Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Monday, July 22, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Last week, DISH announced that the company was opening its Hopper DVR Platform to select mobile app developers in an effort to find new ways for viewers to discover shows that are available on the program guide, recorded to the DVR and accessible on demand. Thuuz Sports (which uses real-time analytics and social signaling to alert viewers to exciting sporting events) was then named as the first developer to incorporate DISH’s APIs into their app.
Cynopsis Sports asked Warren Packard, Founder and CEO of Thuuz Sports about its future and the data used to find the big games.

Packard on the creation of Thuuz: I was so busy with both work and family I didn’t have time to watch sports as much as I wanted. I’d be really bummed when I finally had an hour to watch something and it turned into a dud. So I started thinking what if I could create an app that would tell me when something amazing in the sports world was happening. This app would save me time and make sure I didn’t miss something I wanted to watch live! Over time, I shared my idea with a few friends and we started a company together – Thuuz – as in en-Thuuz-iasm. Our concept was to rate the excitement level of sports throughout the world and let fans know when something amazing was happening.

On data: The core of our technology is a set of automated algorithms that ingest three types of data sources: 1) live play-by-play data, 2) real-time social network data and 3) game context information (i.e. standings, rankings, betting lines, rivalry databases, etc.). Using these inputs, our algorithms automatically rate every live and upcoming game making sure our fans never miss an amazing moment. Over time, we’ve add a host of other features including the industry’s best sports viewing guide, so fans know where to tune into a game, whether they’re at home or on the go.

On insights: We’re constantly surprised how just knowing a game’s score or looking at a tournament leaderboard isn’t enough to know whether a game or match is any good. For example, is a no hitter going on in baseball? Is a comeback starting to happen in a basketball game? Is a player having an amazing performance? Is the quality of play in the game good or poor? And so on. All of these things make a difference. Furthermore, if you provide us with your sports preferences, we’ll know when to alert you to a particular game vs. another individual who doesn’t share your same tastes or loyalties.

On the future: More and more, we’re partnering with cable and satellite companies, TV manufacturers and streaming services to embed our technology right on TV sets and 2nd screen TV apps. We already have a very successful partnership with DISH, for example, where we help power their next generation sports apps. We also have an app for Google TV as well.

On the Air

The NHL and its players association are officially bound for Sochi, locking in a deal with the International Ice Hockey Federation and IOC to participate in the 2014 Winter Games. As a result, the league will break from Feb. 9-26 next season to allow players to participate in the action.

As a result of the deal, the NHL was able to announce its official schedule for the 2013-14 season as well as the broadcast slates on NBC, NBC Sports Network, CBC and NHL Network. NBC Sports Group’s TV slate spelt good news for Bruins fans, with the franchise set for the most national games this season with 13 appearances stateside, followed by the by the Blackhawks, Blues, Penguins, Rangers and Wild with 12. NBC Sports Group will carry a total of 103 regular season games this season, beginning Oct. 1 at 8p with a Capitals/Blackhawks matchup on NBCSN. Overall, NBC will carry 13 games while 90 will run on its sister channel. Schedule highlights include the NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at 1p on NBC, 24 games as part of NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalry, the inaugural NHL Stadium Series set to begin Jan 25, and the post-Thanksgiving matchup on Nov. 29 to launch NBC’s season.

The NHL also revealed the new names for its reconfigured conferences with the Western Conference consisting of the Pacific and Central Divisions, while the Eastern Conference hosts the Metropolitan and Atlantic Divisions.

Moving on, famed statistician Nate Silver, who made headlines for his calls in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, is shifting gears and moving from the New York Times to ESPN, according to the paper. Silver is expected to join Keith Olbermann’s new late-night series as well as blog.

World Poker Tour is launching a new global series of “super high-roller” tournaments dubbed WPT Alpha8 that will run on FOX Sports 1 beginning in March 2014. The events will be held across North America, Europe, Asia and South Africa with a buy-in of at least $100,000. The series will be anchored by Lynn Gilmartin and run every Sunday at 10p.

Universal Sports Network and NBC announced plans to carry 46 hours of track & field action from the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, from Saturday, August 10 through Sunday, August 18. Ato Boldon, Tom Hammond, Lewis Johnson and Dwight Stones will call the action starting Aug. 10 at 1:30a on Universal Sports.

Tennis Channel will offer live match coverage of the BB&T Atlantic Open for two days starting July 26 at 9p. Brett Haber handles play-by-play with analyst Justin Gimelstob and sideline reporter Mark Knowles.

Offering a unique view from the trenches from the minds the drive how we watch sports, the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit is proud to welcome some of the industry’s top producers for a unique session at the Grand Hyatt on Aug. 14. Panelists are set to include Turner Sports’ Craig Barry, Harold Bryant from CBS Sports, Dan Steir from NBC Sports and Eric Weinberger from NFL Network. Join us and register at


Cynopsis: Sports Webinar
: Sports & Second Screen: Driving fan engagement and brand ROI
JULY 25 ~ 1:30-3:00pm ET ~ $295/site
This 90-min webinar will deliver the latest insights, case studies and tactics to take advantage of the second screen experience, which is rapidly changing the face of the sports world.
Rob Shaw
(Bloomberg Sports), Gus Weber (ESPN)
Chris Lencheski (Front Row Marketing Services) with Special Guest  Barry Switzer
Chris Pursell

Sponsorship & Promotion

The NFL revealed details of its 2013 NFL Back to Football Run Series with Competitor Group that will span multiple NFL markets to drive up anticipation for the new season. The Series features 5k and 10k races as well as fan festivals and autographs and NFL skills challenges with teams that include Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York Jets, San Diego, St. Louis, Tennessee and Washington.

The US Ski and Snowboard Association wrapped up its annual USSA Partner Summit with over 200 attendees that included sponsors, licensees, suppliers, broadcasters, and event leaders. Attendees included the likes of Facebook’s Global Marketing Lead Andy McKeon, former NFL and collegiate football star and World Champ moguls skier Jeremy Bloom (co-founder and president of advertising technology leader Integrate) as well as over 30 prospective Sochi athletes including Olympic champions Ted Ligety and Seth Wescott and more. At the event, USSA CMO Michael Jaquet reported a 35% spike in cable ratings this past year, thanks to more live and same weekend coverage on NBC Sports Network. Jaquet also revealed that the organization will be live for all six events at Beaver Creek, CO this season including two on NBC.

ONE World Sports is launching a social media contest for soccer fans to showcase their best demonstration of a game victory celebration in a short video or in a photograph. The Celebrate: Beyond Boundaries contest will offer up a prize package of tickets and field access to the Cosmos’ season opener on Aug. 3.

Digital & Production

NASCAR officially dropped the ax on the Skycam, announcing that aerial camera systems will not be allowed at races while its investigation continues on the production incident from the Coca-Cola 600 last May that damaged multiple cars. Meanwhile, NASCAR on ESPN takes on its portion of the season starting Sunday at 1p.

The Main Event
Rays/Red Sox face off with leadership of the AL East on the line at 7p on NESN and Sun Sports-Tampa Bay.

ON THIS DAY in 1990: Greg LeMond wins his second Tour de France.

In The Know: What famed boxer released the album and single Run to Me? (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.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What former college quarterback (FBS level) holds the record for most touchdown passes in a season? Answer: Colt Brennan at Hawaii. Kudos: David Koonin-CSE/Atlanta; Jerehmy White-BusyBuddy Books, Inc./Glen Rock; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/Los Angeles; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports

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