Good morning. It’s Thursday, August 25, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
The NBC Sports Group opened the curtains to its coverage of the upcoming college football season and officially announced that NBC and Versus will air a combined 28 college football games this season. Games will feature seven Notre Dame games as well as teams from the Pac-12, Mountain West and Ivy League conferences. Programming will include a new live studio show out of 30 Rock for all games on both channels, the first home primetime Notre Dame game in more than 20 years on NBC; new on-air commentators including Doug Flutie; a quadruple-header featuring several ranked teams on November 12; and a new one-hour college football show on Versus on Monday nights this fall. The season begins on NBC on Sat. Sept. 3, when Notre Dame faces South Florida. Versus’ college football season kicks off on Sat., Sept. 10, with a doubleheader featuring Air Force hosting TCU at 3:30p followed by Utah at USC beginning at 7:30p.
Versus will update its coverage to bring the look and feel of NBC Sports production to all its college football coverage this season.
ESPN has lined up its broadcast plans for ACC men’s basketball games for the upcoming season, kicking off the pair’s new 12-year agreement. Conference games will begin on Sat., Jan. 7 at noon with a Duke/Georgia Tech game on ESPNU and Virginia Tech/Wake Forest on Raycom/ESPN3.com. Programming highlights will include the new weekly ACC Sunday Night Basketball franchise on ESPNU; ACC action on ESPN’s Super Tuesday,Wednesday Night Hoops,Thursday Night Showcase and Saturdays; and the rights to every ACC Tournament game for distribution across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. Through a new sublicense arrangement with ESPN, Raycom Sports will continue as the syndication home of ACC content for over-the-air and regional cable network distribution in the ACC market and beyond.
TBS has changed its baseball schedule due to Hurricane Irene’s effect on the east coast, switching to Milwaukee on Sunday for a Cubs/Brewers matchup in lieu of Yankees/Orioles. Sunday MLB on TBS will begin at 2p with Ernie Johnson calling the game with analyst John Smoltz.
UEFA has entered a deal with FOX Sports that will deliver all media rights for the 201215 UEFA Europa League in the United States and Caribbean to the company in a non-exclusive agreement. FOX Soccer Channel will broadcast at least two live UEFA Europa League matches as well as one highlights show and one delayed game each match week. In addition FOX Soccer Plus will show one live match for every kick-off slot up to the quarter-finals.
Former Patriots fullback Heath Evans told fans via Twitter that he is retiring from the NFL and is now moving behind the microphone, accepting a multi-year contract with NFL Network.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football featuring the Bears and the Giants on August 22 gave the company a 4.5 rating, for the evening and averaging 4,456,000 households and 5,853,000 viewers. Those numbers are good enough to make the game the third highest-rated preseason contest on ESPN in the past five years. Through its first three preseason games, MNF is averaging a 3.9 rating, 3,853,000 households and 5,086,000 viewers, slight increases in all categories over 2010 numbers. ESPN wraps up its preseason schedule tonight, at 8 p.m. when the Ravens host the Redskins.
Longhorn Network is slated to launch tomorrow at 6p live from the South Mall of The University of Texas campus. The university’s collaboration with ESPN will feature a two-hour special to launch the platform with on-air team Lowell Galindo, reporter Samantha Steele and analyst Kevin Dunn debuting alongside ESPN’s College GameDay team of Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard and Erin Andrews. UT coaches and student-athletes will also be featured in the special. He channel will then showcase the Texas Volleyball team take on Pepperdine in the Burnt Orange Classic live from Gregory Gym.
Harold Bryant, Vice President, Production for CBS Sports is expanding his responsibilities and has added Executive Producer to his title with the company.
The Western Athletic Conference and its WAC Sports Properties team announced affiliates secured for this year’s football season broadcasts on WAC Sports Network (WSN). The season will begin with Nevada at San Jose State on September 17. This season marks the second-consecutive year for WSN to broadcast WAC football, the eight additional games aired on the platform include (subject to ESPN national broadcast selections) Fresno State at Idaho (Sept. 24); Fresno State at Nevada (Oct. 22); Nevada at New Mexico State (Oct. 29); Idaho at San Jose State (Nov. 5); Fresno State at New Mexico State (Nov. 12); Fresno State at Hawaii (Nov. 19); Nevada at Utah State (Nov. 26); and Idaho at Nevada (Dec. 3). Barry Tompkins and Joe Glenn will call the action.
WWE announcer and FOX Soccer personality Todd Grisham appears to be heading to ESPN, according to tweets from his on-air broadcast partner William Regal. Reports state that Grisham’s final show for WWE was Tuesday night.
Comcast Hometown Network (CHN), which covers Northern and Central California, will televise 23 high school football games as part of its sports programming lineup this season. Games will fall under the “Xfinity High School Sports” banner and will be available on Channel 104 to all Comcast digital cable customers throughout the region. Games kick off on Thursday, September 1st at 7:00p with Grant High School of Sacramento hosting Folsom High School.
Sponsorship & Promotion
It didn’t take long for NBC Sports Group to trumpet its recent MLS deal. NBC aired a 20-second promo of its 2012 coverage during Sunday night’s preseason NFL broadcast between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Diego Chargers.
PGATOUR.com has lined up online and mobile coverage of the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup, offering more than 85 hours of live video streaming for the four events, as well as a live preview show and exclusive editorial content. Streaming begins today with The Barclays.
NeuLion has inked a deal with MLS to launch MLS Match Day Live on Panasonic Viera Connect TVs and Roku devices across North America in additional to the service’s other outlets. Subscribers will be able to watch over 200 games live, as well as view on demand video with content such as previously broadcasted MLS games and highlights.
The Main Event
NFL Football on Thursday on ESPN pitting local rivals Redskins at Ravens.
ON THIS DAY in 1920: Ethelda Bleibtrey becomes the first American woman to win an event in the Olympics
Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: What was the name of the NY Giants original home field? Polo Grounds. Kudos: Ken Nice – Yoh/Silver Spring; Dave Lucas – NewsChannel 8/Arlington; Peter S.P.Gimber – CBS Boston.com/Boston; Peter Gordon – Armada Sports and Entertainment/Orlando; Brendan Moran – NCC Media/Chicago; Bill Goodfriend – Charter Media/St. Louis; Joe Pedri – KLAS-TV/Las Vegas; Warren Weideman – Producer/LA; Roman Saienni – Fox Sports/LA; Rich Allport – MTV Networks/LA
In The Know: Who was the last member of the Fighting Irish to win the Heisman Trophy? (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 Cyn opsis | Sports
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