Monday, December 17th, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Monday, December 17, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Last week’s announcement that Yahoo! and the NBC Sports Group would partner up in a massive content play seems to be a victory for both sides of the deal. NBC Sports gets to tap into Yahoo! Sports’ reporting resources, as well as its Rivals college content and fantasy sports offerings. On the other hand, Yahoo! is now getting game streams and other digital assets as well as significant television promotion and integration.

Cynopsis Sports asked Ken Fuchs, Vice President of Yahoo! Global Media and Head of Yahoo! Sports and Games, about his company’s position in the marketplace, why the NBC deal works for them and what we can expect to see from the new-found alliance.

Fuchs on 2012: I’m incredibly proud of what our team accomplished in 2012 on behalf of our sports fans. Our best-in-class fantasy products continued to improve with new features – including brand new and well received mobile applications for baseball, football, and basketball. We delivered an Olympics to remember for more than 150 million users-16 days of some of the most compelling stories from around the world that represented the best of what the Olympics are about-the athletes and the competition. We shipped a new version of our flagship mobile app Sportacular (and it’s a wicked fast way to get scores). The NBC alliance is a great way to end the year, it enhances what we can deliver to fans every day.

On the partnership with NBC Sports Group: Our brands mesh really well together. Ultimately we both believe first and foremost in delivering the best experience for fans. When you combine our strengths-product and engineering, hard-hitting editorial experts and unrivaled reach-together with NBC’s strengths-talent, 360 rights and broadcast television-you get an incredibly complementary partnership. Mark (Lazerus) and his team have done a tremendous job getting some of the most popular and growing sports and extending those rights into the digital realm.

On the role of fantasy sports in the deal: Every year our users spend 17 billion minutes playing fantasy sports on Yahoo! Sports, that’s 32,000 years, which would date us back to the first cave paintings. Fantasy players consume news, data and live scoring across all devices. Delivering a great fantasy experience is hard, it requires tremendous engineering skill and continued innovation. This deal allows us to continue to introduce our fantasy games to new users-both by powering the games on as well as integrating fantasy into their on-air broadcasts with new shows featuring our experts, to straight up promotion on some of the most highly rated programming around.

On the creation of original video content with NBC: One of the opportunities I’m most excited about. We get to bring talent like Bob Costas, Rodney Harrison, Tony Dungy, and others to Yahoo! Sports’ users in new formats. We also will use our best experts as well as franchises like fantasy and Rivals to create new shows. We’ll probably start with 3 or 4 ideas, experiment, see what works and keep innovating and adding as we grow into the relationship. I’d keep an eye out very shortly for that to start.

On the Air

It’s official. The seven Big East schools that don’t play FBS football-Georgetown, St. John’s, Villanova, DePaul, Marquette, Seton Hall and Providence-are officially leaving the conference and will create their own league based on basketball. The presidents of the departing schools made the announcement Saturday with The New York Post reporting that schools were looking to depart before the next football season. ”Earlier today we voted unanimously to pursue an orderly evolution to a foundation of basketball schools that honors the history and tradition on which the Big East was established,” schools presidents said in a statement. ”Under the context of conference realignment, we believe pursuing a new basketball framework that builds on this tradition of excellence and competition is the best way forward.”

The NHL filed a class action suit on Friday in preemptive move to keep the lockout legal if the players’ association opts to disband and give up collective bargaining rights.

ESPN suspended commentator Rob Parker on Friday, following Parker’s remarks that Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III was a “cornball brother,” among other statements. The company posted that “Following yesterday’s comments, Rob Parker has been suspended until further notice. We are conducting a full review.”

In the closest vote in the history of NBA Fan Night presented by Sprint, NBA TV will televise the Tuesday night matchup between the Heat/Timberwolves at 7:30p. The Timberwolves vs. Heat match-up drew 39.8% of the vote, edging out the 39.3% that the Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls game received via voting, the NBA Facebook page, NBA TV’s Facebook page,, mobile web, mobile GameTime App and Twitter.

As part of the 20th anniversary of competition for the Professional Bull Riders, the organization announced that it will make 26 stops around the U.S. this season, wrapping up with the Built Ford Tough World Finals in Las Vegas on Oct. 2327, 2013. The World Finals has a total purse of more than $2 million, including a $1 million bonus to the World Champion who also receives the coveted Championship buckle.

beIN SPORT locked in a deal with Kay Murray, who will join the on-air talent team at the international sports network. For the past six years Murray served as the senior presenter for Real Madrid TV, and hosting the channel’s most popular show, Extra Time, as well as the Real series where she regularly interviewed the club’s manager and top players. Murray will initially be part of the channel’s pre- and post-game show The Express.

