Friday, October 4th, 2013

Cynopsis: Sports
10.04.13

Good morning. It’s Friday, October 4, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Sports news/blog network Bleacher Report is getting a new face at the top with the announcement that Matt Hong, Turner Sports Senior VP and General Manager of Sports Operations, will take the helm of the platform. Company officials confirmed that Hong will add executive responsibility for B/R to his existing oversight of his division’s sports operations and digital portfolio with the departure of CEO Brian Grey. Turner Sports EVP/COO Lenny Daniels informed staff of the change yesterday. Co-Founder & Chief Content Officer Dave Finocchio and Chief Technology Offer Sam Parnell will now report to Hong, with Finocchio overseeing Bleacher Report’s day-to-day operations.

“As we began planning for 2014 and beyond, Matt Hong and I spent a considerable amount of time with Brian Grey discussing the future structure of Bleacher Report,” Daniels wrote in the memo to staff. “After much consideration and successfully leading B/R through its yearlong transition with Turner, we all agreed that now is the right time for Brian to take a step-back from his role as CEO of B/R and svp of Turner Sports to pursue the next chapter in his professional career,” Daniels wrote. “Brian has been a great advocate for Bleacher Report and played a key role in helping to build its business model. I have enjoyed working with Brian and appreciate all of his efforts on behalf of the company.”

On the Air

TBS’ coverage of the 2013 MLB Wild Card presented by Budweiser outpaced 2012 numbers, with the two games averaging 4.7 million total viewers for an uptick of 2% over the two games a year ago. Based on Nielsen Fast Nationals, this year’s 3.0 household rating is running even with last year. In home markets, the game drew a 33.7 DMA household rating in Pittsburgh, a 25.2 in Cleveland, a 16.6 in Cincinnati and a 15.5 in Tampa Bay.

NBCSN continued its hot, early start for the NHL season, with Wednesday night’s Buffalo/Detroit matchup averaging 583,000 viewers, according to Nielsen, up 22% from the average NBCSN exclusive NHL game from 4Q11 (with no comparable 2012 comparison available due to the shortened season). The rating for the game delivered the highest-ever rating for a regular-season Red Wings game on NBCSN in the Detroit market with a 6.45.

Meanwhile, CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada drew more than 9.4 million viewers – or more than one-in-four Canadians – for the season opening doubleheader, who watched at least part of the channel’s coverage. Ratings data from the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM) show an average audience for the Toronto/Montreal game topped 2.3 million viewers.

ESPN is pulling the plug on its international X Games forays, announcing that the company would not continue the events in Barcelona, Munich, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil and Tignes, France. “We are proud to have run world-class competitions for both the athletes and spectators; however the overall economics of these events do not provide a sustainable future path,” the company said in a statement. “The company remains fully committed to the X Games brand and its full-scale competitions in Aspen, Colorado and Austin, Texas  its newest host city  and we will continue to distribute these premier events around the world.”

The NFL announced that the October 20 Houston Texans/Kansas City Chiefs game will shift from 1p to 4:25p on CBS. The league said the move was made to accommodate regional broadcast patterns.
 
ESPNU tips off the basketball season with over four hours of ESPNU Midnight Madness coverage on Friday, Oct. 18, at 9p. This year’s programming will feature on-site coverage from nine basketball programs, including Kentucky, Duke, Syracuse, Oklahoma State, Wichita State, Memphis, New Mexico, UConn and Florida Gulf Coast. ESPN analysts will provide commentary from each site, with additional previews and interviews live from the ESPNU studio in Charlotte, N.C. In addition, ESPN3 will carry six Midnight Madness events live in their entirety, beginning today at 7:30o with Late Night in the Phog featuring the Kansas men’s basketball team.

NBA TV’s Open Court is back on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 6p with the first of four episodes airing each Tuesday throughout the month. The show will be hosted by Ernie Johnson with a combination of analysts that includes Charles Barkley, Isaiah Thomas, Julius Erving, Dominique Wilkins; Steve Kerr, Kenny Smith, Steve Smith, Brent Barry, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady and Dennis Scott. The first show of the season will reflect on the dynasties and dramatic moments of the 1990s. 

CBS Sports Network returns to the ice for the 2013-14 college hockey season starting Oct. 18 at 7p as the exclusive national home of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). The opening game will pit North Dakota/Miami, followed by Minnesota Duluth/Colorado College. Overall, the channel will showcase 18 NCHC contests, as well as two games from the Atlantic Hockey Association. In addition to the regular season schedule, CBS Sports Network also will air the NCHC Tournament semifinals (Friday, March 21) and finals (Saturday, March 22) from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Play-by-play announcer Ben Holden teams with lead analyst Dave Starman, and rink-side reporter Shireen Saski to call the action.

WestwoodOne, the exclusive radio network of the NFL national primetime package, announced that the network will carry four consecutive NFL games this Sunday, October 6, 2013, culminating with a special Sunday Night doubleheader. The slate of games is due to a shifted Chargers/Raiders game that will now be played on Sunday night. The action begins with Seahawks/Colts at 12:30p, followed by Broncos/Cowboys, Texans/49ers and Chargers/Raiders.

