05/29/15: Gracenote plays the numbers game; CBS draws a pair from the SEC; EA Sports makes historic move


Good morning. It’s Friday May 29, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Tribune Media’s Gracenote is getting deep into the sports game. The company acquired Infostrada Statistics and SportsDirect, Inc. in a data play and is now launching Gracenote Sports. The new purchases now make Gracenote the first global provider of music, video and sports data, and “enable the company to provide one-stop data solutions for its roster of blue-chip clients in the U.S. and around the world.” Both Infostrada Sports and SportsDirect produce and distribute sports data in North America, including schedules, scores, play-by-play stats, as well as team and player information for all of the major professional leagues around the world. Gracenote will now leverage the stats with its own entertainment data to create new data-driven sports products and services for fantasy sports and fan applications. In addition, Gracenote also acquired the Covers Media Group, the operator of Covers.com, an online sports gaming destination for scores, odds and matchups, editorial analyses and industry news coverage.


CBS Sports is expanding its SEC ties, with the channel’s “SEC Game of the Week” adding two early-season match-ups to the books in the upcoming season. The SEC on CBS will showcase both Louisville/Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Sept. 5 at 3:30p, as well as Georgia/Vanderbilt on Sept. 12 at 3:30p. The additions were made via a sublicense agreement with ESPN. In addition, the “SEC Game of the Week” will see Auburn/LSU on Sept. 19. Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson, along with reporter Allie LaForce are CBS Sports’ lead college football announce team. Meanwhile, new CBS Sports college football studio analyst Rick Neuheisel is heading to College Football Today for the pre-game, halftime and post-game studio show, joining host Adam Zucker and analyst Brian Jones.  

The NBA Western Conference Finals wrapped up hot before the 2015 Finals begin on June 4 (ABC at 9p). The Warriors win handed the channel with the largest NBA audience on ESPN in three years, according to Nielsen, averaging 8,887,000. That also marks the most-watched ESPN telecast of 2015 since the inaugural College Football National Championship on January 12, 2015. The game pulled a 5.6 U.S. household rating, making it the highest-rated telecast of the night across key demos, including M18-34, M18-49, M25-54, P18-34, P18-49, and P25-54.

With two game 7s on deck, NBC Sports Group offers back-to-back “win or go home” NHL contests this weekend. Coverage begins tonight at 8p on NBCSN with the Lightening/Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final, followed by Game 7 of the Western Conference Final on Saturday night. Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Pierre McGuire call both contests and will travel coast-to-coast for the pair of games.

Speaking of the NHL, the league revealed the official schedule for the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, which will begin on Wednesday, June 3. The start time for all Stanley Cup Final games will be 8p. Other dates will include June 6, 8 and 10, with possible additions on June 13, 15 and 17.

NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Premier League this season wrapped up with viewership on NBC and NBCSN up 9% over last season’s record-setting figures, while NBC Sports Live Extra saw 22% growth over last season’s record in live minutes streamed. The tandem combined to average 479,000 viewers with a record 280,000 viewers among adults 18-49.

How are sponsors changing their sports strategies? Hear from the brands themselves on June 16 at the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit in NY. Speakers will talk about how they are mastering the art of connection, as sponsors continue to transform consumer engagement through sports. Panelists are set to include executives that include Reebok’s John Lynch, Comcast’s Matt Lederer, Turner Sports’ Will Funk, and Unilever’s Matthew McCarthy. Sign up here today!

Golf Channel shifts from the women to the men next week, with coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships, from June 1-3. The tournament launches with the final round of the individual stroke play competition, as well as tracking the teams attempting to qualify for the eight-team match play tournament. Coverage will continue on Tuesday, June 2 and Wednesday, June 3, including all three rounds of the team match-play tournament. For the first time, the Haskins Award winner will accept his award live on Golf Channel on June 1, on Golf Central. Broadcasting the action will be Bob Papa and Lanny Wadkins, along with Notah Begay, Billy Ray Brown, Steve Burkowski, Curt Byrum, and Phil Parkin.

NBA TV brings back Open Court on Tuesday, June 2, at 11p with a roundtable discussion spotlighting the signature moves of NBA players past and present. The episode is hosted by Matt Winer with Hall of Famers Dominique Wilkins and Isiah Thomas, seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill, five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber and NBA Champion Steve Smith.
Major League Soccer will hit San Jose next year with Avaya Stadium now set to host the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Game. The 21st annual mid-summer matchup will will be broadcast live on the ESPN, Univision, TSN and RDS families of networks, as well as to more than 100 countries worldwide via MLS’ international broadcast partners.




