Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Thursday, December 15, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The mothership officially landed yesterday when the NFL announced nine-year renewals with CBS, FOX and NBC that propel rights fees, combined with those of the previously-announced ESPN, during the term toward the $7 billion mark.

Several programming changes of note in the deal, with NBC receiving the primetime Thanksgiving game starting next season as well as a divisional playoff game each year beginning in 2014 from Fox or CBS, while losing a wild-card game. The deals also call for great flexibility for FOX and CBS, which carry the NFC and AFC packages respectively, to shift a limited number of games from one network to the other to maximize regional audiences. In addition, the NBC Sports Network will reportedly add a Sunday morning NFL pregame show to the lineup.

As had been expected, Thursday Night Football will be expanded on NFL Network beginning next year. Although, the number of additional Thursday night games has not been determined.

On the Air

FIFA has inviting bids from more than 40 European countries for broadcast rights to show the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, according to the AP. With deals already in the pocket for the US, Middle East and Latin America, FIFA is looking in Europe to reach “the widest possible audience and financial targets,” according to a statement by Niclas Ericson, director of FIFA’s TV division. FIFA wants broadcasters in markets including Germany, Italy and Turkey to submit offers by Feb. 3. Negotiations are set to start the following week.

More discussion of a new east coast NCAA FBS football conference. ODU Athletic Director Wood Selig told listeners on a local radio station that he had been meeting in New York with representatives of other schools along the eastern time zone about forming a football-only league in the near future, according to reports. Yesterday, Appalachian St. officials similarly told reporters that they were also looking for a regional conference with “like-minded” schools as the school looks to move up from FCS. Lots of moving parts here as the league explores formation.

The sale of the Jacksonville Jaguars to Shahid Khan was given the rubber stamp by fellow NFL owners in a meeting on Wednesday. The sale from franchise founder Wayne Weaver was unanimously approved by fellow NFL team owners with the deal worth a reported $760 million.

Yankees outfielder and manager Lou Piniella is reportedly in negotiations to return to the organization as an analyst for the YES Network and as a spring training instructor, according to The New York Daily News. Piniella would work a limited number of games for the channel as an analyst.

On CBS Sports Network’s weekly Inside the College Football, former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel told host Adam Zucker that a change was needed in how voting was incorporated into college football, noting “There is not a chance for me to evaluate them as compared to teams that are in my conference. So what I would say, and my audible would be, that the voting should only be on teams in my conference. I see all kinds of videotape on them, whether I play them or not because they’re playing against teams that I’m going to play. And I have a great idea as to who are the best teams in the Pac 12. I have no idea who the best teams were in the SEC. I have no idea in the Big Ten or across the country. So somehow, someway we have to re-analyze how that’s done and make sure that coaches are only voting on teams that they actually have some knowledge of.”

FX is gearing up to showcase a six-bout preliminary card for next month’s UFC 142 event in Brazil. The event marks UFC’s first PPV of the year and officially begins the transition of the promotions preliminary-card fights off of Facebook and Spike TV to FX and FUEL TV.

Universal Sports Network unveiled plans for network coverage of the second half of the 2011-2012 International Ski Federation Alpine Ski World Cup season. In total, Universal Sports will showcase 36 international competitions throughout the season, including the World Cup Finals. Network coverage will continue this weekend in Val Gardena, Italy with the Men’s Super G on Friday, December 16 and Men’s Downhill on Saturday, December 17, both at 11a.

MLB Network is set to air the tenth annual Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Awards tomorrow night at 9p with awards honoring the best players and must-see moments from the 2011 MLB season. Winners will be announced on MLB Network and by MLB Network’s Greg Amsinger and Mitch Williams.

Meanwhile, The Charlotte Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America announced that the 2011 Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet will be broadcast nationally for the first time ever on NFL Network. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy will be handed to the nation’s top NCAA defensive football player on Monday, December 12th at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte. NFL Network will air the event on Friday, December 16th at 4:30p. 
Sponsorship & Promotion

Turner Sports has created Turner Live Events, a new department within the ad sales division that will be focused on extending advertising media to a fully integrated campaign through on-site activation. To head the division, Turner named Shea Guinn as Senior Vice President where he will oversee the creation, management and direction of a new live event activation, marketing and production department that will support Turner Sports and Turner Broadcasting Ad Sales. Guinn joins Turner Sports from IMG.

Retailer Aaron’s Inc. has become the next company to take jump into a multi-year agreement with IMG College to sponsor athletic programs at 30 universities across the nation. The agreement includes signage at football and basketball venues, promotional rights and tickets and Aaron’s will be designated as the preferred vendor in the lease-to-own category of furniture, electronics, appliances and computers.

WWE announced that Andrew Judelson has been named Executive Vice President of Sales & Partnership Marketing for the company, effective January 2, where he will be responsible for all sales and key marketing partnerships for the company including talent endorsement deals Judelson previously served as a senior executive from Sports Illustrated Group, the NHL and most recently U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA).

Rob Kligman, former National Advertising Director for Sports Illustrated, has accepted a job as Vice President Multimedia Sales, East for USA Today Sports Media Group. Kligman had been with SI since 2009.

MLS team the Houston Dynamo finally has a name for their upcoming home… BBVA Compass Stadium. The franchise entered into a “multiyear naming rights” agreement with the banking company with the $95 million stadium currently under construction in downtown Houston. It is scheduled to open on May 12.

Digital Fields

Sprint is set to debut a new custom app called Sprint NBA Mobile thanks to a new deal with the NBA. The app is designed to give subscribers direct access to live ESPN NBA Games via Sprint TV’s ESPN Channel as well as in-game and post-game video highlights, news, scores, stats, live home and away radio broadcasts. The app comes as part of a new marketing partnership between the league and Sprint that will make Sprint the Official Wireless Service Partner of the NBA.
The Main Event

Jaguars/Falcons on NFL Network at 8:20p

ON THIS DAY in 1982: Bill Parcells becomes the 12th head coach of NY Giants.

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: What team defeated Charles Barkley and the Suns in the NBA Finals?  Answer: Michael Jordon’s Chicago Bulls. Kudos: Joe Isabella – CBS Television Stations Sales/NY; Michael A. Neuman – Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; Glenn Schineller – Time Warner Cable/Charlotte; John Langerman – WXCW 6TV/Naples; Jennifer Hernandez – Comcast SportsNet/Chicago; John Ward – NBC Sports Group/Chicago; Greg Moloznik – GLM Media/Scottsdale; Barbara Griesman – Ellison Media/Phoenix; Sean Neumann – Elephant in the room productions/LA; Damon Parry – Agency Division/Marina del Rey; Chris Loprete – ABC/Hollywood; Steve Hirsen – Director/Sherman Oaks.

In The Know: With which team did Lou Piniella play his first game in the major leagues? (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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