Friday, June 8th, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Friday, June 8, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The 112th U.S. Open is set to tee off next week, with NBC Sports Group anchoring more than 60 hours in total coverage from June 11-17. “Golf Channel on NBC” will offer 16 hours from Thursday-Sunday with the majority of coverage of the third and final rounds airing in primetime. Golf Channel hits the green with over 40 hours of wrap-around programming, headlined by its franchise show, Live From the U.S. Open. Bob Costas will serve as network host for Golf Channel on NBC’s weekend U.S. Open coverage with Dan Hicks and Johnny anchoring NBC’s four-day coverage. Tee times are set to begin on Thursday at 3p.

ESPN is set to telecast the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday, June 14-15, with an extra hour this year, and live prime time viewing for audiences. ESPN, ESPN3 and WatchESPN will air eight hours of live play each of those days from noon-3p and 5-10p with an edited encore presentation set to run on ESPN2 and WatchESPN from1-4a. Chris Berman hosts the action on Thursday and Friday as well as for the weekend highlight programs, while Mike Tirico will call the early-day action on Thursday and Friday with Paul Azinger as analyst. NBC will again produce the telecasts.

The four-screen U.S. Open Mix will air on DirecTV for all four days of the championship with channel 1 carrying the live ESPN or NBC television coverage, while Channels 2 and 3 will cover Featured Groups 1 and 2. Channel 4 will cover the 8th and 18th holes.

On the Air

Programming plans for the upcoming college football season are coming into place. NBC and NBC Sports Network announced that they will combine to televise 32 college football games during the season. This year’s overall slate of games will include seven Notre Dame games, 10 Mountain West Conference games, six Colonial Athletic Association games, seven Ivy League games, as well as the Bayou Classic and Atlanta Football Classic. Coverage begins with a triple-header on Saturday, Sept. 8 featuring Purdue/Notre Dame on NBC and Delaware St./Delaware on NBC Sports Network, both at 3:30p. NBC Sports Network then airs Army/San Diego State at 7:30p. The first Ivy League telecasts hit the channel on Saturday, Sept. 22, with Cornell/Yale at 1p, followed by Harvard/Brown at 4:30p. Liam McHugh, Doug Flutie and Hines Ward will offer pre- and post-game coverage on NBC and/or NBC Sports Network every Saturday.

ESPN has added 68 college football games to its 2012 schedule across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3. In the first three weeks of the season, ESPN will televise games from all 11 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences as well as BYU, Notre Dame and Navy. Additional selections, including home games from the SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12, will be announced in the upcoming weeks. This year, every game will also be available via WatchESPN. Opening night on Aug. 30 will be highlighted by an ESPN doubleheader beginning with South Carolina/Vanderbilt at 7p, followed by the previously announced Washington State/BYU game at 10:15p.  ESPNU will televise Texas A&M’s first game as a member of the Southeastern Conference when the Aggies hit Louisiana Tech at 7:30p.

Across the dial on BTN, the channel announced that it will run 15 football games during the first three weekends of the season, including the debut of the Urban Meyer era at Ohio State. Overall, BTN will televise over 40 football games this fall, and games will also be available on BTN2Go. The season kicks off on Sept. 1 with Miami (Ohio) at Ohio St. at noon. Once again, every BTN football game telecast will be surrounded by Big Ten Football Saturday, the network’s pre-game, halftime and post-game show.

With the Thunder on their way to the NBA Finals, TNT announced that its coverage of the 2012 NBA Western Conference Finals averaged 7.8 million viewers, with ratings up 16% over 2011 numbers for the series. The series average a 5.0 household rating with 7,823,000 viewers. The deciding Game 6 drew a 6.0 score in Nielsen fast nationals with nearly 9.5 million viewers.

Meanwhile, the Boston/Miami playoff game Tuesday generated ESPN’s second-highest NBA overnight rating ever with game 5 snaring a 7.6 overnight score, up 1% from comparable coverage of Game 5 last year and up 38% from ESPN’s coverage of the Dallas/Oklahoma City Western Conference Finals last year.

Let’s not forget I’ll Have Another’s quest for the Triple Crown this weekend. Coverage begins at 4:30p on Saturday on NBC. HRTV’s Jon White offered his Belmont picks for Cynopsis Sports:

1) I’ll Have Another 2) Dullahan 3) Paynter

He notes “The 1 1/2 miles of the Belmont Stakes has proved to be too far for many a Triple Crown aspirant. But there is so much stamina in I’ll Have Another’s family tree that the 1 1/2 miles of the Belmont should be a plus for him, enabling him to finally end the long Triple Crown drought.”

NBC’s coverage of the 2012 French Open continues today with the men’s semifinal match between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer at 11a. This weekend, NBC will air live coverage of the women’s final on Saturday at 9a pitting Maria Sharapova, against Sara Errani. The men’s final which will pit the winner of the Federer/Djokovic match against the winner of the Rafael Nadal/David Ferrer match on Sunday at 9a.

Turner Sports will begin its 30th consecutive year of NASCAR coverage with TNT’s presentation of the Pocono 400 on Sunday. Coverage begins with the Countdown to Green pre-race show at noon which will feature the introduction of a new weekly feature segment titled “Next Generations.” The segment will explore the history of NASCAR through the eyes of current and former champions, including Jimmie Johnson, Ned Jarrett and Bill Elliott along with TNT analysts Kyle Petty and Larry McReynolds.

