Good morning. It’s Friday, October 12, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Legendary college football commentator Beano Cook passed away at the age of 81. The ESPN staple analyst worked with the company since 1985 after four years at ABC Sports. In addition to college football programming, SportsCenter and ESPNEWS on television, Cook was a fixture as a guest on ESPN Radio and had a popular podcast on ESPN.com.
“He was one of a kind,” said George Bodenheimer, ESPN executive chairman. “There never was and never will be another Beano. His combination of humor, passion, love of college football and his engaging personality left an indelible mark on the sport and touched anyone who knew him.”
Before his stint at ABC, Cook worked in PR for CBS Sports from 1977-82. From 1974-77, he worked as sportswriter for the St. Petersburg Times, the director of public relations for the Miami Dolphins, public relations director for Mutual Radio Network, and toured with VISTA. From 1966-74, Cook served as ABC Sports NCAA press director.
Sans NHL programming, NBC Sports Network is filling in the gaps created by the NHL lockout with Return to London, a series of primetime programming blocks on NBC Sports Network that relive top moments from Team USA from the London Olympics, and 2012 Paralympic Games. The series debuts Monday, October 15 at 7p with the Women’s Gymnastics All-Around and the Women’s Gymnastics Team Competition. Programs will be introduced by the likes of Bob Costas (swimming, diving and gymnastics), Al Michaels (track and field and basketball), Dan Patrick (women’s beach volleyball and water polo) and Liam McHugh (women’s soccer).
Former FOX Sports personality and comedian Frank Caliendo is now heading on over to ESPN where he will join the network’s Sunday NFL Countdown as a contributor. His first appearance will take place on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 10a when he joins Chris Berman and company at the ESPN studios in Bristol. Caliendo will make a several appearances on the three-hour pregame show during the regular season and playoffs, primarily in taped comedy segments.
Comcast SportsNet Houston added a bevy of content to its lineup, inking a deal with IMG College, the multi-media rights partner of Rice University and University of Houston, to air sports programming for each of the two schools. Under terms of the agreement, Comcast SportsNet Houston will run Rice Athletics programming for the next three years and Houston Athletics programming for one year. The agreement also calls for weekly coaches’ shows during football and basketball seasons, weekly football press conferences, spring and fall sports specials, a spring football game for each school and additional programming on the newly-launched network.
NBC Sports Network announced an 18-game lineup of Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball games for the new season, beginning with George Mason hosting Northern Iowa on Saturday, December 8 at 6p. This year’s schedule will feature a heavy dose of George Mason and Drexel, along with Delaware, Hofstra, James Madison, Northeastern, and Old Dominion. In addition to 15 regular-season games, NBC Sports Network will also televise the CAA conference semifinals and the conference championship game.
While we’re on the topic, MLB Network’s coverage of Game 3 of the Cardinals/Nationals series drew a 1.3 coverage rating with 1.1 million viewers. The game drew an 11.7 overnight rating in the St. Louis market, according to Nielsen, for a 457% spike over the previous best rating for the channel in that market. In DC, the game drew a 2.8 overnight rating in the market, more than doubling the previous high rating for a game on the channel.
The YES Network’s Orioles/Yankees post-game show on Wednesday night was the most-watched and highest-rated post-season first-round post-game show on the channel in eight years, according to Nielsen. The show averaged 128,000 TV HHs for a 1.73 average TV HH rating.
SHOWTIME Sports and CBS Sports in association with NFL Films are teaming to create a documentary dedicated to Giants great Lawrence Taylor. The special, calling LT: The Life and Times will look at his on-field play as well as his tumultuous off-field life, and hits SHOWTIME in early 2013. The documentary will be the first-ever in-depth look focusing on Taylor’s life with never-before-heard stories from Taylor, his family, his former teammates and coaches on his playing days with the Giants, his infamous off-field activities and the troubling times that have plagued him throughout his life.
Golf Channel will debut a new series, called Our Longest Drive, on Oct. 16 at 10:30p. The series features three Chicago golfing buddies who take their friend’s ashes to the Arctic Circle to play one last round of golf in honor of their deceased friend. The six-part series now joins Big Break Greenbrier and Chasing the Dream on Golf Channel’s Tuesday primetime lineup of original series.
