11/24/15: NASCAR’s checkered flag sees a boon; NBC serves up Summer for Thanksgiving; Bill Simmons elects a president


Good morning. It’s Tuesday November 24, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

NBC Sports’ call to extend the broadcast for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship on the network paid off as Kyle Busch’s victory and Jeff Gordon’s final race handed the company with the most-watched NASCAR Championship in a decade, according to Nielsen fast nationals. Running on both NBC and NBCSN, the race averaged 7.64 million viewers and posted a combined 4.42 national HH rating, for upticks of 46% and 41% respectively, over last year’s presentation on ESPN. Viewership marked the most-watched NASCAR season finale since NBC presented the championship event in 2005. Top markets: Greenville with a 14.4/22, Greensboro, Indianapolis, Knoxville and Charlotte. On the digital front, the race scored 84K uniques and 4.0M live minutes across NBC Sports Live Extra.


Meanwhile, a terrific Sunday Night Football matchup between the Cardinals/Bengals on NBC handed the channel with an 11.7/19 overnight score for a season low for the franchise. Top local markets for the matchup: Cincinnati 39.4/57; followed by Phoenix, Dayton, Las Vegas and Albuquerque.

Meanwhile, the NFL announced flex scheduling changes for Week 13 of the season. The league announced that the Dec. 6 Bengals/Browns matchup at 1p will now shift from CBS to FOX while the Panthers/Saints matchup that day moves to 4:25p to be part of the national doubleheader window. Additionally, the Week 13 Colts/Steelers game remains on NBC will hold at 8:30p on the channel.

MLB Network tagged its most-viewed Awards Shows in the four years it has been carrying the end-of-season specials. From 11/9-11/19, the channel carried eight awards shows which combined for an average viewership increase of 37% over last year’s slate. Friday’s first-time airing of the Esurance MLB Awards recorded an average viewership increase of 83% versus the same time period a year ago. All-time highs went to the Cy Young Award (11/18), Manager of the Year (11/17), Silver Slugger (11/12), Wilson Defensive Players of the Year (11/11) and the unveiling of the BBWAA Awards finalists (11/10). 

Major League Soccer unveiled its national television schedule for the second legs of the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs Conference Championships, set for Nov. 29. The Western Conference Championship will see Portland/Dallas at 5p on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, while the Eastern Conference Championship pits the Crew/Red Bulls at 7:30p on FS1 and FOX Deportes. Winners via aggregate goals will then meet up on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 4p for the MLS Cup on ESPN and UniMas.

TNT is looking to extend the Warriors ratings streak, offering an NBA doubleheader tonight against the Lakers at 10:30p. The night’s opening game will pit the Celtics/Hawks at 8p. Brian Anderson (play-by-play) will be joined by analysts Reggie Miller and Mike Fratello and reporter Craig Sager for Celtics/Hawks.  Marv Albert (play-by-play), analyst Grant Hill and reporter Kristen Ledlow are on the call for Lakers/Warriors.

NBC Sports carves up the NHL Thanksgiving Showdown on Friday at 1p on the broadcast network, showcasing the Rangers/Bruins before the sport heads to NBCSN at 5p for Blackhawks/Ducks. Play-by-play commentator Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, analysts Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire have the call of NBC’s Thanksgiving Showdown featuring the Rangers and Bruins.

The Cynopsis Sports Engagement Summit is one week from today! Haven’t checked out the agenda lately? Don’t miss new speakers on Dec. 2 that include a keynote from Twitch’s Andy Swanson, a breakdown on the eSports community from Nielsen’s Stephen Master and a playbook for “marketing by messaging” from Snaps CEO Christian Brucculeri. They’ll join a lineup of breakout speakers that include Danny Keens, Head of Sports Partnerships at Twitter, Thuzio Founder Tiki Barber, and panels on marketing, PR, video, data and eSports. You’ll see a jam-packed day designed to get you ready for the New Year with a huge head start. Time is running out, click here now for tickets!

In boxing news, Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN (presented by Corona Extra will offer viewers live coverage on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN tomorrow night of Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (21-2-2, 12 KOs) defending his super welterweight world title against former world champion Jan Zayeck (35-3, 19 KOs). Programming begins at 8p and see host Marysol Castro, blow-by-blow commentator Joe Tessitore, and reporters Todd Grisham and Bernardo Osuna make ESPN’s commentary team. On ESPN Deportes, Pablo Viruega and Delvin Rodríguez will call the fights, while Leopoldo González and Claudia Trejos will host.

E! is going further into the sports game, announcing L.A. Clippers Dance Squad, described as a new original docu-series produced by Mandalay Sports Media that offers fans “an unprecedented in-depth look at what it takes to be a member of the elite L.A. Clippers dance team, both on and off the court.” The series is slated to premiere in early 2016 on the cable channel with eight, one-hour episodes.


