Friday, January 27th, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Friday, January 27, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

NASCAR, MillerCoors and Penske Racing unveiled new multi-year partnership extensions between the brewer’s two biggest brands and the racing organizations. Under the deal, Coors Light will remain the Official Beer of NASCAR, and will continue to serve as the primary sponsor of the Penske No. 40 car. Miller Lite renewed its partnership with driver Brad Keselowski as the primary sponsor of Penske’s No. 2 Dodge. Other takeaways from the deal include the return of the Coors Light Pole Award and the Miss Coors Light Program.

While we are on the subject, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France gave the annual state of NASCAR speech yesterday in Charlotte, noting that the sport was “very encouraged” by last year’s ratings bumps. “The goal of this effort is to help us better serve our great fans, grow our audience and ensure that our sport stays relevant, vibrant and highly-valuable to sponsors and other partners critical to the health of NASCAR,” said France. “The industry has never been more united in growing the sport.”

On the Air

ESPN pulled back the curtain on its Super Bowl plans, announcing over 110 hours of television and radio programming during the festivities. Coverage begins Monday at 6a from Pan American Plaza in Indianapolis with content that spans 18 ESPN platforms. Highlights include Chris Berman celebrating his 30th Super Bowl, new themed SportsCenter specials, Bill Parcell’s Super Bowl Confidential, NFL32, and SportsNation originating from ESPN’s demo field. On Super Bowl Sunday, a special Sunday edition of Mike & Mike will air from Bristol, Mike Tirico will host SportsCenter, and Berman will host a special four-hour edition of Sunday NFL Countdown.

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau ruled that Comcast should be mandated to comply immediately with the ruling that Comcast discriminated against Tennis Channel and must now give the network equivalent carriage to Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network. Tennis Channel had asked for the ruling, stating that Comcast should not be able to put off upgrading the channel while it continued to appeal the decision. In a statement, the network said that “Tennis Channel’s position prevailed at the hearing, and the rules are clear that Comcast now has to give us the same carriage that it gives to its own Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network. Now, the Enforcement Bureau has confirmed that the ALJ’s decision is already effective and recommended that the Commission order Comcast to come into compliance immediately.”

The first-ever live telecast of an English Premier League game on a U.S. over-the-air network delivered 1.3 million viewers on Sunday for FOX, more than doubling the viewership high from cable television. According to Nielsen, the game delivered a 0.8/2 rating/share.

Wednesday night’s coverage of the Mexico/Venezuela international friendly averaged 3.5 million viewers on Univision with 7.6 million watching all or part of the broadcast. Across key demos the match averaged 1.3 million among Adults 18-34 and 2.2 Million in Adults 18-49.

NBC Learn, is teaming with the NBC Sports Group, the NHL and the National Science Foundation to create Science of NHL Hockey, a new video series exploring the science behind the sport. The 10-part show will be shown on NBC Sports Network, debuting during this weekend’s NHL All-Star Game with NBC News’ Lester Holt narrating the program. The video series can also be found online as well as NHL Network, and in arenas around the league.

Longhorn Network will exclusively televise 32 games of the University of Texas baseball team and 30 games from the softball program this year with contests stretching from Jan. through May. Coverage begins Saturday with an alumni game before a regular season game against Duke. Kevin Dunn and Carter Blackburn will handle play-by-play duties for the network while Greg Swindell takes on analyst duties.

ESPN is also reporting that the channel’s 14 NBA telecasts are averaging a 1.7 rating, for a boost of 31% over the 13 games over the same span last year. Household impressions are up 26% to 1,664,000 with average viewers up 21% to a 2,149,000.

Season ten of the World Poker Tour will return to Fox Sports Net with 11 more episodes than 2011. The series will return on Feb. 12 at 8p with each tournament now divided into three separate episodes for a total of 37 to maximize on ratings gains last year.

After a carriage dispute between DIRECTV and Sunbeam Entertainment threatened to leave some viewers without the Super Bowl, the two companies announced that they have resolved their differences and reached an agreement to end the Sunbeam blackout. DIRECTV customers will now have access to WHDH and WLVI in Boston and WSVN in Miami.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Coca-Cola is bringing back the its polar bears for the Super Bowl, announcing that the company will air two new polar bear television ads during the first and second quarter of the telecast. The ads will be part of the Coca-Cola “Open Happiness” campaign and extend its connection online at, where the digital platform will use proprietary technology to bring the computer-generated polar bears to life through live animation and showcase the animated polar bears’ reactions to all the plays on the field, the halftime show as well as the commercials. The bears will also take over the official @CocaCola Twitter account on game day.

Even though the Super Bowl commercials haven’t even aired yet, sponsorship remains a big deal throughout the playoffs. Ace Metrix released data reviewing commercial effectiveness during the playoffs, revealing that Apple held the top two spots for two separate iPhone commercials, with Cadillac, Applebee’s, Nissan and Google also scoring well in effective outreach.

The NBA and adidas are celebrating the 45th anniversary of the founding of the American Basketball Association with a series of games honoring the ABA during NBA Hardwood Classics Month beginning Feb. 1. As part of the celebration, nine teams will wear commemorative uniforms and host special in-arena events.

Digital Fields

The NFL will reportedly relax its social media policy during Sunday’s Pro Bowl, allowing players to tweet before and during the game. To encourage outreach, the league said it will set up a computer on each sideline where the players will be encouraged to tweet messages to fans as well as opponents during commercial breaks or when they aren’t on the field.

Sports video technology provider XOS Digital is launching two new college sports apps on PlayStation Network for the PlayStation3 console. The new SEC Digital Network and XOS College Sports apps will offer hours of historical college sports footage, documentaries and original XOS productions, with games and documentaries added to the library weekly.

The Main Event

Saturday brings the second UFC on FOX broadcast, headlined by Rashad Evans and Phil Davis. The action begins at 8p, with preliminary fights available on FUEL TV at 5p.

Sunday features that NHL All-Star Game on NBC Sports Network at 4p, followed by the NFL Pro Bowl at 7p on NBC.


ON THIS DAY in 1991: The Giants beat the Bills 20-19 after a missed field goal kick in Super Bowl XXV.

Answer to Friday’s Sports Trivia Question: What was the original name of the Lakers? After purchasing the disbanded Detroit Gems, the Minneapolis Lakers were formed. Kudos: George Finkel – MegaSports Productions/North Myrtle Beach; Brian Ricco – MultiVision Media/Secaucus; Daniel Weber – Nat Geo TV/NY; Rina Katchur – ESPN/NY; Kathryn Kieser – Haworth Marketing and Media/Minneapolis; Greg Finch – Time Warner Cable/Dallas; Neil Shurts – Dish Network/CO; Kevin Fay – DIRECTAvenue/Carlsbad; Josh Pico – DIRECTAvenue/Carlsbad.

In The Know: Who missed that kick in 1991? (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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JOB OPENING: CONTRACT ATT., LBA/Los Angeles: Attorney who will be drafting and negotiating contracts for one of the top cable companies (2/3)
JOB OPENING: TEMPORARY PRIMARY RESEARCH VP, USA NETWORK/NYC: Plan, design, analyze consumer research. Cable network exp. req. Strong online survey skills. Temp role. Apply: [email protected] Subject: Research (2/3)

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INTERNSHIPS – These positions are for credit only – nobody gets paid here. These ads are always posted for free, and students work for school credit only. For more information on the specs for posting an Internship ad, email Trish at [email protected].

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