Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Thursday, December 19, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The purchase is now sealed, with Forstmann Little & Co. officially announcing the sale of its ownership stake in IMG Worldwide Holdings, Inc. to Silver Lake Partners and William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, LLC for a cool $2.3 billion. “IMG has incredible strategic value to WME,” said Patrick Whitesell and Ariel Emanuel, WME’s co-Chief Executives, in a statement. “The brand’s global reach, outstanding management team and leadership across sports, fashion and media are a strong complement to our business.”

IMG, of course, brings a stable of over 500 athletes and other celebrities/brands as clients under the WME umbrella. Whitesell and Emanuel will serve as co-CEOs of the combined company.


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The Federal Communications Commission voted to push forward a proposal that seeks to end blackout rules blocking fans from watching local teams because of low attendance. The vote by the FCC commissioners means the proposal will be opened to public comment. However, killing the rule doesn’t necessarily mean an end to all blackouts as leagues can still negotiate with broadcasters privately to black out certain events.

ABC and ESPN announced broadcast assignments for its five NBA Christmas Day Games on Wednesday, Dec. 25. In total, more than 30 ESPN NBA commentators will provide comprehensive Christmas Day coverage across ESPN and ABC platforms. Mike Breen will join analyst Hubie Brown and reporter Lisa Salters to provide commentary for the Knicks/Thunder game at 2:30p on ABC while Mike Tirico, analyst Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Heather Cox will call the action for Heat/Lakers at 5p. ESPN’s Christmas Day coverage tips off at noon with the Bulls/Nets. The cable channel then resumes coverage with a primetime doubleheader beginning at 8p with the Rockets/Spurs. Mark Jones, analyst George Karl and reporter Israel Gutierrez will call the action. The action then concludes with Clippers/Warriors at 10:30p. Dave Pasch and Jon Barry will provide commentary with reporter J.A. Adande.

On Day 3 of NBC Sports Group’s The 12 Days of Premier League, legendary U.K. footballer and BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker will host NBCSN’s first-ever live on-site Premier League studio coverage alongside Everton and U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard. The show will take place on Monday, December 23 at 2 p with Howard joining the telecast a day after playing Swansea City.

NHL Network and NHL.com are set to deliver coverage from the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship from Dec. 26-Jan. 5 from Malmo, Sweden. The event showcases the top men’s hockey players in the world under the age of 20 and is one of the featured events on the world hockey calendar each year. Overall, the channel will carry 18 live contests, including every game from Team USA’s group which features games against Canada, Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia as well as the quarterfinals, semifinals, and bronze- and gold-medal games.

ESPN announced that future sites for the Armed Forces Classic – a series of Division I men’s college basketball games – are locked and loaded and will alternate from among the branches, originating from the Coast Guard in 2014, Marines in 2015 and Navy in 2016 with the games being played at a different branch of service at a Military installation each year. The third annual game on November 14, 2014 will take place from the United States Air Station Borinquen in Puerto Rico, pitting Louisville/Minnesota. The Armed Forces Classic is owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN.
Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl, John and Patrick McEnroe, Andy Murray, Pete Sampras, Venus Williams and golf legend/tennis enthusiast Greg Norman will get the spotlight when World of Tennis Presented by BNP Paribas returns to Tennis Channel on January 9 at 7p. Each of the athletes will be profiled in the “Holding Court” interview segment with Justin Gimelstob during the fourth season of the magazine-style, half-hour program. In addition, Tennis.com will hold a roundtable discussion of the hot topics in tennis in each episode. Jon Wertheim hosts the discussions, and is joined by Tennis.com writers Peter Bodo, Tom Perrotta and Andrew Friedman.

Auctions seem to be hot properties. NBC Sports Group announced a deal with Mecum Auctions, which holds live auctions for collector cars, for a multi-year agreement to present coverage of auctions across NBC, NBCSN, and the Esquire Network. The three-year agreement, which begins in 2014, will offer more than 425 hours of programming across all three channels. Live coverage will begin on Esquire Network on January 17 at 1p and on NBCSN January 24 at 1p with the Kissimmee Car Auction, the largest collector car auction in the world featuring 3,000 collectible cars over 10 days.

