10/07/14: The NBA answers the $24 billion question; MLB continues hot streak; NHL app gets personal


Good morning. It’s Tuesday, October 7, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

With $24 billion reportedly on the line, the NBA struck an accord with ESPN and Turner Sports that will boost the number of games on TV through the 2024-25 season. The new nine-year agreements kick in beginning with the 2016-17 season and will see the broadcast partners showcase more national regular-season games, with 100 on ABC/ESPN and 64 on Turner. Games will often be slated for Wednesdays (ESPN), Thursdays (TNT), Fridays (ESPN), and Sundays (ABC/ESPN). In addition, NBA TV will offer telecasts on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Saturday with over 100 games a year.

On the digital front, the league and Turner will continue their alliance to jointly manage the NBA’s digital assets including NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA Mobile, NBA LEAGUE PASS, and WNBA.com. Meanwhile, ESPN receives enhanced digital rights to provide NBA content for multiple ESPN platforms, including ESPN.com and WatchESPN. In addition, the parties have also established a framework for ESPN and the NBA to negotiate the launch of a new over-the-top offering in which the league would receive an equity interest.

Other details:

  • TNT will debut the first-ever NBA Awards Show, an annual event slated to air at the end of the season. They will also receive expanded activation opportunities surrounding NBA pillars such as Opening Night and NBA All-Star Week.
  • ESPN locked in a new deal with the WNBA, with games continuing to be carried on ABC and ESPN/ESPN2 through the 2025 season.  ESPN also will have enhanced in-progress highlight rights for the WNBA on digital and linear platforms.
  • Starting with the 2016-17 season, for the first time, at least 20 NBA Development League games and NBA Summer League games will be seen on the ESPN television networks.
  • Turner Sports gets content/digital rights to NBA content for multiple TNT platforms including Bleacher Report; interactive online elements such as selected camera angles, statistic feeds and video to complement TNT’s telecasts; and broadband and other content for digital platforms.
  • ESPN Audio reached a nine-year, multiplatform agreement to broaden ESPN Audio’s exclusivity and including additional rights and opportunities. While increasing its English-language distribution rights, ESPN Audio will become the exclusive Spanish-language national rights holder through ESPN Deportes Radio on terrestrial radio, satellite and all forms of radio devices including digital and third party platforms.

“The Walt Disney Company and Turner Broadcasting share responsibility for the growing popularity and interest the NBA enjoys, and we are thrilled to extend our partnerships,” said Silver.  “With these new agreements, our fans will continue to benefit from the outstanding NBA coverage and programming provided by ABC, ESPN, TNT, NBA TV and their digital platforms.”


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The MLB Postseason continues to tear it up. MLB reports that, overall, the games now rank as the most-watched since 2010, scoring an average of 3.6 million viewers for a 9% spike over last year’s slate. On TBS, the MLB Postseason is averaging 3,862,000 total viewers through the completion of the ALDS, up 15% over the network’s comparable AL telecasts to date last year. Sunday’s MLB Postseason doubleheader on TBS, which saw both the Orioles and Royals clinch, averaged 3,827,000 total viewers, up 21%.

Speaking of ratings, Univision Deportes scored a hot third quarter, tallying the top 5 most-viewed soccer matches on all TV among Adults 18-49 since the World Cup, regardless of language. UniMas’ broadcast of the Mexico/Chile match on Sept. 6 ranked as the most-viewed soccer match of 3Q14 on all networks, according to the company, since the World Cup, regardless of language with an average of 1.9 million Total Viewers and 1.2 million Adults 18-49. Overall, both UniMas and Univision Deportes Network (UDN) both posted growth with Liga Mexicana Futbol coverage in 3rd quarter, up 38% and 66% in total viewers respectively.

