07/07/14: With the US out, did the World Cup stumble?; CBS Sports Network fine-tunes its lineup; Facebook’s 1 billion quake



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Good morning. It’s Monday, July 07, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Let’s catch up…

After scoring the second most-viewed men’s soccer match in the US of all time with the US/Belgium match at the World Cup (averaging 16,491,000 viewers and 9.8 household Nielsen rating last week), ESPN followed that up with rousing Quarterfinals over the weekend. The Netherlands/Costa Rica game became the second most-watched FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC. The matchup was seen by an average audience of 5,791,000 viewers based on a 3.4 fast national rating, according to Nielsen. That trails only Friday’s Brazil/Colombia game which was seen by 6,349,000 viewers based on a 3.6 fast national rating. Through 60 matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC are averaging 4,190,000 viewers based on a 2.6 US household rating per match to mark spikes of 42% and 114% over 2010 and 2006 respectively in viewers. The highest-rated markets for World Cup matches on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC: Washington DC (4.6), New York (4.3), San Francisco (4.1), Los Angeles (3.7) and San Diego (3.7), Hartford/New Haven (3.6), Orlando (3.5), Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (3.5), Richmond (3.4) and West Palm Beach (3.3).


Univision had its own notable marks during the week, including its presentation of the Mexico/Netherlands match at the World Cup, which delivered the most-viewed telecast in U.S. Spanish-language television history. The match averaged 10.4 million Total Viewers and 5.8 million Adults 18-49. All in, Univision Deportes’ coverage of the first day of quarterfinal matches of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 set new ratings records, delivering its most-viewed day of quarterfinal World Cup matches ever, averaging 5.1 million total viewers and 2.7 million Adults 18-49. Univision Deportes’ coverage of the tournament is now pacing ahead of its 2010 World Cup coverage by 40% among Total Viewers and 27% among Adults 18-49 through 58 matches.

Up north, CBC announced that it has established new viewing records for coverage of the World Cup, drawing 29.5 million Canadians tuning in on CBC/SRC or one of its partners, on TV or online since June 12, 2014. To date, 29.5 million Canadians have tuned into some aspect of CBC/Radio-Canada or its partners’ coverage, either online or on TV since June 12.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s coverage of the 2014 NBA Draft on Thursday averaged 3,451,000 viewers as well as a 2.3 household score. That’s good enough to rank as the most-watched NBA Draft across all networks since 1995 and the most-watched NBA Draft ever on ESPN, according to Nielsen. In addition, it also marks an uptick of 15% over 2,999,000 viewers for last year’s telecast. Additionally, the NBA Draft on WatchESPN saw 327,000 unique viewers, up 166% over last year.

CBS Sports Network is expanding its live weekday studio programming slate by adding CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show to the lineup. Meanwhile, the channel will end Lead Off, the late-night hour-long show co-hosted by Gottlieb and Allie LaForce. The Doug Gottlieb Show will be simulcast on CBS Sports Network starting Monday, August 25 and run live Monday-Friday from 3-6p.

ESPN snagged exclusive US rights to Canadian Football League via a multi-year agreement, beginning with the 2014 season. The deal will see ESPN carry at least 86 games in 2014 with 17 or more contests to be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS, including the 102nd Grey Cup. An additional 69 games will be carried on ESPN3. TSN will work with ESPN on game productions and their team of commentators will call the games.

ESPN named Dari Nowkhah as host of the SEC Network, inking a multi-year deal. Nowkhah will also host its weeknight news and information show SEC Now. The 24-hour network devoted to the conference and operated by ESPN will debut on August 14.

Do not miss this year’s 2014 Women of Action, set to take place on Aug. 19 at New York Athletic Club. A killer lineup of speakers are confirmed, including Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman, WNBA President Laurel Richie, USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny, CBS Sports’ Tracy Wolfson and Dana Jacobson, WWE’s Stephanie McMahon, ESPN’s Sara Walsh, CNN/Turner Sports’ Rachel Nichols AVP Commissioner Donald Sun and so much more! In addition, the event will feature special sessions with ESPN CFO Christine Driessen, Twitter’s Laura Froelich, Soccer United Marketing President Kathy Carter and Susan G. Komen founder Nancy Brinker. Spend an afternoon with these leaders and join us for a cocktail reception after the event!

