Good morning. It’s Friday, June 24, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
With the first pick of the NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers went with the expected, selecting Duke point guard Kyrie Irving. Although some famous names had been speculated as trade bait the past few weeks, only a few notable trades actually went down. Picks and reaction were covered around the dial and on online, although best (media-related) quote comes from NBA TV’s David Aldridge who noted, after debating with other analysts on the draft, “This is the great thing about NBA TV and TNT, we go at each other and we do it with love.”
PPV heavyweight Floyd Mayweather has inked a deal with HBO, which lost Manny Pacquiao to Showtime last year. The deal will give HBO distribution rights for the undefeated fighter’s return to the ring on Sept. 17, where he will square off with Victor Ortiz. Promoters are already dubbing the fight “Star Power.” Pacquiao’s fight in May against Shane Mosley drew 1.3 million PPV buys.
The NHL has unveiled its 2011-12 schedule, with 1,230 games on deck and the action slated to begin on October 6, featuring pairings of Bruins/Flyers, Maple Leafs/Canadians and Penguins/Canucks. This year’s NHL Winter Classic will be bumped from its traditional New Year’s Day schedule, due to NFL games set for Jan. 1, and will instead take place on Jan. 2 between the Flyers and Rangers. This season’s All-Star Game is set to take place in Ottawa on January 29, while the final games of the season will wrap up on April 7.
Television company Al Jazeera was successful in its attempts to break the Canal Plus domination of top French soccer league matches, winning some of the broadcasting rights for the sport. The company agreed to pay $129 million a year over the course of four years to showcase two live premium games per week, on Friday night as well as on Sunday, with other rights involved as well. Canal Plus kept its rights to first picks from the games, inking a deal over the same span worth nearly $600 million a year and beginning in 2012.
Univision’s Mexico vs. Honduras semi-final match in the CONCACAF Gold Cup delivered the network with its most-watched prime time sports telecast in Univision history, according to Nielsen overnight numbers. The game averaged 7.1 million viewers P2+ and 4.5 million among adults 18-49. Overall, the network reports that the game reached 10.9 million viewers who watched all or part of the broadcast and scored as the third-most watched sports telecast for the channel overall, bested only by the 2010 World Cup final and last year’s Mexico/Argentina match in the tournament.
Golf Channel’s debut of its new series Feherty scored as the most-watched original series premiere in channel history, according to the company, breaking the record set by the 2009 premiere of The Haney Project: Charles Barkley. The show was paired with lead-in Big Break Indian Wells, to help drive the outlet’s prime-time lineup to its best ever post-U.S. Open prime-time average.
Former NFL players Rocky Boiman and Nick Ferguson have been picked to serve as studio analysts on Sky Sports for a 2011 NFL regular-season as a result of their performance at this year’s NFL Broadcast Boot Camp. The four-day event saw players meet with some of broadcasting’s best and brightest to learn about sportscasting from talent, producers and executives from each of the NFL’s broadcast partners.
NBC Sports and Universal Sports are locking in 4½ hours of live coverage of the U.S. Track and Field Championships this weekend from Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Coverage will begin at 3p on Universal Sports and continue at 5p on NBC. NBC’s broadcast team will consist of Tom Hammond, Ato Bolden, Dwight Stones and Lewis Johnson during the championships.
Len Kasper has signed an extension to be the Cubs’ television play-by-play announcer, inking a deal that will keep him in the chair through at least 2016. Kasper joined the Cubs in 2005.
ESPN has picked up another Washingtonian, hiring NBC Washington sports anchor and reporter Lindsay Czarniak. She will exit the station in mid-July. Czarniak joined NBC Washington in June 2005, where she has since served as a co-host of Sports Final, Redskins Gameplan and Capital Games on NBC Washington Nonstop and worked with local legend WRC sports anchor George Michael. NBC Sports utilized her for its Olympic coverage in 2006 and 2008 where she hosted the first-ever Olympic coverage on Oxygen. She is a graduate of JMU.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that despite MLB’s rejection of the Dodgers TV $3 billion deal with Fox Sports, executives at Fox would not support Dodgers owner Frank McCourt if he tried to file for bankruptcy and fight the decision.
