12/22/14: Jeffrey Schwartz plots the rise of Yahoo! Sports Radio; Thursday Night Football wraps up with a bang; Carnival sailing into the Super Bowl


Good morning. It’s Monday, December 22, 2014, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Amid the sports talk radio wars, Yahoo! Sports Radio has continued to shake up the ranks, adding heavyweights to its executive roster as well as to the microphone, most recently announcing the additions of Anthony Pepe, Matt Perrault, Tim Murray and Jason McIntyre to its lineup for its 2015 schedule. Earlier in the year, Gow Broadcasting reeled in radio veteran Jeffrey Schwartz as the new EVP, Corporate Strategy at Yahoo! Sports where he is looking to expand the network’s presence throughout the country.

With Yahoo! Sports Radio now heard on more than 500 stations and boasting a listenership of about 5 million, Cynopsis Sports spoke with Schwartz about the recent additions, the direction of the network and its deepening ties to Las Vegas, where the company boasts a studio and slate of talent at The Palazzo Las Vegas. 

Schwartz on joining Yahoo! Sports Radio: I was promised a blank board when I was hired. Frankly, there are no “nos” here, it is all about trying something. Of course, It is still a child in training, but there are still so many things we want to do and try that I never would have been able to do at a mature company. Things that companies like ESPN simply can’t do. Those companies are driven 100% by the bottom line. That’s why I took this. Yes, it is a challenge but I believe that with every step you take, the next step should be a challenge. There’s so many exciting things we are getting ready to roll out. I want to change the world one more time and Yahoo! offered me that opportunity.

On objectives: We have a lofty goal. I want a financial increase of somewhere around 20% in revenue. Nobody talks like that, especially in this day and age. I’m not saying we will hit that target, but I give myself that 20% because I want to overshoot the runway. I am very comfortable knowing what we can and can’t do. I sent out an email last week talking about all the possibilities and that every sign pointed toward 2015 being the year of the Yahoo! Being down sucks, so why can’t you always try to look at things and try to smile a little bit?

On 2015: 2015 will be the year of the Yahoo! because there were so many elements missing but now there will be someone coming in who will complete the triangle offense we are setting up. We have hardworking people on board and we have terrific guys in Craig Larson (COO & Program Director) and Chris Morales (VP, Head of Creative & Imaging). They have the heart of a tiger. Everybody here appreciates Yahoo!, they love every day that they come in. They are all one over here because they share in one desire, which is to see this company become more than what it is. As for our new hires, they bring to the table a different sound than what we are replacing. The industry needs new voices. It is no disrespect to who they are replacing, but we have to try. The new talent is young, energetic and they want more than they are being given right now. So I truly believe there is a place for us.

On the company’s relationship with Las Vegas: The people at the Palazzo/Venetian have been incredible about working with us as we set up shop there. We are going to be doing some incredible things there in 2015, beyond what we are doing now. When you are in sports radio, you are in the male-dominated world and Las Vegas is the ultimate male destination, end of story. There are going to be so many fun things we are going to be doing at the Palazzo, I can’t wait to talk about it.

On the state of sports radio: Being in this business for almost half a century, do I worry about the future? Yes. I worry about all the debt-ridden companies. I worry about who is next in line. I worry about this industry, which I love dearly. Radio is too cool. But it’s a weird time we live in. I want to see sports radio – especially network sports radio – grow because in so many of the top markets, local wins almost all the time. When I was in Chicago, we beat the snot out of ESPN, because we talked about the Bears, the Bulls and the Cubs. But if I was in Chicago right now, it would drive me crazy because everybody is talking about Jay Cutler when there are so many other things to talk about. Network radio is more valuable than people think it is because network radio increases your knowledge and it gives your audience a chance to think outside the box.


Thank you to all our 2014 advertisers.

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We wish you a Happy Holiday & New Year!
(please note: we will not publish from 12/24-1/2)

–Cynopsis Media


The Thursday Night Football franchise this year saw 45% growth in metered markets with the combo of CBS and NFL Network. According to Nielsen, through 16 games, the two channels averaged an 8.4/14 rating/share versus a 5.8/10 for the 13 games in 2013 on NFL Network alone. Saturday’s Eagles/Redskins game on NFL Network and over-the-air stations delivered an average overnight household rating/share of 6.1/13, the third highest Metered Market average for games on NFL Network and over-the-air stations this season. Meanwhile, the Chargers/49ers matchup on CBS and NFL Network delivered an average overnight household rating/share of 8.9/16 in the 56 metered markets.

ESPN is poised to launch coverage of Major League Soccer’s 20th season on March 8, with a battle of two expansion teams in Orlando City SC/New York City FC on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes at 5p. The will mark the first of 34 matches that will primarily run on Sundays at 5p this season via a new eight-year rights agreement ending in 2022.

