Good morning. It’s Monday, July 16, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
As the hype for the upcoming Summer Games only continues to grow louder, USA Basketball enters the fray this year boasting a roster of athletes ready to literally take on the world. With a lineup that spans from Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant to LeBron James and Chris Paul, sponsors have been lining up to get a piece of the action. The combination of active partners, the 20th Anniversary of the Dream Team and widespread social media use have already created an Olympic promotion unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Cynopsis Sports spoke with Aaron Ryan, Vice President, Global Marketing Partnerships, NBA/USA Basketball about the team’s partners, what this year’s squad means to the organization, and how the Dream Team propelled the sport around the world.
Ryan on the mindset of this year’s team: Every practice seems to crank up a little bit, they are becoming a team. The energy and level of camaraderie that I’ve seen on the bench and on the floor really shows that they are starting to gel. I’m telling you, when they crank up their defense, you really start to feel how powerful they can be.
On what this Olympic team means to USA Basketball: This team represents how important it was to build a national team model. We have a deep enough pool of players, we have a consistent coaching staff that allows us to react to the unforeseen and unfortunate injuries that we’ve seen over the last couple of days and over the course of the past few months.
On the organization’s sponsors and partners: We’ve secured several new partners with the likes of Jeep, Burger King, and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. We’ve brought on Right Guard, Metro PCS and just recently we added 24 Hour Fitness. There’s a couple of key ways in which people are activating with us. One is content. Through this partnership with USA basketball and the NBA, we have the benefit of leveraging NBA Entertainment’s library and talent to build programs that are both compelling to fans and to brands. Some of the highlights include the Dream Team Documentary-which was presented by Right Guard-was the highest viewed program in NBA TV history. That’s not just original, non-game program, that’s since the inception of the network. We also came off of that with the Selection Show where we were able to integrate three solid partners in Jeep, Burger King and Cisco, each had their own piece of real estate inside the program.
This is the most active portfolio of partners we have ever had with everything from retail activation with Burger King to Dr. Pepper with their cans celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Dream Team. In addition, they are working with us in events, for example we are partnering with Nike for World Basketball Festival 2.0. To see our partners put this much energy and creativity into both our brand and theirs is really a testament to how strong our relationships are with our marketing partners.
On generating fan excitement ahead of the Olympics: Our athletes are some of the most well-known sports figures and pop icons in the world. With the 20th Anniversary of the Dream Team, it becomes a great opportunity to point out that that moment in Barcelona in 1992 was sort of the catalyst of the amazing growth of the game around the globe. Because of that as well as the amazing success that the NBA has had developing fans around the world, it sets us up so nicely this summer. In addition, folks are able to follow us along the way as we will have five games televised on the men’s side, so folks will be able to follow us along the way and being able to bring games to folks on both the east and west coast before we head off to Europe is huge because fans will have the chance to engage with the team and be a part of getting them ready to go.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
LEGACY AWARD — David Hill, Chairman and CEO of FOX Sports Media Group
AWARD OF DISTINCTION — Mike McCarley, President of Golf Channel
VISION AWARD — Larry Scott, Commissioner of Pac-12
August 9 | The Harvard Club, NYC | 8-10:00am
Register: http://www.cynopsis.com/events/sports-awards/ .
Upcoming regional network CSN Houston, which will launch in October, revealed some of its plans for the upcoming debut. The channel, which is owned by the Houston Astros, Houston Rockets and NBC Sports, will feature over 200 combined live games featuring the Astros and Rockets, along with pre- and post-game shows, serving Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and New Mexico. Network President and GM Matt Hutchings announced that executive additions are set to include Timothy “Murphy” Brown as Vice President of Production and Executive Producer; Joseph Ward as VP of Operations and Engineering; Donna White as VP of Finance and Human Resources; and Helen Wilson as VP of Marketing. The channel will offer 11 Conference USA games this season via a sub-license with CSS beginning with the North Texas/Houston contest on Oct. 6.
A promising scheduling partnership between the Pac-12 and Big Ten is no more. The two conferences are backing out of an agreement that was announced in December and set to begin in 2017 that would have included 12 crossover football games a year between the two conferences. The series was reportedly called off due to scheduling issues for several schools from the Pac-12.
Count the Bucs as willing to take advantage of new NFL rules designed to avoid television blackouts. The team has opted to take part, agreeing to allow games to be shown on local television if at least 85% of the general admission seats are sold 72 hours before a game, beginning in the fall, according to various local reports. TampaBay.com reports that the team will now have to sell just under 44,000 per game in order to reach the 85% threshold.
