Friday, January 6th, 2012


Saturday 11 PM ET

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Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Friday, January 6, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The 2012 MLS schedule was released yesterday with 323 regular season matches on deck, and ESPN, Galavision and newcomer NBC Sports are set to air a total of 89 matches this year, while 30 games featuring Canadian clubs will run on TSN/TSN2 in English and RDS/RDS2 in French.

The NBC Sports Group begins the first season under the new three-year media rights partnership with live coverage of 41 regular season matches, the most of any MLS broadcast partner, in addition to five MLS Cup playoff games. Coverage begins on Sunday, March 11 when FC Dallas hosts the New York Red Bulls on NBC Sports Network, which will air a total of 38 regular-season games this year. The LA Galaxy make seven appearances on NBC Sports Network, the most of any team. NBC will broadcast three regular-season games: Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders FC on Sept. 15, New York vs. Chicago Fire on Oct. 6, and Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls on Oct. 27.

ESPN’s 17th season of MLS is set to launch on Monday, March 12 on ESPN2, ESPN3 and ESPN Deportes with a Timbers/Union match from PGE Park in Portland, Ore. Overall, 21 games will be broadcast this season (11 on ESPN2, nine on ESPN, one exclusively on ESPN Deportes) with the Galaxy on deck for 8 appearances, the New York Red Bulls with 7 and Seattle with six.

Galavision will broadcast 27 MLS regular-season games live, generally on Sunday nights. Clubs such as the Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy and the New York Red Bulls will all appear on the channel more than three times each this season.


Saturday 11 PM ET

the new home of PBR

Available to 98 million homes .

On the Air

The NFL unveiled its final regular season ratings summary on Thursday, reporting that the 2011 regular season reached more than 200 million unique viewers on various platforms, for an average of 17.5 million total viewers for all networks, according to Nielsen, for second-highest all-time but down slightly for a 2.1% drop from 2010.  The biggest growth came from NFL Network with a 10.8% increase over 2010, while ESPN dropped the most, dipping 9.6% to 13.3 million total viewers.  A record 37 NFL game telecasts averaged at least 20 million viewers in 2011, with the top five games, in order, below:

11/24     CBS     Dolphins/Cowboys                    31.0 million viewers
11/24     FOX     Packers/Lions                          30.2 million viewers
12/04     FOX     (mostly Packers/Giants)             29.8 million viewers
10/16     FOX     (mostly Cowboys/Patriots)         28.4 million viewers
12/18     CBS      (mostly Patriots/Broncos)          28.2 million viewers

The first week of NBA on TNT action handed the channel with an average of 3,957,000 total viewers, a 2.5 U.S. HH Rating and 2,843,000 households during the five-game, NBA opening-week slate, according to Nielsen. Those numbers represent a spike of 127% in Total Viewers, a 127% increase in household rating and a 116% jump in overall households (and I am now almost out of synonyms). The network’s Christmas Day game marked the most-watched NBA regular-season game on Christmas ever on cable with a 3.4 overall rating and more than 5.9 million total viewers.

SEC Commissioner Mike Silve was on CBS Sports Network’s Tony Barnhart Show last night to talk about (among other things) the state of the BCS system and plus-one model. He was firm that significant changes were on the way. “I do think we are going to see changes and I don’t think those changes will be tweaks, that’s the term that we always use,” he said. “I think there will be changes. We’re going to begin to focus in on all these issues over the next six-to-nine months, with the idea of no-holds barred. We need to take a look at the entire structure and see what kinds of changes need to be made. But I do really think there will be changes.”

CBS Sports Network will also be debuting Professional Bull Riders on Saturday from Madison Square Garden, launching over 55 hours of live PBR programming this year. Craig Hummer and Ty Murray are on deck to announce the season opening event, with J.W. Hart reporting from behind the chutes and Mark Morgan reporting on the dirt.

West Virginia’s record-setting blowout of Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl didn’t impress viewers, with overnight ratings to the game scoring a 4.5, for a 37% drop over 2011, for ESPN.

Manny Pacquiao’s next fight will be carried by HBO, according to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum in an interview with ESPN. Pacquiao is reportedly mulling four different opponents for his next fight, although none of them are Floyd Mayweather Jr., who is set to begin serving three months in prison. Any fight would likely be slated for May or June.

