04/03/15: CBS tees off on 60 years at The Masters; Coca-Cola Zero has a new sense of Final Four marketing; DraftKings in the MLB lineup


Good morning. It’s Friday April 3, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

CBS Sports lined up its coverage plans for The Masters, marking the 60th consecutive year broadcasting the famed event. The company tees off programming with the third-round of the tournament on Saturday, April 11 at 3p, with Final-round 18-hole coverage slated for Sunday at 2p. For the 30th consecutive year Jim Nantz will cover the event, joining Sir Nick Faldo in the 18th hole tower as lead analyst. Ian Baker-Finch calls the action at the 17th hole; Verne Lundquist, the 16th hole; David Feherty, the 15th hole and Highlight Shows; Bill Macatee, the 14th hole; Peter Kostis, the 13th hole; and Frank Nobilo at the 11th and 12th holes.

In addition, CBS Sports and the Masters Tournament announced that Masters Live, featuring live full-day video coverage on CBSSports.com, will again offer five channels of golf action for the 2015 Masters Tournament. Talent assignments will see Andrew Catalon, Brian Crowell, Bobby Clampett and Billy Kratzert call the live video streaming action for Masters On The Range; Grant Boone and Matt Gogel for Amen Corner;  Billy Ray Brown and Luke Elvy for 15 & 16; Catalon and Kratzert for Featured Group1 and Carter Blackburn and Rich Beem for Featured Group 2.  


Meanwhile, ESPN, in its eighth year at The Masters, will deliver 4.5 hours of live Tournament play daily from the first two rounds as well as the traditional Par 3 Contest the day preceding the Tournament. Tournament coverage begins Thursday, April 9, and Friday, April 10, from 3-7:30p, with an edited encore presentation in prime time each night from 8-11p. Mike Tirico hosts and will conduct player interviews. He and ESPN golf analyst Curtis Strange will then join CBS’ golf announcer crew for the telecasts. Musician/actor Harry Connick Jr. again voices ESPN’s opening segments.
The Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao bout has set another record, with the May 2 fight reportedly locked in at $99 for the HD feed, according to the WSJ, marking a record for PPV. The SD telecast will come in at $89.

FS1 flagship FOX Sports Live is seeing spikes in 2015, with the show’s first hour notching a 73% rise among all viewers in first quarter vs. first three months of 2014 with 149,000. In the 18-49 demo, the show rose 48%, according to Nielsen numbers, with 62,000. “The format of the show has evolved considerably in the past 18 months,” executive producer Michael Hughes said. “I’m proud of our willingness to try things, make adjustments when necessary and work tirelessly to find a formula that resonates with our audience.” 

AXS TV is extending its ties with New Japan Pro Wrestling, exercising its option to extend the current season by 12 episodes. The second cycle of NJPW will debut Friday, May 22 at 9p with coverage of the “Best of the Super Juniors XXI” tournament.

Lt. Col. Oliver North is stepping in to serve as the new host of Saving Private K-9 on Sportsman Channel. The series offers stories about American service dogs and their handlers with season two set to run on April 23 at 9p on the network.


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Here Are Just A Few of the Companies Being Recognized:
A+E Networks, Collective Digital Studio, espnW, Horizon Media, Maker Studios, Telemundo Media, Univision Communications Inc., OMD, DigitasLBi, & more.

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Coca-Cola Zero will debut a “first-of-its-kind marketing campaign” during the NCAA Men’s Final Four. According to the company, the promotion will include a 23,000-pound, 26-by-36 foot drinkable billboard located at March Madness Music Festival in White River State Park in Indianapolis. The billboard appears to “magically dispense ice-cold Coke Zero from a massive contour bottle through 4,500 feet of straw tubing that spells out ‘Taste It’ before carrying the caramel-colored liquid to a free sampling station on the ground. Drinkable advertising will also appear in broadcast, print, retail and out-of-home during NCAA Men’s Final Four weekend. One commercial will see Coke Zero poured from a glass contour bottle followed by a prompt to Shazam. They will then watch the experience migrate from their TV to their mobile device as the Coke Zero continues to pour within the Shazam app until the glass is full, ultimately revealing a mobile coupon to redeem for a free 20-ounce bottle of Coke Zero. 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced a new multi-year  extension with Chevrolet that will see the brand stay on as official sponsor of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Grand Prix of Indianapolis (May 9), the Indianapolis 500 (May 24) and NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 (July 26). Chevrolet will provide official cars, safety vehicles and the pace car at all three events.

The PGA of America released a third #ThisIsMajor video for its countdown to the 2015 PGA Championship. Featured personalities include the likes of Brett Favre, Sterling Sharpe and Charles Woodson, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker; current players Padraig Harrington, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson; legends Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player and more. If you hadn’t guessed, the tournament will be played in Kohler, Wis. This year, from Aug. 10-16.

