever on ESPN Deportes.

The YES Network announced that the channel finished the 2014 broadcast year as the most-watched RSN in the country for the 11th time in 12 years, with its Primetime and Total Day deliveries both experiencing double-digit year-over-year growth in the New York DMA. Primetime delivery averaged 58,000 Households in the New York DMA was a 16% increase while average Total Day delivery of 23,000 Households in market was up 10%.

ESPN is fine-tuning its 2015 ABC NBA Showcase regular-season schedule with the addition of two Houston Rockets games. On March 1, the Rockets host the Cleveland Cavaliers at 3:30p and the network added a new NBA broadcast window on Sunday, Mar. 29, as the Rockets will visit the Wizards at 12:30p.

Speaking of scheduling changes, CBS Sports Network added six games to its 2014-15 college basketball schedule through a deal with the Ivy League with the package set to include appearances by all eight schools in the League, as well as three games featuring defending Ivy League Champion Harvard. Coverage tips off on CBS Sports Network on Friday, Feb. 6 with Dartmouth/Yale at 7p.

Heading into Super Bowl XLIX, ESPN will debut a special one-hour documentary from ESPN Films and NFL Films focusing on four photographers who have taken pictures at all 48 Super Bowls. The special, Keepers of the Streak, will premiere on Friday, Jan. 23, at 7p on ESPN and re-air on Jan. 24 at noon on ABC.

Universal Sports Network offers multi-platform coverage of the 2015 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships from Austria starting today and running through the 25th. .“As the year-round home to Olympic sports programming in the United States, we are excited to kick off our ‘World Championship Year’ with these action-packed freestyle ski and snowboarding events,” said Universal Sports President Scott Brown. “The world-class competitions we plan to broadcast this year will place a spotlight on Olympic sports outside of the Olympics themselves, and ultimately bring them more deserved attention as we look ahead to the 2016 Rio Games and beyond.”

Will you be ponying up for Amazon Prime to watch Woody Allen’s upcoming TV show? Let us know by voting in the new Cynopsis poll.
Tennis Channel and Buckeye CableSystem locked in a multiyear carriage agreement ahead of the 2015 Australian Open, with the channel set to run throughout its network in Ohio, including Erie and Toledo, and southeast Michigan. As a part of Buckeye’s rollout of Tennis Channel, it is offering its customers TV Everywhere access to the network at no additional cost.

SiriusXM hired instructor Claude Harmon III to host a new series on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. Harmon III will make his radio debut live from the SiriusXM set at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL, on January 21 at noon and will be joined on set by his father, Butch Harmon. The new show will air monthly.

NASCAR announced revisions to the NASCAR Hall of Fame (NHOF) Voting Panel, adding a batch of eight new voters to its 58-member panel. For the first time, new NASCAR broadcast partner NBC will be represented on the Voting Panel, represented by Jeff Burton. Other new members include the likes of FOX Sports 1’s Steve Byrnes and ESPN’s Marty Smith.


Cynopsis Sports Media Awards

Entry Deadline: January 22, 2015
Awards Event: April 16, 2015 (NYC)

Visit our website for additional information on:
Who Should Enter, How to Enter, Eligibility Period, Categories, Deadlines, Sponsorship Opportunities & FAQs.
Questions? Contact Pete Romas at 203.899.8483


Century 21 Real Estate is coming back as the official real estate company of USA Bobsled & Skeleton for the second year in a row. The sponsorship includes a dedicated sled wrapped in black and gold featuring the CENTURY 21 logo. In addition, the company’s logo will receive placement on all national team sleds and team jackets.

The New York Rangers launched My RangersTown, presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which looks for fans throughout the tri-state area to share their personal stories of Blueshirts passion and pride. As a new aspect of the team’s RangersTown marketing campaign, the program includes the introduction of MyRangersTown.com, a digital community where fans can share their stories of dedication to the Rangers and view those from other Blueshirts faithful.


The NBPA named Jordan Schlachter as the organization’s first-ever CMO. Schlachter served as Executive Vice President for The Marketing Arm’s sports marketing and sponsorship consulting practice.

Discovery Communications tapped Jean-Thierry Augustin as President, Sports Strategy & Development in a newly created position at Discovery Networks International. The company also named Peter Hutton as Chief Executive Officer of Eurosport.


Thunder/Rockets at 8p on TNT.


Are you ready for Generation Edge?

Move over, Millennials. As over a quarter of the population, “Generation Edge”  born beginning in 1995  is the demo media and marketers must reach now to stay ahead of the curve. Join us on Thursday, February 26, 2015 for a Cynopsis webinar, Generation Edge: Catching the New Wave of Viewers, offering insight into this diverse, wise-beyond-their years demo, and strategies for connecting with a savvy, surprisingly sophisticated group of influencers.


ON THIS DAY in 1967: The Packers beat the Chiefs in Super Bowl I.

In The Know: Why was Mark Wahlberg nicknamed the “Yankee Clipper” in the movie The Other Guys? (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: Who is the NBA’s all-time leader in steals? Answer: John Stockton. Kudos: B. David Ridpath-Ohio University/Bayreuth; Jay Goldstein-Admore/NY; Jon Clateman-Frozen Ropes/NY; Denis Barry-CBS Television Stations/NY; Don Gorski-Westwood One Sports/NY; Andy Pittman-Texas A&M/College Station; Steve Hirsen/Sherman Oaks; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside; Robb Rothfarb-AdMore/Temecula; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City.

Later — Chris
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