NBCSN’s coverage of the Tour de France opened up with an uptick, as Stage 1 of the famed race drew a.27 overnight Nielsen rating. That is up 23% from the opening stage in 2013.

ESPN locked in a deal with Major League Eating to continue to carry the live, one-hour show of the League’s Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest each year through 2024. The deal marks a ten-year extension of the existing contract between the entities. “The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest has become a holiday viewing tradition for millions of Americans,” said Jason Bernstein, Sr. Director, Programming & Acquisitions, ESPN. “We’re thrilled to have the annual contest as a part of ESPN’s championship summer season-along with FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon this year-and to continue working with Major League Eating in the future to satisfy our fans’ appetites.”

NBA Digital slated coverage of 2014 Summer Leagues with all 92 games scheduled across NBA TV, NBA.com and NBA Mobile. Game coverage will include 25 Orlando Pro Summer League games (July 5-11), held at the Magic’s practice facility at Amway Center, and 67 Samsung NBA Summer League 2014 game telecasts from Las Vegas, spanning July 11-21. NBA TV will televise more than 60 Summer League games live from the respective game sites.

HBO continues its boxing hot streak on Sat., June 27 with its card featuring Terence Crawford retaining his world lightweight title with a come-from-behind KO win over previously-undefeated Yuriorkis Gamboa. The main event drew an average audience of 1,208,000 viewers, making it the second most-watched bout on cable TV so far this year.

WORLD CUP TRENDS: CSE’s Social Branding at the World Cup

Quarterfinals Wrap-Up
The World Cup matches over July 4th weekend gave futbol fans plenty of content to discuss as the tournament heads toward the semifinals.
On the pitch and from fans across the globe, the injury to Neymar was the big storyline, as the nation of Brazil held their collective breath on Friday.
However, no matter what is happening in the tournament, brands continue to look for fresh engagement opportunities with consumers, even if it means deviating from their social media strategy and campaigns used thus far.

Man’s Best Friend?
Budweiser made an interesting addition to their usual Man of the Match tweets with a new Puppy Predictor. The puppy’s handle, @BudweiserPuppy, has been dormant since just after the acclaimed Super Bowl 48 “Best Buddies” commercial (@BudweiserPuppy’s last tweet was on February 5th). Now the puppy is back in a series of predictor style YouTube videos, where the puppy runs back and forth between two female goalies. The goalies each represent one country in an upcoming game. Whichever goalie the puppy runs to is the prediction to win the match – and so far the puppy is a “perfect” 4-for-4.
Overall the engagement has been subpar, with less than 250 total across the eight videos/tweets released. A somewhat confusing extension to try out so late in the game when #ManoftheMatch has been the focus for @BudweiserFC and @Budweiser since the inception of the World Cup. Perhaps the new strategy was to simply keep it fresh around the July 4thholiday weekend, but deviating certainly makes for interesting conversation – even if everyone loves puppies.

More Reasons to Open Happiness
Although the FIFA sponsor has had considerable exposure during this World Cup, Coca-Cola continues to engage users with new content.
To ensure they are involved in each step of the party planning process, Coca-Cola now shows futbol fans how to host the best World Cup party with their new match planner: “Throw the ultimate #WorldCup viewing party w/ Coke’s ‘Big Match Planner’: http://CokeURL.com/nxn9n #CokeJourney.” The link takes users to a site where Coca-Cola suggests games, decor and recipe ideas for anyone hosting a World Cup viewing party.
Additionally, Coca-Cola cross-promoted with @Panini and the popular World Cup trading card activity fans have been participating in over the last two weeks.
With the following tweet, Coca-Cola found a new way to interact with their followers. This further leveraged #WorldsCup and engaged an audience that might not have otherwise been aware of their hashtag campaign: “Haven’t started your 2014 FIFA #WorldCup Panini Sticker Album yet? Use #WorldsCup to unlock a new pack.”