CBS Sports revealed that its SEC on CBS football game for Saturday, Oct. 18 at 3:30p will feature Alabama and Texas A&M squaring off to avoid that second loss. Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and reporter Allie LaForce call the contest from Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
iN DEMAND is offering hockey fans a taste of the NHL season, offering an 18-day free preview of NHL Center Ice on digital cable and telco systems from Oct. 8-25. The package allows fans to access up to 40 live out-of-market NHL games every week across 14 channels, including enhancements that enrich the viewing experience. Package enhancements include a multi-screen mosaic, same day replays, and dual feed telecasts.
Want to know how to reach and retain Generation Z, the population born after 1995? As Kidoodle.tv founder Michael Lowe writes, the brands that help this group effectively navigate the information overload around them are the ones who’ll earn lifelong loyalty. How to do that? Check out this week’s cynsiders.

Golf Channel lined up a slate of new original instruction programming this fall, with the schedule set to include the launch of Lesson Tee Live, a new 60-minute live instruction series that will debut on Wednesday at 8p. In addition, the network will incorporate Long Drive Month into on-air programs ahead of the RE/MAX World Long Drive Finals on Oct. 14 at 10p and wrapping up Nov. 4. Other series include The Golf Fix, hosted by Michael Breed, on Mondays at 7p, Lesson Tee Live on Wednesdays at 8p, Golf Channel Academy on Tuesdays at 7p, and School of Golf on Wednesdays at 7p.

Longhorn Network will carry 10 Texas men’s basketball games and 14 women’s games this season, with seven of the women’s games and three of the men’s games featuring a Big 12 opponent. The first game on the network this season will feature Oklahoma City University and the UT Women’s team at 3p on Nov. 9 in an exhibition game from the Frank Erwin Center. Five days later, LHN will televise the season opener for the men’s team against North Dakota State, as part of the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.


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The NHL and Rogers Communications entered a media sales partnership that will see Rogers lead Canadian national NHL media sales across Rogers’ owned-and-operated broadcast and digital platforms as well as ad sales for League-owned digital assets in Canada, including NHL.com and LNH.com. The alliance includes display ads on NHL.com, the French language counterpart LNH.com and the 30 NHL member club websites, in addition to mobile platforms and video inventory across all digital subsidiaries.

Ditech Mortgage Corp beefed up its ties with Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, announcing that it will expand its associate sponsorship of Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 team to include a two-race primary sponsorship.


With the NHL season set to go tomorrow, the league announced that its free NHL app has been redesigned. According to the league, hockey fans can now expect “more rich video content, seamless navigation, enhanced social media integrations and improved notifications among the many features that will create a more personalized experience.” The app also includes integration for NHL GameCenter LIVE subscribers, which for the first time ever, has multiple camera angles for an enhanced viewing experience. Features include: improved menus; a new scoreboard; sharing and social media; live game audio and video highlights; and NHL event content.


Digital consulting firm Omnigon named Creative and Design Director, Bora Nikolic, to the new role of Chief Creative Officer. In this new role, he will be focused on growing the design team across our offices, driving innovation, and supporting sales efforts across North America and overseas.
Collegiate marketer Learfield Sports appointed senior sales executive Lori Weed as the company’s Senior Director, National Sales. Weed joins Learfield Sports’ Plano headquarters from Texas Motor Speedway to oversee national sales activity for the company’s collegiate partners located in the Southwest region.


Dodgers/Cardinals on FOX Sports 1 at 5p.

ON THIS DAY in 1984: Walter Payton becomes the NFL’s all-time rushing leader.

In The Know: From what school was Walter Payton drafted? (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: According to the 1980 film Flash Gordon, the hero was once a quarterback for which NFL team? Answer: The Jets. Kudos: Jeff Spaulding-MLB Productions/NY; Matt Schulde-AdMore/NY; Bill Hirsh-Learfield Sports/NY; Ethan J. Tyer-CBS Sports Network/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Jerehmy White-BusyBuddy Books/Glen Rock; Scott R. Beams-ESPN/Bristol; Robert Twilley-Jupiter Entertainment/Knoxville; Paul Tarrants-Conway Data/Nashville; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Bill Adusei-Comcast SportsNet/Houston; Laura Froelich-Twitter/San Francisco; Greg Dudsic/Venice; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City.

Later — Chris
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