11/10/14: Pac-12 Networks plot a Full Court press; Kroenke bags a behemoth; Goodyear tackles Texas


Good morning. It’s Monday, November 10, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

This week officially marks the launch of college basketball season, with leagues and networks putting their best foot forward to tip off the action. One conference, the Pac-12, has opted to change up their season debut, launching Full Court Friday on Nov. 14 on Pac-12 Networks that will feature 10 conference men’s basketball openers from its ranks. In addition, for one night only, fans will get receive access to the slate of games on Pac-12.com starting at 4:30p with the Pac-12 Basketball Pregame Show and running to midnight with 24 on-air personalities spread across 10 Conference campuses and the Pac-12 Networks’ San Francisco studios guiding viewers through more than seven hours of non-stop basketball action.

Cynopsis Sports spoke with Leon Schweir, Senior VP of Production and Operations for Pac-12 Networks, about the season ahead and how the Pac-12 Networks are leveraging their on-field success into a an upstart media brand.

On Full Court Friday: It’s something we haven’t done before, and it has been a long initiative to work with these schools trying to do this on the same day. It will help generate awareness for them as well as for us. For fans, if you don’t have us, it is a great time to come in and sample the platforms with free access all day for the ten games. It is also a way for people to learn about the other programming we have and that we have seven networks. I think there are still people even in our own school footprint who tune in without realizing they are only watching the local version versus one that might be in the other states. At the end of the hour, if you are a true basketball fan, it is a great way to take a look at what the conference will be bringing to the table this season and they will be able to do their own rankings at the end of the day.

On current goals of the channels: I think creating awareness that we are seven different networks remains one of the top priorities for us because there is a lot to be seen on each of the individual networks. It is also a chance to showcase how deep our digital platform is and how Pac-12 Now is a great platform that people should be using if they want to see our events. The other part of it is, back to the content, is that our product both on the court and behind-the-scenes is terrific.

On new elements: If you watch football, you noticed that we had a few more bells and whistles than we had the previous year, from super slo-mo to enhanced graphics. That’s the plan again for college basketball season. We are adding more POV cameras. We will now be doing a basketball version of The Drive, and we are very excited about that and showing the access we have. We got all 12 schools to participate and while the football version saw us following a team for the entire season, this will showcase each of the programs and show how competitive these games really are. We are also increasing our overall basketball this year. I’d say we will see 50% more pre- and post-basketball support in our programming this season.


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Kroenke Sports & Entertainment acquired InterMedia Outdoors Holdings, in a move that will see assets that include Sportsman Channel, 15 outdoor magazines, and 17 websites, as well as television production operations come under the umbrella. Of course, KSE already owns and operates Outdoor Channel and 50% of World Fishing Network and the combined assets will now represent the largest multimedia portfolio focused on the outdoor lifestyle spanning television, print and digital media, as well as programming production for the adventure, hunting, sport shooting, fishing and conservation categories. KSE will continue to operate Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel as separate networks.

A shakeup in the SEC handed CBS Sports with the two highest-rated college football games of the day, according to the network. Alabama’s win over LSU on Saturday scored an average overnight household rating/share of 5.3/10 while the other half of its doubleheader that saw Texas A&M best Auburn delivered a 4.5/10. Meanwhile, CBS Sports announced that its SEC on CBS football game for Saturday, Nov. 15 at 3:30p would feature Mississippi/Alabama. Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and reporter Allie LaForce call the contest.

NFL Network’s carriage of Thursday Night Football on Nov. 6 delivered an average overnight household rating of 6.7 in the 56 metered markets, including over-the-air stations in Cleveland and Cincinnati. That’s good enough for a 20% rise over last year’s Week 9 Thursday Night Football game on NFL Network. Through nine games of the 2014 schedule, TNF on CBS and NFL Network and over-the-air stations has grown 67% in the metered markets compared to last year’s games on NFL Network

Speaking of NFL numbers, the league reports that at the halfway point of the 2014 season, NFL game windows account for the top 10 and 26 of the top 30 most-watched programs on TV since the season kicked off. The average NFL game telecast (including broadcast and cable) has drawn 18.0 million viewers (vs. 16.8 million at this point in 2013)  more than double the average primetime viewership (7.2 million) for the big four broadcast networks in the new television season, according to Nielsen.

