10/14/14: FOX Sports 1 hits a dinger; 120 Sports powers MSN; WWE has a new digital czar



Good morning. It’s Tuesday, October 14, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The latest Giants/Cardinals thriller in the NLCS handed FOX Sports 1 with record numbers for Game 2 of the series. The contest saw 4,367,000 viewers, according to Nielsen, marking the highest-rated, most-watched telecast in FOX Sports 1 history, according to Nielsen. St. Louis led all markets with a 24.5/35, the best market rating ever in a single DMA for a FOX Sports 1 event. San Francisco followed with a 16.1/30. Meanwhile, FOX Deportes’ Spanish-language telecast of Game 2 averaged 198,000 total viewers resulting in the best start to the series in FOX Deportes’ history of airing the League Championship.


The 32nd PGA Grand Slam of Golf is set to tee off on TNT and PGA.com starting today with champions of the four majors squaring off at Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda. Of course, the foursome includes Rory McIlroy (Open Championship and PGA Championship), Martin Kaymer (U.S. Open) and Bubba Watson (Masters), along with past major champion and 2008 Grand Slam winner Jim Furyk. The action begins on the channel at 4p today and tomorrow and will feature all four players mic’d throughout course play. Brian Anderson (play-by-play) and Ian Baker-Finch (analyst) are on microphone duties, along with Billy Kratzert (course reporter). PGA.com offers live scoring, live updates and analysis both days while Grand Slam Live will give fans exclusive minute-by-minute updates as well as photos, video, social interaction and expert commentary from the course.

Rain pushed TBS’ coverage of Game 3 of the ALCS to today at 8p with Game 4 now slated for Wednesday at 4p. Ernie Johnson will continue to call the best-of-seven series with analysts Ron Darling and Cal Ripken with reporter Matt Winer. The network also will have Mike Bordick (Baltimore) and Steve Physioc (Kansas City) as local reporters providing updates on their respective teams.

In other schedule changes, FOX Sports announced that, due to a scheduling conflict with Game 5 of NLCS, Thursday’s college football game pitting Utah and Oregon State will move to FOX Sports 2. The game had originally been slated for FOX Sports 1, and can now also be seen on MyNet stations in local markets and well at Pac-12 Networks and FOX Sports GO at 10p.

CBS Sports made its selection for its SEC on CBS football game for Saturday, Oct. 25 at 3:30p. The game will spotlight Mississippi State/Kentucky. Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and reporter Allie LaForce have the call from Lexington.

FOX Sports revealed announcers and analysts for its coverage of the 2014 FIFA Women’s World Cup CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament, which spans the FOX Sports family of networks starting tomorrow. Analysts will include Cat Whitehill, Angela Hucles, Danielle Slaton, Tony DiCicco, Kyndra de St. Aubin and Christine Latham. Handling play-by-play will be John Strong, JP Dellacamera, Mark Rogondino, Justin Kutcher, Jenn Hildreth and Mark Followill.

Are you on the Social Media Leaderboard? You better be on Dec. 8! Stay tuned.

BTN laid out its game plan for the 2014-15 basketball season, slating a record 125 men’s and women’s conference basketball games to run on the channel. The conference schedule tips off with a special “Super Wednesday,” a New Year’s Eve tripleheader. Talent is set to include lead analysts, Jim Jackson, Stephen Bardo and Shon Morris, who will be joined by Gary Williams,  Drew Nicholas, Bob Wenzel, John Lucas II, Dan Bonner, Jess Settles, Seth Davis and Greg Kelser. New play-by-by announcer Joe Davis of Fox Sports joins an established crew of Dave Revsine, Kevin Kugler, Eric Collins, Cory Provus and Brian Anderson. On the women’s side, new faces include Christy Winters Scott and Katie Smith who will team with returning analysts Stephanie White, Debbie Antonelli, Brenda VanLengen, Vera Jones, Mary Murphy and Shelley Till.

Over on Pac-12 Networks, the channels announced plans for the third season of women’s basketball game coverage, beginning with the ‘Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day Special’ across all seven networks at noon PT on Oct. 22. The two-hour special features host Ashley Adamson, and analysts Ros Gold-Onwude and Mary Murphy at Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day. On-air talent this year will include the returning Ann Meyers-Drysdale and Cindy Brunson along with play-by-play talent Krista Blunk and Anne Marie Anderson as well as Rich Burk, Rich Cellini, Ann Schatz and Jim Watson. Live game action launches Nov. 19 with each conference team set to be featured at least a dozen times.

NBC Sports Regional Networks are reporting gains for the NHL this season. The Blackhawks’ earned their best start ever on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, averaging a 4.9 HH rating through two games. Overall, this season’s NHL games are averaging a 2.7 across the NBC Sports Group’s lineup of CSN regionals, up 15% vs. last year’s regular-season average rating (2.3).

Speaking of hockey, NBCSN brings back NHL Rivals tonight at 10:30p, ahead of Wednesday Night Rivalry. This week’s episode highlights the history of the Original Six rivalries.

