Monday, April 16th, 2012



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Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Monday, April 16, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The launch of Univision Deportes Network just over a week ago marks the newest entry into the deepening world of sports media, as the newborn channel kicked off on Saturday, April 7 on DishLATINO and DISH’s America’s Top 200. The outlet is offering Liga Mexicana soccer games as well as coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the qualifiers starting this June, the U.S. and Mexican national soccer teams, MLS, CONCACAF Champions League, boxing and news from the NFL, NBA, MLB and more. The channel is anchored by Univision Deportes Extra, a daily sportscast led by sports commentator Claudia Trejos, former Televisa sports newscaster Alejandro Berry, reporter and former soccer athlete Antonietta Collins, and sports anchor Jorge Calvo.

Cynopsis Sports spoke with David Neal, Senior Vice President of Production for Univision Deportes, about the company’s broadening investment in sports, its vision for the channel and how advertisers are responding.

Neal on the motives behind Univision Deportes: It starts with the 50+ year history of Univision serving Spanish speaking viewers in the United States and the thing that I have noticed in my 14 months of being with the company is that we have an incredibly loyal audience and they come to us expecting to be well served. In particular, the channel speaks to the insatiable appetite of our viewers for sports that are specifically tailored to them with their taste in mind. It seemed like the right time and we are the right company to do it.

On why sports programming continues to grow: It’s the live nature of it. It’s DVR proof, it’s live, it’s compelling, unscripted programming, and again our audience is so passionate that there is a sustained, sensational appetite for that sort of programming.

On developing non-event programming: We are composing our studio shows for Univision Deportes Extra, for example, which certainly follows a familiar model that you see on other cable sports outlets. It’s a one hour sports highlights news opinion show, but with us it is tailored towards our audience with a very heavy dose of soccer. We want to be the go-to source for viewers to get the very best information on Mexican League soccer and all of Latin American soccer including covering players who are playing in Europe. There are other sports to be sure. We cover the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NFL, Olympic sports-we cover it all. But the fact is, the lead story most nights is going to be the most significant soccer story involving the Liga Mexicana or the Latin players who are playing in Europe or other parts of the world. It’s a familiar format in terms of the one hour sports show, but it is a very specifically tailored use of that format with our audience in mind.

On the Air

The first two days of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs continues an upward swing in the ratings. NBC Sports Network’s viewership is up 22% compared to the first two days of last year’s playoffs (600,000 vs. 490,000), according to official national ratings data released by Nielsen. In addition, the second night of coverage on the channel on Thursday jumped 20% compared to last year’s Day 2 (541,000 vs. 451,000). The Coyotes win over the Blackhawks scored 499,000 viewers for the channel, up 31% over 2011, coverage of the Bruins overtime win over the Capitals was watched by 576,000 viewers, up 13% vs. last year. On CNBC, the Sharks win saw 320,000 viewers, the channel’s first year offering games. In Canada, TSN saw a 75% increase in viewers through three telecasts while CBC is up 11% for its first three games.

Showtime announced that it will air a special 30-minute preview episode of The Franchise: A Season with the Miami Marlins on Saturday, April 21 at 9p. The preview episode will give viewers a first look at season two of the series as camera crews captured the operations and activities of the team from Spring Training through the opening weeks of the season and include the events surrounding the suspension of manager Ozzie Guillen. The show will officially premiere a new one-hour episode on Wednesday, July 11 at 10p and continue with half-hour episodes on Wednesdays for the next seven weeks.

Federal Judge Kevin Gross officially approved the sale of the Dodgers and Dodger Stadium to Guggenheim Baseball Management after FOX Sports dropped its objections when the new owners gave documentation showing that Time Warner was not involved in the purchase of the team. 

All five of the cities looking to host the 2020 Summer Olympics made presentations to heads of national Olympic committees on Saturday, according to the AP. Tokyo, Madrid, Istanbul, Doha, Qatar and Baku, Azerbaijan offered the visions of the Games via 10-minute presentations to the Association of National Olympic Committees. The IOC’s executive committee should decide in late May whether or not to narrow down the field and will pick the winning city in Sept. 2013.

A long-standing tradition may be about to come to an end. The Harvard Crimson quotes Ivy League executive director Robin Harris stating that conference coaches are looking to establish a postseason conference tournament with the top four teams in the standings. Currently, the league stands as the only conference that does not have a postseason tournament.

Saints’ owner Tom Benson has agreed to purchase the Hornets from the NBA for a price reported at $338 million. The sale of the team to Benson still has to be approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors.
Legendary journalist Bud Collins will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit on April 24 in New York. Collins is, of course, a longtime staple of the sport as a reporter, television commentator, and historian whose experience includes NBC, CBS, ESPN and Tennis Channel. Join us at the Grand Hyatt to honor Collins’ work and dedication to his craft where he, along with Dr. Harvey Schiller and Tony Ponturo, will receive this year’s Award. Register now at this site:

Sponsorship & Promotion

Major League Baseball paid tribute to Jackie Robinson and his legacy with accolades at every ballpark on Sunday, as players, managers, coaches and umpires all wore No. 42 to remember the 65th anniversary of the day he broke baseball’s color barrier. Celebrations included video tributes as well as participation from family members, former teammates and more.

Madison Square Garden is gearing up to celebrate the venue’s 132 year history and will pay homage to some of the lasting moments that have spanned four Arena complexes via a visual retrospective that looks at “defining moments” in Garden history. The retrospective will include special exhibits that include photos and artifacts, 366 moments that span sports, music, entertainment and politics. The history will include Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier, as well as New York Knicks and Rangers Championships. The exhibits will be unveiled in the fall.




Cynopsis: Sports Business Summit

9:00am: NASCAR: Steve Phelps, Sr. VP & CMO

Brian Hughes, SVP Audience Analysis Practice Lead
Brian Monahan, EVP Managing Partner

3:45pm: Athletes First: David Dunn, Chairman & CEO

Digital Fields

The Premier League is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the launch of the Premier League 20 Seasons App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, which will offer 100 of the top moments from the past two decades of English football. The app will offer100 one-minute clips that showcase a memorable highlight, including the first ever goal in the top flight, scored by Sheffield United’s Brian Deane playing against Manchester United at the start of the 1992/93 season, and Wayne Rooney’s acrobatic overhead kick against Manchester City in the 2010/11 season.

Nintendo of America is teaming up with sports leagues to offer basketball, baseball and soccer videos to Nintendo 3DS owners around the country.  The service began on Saturday with users allowed access free highlight videos from NBA Digital, and the Barclays Premier League from FOX Soccer by connecting to any Nintendo Zone location in the U.S.

The Main Event

Blues/Sharks break a deadlock on NBC Sports Network at 10p.

ON THIS DAY in 1929: The Yankees become the first team to wear uniform numbers.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who holds the NCAA Division I record for most rushing yards in a season? Barry Sanders. Kudos: Thomas Kelley-Octagon Marketing/NY; Michael A. Neuman-Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; Tom Buffolano-Think Manhattan/NY; Daniel Weber-Nat Geo TV/NY; Larry Most-KSL Media/Miami; Tony Ferranti-MMSI/Warwick; Bill Robertson-Tunheim Partners/Bloomington; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

In The Know: Which NBA team owns the best regular season record of all time? (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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