03/24/15: NBA opens the doors for Univision; NFL goes dark on TV blackouts; Telemundo, NBC Universo open FIFA playbook


Good morning. It’s Tuesday March 24, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The NBA has a new teammate in Univision Deportes, striking a new multiyear deal designed to offer fans Spanish-language NBA content across Univision Deportes’ multimedia platforms, as well as offer activation around NBA signature events. The company will launch new NBA programming via UniMas and Univision Deportes Network, with UDN offering NBA Action, the weekly basketball show that will be customized in Spanish, beginning on Thursday. Additionally, UniMas presents Zona NBA, a new season-long, one-hour weekly show produced by Univision Deportes beginning with the upcoming NBA Playoffs and running through the end of the NBA Finals. On the marketing front, the deal will see Univision Deportes and the NBA unveiling new, enhanced co-branded ene-be-a web and mobile sites to further expand the league’s first fully integrated Hispanic marketing campaign with new domestic Spanish-language destinations starting in September.


The NFL is bidding farewell to the league’s long-running blackout policy, at least for a year. NFL teams approved a one-year suspension of the rule for the 2015 pre- and regular season games. The league will reevaluate the policy once the season concludes. Last year saw zero regular season blackouts, while the 2013 season saw two. Meanwhile, the league is also reportedly mulling an option to move the Pro Bowl to Brazil. FOX Sports reports that team owners are considering the shift away from US soil for the 2017 matchup.

NBCUniversal’s Telemundo and NBC UNIVERSO unveiled its 2015 FIFA Soccer plans, with both channels set to offer 560 hours of soccer action in 2015. Coverage will include 344 hours of online and mobile live-streams making it the first time that all the matches of four FIFA Soccer Events are made available in Spanish to a nationwide audience. The first FIFA tournament will feature the Men’s U-20 national teams, hosted by New Zealand from May 30 to June 20 with the platforms streaming all 52 matches live. In addition, Telemundo will carry live 10 matches including all competition involving the Mexican National Team and the Championship Final. NBC UNIVERSO telecasts will include 21 live matches, including the all USA National Team group stage matches. The FIFA Women’s World Cup will also see the channels streaming all 52 matches from the tournament. Telemundo will showcase 10 women’s matches including every competition featuring the Mexican National Team and the Championship Final. NBC UNIVERSO features 21 live matches, including all USA National Team group stage matches as well as a simulcast of Team USA competition. Andres Cantor leads a talent roster that also includes Sammy Sadovnik, Carlos Hermosillo and Manuel Sol.

More ratings bumps for the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. CBS Sports and Turner Sports report that their networks continue to score record-setting consumption across all multimedia platforms. Overall, TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV are averaging a 6.7/14 overnight rating/share to register as the highest-ever rating for the event through the first Sunday and up 6% versus 2014, based on Nielsen metered market ratings. This weekend’s exclusive third-round coverage on Saturday and Sunday averaged a 7.3/16 overnight rating/share, the highest rating for the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament in 22 years and a 7% increase over last year’s 6.8/14.

MLB Network debuts its first-ever regular season morning show, entitled MLB Central, on Opening Day, April 6 at 10a. The new series will be hosted by Matt Vasgersian, Mark DeRosa and Lauren Shehadi and mark the first program to originate from MLB Network’s new, state-of-the-art Studio 21. The series is designed to run every weekday morning, offering updates and context on news, extensive on-field highlights, and conversation with guests, celebrities, and insiders from around the league.

NBC Sports crosses the pond for the first time since the company kicked off its Premier League coverage in August 2013. The team’s entire Premier League broadcast team will work together on-location in the UK from April 11-13 with host Rebecca Lowe and analysts Robbie Earle, Kyle Martino and Robbie Mustoe joining NBC’s UK-based team of Arlo White, Lee Dixon, Graeme Le Saux and Steve Bower for more than 18 hours of live on-site Premier League coverage across three days. “One of our core principles has been to bridge the trans-Atlantic gap, and with our entire team on-site both in-stadium and pitch-side, we will be able to bring our audience closer to the action than ever before,” said Pierre Moossa, coordinating producer of NBC Sports Group’s Premier League coverage.

Get ‘em before they are gone! Don’t forget to RSVP you and your team for Cynopsis Sports Media Awards Breakfast on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at the NYAC .View the all the finalists and register your team here.

Tonight’s edition of HBO’s Real Sports at 10p will see the entire hour dedicated to “important issues and challenges facing the NCAA and its members.” In addition to two featured reports, host Bryant Gumbel will lead a roundtable discussion with former head men’s basketball coach at Oregon State University Craig Robinson, New York Times journalist Joe Nocera, President of Kansas State and Chair of the Board of Governors for the NCAA, Kirk Schulz as well as Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Kain Colter, who was a union activist while attending Northwestern University.

AXS TV Fights will see two promotions go head-to-head for the first time in its history, via a co-promoted live event broadcast May 8. AXS TV Fights announced that Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) and Legacy Fighting Championship (Legacy) have agreed to put their top fighters to the test for AXS TV Fights: RFA VS. Legacy Superfight on Friday, May 8 at 10p. “We’ve been broadcasting MMA on AXS TV for over a decade and this is one of the biggest events in our history of combat sports,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of AXS TV Fights. “I have been looking forward to the day AXS TV promotions would work together to promote an all-star card like this. RFA versus Legacy features three title fights including the much dreamed about champion versus champion match-up. Thank you to the fighters, RFA and Legacy for making this historic night come together.”