SPORTS ENGAGEMENT SUMMIT on 12/2 sponsored by SportTechie
CMO Roundtable: Playing in the Big Leagues

Hear from sports brands marketing leaders as they break down the latest evolution of their strategies & reveal the technologies & trends that are keeping fans tuned in. Pros from MLB, the PGA Tour, and Major League Soccer will provide a peek into how they work with agencies, brands & partners  and the opportunities & risks in the year ahead.

Don’t miss out – register today!


NBCUniversal opens the doors to next year’s Olympic Games this week, and has lined up a 60-second promo that will run on Thanksgiving promoting the spectacle. The spot, according to Variety, will run during its broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and National Dog Show. Actress Eva Longoria narrated the piece, which will showcase athletes from around the world with their families in their home countries. Athletes in the spot (which can be found here) include: David Boudia (USA, diving); Kerry Walsh Jennings (USA, beach volleyball); Dylan van Baarle (Netherlands, cycling); Murilo Endres (Brazil, volleyball) and his wife Jaqueline Carvalho (Brazil, volleyball); Simone Biles, (USA, gymnastics); and Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia, track and field).

The Collegiate Licensing Company locked in an extension of its partnership with Fresno State to continue managing the University’s trademark licensing program through to 2025. Fresno State began partnering with CLC in 1983. The University’s licensing program has grown by more 250% in revenue in the past decade. 


Daytona International Speedway unveiled a slate of new technology enhancements as part of the $400 million DAYTONA Rising redevelopment project with upgrades that include fans being able to connect to Wi-Fi at DIS with the help of ARRIS Group. In addition, fans will get to experience a new and improved mobile app, as well as interactive engagement stations to help guide them around the new motorsports stadium. DIS will also unveil its new DAYTONA Rewards Stations, offering fans “fun ways” to interact with DIS and its partners while at a race. The speedway announced plans for Honeywell, ComNet Communications, and Graybar to provide security, cable installation, and supply chain management services for its Daytona Technology Platform Powered by CDW.

Perform Group is taking Sporting News global, announcing that Australia’s Sportal.com.au will rebrand under the Sporting News moniker to become part of new ‘global network,’ according to Mumbrella. The portal will now link to the US site, offering a deeper look at global sports news and more in-depth coverage of Australian sport.


Bill Simmons hooked a heavyweight, with NFL Network executive producer Eric Weinberger departing the channel to join Simmons as President of the newly formed Bill Simmons Media Group. Weinberger will also serve as an executive producer of Simmons’ upcoming HBO series, oversee the creation of a new content website and a podcast network, and help develop scripted and non-scripted projects and other projects. “I can’t wait to start working with Eric,” Simmons said in a statement. “He’s a talented guy with an impeccable reputation, someone who is uniquely equipped to help me build an innovative multi-media company from scratch. We’re both beyond excited to start brainstorming about my show and other HBO Sports projects as well. I know from experience that you’re only as good as the people around you, and Eric is one of the very best.”


Lakers/Warriors on TNT at 10:30p.


Special Recognition

Cynopsis Sports Athlete of the Year & Media Personality of the Year Awards are presented annually to two VIPs whose work in the sports industry has transcended how sports connect with fans. The Cynopsis team congratulates UFC’s Ronda Rousey and ESPN’s Adam Schefter on an outstanding year. Join us as we formally present these Awards at the Cynopsis Sports Engagement Summit on 11/2.

Register now to join the celebration

ON THIS DAY in 1960: The Philadelphia Warriors’ Wilt Chamberlain grabs an NBA single-game record of 55 rebounds in a game against the Boston Celtics.

In The Know: Which NFL team has a perfect record of 6-0 on Thanksgiving Day games? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: In the “Hail Flutie” Boston College/Miami game, which future Pro Bowl quarterback was behind center for the Hurricanes?  Answer: Bernie Kosar. Kudos: Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/NY; Kyle Helm-CBS Sports Network/NY; David Kalan-NHL.com/NY; Daniel Lowenthal-Mindshare/Brooklyn; Joe Schreiber-3 Penny Films/Bethesda; Tom Wetzel-MMSI/Warwick; Chris Faulds-Bell Media Digital/Toronto; Jack Mula-ninespot/Boston; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; Jason Morrow/Houston; Bill Robertson-WCHA/Edina; Matt Sautter-Imagine Communications/Denver; Jack Neumann-University of Calgary Dinos Football Alumni Development/Calgary; Alan Berkes-Positive Coaching Alliance/LA; Glen Ross/Seattle; Alan Perris/Beverly Hills; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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