Monday, July 29th, 2013

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Monday, July 29, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Last January saw a merger of powerhouse event/marketing agencies SportsMark and GMR Marketing in a move designed to “harness the agencies’ collective B2B and B2C proficiencies, bringing together GMR’s strategic digital and consumer engagement capabilities with SportsMark’s global event operation and hospitality experience.” Now the single agency stands to tackle 2014’s tsunami of sports events with a total of more than 20 offices in 10 countries worldwide, spanning North America, South America, Europe, and APAC.

Cynopsis Sports caught up with Jan Katzoff, Head of Global Sports and Entertainment for GMR, to discuss the high-volume year ahead, how the agency is tackling international growth and how client’s needs are evolving.

Katzoff on sports’ 2014 whirlwind: All of our indicators have been positive and business has been good for the last couple of years. But 2014 is lining up in the sports business as the perfect storm right now. Although we have events we do on a daily basis, coming out in 2014 with the BCS Championship, the New York Super Bowl, the Winter Games in Socchi, March Madness and then heading into the World Cup next summer, I would say we’ve got about all we can handle. So obviously, a lot of it is being targeted for the global events in 2014. In general, over the last three or four years since things have gotten better with the economy, I’d say that things have been very healthy.

On clients’ needs: Clients are now looking for agencies that can be more strategic, more innovative and more in tune with their business objectives so I would say they put a lot more business on us in the strategic side to get a better understand of their business, their objectives and take a harder look outside the box whether its portfolio analysis, sponsorship assessment or competitive landscape. On the activation, execution, hospitality side, I would say clients want something more creative, more efficient and to build better business cases and to measure it. They are putting more pressure on us to look at it more analytically and do a better job tracking and measuring the response to it.

On Brazil: We learned a lot at the Confederations cup last month, as we didn’t go into it assuming there were going to be all of these protests. Obviously, you have contingency plans, but the takeaway was that we operate at a pretty high contingency level. We also saw when you have an emerging market with a huge economy and huge potential like Brazil, but you also have some disparate parts to the economy, when you look at the emerging middle class, I think you have to look at every one of these countries on its own merits. We are certainly evaluating Brazil based on what happened there and how we had to adjust our operation for the Confederations Cup, and using that to help us plan for next year’s World Cup.

On growth: Our digital, social and mobile group is thriving, although we are now in the next cycle of its evolution. It’s being integrated into not only new opportunities that are rolling in, but also for our organic clients that are looking for new ideas. We formed a joint venture on the content side. We have a new company called Freshwire, which is a joint venture between GMR, Fleishman Hillard and Shawn Amos, who had the Amos Content Company, to create fresh and original content for brands. So certainly, on the content side, it is certainly growing and that is one of our priorities.

On the Air

NBC Sports Group dropped a bevy of info at TCA, including the news that Al Michaels and Apolo Anton Ohno would be major players of the network’s Sochi Winter Olympics coverage next year. Michaels will host daytime Winter Olympics coverage on NBC Sports Network (weekdays) and NBC (weekends). Meanwhile, Ohno, who recently retired from short track speed skating, will serve as an analyst for NBC’s coverage of the sport, in addition to working on features and offering studio commentary during NBC’s extensive Olympic coverage. NBC will begin its primetime coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Thursday, February 6, 2014.

NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus told critics at TCA that the company would recognize the “political and social” issues of competing in Russia for the 2014 Winter Games, including the country’s strict anti-gay laws, in its broadcasts next year, following calls for NBC to boycott the Games. “We’ll address it at the time because it’s still unfolding,” he said, adding that the IOC has also addressed its concerns with the Russian government and assured “athletes, fans and media that there won’t be any issues.”

One last note on the Winter Games, NBC Sports Group will showcase a documentary on former Olympic figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding featuring an exclusive interview of Kerrigan that will air during its Sochi Winter Olympics coverage. Mary Carillo will interview both skaters and tell the infamous story that fueled tabloids at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics. In addition, she will speak to both about who and how they are now, what they learned, and what they left behind in the two decades since Kerrigan won a silver medal and Harding finished eighth.

More TCA tidbits. NBC Sports Group and the Cowboys are partnering on a new 360-degree view of red zone plays for TV viewers of the opening of this season’s Sunday Night Football game between the Giants/Cowboys. The network will utilize 24 high-speed cameras with a dozen at each end of the field in order to produce seamless views of the game via FreeD to move completely around the play without changing the camera angle. 

