02/06/15: Nielsen puts 2014 sports under a microscope; Turner doubles down on NBA All-Star; MLB finds an Anomaly


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Good morning. It’s Friday February 6, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Nielsen released its State of the Media: 2014 Year in Sports Media Report yesterday, examining highlights, advertiser trends and consumer insights across multiple sports properties. Needless to say, events that range from the Winter Olympics to the World Cup drove mobile sports consumption to new heights. According to the report, 18-34 demo posted a 53% increase in digital viewing from Q2 2013 to Q2 2014, while viewing grew 80% and 60% among Americans 35-49 and 50-64, respectively.

Other highlights:

  • From October 2012 to 2014, the average user increased their monthly time spent on mobile sports content by 35%.
  • Sports radio attracts 23 million weekly listeners, who tune in for an average of 4 hours a week with a full 29% of that listening taking place at home.
  • Compared to the average US adult, avid NFL fans are: 27% more likely to have spent more than $100 on fine jewelry in the past 12 months; 47% more likely to have drunk beer in the past 7 days and 17% more likely to plan on buying furniture in the next 12 months.
  • With 43% of its audience under 35, the NBA has one of the youngest fanbases of all sports. While white viewers still watch the least on average in the 18-34 demographic, they’re catching up with Hispanic viewers.
  • 11 out of the 30 MLB teams claimed title as the highest-rated, most-watched local programming during primetime for both broadcast and cable during the 2014 season. Another 6 ranked within the top 3 in local primetime within their respective networks.
  • Compared to the average US adult, avid NHL fans are: 15% more likely to have taken a domestic flight 3 times or more in the past 12 months; 29% more likely to own both a tablet and a smartphone; 45% more likely to have spent $5,000 or more on home improvements in the past 12 months.
  • Soccer fans are 20% more likely than the average American to have household incomes over $100,000, and 31% more likely to have children under 17 at home.


Turner Sports is upping its game with the 64th annual NBA All-Star Game this week, announcing that Sunday’s event will, for the first time, be simulcast on TNT and TBS beginning at 8p. Overall, the company will dedicate more than 26 hours toward NBA All-Star 2015 in New York from Feb. 12-15. Marv Albert calls his 20th NBA All-Star Game, with analysts Reggie Miller and Chris Webber, working his first NBA All-Star Game, along with reporters David Aldridge and Rachel Nichols. On the eve of the game, TNT will feature the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Feb. 14, at 8p. Actor Anthony Anderson joins Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller to host the night’s festivities. Heading into the Saturday night lineup, TNT will also feature a series of original programming including a New York themed Open Court telecast at 5p.

NBA Digital, co-managed by Turner Sports and the NBA, will offer inside access to practices, interviews with players and coaches, and highlights, news and information across NBA TV, NBA.com and NBA Mobile. Overall, more than 140 hours of All-Star programming are in the cards, highlighted by NBA TV’s exclusive one-on-one interview with Kobe Bryant on Monday, Feb. 16, at 9p. NBA TV original programming will also include All-Star episodes of NBA Inside Stuff presented by Samsung GALAXY, The Starters, NBA GameTime, The Beat presented by The All-New Chrysler 200 and a 30-minute look at basketball and New York City, The City Game, hosted by Kenny Smith. 

ESPN joins the All-Star festivities on Feb. 13 with the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game 2015 at 7p. Mark Jones and analyst Jon Barry will return to provide commentary for the telecast while Sage Steele hosts ESPN’s coverage and Cassidy Hubbarth set as sideline reporter. Of course, ESPN Audio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic serve as opposing coaches for the Celebrity Game, which will feature the likes of Kevin Hart, Ansel Elgort, Anthony Anderson, Common, Mo’ne Davis, Nick Cannon, Chris Mullin and more. 

It turns out the Super Bowl wasn’t the only thing that spiked on NBC last weekend. The network reports that weekend coverage of Premier League pitting Chelsea/Manchester City averaged 1.35 million viewers to rank as the third most-watched live Premier League match in U.S. history. In addition, the match ranks as the most-streamed weekend Premier League match in history, with more than 73,000 uniques on NBC Sports Live Extra.

ESPN staple Julie Foudy will stick around for a while longer, with espnW locking in the commentator, reporter and former international soccer star to a new multiyear contract. Foudy will now have a much more prominent role for espnW and be the lead voice during ESPN’s news and information coverage of the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Speaking of ESPN, the company unveiled its complete May 2015 schedule for Sunday Night Baseball. New games on tap, in addition to the previously announced Yankees/Red Sox matchup on May 3, include three Detroit Tigers games in May, beginning May 10, when they host the Royals. Additional May matchups include the Tigers/Cardinals on May 17, Rangers/Yankees on may 24 and Tigers/Angels on May 31.

