09/12/14: NFL launches investigation, sponsors take note; FOX, Turner, ESPN prepare for the MLB Postseason; NBC plays the hating game


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Good morning. It’s Friday, September 12, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The NFL announced an investigation into the league’s handling of the Ray Rice scandal, bringing in former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III to investigate the organization’s process of handling evidence in the Rice case. The move comes after an AP report stated that a league executive received video of the confrontation five months before the evidence became public, despite claims to the contrary from Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The investigation will be overseen by New York Giants owner John Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney. In a statement to the media, Mara and Rooney said, ”We have spoken with Mr. Mueller today, and he has informed us he is prepared to begin immediately. No timeline was established and we stressed that he should take as much time as necessary to complete a thorough investigation. We agreed that the scope of the investigation should be aimed at getting answers to specific questions, including what efforts were made by league staff to obtain the video of what took place inside the elevator and to determine whether, in fact, the video was ever delivered to someone at the league office, and if so, what happened to the video after it was delivered.”

Meanwhile, sponsors remain supportive of the league, with some taking a “wait and see” approach to the situation. Spokespersons for Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi, told USA Today Sports that they have no comment on the situation at this time and would advise if their position changes. Verizon Communications chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said Thursday at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference that the company has a "strong stance" against domestic violence, stating “I know Roger Goodell quite well, and he is a man of very high integrity and I will not believe that there is some conspiracy to cover this up," McAdam said. "I’m at this point satisfied with the actions that they’ve taken," according to the WSJ.


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Join Cynopsis Sports on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 for the latest case studies and tactics from the worlds of broadcast, digital, and the second (third, and fourth) screens on how to break through the clutter to cultivate and empower young consumers. And most important, what’s coming next as sports experts learn from first adopters?



Networks lined up this year’s MLB post-season plans with FOX Sports, ESPN and Turner Sports on deck with baseball’s finest. FOX Sports 1 is slated to showcase postseason MLB for the first time ever, programming up to eight of 10 National League Division Series games, beginning with the Game 1 doubleheader on Oct. 3 with other doubleheaders scheduled for Oct. 7 and 9 if necessary. The company will offer fans watching NLCS Game 1 choices in how they experience the game, with a traditional broadcast on FOX, while FOX Sports 1 offers fans a more analytics-driven game viewing experience under the banner of FOXSports.com’s new baseball blog, Just a Bit Outside, with an emphasis on statistics, sabermetrics and graphics. Kevin Burkhardt hosts. Coverage of the 110th World Series begins Oct. 21.

On TBS, Turner Sports hits its eighth consecutive year of MLB postseason coverage with the 2014 MLB Wild Card presented by Budweiser featuring the AL on Sept. 30, before heading into the ALDS on Oct. 2 and the ALCS. The MLB Postseason on TBS will once again feature the trio of Ernie Johnson and analysts Ron Darling and Cal Ripken calling one of the ALDS series and the ALCS as well as the Wild Card Game.

For the first time, ESPN will exclusively carry the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser on Oct. 1, featuring the Sunday Night Baseball team of Dan Shulman, John Kruk and Buster Olney. The NL Wild Card Game will also be available on ESPN Deportes and on ESPN International platforms in Latin America, the Pacific Rim, the Caribbean and cruise ships.

The NHL and HBO are going their separate ways, ending the slate of 24/7 Road to the NHL Winter Classic series. The league stated that there will be a new 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic All Access partnership announced on Sept 23. In a statement, an HBO spokesperson said that “Everybody at HBO enjoyed working with the NHL and its teams on 24/7 the past four years. It was an exciting endeavor and we’re very proud of the never-before-seen presentation of the world of hockey that 24/7 was able to capture.”

CBS Sports launches its 14th season of national coverage of SEC on CBS football on Saturday at 3:30p with Georgia/South Carolina. Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and reporter Allie LaForce call the action. Meanwhile, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn joins studio coverage as guest analyst. 

