Friday, January 13th, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Friday, January 13, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The FCC is going to look into petitions to void a television blackout rule preventing media companies from showing sports events that don’t have sellout crowds, with the organization asking for comments on the issue. Petitioners argue that the rules block consumer access to local sports events, with arguments filed by the Sports Fan Coalition, Public Knowledge, Media Access Project, National Consumers League, and League of Fans. Commenters will have until Feb. 13 to weigh in.

On the Air

Just a day after making peace with the Los Angeles Dodgers, News Corp. is now in the hunt to buy them, at least some of them, according to reports. The Wall Street Journal states that the company signed a nondisclosure agreement with bankers in a move that formally makes News Corp. a potential bidder for the team, and with media rights with the team expiring next year, would offer a way to hang on to the team. The report stated that News Corp. doesn’t want to reclaim full ownership of the team but would rather want to become a minority investor to improve its chances of keeping the team’s television rights with a stake of around 20% of the franchise.

Despite public talk of retirement, Commissioner Bud Selig is officially on board for two more years to run MLB, inking a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2014 season. Selig has been in the position since 1992, first as acting commissioner and then as commissioner since 1998.

The NFL Alumni Foundation announced the 2012 NFLA Player of the Year Awards Presented by Allstate Insurance Company will be televised for the first time with NFL Network set to air the ceremonies on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012 at 10p. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the NFLA Player of the Year Awards Program. Alec Baldwin will host (he’s also hosting the NFL Honors awards show for NBC) with the ceremony being taped on Feb. 3. Celebrities including Vivica A. Fox, Stephen Baldwin, Patrick Warburton and Keith David will take part as well as country music band Badhorse, who will perform live, to honor the top seven players from the 2011 season.

Merger talks between the Mountain West and Conference USA will be on the table when the presidents of the universities from the two conferences, meet on Sunday, according to CBS Sports. The report states that talks are still in the early stages, but after seeing multiple defections in recent years, the conferences are now looking to take their football alliance, announced late last year, and potentially consolidate their teams.

While we are on the subject of realignment, a Rhode Island judge ordered West Virginia University and the Big East to enter non-binding mediation to resolve their competing lawsuits over WVU’s plans to quit the conference and join the Big 12 in time for next season.

Looking to snag as much cash as possible, representatives for Manny Pacquiao state that holding a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. would not make economic sense for May 5, as the large venue that would house the bout would not yet be ready. Pacquiao’s financial adviser Michael Koncz told The Associated Press that the 45,000-seat boxing arena being built in Las Vegas would not be finished, and holding the contest in a smaller venue is “foolish from an economic standpoint.” A Top Rank official said that a potential fight could instead happen at the end of May.

ABC is gearing up to air “Ball Boys” on Saturday, March 24, with the series exploring sports memorabilia business from Robbie’s 1st Base in Baltimore, MD. The 12 half-hour episodes will follow the sports fans who work there and feature the negotiation of buying and selling unique sports merchandise, both at the store and at off-site locations. The program will also feature sports legends ranging from Jim Brown to Pete Rose. The show will launch with two back-to-back episodes at 3p.

CBS Sports Network will feature Turner Sports analyst Reggie Miller for Saturday’s Army/Navy game at 2:30p. The game will be featured as part of a quintet of college basketball games that day, opening with the men’s and women’s Army/Navy doubleheader starting at noon, before moving onto Colorado St/TCU at 4:30p, then Temple/Richmond and Memphis/Houston respectively.

The NBC Sports Network will tip off its coverage of the Mountain West on Saturday at 4p, with a matchup between San Diego St. and UNLV. Steve Schlanger will handle play-by-play with Blaine Fowler serving as analyst.

NBC Sports Network also announced that Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach and cruiserweight fighter B.J. Flores will team up with Kenny Rice to offer commentary for the channel’s upcoming NBC Sports Network Friday Night Series. The first fight will take place on Jan. 21, at 9p with a battle between heavyweight contenders Eddie Chambers and Sergei Liajhovich. 

The newborn Epic Poker League announced a partnership with The Poker Channel that will distribute the league’s programming to millions of viewers across Europe. The deal will see more than 70 hours of Epic Poker tournament broadcast coverage featured on the channel beginning Sunday, Jan. 15.

HRTV will debut a new series featuring acclaimed clinician Clinton Anderson for a weekly series about Anderson’s award- “Downunder Horsemanship” Method, premiering on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 8p. The first 13-part series will air in one-hour blocks on Tuesdays and chronicle the re-training of Tricky Warrior (nicknamed Tricky), a 3-year-old gelding whose career on the track has concluded.