Discovery’s first sports show premieres tonight. NFL In Season – Steelers vs. Vikings “was a dream opportunity to see how two big-time NFL teams approach a must-win game,” exec producer Christo Doyle tells Cynopsis. “These two teams approached this game with very different strategies, from the Vikings coming to London a week before the game to get acclimated, to the Steelers treating it like a typical away game.” Doc kicks off tonight at 10p; part two, with the 49ers versus the Jaguars, airs Friday, November 10.

On the local scene…
ESPNLA and the Los Angeles Lakers inked an agreement to extend their radio play-by-play relationship for seven more seasons and running through the 2019-2020 season. ESPNLA (710 AM) will broadcast all 82 regular-season games as well as the entire preseason and every playoff game. ESPNLA has served as the official radio broadcast home of the Lakers for the last four seasons.

WFAN is set to become the first radio provider to broadcast MLS in English in New York City. The channel penned a deal to broadcast all of New York City Football Club’s MLS matches, in addition to the option to air any friendly matches played during the multi-year partnership timeframe. The club will be Major League Soccer’s 20th expansion club and is slated to start play in the 2015 season.

Chicago’s Comcast SportsNet is set to examine the triumph and heartbreak of the 2003 Cubs season with a new documentary dubbed 5 Outs. The special will run on the exact date of the ten-year anniversary of the Chicago Cubs season-ending defeat to the Florida Marlins in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Oct. 15 at 9p. The 90-minute production is narrated by William Petersen and takes an in-depth focus on the “players and manager’s perspective” on exactly what went right and eventually what went wrong on that fateful day.

Time Warner Cable SportsNet announced that Lakers legend Byron Scott and Lakers favorite Luke Walton are joining the network’s on-air team and will cover the Lakers for the channel. The two players will contribute to the network’s studio programming including franchise shows “#LakeShow,” “Access SportsNet,” the “Access SportsNet: Lakers” pre-and post-game shows and more.
 


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Sponsorship & Promotion

The ING New York City Marathon will bear a new name next year with race officials announcing that Indian technology company Tata Consultancy Services will replace ING as title sponsor. The deal spans eight years, beginning with the 2014 race.

Bud Light released the results of its NFL Fan Superstition Survey, gathering opinions from nearly 10,000 adult NFL fans over the summer, took an in-depth look at the fan bases of each of the 32 NFL teams and how their superstitions and rituals impact their enjoyment of the game to form an NFL Fan Superstition Index. According to the survey, the top-5 most superstitious fan bases in the NFL are (in order) Baltimore, Arizona, New Orleans, Oakland and Philadelphia. The study also showed such quirks as “New York Jets fans are the most likely to sit in the same lucky seat every game” and “New Orleans Saints fans are most likely to engage in their superstitious activity every single game.”

Bellator MMA and Everlast Worldwide are supporting breast cancer research and prevention by debuting pink-inspired fight gloves on the October 4thBellator fight card that will be shown live on Spike TV. Each fight on the card will feature the new gloves, which will shed the traditional black and red color scheme for black and pink as a sign of support.

Digital & Technology

Thuuz Sports announced the Glassware release of its Thuuz sports app, marking one of the first sports Glassware to be available on Google Glass. The new service is designed to alert Glass owners to trending games in their favorite sports as well as provide them with score updates for their favorite teams. Glass Explorers can enable Thuuz Sports via MyGlass.

The Main Event

Luck vs. Wilson as the Seahawks visit the Colts on FOX at 1p.


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Cynopsis eReport Series: Demographic Viewing Patterns
Cynopsis Editors will take a look at the viewing patterns of various Demographics. Each of these Special eReports will uncover the Who, What and the Where – who these people are, what they are watching, where they are watching…and more!

OCT 6 // Women (sold out)
OCT 16 // Millennials (sold out)
NOV 13 // Hispanics
NOV 20 // Kids, Tweens & Teens

Advertising space is limited. Contact Mike Farina: 203.218.6480


ON THIS DAY in 1987: “Scrub” players take the field for the NFL.

In The Know: Actor/Athlete Chuck Connors is often credited as the first professional basketball player to break a backboard. What basketball team did he play for? (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.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What number did Troy Aikman wear for the Cowboys? Answer: 8. Kudos: Mitch Burg-Syndicated Network Television Association/NY; Keith Marder-Halstead Property/NY; Pete Gautieri-A&E Networks/NY; Lewis Blaustein-Lewis Brand Solutions, Inc./NY; Tim DeLaney-Showtime Networks Inc./NY; Joe Guarnieri-ESPN Remote Operations/Bristol; Tim McGhee-MSP Sports/Summit; Chris Faulds-Bell Media Digital/Toronto; Chad Conwell-Sinclair Broadcast Group/Dayton; Gretchen Brady-KDAF/Dallas; Lucie Prann-The Richards Group/Dallas; Ryan Nolan-Sportsman Channel/New Berlin; Austin Smith-Big Ten Network/Chicago; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Mary Downey-Mary Downey Casting/Burbank; Jack Simmons-FOX Sports/LA; Brendan Murphy-Direct Avenue/San Diego; Marci Polzin-Clear Talent Group/Studio City.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
10.04.13

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