07/18/14: Sinclair deals for American Sports Network; FOX Sports makes plans for Holly Sonders; NBC, Yahoo deepen their fantasy


Good morning. It’s Friday, July 18, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Sinclair Broadcast Group is getting in the sports game, announcing the launch of the American Sports Network, “a collegiate sports initiative to be broadcast on a number of Sinclair’s broadcast television stations.” The company has already struck deals, pinning down broadcast agreements with Conference USA, the Colonial Athletic Association, Big South Conference, Southern Conference, and Patriot League, with football, basketball, soccer and other games airing in the new season. The initiative will be run by Sinclair Networks COO Doron Gorshein with Sinclair stations carrying the games and original content as part of the primary program line-up or as part of second channels.

“Broadcasters serve and are closely connected to their communities, of which the colleges and universities are an integral part,” said Gorshein. “We believe there is significant value and consumer appeal for live sporting events from these important institutions, and we can offer expanded distribution through our broadcast platforms, as well as on potential new platforms, deepening our connection to our communities.”


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 FOX Sports officially named former Golf Channel talent Holly Sonders as the newest member of its team. Sonders will serve as a golf reporter and host of the network’s coverage of the USGA championships beginning in 2015. Sonders will also become a sideline reporter during NFL coverage and contribute to America’s Pregame as well as FOX Sports Live. “We are very pleased to be able to add one of golf’s rising television stars to our coverage,” said Mark Loomis, Coordinating Golf Producer, FOX Sports. “Holly’s quickly become one of the sport’s most popular broadcasters among fans and players and her unique personality and passion for the game is evident every time she is on the air."

NBC Sports Group and Yahoo Sports announced expanded fantasy football coverage across their platforms ahead of the 2014 NFL season. The companies will look to broaden the Fantasy Football Live franchise with expanded coverage on NBCSN that will now see an additional third weekday episode of Fantasy Football Live on Wednesday nights. NBCSN and Yahoo Sports will also present an hour-long Fantasy Football Draft Special on August 16. Yahoo Sports will also launch the Fantasy Football Fearless Forecast, a new interactive playlist tool to connect fantasy users directly with expert advice.

Tennis Channel will serve up nearly 150 live or first-run match hours during this summer’s Emirates Airline US Open Series starting July 21. The network will show encore replays throughout the five-week North American hard-court season, and devote more than 300 overall hours to this year’s competition including semifinals, quarterfinals, round of 16 and early rounds.

YES Network announced that this season’s Yankees telecasts have grown 24% year-over-year in Total Viewers season-to-date in the New York DMA, according to Nielsen. According to the company, YES finished the first half of the 2014 broadcast year as the most-watched RSN in the country in both Primetime and Total Day delivery. Yankees games on YES averaged 283,000 Total Viewers in the NY DMA leading up to the ASG, for a 24% year-over-year increase season-to-date. Meanwhile, Yankees Pre-Game Show Total Viewership is up 28% while Post-Game Viewership is up 19%.

It’s finally here! Join us on Aug. 19-20 for the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit taking place at the NY Athletic Club. Highlights of our general assembly include “In the Moment: Using Cultural Anthropology to Build Smarter Sports Brands,” featuring Troika’s Gil Haslam and Susan Kresnicka breaking down how to construct smarter sports brands with deeper impact and more lasting fan engagement. Don’t miss this event! For more information and a full schedule, click here.

Tonight’s edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra at 8p on ESPN2 will offer the show’s first-ever use of a referee camera. Referees Steve Willis and Pete Santiago wear point-of-view cameras to give viewers a first-person point of view inside the ring. “We are always looking to innovate and provide viewers access to things they cannot have access to themselves,” said Matt Sandulli, senior coordinating producer, ESPN. “This camera will put viewers in the ring and give them a view of the fight that only a limited number of people in the world have ever seen. We’d like to thank the New York Athletic Commission and referees Steve Willis and Pete Santiago for working with us to make this happen.”

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel returns on July 22 at 10p on HBO. The newest edition will feature segments on Qatar’s international sports money trail; a look at the state of the golf industry; and how the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Team is inspiring a new generation of children.