FOX’s presentation of the AT&T Cotton Bowl on Friday at 8p will feature country music star Trace Adkins kicking off the show with a look at historical Cotton Bowl moments. Coverage begins at 8p. Gus Johnson,Charles Davis and sideline analyst Tim Brewster will cover the game.

BTN is set to debut new series Impact the World on Jan. 10 at 9:30p. The program is hosted by actor Dennis Haysbert and will include stories from all 12 Big Ten universities with the debut episode featuring a series of stories about the impact of advances in medical therapy and treatment from the universities.

SPEED and present live coverage of Daytona Preseason Thunder testing in its entirety from Daytona International Speedway from Jan. 12-14 with 21 combined hours of live coverage during the three-day test session. SPEED will carry the action live for all afternoon sessions while streams the morning sessions. John Roberts hosts with Rick Allen and Jeff Hammond calling the on-track action during the morning sessions while Steve Byrnes, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds handle the TV booth duties for the afternoon sessions.

The debut of UFC Tonight on FUEL nearly tripled audiences for the show, drawing 39,000 viewers to the channel, according to reports.

Washington DC’s CW affiliate WDCW is partnering with ESPN Regional Television, the syndication home for the SEC to broadcast SEC Basketball beginning this month as well as SEC Football in the fall and will serve as an SEC Network affiliate in a multi-year deal in the Washington DC area.

ESPN Radio is launching a new primetime show, Hill & Schlereth, on Jan 10 from 7-10p, featuring co-hosts Mark Schlereth and SportsCenter anchor Mike Hill. The program will run Mon. through Thurs. until the Super Bowl, after which they will run on Fridays as well.

Golf Channel shored up the channel’s executive lineup, naming Tom Knapp, former president and general manager at XOS Digital Media, as Senior Vice President of Programming for the channel. In this new role, Knapp will be responsible for programming and scheduling strategies designed to maximize the network’s viewership, which includes creating and acquiring new programming, research, scheduling and strategic partnership initiatives. Andrea Starkey joins Golf Channel as Vice President of Strategic Partnerships to manage and direct strategic partnership initiatives. Gene Pao joins the network as Vice President of Marketing, where he will oversee the network’s partnership marketing initiatives, as well as the consumer marketing and consumer promotions departments.

Sponsorship & Promotion

The Pac-12 Networks continue to flesh out key appointments in its roster, naming Arturo (Art) Marquez as Senior Vice President of Affiliate Sales and Marketing for the channels. Marquez previously served as Senior Vice President of Distribution, Affiliate Sales and Marketing for MLB Network. He will be responsible for establishing and implementing all affiliate operational components for launch as well as setting the national and regional sales and marketing strategies for the Networks.

2012 Olympian Nick Symmonds is turning to eBay in an effort to drum up funds for his training. The U.S. Track and Field Team member has listed himself in an auction promising to wear a temporary tattoo with the winner’s Twitter handle on his left shoulder and mention the Twitter name in interviews he conducts. At press time, there were 44 bids at a price of $1,586.00.

Digital Fields

A few more NFL season ending stats, the league reports that during the season, fans visited the NFL’s digital media platforms including, NFL Mobile Only From Verizon and other NFL mobile products in record numbers in 2011, for a total of 71 million fans per month, up 27% over year ago numbers. In addition, fans accessed 70% more video than in 2010 and accounted for a 67%jump in page views.

The Main Event

Wild Card Weekend begins with Bengals @ Texans at 4:30p and Lions/Saints at 8p on Saturday on NBC. Sunday features Falcons/Giants on FOX at 1p followed by Steelers/Broncos on CBS at 4:30p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1976: Ted Turner buys the Atlanta Braves for a reported $12 million.

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: With which team did Joe Torre make his last appearance as a player for the MLB? Answer: The Mets. Kudos: Michael Novara – ESPN/NY; Rich Dubroff –; Thomas Scheuer – Optimedia/NY; Michael A. Neuman – Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; Ron Salcedo – Zimmerman/Nashville; Bill Goodfriend – Charter Media/St. Louis.

In The Know: What NFL great has the record for most cumulative total points scored 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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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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