Monday, March 18th, 2013

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Monday, March 18, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

A recent survey by the Newspaper National Network revealed that male sports fans look first to local print newspapers to get their “news, information and/or analysis” for their favorite teams over stories from TV, radio or other print publications. With local expertise considered a premium, web video syndication company CineSport has caught the eye of some national brands by utilizing that knowledge and creating video packages that bolster content and offer video for newspaper sites. The company now syndicates to hundreds of web sites including over 30 newspaper sites that include the New York Post, Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News, The Boston Globe, The Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Cynopsis Sports spoke with CineSport CEO Gregg Winik about launching the company, how local experts remain a key driver for audiences and how his model is changing as it continues to expand.

Winik on CineSport’s role in sports media: Our mantra was to provide a video solution with a need in a marketplace. We can we do some terrific things for local media sites that need sports highlights and sports video. These sites don’t have the production expertise, they couldn’t handle the rights management issues, and the cost of production and ad sales components are very hard for local sites to handle. So we come in and tell them that we can create product that pays for itself and that has led to us working with some of the best newspapers in the country, as well as given us access to about 60 reporters. We now produce 1,200 videos per month, and that scale of production has led to us generating about 11 million uniques per month according to comScore.

On how text outlets are adapting to a video-driven consumer: Local media sites know that audiences want to consume information in video now. It is moving more and more from text to video, so we work with the reporters from these sites and turn real articles into three-minutes video recaps of their articles. It’s good for the reporters, it’s good for the site, it’s good for the audience. The interesting thing is that two years ago, we figured out that a lot of publishers are dealing with CMS systems that didn’t really consider video. We saw a gap in the online video providers in what they supplied to publishers, and they need to find, embed, promote and monetize video. The current OVP set-ups don’t do that for these sites. So we created VaMP, for Video and Monitization Platform, to change this and allow sites to find, deploy and promote video as easily as they can promote text and stills. Frankly, local newspaper sites we work with don’t get enough credit for coverage. We help maximize those resources.

On working with sponsors: We have some interesting things coming up in 2013. We had been selling traditional pre-roll, not really integrating into the programming. But for 2013, the infrastructure we build allows us to go to advertisers, because we create original programming, we have a large audience, we have great affiliates so we are having discussions about custom-branded content, creating specific advertising solutions and we can do this at scale now because of our large audience. That is something we are ramping up, meeting with big marketers and advertisers to go to the next level and move to the sports marketing model.

On next steps: As we saw with our show Football Inside Out (a 13-15 minute show on Hulu that features the national perspective from the likes of Boomer Esiason, Phil Simms, Cris Collinsworth and Howie Long), a combination of having national personalities and adding integration with local newspaper sites works very well. Because of this, I think we are going to do a better job of creating some national personalities that are specific to Cinesport, we want to now take that model to other sports.

On the Air

With the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament now in play, CBS Sports and Turner Sports announced begin play this week starting tomorrow at 6:40p on truTV with North Carolina A&T/Liberty at Dayton. Then, around 9:10p, Middle Tennessee State/St. Mary’s tip off. Wednesday brings LIU-Brooklyn/James Madison at 6:40p, followed by Boise St./La Salle. Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Craig Sager handle microphone duties for all four of the games.

Univision Deportes inked a deal that will make the company the official outlet for Formula One in Spanish-language households for all 19 Grand Prix races for the outfit. Univision Deportes will carry races live on UniMas while qualifying rounds will air on Univision Deportes Network.

With the regular season done, ESPN’s coverage of the 2012-13 men’s college basketball regular-season scored as the company’s most-viewed ever, averaging 1,370,000 viewers over 135 games, and besting the previous high of 1,353,000 viewers over 130 telecasts in 2011-12. ESPN averaged a 1.1 coverage rating for each season, according to Nielsen. For the 11th consecutive year, Louisville ranked as the highest-rated metered market for ESPN’s regular-season telecasts, averaging a 4.5 rating. Greensboro finished in second place for the second straight year with a 3.1 rating.

Team USA’s loss to the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic on Thursday drew big audiences once again for MLB Network. The game drew 883,000 viewers to the channel, according to Nielsen, to once again set a new record for the network in a non-post-season game, according to early tallies.

NBA TV revealed that this week’s NBA Fan Night presented by Sprint telecast will feature the Oklahoma City Thunder hosting the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday at 8p. Fan Night host Vince Cellini and analysts Isiah Thomas and Chris Webber offer analysis during the Pregame Show at 7:30p.
ESPN platforms will offer coverage of two upcoming U.S. Men’s National Team matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying series starting Friday, with USA/Costa Rica contest set to begin at 10p. Coverage resumes on Tuesday, March 26, in Mexico City, with Mexico vs. USA at 9:30p. Both matches will be aired live on ESPN and WatchESPN.

