09/19/14: MLS kicks off a rebrand; WNBA postseason ends on a high; PepsiCo has Roger Goodell’s back


Good morning. It’s Friday, September 19, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

MLS got an overhaul with the unveiling of #MLSNEXT. Sporting a new crest, the rebrand replaces the traditional image of a soccer boot kicking a ball. The new icon features a shield accompanied by three white stars which represent "club, country and community," according to the league. Meanwhile, the shield features a slash dividing it in two, which refers “to soccer’s speed and energy" while the perimeter symbolizes  the "lines that mark off the field of play." Meanwhile, each club will get a version of the league crest, “which better reflects their clubs identity and local market.”

“The new brand’s design is intended to say ‘soccer’ without the literal ball and cleat,” the league said with the announcement. “In the end, we decided that the inclusion of a ball and cleat is unnecessary as it dates us very quickly (due to the fast pace of innovation in our game) while many other ways exist to signal we are a soccer league. Our new brand will build meaning over time so that our new crest signifies soccer in North America and has a unique place in global sports.”



Do you eat your dinner in front of the TV?

Autumn is here with new Fall TV premieres and full seasons to binge on! Cynopsis wants to know if you are guilty of combining TV time into dinnertime.



ESPN’s 2014 WNBA postseason coverage officially scored the largest television audience for the event since 2007, according to Nielsen, and notched double digit increases in ratings and viewership over 2013. Overall, ESPN, ABC, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS combined to televise 10 games to reach 489,000 viewers and a 0.3 US household rating. That marks increases of 90% and 50% over 2013, respectively. The WNBA Finals 2014 had spikes of 150% in household ratings and a 91% in viewership over 2013.

AXS TV Fights locked in an exclusive broadcast rights agreement with the east coast-based CES MMA. The new partnership launches with AXS TV Fights: CES MMA on Jan. 30, 2015, with programming running on Fridays. Broadcasts will be called by Pat Miletich and Michael Schiavello.

Universal Sports Network struck a multi-year distribution agreement with the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) for the network’s programming, available to the cable co-op’s nearly 900 member companies across the country. “We are excited to partner with NCTC on the distribution of our exclusive global sports programming as we continue to grow the reach of our network,” said Scott Brown, President of Universal Sports. “With a wide variety of sports and world-class events not available on other networks, Universal Sports fills a void and will provide NCTC members with additional value for their subscribers as operators continue to expand their sports offerings.”

Back9Network announced a slew of new talent ahead of its launch on DIRECTV on Sept. 29. Names include Shane Bacon, Erica Bachelor, Matty Blake, Caite Upton, Jeff Rude, John Maginnes, and Will Christien, with the group of on-air personalities now headlining the network’s studio shows. The channel’s series The Turn will premiere Monday, September 29th and will be co-hosted by Bacon and Bachelor at noon. Blake and Upton will co-host Off Par, a look at the world of golf and entertainment, with a comedic twist. Maginnes, Rude, and Christien will co-host The Clubhouse which will air on weeknights at 10p. In addition, the channel will utilize Charles Everett and Universo Pereira as network co-hosts.

FOX Sports is offering side-by-side national coverage of MLB’s final regular season Saturday with games on FOX and FOX Sports 1. On Sept. 27 at 1p, viewers will be able to see Derek Jeter take the field one more time in a nationally televised game on FOX with Yankees/Red Sox. Meanwhile, at the same time, FOX Sports 1 offers showcases the Pirates/Reds. Coverage begins at 12:30 PM ET with the FOX MLB Pregame Show with Ryan Field, Eric Karros and Frank Thomas on FOX.

NHL Network revealed its 2014-15 preseason broadcast schedule beginning with the Sabres/Capitals on Sept. 21 at 5p. Other highlights include the Sept. 24 2014 Kraft Hockeyville game featuring the Coyotes/Flames and the Oct. 4 Avalanche/Kings matchup at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Overall, the channel will carry 22 live preseason game broadcasts heading into the 2014-15 regular season. Meanwhile, NHL Live makes its return on Monday at 5p.

