Friday, October 7th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Friday, October 7, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The theme that drove 20 years of Monday Night Football on both ABC and ESPN has reached the end of the record. Following controversial comments on FOX News that led to ESPN snuffing the long-running theme to MNF earlier this week, the network has now officially parted ways with singer Hank Williams, Jr. whose adapted song of “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” became a pillar of the program. ESPN released a statement yesterday morning to the press, thanking Williams for his contributions to the show.

On the Air

The Big 12 Conference firmed up its long-term future with a trio of decisions. First and foremost, the conference is inviting TCU to join as a full-time member in a unanimous vote. TCU is currently playing in the Mountain West Conference but was set to join the Big East next season. Big East schools would subsequently be left with a hole in their schedules next year and will be down to only six football-playing schools with the departures of Syracuse and Pitt.

The league (minus Missouri who didn’t vote) also approved an equal revenue sharing plan as well as a six-year term for television rights to be granted to the conference, giving them control of any and all Tier 1 and Tier 2 television revenues generated by the schools. In addition, Texas agreed to avoid showing high school games as well as highlights on the Longhorn Network, a source of concern for fellow conference institutions. Scores, standings and game statistics will, however, still be allowed on-air provided they are approved by the NCAA.

FOX is reporting that Sunday’s NFL on FOX singleheader posted a 14.0/30 in final household ratings with 23.3 million viewers. That figure marks a 26% increase over last year’s doubleheader average of an 11.1/23 (18.5 million) and ranks as the most-watched singleheader broadcast since 1995. The rating also ties as the highest since 1998. Through four weeks, the NFL on FOX is on a record-setting pace, averaging a 12.2/25 with 20.4 million viewers, up 4% over last year’s 11.7/25 (19.7 million).

Speaking of football on FOX, Sunday will feature singleheader broadcasts of five games, picking the Eagles/Bills game for the most coverage nationally, with 29% of the country receiving the game. Sam Rosen, Brian Billick and Laura Okmin will handle broadcasts. CBS counters with a doubleheader, led by Tennessee/Pittsburgh at 1p in most of the country, followed by Jets/Patriots at 4p.

NBC Sports and Universal Sports Network have announced plans to present all of the International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating competitions, including the Grand Prix Final. In addition to broadcast plans, will also stream live coverage of six Grand Prix events, beginning with Skate Canada through the Grand Prix Final, for a subscription price of $14.95 for all of the events. Coverage will begin on Oct. 22 at 3p on NBC, with the broadcast team for the entire Grand Prix series including Terry Gannon and Andrea Joyce, as well as analyst Scott Hamilton, Tanith Belbin, Peter Carruthers, Michael Weiss and Tracy Wilson.

These NBA lockout exhibition games continue to pull local interest around the country. The latest is tomorrow night’s contest at Florida International University, for an event organized by Miami Heat Stars LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh which will now be televised as well as streamed online. The game will be shown on WBFS, South Florida’s Channel 33 and streamed on

ESPN is set to debut the latest in its line of documentaries on Tuesday at 8p, with the premiere of The Dotted Line, in which director Morgan Spurlock spends a year inside the world of the sports agents to show their lives from a rarely seen POV. The film follows agents in the NFL, the NBA and MLB to “explore the turbulent and emotional ups and downs of recruiting, marketing, and negotiating record-breaking contracts for their top-tier clients.” Agents Peter Greenberg and Eugene Lee are profiled along with their clients New York Mets’ pitcher Johan Santana and NFL hopefuls Jacquian Williams and Robert Hughes ahead of the draft.

Univision is on deck to showcase a trio of international soccer friendlies featuring the US and Mexican national soccer teams. Play begins tomorrow with a US/Honduras contest, with US/Ecuador and Mexico/Brazil on deck on Oct. 11. Pablo Ramirez and Jesus Bracamontes will handle play-by-play for U.S. National Team’s match up against Honduras. In the Ecuador game, Jorge Perez Navarro and Diego Balado will take the microphone. Pablo Ramirez, Jesus Bracamontes and Jorge Zambrano will deliver the action for the Mexico vs. Brazil match up.

Outdoor Channel announced that it has now hit the international distribution mark of 4.5 million full time global subscribers a year after launching two overseas networks. The base was built via a series of partnerships with Chello Zone and Multi Channels Asia (MCA), subscribers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific. In addition, Outdoor Channel and MCA have announced a partnership with Fishing World Channel to bring Outdoor Channel content to 60 million digital pay TV households in China.

MSG Network is dedicating a lineup of Rangers programming in honor of the first two games of the team’s NHL season. Programming starts at 9a today before shifting to the Rangers/Kings game in Sweden. This season, MSG Networks will telecast a total of 76 of the Rangers’ 82 games in the 2011/12 regular season.

Long-time TV sportscaster/anchor and Cincinnati staple Walt Maher died yesterday morning in Drake Center. Maher retired from WKRC-TV in 1997.

Sponsorship & Promotion

The Sports Media Marketing Awards have announced finalists for the second annual competition. ESPN leads the pack with 23 nominations in 16 categories in the National/International competition with three nods in the “Best Spot” category: Monday Night Football “An Exit Away”; “Roll Tide”  ESPN It’s Not Crazy, It’s Sports; and ESPN Tournament Challenge  “Choose Wisely.” Turner Sports follows with 21 finalists. Others with five or more finalist contenders in the competition include: DirecTV, EA Sports, Fox Sports Marketing, NFL, Showtime Sports and Wieden + Kennedy. In the Local/Regional competition, MSG Networks received two nominations in the “Best Spot” category and leads all competitors with seven nominations. Others with multiple finalists in the category are Astro MBNS, Comcast SportsNet-Bay Area, Plush, SNY, Tribune Creative Group-East, Troika Design Group and WGN-TV.

Digital Fields

The NHL has launched a new official website in Slovak, as well as Czech, Finnish, German, Russian and Swedish to complement its English-language counterpart. With over a quarter of its players born outside of North America, the sites are designed to better engage international fans of the sport.

The Houston Texans have entered an agreement with LiveU to provide live video transmission technology that will allow fans to view live pre-game and post-game video on the franchise’s website including activities ranging from press conferences and practices to charity events and cheerleader tryouts.

The Main Event

Oklahoma/Texas is always fun, and will air on ABC on Saturday at noon. ALCS and NLCS are set to kick off on FOX and TBS over the weekend as well.



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in 1984: Walter Payton passes Jim Brown to become the NFL’s all-time career rushing leader

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: What quarterback did Kurt Warner play against in his Super Bowl victory? Answer: The late, great Steve McNair. Kudos: Steve Valenta – Universal McCann/NY; Matt Denerstein – Mindshare/NY; Glenn Schineller – Time Warner Cable/Charlotte; Joe Isabella – CBS Television Stations Sales/NY; Chris Faulds – Bell Media Interactive/Toronto; Scott McAdams – Intersport/Chicago; Ron Salcedo – Zimmerman/Nashville; Dan Radman – Busch Media Group/St. Louis; Jay Goslee – Comcast Spotlight/Nashville; Brent Silacci – Comcast Spotlight/San Francisco; Willie Price – American Forces Network/Riverside; Stephen Rodgers – PRO- Peter Rodgers Organization/Hollywood; Marci Polzin – Innovative Artists/Santa Monica

In The Know: For which college did Dwayne Wade play?  (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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