Monday, May 9th, 2011


Available to 95 million homes*

57% growth since 2009*

250 live games
1,000 hours of original programming

* Source: Nielsen Universe Estimate

Cynopsis: Sports


Good morning. It’s Monday, May 9, 2011, and this is your first — very first! – early morning Sports briefing.

Worldwide racing behemoth Formula One is absolutely, positively not for sale … probably. At the Turkish Grand Prix last weekend, F1 President and CEO Bernie Ecclestone told reporters that he is “100% certain” the sport’s primary shareholder, CVC Capital Partners, are not looking sell the company. The statement comes after News Corp. confirmed last week that the media company was looking for partners to explore a joint takeover of the organization. Investment firm Exor was revealed to be one of the partners.

CVC has owned the rights to F1 for the past five years, which are estimated to be worth around $6 billion. The company released a statement on the potential bid on Sunday declaring, “CVC recognizes the quality of Exor and News Corporation as potential investors, but any investment in Formula 1 will require CVC’s agreement and will need to demonstrate that it is in the interest of the sport and its stakeholders, taken as a whole.”

On the Air

With record rights deals now wrapped up for the NHL and Pac-10, broadcasters are now turning their attention toward a number of major sports properties that will soon be in play. Discussions for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics will begin in early June, while UFC, MLS and the Sun Belt Conference all have deals that expire within the next year. Beyond that, executives say networks will be positioning and budgeting themselves for heavyweight NFL as well as NASCAR which expire by 2014.  “NFL and the Olympics are the king and queen of the prom so it’s a matter of making sure we are in a position to be able to grab them if we can,” said one network exec. “Anything else is gravy at this point.”

Testing 1,2,3. Organizers of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London are opening the doors to events at Olympic Park for the first time as executives look to perfect operations ahead of next year’s games. Testing of technology, volunteers and staff at the Olympic venues will take place beginning this month and run through May 2012. Among the sports that are already locked in will be Basketball, BMX and beach volleyball. As host city, London will play host next year to 649 sports sessions; 10,500 athletes; 7,500 officials and 8.8 million tickets.

The NBA continues to explode for TNT, with the network earning a 4.5 household rating for game two of Wednesday night’s Mavericks-Lakers Western Conference Semifinals game. That number is good enough to score as the highest rated NBA playoff game on cable this postseason so far. The matchup also scored as the top program of the day across all networks among adults 18-34 as well as males 18-34 and 18-49.

Early numbers suggest that the UFC 129 event held earlier this month in Toronto will approach 1 million buys for the PPV. The bouts drew a record breaking crowd in the city, recording the largest gate in the history of Toronto for any event.

The FLM game on Telemundo more than doubled typical network audiences on Wednesday, with the “Chivas vs. Tigres” soccer game drawing nearly a million viewers. In LA, the game managed to outpace ABC, CBS and Fox in the time period on KVEA among adults 18-49 with a 31 share of the television audience and a 51 share of the Spanish language audience in the market. Overall the game saw a spike of 158% among households.

CBS Sports and play-by-play mainstay Gus Johnson may be heading for a break up, according to reports, with Johnson’s contract set to expire. Johnson has called college basketball games for the network for the past 16 years and had been part of the NFL team since 1998. Johnson handled blow-by-blow the Pacquiao/Mosley PPV fight for Showtime over the weekend.

Feld Motor Sports unveiled a new supercross event dubbed the Monster Energy Cup, set to take place at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium on October 15. The event will post a $250,000 purse with a show at $1 million if someone wins all three events and is set to air on SPEED.

Newly renamed The Madison Square Garden Company reported results for the first quarter, announcing that the organization saw revenues grow 7.8% compared to the 2010 period, to $330.4 million. The company said the increased revenue was largely due to an improvement for MSG Entertainment.

ESPN took home the most prizes at this year’s NAMIC Vision Awards, which honor original, multi-platform programming that depicts the lives, spirit and contributions of people of color and best reflects the diversity of the global viewing audience. The network’s coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup gave the company trophies for Animation, Digital Media-Long Form, Digital Media-Short Form, as well as News/Informational.

HLN Morning Express with Robin Meade has found its sports anchor, hiring Carlos Diaz to handle sports segments for the show and serve as guest host on other series across HLN. Diaz had previously served as a reporter for ESPN’s SportsCenter, as an anchor for NBA TV and as a correspondent for syndie newsmagazine Extra.

