A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM ESPN’S X GAMES
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Good morning. It’s Monday, November 5, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
NBA TV hit the new season on a high note, with its telecast of the Los Angeles Lakers/Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night generating an average of 868,000 total viewers to mark the network’s most-viewed telecast ever, according to Nielsen. The earlier game between the Spurs and Hornets drew an average of 638,000 total viewers to mark NBA TV’s most-viewed opening night ever. The channel enters the 2012-13 season coming off the network’s most-viewed regular season last year while NBA Digital, which is jointly managed by the NBA and Turner Sports, set double-digit growth across all platforms during the 2011-12 season.
Cynopsis Sports spoke with Christina Miller, SVP and GM of NBA Digital about recent changes to the platforms and how her team is capitalizing on a swelling audience base.
Miller on the new season: Approaching the season we were absolutely excited about the momentum that were starting the season from. Last season was a banner year, in which we ended the season with double-digit growth across all key touch points, whether it was TV, dotcom, apps, etc. Now, we are looking to take that lessons learned from last season and apply it to this season and launch the best possible user experience for each of those platforms.
On changes to NBA.com: Online, we made changes with several key strategies in mind. One was to showcase the video and another was intuitive design. A third piece we focused on creating a deeper layer of social integration. For video, we know from the traffic and the numbers that people are coming and consuming an awful lot of video on our page. Metrics told us video first, with deep social integration allowing fans to like content, share it and follow it. But our goal was to figure out: From the second you wake up to the second you go to sleep, what device are you using? How can we get users anything they want the moment they want it? We are really looking at consumption trends and we have a strong 18-34 male target viewer who is an early adopter that is very technology-savvy. That forces us to be constantly looking at consumption and behavior. So we have to win on all of those platforms.
On designing a new studio: We had an abbreviated window, but I think the talent both behind and in front of the camera love their new home. There are lots of screens, lots of ways to interact, and social integration there as well. We needed to have a strong vision and the talent helped us think about innovations, such as the court. They were very interested in being able to have a regulation three point area and be able to do more demos. So you see that on the set now and there is some great content that is coming out of that. When you are on 365 days, you want to make sure that visually you are pleasing to the fan.
On her job: I love the pace of the job, there is always something new. We get a chance to work with the best athletes in the world, the best players, we have an incredible league partner across what we are doing. But it is really such as fast pace that drives me when you look at the media pace combined with the digital space. Every day is a little bit different and it keeps you on your toes.
On the Air
NBC Sports Network made it official, announcing a multi-year rights deal with DIRECTV to air The Dan Patrick Show. The series will debut today on the channel and air weekdays from 9a to noon. A “Best Of” edition of the show will now run from 4-5p on the network. In addition, NBC Sports Network will receive a major upgrade on the DIRECTV lineup, moving from channel 603 to 220 starting today.
With the Winter Classic now DOA as of Friday, the NHL and players’ association finally returned to the bargaining table after more than two weeks apart. For the first time since Oct. 18, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA Special Counsel Steve Fehr got back to business, meeting for several hours. “We had a series of meetings over the course of the day and had a good, frank discussion on the most important issues separating us,” Daly said. “We plan to meet again early in the week.” 327 league games have now been canceled.
beIN SPORT continues to notch up distribution deals, announcing that the soccer and international sport channel had inked carriage agreements with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks will offer the network in English and a separate network in Spanish on TV as well as on demand.
The NFL is looking into the creation of a developmental league, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Confora, who noted that “There are people within the competition committee who believe there could be a 4-to-6 team bus league that replaces what used to be the World League of Football. You have guys here in the spring playing in smaller U.S. cities. Scouts could be there. It’s easier to get around. It’s something that could come before the owners for a vote in the spring at the ownership’s meeting if they can build a consensus in the competition committee on exactly which plan to move forward with.”
Former Knicks first round pick Greg Anthony has taken his career to the YES Network, where he will serve as a game analyst for Brooklyn Nets games. His first game will be tonight, where he joins Ian Eagle as the Nets host the Timberwolves at 7:30p.
