Friday, December 16th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Friday, December 16, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

ESPN and the NCAA struck a deal for the broadcaster to carry 24 NCAA championships as well as 600-plus hours and 300 telecasts of live coverage through 2023-24, as well as the exclusive multi-media rights outside the US for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. The new agreement takes effect immediately and is worth a reported $500 million. The deal also provides expanded coverage of the NIT Season Tip-Off and all games from the NIT Postseason Tournament across the ESPN networks as well as sports such as FCS football, soccer, men’s ice hockey, and baseball. ESPN will also remain the exclusive home of the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship. 

On the Air

Strikeforce is officially coming back to Showtime, with executives for the promotion’s parent company Zuffa and the channel announcing a new broadcast agreement to continue producing live MMA events on the network. Programming under the deal will kick off during the network’s Free Preview Weekend, Saturday, Jan. 7. Beginning with the Jan. 7 card, Showtime will also televise undercard fights for all of the promotion’s events live on Showtime Extreme.

Univision has acquired exclusive U.S. television and digital rights to the home games of four additional Liga Mexicana teams: Toluca, Pumas de la UNAM, Monterrey and 2011 champions Tigres de la UANL, bringing the company’s tally to 12 of the 18 teams within the soccer league. The channel now has access to a total of 204 matches for the year, as well as playoff games. Throughout the season, Univision Deportes will offer a weekend lineup of Liga Mexicana games, with at least five matches to be broadcast across Univision, Galavision and TeleFutura every weekend. The Liga Mexicana Clausura season kicks off on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, with Galavision’s broadcast the Monterrey vs. Jaguares match, and TeleFutura’s Queretaro/America match, at 6p. 

Attorneys for Fox Sports are appealing the decision by a Delaware bankruptcy judge approving the sale of media rights for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The company is asking a federal district court judge to immediately halt the implementation of the ruling while he considers Fox’s appeal. The current plan calls for initial bids by to be submitted by Jan. 13. 

While we are in court, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals denied Cablevision’s request to review a recent FCC order to make regional sports programming feeds available to AT&T and Verizon Cablevision Systems for their subscribers. Cablevision has argued that its HD programming amounted to its competitive differentiation and should not be subject to existing FCC rebroadcast rules.

MSG Networks has hired Newsday writer Alan Hahn as a full-time studio analyst for the channel. Hahn will work Knicks pre- and post-game shows on MSG Network, and also contribute to Rangers, Devils and Islanders telecasts on MSG Network and MSG Plus. Hahn will also contribute regularly on as a featured blogger. The hire comes just in time for the new NBA season where the channel will begin Knicks regular season games on Wednesday, Dec. 28.

The ACC announced that conference schools will move to an 18-game league schedule for both men’s and women’s basketball starting next season, according to the AP. The men’s teams have traditionally played a 16-game schedule while the women’s teams moved from 14 to 16 league games this season.

Showtime’s upcoming documentary special A Game Of Honor which chronicles the Army Black Knights and Navy Midshipmen preparing to play in their annual rivalry game is set to premiere on Wed., Dec. 21 at 10p. Gary Sinise narrates the special.

The plan for the NCAA to begin giving athletes a $2,000 stipend is on hold. The organization told news outlets that enough schools have called for an override to the plan, which was approved in October, to suspend it until the next board of directors meeting in January. The NCAA said concerns about the stipend included the timeline for the plan, the perception on competitive equity as well as the implications for Title IX.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Fans of a college football playoff system are about to get some national backing. Lobbying firm The Moffett Group, run by former Rep. Toby Moffett, announced a “We Want a Playoff Now” campaign that will try to drum up support to end the BCS. In addition, reports state that two congressmen on opposite sides of the aisle are forming a Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus and will a reintroduce a 2009 bill aimed at forcing college football to switch to a playoff system.

The Indian Olympic Association lodged a “strong protest” on Thursday over the IOC’s decision to include Dow Chemicals as a sponsor of the London Olympics. They did, however, state that they were not going to boycott the games at this time.

Digital Fields

Golf Channel is releasing Golf Channel Mobile 3.0, a redesigned mobile application that will offer golf fans instant access to the latest golf news and opinion, scores, photos and videos. The app is completely redesigned and developed in partnership with Vertigo Software, and will be based on the popular NBCSportsTalk mobile app. Golf Channel Mobile features a new video section, enhanced photo galleries and new interactive capabilities, including live chats  with subjects and talent, at times, coinciding with Golf Channel programming  and social media sharing through Facebook, Twitter and e-mail, according to the company.

Comcast is releasing a new, free app for the iPhone and iPad dubbed the Xfinity TV Sports Remote that serves as a remote control for a TV that enables viewers to switch channels between sporting events. The app is designed to work with games from NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA, NCAA Football, and NCAA men’s basketball with other sports reportedly on the horizon as well.

The Main Event

Bowl season begins on Saturday with three on deck including the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at 2p, the famous Potato Idaho Bowl at 5:30p and the R & L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at 9p. All three are on ESPN. Saturday also has Bruins/Flyers on NHL Network at 1p.

Can the Broncos do it again? Broncos/Patriots on Sunday at 4:15 on CBS.


Happy Holidays | Merry Christmas | Happy New Year

Cynopsis Media will be off from December 23, 2011  January 2, 2012.

Don’t forget to read the 2011 Year in Review on January 1st 2012!

Past editions, classifieds, & industry calendar of events can always be found on our website.

ON THIS DAY in 1979: Roger Staubach has his last regular season game with the Cowboys.

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: With which team did Lou Piniella play his first game in the major leagues? Answer: Tricky. Piniella’s first game in the major leagues was actually as a member of the Orioles in 1964, although he would later win Rookie of the Year with Kansas City in 1969 (which was by far the most common answer). Kudos: Sarah Galvin – Flashpoint Marketing/NY; Lou Charlip – Fox Business Network/NY; Peter – SP Gimber/; Synda Kollman – Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton.

In The Know: What two teams did Roger Staubach’s Cowboys defeat in the Super Bowl? (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 Cynopsis | Sports

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