Monday, January 14th, 2013

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Monday, January 14, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Last week’s acquisition of Catalyst Public Relations by IMG Worldwide marked a notable move in the company’s approach toward marketing communications. As communications evolve for the social and digital age, client-oriented outfits are looking for ways to boost options to reach the consumer and serve the account.

Cynopsis Sports spoke with David Abrutyn, Senior Vice President and Global Managing Director of IMG Consulting about the move and how it symbolizes an evolution in communications.

On the decision to acquire a communications agency: IMG has a very successful consulting practice that we’ve built up over the last 14 years. Prior to Catalyst, we’ve got about 120 people and 20 offices in 13 countries and have been very successful in a variety of aspects of this global sports marketing industry from Olympics games dominance, where we had ten Olympic sponsors to FIFA and the World Cup as well as the stick and ball sports in the United States.

The suite of services we already provide in sponsorship consulting and activation and ROI and measurement, over the years we have frequently found ourselves sitting at the table with our client partners and their other agency partners and with increasing amounts of frequency, the communication and digital and social functions in today’s evolving marketing world were continuing to play larger and larger parts of the overall activation and implementation matrix. From our perspective we felt the time was right to take that first step and as we have done in IMG’s past, which is to innovate in the industry, and I believe we are the first sponsorship marketing agency to really bring in communications services underneath the umbrella for a single service offering to those that are interested in it.

On the role of communications in today’s marketing strategy: I think there are still a lot of people who view PR through the old lens, which was primarily to write press releases, serve as a news desk, and secure media placement for things that are going on. It’s a great business and three are a lot of things that wouldn’t happen day in and day out without those great services. Over time, what’s happened is that the evolution has moves more towards consumer engagement and these communications services are performing an invaluable service in connecting their clients to consumer interactions, ranging from traditional media services as well as content creation, distribution, interactive as well as social media. The reality that everyone is engaging in life in a mobile way is driving change in this function of the marketing mix.

On developing relevant messages for consumers: It’s got to be authentic. You can’t fool audiences, because in this particular digital space it’s got to be engaging, it’s got to have stickiness to it and create a willingness to come back. You are trying to build loyalties and create talk value particularly if you are launching a product in a way that will affect behavioral changes.

On the Air

Hockey is officially back, with training camps open and broadcast schedules in place. NBC Sports Group will air 70 NHL regular-season games across NBC and NBC Sports Network this season with a schedule the includes 14 exclusive windows (15 games) on NBC, the most regular-season windows ever for the network, as well as 24 exclusive windows and 26 exclusive games on NBC Sports Network. NBC drops the puck on the season, carrying Kings’ Stanley Cup championship banner raising, then offering regional action of Chicago/LA at 3:25p as well as Philadelphia/Pittsburgh at 3:35p. NBC Sports Network gets in the game on Sunday, televising the Phoenix/Chicago matchup at 10p. NHL studio programming throughout the 2013 season will originate from the NBC Sports Group’s new, state-of-the-art International Broadcast Center located in Stamford, Conn. The first studio programming will air on NBC on Saturday, Jan. 19, prior to the two regional games.

Around the dial, NHL Network will offer up 78 live games for the lockout-shortened season, focusing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with eight double-headers, seven triple-headers and one quadruple-header in the schedule. Regular-season coverage on NHL Network-U.S. gets underway on Saturday at 7p with the New York Rangers in Boston to take on the Bruins. This season will also feature Glenn Schiiler and Mark Roe joining the network as the hosts of NHL On The Fly and NHL Tonight.

Up north, CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada will enter its 60th season with 49 games on the schedule beginning Jan. 19 with Ottawa/Winnipeg at 3p.

A great weekend of football paid off for networks, as the Ravens double OT victory over the Broncos on Saturday delivered CBS with 35.3 million viewers and a 3% spike over year ago numbers. The 35.3 million viewer average is the largest audience for a Saturday AFC Divisional Playoff game in 26 years. In addition, the contest drew a 20.1/36 in Nielsen’s fast-national scores to mark a 9% boost and the highest-rated Saturday AFC Divisional Playoff game in 19 years.

NBA TV’s NBA Fan Night presented by Sprint will pit the Trail Blazers against the Nuggets on Tuesday at 9p. The evening will also feature actor Mark Wahlberg and director Allen Hughes will stop by the set of The Jump presented by Sprint to talk about the NBA and their upcoming crime drama movie Broken City.

Saturday’s NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Presented by Winnol will hit ESPN2 at 6p, and feature ESPN play-by-play voice Joe Tessitore, analysts Todd McShay and Bill Polian, and reporter Quint Kessenich. The college all-star game is open to seniors who are eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft and will be played at The Home Depot Center on the campus of California State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif.

To mark the 50th Anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., ESPN2 will carry Content of Characteron Monday, Jan. 14 at 7p. The third annual special, hosted by Bob Ley, will include a panel discussion with ESPN’s Jemele Hill and Robert Smith, Richard Lapchick (chair and director of the DeVos Sport Business Management program at the University of Central Florida), author Kevin Powell and Ryan Clark of the Pittsburgh Steelers and opened with an intro from actor/rapper Common on the meaning of King’s speech.