Tim Tebow is already adding to his responsibilities in the ABC/ESPN family. The SEC Network talent is joining Good Morning America as a contributor, according to multiple reports. Tebow makes his official debut on Sept. 15 and is expected to appear on the show to launch a slate of segments showcasing individuals’ stories of triumph.

Join us on Sept. 17 for our newest webinar, “Engaging with Teens and Millennials Across Platforms.” The session will break down how sports are tapping the power of broadcast, digital, and the second (third, and fourth) screens to cultivate and empower young consumers, showcasing best practices to learn how they’re attracting and engaging teens and millennials in the games they play, watch and consume. Click here for more info.

Back to baseball, MLB Network has ten pennant chase games spanning six days starting Sept. 15. The slate will feature the contending Angels, Athletics, Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners and Nationals in action. The action begins with the Nationals/Braves on Monday at 7p.

NBC Sports revealed that its “Together We Make Football” segment on Today will hone in on San Francisco-based artist Hang Nguyen, who was born in Saigon, Vietnam and raised in San Francisco and is one of the featured artists in the 49ers art gallery. Nguyen has been commissioned to do an impressionistic portrait of “The Catch,” which will be revealed this Friday. The segment will be narrated by NBC Sports Group’s Josh Elliott.

SiriusXM has reeled in Fred Couples for a new series on PGA TOUR Radio. He will host The Fred Couples Show monthly beginning Sept. 25 at 7p, the night before the Ryder Cup. His series will feature Couples taking calls and interact with golf fans around the country, discuss the latest news from around the game, and offer instructional tips for players of all different skill levels.

Announcer Ted Robinson has been suspended by both the San Francisco 49ers and Pac-12 Networks over his remarks about the Ray Rice incident. According to local reports, Robinson stated that said Rice’s wife, Janay should take some of the responsibility for what happened since she didn’t speak up about the violence. The 49ers suspended him for two games, while Pac-12 Networks stated that he will not call any Pac-12 games for the next two weeks and will undergo sensitivity training.


NBC Sports Group is feeling the hate ahead of the new NHL season, launching an all new marketing campaign for Wednesday Night Rivalry with the tagline, “The Night You Love To Hate.” The marketing team produced a number of spots to celebrate the hate between players and fans of rival NHL teams. The first commercial debuted yesterday, featuring George Throgood’s song Who Do You Love and highlighting players and fans from various teams “showing their true emotions for the rival teams they love to hate”.

Speaking of NBC Sports, the company is partnering up with Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. to launch a #TopTailgate contest designed to encourage fans to submit their best tailgating photos and videos via Twitter. Weekly prizes include: a portable grill, pop up bar and bean bag toss; and Grand Prize choices, including: a 46” outdoor HD-TV, Kegorator beer keg fridge or free meals from Arby’s for a year. The promotion runs through October 29, with NBCSports.com offering a custom video showcasing user generated content the will play during the SNF online stream. In addition, fans and guests of Arby’s will see the new “Meatcraft” advertising campaign during SNF games throughout September.

Spotify is teaming up with the University of Oklahoma to “power the music behind the Sooners 2014 season” via #soonersounds. Throughout the season, Sooner athletics will be creating and releasing playlists on their official Spotify profile to prepare fans for the daylong tailgates. 


Maria Shriver will speak at the fifth annual espnW: Women + Sports Summit presented by Toyota on Oct. 10. The award-winning journalist will deliver the closing address and will focus on her Architects of Change life philosophy and her family’s Special Olympics legacy. This year’s Summit will take place October 8-10, in Dana Point.


The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins on Sunday with the MyAFibStory.com 400 from Chicagoland Speedway on ESPN at 2p.

ON THIS DAY in 1988: The first-ever regular season game in Phoenix takes place as the Cowboys beat the Cardinals.

In The Know: Hunter star Fred Dryer played on two NFL teams. Name one. (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 university had the most players on the NFL’s opening day rosters this season? Answer: LSU with 38. Kudos: Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Tim Merryman-Clear Channel/San Antonio; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA; Neal Stevens-Stevens & Associates/Beverly Hills.

Later — Chris
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