NFL Network is examining the famed Immaculate Reception this Wednesday at 8p. The controversial catch will be profiled on A Football Life, with new interviews from a total of 11 players from both Steelers and Raiders players who participated in game, including both John “Frenchy” Fuqua and Franco Harris. In addition, NFL Films digitally remastered the film to show an additional image and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, General Michael Hayden, analyzes the play.

Golf Channel wraps up Big Break Greenbrier tomorrow night with the two finalists James Lepp and Mark Silvers squaring off for an 18-hole singles match on the season finale at 9p. The two competitors will compete for the opportunity to receive an invitation to compete in the 2013 Greenbrier Classic on the PGA TOUR (July 4-7) and $50,000 in cash.

The PBA Tour kicked off its 2012-13 season on the right foot, posting a 14% increase in viewership on ESPN for Sunday’s telecast of the Bayer Advanced Aspirin World Bowling Tour finals over the first telecast of the 2011-12 season.

North American Sports Group announced that the company has acquired grassroot sports properties Hoop It Up 3on3 Basketball, Kick It 3v3 Soccer, Rock The Box 5on5 Lacrosse and Let It Fly 4on4 Flag Football Tours to its growing portfolio. “Our goal is to expand our footprint in midsized markets, create content and activation channels for our partners, and of course, provide a first class sports experience for our athletes, families and fans,” said Managing Partner and Former Disney Media Group Executive Rob Thompson.


 2013 Cynopsis Sports Media Awards
Honoring Top Sports Programs, Campaigns and People.

Entry Deadline: February 1, 2013
Late Submissions: February 8, 2013
Awards Event: April 2013 (NYC)

Visit our website for additional information on:
Who Should Enter, How to Enter, Eligibility Period, Categories, Deadlines, Sponsorship Opportunities, Contact Information and FAQ’s.

Sponsorship & Promotion

US Soccer announced that the new eight-team women’s soccer league will be dubbed the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The league will be administered by U.S. Soccer and begin playing in the spring of 2013. The league logo will carry red, white and blue colors, featuring the silhouette of a female soccer player about to strike a shot. In addition, the league has launched its official pages on Facebook and Twitter with the eight teams in the league being: Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City, Portland Thorns FC, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit, Western New York Flash and Seattle, which has yet to announce its team name.

NFL partner Lenovo has launched a contest for fantasy football fans dubbed the Lenovo Fantasy Coach Season Pass Contest. Bears running back Matt Forte and Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III will take part in the promotion, in a hunt for the “ultimate Fantasy Football coach” with the winner earning a year’s worth of league experiences. Lenovo partnered with Funny Or Die to create video examples featuring the two players and promote the campaign.

Digital Fields

Saturday marked the launch of a new ESPN, Twitter and Ford partnership that will see embedded replays from Bowl games embedded in posts sent via Twitter. ESPN and Ford will promote the tweets. College football fans will be able to see replays on any platform they use to access Twitter, allowing them to view the clips without having to leave the site.

The Main Event

MNF on deck on ESPN although the UNLV/UTEP game on CBS Sports Network looks good at 7p.


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ON THIS DAY in 2008: NFL great Sammy Baugh dies at age 94.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: With number did the Yankees retire in honor of Roger Maris? Answer: Number 9. Kudos: Keith Bielory-Step UP Management/NY; Greg Zerafa-The New York Times/NY; Tony Intelisano-Mark Anthony Entertainment/NY; Bob Dudelson-Trifecta Media/NY; Brittany Matthews-T3 Programming/Atlanta; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Jets, LLC/Florham Park; Ged Young-GC Marketing/Garden City; Joe Guarnieri-ESPN Remote Operations/Bristol; Ross Reardon-WJTV-TV/; Bill Robertson-Tunheim Partners/Minneapolis; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; David Hauptman/Denver; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; Warren Weideman-Producer/LA; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA; Larry Hutchings/Pacific Palisades; Neal Stevens-Stevens & Associates/Beverly Hills.

IN THE KNOW: From what school was Sammy Baugh drafted? (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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