The NHL announced that the Buffalo Sabres will play host the 2016 NHL Draft at First Niagara Center. The Draft will span two days  Friday, June 24, and Saturday, June 25, 2016. The announcement marks the third time the Sabres and the city of Buffalo have hosted the NHL Draft.

Correction: Yesterday’s edition read that the Daytona Rising project would be completed in 2015, when it should have stated that completion would be in 2016.



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The NBA’s new deal with ESPN and Turner Sports will reportedly include a cut of revenue generated from jersey sponsors. SBJ writes that the two networks will receive a share via “a straight payout from the deal, or they will receive specific commitments from the sponsor to buy additional TV advertising during games.”

WWE Network landed its first batch of sponsors with the company confirming that Pepsi, Mattel and Kmart will all begin appearing on the digital platform starting this week. The network will run 30-second spots between shows during its programming schedule, although there will be no commercial breaks within programming itself, according to Ad Age.


The 2014 Catalyst Sports Fan Engagement Study was revealed on Monday, offering “insight into the continuing convergence of sports and digital media among sports fans, how trends evolve year-over-year, and identifies opportunities for brand engagement.” The study utilized an online survey among 2,195 avid sport fans aged 16-64 in the US who engaged with sports using social media in August 2014. Findings include: non-white fans are more likely than the average fan to use Twitter, Instagram and Vine; soccer fans are most dependent on social media for following/discussing the sport; and fans engage with content that goes beyond the score board including pre-game, historic video, bloopers and game debate.


Sporting News Media launched a proprietary research program, dubbed Sporting Views, examining how “sports fans consume and engage with digital sports content in the US.” SNM will analyze data from its SN ePlayer network. The first report looks at fan engagement and viewership from January 2014 through September 2014. Findings saw that sports video content accessed from local publishers is not necessarily being viewed by sports fans located within the publisher’s local market. “Analysis of sports video consumption from publishers in ten of the nation’s largest markets (DMAs) revealed that 62.1% of fans accessing sports video content on these sites(s) did so from an out-of-market DMA.  Of the markets measured, Dallas (72.7%), Los Angeles (71.3%), New York (70.9%), Miami (70.3%) and San Francisco (60.8%) had the largest percentage of users viewing sports video content from outside of the immediate local market, followed by Detroit (59.9%), Boston (56.6%), Chicago (51.2%), and Seattle (49.9%).”

Rookie live streaming digital sports video network 120 Sports inked a deal to provide content to MSN that will make 120 Sports’ video content & video player available as part of MSN’s sports video offerings. 120 Sports’ live programming will also be hosted on the site shortly. Currently, 120 Sports produces 76 hours of weekly live content in a two-minute format, providing real-time highlights and live look-ins. “This integration with Microsoft is yet another step for the 120 Sports brand as we continue to expand our audience and reach more fans,” said 120 Sports president Jason Coyle. “MSN has developed a strong and loyal sports following and we are excited that our content will be featured as a part of their new offerings.”

The Yahoo Sports  NBC Sports Network Digital Alliance saw a big September, setting a record for uniques in the period, drawing 73.7 million unique users. That is up 17% vs. Sept. 2013 (63.2 million); and the second-most uniques among all sports digital sites for the month, according to comScore. In addition, Yahoo-NBC Sports generated nearly 5 billion minutes of consumption (4.994 billion) in September, the second-most in alliance history.

TRACE Sport Stars, a channel dedicated to sports celebrities and available in over 100 countries, announced that November will be dedicated to extreme sports with Patricia Lopez de la Cerda, AKA Patty Lopez, presenting throughout the month.


WWE tapped Lou Schwartz as the company’s new Chief Digital Officer where he will lead WWE’s Digital Media division and focus on expanding WWE’s digital and social media presence and profitability. Schwartz previously held executive level positions at UUX, Piksel and Multicast, and will report directly to WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon.


Giants/Cardinals on FOX Sports 1 at 4p.

ON THIS DAY in 1967: Cubs fan Steve Bartman makes the catch.

In The Know: For which university did actor Burt Reynolds play college football? (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 Yesterday’s Question: Demarco Murray became the second player to open the NFL season with six straight 100-yd rushing games. Who was the first? (Hint: it took place in the 50s.) Answer: Jim Brown. Kudos: Mitch Burg-Impact Communications/Israel; Rick Alessandri-Univision/NY; Colin Sparaco-NBCSports.com/NY; Greg Conner-Tennis Channel/NY; Tom Wetzel-MMSI/Warwick; James E. Benton Sr.-N.C. Department of Health and Human Services/Raleigh; Michael Goodman-Radio-One/Atlanta; Jerehmy White-BusyBuddy Books/Glen Rock; Brent Carter-Time Warner Cable Media/Dallas; Jay Goslee-WZTV WUXP WNAB/Nashville; Brad Brown-B2 Consulting, LLC/St Louis; Dean Lamb-CDW/Chicago; David Hauptman/Denver; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Nick Monroe-Monroe Photography/San Diego; Steve Hirsen-Director/Producer/Sherman Oaks; Jack Simmons-Fox Sports/LA; Tamara Brcka-Fox Consumer Products/LA

Later — Chris

Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine


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