Stats for the week ending June 19
The 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup is benefiting all of its broadcast partners, with gains across the dial, according to Nielsen National Ratings. With eight telecasts under its belt, Univision is averaging a 1.5/3, which is up 33% among M18-34, up 24% among M18-49. Saturday night’s Mexico/Guatemala matchup drew a 1.9/4 in households with a 3.2 score among men 18-34, where it scored as the top event of the weekend in the demographic. Meanwhile, Fox Soccer saw its own gains, averaging 334,000 viewers through four telecasts, which is up 80% over its average in 2009.
Final ratings for the 111th U.S. Open Golf Championships in NBC saw Saturday’s action dip 16% from 2010’s third round coverage, while Sunday’s final round was off 22%. The tournament still ranked as the top-rated event of the weekend.
Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Michigan averaged a 2.9/8 final national rating for TNT, with 4.9 million viewers. That score was even with last year’s numbers but up 13% in average audience. Through its first two races, the sport is averaging 3.1/8 on the channel, which is right on par with last year’s two-race average. Among men 18-34, however, the network is up 13% and up 6% among men 18-49.
Sponsorship & Promotion
With the Summer Classic gearing up, Major League Baseball All-Star FanFest has announced themed days throughout the action. The FanFest will span five days from July 8-12, with themes that include Military Appreciation Day on July 8, followed by (in order): Heritage Day, Kids Day, Hall of Fame Monday, and Championship Tuesday.
Following a breakout season, EA Sports is turning to Steven Stamkos from the Tampa Bay Lightning for the cover of the upcoming game NHL 12. To promote the launch of the game, ES is allowing fans to put their own faces on the cover on their EA Sports NHL Facebook page.
MLB is reporting that baseball fans have broken online balloting records for the All-Star Game on MLB.com with a week still remaining. As of yesterday, fans have now cast 18.5 million ballots and 250 million votes, besting the 2009 record, with many of the races likely to be decided in the final week. Voting closes Thursday at 11:59p.
The Main Event
Gold Cup Final: US vs. Mexico on Univision and Fox Soccer on kicks off Saturday at 9p on Univision and Fox Soccer.
In My Opinion …
- Give it up Frank. Although I’m from the east coast, I’ve lived in LA long enough to have seen both the good and the bad from the Dodgers. Now, when even Mark Cuban, who tends to be linked by the press to every potential baseball sale, goes on record to say he isn’t sure he wants a piece of the team, it’s time to get out of Dodger Stadium. I’ve worked with some terrific people at the Dodgers over the years, and frankly, they deserve better than this mess. In my visits to the team this year, there have been three constants: No stars, no fans, and no fun. Drop the legalities and sell the team, it’s done.
Agree or disagree? Send in your views for posting here to chris [email protected] under Emails to the Editor …
ON THIS DAY in 1992 – MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent permanently bans Steve Howe from baseball.
Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: From which University was Blake Griffin drafted? Oklahoma. Kudos: Keith Marder – Halstead Property/NYC; Michael Jaquet – CBS Sports Network/NY; Anthony Diaz Sporting News/New York; Matt Denerstein Mindshare/NY; Jane Degen – Mass Relevance, Inc./Austin; Lucie Prann – The Richards Group/Dallas; Greg Moloznik GLM Media Dynamics/Scottsdale; Wendell Foster ABC Entertainment Group/Burbank; Wilson Wong – Motion Picture & Television Fund/LA; Joe Brooks MTV/Santa Monica; Joe Pedri KLAS-TV/Las Vegas; David Schneider GroupM Motion/Santa Monica; Pete Holtermann HolterMedia/London
In The Know: Who was the last high-school player selected number one in the NBA draft? (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 Cyn opsis | Sports
June 24, 2011
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