NBA TV revealed that the second NBA TV Fan Night presented by Sprint telecast of the season will feature the Spurs visiting the Warriors tomorrow night at 10:30p as a part of a network doubleheader. The night’s opening game will feature the Magic and Raptors at 7:30p. NBA TV host Rick Kamla and analysts Steve Smith and Isiah Thomas will preview the doubleheader at 7p with the AutoTrader.com Pregame Show.

Last chance to enter your company into the Cynopsis Sports Social Media Leaderboard. Brands, leagues, teams, channels, local, national… all are welcome and encouraged! Registration closes on Friday. Enter now by clicking here.

On the baseball. MLB Network launches BBWAA Awards Week starting tonight with the announcement of the American League and National League Rookie of the Year Award at 6p. Following the announcement, ten-time MLB All-Star Ichiro Suzuki will be featured on Studio 42 with Bob Costas at 8p. In addition, MLB Network will also exclusively televise each game the Japan All-Star Series live beginning with the exhibition game on Tuesday at 4a.

ESPN is set to offer air a one-hour, primetime Outside The Lines Special  Domestic Violence and Sports: Out of the Shadows that will be hosted by Bob Ley on tomorrow at 7p on ESPN2. The OTL special and stories during the week include features from reporters Kelly Naqi, John Barr, Steve Delsohn and Mark Fainaru-Wada. Panelists, for Tuesday night’s show are slated to include: espnW’s Jane McManus; NFL executive Vice President of football operations Troy Vincent; and Shawnda Wilkinson, ex-wife of “Big Daddy” Wilkinson.
On the local front, SportSouth, the exclusive regional television home of the Atlanta Hawks, announced ratings growth for the 2014-15 NBA season so far. After three games this season, the Hawks ratings on SportSouth are up 44% over the first three games of the 2013-14 season.


Save the date! Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cynopsis Digital presents:
What You Need to Know Now about Digital Media Webinar

In an informative, speedy Cynopsis webinar on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 you will have the perfect opportunity to learn the true distinctions between digital and linear media, the current terms and trends you need to know, and how they will be shifting in the future.

Contact [email protected] for details


Goodyear made it official, announcing that The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, ESPN and the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association locked in a deal that makes the brand the title sponsor of the Cotton Bowl, beginning with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Jan. 1, 2015, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. “Like many of our customers, we at Goodyear are passionate about college football and are excited to team up with the Cotton Bowl and ESPN in bringing this legendary game to football fans on New Year’s Day,” said Steve McClellan, president, Goodyear North America. “We are thrilled to share in the excitement of the inaugural year of the college football playoff format through support of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.”

CBSN, the new live, on-demand, ad-supported online news service: will it succeed? Vote in our poll.


Former Golf Channel talent Adam Barr will become Senior Director of Communications for the USGA, according to Golfweek. Barr served as a business and equipment reporter for Golf Channel from 1997-2009 before moving on to take on the role of President of Miura Golf.


Panthers/Eagles on ESPN at 8:30p.

ON THIS DAY in 1992: Former NBA/MLB player and actor Chuck Connors dies at 71.

In The Know: Ed “Too Tall” Jones once took a break from the NFL for an undefeated stint in what sport? (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: For what brand did Magic Johnson and Larry Bird go one-on-one? Answer: The most popular answer by far was McDonald’s, but the correct answer is Converse. Kudos: Barry G. Waldman-Vistrada/NY; Michael Klein-Getty Images/NY; John Lappas-Home Team Sports/NY; Denis Barry-CBS/NY; Tony Ferranti-MMSI/Warwick; Brian Quinn-Comcast Spotlight/Bethesda; Jack Valente-InStadium/Detroit; Matt Lederer-XFINITY/Philadelphia; Gretchen Brady-KDAF/Dallas; Brad Brown-B2 Consulting, LLC/St. Louis; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc/Santa Monica; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Paul Barrere-Home Team Sports/LA; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City.

Later — Chris
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