ONE World Sports announced plans for exclusive North American coverage of the inaugural season of the Hockey India League. Programming starts today with daily matches of the world’s top professional men’s field hockey league and wraps up with the championship match on Sunday, February 10. The entire 34-game season will be carried live on the channel, usually at 9:30a.

Your work deserves recognition! Now is the time to submit for our 2013 Cynopsis Sports Media Awards. The deadline is February 1 and we want to see your best work from the past year. Don’t let someone else take your trophy! Click here for entry information.


Cynopsis Sports Special eReport: Sports Streaming
Whether fans utilize streaming as an alternative viewing option or a second screen experience, we’ll examine the rise and implications of connecting with today’s on-the-go sports fan (who is transforming the experience), the international implications & new revenue opportunities that have opened up. Whether it’s by smartphone, PC or tablet, watching sports will never be the same.

Push Date: January 28

For more info or to reserve your space, please contact:

Mike Farina // 203.218.6480

Sponsorship & Promotion

With four-and-a-half minutes of new creative on deck during CBS’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3, Anheuser-Busch confirmed plans for the day where it will debut the company’s two newest brands in Budweiser Black Crown and Beck’s Sapphire. Bud Light, the official beer sponsor of the NFL, will offer up two 60-second ads, “Journey” and “Lucky Chair” from its Superstitious campaign. The famed Budweiser Clydesdales will also appear in a new 60-second spot, Brotherhood, which chronicles the bond a Clydesdale foal shares with his trainer. Two thirty-second ads will spotlight the Black Crown label with “Coronation” and “Celebration” with  “Coronation” locked in to be the first commercial to air following kickoff. Beck’s Sapphire offers up the new thirty-second ad, “Serenade,” which will celebrate the brand’s sleek, one-of-a-kind black bottle.

The NBA and adidas have expanded their relationship to make the company the league’s official global uniform and apparel provider the presenting partner of NBA London Live 2013. As presenting partner, adidas will have a significant presence at the Pistons/Knicks game on Jan. 17 with two logos prominently featured on the court, and will also conduct on court fan competitions and a comprehensive social media campaign around the game. Both teams will also wear commemorative NBA London Live 2013 presented by adidas shooting shirts to mark the occasion.

Despite controversy, NBC Sports will reportedly maintain its commitment to sponsor the largest U.S. gun trade show this week with NBC Sports Network remaining the 2013 SHOT Show New Product Center Sponsor.

Digital Fields

ESPN revealed details of its digital efforts for 2012. Among the highlights: averaged 37.3 million uniques per month, with the site ranking at the top of the category for average minute audience, total minutes per month and video unique viewers (streams were up 29% vs. 2011 according to Adobe). In addition, total downloads of the WatchESPN app more than doubled in 2012 and average monthly minutes to WatchESPN and ESPN3 across platforms were up 49% compared to the previous year.

NBA All-Star Balloting presented by Sprint will wrap up today at 11:59p, with balloting available via social media networks, including Facebook and Twitter; in 11 languages on; through SMS voting or by visiting on any wireless device.

Major League Soccer announced that the 2013 MLS SuperDraft will be made available around the world through a distribution method featuring ESPN SportsCenter and a slate of online streaming partners that include ESPN3. ESPNFC, and YouTube. The SuperDraft will take place on Thursday, January 17, with the first-overall selection set to be broadcast live on ESPN SportsCenter at noon. Fans will then be able to watch the entire draft live on the other sites. Additional online media outlets may be added to the list of broadcast partners in the coming days.

The Main Event

Louisville/Connecticut on ESPN at 7p.


Honoring Top Sports Programs, Campaigns, and People…

It’s a NEW YEAR, so don’t forget to enter the
2nd Annual Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards
Entry Deadline: February 1
Late Submissions: February 8
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 FAQs.

ON THIS DAY in 1973: The Dolphins clinch an undefeated season by beating the Redskins in Super Bowl VII.

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: How were the first points scored in last year’s Super Bowl? Answer: Tom Brady was called for intentional grounding while throwing from the end zone to mark a safety. Kudos: Lon Samuelson-CBS Sports/NY; David; Kevin McIntyre-Leverage Agency/NY; Anthony Dattolo-ZenithOptimedia/NY; Eric DeLash-Digitas Health/Philadelphia; Rick Haan-CommuniConcepts/New Jersey; Glenn Schineller-Time Warner Cable Media/Charlotte; Fred PetrosinoJBG/Jupiter; John Kukla-KDFW/Dallas; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

In The Know: Who is the NBA’s all-time leader in free throws made? (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

Denise O’Connor: Group Publisher, Media Entertainment
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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JOB OPENING: RSRCH MGR/AMAZON STUDIOS/LA: Act as a strategic bus. partner to internal teams, leveraging rsrch to provide recommendations/analyses on film & series projects in dvlpmnt. 5+ yrs mkt rsch ind exp. [email protected] (1/19)

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