Golf Channel Academy begins in rollout next week. Offering players a dedicated network of teaching facilities and a hands-on extension of Golf Channel’s Golf Channel Academy primetime instruction programming. At launch, the program will debut in an initial 57 locations in 26 states and Canada. “Golf Channel Academy is a natural brand extension of our popular, high-quality instructional programming,” said Mike McCarley, president, Golf Channel. “Our viewers will have the opportunity to interact with Golf Channel’s brand beyond traditional media platforms as Golf Channel Academy facilities open in markets across North America. Golf Channel works closely with PGA of America and LPGA teaching professionals and values their ability to enhance golfer’s enjoyment of the game, which ultimately encourages their students to play more golf.”

John Rowady, President and Founder of rEvolution, has joined the executive committee seat on the Chicago Sports Commission. The company now becomes an official Hall of Fame corporate partner of the Chicago Sports Commission ahead of the NFL Draft.


Daily fantasy sports destination DraftKings locked in a multi-year expansion of its exclusive partnership with Major League Baseball, naming DraftKings as the league’s "Official Daily Fantasy Game." Through the new agreement, DraftKings will offer co-branded MLB daily fantasy games, as well as unique games and fan experiences. MLB also will promote DraftKings across its media properties, including MLB.com, MLB.TV, official social media properties, MLBAM-developed mobile apps and more.

The good news continues for espnW, which announced that in March, the site nabbed 42.4 million pae views for a 17% markup year-over-year. The site so drew 16.6 million visits (up 34%) and 3.9 million video starts (up 34%).

Mad Dash has rocketed toward 16.3 million video starts since launching in November, according to NBC Sports and Yahoo Sports. The weekday morning video roundup of the day’s trending sports stories is hosted by NBC Sports Digital’s Jenna Corrado, curated each morning by Yahoo Sports and co-produced by NBC Sports Digital.

Rotoworld.com notched its best March ever with 5.6 million unique users and 24.2 million visits, according to NBC, up 26.2% and 16.9%, respectively, over Mar. 2014.

120 Sports is warming up for the 2015 MLB season, announcing its in-season coverage plans including start of daily baseball fantasy discussion on 120 Sports. On Monday’s Opening Day, from 6-6:30p, the network will launch its inaugural Fantasy Happy Half Hour, a 30-minute block of on-going daily programming for fantasy sports players. Season coverage will also feature daily game previews, recaps and analysis as well as in-game highlights and live look-ins. Danny Graves and Steve Phillips will offer insight and analysis.


ESPN will bringing in a “sleeker” design of its K-Zone Live technology for the 2015 Major League Baseball season with the tech now documenting every pitch of every MLB game on ESPN. The on-screen graphic is calibrated for each batter to calculate the location of every ball that crosses the hitter’s strike zone. In addition, K-Zone 3D, a replay version of the technology, will be used during several Sunday Night Baseball telecasts and will offer a multi-dimensional look from unique vantage points on the sides of the plate and behind the plate.

NeuLion announced support for secure end to end 4K streaming using HEVC and MPEG DASH that will enable Pay TV operators and OTT services to” securely stream live video content to multiple platforms, including web, iOS, Android, smart TVs and other consumer electronic devices” and deliver synergy between the CE industry, OTT and TV Everywhere service providers and the DivX MainConcept value chain. “As digital content continues to be delivered through OTT services and as operators continue to embrace TV Everywhere on multiple screens, NeuLion will provide content rights holders Ultra HD 4K live and on-demand video delivery and monetization to any consumer device,” said NeuLion CEO Dr. Kanaan Jemili. “This new capability empowers our content partners like the NBA, NFL, NHL, Millicom, World Surf League, Univision, UFC, Rogers Media and others to deliver a premium live streaming experience at up to 4K resolutions, which will be a key driver for live and on demand OTT video delivery.”



Final Four tips off on TBS at 6p with Duke/Michigan State, along with its sister Team Stream Presented by Bleacher Report telecast on TNT and truTV.



Tell us which team will reign supreme in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament & you could be a winner, too!

One participant will score a $50 FOOT LOCKER gift card + winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 7th.


ON THIS DAY in 1989: Michigan bests Seton Hall for the NCAA basketball title in OT.

In The Know: The only time that all four final spots were held by #1 seeded teams was in 2008. Name three of those teams. (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: In 2013, this starting pitcher became the first since ’65 to toss a shutout and homer on Opening Day. Who was he? Answer: Clayton Kershaw. Kudos: Michael DeSanti-CBS Sports Network/NY; Luke Halpert-MLBAM/NY; Robert Dudelson-Cross MediaWorks/NY; Daniel Weber-MLB Network/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Josh Crow-The LOOMIS Agency/Dallas; Dave Sikula-Toovia.com/Sunnyvale; Alan Perris/Beverly Hills; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City; Chris Loprete-ABC/Hollywood.

Later — Chris
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