10/31/14: Game 7 drives ’em in for FOX; NBC Sports Group reups with the Breeders’ Cup; MLS doubles down in LA


Good morning. It’s Friday, October 31, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Game 7 of the World Series was a blowout for FOX Sports on Wednesday, marking the second Game 7 in the Fall Classic since 2002, and reeling in a Series-high 13.7/23 with 23.5 million viewers tuning in, according to Nielsen. That is up 69% in rating and 76% in audience compared to Game 6. The contest was also up 22% in rating and 23% in audience over last year’s Series-clinching Game 6. FOX Deportes’ telecast of Game 7 was the most-watched MLB game ever in the network’s history with 373,000 total viewers, up 90% from Game 7 in 2011. Overall, the seven games of the Series averaged an 8.2/14 with 13.8 million viewers.

Meanwhile, here are TiVo’s Top 5 Moments from the 2014 World Series:
1.  Game 7: 11:21pm – As the tying run stood ninety feet away from home plate, Madison Bumgarner threw his 185th pitch in four days, inducing Perez to pop out to Sandoval for the final out of the series.
2.  Game 7: 11:18pm – What should have been a routine single to center off the bat of Gordon gets by the centerfielder Blanco and the Royals have the tying run at third with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
3.  Game 4: 11:02pm – Knotted up in a 4-4 tie the Giants load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the 6th and Pablo Sandoval singles over the outstretched arm of Infante to score Blanco and Posey giving the Giants their first lead since the 3rd inning.
4.  Game 3: 11:25pm – With the Royals clinging to a tenuous one run lead in the bottom of the ninth and every pitch carrying the weight of game three on its stitches, Royals pitcher Greg Holland has a 1-2-3 inning, inducing Hunter Pence to hit a comebacker to the mound for the final out.
5.  Game 2: 10:31pm – Omar Infante crushes a pitch from Giants rookie Hunter Strickland for a two run homer, giving the Royals a 7-2 lead, but then it got interesting. Strickland begins screaming on the mound, apparently yelling at himself, Salvador Perez who was at second for the Royals begins yelling back at Strickland as he crosses home plate. Both benches clear, order is restored and Strickland apologized the next day.

And, of course, TiVo’s Most Engaging Spots from the 2014 World Series determined by looking for spots with the biggest bump in viewership relative to the surrounding 15 minutes of programming:
1.  Game 2 10:19p AT&T with James Van Der Beek spot
2.  Game 5 10:25p Chevrolet with Mo’ne Davis
3.  Game 6 9:52p New Line Cinema with Dumb and Dumber To
4.  Game 7 10:43p FOX with Exodus: Gods and Kings
5.  Game 2 9:49p Sony Pictures with Fury


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The partnership between The Breeders’ Cup and NBC Sports Group is paying off, as the two companies announced an unprecedented 10-year media rights partnership extension that will keep the Breeders’ Cup on NBC and NBCSN through 2025. The deal will see NBC and NBCSN combine to present at least eight hours of live coverage of the Breeders’ Cup, including live primetime coverage of the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on NBC in 2016 from Santa Anita Park near Los Angeles, and in 2017 from the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club outside San Diego. NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 31st Breeders’ Cup begins Friday from Santa Anita Park on NBCSN at 5p.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber revealed details of the new LA franchise, with an ownership group led by entrepreneur Henry Nguyen, sports and entertainment leader Peter Guber, and sports veteran Tom Penn. The new club is scheduled to debut in 2017 in a new soccer stadium in the greater Los Angeles area built specifically for the team.

NBCSN will deliver coverage of 12 races during the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season, beginning with the first race of the season from Autodromo Internacional Nelson Piquet in Brazil on March 8. Coverage of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series will feature two new race locations and the final eight races of the 2015 campaign, including the season finale at Sonoma Raceway on Aug.30.

Meanwhile, the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon is set to run live locally on ABC7 and nationally via ESPN2 on Nov. 2 at 9a. John Anderson and Hannah Storm co-host race day coverage, with Anderson providing commentary from the booth and Storm at the start and finish lines. Production will see thirty-eight cameras with coverage of the race.

Universal Sports Network and NBC Sports Group revealed multi-platform coverage plans for next year’s IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 year ahead of the tournament final at Twickenham Stadium in London. Between September 19 and October 31, 2015, Universal Sports and NBC Sports will broadcast nine of the tournament’s 48 matches with Universal Sports on deck with live coverage of seven matches, beginning on Sept. 19 at 2p with the Opening Ceremony. NBC carries the October 24 semi-final match as well as the World Cup Final on Saturday, October 31 at noon. In addition to broadcast and cable TV coverage, all 48 of the tournament’s matches will be made available LIVE on a pay-per-view basis.

With the World Series wrapped up, MLB Network announced offseason programming plans with an expanded schedule on Monday that will see High Heat with Christopher Russo and MLB Now continue year-round. Weekdays will include studio shows, beginning with Hot Stove at 9a. Afternoons will see High Heat, MLB Now and Intentional Talk. MLB Tonight will continue at 6p.

