Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Friday, February 3, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

It’s officially Super Bowl weekend and, as you’d expect, the networks are rolling out the red carpets to embrace the game in every way conceivable. NBC Sports will offer six hours of Super Bowl XLVI pre-game coverage on Sunday beginning at noon when Bob Costas opens with a live report from Georgia Street in downtown Indianapolis. The network’s coverage will include an interview with halftime performer Madonna, live musical performances, and red-carpet interviews with music, television and film stars. In addition, NBC News’ Matt Lauer will also interview President Barack Obama during a special pre-game edition of TODAY airing late Sunday afternoon. Musical acts on the preshow will include Lenny Kravitz and The Fray .

On the Air

NFL Network counters beginning at 9a, when NFL GameDay Morning begins with 8.5 hours of live coverage from seven locations. Highlights are set to include: an NFL Films-produced feature that goes “Back to the Future” to show the similarities between the Giants’ late-season runs in 2007 and 2011; actor/comedian and Boston sports fan Dennis Leary paying tribute to Tom Brady; and the stars of the upcoming film “That’s My Boy” Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg will hit the set.

ESPN books a special four-hour Super Bowl XLVI edition of Sunday NFL Countdown beginning at 10a. Sandler and Samberg will also stop by and at 1:55p, IZOD IndyCar driver Graham Rahal drives through downtown Indianapolis to deliver the Super Bowl XLVI picks to the set. Features include a conversation with Peyton Manning, a Hannah Storm interview with Tim Tebow, and a special edition of popular weekly Monday Night Countdown segment C’Mon Man.

The NHL’s All-Star Weekend handed the league with records in viewership and digital consumption for the event, particularly in Canada where the game brought an average audience of 2.46 million viewers. Online, shattered its all-time day record for video starts on Sunday, and daily unique visitors to the site on Sunday were up 24 percent over 2010. Mobile Page Views (PVs) on All-Star Sunday were up 48 percent year-over-year.

Major League Lacrosse announced its first TV schedule through CBS Sports Network for the 2012 season. The network will air 14 live nationally televised games as well as all 18 episodes of Inside the MLL, the league’s 30-minute magazine show. The first nationally televised game begins Friday, June 1 featuring a matchup between the MLL Champion Boston Cannons and the Rochester Rattlers at 7p. In addition to regular season action, CBSSN will also air the second Semi-Final Game on August 25. Play by play announcer Dave Ryan and analyst Evan Washburn will call the MLL action.

The UFC is retiring the Gladiator that has opened the promotion’s shows for the past nine years. UFC President Dana White said that with the FOX deal and international expansion, the organization felt that is was time to find a new show open.

Meanwhile, FUEL TV announced broadcast teams for two upcoming live shows around tbe UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit PPV. Tonight at 7p, with the live UFC 143: Weigh-in, hosted by Jon Anik with analysis from Rashad Evans. Once coverage of the main events concludes, FUEL TV wraps things up at 1a on Saturday morning with UFC 143: Postfight Show. Jay Glazer hosts the one-hour recap, with Evans’ analysis and Helwani’s interviews.

Even David Feherty is apparently experiencing Tebow-mania. The Broncos quarterback will be a guest of Golf Channel’s Feherty Live this week, and will air Saturday at 10p. Also joining Feherty on stage will be Fuzzy Zoeller, Super Bowl-winning quarterback and current NFL Network analyst Joe Theismann, as well as former NFL coach and NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci.

Tennis Channel is using the weekend for exclusive coverage of the U.S. Fed Cup team’s first-round competition against Belarus in Worcester, Mass., with live telecasts beginning Saturday at 1p. The American team must defeat Belarus for a chance to compete for the Fed Cup in 2013. Serena Williams will join the United States team against Australian Open champion and World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

NFL owners approved a $200 million loan to the 49ers in an effort to help the team finally build a new stadium. The venue would be placed south of Santa Clara, The team announced in December that they had received an $850 million loan to cover most of the expected $1 billion cost.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Oakley and espnW are launching a new content collaboration in which the pair will team up for quarterly social media partnerships and photo galleries. Oakley will provide on-site promotion at a number of sports events, and will also include an espnW presence as part of the company’s athlete hospitality at the 2012 Summer Games in London. 

MX Sports Pro Racing and Alli Sports announced a multi-year agreement with Red Bull to become the “Official Energy Drink of Pro Motocross” for the upcoming Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. The partnership will be highlighted by Red Bull title sponsorship at three of the 12 national events this summer.

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Think you’re an MVP in the world of sports media or will your rivals steal the spotlight? Enter the Cynopsis Sports Awards and bring home a crystal award for your shelf, recognizing the grit and strategy you’ve shown all year long. The awards will cover the best of 2011 from the world of television, radio and online, with categories that range from news shows to apps to marketing campaigns.

Digital Fields is upping the ante on fantasy sports – so to speak – with the introduction of the NFL Perfect Challenge and feature a $1 million prize for picking the “perfect” fantasy lineup during any week of the 2012 NFL regular season. A special 30-second commercial to introduce the game will run during the Super Bowl, marking the first time the NFL has launched a digital product with a Super Bowl ad. The commercial was produced with Grey Advertising. The game gives players an eight-player roster each week, with one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker, and one defense/special teams unit. To qualify for the $1 million prize, fantasy team owners must pick that week’s highest-scoring player at each position.

Just three days before the game, federal authorities seized 16 websites that were allegedly illegally streamed live sports and pay-per-view events online. Prosecutors charged a Michigan man with running nine of those websites. The AP reports that the sites provided links that provided access to sites featuring pirated telecasts from the NFL, NBA, NHL, WWE and more. Among the sites to get shut down were:,, and

The Main Event

Giants/Patriots for all the marbles at 6:30p on NBC.

ON THIS DAY in 2002: Super Bowl XXXVI sees the Patriots best the Rams 20-17.

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: What team did the ’72 Dolphins beat in the Super Bowl to finish the season undefeated? The Redskins. Kudos: Brian Carroll – LPGA/Daytona Beach; Terence Gaffigan – MSG Media/NY; Bobby Coyle – New York Yankees Radio Network/NY; Jack Valente – GroupM/NY; Mary Ryan – Raycom Media/Dallas; Warren Weideman – Producer/LA; Eric Bates – Tennis Channel/Culver City; Alan Perris – The Television Academy/North Hollywood; Tony Rice – Skipping Stone/LA.

In The Know: Who ya got? What will the final score be for Sunday’s game? Anyone and everyone who guesses it right gets a kudos on Monday. Good luck! (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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