Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Thursday, July 14, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The 82nd MLB All-Star Game scored itself record low ratings but still continued to be a performer for Fox, with a total audience of 25.9 million viewers delivering the channel with its best night in prime time since the finale of American Idol. That said, the numbers were down compared to 2010, which itself was a ratings low, drawing a 6.9/12 and dipping 8% from last year’s 7.5/13. Viewership was also down, dropping 9%. For the fourth straight year, St. Louis pulled the highest rating among the major markets, with a 17.8/28.

According to TiVo, the top four Live + Same Day moments seen in the game were, in order:

  • Prince Fielder’s three-run homer in the 4th inning.
  • Starlin Castro thrown out at home plate in the 5th.
  • Hunter Pence goes from first to third on a passed ball in the 7th.
  • Padre Heath Bell’s hard sprint out of the bullpen in the 8th.

On the Air

Congratulations to the US team for making the finals at the Women’s World Cup. The championship game against Japan will take place on Sunday at 2:45p on both ESPN and Galavision.

Get ready for even more soccer to programming lineups. ESPN is now presenting World Football Challenge 2011, a summer series of 14 matches around the country featuring US MLS teams as well as some of the world’s premiere international soccer clubs. ESPN networks will showcase the matches through Aug. 6. The World Football Challenge teams include Manchester United; Barcelona; Manchester City FC; Real Madrid; and MLS 2010 regular season winner, Los Angeles Galaxy. ESPN Deporte swill televise 11 matches including matchups featuring Manchester United, Real Madrid, C.D Guadalajara, Club America, and Barcelona; with ESPN2 lined up for nine matches, including Barcelona vs. Manchester United on Saturday, July 30. ESPN will show two matches including Barcelona vs. Club America live from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 6, at 4 p.m. In Canada, the action will be featured on TSN, TSN2 and GL TV Canada.

Canada’s TSN continues to snatch up properties, inking a deal with to carry The Open Championship on its platforms. The deal will run through 2017 and includes French-language rights for RDS as well as streaming rights on

Univision has announced that the company’s coverage of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Final between Mexico and Uruguay delivered Galavision with the highest ratings in the history of Spanish-language cable television. The match saw the channel average 2.2 million total viewers 2+, with 1.5 million among a18-49 and 1.1 million for men 18-49. The company reports that nearly 4.1 million Total Viewers 2+ watched all or part of the game which was won by Mexico 2-0 on Sunday. The company also saw an online spike, with 64,101 unique users with an average stream time of 64 minutes and 42 seconds.

More CBA news, and this time it may be a good thing. According to The Los Angeles Times, with MLB’s current CBA set to expire on Dec. 11, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, Michael Weiner, told the paper that he hopes a deal can be finalized far earlier than that, possibly around the World Series in October. Owners and players have been meeting since spring training in an effort to avoid labor strife.

The media is going to be in good hands come 2012, with Olympic organizers announcing that they have completed construction of the international broadcast center for the 2012 London Games. The building will span 900 feet and will be part of the central media complex which is expected to hold 20,000 media members next year.

A warm welcome to the newly-formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference. The conference features six of the nation’s top Division I men’s ice hockey programs stretching from Colorado to Ohio who broke away to form an elite association that will begin play in the 2013-14 season. Founding members include Colorado College, Denver, Miami (Ohio), Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota. The conference now boasts four national champions, 14 Frozen Four appearances, 12 conference regular-season championships and nine conference tournament championships and all six were part of the tournament this year. Five of the members currently play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, which will now review its options.

Entering the second half of the MLB season, Fox is heading into the weekend featuring a Red Sox/Rays game that will air in 41% of the country. Dick Stockton and Tim McCarver will handle coverage. Other games on deck will include Phillies/Mets in 25% of the nation with Kenny Albert, Mark Grace and Ken Rosenthal behind the microphone. Angels/Athletics will run in 18%, with Matt Vasgersian and Eric Karros making the calls, and White Sox/Tigers will round out the rest, featuring Josh Lewin and Rod Allen in the broadcast booth.