Meanwhile, a new Sunday Night Football bus will travel the country this season and pay a visit to every city hosting a Sunday Night Football game. Beginning with opening game on the Sept. 8 Giants/Cowboys matchup with the bus hitting all 17 stops two or three days before each game, and stopping at local landmarks and events in each market before making its way to the game site for a full Sunday at the stadium. Following each game, the star(s) of the game will autograph “The Sunday Night Football,” which will be displayed on the bus. Also, along for the ride will be four SNF “Fans of the Week” chosen based on their social media activity, team pride and SNF fandom.

ESPN Deportes added former coach of the Mexican National Team, Ricardo La Volpe, to its team where he will join the Futbol Picante team of analysts. La Volpe made his debut on the show yesterday.

MLB Network laid out the channel’s plans for August with 27 games on deck, including matchups featuring the Postseason-contending Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. The action begins Aug. 1 with Cardinals/Pirates at 7p. revealed the results of fan voting for the top 10 games from the 2012-13 NBA season with Game 6 of The Finals between the Heat and Spurs winning the top spot. The top 10 games will be televised on NBA TV by counting down the top 10 games beginning Tuesday, July 30, at 9p and running for three consecutive nights in prime time.

Outside Television entered into a new multi-year distribution agreement with the National Cable Television Cooperative which represents over 950 different cable providers and thousands of local systems nationwide. The addition of NCTC now makes the network available to more than 40 million homes.

Want the inside story behind FS1? What can we expect from the upcoming network? Find out in a special session at the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit on Aug. 14 with FOX Sports execs John Entz, Michael Mulvihill, Michael Bloom and Pete Vlastelica, who will detail the strategy and challenges they faced heading into the Aug. 17 launch of Fox Sports 1. Register now at


Cynopsis: Sports Women of Action

A sampling of the powerful line-up of speakers:
Susan Cohig – SVP, Integrated Marketing (NHL)
Erin Harvego – VP, Marketing (Big Ten Network)
Mary Lobbestael – VP (Octagon)
Laura Gentile – VP (espnW)

View the complete list of speakers & register:

Sponsorship & Promotion

Kasey Kahne has his ticket to ride through 2016, with sponsor Great Clips increasing its ties with Hendrick Motorsports from three Cup races a year  to 10 beginning in 2014. Kahne’s car also has 22 races through Farmers Insurance next season.

Digital & Production

ESPN brings back Fantasy Football for its 18th season, with a mock draft today from 10a to 7p featuring Matthew Berry, Eric Karabell, Christopher Harris, Tristan H. Cockcroft, Stephania Bell and more. Online players will have the chance to ask questions and interact with ESPN’s experts and analysts via social media. The company also announced that the newly upgraded ESPN Fantasy Football app for iPhone will offer players more access to their fantasy teams with new features that include live auction and snake drafts, including access to Mock and Live Draft Lobbies.

The Main Event
We’re going with another round of Rays/Red Sox in the ultra-tight AL East race on local channels at 6p.


Cynopsis Kids Webinar – REGISTER TODAY
***Just Announced***

How to (Really) Increase Kid Brand Revenue through Licensing
August 27 ~ 1:30-3:00pm ET ~ $295/site

Expert Speakers:
Daisy Kline:
VP, Marketing & Brand Management [Scholastic]
Pete Yoder: VP, U.S. Consumer Products [Cartoon Network Enterprises]
Melissa Segal: SVP, Global Consumer Products [The Jim Henson Company & American Greetings Properties]

ON THIS DAY in 1996: Carl Lewis wins his fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal in the long jump.

In The Know: Who is the youngest player ever to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame? (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: Who was known as “The Splendid Splinter”? Answer: Ted Williams. Kudos: Jon Miller-NBC Sports Group/NY; Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Media/NY; David Danowski-FOX Sports Media Group/NY; Jeff Garrant-GroupM ESP/NY; Adam Zimmerman-CSE/Atlanta; Jon Show-Show Sports Media/Charlotte; Bernie Greenberg-The Sports Network/Philadelphia; Mark Altabe-Citibank, NA/Jersey City; Bill Robertson-Tunheim Partners/Minneapolis; Derrick Stasica-KHOU/Houston; Chuck Gordon-Clear Channel Media/Mobile; Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville; Greg Moloznik-GLM Media/Scottsdale; Matt Sautter-OpenTV/Golden; David Hauptman/Denver; Brian Sullivan-KHQ-TV/Spokane; Alex Petrilli, Jr.-TiVo/Alviso;  Michael Harabin-PAC-12 Networks/San Francisco; Don Surath-CBS Local Media/San Francisco.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports

Roberta Caploe: Editorial Director
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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