Assembling the world’s foremost authorities on Sports Business, Marketing, Production, Digital and Advertising from around the industry.


Tuesday, June 16  I  New York City


Visa became the latest, and harshest, critic of the FIFA scandal. The AP writes that the company released a statement threatening to pull out of the organization because of the allegations. ”This starts with rebuilding a culture with strong ethical practices in order to restore the reputation of the games for fans everywhere,” it said in a statement. ”Should FIFA fail to do so, we have informed them that we will reassess our sponsorship.”

Daytona International Speedway locked in even more partners as part of its $400 million DAYTONA Rising redevelopment project. New to the roster are Jones Sign Company, Musco Lighting and P&S Paving, Inc. Jones Sign Company will provide nearly 3,000 signs and more than 120,000 square feet of graphics for the new injectors/entrances and produce the DIS “Supersign” LED-lit letters. Musco Lighting will illuminate the new frontstretch grandstand and P&S Paving will provide paving and dirt services.

ASICS America named United Entertainment Group as its new U.S. public relations agency of record. “ASICS America has enjoyed tremendous growth in recent years and we were looking for a partner to help us take our communications efforts to the next level. UEG’s breadth of experience helping major sports brands build and activate strategic communications and marketing programs, as well as the strength and resources of the Edelman network, make them an ideal agency partner as we continue to expand,” said Shannon Scott, ASICS America senior director of marketing. “The team presented powerful insights and fresh thinking that really resonated with us. They have jumped in feet first and already proven to be great partners in these first few months.”


Heading into the run for the Triple Crown on June 6 on NBC, NBCSN’s Twitter handle, @NBCSN, will live stream the Belmont Draw via Periscope on June 3 at noon. Coverage from Belmont Park then begins Friday, June 5, at 3:30p on NBCSN.

AEG announced a deal uniting STAPLES Center and Fanpics. The partnership will “bring the benefits of Fanpics’ imaging technology to Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Kings fans, beginning with the home games of both teams this fall.” Fanpics will install its proprietary camera technology into venues to capture every fan’s reaction to the big moments at the event. The photos are then used to produce a personalized story for each fan that can be shared instantly with friends and followers via its app. Overall, Fanpics technology will generate up to 1 million images per game, while delivering photos to a fan’s phone in as little as 30 seconds after being captured.


There is some good news on the FIFA front, however. Electronic Arts revealed that EA SPORTS FIFA 16 will feature 12 Women’s National Teams for the first time in franchise history when it comes out starting on Sept. 22 in North America. Women’s National Teams will include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and the United States of America in several FIFA 16 game modes including Kick Off, an Offline Tournament, as well as Online Friendly Matches. “Bringing some of the best women’s players and teams in the world to our franchise is a massive event for EA SPORTS, and we are equally excited about bringing millions of fans a new way to play,” said David Rutter, VP and GM, EA SPORTS FIFA. “We’re making sure fans get an authentic experience when playing with Women’s National Teams thanks to our innovative player capture and reference tools, as well as the sophisticated gameplay platform which we will continue to innovate on in FIFA 16.”


MP & Silva named William Mao as the company’s new Vice President of Digital, Americas. Mao will oversee digital and social media and be involved in MP & Silva’s strategic expansion around opportunities in sport on VOD, IPTV, OTT, live streaming, video clips and social media.

OneUp Sports announced that John McCauley will serve as Vice President, Content and Strategy for the company. McCauley will run the content and innovation division of the OneUp Sports Network and include responsibilities for all the OneUp Sports partners and properties including MLB Connect, NFL Connect, NHL Connect, NBA Connect, Maple Leafs Mobile, Washington Redskins, among others. He formerly served as Senior Director, Marketing for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. 


Lightning/Rangers tonight at 8p on NBCSN.

ON THIS DAY in 1984: the Red Sox retire #9 in honor of Ted Williams and #4 for Joe Cronin.

In The Know: Cleveland is searching for its first championship in a major sport since 1964, when the Browns won. Who did they beat? (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: Broadcaster James George Snyder was better known to sports fans by what name? Answer: Jimmy the Greek. Kudos: Kyle Helm-CBS Sports Network/NY; Joe Grippo-MSG/NY; Don Gorski-Westwood One Sports/NY; Frank Costa-CBS Sports/NY; Tim Buckman-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; James Stuart-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Larry Wahl-Orange Bowl Committee/Miami; Chris Conrad-Golf Channel/Orlando; Will Allmendinger-Clear Channel Outdoor/Chicago; Joe Lyons-Back Nine Productions, Inc./Dallas; Gretchen Brady-KDAF/Dallas; Kristen Staskowski-Spectrum Reach/Birmingham; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
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