05/21/14: NFL goes sweet on Minnesota, Skittles; Univision, beIN Sports land 2014 Road to Brazil Series; FOX Sports 1 spotlights Rangers for Memorial Day


Good morning. It’s Wednesday, May 21, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

On the football front…
It’s a return to a cold weather city for the NFL, which voted yesterday to bring Super Bowl LII to Minnesota, which hasn’t hosted since 1992, where it will be played in the new Vikings’ stadium. Owners also opted to not expand the playoffs this season, as the proposal was tabled and won’t be considered again until the fall, according to multiple reports. 

Meanwhile, the league entered a deal with Skittles to make the brand an official NFL sponsor. The agreement will see the candy launch a series of retail and in-stadium activations. From August 1 to November 4, fans can snap a photo of a pack of Skittles candies found on the Wrigley NFL-themed displays nationally for the chance to win one of 1,000 weekly prizes. "Over the last few years, NFL fans have embraced our brand in a truly breathtaking way, and we’re very excited that this program will make it possible for us to express our appreciation in bigger and better ways," said Matt Montei, Sr. Director of Confections and Seasonal at Wrigley. "I can’t wait for NFL fans to find all the ways that Skittles makes their game days awesomer."


The NBA playoffs continue to roll for TNT as the network’s coverage of the 2014 Western Conference Finals Game 1 between the Thunder and Spurs averaged 6.4 million total viewers and a 4.0 household score. That is up 31% in total viewership and 29% in rating compared with Game 1 of the 2013 Western Conference Finals and generated a 30.3 local rating in San Antonio and a 26.1 in Oklahoma City. The network’s Inside the NBA averaged a 2.6 HH rating. So far, the NBA Playoffs on TNT through 40 live game telecasts are pulling 4,334,000 total viewers, up 6% compared with an average of 4,103,000 total viewers to date last year.

FOX Sports 1 opened its 10 Days of Thunder with a bang, with the programming block delivering the channel with its second most-watched day and its second most-watched program since launch. The network averaged 745,000 viewers from 6a-6p on Saturday with live coverage of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, averaging 3,482,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. The post-race edition of FOX Sports Live set a new audience record, snagging 2,584,000 viewers. Earlier in the day the Pirates/Yankees contest posted 481,000 viewers making it FOX Sports 1’s most-watched non-exclusive MLB game thus far.

HBO continues its hot streak with boxing, scoring 1,198,000 viewers on Saturday night for the main event of Marquez/Alvarado, making it the second most watched bout on cable so far this year. The channel’s spring season resumed Saturday, May 31 with a full-day of boxing programming highlighted at 4p when Nonito Donaire meets Simpiwe Vetyeka in a featherweight title bout.

With more Nielsen numbers in the books, NBC Sports’ coverage of Saturday’s 139th Preakness Stakes registered a 6.0 household rating – to rank as the highest-rated Preakness Stakes since 2009, according to official national data. That score is up 2% over last year’s race and up 15% over 2012. In addition, fans live streamed a record 1.95 million minutes of the Preakness Stakes on NBC Sports Live Extra for a 127% spike over last year’s coverage.

UniMas’ coverage of the Liga MX Clausura 2014 final between Pachuca and Leon on May 18, delivered an average of 2.5 million Total Viewers and 1.6 million Adults 18-49, according to Nielsen. That marks the most-viewed club soccer match on any network in 2014.

NBC has lined up 27 hours of coverage of the 2014 French Open, with programming beginning this Sunday at Noon with live opening-round coverage before culminating with the live Women’s Final on June 7 and the live Men’s Final on June 8. Ted Robinson anchors NBC’s coverage and will be joined by analysts John McEnroe and Mary Carillo.

Soccer United Marketing announced that Univision Deportes and beIN Sports will be the official television broadcast partners of the 2014 Road to Brazil series, while ESPN Deportes Radio will be the official radio rights broadcaster of the series. The series will see seven matches take place across the United States from May 29 to June 7 when six countries make final preparations with their World Cup rosters ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Univision Deportes carries four of the games on Univision Deportes Network (UDN), and one match, World Cup champions Spain/El Salvador on June 7 on Univision. beIN Sports offers all seven of the Road to Brazil matches while its Spanish language channel, beIN Sports en Espanol, will air four of the matches.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced the date of his next fight for Showtime, declaring that he will fight on Sept. 13, according to ESPN.com. That would mark the fourth fight in Mayweather’s six-bout deal with Showtime with Las Vegas and the Barclay’s Center serving as two potential destinations for the bout.

Forty former Big Break competitors will square off in full tournament conditions for the first time this fall when the inaugural Big Break Invitational Reynolds Plantation airs live on Golf Channel from Tuesday, Sept. 30  Friday, Oct. 3. The event launches a new multi-year relationship between Golf Channel and Reynolds Plantation and will feature a $300,000 overall purse, with $100,000 going to the champion.

