08/20/14: ESPN & MAC beef up partnership; Cynopsis’ Women of Action shines, MNF opens with a hit









Good morning. It’s Wednesday, August 20, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

College football is in the air, and the announcement between ESPN and the Mid-American Conference can be a game-changer for those schools involved. The deal between the two companies is for an extension of their exclusive rights agreement that will deliver record coverage of the conference across multiple ESPN platforms through 2026-27. Highlights of the 13-year pact: ESPN, the MAC and its 12 member institutions working jointly to develop in-house production capabilities that will provide significant national coverage for MAC sports on ESPN3. As a result, ESPN3 will showcase a minimum of 420 events a year (a minimum of 120 men’s basketball) once all 12 institutions have launched a production program.

Every MAC-controlled football matchup will be available on one of ESPN’s national networks or via an ESPN sublicense agreement with additional outlets. The football schedule will continue to feature regular Thursday, Friday and Saturday games, select Tuesday and Wednesday prime time matchups, and an annual “MACsgiving” contest on the Friday after Thanksgiving.


August 20 | 9AM – 4PM  | NYAC | [REGISTER NOW]
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Yesterday’s Cynopsis Sports Women of Action conference continued to press the hot-button issues facing women and sports. So many highlights! Here are a few. FOX Sports’ World Cup coordinating producer David Neal announced that either FOX or FOX Sports 1 will carry all 52 Women’s World Cup matches in 2015. Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman stated that the ramifications of the recent decision on the NCAA’s Ed O’Bannon case on women’s sports are still unknown. A savvy lineup of speakers for the Marketing to Women session discussed taking advantage of the luck of the moment. The event saw multiple calls for sponsors and networks to step up promotion of female athletics and support. Sports personalities such as CBS’ Tracy Wolfson, Turner Sports/CNN’s Rachel Nichols, ESPN’s Sara Walsh and CBS’s Dana Jacobson broke down objectification in the media. Of course, WWE’s Stephanie McMahon provided a touching speech to present this year’s Impact Award to Susan G Komen founder Nancy Brinker, who moved the audience with her story on the success of the organization. Thank you Colleen Dominguez for a terrific job as co-host and to all of our speakers!

Monday night’s ESPN Monday Night Football preseason telecast pitting the Browns/Redskins scored a 4.5 household US rating and 6,898,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. The telecast is the highest-rated and most-viewed NFL preseason game on ESPN in five years. In Cleveland, the game delivered a 7.3 rating on ESPN and a 21.1 rating on WKYC-NBC, for a combined 28.5 rating in the market. In Washington, the game delivered a 7.1 rating on ESPN and a 6.5 rating on WDCA-IND, for a combined 13.6 rating in the market.

NBC Sports Group hit record-setting numbers this past for the Premier League on NBC and NBCSN, as well as the Premier League Extra Time bonus TV package and the NBC Sports Live Extra live streaming product. Overall more than 3.3 million people tuned in to five telecasts on NBC and NBCSN Saturday and Sunday  the most ever for an opening Premier League weekend in the U.S. — up 3% from the 3.2 million total for the five games on NBC and NBCSN last year, according to Nielsen.

Brazil is not just about futbol, it cares about football as well apparently. The NFL and ESPN have reached an agreement that establishes ESPN as the only pay TV broadcast partner in Brazil through the 2016 season.  The new agreement provides ESPN with rights to televise a game in every available broadcast time and includes elite events like The Super Bowl.  During the upcoming 2014 season, ESPN will air up to six games per week, plus the playoff games, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIX.

It’s almost September, so it seems right that the NHL on Tuesday announced its preseason schedule, which opens on Sunday, Sept. 21. Highlighting the 15-day, 105-game slate is the 2014 Kraft Hockeyville game from Sylvan Lake, Alta., on Wednesday, Sept. 24. The people of Sylvan Lake, winners of the Canada-wide Kraft Hockeyville competition, will celebrate the grand prize when the Arizona Coyotes and Calgary Flames visit their community and face off at the Sylvan Lake Multiplex. The game will be broadcast live on CBC in Canada and NHL Network in the United States at 7 p.m., ET/5 p.m., MT.

Also in NHL news, The New York Islanders announced that a group led by former Washington Capitals co-owner Jon Ledecky and London based investor Scott Malkin has reached a definitive agreement, subject to NHL approval, to purchase a substantial minority interest in the team. Under the terms of the agreement, Charles Wang will continue as majority shareholder and Governor of the Islanders, with the Ledecky/Malkin group transitioning to majority owner in two years.