ESPN announced the creation of the Texas Kickoff Classic – an opening weekend college football matchup pitting Oklahoma State and Mississippi State at Reliant Stadium in Houston that will be played Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.
Universal Sports Network and Premium Sports Inc. announced an agreement that gives Universal Sports multi-platform broadcasting rights in the U.S. to the 2013 Six Nations Rugby Championship. Along with televising all of the tournament’s 15 matches, the network will also offer video highlights on UniversalSports.com when the Six Nations begins next February. Universal Sports Network kicks off the road to Rio this weekend with the start of the IRB Sevens World Series. Coverage of the final day of this weekend’s tournament begins Saturday, October 13.
FUEL TV is slating two live shows around UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar. Programming begins today at 3p with the live UFC 153 Weigh-in on FUEL TV, hosted by UFC Host Jon Anik. UFC stars Chael Sonnen and Urijah Faber will join Anik to offer analysis from FUEL TV’s Los Angeles studios. Coverage wraps up late night on Saturday with the UFC 153 Postfight Show on FUEL TV, following the PPV.
ESPNU is hosting every ACC head coach next week, as well as players and mascots from each team at its Charlotte, N.C. studios on Wednesday, Oct. 17 during the network’s third annual ESPNU ACC Media Day Special. Coverage begins at 1p with three hours of live ACC interviews and continues throughout the day with six total hours of basketball media days coverage.
Sirius XM Radio is launching a new channel dedicated to soccer in SiriusXM FC. The channel launches on Oct. 15, with soccer talk and play-by-play. Series will include The Football Show, hosted by John Harkes, former player/coach Ray Hudson and soccer experts Charlie Stillitano and Neil Barnett.
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Sponsorship & Promotion
Nielsen’s “FANALYTICS” platform offered some interesting insights in its latest report. The company revealed that ads that ran in this year’s kick-off game on NBC between the Giants and Cowboys scored well above last year’s numbers. In fact, this year’s ads scored five points higher in likability than those that ran in last year’s opening face-off between the Saints and Packers, 61% vs. 56% respectively.
The NBA and Chinese Basketball Association announced a multiyear extension of their joint coaching program which trained more than 580 CBA pro and junior level coaches since 2009. Through this extension, the two leagues will continue to work together to improve coaching which will result in youth development and the overall growth of basketball. The NBA will create distinct training and observation programs to develop CBA coaches, based on their experience, at both the elite and grassroots level.
Meanwhile, Yatai Lanhai Investment Group and NBA China announced a partnership to jointly design, develop and build the first-ever NBA Center in the world in Wuqing, Tianjin. The free-standing facility covers approximately 12,000 square meters and will provide an opportunity for fans to live and experience the NBA through a multitude of lifestyle activities, ranging from authentic basketball experiences, training and fitness, kids recreation, interactive games, shopping, dining and entertainment.
SNY revealed to fans the network’s live game streaming package for the 2012-13 UConn Women’s basketball season. Beginning Monday, October 15th, fans can purchase subscriptions for the online streaming package with the service launching on November 11th at 1:30p when the Huskies host the College of Charleston Cougars.
The Main Event
Loser goes home. St. Louis/Washington at 8:30p on TBS.
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ON THIS DAY in 1992: Hall of Famer Art Monk sets an NFL record with his 820th reception.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: The Portland Trailblazers sole NBA Championship came in the 1976-77 season. Who did they beat in the Finals? The 76ers. Kudos: Marty Rosenberg-Petry Media/NY; J. Barry McMullin-Professional Bull Riders/NY; Noah Coslov-CineSport/NY; Brian Ricco-MultiVision Media, Inc./NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Steve McNair-CBS Radio/Houston; Jamie Raybon-KTXA Television/Dallas; Mary Ryan-Raycom Media/Dallas; Harry S. Vested, Jr-Gravity Collection Inc./Denver; James Pena-Time Warner Cable SportsNet/El Segundo; Daniel Harrison-Level 3 Communications/LA; Judi Schultz Charlton Marketing/Portland; Patrick Kang-20th/LA.
In The Know: From what school did the Bears draft Brian Urlacher? (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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