As we prepare for Memorial Day, FOX Sports 1 will offer a pair of military-themed specials on Memorial Day evening, running documentary B.R.C. 2014: Best Ranger and a Golden Boy Live! title fight. The documentary special will run May 26 at 8p, chronicling the U.S. Military’s Best Ranger Competition. Shot over a three-day period and stretching into nearly 60 hours of competition, the special opens with 50 teams made up of two men each before awarding the final pair. Then WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross makes his FOX Sports 1 announcing debut in the network’s presentation of Golden Boy Live! boxing at 9p.

Arsenio Hall is getting proactive in his desire to buy the Clippers. The talk show host launched an indiegogo campaign in an effort to raise $1 billion for the team. If he doesn’t earn enough, he will instead use the money and donate it to the NAACP.

BTN laid out plans for the Big Ten Baseball Tournament with the action starting today at 6p featuring Indiana/Iowa. The network will also carry games 6, 7 and 8 on Thursday, each game Friday and Saturday and the Big Ten Baseball Tournament Championship Game, which will air at 2p on Sunday. In addition, a nightly episode of the Big Ten Diamond Report will run following the last game of the day throughout the tournament.

PBS prepares for World Cup action with the one-hour documentary American Pharaoh on June 16 at 10p. The special goes behind the scenes with the Egyptian national soccer team and its former coach, American Bob Bradley, to capture their historic attempt to reach the 2014 World Cup. The program also "illustrates the relationship in Egypt between soccer, the revolution and political activism."

Speaking of documentaries, NBC Sports announced a 30-minute special about Kurt Busch’s upcoming attempt to win IndyCar’s famed Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. The program will debut on Sunday, June 8, at 4:30p on NBC, while a 60-minute "director’s cut" of KURT BUSCH: 36 will air the following day at 11p on NBCSN.

Pac-12 Networks will carry a discussion between Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott and moderator Ted Robinson on Pac-12 Presents: Inside College Football that is occurring today at the Commonwealth Club of California’s San Francisco office. The 60-minute edited-for-TV version will run on Pac-12 Networks on Friday at 10p.


NASCAR is doing its own celebrations for Memorial Day weekend, announcing that, as part of the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s Military Appreciation Day, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Bank of America, and Hendrick Motorsports will host Hiring Our Heroes  Charlotte, a free hiring expo for veterans, active duty military, reserve components, and military spouses.

Portland’s LPGA Tour event has a new sponsor and will return in August under a new moniker. The Portland Classic Presented by Cambia Health Solutions will be played Aug. 28-31 and serves as the longest-running regular event on the LPGA Tour. For the past 18 years, it was known as the Safeway Classic.


FOX Sports has debuted its new reality series Back of the Shop ahead of schedule, running the first episode online FOXSports.com, iTunes and YouTube. The debut episode features the likes of David Ortiz, Alfonso Soriano, Iman Shumpert and Larry Johnson.  On TV, the episode will launch on Saturday at 7p on FOX Sports 1.


CSI Sports hired Rick Clifford to serve as Sr. Supervising Producer for the company, where he will oversee all live and post production events and original series as well as supporting both weekly syndication and their 24/7 FIGHT SPORTS Networks throughout Asia and Europe.


Thunder/Spurs on TNT at 9p.


The New Lessons of Licensing: How to Maximize Tune In, Brand Engagement & Revenue
Thursday, May 29, 2014 ||| 1:30 – 3:00pm ET ||| Sign-Up Now

Speakers Include:
Erin Dippold – VP, Consumer Products {DHX Media}
Kirk Bloomgarden – SVP, Global Consumer Products {Saban Brands}
Gregory Economos – SVP, Global Consumer Products {Sony Pictures}
Marty Brochstein  – SVP Industry Relations and Information {LIMA}
Manuel Torres – SVP Global Toys and Publishing {Nickelodeon}


Cynopsis Digital BIG Monetization Summit
Next Gen Video Content Biz Models | June 19 – 10 on the Park, NYC
FreeWheel, YuMe & Hiro Media

– Live Focus Group: Influencers
– Brands and Publishers: Perfect Strangers
– Content and ____ are King
– Programmatic & Real-time Buying: The Tensions and The Opportunities
– The New Strategy of Social Media
– 3D Data Demo: Tubular Labs


ON THIS DAY in 1981: The Islanders capture the Stanley Cup, besting the Minnesota North Stars.

In The Know: The NBA’s Rockets left what city to move to Houston? (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: Which team did the 49ers beat twice in the Super Bowl? Answer: The Bengals. Kudos: Matt Collins-Microsoft/NY; RJ Simoni-ESPN/NY; Joe Schaefer-ZUUS Media/NY; Joe Schaefer-ZUUS Media/NY; Richelle Cross-Class and Sass Promotions/Atlanta; Eric Oberman-Atlanta Sports Council/Atlanta; Mike May-PHIT America/Wellington; Chris Mccloskey-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Joe Lyons-Back Nine Productions, Inc./Dallas; Kevin Micklo-Pinnacle Advertising/Chicago; Bill Robertson-WCHA/St. Paul; Ryan Nolan-Sportsman Channel/New Berlin; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc./Santa Monica; Jim Bernard-FOX Sports/LA; Joe Pedri-KLAS/Las Vegas; Don Surath-KPIX-TV  KBCW-TV/San Francisco.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
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