DISH Network announced a truce with Comcast’s regional SportsNet channels, striking a deal that will keep the RSNs on the satellite carrier, with CSN Mid-Atlantic, CSN Chicago, CSN Bay Area and CSN California now locked in. "DISH has reached a multi-year agreement for carriage of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, California, Chicago and Mid-Atlantic," the company said in a statement to Reuters.

Tomorrow’s NBA TV Fan Night will pit the Timberwolves/Cavaliers, according to the network, following last week’s round of voting to decide the game. The matchup tips off at 7p with Ernie Johnson and analysts Chris Webber and Isiah Thomas offering analysis during the AutoTrader.com Pregame Show at 6:30p.

As BTN prepares to open Big Ten conference play with a New Year’s Eve tripleheader, the network announced plans to debut a new series in A Taste of Coaching with Seth Davis. The six-episode series will debut on Jan. 4, and air Sunday nights following The Journey after its debut on Jan. 11. The show will see David joined around “a dinner table by some of college basketball’s finest coaches to discuss the hot-button issues surrounding the game today.” Coaches are set to include Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Ohio State’s Thad Matta, Kansas’ Bill Self, Iowa’s Fran McCaffery, Maryland’s Mark Turgeon, Notre Dame’s Mike Brey, Southern Methodist’s Larry Brown, Baylor’s Scott Drew, California’s Cuonzo Martin, Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins, Oklahoma’s Lon Kruger and head coach at St. John’s, Steve Lavin.


Want to find out what shows are online and when?

Check out the Watcheroo Digital Programming Guide

Organized by show name, date, and platform, we have everything you’ll need to be caught up on digital premieres, ongoing programs, live-streamed events and integrated series.


Carnival is booking a trip to Arizona for the Super Bowl. The cruise brand announced plans for its first-ever Super Bowl commercial on Feb. 1. The commercials were created by BBDO Atlanta with Hollywood director Wally Pfister in a 60-second spot selected from four candidates. The final Super Bowl TV commercial will be sourced from the company’s recently launched World’s Leading Cruise Lines Marketing Challenge which hands consumers input into the company’s new advertising creative that is hosted by Cedric the Entertainer.

Expect a new look for the NBA’s Raptors next season. The team unveiled a new logo on Friday featuring a silver basketball shredded by dinosaur claw marks. The current dinosaur logo will be retired after this season.

Speaking of logos… The National Basketball Players Association is turning toward its fans as it looks toward the future. The organization announced an online contest to help design a new logo, dubbed The NBPA Logo Challenge. The winner will be announced during All-Star Weekend in New York in February 2015. The contest is powered by SportsBlog.com. “We are at a turning point in our organization’s history. The players have mandated that the NBPA will be more inclusive, more forward-thinking and more engaging than ever before, and with that will come a new look for the NBPA,” NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts said. “With our new philosophy comes an increased connectivity within our industry and especially with the fans of our game. We cannot think of a better way to initiate that process than to have the fans assist us in designing our new logo.”


ESPN Digital Media is hitting the holidays on a high. The company reported that November saw 90.8 million unique users in the US, averaging 25.9 million a day. That is up 33% from year ago numbers and marked the second-largest monthly total in sports category history and an all-time high for the month of November. 68.9 million users accessed content on mobile devices, up from 46.0 million a year ago. 


Broncos/Bengals on ESPN at 8:30p.

ON THIS DAY in 1971: The LA Lakers set a record for the longest winning streak in professional sports with 27 in a row.

In The Know: Who is the only NFL player selected in the supplemental draft to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame? (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: What move was banned in college basketball in1967, only to be reinstated in 1976? Answer: The dunk. Kudos: B. David Ridpath-Ohio University/Germany; Jon Latzer-CBS Digital Media/NY; Teddy Coleman-Teddy Coleman Media/NY; Jay Goldstein-Admore/NY; Ged Young-GC Marketing LLC/NY; Richard Sanders-Visit Panama City Beach/Panama City Beach; J. Barry McMullin-WWE/Stamford; Peter Lasser-Lasser Productions/Atlanta; Tim Buckman-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; David Ross-Ross Enterprises/Cape Girardeau; Bob Ramsey-Weigel Beoadcasting/Chicago; Adam Shifrin-Westwood One/Chicago; Gretchen Brady-KDAF/Dallas; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl/South San Francisco; Alex Petrilli, Jr.-TiVo/San Jose; Miguel Velasco-FOX Sports/LA; Adam Deverell-Cox Reps/LA; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City.

Later — Chris
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