12/23/16: NBA Launches Mobile Fantasy Game; ESPN’s College Football Playoff Options; A College Hoops Ladder Sponsorship


Happy Holidays! We are not publishing from December 26-January 2. Your next Cynopsis newsletter will arrive bright and early on Tuesday, January 3.

Good morning. It’s Thursday December 23, 2016 and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

The NBA on Thursday unveiled a new real-time mobile fantasy game that synchronizes with its live national broadcasts. NBA InPlay – powered by technology from FanDuel – is available for free download at the App Store and Google Play, and provides basketball fans with a first-of-its-kind second-screen experience.

Game users select their preferred team in any game telecast on TNT, NBA TV, ESPN or ABC, then choose one player per quarter and accumulate points based on that particular player’s performance (points, rebounds, assists, etc.). Each quarter, participants can strategically activate four 48-second “turbo boosts” that multiply point totals for the player they’ve selected.

Unlike traditional fantasy games, NBA Digital’s new game is directly tied to the live viewing of NBA games and gives users a chance to make real-time decisions.
NBA InPlay offers the opportunity to join a public contest or create a private game with friends, with top scorers eligible to win NBA prizes. Later in the season, fans will be able to compete to win grand prizes including a $35,000 Autotrader credit and tickets to the NBA Finals.



The College Football Playoff Semifinals will be televised on ESPN on Dec. 31, but there are five additional presentations available on ESPN’s networks as part of a multicast for the two games: No. 4 Washington vs. No. 1 Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Clemson in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. Alternate productions will be available on ESPN2, ESPN3 (multiple) and ESPN Deportes, with SEC Network airing Finebaum Filmroom during the Washington-Alabama game as yet another viewing option.

Mixed martial arts fans get an early holiday present as FOX Sports will air a special presentation of UFC 206 on FOX at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve. It marks just the second time that a fight card re-airs on broadcast television just two weeks after its live premiere. FOX also aired UFC fights on Saturday night, Dec. 17, drawing an average of almost 3.2 million viewers.

NBC will offer a 90-minute airing of highlights and record-breaking tricks from the inaugural Nitro World Games on Christmas Day, at 3:30 p.m. Labeled the “Nitro World Games Rewind,” the program takes viewers behind the scenes at the competition from this past summer which featured the world’s best athletes in freestyle motocross, BMX, Skate, Inline and Scooter.

NBC Sports Films on June 17 will debut a documentary chronicling media pioneer Ted Turner’s quest to win the 1977 America’s Cup. The one-hour documentary entitled “Courageous” will air on NBC and feature interviews with Turner, crew members of his boat, and sailing historians and experts. Turner became fixated with defending and winning the America’s Cup during a time when he was suspended from running the Atlanta Braves.

It’s awards season, and we are thrilled to offer our sixth annual Cynopsis Sports Media Awards on April 13 in NYC. New categories (VR, Instagram, Snapchat, eSports, etc.) and more chances for you to showcase your best work to the entire industry. Get those entries in before the holidays! Click here to enter.


CYNOPSIS SPORTS has launched the call for entries for the highly anticipated…
Honoring the best and brightest work from around the spectrum of sports business, with categories that include VR, eSports, live coverage of a sporting event, social media excellence, marketing campaign, apps and more!

For more information & to enter, visit the awards webpage:


Harman, the official headphone and audio partner of the NBA, is releasing a new TV commercial featuring Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors during the league’s Christmas Day lineup of games. It’s the second straight season Harman has created a new NBA-themed commercial for Christmas and this year it’s part of a larger campaign that includes JBL ownership of the halftime show and an NBA.com homepage takeover.

20th Century Fox is leveraging the NBA’s five Christmas Day games to promote two of its new films  “Why Him?” and “Hidden Figures.” NBA players Tyson Chandler, Paul Pierce and Deron Williams are featured in three TV commercials for Hidden Figures, each making an appearance with their daughters.

The NBA’s All-Star Voting presented by Verizon will tip off on Christmas Day at 11 a.m., with balloting promoted throughout the day on ABC/ESPN and across all of the league’s assets. This is Verizon’s second year as presenting sponsor of the NBA All-Star voting.