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ESPN is expanding its efforts to find a cure for cancer, announcing a day-long fundraising drive across multiple ESPN platforms on Wednesday, July 16 as part of the events surrounding The 2014 ESPYS. ESPY Day Benefitting The V Foundation for Cancer Research will begin at midnight with integrated fundraising messaging across ESPN networks culminating with a special simulcast of the ESPYS on ESPN2 at 9p. Throughout ESPY Day, viewers and listeners will be encouraged to donate to The V Foundation. ESPN Radio will expand the 10th annual ESPY Day auction hosted by eBay to include fundraising and live auction updates starting this week and includes tickets to a host of prime sporting events, autographed memorabilia, unique experiences with athletes, celebrities and ESPN personalities, behind-the-scenes experiences with Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Football, Grantland, College GameDay, Mike & Mike, The Herd and more

Daytona International Speedway announced that building products company USG Corporation has signed on as a “We Built Daytona” partner, joining three other companies in the expanding marketing platform as part of the $400 million DAYTONA Rising redevelopment project. The “We Built Daytona” platform is designed for partners involved in the construction of DAYTONA Rising and enables them to showcase their involvement through a marketing presence. Other partners include Sherwin-Williams, Big Ass Fans and ROSSETTI.


Facebook reports that there have been over 1 billion World Cup-related posts, comments, and likes via 220 million people on the platform. The company reports that its data editors have never measured an event  sports or otherwise  that has topped a billion interactions.


NBA Digital hit record traffic during the NBA Draft, with domestic growth with uniques users up 57%, visits up 46% and page views up 32% over last year. Throughout the week of the Draft, NBA Digital’s domestic consumption was up 42% among unique users and 18% in page views.  Additionally, mobile app unique users were up 108% for the week.

The ACC and Raycom Sports relaunched the Official ACC Sports App presented by Carraba’s, to coincide with the official entry of the conference’s newest member, the University of Louisville. The new release now features every ACC sport, in addition to updated branding of the ACC and member schools. With SportsLabs’ Advanced Media Platform (AMP), the app pulls scores and stats as well as social and user generated content from across all 15 teams and media landscapes, providing users of the app all of the news surrounding their team in one easy to navigate, seamless experience.
GolfChannel.com scored its best quarter ever in all key metrics during the second quarter of 2014, hitting highs in uniques with 10.8 million, up 28% from its previous record. June ranked as the best June on record in all key metrics, including uniques, which delivered 4.2 million for the month, up 27% percent from its previous best.

WWE announced that WWE Network is now available on Amazon Fire TV. In addition to Amazon Fire TV, WWE Network is available on connected devices including Apple TV, Roku streaming devices, Sony PlayStation 3, Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox 360. WWE Network is also available through the WWE App on iOS devices, including Apple iPad and iPhone.


Todd Minhinnett has been named a Coordinating Producer at FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports Tennessee, and SportSouth. Minhinnett will oversee the production of all collegiate telecasts as well as the Charlotte Hornets.  He most recently served as the Executive Producer for Game Broadcast with the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he worked for six years.


Yankees/Indians on ESPN at 7p.


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ON THIS DAY in 2000: Driver Kenny Irwin Jr. dies at New Hampshire International Speedway during a practice run.

In The Know: What famed Nintendo game featured a boxer named Little Mac fighting his way to take on Iron Mike? (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 NFL player was one of filmdom’s The Dirty Dozen? Answer: Jim Brown. Kudos: Mitch Burg-Syndicated Network Television Association/NY; Jay Goldstein-AdMore/NY; Ed Weiner-Hudson Media Services LLC/NY; Kyle Helm-CBS Sports/NY; Bob Scanlon-Velocity/Silver Spring; Barbara Linebarger-TBS/Atlanta; Heidi Bahnck-NFL Films/Mt. Laurel; Jack Valente-InStadium/Detroit; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Jack Hodgson-Oklahoma State University/Stillwater; Will Allmendinger-Zoom Media/Chicago; Bubba Cates-UT Martin/Martin; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; denise Abbott-Professional Bull Riders, Inc./Pueblo; Mike Van Diest-Carroll College/Helena; Jimmy Kusyk-On the Road Productions/Redondo Beach; Mary Downey-Mary Downey Casting/Burbank; Alex Petrilli, Jr.-TiVo/San Jose; Jim Bernard-FOX Sports/LA.


Germany? Brazil? Argentina? Netherlands?

Cynopsis wants to know – Who will the 2014 FIFA World Cup?
You’ll have a chance to win a $25 Nike.com eGift by answering our poll.


Later — Chris
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