ESPN revealed plans for this year’s X Games Los Angeles 2012, with the company set to televise 21 hours of live programming on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC, from June 28 through July 1. All 21 hours will also be televised on ESPN 3D with ESPN3 set to stream 24 hours. Sal Masekela will host all 21 hours of coverage. Online, X Cast will offer fans a digital companion screen experience through Livestream with greater access to what is happening on site at X Games Los Angeles 2012. Meanwhile, iTunes will feature an X Games landing page, with new X Games Los Angeles content, plus all previous events, music, apps and films.

FOX wrapped up its 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup campaign with a 3.7/9 and 5.7 million viewers from Dover, according to Nielsen. Those numbers are off pace 5% from last year’s 3.9/10 with 6.3 million viewers for the equivalent race from Kansas City. For the season, NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing on FOX drew a 4.8/10 with 7.9 million viewers, down 4% from last year’s 5.0/11 with 8.6 million viewers, with some of the decline attributed to the postponement of the flagship Daytona 500 to start the season. Still, NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing scored as the top-rated sport for the season.

MTV2 will carry the two-part original basketball documentary Nothing But Net on Sunday at 1p, featuring Kevin Durant mentoring a local high school team in Oklahoma City

GolTV announced that it will broadcast the Argentina/Brazil match live on Saturday, June 9 2012 at 2:30p. The last time the Argentinean national team played on GolTV, the game drew the highest rating for an international FIFA match in network history.

ESPN named Monica Diaz as Vice President, Diversity, Inclusion & Work Life for the company. In this role, Diaz is charged with for advancing ESPN’s global diversity and inclusion philosophy and for leveraging its programs to build and promote ESPN as an employer of choice. Diaz joins ESPN from the Microsoft Corporation.


– S A V E   T H E   D A T E –

Cynopsis Sports Media Awards Program

August 9, 2012 | 8:00 – 10:30a.m.

Harvard Club of NYC

Coming Soon: Award finalists will be announced mid-June

Sponsorship & Promotion announced partnership plans for upcoming Sprint Cup Series races, that include mid-stream breaks from the live feed that will feature digital-specific content from Pit Road reporter, Miss Coors Light. She will make multiple appearances within the live feed on the Pit Road camera angle to give updates on track conditions, pit crew strategy, and more. Coors Light will also have significant branded presence throughout promotional media, including the countdown clock to Pocono. Coca-Cola will serve as a sponsor of Racebuddy with ownership over the In-Car camera angles that feature all the action and audio from inside cars of the Coca-Cola Racing Family, as well as a mosaic view that allows viewers to watch all streams at once. Meanwhile, American Ethanol will activate a strategic integrated partnership as part of an overall branding campaign that includes an extensive sweepstakes to engage fans, dubbed the “American Ethanol Sweepstakes.”

INDYCAR announced that the organization has entered into a partnership with augmented technology company XYQ that will make them the entitlement sponsor of the June 15-16 Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by XYQ. As part of the deal, XYQ will create a wireless application called the Milwaukee IndyFest WayFinder, which is designed to help fans navigate at-track activities through geo-coordinate technology. The smartphone application will be available for download in the Android Marketplace as well as at iTunes.

Digital Fields

Twitter has gone live for the first time with its NASCAR hashtag product in preparation for Sunday’s Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR. The new product is designed to create an enhanced live event experience on Twitter at by showcasing the best Tweets and photos from NASCAR insiders with Tweets from drivers, pit crew members, families, media, NASCAR representatives and other industry constituencies like race tracks and sponsors. will be thoroughly integrated into the race broadcast via graphics and with TNT’s on-air team showcasing some of the most relevant and engaging Tweets.

CSE’s, the kid-oriented NBA experience designed to spotlight the action of NBA games, teams and players, was named as the most innovative and creative website at the Cynopsis Kids !magination Awards yesterday, besting companies such as The Walt Disney Company, Sesame Workshop and Random House.

The Main Event

NBC has a nice-potentially historic-lineup set for Saturday, opening with the French Open Women’s Final at 9a. I’ll Have Another at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday at 4:30p. Of course, the Kings could clinch the Stanley Cup at 8p on NBC as well.


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ON THIS DAY in DAY in 1966: The NFL & AFL formally announce plans to become the NFC & AFC starting in 1970.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which two retired Major League Baseball catchers share a nickname and what is that nickname? Hint: One recently surpassed the other for most games caught. Carlton Fisk and Ivan Rodriguez were both known as Pudge. Kudos: Seth Bacon-NASCAR/NY; Joe Tafuri-Tennis Channel/NY; Jon Achar-ESPN/NY; Barry Correia-DIRECTV/NY; Mike Bridges-Today Media/Philadelphia; Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/Orlando; Nate Ringenberg-XOS Digital/Orlando; G. David Brown-FOX Sports Carolinas/Charlotte; Jean Beakey-NBC Sports/Chicago; Bill Robertson-Tunheim Partners/Minneapolis; Bob Ramsey-WCIU/Chicago; Lucie Prann-The Richards Group/Dallas; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Katzner-Headquarters Productions/Calabasas; Willie Price-American Forces Network/Riverside; Jim Himmel-Prudential Financial/San Clemente; Dave Goldstein-NFL Network/Culver City.

In The Know: What NBA player was known as “the Admiral”? (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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