NBC Sports Radio is teaming Donovan McNabb and Mark Malone as hosts of Under Center with McNabb & Malone from 3-7p on weekdays starting April 1. The show will see to leverage “the unique perspective of two former NFL quarterbacks, both of whom have also played multiple sports at high levels and can break down the daily headlines–from on-the-field competition to locker room dynamics.”

UFC star and women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has agreed to serve as a coach of the promotion’s reality series, The Ultimate Fighter. The winner of the Miesha Tate/Cat Zingano matchup will also join the show in a coaching role, marking the first time that women will coach and/or compete on the show in its 18 season history. The upcoming season will consist of two separate tournaments, featuring both male and female 135-pound fighters.

Tickets are now available for the Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards, which will take place on April 17 at Yale Club in Manhattan. Click here for more info.


Sports Luminaries To Be Honored at Cynopsis Sports Media Awards in April

Steve Bornstein (President and CEO) NFL Network + (EVP of Media) NFL
John Kosner
(EVP & GM) ESPN Digital + Print Media
Scott Blackmun (CEO) US Olympic Committee
Scott McCune
(VP, Global Partnerships & Experiential Marketing) The Coca-Cola Company

Cynopsis Sports Media Awards Breakfast
April 17 | 8-10a.m. | The Yale Club NY
Sponsored by: NFL
Last year’s event sold out Register here:

Sponsorship & Promotion

The NCAA Tournament now pulls in over $1 billion in national TV ad spending, according to Kantar Media. That tops the list of annual sports events, with the $1 billion mark broken for the first time in 2012. “March Madness is an exceptional event with high engagement, rooted in the millions of people filling out tournament brackets and the broad-based enthusiasm that comes from having 68 teams competing for a championship,” said Jon Swallen, Chief Research Officer of Kantar Media. “Marketers use a wide variety of tactics to leverage interest in the tournament including traditional TV ads; print and digital elements; promotions around the brackets; prize trips to the finals; and on-site marketing.” The study shows that over the past ten years, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament has surpassed $5.9 billion of national TV ad spending from 266 different marketers.

TBS series Conan is getting in the tournament as well, with the network announcing that the show will hit Atlanta from April 1-4 during Final Four weekend, with Coke Zero signed as a presenting sponsor. The brand will sponsor a Conan Coke Zero Music Series, featuring bands will perform on the Road to the Final Four, as a prelude to the action.

Digital Fields

Turner Sports’ March Madness Live steaming platform is live with as many as 80 million households in play this year. The service will offer free streaming of the 67 games from the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship tournament, offering social and interactive components. It launches from, and, as well as via Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Yahoo! Sports unveiled its own Tournament games for bracket fans and office pools with Yahoo! Tourney Pick ‘Em. The feature offers connected brackets, the “Official Facebook Tourney Pick Em Pool,” and the Bracket Alert Stream. Celebrity participants will include Chris Paul, Alex Morgan and Rob Dyrdek.

Roster Moves

Investment banking and advisory services firm SAE Advisory Group announced four new advisory board members, tapping the talents of Del Wilber, Susan O’Malley, Chris Flannery and Ed O’Hara. Del Wilber is currently the President of The Perfect Game Foundation, a Non Profit dedicated to helping those who aspire to a career in sports. Susan O’Malley is the former President of Washington Sports and Entertainment LP, the holding company for the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals. Chris Flannery is the CEO of 1966 Entertainment Americas and the former President of Ripken Baseball Group. Ed O’Hara is the founding partner of SME Branding and holds seats on the National Sports Marketing Network Executive Advisory Board and the Queens College Business School Advisory Board, and is a board member of CUNY’s School of Professional Studies Foundation.

The Main Event

Heat/Celtics on ESPN at 8p.


Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards Breakfast

April 17, 2013 | 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. | The Yale Club NY

The list of Finalists will be announced soon, but don’t wait to reserve your tickets/tables… last year, the event sold out a week before.

 Register here:

ON THIS DAY in 1990: MLB owners end lockout after 32 days.

In The Know: Duke retired #11 in honor of what basketball player? (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: Although he is famous for portraying boxer Apollo Creed, actor Carl Weathers was actually once a player for what NFL team? Answer: The Oakland Raiders. Kudos: Mike Dittelman-CCM/NY; David Stern-BARD Entertainment/NYC; Marc Nightingale-Lake 5 Media/NY; Tammy Ross-HBO/NY; Matt Guertin-Active International/Pearl River; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Jets/Florham Park; John Langerman-WXCW-TV MundoFOX/Ft. Myers-Naples; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; George Finkel-MegaSport Productions/Myrtle Beach; Bill Robertson-Tunheim Partners/Minneapolis; Ron Salcedo-Zimmerman/Nashville; Harry S. Vested, Jr.-Gravity Collection Inc./Denver; Jeff Mirkin-This Is Just A Test Productions/Hollywood; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA/LA; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports

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