Now that the PBR season in the books, CBS Sports Network will air a half-hour documentary Bushwacker: Legend of the Bull on Sunday at 1p. Bushwacker earned his third PBR World Champion Bull title on the final day of the 2014 PBR World Finals after dispatching 2004 PBR World Champion Mike Leeduring the Built Ford Tough Championship Round. The bovine athlete ended his career with a streak of 20 consecutive BFTS buckoffs.
Back to the Breeders’ Cup, TVG analysts offered Cynopsis Sports their Breeders’ Cup Classic selections for Sunday’s race:

  • Britney Eurton: 1) Shared Belief 2) Tonalist 3) California Chrome
  • Simon Bray: 1) Shared Belief 2) Tonalist 3) Toast of New York

Golf Channel has lined up its plans for the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship on Nov. 4, airing live on the network at 10p. The two-hour, live finale will originate from a competition set at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort with anchor Ryan Burr offering play-by-play; Michael Breed as analyst and Lauren Thompson handling interviews.

The Atlanta Hawks announced a long-term deal with FOX’s SportsSouth, that tips off this season with 75 regular season Hawks games set to be shown on the channel. “We are excited to extend our partnership with SportSouth and build off the record-setting ratings that we established during our thrilling playoff series last season,” said Hawks President Steve Koonin in a release. “The broadcast of live sports is crucial to our business and we are fortunate to have a great partner with such a large footprint to grow our fan base.”


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The Madison Square Garden Company will partner with Cablevision Systems Corporation to offer MSG audience analytics and insights based on Cablevision’s census-level audience data. MSG will use these comprehensive analytics across the company to optimize television viewing and ad placement and pricing, as well as marketing campaigns that focus on ticket sales and engaging sponsorships and advertisers, enabling the company to better serve and grow its customer base. MSG is also planning a pilot with Cablevision to test making its MSG and MSG+ networks addressable to the household for advertisers within the Cablevision footprint.

Daytona International Speedway is entering a partnership with Florida Hospital via a multi-year deal that makes Florida Hospital the second Founding Partner at Daytona International Speedway, as part of its historic $400 million DAYTONA Rising redevelopment project. Starting in January, Florida Hospital will be the exclusive healthcare provider of Daytona International Speedway, which includes providing medical equipment and personnel for all events, managing the care center operations and providing ambulances to handle emergency situations.


Twitter reports that there were over 5.4 million global Tweets around the world related to the World Series during the live telecasts of each game of the slate. The biggest peaks of Twitter conversation during the entire World Series came in game 7:

  • End of #Game7: The @SFGiants win the #WorldSeries
  • @Royals left fielder Alex Gordon singles in the 9th inning of #Game7 with two outs and reaches third on a two base error.
  • #Game7 heads to the bottom of the 9th with the @Royals up to bat trailing the @SF Giants 3-2.


WWE is reportedly rescinding its six-month commitment requirement for its digital WWE Network. The Wall Street Journal reports that the move was made in a move to boost subscriptions to the service. The WWE Network currently features 703,000 subscribers in the U.S. with another 28,000 overseas.

Derek Jeter’s new platform The Players’ Tribune added another big name to its roster, naming NFL Pro-Bowler Julius Thomas as a Contributing Editor. His inaugural contribution “explores his unusual late-bloomer football journey in which he found gridiron success as a senior in college, leading him to the NFL Combine and becoming a fourth-round draft pick.”


The NBA named Malcolm Turner President of the NBA Development League starting Nov. 12. Turner joins from sports marketing and management agency Wasserman Media Group, where he has worked since 2007, most recently as the managing director of the golf division. “It is an exciting time at the NBA and for basketball overall, especially with the league’s leadership and the industry understanding the importance and potential of the NBA D-League,” said Turner. “I was intrigued by the opportunity to help grow and develop the league, as well as the chance to once again work closely with people I have long respected.  I am very much looking forward to working with the teams and the league office to usher in a period I am confident will be marked by great basketball and business gains.”

Emmy-award winning ESPN producer Tom Engle is now playing for Golf Channel as coordinating producer for Morning Drive. Engle will oversee production and day-to-day planning for Morning Drive, joining producers Kyle Brown and Aaron Bearden.  He will report directly to Adam Hertzog, Golf Channel’s vice president of news and studio productions.


Broncos/Patriots on CBS at 4:25p.

ON THIS DAY in 1908: The 4th Olympic Games ends in London.

In The Know: From what university was NFL QB Randall Cunningham 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: Which late, comic actor struck sales gold by offering “golf instruction” in the 90s with Bad Golf Made Easier? Answer: Leslie Nielsen (Most popular answer: Tim Conway, who is still alive). Kudos: Lisa Iannucci-Sports Palooza Radio/Poughkeepsie; Kevin Burns-Boxing Cat Media/NY; Matthew Luisi-NBCU Digital Ad Sales/NY; Ken Nice-Yoh/Silver Spring; Christopher Conrad-Golf Channel/Orlando; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Jeff Miller-Atlanta CW TV/Atlanta; Joe Lyons-Back Nine Productions, Inc./Dallas; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA.

Later — Chris
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