03/09/16: TV’s Tournament tactics; Braves/Marlins get Bragg-ing rights; Jeep parks at Big East


Road To The Final Four
Men’s College Basketball Conference Tournaments

Holy Cross vs. Lehigh (Patriot Championship) Tonight 7:30 ET
Mountain West Tomorrow & Friday
Conference USA Friday
Atlantic 10 Saturday

The 24-hour home of CBS Sports


Good morning. It’s Wednesday March 9, 2016, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

CBS Sports and Turner Sports unveiled their gameplan for all 67 games from the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship with carriage once again spanning TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV while TBS takes on the National Championship for the first time on April 4 with pre-game at 7p. Turner Sports and CBS Sports will offer team-specific, originally produced telecasts of the National Championship and Final Four National Semifinals with the return of Team Stream by Bleacher Report on TNT and truTV and all six unique telecasts offering separate announce teams and multiple viewing options highlighting each of the competing schools. Overall, CBS and TBS both carry 21 games this time around, with truTV lined up for 13 and TNT set to carry 12.

On the talent front, Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and reporter Tracy Wolfson will call the Final Four National Semifinals and National Championship, with Ernie Johnson and Greg Gumbel will again host studio coverage from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City during the first full week of the tournament. New roles this year will see Brian Anderson, Steve Smith and Dana Jacobson team up to call games through the Regional Finals; Carter Blackburn offer play-by-play for the first two rounds; Wally Szczerbiak joining the Atlanta studio team from the First Four through the Regional Semifinals; Ros Gold-Onwude joining as reporter; and Swin Cash serving as a studio analyst for the First Four games.


ESPN’s coverage of North Carolina/Duke on Saturday handed the channel with an average of 3,174,000 viewers, to mark the most-watched college basketball game on record of the 2015-16 season on TV, according to Nielsen. On WatchESPN, the matchup added 69,000 average minute impressions to the TV audience, with 229,000 viewers watching 8,795,000 minutes, up 46%, 51%, 37%, respectively, from last season’s season finale for the two ACC rivals. Overall this season, ESPN’s Big Mondays Presented by Delta averaged 1,477,000 viewers per game, up 9% from the 2014-2015 season while its Thursday Night Showcase averaged 922,000 viewers per game, up 10%.

Univision Deportes is touting its growth in the ratings wars, announcing yesterday that Univision Deportes Network took February as the fastest-growing cable sports network, regardless of language. UDN averaged 186,000 Total Viewers and 113,000 Adults 18-49 in primetime, for upticks of 94% and 92% over year ago numbers.

Golf Channel saw the season premiere of Feherty draw an average of 325,000 viewers in official Live+Same Day numbers, for a rise of 213% over last season’s premiere. With a .33 HH Cvg rating, the episode now ranks as the second-highest rated episode premiere of Feherty in the history of the series. Meanwhile, NBC’s coverage of the WGC-Cadillac Championship’s Final Round on Sunday drew 4.018 million viewers for a 22% spike year-over-year, to generate a 2.63 household rating. That marks the most-watched PGA TOUR Round on NBC since The Players Final Round in May 2015.

MLB announced that the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins will play a “first-of-its-kind” regular season game designed to honor the nation’s servicemen and servicewomen at Fort Bragg in North Carolina on July 3. The game will air nationally on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball and ESPN Radio at 8p. Following the game, the ballpark will be converted to a permanent softball field and multi-purpose facility for those who serve at Fort Bragg, a gift courtesy of the Major League Clubs and Players. This event will mark the first regular season game of a professional sport ever played on an active military base.

ABC is revving up for its portion of this season’s Verizon IndyCar Series, launching Sunday with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Pre-race begins at 12:30p with the green flag at 12:52p. The year will see an all-new graphics package n the network featuring a new design for the scoring ticker than runs across the top of the screen during the race, while the races will now see an upgraded and revised version of the popular “Side-by-Side” feature. Allen Bestwick serves as lead announcer and will be joined by Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever.


Top Women in Digital Awards Breakfast

Celebrating exceptional women blazing a trail in the digital media industry. This must-attend event recognizes excellence in digital content, marketing, advertising, social media, and online. Honorees will be applauded during an awards breakfast reception from 8:15-10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 24 at the Yale Club NYC.


Event space is limited so register your team today!


Jeep is onboard as the presenting sponsor of the Big East conference championships. The agreement with the Jeep brand is one of the partnerships included in the recent five-year extension of the sponsorship sales representation agreement between the Conference and FOX Sports. The deal will see the Jeep brand receive category exclusivity, use of Conference marks and Tournament logos in promotional materials, as well as rights to conduct other marketing initiatives and programs. Jeep’s commitment also includes a comprehensive media and marketing buy. In addition to the Jeep brand, new conference sponsors for 2016 include PrimeSport as the official VIP hospitality and travel partner and Continental Tire as the official tire of the Conference. Days Inn will also be a promotional partner, joining returning partners Nike, Gatorade, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Geico Auto Insurance, Westwood One Radio and Sidearm Sports.