The 2014 VIZIO BCS National Championship generated $128.7 million for Southern California, according to a study by Enigma Research. The report states that the game drew $17.3 million directly to Pasadena, and $94.1 million was generated in all of Los Angeles County with 67,600 spectators, or 82%, of attendees residing outside of Southern California.

Canada’s MTS has launched MLB Network on MTS Ultimate TV with a subscription to the Sports Fans channel package. “MTS is always expanding its lineup of sports channels and making more great content available on MTS Ultimate TV,” said Paul Norris, Vice President of Brand & Consumer Marketing for MTS. “MLB Network offers baseball fans around-the-clock programming and we’re proud to be the first TV provider to offer it in Western Canada.”

On the local front, NESN reeled in Nikki Reyes as a feature reporter/anchor for the channel. Reyes will initially appear on NESN Sports Today and NESN Live and be part of the weekend anchor team on NESN Sports Today. Reyes had been based in Las Vegas since 2010 working as a reporter and senior producer for Top Rank Boxing.

Meanwhile, starting Sept. 22, Jane Slater will join Longhorn Network as a studio host and reporter. Along with reporting for LHN games and Texas GameDay, she will also host Longhorn Extra, and work on feature stories for various LHN programming.

Fight Network inked a carriage deal with Armstrong Cable. The channel can now be found on channel 239 in high-definition (HD) and channel 491 in standard-definition (SD). It is available as part of the Armstrong Extra Pack. Headquartered in Butler County, Pennsylvania, Armstrong Cable serves over 100,000 customers across western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.


PepsiCo added its voice to the recent NFL domestic abuse controversies with CEO Indra Nooyi condemning the behavior of players charged with the crimes, but remaining supportive of Commissioner Roger Goodell. “The behaviors are disgusting, absolutely unacceptable, and completely fly in the face of the values we at PepsiCo believe in and cherish,” she said in a statement, before adding, "Given PepsiCo’s long-standing partnership with the NFL, I know Roger Goodell. We have worked together for many years. I know him to be a man of integrity, and I am confident that he will do the right thing for the league in light of the serious issues it is facing.”


Bloomberg Sports and Dallas-based MVPindex are partnering “to combine the strongest performance analytics in sports with the most robust social media statistics in the industry, forming a new way of analyzing and developing an overall athletic performance measurement.” The new partnership will look to help enhance and quantify engagement for brands, consumers and media companies around sponsorable sports-related assets such as teams, leagues, athletes and venues. The first combined effort examined the correlation between a football player’s social media index and his fantasy draft projection level, while another analysis underway centers on the BSports Power 50 European soccer players and the degree to which their play on the field mirrors — or doesn’t — their performance in social media.


Super Bowl rematch on CBS with Broncos/Seahawks on Sunday at 4p.

ON THIS DAY in 1988: American diver Greg Louganis wins the gold medal in the springboard competition.

In The Know: Which NHL player was the last to win back-to-back Hart Memorial Trophies? (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 is the only player from BYU to win the Heisman Trophy? Answer: Ty Detmer. Kudos: Joe Lyons- Back Nine Productions/London; Andrew Feingold-Nielsen/NY; Mike Lee-BPN/NY; Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Art Salisch-HEARST Television/NY; J. Barry McMullin-WWE/Stamford; G. David Brown-FOX Sports/Charlotte; Chris Faulds-Bell Media Digital/Toronto; James Stuart-NBC Sports. Group/Stamford; Andy Pittman-Texas A&M University/College Station; Kevin Wicker-Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network/Mission; Kristin Staskowski-Charter Media/Birmingham; Tony Tsonis-Bright House Media Strategies/Maitland; Mike Van Diest-Carroll College/Helena; David Hauptman/Denver; Warren Weideman-Producer/LA; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA; Damon Parry-MediaVest/El Segundo.

Later — Chris
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