Join Cynopsis Sports for the Monetizing and Maximizing Your Sports Content on Social Media Webinar on Tuesday, February 24, 2015. Our panelists will show you the best practices and strategies to turn a mere following into a powerful revenue channel and help your partners and fans alike connect across multiple platforms, from mobile to tablet. Click here to register today!

Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick, visits the Late Show with David Letterman on Feb. 11 to talk about the game. This will mark Belichick’s first talk show interview since the Patriots’ Super Bowl win.

Tennis Channel debuts the second season of tournament-travel show Tour Guide on Saturday at 1:30p. The premiere will directly follow the network’s live coverage of the first round of Fed Cup this weekend with other episodes this season exploring cities such as Shanghai; Istria, Croatia; and Monterrey, Mexico.

HSBC Sevens Rugby World Series hits the US for the only time in 2015, stopping in Las Vegas for the return of the USA Sevens. NBC Sports carries the matches live on Saturday, February 12 at 3:30p and Sunday, February 13 at 4:30p while Universal Sports offers added coverage starting on the 12th. 


Want to find out what shows are online and when?

Check out the Watcheroo Digital Programming Guide

Organized by show name, date, and platform, we have everything you’ll need to be caught up on digital premieres, ongoing programs, live-streamed events and integrated series.


Major League Baseball named Anomaly as its new creative agency for Major League Baseball. According to the release, work for MLB will include a new campaign for the upcoming season, as well as the promotion of Opening Day, the All-Star Game, postseason and the World Series. In addition, Anomaly will work with MLB Network and MLB Advanced Media to “create a cohesive message across all MLB entities.”

MSG Entertainment announced that the Rockettes will debut the show-stopping opening number from their all-new live theatrical production, New York Spring Spectacular, at the 64th NBA All-Star Game. The opening number of New York Spring Spectacular, presented by Chase, is set to the orchestrated music of Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York.” Prior to their performance, the Rockettes will perform alongside Christina Aguilera to open the night with a New York-themed medley prior to introducing the 2015 NBA All-Stars.

NFL Network host Rich Eisen will once again don a pair of cleats, along with a suit and tie, and run the 40-yard dash as part of the network’s coverage of the combine. This time, however, ‘Run Rich Run’ will benefit the NFL PLAY 60 relationship with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Fans will be able to show their support by submitting videos of themselves running the 40-yard dash. Along with their submissions, fans will be encouraged to donate money to help support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. To kick off the ‘Run Rich Run’ fundraising, NFL Network, DIRECTV and Under Armour have each pledged $25,000 to help support play therapy at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.


NBA Commissioner Adam Silver became the first major sports commissioner to participate in a Facebook Q&A that included integration with a local team’s regional sports network. The Q&A took place on the Warriors official Facebook page with Warriors broadcasters Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett fielding questions that fans submitted via Facebook. In addition, Commissioner Silver answered additional questions from fans from his own verified profile, making him the first commissioner to also conduct a Facebook Q&A from his own Facebook profile.


120 Sports is now available on Google Chromecast streaming devices through the 120 Sports Android and iOS mobile applications. The digital-only broadcast network offers 76 hours of live content, plus more than 1,200 on-demand video clips, each week.

For the first time ever, ESPN Films will premiere a full-length 30 for 30 film digitally. The film, Sole Man, will debut on Grantland.com in six parts-one chapter per day-from April 6 through 10, with the final two chapters running on the 10th. The film marks the directorial debut of Jon Weinbach and Dan Marks and showcases how former sports marketing executive Sonny Vaccaro rose “from his humble Pennsylvania steel-town roots to be at the forefront of the modern era of sports marketing in the $13 billion athletic-shoe industry.”


Louisville/Virginia on ESPN at 7p.

ON THIS DAY in 1993: Tennis great Arthur Ashe dies of complications from AIDS.

In The Know: What is the only Big Ten team to never play in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament? (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: What Hills Street Blues actor became the first running back in NCAA history to run for 4000 career rushing yards? Answer: Ed Marinaro. Kudos: B. David Ridpath-Ohio University/Bayreuth; John O’Neill-In Stadium/NY; David Tratner-Rodale Sports Group/NY; Bill Lacy-IMG Media Productions/NY; Paul Abramson-Playmakers Media Inc./NY; Jon Miller-NBC Sports/Stamford; Howie Schwab-Jeopardy/West Hartford; Dan Leary-USTA/Westerville; Ron Green-New England PGA/Boylston; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; Jack Hodgson-Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; Bill Robertson-WCHA/Edina; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Harry S Vested-GCSN/Denver; David Hauptman/Denver; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Jack Simmons-Fox Sports/LA; Tony Masucci-FTM Productions/Valley Village; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente.

Later — Chris
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Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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