The Big Ten Network launched the BTNmoji keyboard, which will serve as the sole emoji keyboard to feature all 14 Big Ten schools. Developed by mobile messaging company, Snaps, the keyboard allows fans to share their emotions after every game and during each season with schools including Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, and more. Throughout March Madness and the entire calendar year, the BTNmoji keyboard will feature relevant updates to emojis and GIFs that can be shared in real-time.

Under Armour debuted the newest short film as part of its Rule Yourself campaign, with the latest outing featuring Michael Phelps. Driven by the central theme of JOMO (the joy of missing out), the film highlights the nature of Phelps’ training and builds on the brand’s earlier spots featuring members of the USA Gymnastics Women’s National Team and Netherlands Football star Memphis Depay. Under Armour also unveiled the official uniforms for USA Boxing, USA Gymnastics, and Canada Rugby.

Following Maria Sharapova’s admission to the use of banned drugs, the tennis star has now lost multiple sponsors due to the failed drug test. Among the brands distancing themselves from the athlete and suspending deals are TAG Heuer, Nike and Porsche.

Outdoor Sportsman Group  Networks announced the expansion of its multi-platform partnership with The Revolution with Jim & Trav (The Revolution). The syndicated radio show and podcast has been serving as “The Official Radio Program of Outdoor Channel” since 2013 and will now add Sportsman Channel and World Fishing Network as title sponsors. The partnership enables shared cross-promotional marketing opportunities.
The Hershey Company locked in a two-year partnership with USA Gymnastics at serve as the exclusive confectionery sponsor through 2017. Hershey also tapped Shannon Miller to serve as a brand ambassador through the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The partnership will add to its “Hello Happy. Hello Hershey’s” campaign, and will integrate Hershey’s partnerships with USA Gymnastics through several special events, activities and media opportunities.


espnW launched its first international online site in Brazil in a move to “encourage interest in women’s sports in Brazil through written and multimedia content focused on health and lifestyle, in addition to high-profile competitions and athletes who compete in them.” The platform is divided into four verticals (news, lifestyle, specials and blogs) and will see current ESPN Brazil commentators and former Olympic athletes contributing that include Magic Paula (basketball), Ana Moser (volleyball), Flavia Delaroli (swimming), Juiana Cabral (soccer) and Daniele Zangrando (judo), in addition to journalists Juliana Veiga and Gabriela Moreira.

Sports Illustrated launched a new franchise with "100 Greatest Moments in Sports History,” a series of 100 short-form films exploring pivotal moments in the history of sports as curated by the editors of SI. Ranked from 1-100, the digital franchise includes Jackie Robinson’s MLB debut, Billie Jean King’s ‘Battle of the Sexes’ victory over Bobby Riggs, Magic Johnson’s NBA All-Star Game return and Boise St.’s victory over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. Making the top… the Miracle on Ice.


The PGA of America extended the contract of CEO Pete Bevacqua through the end of 2021. His current contract had been set to expire in November 2018.

Click 3X tapped Jon Achar to oversee its Sports & Entertainment division, where he’ll serve as Executive Producer and oversee new business operations and helping to grow Click 3X’s footprint in the sports and entertainment categories. He most recently served as Vice President Marketing, Creative Services and Consumer Products at ESPN.


Virginia became the first state to approve legislation regulating the fantasy sports industry. The AP writes that Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed legislation Monday formally legalizing and regulating sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings. Under the new law, fantasy sites have to pay a $50,000 registration fee and submit to regular outside audits.


Clippers/Thunder on ESPN at 9:30p.


The finalists have been announced for the
Cynopsis Social Good Awards!

Our finalists are a vibrant group of engaged professionals who work hard and are committed to evolving the media industry, while giving back to the public through their profession. Join us on April 7th in NYC to celebrate their achievements.

Click to see the full list of finalists, and save your place at this year’s breakfast event: http://www.cynopsis.com/event/2016-sga-event/.

ON THIS DAY in 1995: Major League Baseball awards Tampa Bay and Arizona with MLB franchises.

In The Know: Who was the last athlete to be named the NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player AND become the very first pick of the NBA draft? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: The WWE Hall of Fame will induct The Big Boss Man into its ranks on April 2. What weapon did he traditionally bring to the ring as part of his persona? Answer: Nightstick/police baton. Kudos: Mitch Askenas-MissionOne/NY; Alexander Khilnani-NBC Sports/NY; Maxine Dillon-MediaVest/NY; Len Appel-Corbis Entertainment/NY; David Koonin-CAA Sports/Atlanta; Mike Antolini-Tiger Woods Foundation/Boston; Matt Marin-MLB Network/New Jersey; Jeff Schroeder-Time Warner Cable/Centerville; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner and Triathlete magazine/Houston; John D. Ryan-KAZT/Prescott; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank; Eric Mirlis-FOX Sports/LA; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/Sacramento.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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