08/01/14: ESPN unveils college football broadcast assignments; WWE pins Canadian distributor; The NBA offers a first on official balls


Good morning. It’s Friday, August 1, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

ESPN unveiled its game and studio rosters for the upcoming college football season, with more than 100 on-air commentators on deck across ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPNEWS, SEC Network, Longhorn Network, ESPN Radio and ESPN Goal Line. New assignments this year will see Chris Fowler joining returning analysts Kirk Herbstreit and reporter Heather Cox on the weekly Saturday Night Football series on ABC. He will also continue to host College GameDay. Brent Musburger, of course, shifts to join analyst Jesse Palmer and reporter Maria Taylor as the lead game announcer for SEC Network telecasts. Todd McShay joins Sean McDonough and analyst Chris Spielman as a sideline analyst on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Saturday game telecasts. Joe Tessitore will return to call a weekly night game on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC with analyst Brock Huard and reporter Shannon Spake.

New teams also include: Mark Jones, analyst Rod Gilmore and reporter Jessica Mendoza; Bob Wischusen, analyst Matt Millen and reporter Quint Kessenich; and ESPNU’s Adam Amin with analyst John Congemi and Clay Matvick with analyst Anthony Becht. Dave Flemming worksFriday night games on ESPN and ESPN2 with Kanell and reporter Allison Williams.


Speaking of college football, FOX Sports confirmed plans for former Notre Dame and NFL quarterback Brady Quinn to join the company as a college football and NFL studio and game analyst. Hitting the studio, Quinn will contribute college and pro football analysis on FOX Sports 1’s America’s Pregame and FOX Sports Live. In the booth, Quinn will team with Tim Brando for college games and Dick Stockton on NFL assignments.
WWE cemented its presence in Canada, inking a 10-year deal with Rogers Communications that makes Rogers the exclusive distributor of WWE’s flagship programming in Canada through 2024. The deal extends WWE’s current programming on Sportsnet 360 and includes the right to distribute WWE Network as a premium linear channel, with a preview beginning August 12. Rogers will also be the exclusive distribution partner of all WWE pay-per-view events throughout Canada and will sponsor an application to the CRTC to bring the WWE Network to Canada. Highlights from the new deal also include national rights for Raw, SmackDown and Main Event on Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet NOW and Rogers Anyplace TV.
NBA TV presents the 2014 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on Friday, Aug. 8, at 7:30. Programming begins with the 2014 Hall of Fame Red Carpet Show at 6:30p, hosted by Matt Winer alongside David Aldridge and Rick Kamla. The network’s Hall of Fame coverage will also include Looking Back at Alonzo Mourning, a 30-minute retrospective on Mourning’s career from the Hall of Famer inductee’s playing days. NBA TV will also showcase two of the most memorable performances of 2014 Hall of Fame inductee Mitch Richmond’s career with the six-time All-Star live tweeting the back-to-back game re-airs via the @NBATVTwitter handle on Aug. 5 at 4p.

In preparation for the PGA Championship, Golf Channel announced plans for more than 50 live hours of news, analysis, highlights, interviews, instruction and debate surrounding the tournament, which takes place Aug. 4-10. Headlining programming will be Golf Central’s Live From the PGA Championship wraparound news programming, which will feature news throughout the week. Ryan Burr, Rich Lerner and Kelly Tilghman will anchor and be joined by analysts Notah Begay, Brandel Chamblee, David Feherty, Steve Flesch, Arron Oberholser and Mark Rolfing. Morning Drive will expand on Wednesday to three hours to cover pre-tournament news conferences and will air for two hours Thursday-Sunday starting at 6a.

Speaking of golf, FOX Sports announced the additions of Brad Faxon and David Fay as analysts for the 2015 USGA Championships, where they will join Joe Buck, Greg Norman and reporter/host Holly Sonders. Faxon will serve as lead studio analyst and hole announcer, while Fay contributes as rules analyst.

We are mere weeks away. Get your tickets now before it once again sells out! Join us on Aug. 19 for the Women of Action track, co-hosted by FOX Sports’ Colleen Dominguez, at the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit, taking place at the NY Athletic Club. Dominguez will also moderate our panel on the state of women’s sports, with a killer lineup that will include Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman, WNBA President Laurel Richie, USA Gymnastics President Steven Penny, AVP Commissioner Donald Sun and Nielsen’s Janel Koval. For more info and to register, click here.

HBO has reportedly locked in a multi-fight extension of Gennady Golovkin, according to ESPN. The report states that the deal will span four fights and includes clauses for international fights as well, with broadcasts on either HBO or HBO PPV.

NFL Network hits the ground running for the new season with coverage of 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame Weekend. Programming includes coverage of ‘Hall of Fame Friday Night’ and six live hours of programming on Saturday. For the first time ever, the Gold Jacket Ceremony will be televised exclusively on the channel tonight at 9p and will see the 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame class receive their gold jackets. NFL Network’s Rich Eisen will emcee.  On Saturday at 4p, NFL Network will air a pre-show to the 2014 Pro Football Enshrinement Ceremony, featuring three members of the new class. On Friday, August 2 at 7p, NFL Network launches coverage of the 2014 Pro Football Enshrinement Ceremony.