This weekend Sony and Mandalay Entertainment unveil their latest sports film, When The Game Stands Tall, the story of California’s deLaSalle High School and its legendary coach Bob Ladoceur. The film’s star, Jim Caviezel, also spent one day last week helping with another football project, voicing over the official Championship video for his hometown Seattle Seahawks for the NFL. The video will be out in early fall.


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FOX Sports has reached an agreement with the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational and Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic to sell all of the events’ multimedia sponsorship assets and traditional television advertising. The agreement makes FOX Sports 1 the television home of the regular-season college basketball tournaments and adds assets to Continental Tire’s title sponsorship of the two events.

Syracuse University and IMG locked in a new multi-year license agreement in which IMG will serve as the Syracuse University Athletics’ multimedia license partner. IMG will work in conjunction with the university’s athletics department to bring national, regional and local sponsorship and media support to the university’s athletic programs.

MISSION Athletecare continues to expand its reach into the event space. They are completing their 100 Day, 14 state trek across the United States in the coming weeks with a customized cooling truck, and Thursday will be sponsoring the John McEnroe-Novak Djokovic Tennis fundraiser for the Johnny Mac Tennis Foundation at Sportime Randall’s Island in New York. Mission will be providing Enduracool towels and other product as part of the sponsorship. They also have a deal with Serena Williams as part of their tennis portfolio.

IMG partnered with University of North Carolina-Asheville to launch a new college revenue development service platform  combining sponsorship marketing and fundraising for the university within a single IMG function. It’s the first time a major university has privatized and combined development with sponsorship sales. IMG will spearhead the university’s $5.75 million capital campaign, helping to build sports facilities and supervising the school’s annual “Bulldog Club” fund.

Head & Shoulders is going global with basketball, moving to global partner status with the International Basketball Federation around its major tournaments through 2015. The deal will involve onsite activation and could lead to bigger country by country deals for the Procter and Gamble brand as it looks to expand its international sports portfolio.


First-year University of Texas head football coach Charlie Strong, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully headline a roster of star-studded guests as the second season of The Seth Davis Show presented by Cadillac premieres on Thursday, August 28th, exclusively on Campus Insiders it was announced Tuesday.

With the US Open almost here, PlaySight Interactive, an innovative sports technology company and creators of an affordable, tennis analytic system, announced  a rapid expansion of their productt, installing “SmartCourts” at tennis clubs, tennis academies and private tennis courts around the world, including the Junior Tennis Champions Center (JTCC) in College Park, Maryland, the Nun’s Island tennis club in Montreal, Canada, the Bonita Bay club in Naples, Florida, the Bay Club in San Francisco, Calif., and the Norwegian Tennis Federation among others.

Fluendo, a company that enables multimedia and video on a wide variety of devices and operating systems, has acquired LongoMatch, a cross-platform software tool that lets users perform real-time analysis on sports game video feeds. LongoMatch software lets users tag plays, review portions of a live game in slow motion and create post-match analysis, all adaptable to a variety of video formats. The software also lets users review tagged events in-game and lets them export the clips while still analyzing the game live. LongoMatch was nominated as one of the 10 best sports analysis systems in the world in the 2013 Performance Video Analysis Software Guide.


Garry Cook, the former chief executive of Manchester City, has been appointed as the chief global officer of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

MLS’ Columbus Crew announced Andy Loughnane as their new president of business operations, replacing the title of president in the process.


2014 Little League World Series presented by Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes – Las Vegas, Nevada vs. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  7:30 pm.

ON THIS DAY in 1920: Professional football is born.

In The Know: With the Barclays Championship being played this weekend, what actor played the role of Bobby Jones in the 2004 film, “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius?” (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: Who played Gale Sayers in the classic 1971 movie Brian’s Song?  Answer: Billy Dee Williams. Kudos: Rob Maffei-Obsession Media/NY; Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Media/NY; John Lappas-Home Team Sports/NY; David Young-ABC/NY; Rusty Mintz-Turner Sports/Atlanta; Jon Miller-NBC Sports/Stamford; John Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Erik Moses-Events DC/DC; Andy Pittman-Texas A&M University/College Station; Chris Hartweg-Wunderman3/Chicago; Rick Hardy, Ph.D.-Missouri Western State University/St. Joseph; Gretchen Brady-KDAF-TV CW33/Dallas; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc./Santa Monica; Larry Hutchings/Pacific Palisades; Jack Simmons-Fox Sports/LA; Alan Perris/Beverly Hills.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for
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