Kentucky Derby fans in Albany, GA are still waiting for the winner. The local NBC affiliate WALB was forced to issue an apology after the affiliate accidentally cut to a commercial in the middle of the race. Unfortunately, control operators weren’t able to fix the problem in time for the finish. The station later released a statement that the error was due to new switching equipment, which resulted in the poorly timed ad.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Champion sports apparel company has dropped Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall as an endorser following the player’s Twitter remarks regarding the death of Osama bin Laden. Mendenhall had partnered with the company since entering the league in 2008 but drew fire for questioning the government’s role in 9/11 and criticizing the public for celebrating his death.

Alaska Airlines unveiled a Portland Timbers-themed Boeing 737-700 as part of a promotion between the two companies. Officials at the MLS soccer team noted that it took 130 gallons of paint to finish the look, which was created through a contest. The airline also said it would allow early boarding throughout the MLS season to passengers wearing an official Timbers jersey.

Blake Griffin, the Los Angeles Clippers forward and NBA Rookie of the Year, will donate the Kia Sedan famously used in his slam dunk ahead of the All-Star Game. Proceeds of the sale, which will take place on, will be donated to Stand Up to Cancer. The auction will run through May 15.

FIFA has inked a deal with Liberty Mutual Group to sponsor the 2014 FIFA World Cup as well as the FIFA Federation Cup in 2013. The agreement runs through October 2014, and includes all 64 matches of World Cup action in Brazil.



Cyn opsis Media presents:
Primetime Emmy® Awards: Before the Ballot Special Editions
A 5-part series publishing from May 23  June 20, 2011

Daisy Whitney explores the major Categories before Nominees are determined.
Actor/Actress , Non-Fiction Specials & Series, Reality Host/Competition/Program, Comedy and Drama

Space is limited (Non-fiction & Drama Editions are sold out)
To advertise contact Mike Farina – [email protected], 203.218.6480

Digital Fields

Eurosport has partnered with Panasonic and Federation Francaise de Tennis with plans to broadcast the French Open in 3D again this year. Coverage of the tennis matches will begin from Roland Garros and be beamed straight to living rooms in selected territories. Swisscom has signed up to offer the matches in Switzerland, while Canal Digital will bring it to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

The 2011 Sprint Cup NASCAR Spring All-Star Race has seen a spike in voting. Online ballots are up 25% for the week with the driver who earns the most votes and finishes the Sprint Showdown qualifying race on the lead lap with a car in raceable condition earning a guaranteed spot in the field. Drivers currently ranking in the top 10 include Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Tonight’s Main Event

The Celtics look to even the series against the Heat in second round playoff action at 7p on TNT. Kevin Harlan will call play-by-play with Reggie Miller on board as analyst.

Off the Field

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the status of the NFL lockout: “Right now, it’s in a litigation phase and the union is pursuing that while we are defending that. Unfortunately, there are not enough negotiations, which ultimately it’s going to have to come back to and is where this will get resolved and end in a new collective bargaining agreement.”

ESPN Golf Analyst Curtis Strange on the passing of golf great Seve Ballesteros: “It’s not far-fetched at all to say that he was the Arnold Palmer of his day on the European Tour, without a doubt. He did so much. The European Tour benefited from the Ryder Cup and vice-versa, all because of Seve. He was very gifted (as a player). To me he was sort of a throwback. He played so much by feel, by intuition. If I was a spectator going to a golf tournament and he was a player, he’s the guy I would go watch.”

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt to Businessweek on MLB looking into his finances: “My divorce [from ex-Dodgers Chief Executive Officer Jamie McCourt] shouldn’t be a factor. We filed reams of documents, and one outlined money that was available to me and my former wife over a seven-year period. There was a salary paid to her of $2 million a year and a distribution to me of $5 million a year. Is that a lot of money? You bet it is. On the other hand, I have a huge amount of equity invested in the business. I work very, very hard. Is the money too much? Maybe. I did get carried away a little bit, but nothing I did jeopardized the Dodgers.”

Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott on what the new broadcast deal means to the universities: “Make no mistake, today’s announcement will result in the saving of sports that otherwise might not have (been saved).”

ON THIS DAY in 1987 – Baltimore Oriole Eddie Murray became the first player to switch hit two home runs in back-to-back games

IN THE KNOW:  What was Seve Ballesteros final tour win?  (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
May 9, 2011

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JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR MEDIA/Food Network/NY: Establish comm strategy & positioning for netwk priorities. 8-10 yrs exp in agency and/or ent media exp pref’d. Exp managing multi-million dollar budgets. #2345. (5/21)

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