CBS Sports selected its second game of its SEC on CBS doubleheader for Saturday, Nov. 10/ The 3:30p matchup will feature Texas A&M/Alabama. Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson along with reporter Tracy Wolfson will announce the game. The channel previously announced that its noon game would feature Arkansas/South Carolina.
ESPN 2 & 3 will be featuring the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals from London throughout the week with matches starting today and running through the championship on Monday, Nov. 12. Coverage starts today at 8:45a on ESPN3.
Comcast SportsNet Chicago lined up a new behind-the-scenes, two-part documentary called From the Sports World to the Third World: A Journey to Cambodia. The program shares the story of how Bulls/Blackhawks/Bears team photographer Bill Smith and Bulls senior director of ticket operations Joe O’Neil changed the lives of hundreds of helpless children and their families in poverty-stricken Cambodia via the “A New Day Cambodia” center. Part I premieres Tuesday, November 13 at 7p, with Part II debuting the following evening on Wednesday, November 14 at 7p.
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ESPN will honor veterans and troops in a cross-platform campaign for the fourth annual America’s Heroes: A Salute to Our Veterans initiative presented by USAA. The initiative starts Wednesday and runs through Sunday, Nov. 11 as part of a five-day tribute will be highlighted by the Sears Armed Forces Classic men’s basketball game between No. 14 Michigan State University and the University of Connecticut at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday, Nov. 7. On Thursday, ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning will broadcast from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., while SportsNation will originate from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. In addition, Saturday’s College GameDay Built by the Home Depot will take place before the crew aboard the USS San Diego in San Diego.
Major League Baseball and the MLBPA announced a donation of $1 million to the American Red Cross, Feed America and the Salvation Army in an effort to provide relief for those displaced and devastated by Superstorm Sandy. “As our thoughts and prayers remain with all those who have been impacted by this tragedy, it is a privilege for Major League Baseball to support our fans and their communities during this urgent time of need,” said MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. “All of us at Major League Baseball are grateful to our society’s leaders, first responders and volunteers, and we hope that our contribution to these humanitarian organizations will assist in the vital relief efforts along the East Coast. This is a time when the resiliency of the great American spirit will prevail.”
NASCAR is stepping up efforts to help those affected by Sandy by offering an opportunity for fans to contribute to relief efforts through its website. In addition, the site also is hosting an online auction through Nov. 19, with items that include 2013 Daytona 500 Hall of Fame suite passes, Dover International Speedway suite passes, waving the green flag at the September 2013 Chicagoland Speedway race, signed door panels and more.
NBC Sports’ Rotoworld was one of several company sites hit by hackers over the weekend, with images surfacing that read “Remember, remember, the fifth of November,” (an homage to Guy Fawkes) and a note saying that user info and passwords had been exposed. NBC’s sites were back to normal, however, later in the day.
The Main Event
MNF pitting the Eagles/Saints on ESPN at 8:30p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Published: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26 Timed to coincide with the NASCAR Sprint Cup – Cynopsis Sports will report on everything you need to know about the Sprint Cup – as well as the latest news on NASCAR (the new events, network carriage deals, etc.) and a look into 2013.
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ON THIS DAY in 1994: George Foreman becomes the oldest heavyweight champion in history.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Two players have won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award as rookies. Name one. Answer: Wilt Chamberlain or Wes Unseld. Kudos: John Miller-NBC Sports Group/NY; Phyllis McQuillan-MSG Media/NY; Rob Kligman-USA TODAY Sports Media Group/NY; Denis Barry-CBS Television Station Sales/NY; Jack Valente-Instadium/Detroit; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Chad Glidewell-Octagon/Atlanta; Bob Eisenstaedt-Granite Springs Productions/Tampa; Chuck Gordon-WABM TV/Birmingham; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions Inc./Santa Monica.
In The Know: Only one player from UNLV has been picked first overall in the NBA draft. Who was he? (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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