SiriusXM is adding golf instructor David Leadbetter, owner of the world famous Leadbetter Golf Academies, to its roster of expert hosts on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. His new show will debut in 2014 and run weekly with Leadbetter sharing tips on how to improve every aspect of the game with guest appearances from David’s students and friends. 


Get Ready For This!!!
2014 Cynopsis Sports Media Awards
Honoring Top Sports Programs, Campaigns and People.

Entry Deadline:February 1, 2014|Late Submissions: February 8, 2014
Awards Event:April 2014 (NYC)

Visit our website for additional information on:
Who Should Enter, How to Enter, Eligibility Period, Categories, Deadlines, Sponsorship Opportunities, Contact Information and FAQ’s.


ESPN is beefing up promotion for its five NBA Christmas Day games by giving viewers a chance to win copies of NBA Live 14 via Twitter. During every quarter of each game telecast, secret hashtags will be announced to viewers. Three winners that tweet the hashtag to @ESPNNBA will be randomly selected to win each time. Overall, there will be a grand total of 60 winners chosen throughout the day. 

Samsung released a four-minute, cinematic-style video entitled Galaxy 11: The Beginning  to mark the next phase of its soccer-themed global marketing campaign, Galaxy 11. The team is headlined by players such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Landon Donovan who unite to play against aliens for the fate of the world. For the push, the video also offers a brief glimpse at the role Samsung Galaxy devices, such as Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear, will play in enhancing the team’s performance.


The final BCS game, along with the retirement of the iconic Coaches Trophy, are getting a salute from the American Football Coaches Association, which is looking to generate buzz via social media with their social integration partner Mass Relevance. The push will see the launch of a Coaches Trophy Social Hub on Dec. 21, designed to tell the story of the Trophy as well as integrate content from fans, coaches and experts. Meanwhile, college football fans will be able to vote for their top “coaches moment” from the past and upload video of their own impersonations.

The Atlantic 10 Conference locked in a deal with Campus Insiders to extend the conference’s television and digital footprint. The partnership allows the A-10 to showcase 27 basketball games digitally on Campus Insiders, with 18 from the league’s media rights package and an additional nine Fordham University games. The league will also showcase those games on SNY in the New York market as part of the existing agreement with the regional sports network. In addition, Campus Insiders will also produce wrap-around coverage and studio shows for the Atlantic 10, providing content to the A-10 Digital Network.

Turner Sports reports that Bleacher Report, the company’s multi-sport digital and mobile destination, marked a record-setting year, delivering 26.3 million unique users against its website and mobile platforms in October, according to comScore, making it the #3 online sports destination among non-league sites. That number marks a 28% increase since March 2013. In addition, BleacherReport.com has averaged 331 million page views and 128 million visits in 2013, for a markup of 15% over last year, and the time spent on the site is up 11% through November vs. the same time period last year.

The NFL announced that NFL.com’s Fantasy Genius – a resource for fantasy football players hit 1.9 million fantasy football questions submitted with 17.5 Million answers provided by the community. Fantasy Genius is available on all desktops, mobile providers and tablets for players from across the web.

Sporting News Media, a PERFORM Group company, announced the launch of a new iOS app for Sporting News. The new Sporting News app will look to blend sports reporting and social content from across all relevant sources  sports publications, portals, local media outlets across the US, sports influencers on Twitter, as well as reporting from Sporting News – into one app. New features include the use by mobile devices, Daily Issue:Preserves, a news feed, best in sports tweets and what to watch.


Barbara Roeder was named Local Sales Manager of the four FOX Sports regional networks serving the Southeast: FOX Sports South, FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports Tennessee, and SportSouth. She joins the FOX Sports family after more than 15 years with CBS Television Stations Group/WUPA-TV in Atlanta, where she most recently held the position of Sales Manager overseeing both local and national sales operations. 


Bulls/Thunder on TNT at 8p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1917: The NHL opens its first season.

In The Know: The late, great Bubba Smith, who was the top overall pick in the 1967 NFL draft, played what character in the “Police Academy” movies? (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: Who was the last NHL player to win back-to-back Hart Trophies? Answer: Alexander Ovechkin. Kudos: Michael Ritz-BucStar Consulting/NY; Denis Barry-CBS Television Stations/NY; Art Salisch-HEARST Television/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports

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