BTN kicks off its football coverage with the season debut of BTN Live on Monday. BTN Live will air at 6p Monday through Friday and simulcast on FOX Sports Radio, offering analysis and interviews from that day’s practice as part of the network’s eighth annual football bus tour.  BTN Football and Beyond will go daily, Monday through Friday starting Aug. 25 at noon. The game slate opens Thursday, Aug. 28 and Friday, Aug. 29, with both Minnesota and Michigan State in action.

Around the dial, Pac-12 Networks is taking fans back to the Conference’s golden age on the gridiron with season two of Varsity Days, Presented by Mitsubishi starting Sunday with three, 30-minute episodes starting at 7p. The shows, hosted by Rick Neuheisel, celebrate the players, voices and moments that defined college football in the Conference’s early days from the late 1940s to mid-1980s.


Cynopsis Sports Women of Action
August 19 | 1-6:30 PM | New York Athletic Club
Thank you to our sponsor – FOX SPORTS 1
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.
*Cocktail reception to follow event*

For sponsor information, please contact Mike Farina at (203) 218-6480


The NBA will add its Twitter handle to its official game ball next season. The league announced the change, which will see the handle @NBA now added to the left of the league’s logo, making it the first game ball to have it in any of the four major pro sports in North America. The NBA’s Twitter account has 10.7 million followers.

NFL Players Inc. locked in an exclusive agreement that makes Panini America the sole manufacturer of licensed trading cards and collectible stickers for the organization. The multiyear agreement begins with the 2016 National Football League season.

Under Armour has launched a global women’s marketing campaign dubbed, “I Will What I Want.” Call the brand’s most expansive global women’s marketing campaign to-date, the campaign will look to celebrate “the inner and outer strength of women and highlights the brand’s commitment to designing elevated products for athletic females.” The campaign features a slew of female talent, including Lindsey Vonn, American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland, US Women’s National Soccer Team star Kelley O’Hara as well as tennis player Sloane Stephens and showcase real “moments of will” that each woman has faced in her life.

IMG signed North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to a representation deal. IMG will manage, market and directly sell all advertising and sponsorship inventory for the university.


The NFL announced plans to install Zebra Technologies’ real-time location system for sport in 17 stadiums this season. The technology will track players and officials, providing location based data known as “Next Gen Stats” to fans. Zebra receivers installed throughout the stadium will communicate with radio-frequency identification transmitters placed inside the shoulder pads of each player to capture precise location measurements, in real-time, during the game.  Data will relay info such as position, speed, and distance that will then be registered and compiled into a database. 

ESPN Fantasy Football is kicking off a new season with a brand new version of the ESPN Fantasy Football App; as well as the return of ESPN.com’s Mock Draft Mondays starting August 4. The redesigned app will offer scoring alerts, trades and news; live auction and snake drafts; and access to Mock and Live Draft Lobbies.  Across iPhone, Android and Windows Phone devices, the free-to-download app allows players to create leagues.

WWE revealed that its WWE Network had drawn 700,000 subscribers through the end of the quarter. To drive subscriber growth, the company announced plans to execute a five-part strategy that includes “making the network available in new geographies, creating new content, expanding distribution platforms, developing new features and enhancing its marketing.” WWE plans to make the U.S. version of WWE Network available on an over-the-top basis starting August 12th in over 170 countries and territories, including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, Spain and the Nordics, among others. The network is expected to be live in the U.K. by October 2014.

Flocasts announced the upcoming launch of Floelite.com, a media property dedicated to 24/7 elite fitness content. The site will offer fans “fresh video content daily with live streaming of the nation’s best events, original weekly web series, workouts and original inside doc-series on top athletes and coaches. The site will launch at the end of August in conjunction with the Crush Games in Miami.


NFL/Hall of Fame Game on NBC on Sunday at 8p.



Cynopsis Sports Business Summit
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August 20: New York Athletic Club

Thought-provoking Sessions | Robust Panel of Speakers | | Superb Networking Opportunity

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Sponsorship: Mike Farina, 203-218-6480|Registration: Pete Romas, 203-899-8483

ON THIS DAY in 2001: NFL player Korey Stringer suffers from heat stroke during the Vikings’ preseason training camp, and dies as a result of complications.

In The Know: Which university has the most players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com 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: With what team did Nolan Ryan win a World Series? Answer: The Mets. Kudos: Jay Goldstein-AdMore/NY; Julian Segal-FOX Digital Media/NY; Steve Karmazin-SNTV- Sports News Television/NY; Terence Gaffigan-MSG Media/NY; Tim McGhee-MSP Sports/Summit; Jon Clateman-Frozen Ropes/Syosset; Rich Dubroff-CSNBaltimore.com/Baltimore; Randy Ingram-WBTW-TV/Myrtle Beach; Tim Merryman-WOAI-AM/San Antonio; Andy Pittman-Texas A&M University/College Station; Ryan Nolan-Sportsman Channel/New Berlin; Paul Sturm-Constitution-Tribune/Chillicothe; David Hauptman/Denver; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Jack Simmons-Fox Sports/LA; Rick Pike-InterMedia Advertising/Woodland Hills; Joe Pedri-KLAS/Las Vegas; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente.

Later — Chris
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