Fans of the Canadian Football League will have to keep waiting in order to see games on US television this season. The Albany Times Union reports that in a statement, the league explained that “CFL games will not be aired on the NFL Network this year. However, we are currently working towards an agreement with another U.S. broadcaster. We hope to have an update on that front soon.”
Golf Channel is set to air a new Big Break Atlantis tonight that will pit Selanee Henderson against Gloriana Soto in a five-hole stroke play match for the right to take on Marcela Leon in the championship. In addition, all 12 competitors from the show will face off in the episode’s opening challenge a team challenge with $5,000 in cash on the line.
Bill Walton appears set to return to the microphone following health issues. USA Today reports that Walton will rejoin ESPN/ABC, where he had been the lead NBA analyst and also contribute to Pac-12 basketball games. Walton will also join the conference’s upcoming regional network.
Root Sports announced that the network will produce and distribute a record four pre-season Penguins games ahead of the 2012-13 NHL regular season with game dates set for Sept. 29, Sept. 30, Oct. 3 and Oct. 5. Paul Steigerwald, Bob Errey and Dan Potash will return to call Penguins Hockey. In addition, the channel announced that John Szpala will serve as the new Director of Penguins broadcasts.
Cynopsis Sports would like to thank the roster of judges to take part in this year’s Cynopsis Sports Media Awards. Judges spanned the industry and included (but were not limited to) INDYCAR’s Marc Koretzky, Gary Stevenson from Pac-12 Enterprises, Terrapin Sports Marketing’s Kevin May, Matt Hong from Turner Sports, JDP Communication’s Jeff Pomeroy, Tennis Channel’s Josh Ross, Golf Channel’s Michael Lowe and Mike Saulitis from Troika Design Group. Thanks everyone for their participation! To grab a seat at the Awards, visit http://ow.ly/bObiI.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM CABLEFAX
Taking Action: Capitalizing on
Cable’s Growing Latino Sports Market Tuesday * July 17, 2012 * 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET
Strategies for programmers and distributors to reach
different segments in this rapidly growing sports market
Ruben Mendiola, VP and GM of Multicultural Video Services – Comcast
Freddy Rolón, Jr., Vice President, Deportes Programming – ESPN
Sponsorship & Promotion
NASCAR is launching NASCAR Classics, a new brand identity within the licensing division. The entity will feature some of the legends of the sport on t-shirts, hats and original die casts. The current product line includes t-shirts and hats produced by Delta Apparel, featuring iconic imagery and fonts from the 1940’s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s and includes logos and program covers from venues such as Daytona International Speedway, Darlington Raceway, North Carolina Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
The USFL revealed a new logo for its upcoming relaunch, designed to represent the league’s motto of ‘Real. Fun. Football’ as well as incorporate elements that pay homage to the league’s roots. The eight stars featured on the logo were added to represent the eight original teams expected to take part in the league’s inaugural season. In addition, the league launched an updated version of its official website, www.theUSFL.net. The organization plans to field eight teams for its inaugural 14-game season in 2013.
The eighth annual Don’t Give Up ESPYs V Foundation Auction generated $766,606 for The V Foundation for Cancer Research, for a total of over $5,700,000 in its eight years. The annual event offered more than 250 items and experiences via auction either online from July 1-11 or as part of an ESPN Radio 16-hour, on-air radiothon Wednesday, July 11.
The World Series of Poker is coming to your phone. EA Mobile is partnering with the poker tour to create a poker app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices worldwide. The game will offer fans the challenge of going after virtual bracelets and rings, VIP rooms and Pro status levels that can “only be earned with skill.” Games will feature both Texas Hold’em and Omaha Poker and allow friends to join in via Facebook.
The Main Event
Angels/Tigers on ESPN at 7:05p.
ON THIS DAY in 1950: Uruguay bests Brazil 2-1 to win soccer’s 4th World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: George Steinbrenner began his career as a graduate assistant for what college team? Ohio State. Kudos: Bobby Coyle-Yankees Radio Network/NY; Evan Perlmutter-One Line Sports Agency/NY; Matthew Willence-ITN Networks/NY; Art Salisch-HEARST Television/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.
In The Know: What American woman boasts three gold medals for tennis at the Olympics? ( 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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