ESPN will carry the Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star Game 2014 on Saturday at 3:30p. Ryan Ruocco will have the call of the game with analyst Rebecca Lobo and reporter Holly Rowe. The announcement of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2015 will be made during the telecast.

Canada’s CBC-TV announced coverage plans for the XX Commonwealth Games from July 23rd – Aug. 3rd. Through an agreement between Glasgow 2014, Commonwealth Games Canada and CBC, the network will provide daily coverage including live streaming, live TV coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, a nightly highlight program and extended weekend coverage on CBC-TV, daily updates on CBC Radio and through CBC News outlets. Scott Russell hosts and will be joined by co-hosts Brenda Irving and Mark Lee from the CBC studio in Toronto.



ESPN’s first-ever ESPY Day Benefiting The V Foundation for Cancer Research generated more than $6.5 million for cancer research on Wednesday. The total includes a $4 million investment from Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, in a grants program with The V Foundation. “I want to thank our fans, employees, sponsors and supporters for making the very first ESPY Day a great success,” said Skipper. “The astounding level of support for this initiative is a testament to our collective determination to find a cure for this terrible disease.”

Nissan signed on for a five-year partnership to sponsor Manchester City FC that will see the car brand linked to the Premier League champs as well as their affiliates in the US and Australia. Nissan’s new global partnership with City Football Group also marks the first worldwide sponsor of the group, which will see a brand presence at the Etihad Stadium and on digital platforms, as well as the launch of a number of fan engagement opportunities targeting City supporters in Manchester and around the world. The deal will also see Nissan electric vehicles being used in and around the upcoming City Football Academy.

Do you think Time Warner Inc. did the right thing in turning down an $80 billion takeover offer from 21st Century Fox? Vote at cynopsis.com.



The World Cup afterglow continues, as MLS Digital Properties are reporting a new monthly unique record with 9 million users according to June 2014 comScore. The league reports that record traffic was driven by fan interest in the World Cup, as well as MLS action and the US Men’s National team. Sites within the MLS Digital Properties rollup include ussoccer.com, MLSsoccer.com, Goal.com and the MLS Club sites which all set independent records for monthly audience size for the month.

Speaking of soccer, FC Bayern Munich is now online in North America at www.fcbayernmunich.com. US fans of the German team will now have access to exclusive content as well as access to other areas of the FC Bayern digital platform, including club channel FCB.tv. "After the launch of our US online store, this was the next logical step in our internationalization strategy," explained Jörg Wacker, executive board member responsible for the club’s internationalization strategy. "We are delighted to get closer to our North American fans by providing them with a dedicated website as we continue building our brand and expanding our presence in the US market.”


Second round of the Open Championship on ESPN at 4a.


Cynopsis Sports Women of Action
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Join us for a stimulating afternoon with a dynamic group of women in senior sports positions talking candidly about the challenges that women still face in landing shot-calling, game-changing positions in the sports world, as well as the opportunities those same challenges present.
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ON THIS DAY in 1999: Yankee David Cone pitches a perfect game.

In The Know: What is the name of the Celtics’ official mascot? (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: Name two songs that specifically mention Joe DiMaggio. Answers: Lots to pick from, including (but not limited to): Centerfield, We Didn’t Start the Fire, Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, Vogue, Captain Crash & the Beauty Queen From Mars, Bloody Mary, and of course, Mrs. Robinson. Kudos: Justin Elliott-USA Today Sports Media Group/NY; Tom Turner-Active International/NY; Pete Gautieri-A&E Networks/NY; Michael Berman-In Demand/NY; Jerry A. Kapner-Kapner Group/Montclair; Heidi Bahnck-NFL Films/Mt. Laurel; Kelty Carpenter-FOX Sports/Ft. Lauderdale; Joe Swaney-Cartoon Network/Adult Swim/Atlanta; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Gretchen Brady-KDAF/Dallas; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Kristin Staskowski-Charter Media/Birmingham; Heather Floore-CW33/Dallas; Dave Sikula-TOOVIA/Sunnyvale; Michael Harabin-Pac-12 Networks/San Francisco; Ryan Malleus-Warsaw MBA, Jack Morton Marketing Intern/LA; Willie Price-American Forces Network (AFN)/Riverside.

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