Good morning. It’s Friday, August 5, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Turner Sports is gearing up for its presentation of the 93rd PGA Championship, set to take place from Aug. 11-14 with TNT offering up to 18 hours of play beginning Thursday, Aug 11 at 1p. Host Ernie Johnson is on deck to deliver play-by-play with Ian Baker-Finch, Billy Kratzert and Jim Huber. Sponsors for this year’s coverage include: AT&T, ING, Mercedes-Benz and Southwest Airlines. One breakout feature that will be utilized for the coverage will be green screen technology that will place Kratzert superimposed next to golfers as they experience some of the greatest moments in PGA history.
Online, PGA.com will use broadband channels to deliver multiple live video streams, marquee groups and par-3 coverage from PGA Championship LIVE, debut a new 360 degree camera, and offer an enhanced video highlight hub and live action updates from PGA.com writers. In addition, PGA.com’s mobile coverage returns with a free PGA Championship App for iPhone and iPod touch sponsored by Mercedes-Benz.
NFL Network and NFL.com are gearing up for the platforms coverage of 2011 NFL preseason games and will be running 64 games in HD. NFL Preseason Live returns for a second season online, allowing fans to watch every preseason game as well on NFL.com. The action will begin on Aug. 11 at 7:30 with look-ins and highlights of the Thursday games on Around the League: Preseason 2011, followed by the Ravens at Eagles on Aug. 11 at 11p. NFL Network’s preseason broadcast schedule is set to feature live games, including two doubleheaders in primetime.
Former Browns and Jets head Eric Mangini is joining ESPN as a NFL studio analyst and will appear on NFL Live, SportsCenter, First Take and other programs throughout the year in addition to contributing analysis on ESPN Radio and other platforms. He is set to start on Wednesday, August 17.
ESPN Regional Television has locked in the 2011 matchups of its five owned and operated men’s college basketball events, which include: Charleston Classic presented by Foster Grant; Puerto Rico Tip-Off; 76 Classic; Old Spice Classic; and Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. The Puerto Rico Tip-Off will lead the charge, taking place beginning Nov. 17 and include teams from Alabama, Colorado, Iona, Maryland, Purdue, Temple, Western Michigan and Wichita State.
MSG has hired former Laker voice Spero Dedes as the radio play-by-play announcer for New York Knicks games on ESPN 1050, as well as the primary back-up on MSG Network for veteran play-by-play man Mike Breen. Dedes will start at the beginning of the 2011-12 season and had been the play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Lakers for the past six seasons. The ratification allowed players who signed new contracts to practice with their teammates for the first time this offseason.
The UFC has found a new gateway into Latin America, inking a deal with executives announcing a two-year deal with Fox Sports Latin America that will deliver content to 18 countries, excluding Brazil. FOX Sports will air 24 UFC live events per year, as well as a slate of UFC programs such as UFC Guerreros.
NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter doesn’t think we’ll see a season this year, telling audiences at the American Bar Association conference that the 2011-12 NBA season will likely be canceled entirely due to a group of hard-line owners and the fact that the sides at “$800 million apart per year.”
Outdoor Channel is joining with 24 of the world’s top bass fishing anglers to create Major League Fishing, a new sports organization that will showcase competitive bass fishing events to audiences. The new game, with new rules and no limits, will feature the Major League Fishing Challenge Cup to be held later this year and airing in the second quarter of 2012. Jim Wilburn has been named general manager of MLF with Don Rucks serving as the league commissioner.
FUEL TV is heading back to camp, bringing back original series FUEL TV Presents Camp Woodward for a fifth season and airing in February. Production will begin in early August at Camp Woodward in Woodward, Pennsylvania, and feature 12 athletes from past seasons in a new format that will see the group divided into two teams and pitted against each other in challenges. Returning campers will represent a mix of skateboarders and BMXers.
Multiple reports say that NFL Network’s last major holdout Time Warner Cable may soon be signing the dotted line. Speaking to a group of Panthers fans this week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the channel and the nation’s second-largest cable operator are now negotiating an affiliate agreement.
ESPN’s launch of its portion of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season continued the sport’s upward swing this year, drawing 4.0/10 with 6.4 million viewers for last weekend’s Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis, according to Nielsen. That score is good enough for an 11% spike over the same race in 2010, and scored as the highest-rated and most-watched event of the weekend. In the key demos, the race rose 18% among Men 18-34, 4% among Men 18-49, 3% among Men 25-54, and 12% on average audience.
The PGA’s Greenbrier Classic on CBS saw an up and down weekend for last weekend’s event with Saturday’s third round coverage dipping 10% from last year to a 0.9/2, with 1.3 million viewers. Sunday’s final round, however, rose 8% to a 1.2/3 with 1.7 million viewers.
Sponsorship & Promotion
Comcast isn’t digging DirecTV’s newest campaign, promising potential viewers free broadcasts of NFL games. The company filed a complaint on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, claiming that the satellite carrier is taking customers because of false statement about its NFL Sunday Ticket package. Comcast claims that DirecTV has been drawing customers from other TV providers with its free NFL campaign, and failed to disclose that the offer requires customers to sign up for two-year contracts that cost hundreds of dollars, with hefty fees for early termination. DirecTV has denied the allegations.
The second annual Sports Media Marketing Awards has found its jury for event, with David Levy, President of Sales, Distribution and Sports, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., serving as jury chair. Other jury members include ESPN’s Sean Bratches, MLB’s Tim Brosnan, DirecTV’s Paul Guyardo, Sports Illustrated’s Christopher Hercik, the Boston Bruin’s Amy Latimer, Fox Sports’ Eric Markgraf, NBA Entertainment’s Daniel Meiseles, LA Kings’ Luc Robitaille, NFL’s Mark Waller, and Wasserman Media’s Casey Wasserman. The awards ceremony will take place on Nov. 15 in New York City.
PGATour.com began online and mobile streaming coverage yesterday of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and Tiger Woods’ return to the course via the site’s [email protected]. Streaming will be available online and through the official PGA TOUR iPhone app through for the 12th and 15th holes of all four rounds at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, OH. The site is also offering On The Tee,a live preview show with host Brian Katrekand analyst Bill Kratzert as they discuss the course, the favorites, the upcoming tournament, and more.
EA Sports President Peter Moore has been promoted to Electronic Arts’ COO in a company-wide reorganization. Moore now takes a position that has been vacant since former COO John Schappert left for Zynga in April. Moore had been president of EA Sports since 2007.
The Main Event
Great golf and baseball on deck, but for once I gotta go with words over action with the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony on Saturday evening on NFL Network and ESPN.
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ON THIS DAY in 1996: The Dallas Cowboys play the Kansas City Chiefs in Monterrey, Mexico
Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: Who is the only Naval Academy alumnus in the Pro Football Hall of Fame? Roger Staubach. Kudos: Michael Brown – IMG/NY; Logan Brooks – Turner Entertainment Networks/Atlanta; Derek Crownover – Crownover, Blevins, P.C/Nashville; Brendan McGovern – Google/NY; Robert Teinowitz – Live Action Media/Chicago; Lucie Prann – The Richards Group/Dallas; Dan Wilhelm – BIA Digital Partners/Dallas; Kevin Shannon – Charter Media/St. Louis; David Hauptman – Katz Television Group/Denver; Willie Price – American Forces Network/Riverside; Alan Perris – The Television Academy/North Hollywood; Tony Rice – Skipping Stone/LA; Marci Polzin – Innovative Artists/Santa Monica
In The Know: Who holds the all-time record for most wins in a year on the PGA Tour? (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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