Friday, August 12th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Friday, August 12, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

With FX officially in play and new conference deals in the books, Fox Sports Media Group officially announced the company’s 2011 college football schedule, which will showcase more than 200 matchups nationally and regionally. Game will run across FX, Fox Sports Networks and Fox College Sports, bolstered by teams from the Pac-12, Big 12 and Conference USA. Regionally, games from the ACC, SEC, Big East and Southland Conferences will also e in the mix.

FX will kicks-off its inaugural FOX College Football game of the week schedule with the Oklahoma Sooners hosting the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in Norman, OK on Saturday, September 3 at 8p. The Sooners will also be featured on the channel on Sept. 24 against Missouri and on Nov. 26 versus Iowa St. Other FOX College Football games that are scheduled include a September 10 contest between Nevada and Oregon and a September 17 battle featuring USC hosting Syracuse. Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Tim Brewster call the Fox College Football games of the week on FX.

FSN’s announcing teams for Big 12 games will feature Joel Meyers, Joel Klatt and Jim Knox, as one team with Bill Land, Dave Lapham and Emily Jones as another team. Steve Physioc, Yogi Roth and Desmond Purnell are on deck to call games on FOX College Sports.

On the Air

With NCAA expansion and defections seemingly again at play and centered once again on Big 12 teams (we’re looking at you Texas A&M), one factor that created a divide within the conference is off the table. The NCAA ruled yesterday that no high school games would be allowed to be televised on school or conference networks, such as the Longhorn Network. The ruling of course, does not affect the broadcast of these games on networks not branded by a conference or school.

Golf Channel has named Jay Madara as Chief Financial Officer for the network where he will be responsible for the overall financial management and direction of Golf Channel including “forecasting, annual budget, long-range planning, new business development, financial reporting and accounting, as well as administrative and facilities management.” Madara joins Golf Channel as a long-time executive with Comcast Corp., most recently as Vice President of Business Intelligence at Comcast Cable.

ESPN’s college basketball series College GameDay Driven by State Farm, will return for its eighth season on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 10a from the campus of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla. In a one-time only switch, the season debut will be on ESPN with the second hour on ESPNU. Rece Davis will be joined by analysts Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Hubert Davis and Bob Knight to host the show.

The NBA All-Star Festivities in 2013 are heading to Houston, according to local reports with the game slated for Feb. 17, 2013. Houston previously played host in 2006 and 1989.

Univision Communications has made some roster changes, naming Victoria Vitarelli as VP of Marketing, Univision Deportes, and Sharon van Zwieten as Senior Executive Producer of News, Univision Deportes. Both will report to Alexander “Sandy” Brown, president of Sports, Univision Communications Inc. Vitarelli will oversee all strategic marketing and brand building endeavors for Univision’s sports properties across all media platforms and most recently served as Senior Director of Marketing for the New York Jets. van Zwieten will be charged with running Univision’s sports news programming and previously served at ESPN Star Sports based in Singapore as Senior Executive Producer of News.

ESPNU is adding three rookie shows to its fall line-up, with the revised schedule set to begin on Monday, Aug. 29, at 1p with Palmer & Pollack,a new show hosted by college football analysts’ Jesse Palmer and David Pollak. CFB Final Verdict and Film Room will also premiere that same week. Returning to the lineup will be:All-Access, BCS Countdown, College Football Live, College Football Whiparound (The Whip), Crunch Time, First & Ten, ESPNU Recruiting Nation, Road Trip and The Experts.

Tennis Channel is wondering what could have been, programming five “what if” scenarios into countdown series Best of 5. Scenarios will include: What If young No. 1 Monica Seles had never been attacked by a deranged fan at the height of her dominance?, What If Bjorn Borg and Rafael Nadal faced each other on clay?, and What If Patrick Rafter beat Pete Sampras in the 2000 Wimbledon final? The show will premiere on Sunday at 7p.

Tennis Channel is also shifting World of Tennis Presented by BMP Paribas to Friday nights with repeats on Saturdays on MSG Plus. The shift takes place tonight at 7:30p with American Idol judge Randy Jackson sitting down for an interview by with former tennis pro Justin Gimelstob.

Arena Football’s American Conference Finals on NFL Network scored a record high rating on August 8, pulling a .32 rating and reaching 183,000 viewers. That rating marked an all-time high in the Arena Football League’s second year as broadcast partners with NFL Network. 

NASCAR driver Joey Logano is shifting from laps to lunch, and will take part in a food challenge on Monday in New York for an upcoming episode of Travel Channel’s Man v. Food Nation. Logano will learn details of the challenge just before the shoot on Monday and the episode will air on Oct. 19 at 9p on Travel Channel.

Stats for the week ending Aug. 7

Tiger Woods return to PGA Golf on CBS delivered nice upticks for the channel’s coverage of the NEC WGC Bridgestone Invitational last weekend, according to Nielsen. Saturday’s Third Round coverage averaged a 1.9/5 with 2.6 million viewers, for a gain of 36% over last year’s telecast. Sunday’s Final Round earned a 2.6/6 with 3.8 million to grow 24% year-to-year.

The Red Sox/Yankees rivalry continues to deliver for networks. Fox’s coverage of the game on Saturday earned a 2.8/7 with 4.1 million viewers to score as the channel’s highest-rated and most-watched Saturday afternoon telecast in three years. According to Nielsen, those numbers were up 65% in households and 59% in average audience. Sunday night’s game between the two teams gave ESPN a season-high 3.0/5 with 4.7 million viewers, virtually doubling last year’s score. 

Sponsorship & Promotion

Sports Authority is readying to take over naming rights for Denver Bronco’s venue Invesco Field at Mile High. The new name would be Sports Authority Field at Mile High if the deal goes through and will pay $150 million over the next 25 years.

Sportsman Channel and Time Warner Cable are gearing up to host a Hunt. Fish. Feed. community event in Green Bay on Wednesday, Aug. 17, and serve a venison and fish dinner at New Community Shelter. The Hunt.Fish.Feed. program serves as an outreach tool that taps game meat and fish donated by sportsmen to feed hungry families across America. Green Bay’s event will utilize 100 lbs of fresh fish caught during this weekend’s Brew City Salmon Tournament on Lake Michigan.

Digital Fields

The Nicktoons MLB roster is officially set, with characters from the casts of eight Nickelodeon shows Now that the trade deadline has officially expired on every planet between Earth and IRK, the final Nicktoons MLB roster has been released. 23 characters from the casts of eight favorite shows will join 300 players from all 30 MLB clubs for the upcoming video game, which will be released on Sept. 13. Players will include leading characters from SpongeBob Squarepants, T.U.F.F. Puppy, Planet Sheen and Fan Boy and Chum-Chum and feature 12 real ballparks such as Wrigley Field and Fenway Park to the animated stadiums such as the underwater Poseidome and Frosty Freeze Field. Perch Perkins from SpongeBob SquarePants and GIR from Invader Zimwill handle announcing duties as Nicktoons MLB commentators.

The Main Event

PGA Championship all weekend long on TNT and CBS.

ON THIS DAY in 1994: Fox airs its first ever NFL game featuring a preseason contest between the 49ers and Broncos

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: What NFL team drafted Bill Parcells?  The Detroit Lions. Kudos: Shawn Gerchicoff – Turner Sports/Atlanta; Marc Huberfeld – CBS Network Sales/NY; Synda Kollman – Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Jane Degen – Mass Relevance/Austin

In The Know: Who is the all-time sack leader on the Denver Broncos?  (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.)

Later — Chris
 Chris Pursell for Cyn opsis | Sports

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