The BBC announced its new Formula 1 broadcast team for the 2012 season, with Ben Edwards joining the crew as commentator beside Jake Humphrey, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard. In addition, F1 car designer Gary Anderson has been recruited as technical analyst. James Allen will become the Radio 5 commentator, joining Jennie Gow.

Outside Television revealed two new original series that will be added to the programming lineup. Season Pass, a 13-episodes series from Warren Miller Entertainment, chronicles winter action sports including “the evolution of skiing and the thrill of taking an epic journey to find the best places to ski.” Jeremy Jones’ Deeper is a 10-episode series from snowboarder Jeremy Jones and Teton Gravity Research and will take viewers to untouched snowboard meccas, to showcase some of the greatest snowboarding adventures on the planet.

Sponsorship & Promotion

2K Sports and Major League Baseball 2K12 will bring back the $1 Million Perfect Game Challenge for the third consecutive year, and add a final eight-person live tournament to crown the new $1 Million champion. Beginning on Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, April 4, 2012, gamers can play for eight spots in the final live tournament. As an added bonus, the submission process has been simplified as competitors will no longer be required to submit video recordings of their perfect games and instead compete in Major League Baseball 2K12’s Perfect Game Challenge mode and submit a unique code to the specified website.

Michigan International Speedway will once again look homeward for a sponsor, agreeing with Pure Michigan to serve as title sponsor of the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Aug.19. The three-year partnership was announced Wednesday at the North American International Auto Show and extends an agreement from 2011 between the two parties. 

FedEx appears poised to extend its relationship with the PGA Tour to continue sponsoring the FedEx Cup, according to Golf World, with a new multi-year agreement is expected to be locked in soon.

Digital Fields on MSN closed the 2011 calendar year on a high note, reaching 37.8 million unique visitors in December 2011 to score as the site’s second highest month behind November 2011’s 38.9M. Overall, FOX Sports increased 42% year-over-year, highlights includes growing 17% over Dec. 2010, Yardbarker hitting an all-time high with 21.8 million visitors, up 178% over last year, Scout growing 13% in uniques to 5.3 million, and FOX Soccer up 34% in audience to 1.9 million.

Tony La Russa, in conjunction with the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), will host “A Champ’s Perspective” presented by Budweiser from the Peabody Opera House in downtown St. Louis on Friday, January 13 at 7p with live commentary with La Russa and special guest Bob Costas. The event will air online at and and cover baseball strategies, including those implemented during the St. Louis Cardinals 2011 World Championship season. 

The Chicago Cubs and Bloomberg Sports announced a new partnership to design a state of the art player evaluation system for the Cubs’ Baseball Operations Department. The agreement marks the latest step in player analytic technology for Bloomberg Sports, and will give the team video with extensive data on all professional players, as well as customized and enhanced technology to assist the evaluation process.

The Main Event

NFL Playoffs with some potentially great games in line including Saints/49ers on FOX on Saturday at 4:30p, and Broncos/Patriots on CBS at 8p. Sunday offers Texans/Ravens on CBS at 1p and Giants/Packers at 4:30p back on FOX.


Upcoming Specials + Events for Cynopsis Media

Special Editions: NATPE Shopping Guide [1/19/12]

e-Book : Cynopsis: Kids 2011 Year in Review [Available for purchase: 1st Quarter]

Award Programs:
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Call for Entries [ Late Submission Deadline 1/20/12] | Awards & Event [June 2012]

To reserve your ad space or sponsor an upcoming program, contact Mike Farina, 203.218.6480

ON THIS DAY in 1999: Michael Jordan announced his retirement. (He returned in 2001.)

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: What player boasts the most Super Bowl MVPs? Answer: Joe Montana with three. Kudos: Joe Tafuri – Tennis Channel/NY; Charles Mannino – Tyco Electronics Subsea/Eatontown; Thomas Scheuer – Optimedia/NY; Christine Ferrara – WBZ-TV, WSBK-TV/Boston; Ron Salcedo – Zimmerman/Nashville; Bill Robertson – Tunheim Partners/Bloomington; David Hauptman – Katz Television Group/Denver; Paul Gygli – NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City; Mika Saulitis – Troika/Hollywood; Randy Sollenberger – One Three Television/Santa Monica; Matthew Morse – KGPE Television/Fresno.

In The Know: Michael Jordan’s final NBA Championship came against which team in the Finals? (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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