ONE World Sports extended its programming agreement with the Nippon Television Network Corporation for Yomiuri Giants baseball in 2015. The network will carry, live, all 71 of the team’s home games beginning with the March 27 home opener. The agreement also provides for rights to live stream the games and showcase video highlights on the network’s Watch ONE World Sports app.


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NBCUniversal and WWE are joining forces for a new brand campaign, “For The Hero In All of Us,” set will air across NBCUniversal’s slate of two broadcast networks, 17 cable channels and more than 50 digital properties in addition to WWE’s digital properties. In addition, the two companies will look to engage consumers through #MyHeroIs inviting fans to name their favorite WWE Superstars and share personal and inspirational stories of heroism. In addition, the companies announced that advertisers can work with NBCUniversal and WWE in new ways to tap into the “scale and reach of WWE’s multimedia platforms, which all deliver a TV-PG family-centric, multigenerational and multicultural audience,” to allow for bigger, more immersive opportunities for advertisers, including multiplatform, customized and turnkey initiatives around marquee tentpole events that include The Road to WrestleMania, The Slammy Awards, Champions of Fatherhood and Heroes of Tomorrow.

In addition, WWE announced that Skylar Grey, Kid Ink and Travis Barker will take the stage at WrestleMania 31, on Sunday at 7p from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. This year, more than 70,000 fans from all 50 states and more than 40 countries will hit the festivities for the annual event, according to the company.

NASCAR renewed its ties with Sherwin-Williams, locking in a three-year extension to their Official Partnership. The newly signed extension will designate Sherwin-Williams as the “Official Paint of NASCAR” through 2017. “Our continued partnership with Sherwin-Williams is another example of FORTUNE 500 brands successfully using NASCAR as an integral part of their marketing mix,” said Norris Scott, NASCAR vice president, Partnership Marketing. “Sherwin-Williams’ integrated approach using our intellectual property, both at track and at retail has proven highly effective. We look forward to expanding the Sherwin-Williams relationship across its multiple business divisions.”

The PGA TOUR and Getty Images Inc. added a seven-year extension of their marketing agreement that keeps Getty Images as the “Official Photographic Services Provider of the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Web.com Tour.” The deal will see Getty Images continue as the exclusive commercial photo supplier and provide the TOUR, its players, various business partners and global media access to its collection of golf imagery. The new agreement is through 2021.

The NCAA and IMG entered a broad partnership agreement for marketing rights with the National Association of Basketball Coaches and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. The 10-year deal will also include extended rights for publishing programs, licensing agreements, and assistance with championship ticketing sales. 

Adaptive Spirit will keep tradition alive this year, pairing U.S. Paralympians with telecommunications industry executives in the annual downhill race taking place at Vail Cascade Report this year from April 9-12. The industry event is the single largest source of funding for the U.S. Paralympic Ski Team and has raised over 8 million dollars over the course of its history with this year’s execs set to represent Google, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Disney/ESPN Media Networks, ARRIS, Cisco Systems, HBO, NBCUniversal and Ericcson.


More NFL news, as the WSJ confirmed that the league will place a regular-season game on a digital platform to be streamed worldwide, selecting the Bills/Jaguars game in London on Oct. 25 for the move. The game will still be available on television in the Buffalo and Jacksonville markets, but the game will not run on DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket, according to the report.

ESPN and the Verizon IndyCar Series deepened their ties, with ESPN Player set to deliver a new channel of the races to fans across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (excluding the UK, France, Italy and South Africa) with live and on-demand coverage on ESPN Player. The action starts with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 29.


Bruin Sports Capital continues to add to its team, announcing that Jeffrey Roth, Vincent Sarafa and Eva Hoffman will be joining the company. Roth will join as a Vice President and Principal, Sarafa will be an Associate. Hoffman will hold the role of Director of Corporate Development and Planning.

Moko Social Media appointed Leo Hindery to the Company’s Board as a Non-Executive Director, effective April 1, 2015. Hindery is Managing Partner of InterMedia Partners and was previously the founding Chairman and CEO of The YES Network.


Kings/Rangers on NBCSN at 7p.


***Now Open For Submissions***
The competition for best kids’ programming and marketing initiatives

Entry Deadline: May 1, 2015
Late Submissions: May 8, 2015
Awards Event: September 18, 2015 (NYC)

Visit our website for additional information on:
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ON THIS DAY in 1988: Dan Fouts retires from the NFL.

In The Know: With WrestleMania this weekend… Which wrestler did “Macho Man” Randy Savage beat to win the tournament and claim the WWF Championship at WrestleMania IV? (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: Gretzky’s number has been retired league wide. What number is it? Answer: 99. Kudos: Mitch Burg-Impact Communications/Israel; Keith Marder-Halstead Property/NY; Deborah Kapetanakis-Universal McCann/NY: Gregory Heller-Showtime Networks/NY; Joe Giovengo-Game Show Network/NY; Russell Burton-Bespoke Sports & Entertainment/Charlotte; John Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Ondrea L Brussee-Charter Media/Portage; Liz Eng-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Andy Pittman-Texas A&M University/College Station; Gretchen Brady-KDAF/Dallas; Bill Robertson-WCHA/Edina; Greg Moloznik/GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Linh Le-FOX Sports/LA; John Baghdassarian-Olympusat/LA; Brian Sullivan-KHQ-TV/Spokane; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside.

Later — Chris
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JOB OPENING: CM360 SALES COORD/NYC: Asst. Sales & Planning with all acct. management. Interact w/finance, traffic, and research. Some admin. Bachelor’s & Excel exp preferred. Media/Marketing exp is a + but not required. Please apply HERE (3/26)

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