Sticking with the NBA theme, the league said adidas Christmas Day jerseys and Stance Christmas Day socks will be promoted on its social and digital channels, and are available on NBAStore.com and at the Flagship NBA Store in New York.

Werner Ladder reached a multiyear agreement to take over as title sponsor of the Naismith College Coach of the Year Awards for college basketball. There’s a natural connection for the sponsorship, with a longstanding tradition for winning coaches at the Final Four or in conference championships to cut down the nets from atop a Werner-branded ladder. As part of the sponsorship, the coach of the year awards will include a fan vote that will begin on March 3 and hosted at naismithtrophy.com.


The NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl between South Alabama and Air Force will be the first bowl game in college football history to be available to fans as a live video stream on both Facebook and Twitter. The digitally-focused Arizona Bowl for the second straight year will also be streamed across the Campus Insiders Network on CampusInsiders.com as well as mobile and connected devices. The digital broadcast will offer live experiences and enhancements such as referee point-of-view cameras, and behind-the-scenes 360 and virtual reality experiences such as the teams’ entrances through the tunnel as well as locker room and sideline access.

Outside TV has launched a new subscription video on-demand service that showcases full-length adventure sports films, focusing on athletes from surf legend Kelly Slater and motocross legend Travis Pastrana to renowned wingsuit pilot Jeb Corliss. The digital collection, available on Amazon Channels for $4.99 per month, features stories in skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, motocross, biking, climbing, wingsuit, slacklining and more.

Kia is continuing its season-long “Kia Who Ya Got” sweepstakes during the NBA games on Christmas Day, asking fans to predict which teams will win on @NBA Instagram and Twitter accounts.

The Olympic Channel is adding content as part of cooperation agreements reached with three international sports federations: Air Sports, Bowling and Flying Disc. The World Air Sports Federation (FAI), World Bowling and World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) join the 36 international federations and IOC recognized sports federations that announced similar agreements with the Olympic Channel earlier this year. The Olympic Channel is available worldwide via mobile apps for Android and iOS devices and at olympicchannel.com.

Anthem Sports & Entertainment Corp. launched a new TNA Impact Wrestling app in the United Kingdom and Ireland that’s available online and on mobile platforms. Beginning Jan. 5, new weekly episodes of Impact Wrestling will be available to watch immediately on the app  Total Access TNA Wrestling  at the same time as they premiere on Fight Network and Pop across North America.


Skillz, the worldwide leader in mobile esports, will host a charity tournament on Christmas Day to support Toys for Tots. The event follows up on the company’s successful Thanksgiving Day tournament and will incorporate five Skillz-enabled games, including “Bubble Shooter Tournaments” and “Cube Cube.” For each entry in the tournament, Skillz will donate $1 to Toys for Tots.


Oklahoma City Thunder at Boston Celtics on NBA TV at 7:30p.


Whistle Sports & The Golf Channel
The Leaderboard celebrates the organizations that utilized their social media platforms to promote product offerings to sports fans throughout 2016. Check out the full list of winners here.

ON THIS DAY in 1972: Franco Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers scored on the “Immaculate Reception” to help turn a 7-6 deficit into a 13-7 win over the Raiders.

In The Know: Who ended Dennis Rodman’s seven-year run as the NBA’s rebounding champion during the 1998-99 season? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who kicked a field goal in the second overtime to end the longest game in NFL history, on Christmas Day in 1971? Answer: Garo Yepremian. Kudos: Lewis Blaustein-GreenSportsBlogger/NY; Linda Lieberman/NY; Ralph Sorrentino-Viacom/NY; Doug Jacobs-Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP/NY; Dave Lucas-Newschannel 8/Arlington, VA; Jerehmy White-BusyBuddy Books/Glen Rock, NJ; Jim Sweeney-Mike on Sports/Tampa; Steve McNair-KUBE TV/Houston; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station, TX; Les Stipp-GSD&M/Chicago; Tom Lopez-UPS/Atlanta; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Deerfield Beach, FL; Dan Shugart-WEAR-TV/Pensacola, FL; Bill Robertson-WCHA/Edina, MN; J.D. Spangler-JDL Broadcasting/Terre Haute, IN; Jim Himmel-TCB Media/San Clemente, CA; David Hauptman/Denver.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports @VegasandVine

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