CBS Sports will go off the beaten path this weekend, with the Lucas Oil Off Road Pro2 and Pro4 races on Sunday at 3p. Ken Stout,Cameron Steele, Rob Klepper and Keli Snyder will call the action. 

Istanbul looks to be gearing up for to bid for the 2020 Olympics, Turkey’s sports minister said Wednesday to CNN Turk Television. Of course, in spite of a stable economic and political climate, the country has failed to land the event in its previous four attempts for the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Madrid threw its hat into the ring on Wednesday, with having already Rome declared its bid. The IOC will make its decision on the host city in 2013.

Sponsorship and Promotion

IMG College has reached an agreement with the Horizon League for a five-year multimedia rights partnership delivering the company with rights to manage and market all rights associated with advertising and sponsorship inventory including title sponsorship, temporary venue signage, game programs, event promotions, and hospitality at Horizon League championship events. IMG College will also receive the exclusive sales rights for public address announcements, the League’s website, advertising, radio, and TV broadcasts. IMG College also reached an agreement with The University of North Carolina at Greensboro for a multi-year multimedia rights partnership

Sony is adding another year to its sponsorship partnership with ESPN 3D. Sony was the first official sponsor of the network when the network was announced a year and a half ago.

Wonderful Pistachios has signed a deal that will make the brand the official entitlement sponsor of Richmond International Raceway’s September 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in a multi-year deal. The deal will mark the company’s first foray into NASCAR,

NFL players Peyton Hillis and Ray Rice have inked endorsement contracts to promote RipFire XCELERATE, with both players set to appear in commercials for the pre-workout supplement.

Digital Fields

Christina Miller has been named General Manager of NBA Digital, where she will now oversee the day-to-day operations for the NBA Digital portfolio, which includes platforms such as NBA TV,,,, NBA League Pass, as well as the league’s broadband and wireless businesses. She will continue on as well as Senior Vice President of Turner Sports Strategy/Marketing/Promotions, but will step down from her role as SVP of Cartoon Network Enterprises. Miller replaces Bryan Perez who recently left after three years to join a leading sports and entertainment company.

Comcast is giving Xfinity digital customers a free all access pass to Copa America. The company announced that all games will be available in their entirety the day after they are played via Xfinity On Demand and 

The Main Event

Can Rory match expectations? British Open on ESPN at 4a.

in  1951 – CBS broadcasts the first-ever sporting event to be shown in color (a horse race called the Molly Pitcher Handicap).

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question:  Which player has the most all-time wins in the Home Run Derby? Ken Griffey Jr. with three. Kudos: Jonathan Donini – Current TV/NY; Jaime Leigh Overton – Marketing and Media Services/ Warwick

In The Know:  What school has recorded the most NCAA Division I Hockey Championships? (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.)

In My Opinion …

A story that struck me earlier this week was the lockdown on any companies looking to congratulate Derek Jeter in ads. In the story, Jeter’s agent said that organizations may not run ads with Jeter’s image, name, the number 3,000 or the word “captain” in them to commemorate the landmark, save for the sponsors he has a partnership with. I admit, this one has me scratching my head. Obviously, other than using a player’s image and name, mandating that certain words are forbidden in advertisements could make for an interesting free speech case. Anyone out there care to enlighten me on this? Is this over the top or simply necessary in today’s marketplace?

Agree or disagree?  Send in your views for posting here to chris [email protected] under Emails to the Editor …

I hope you get some good responses to your ‘In My Opinion’ question. I would like to hear some real answers. I know enough to recognize the issue as you framed it.  It’s either 1-part legit warning, 1-part scare tactic, or perhaps there is some case law where a plaintiff successfully sued over rights to publicity based on context alone (here there being no other well publicized 3,000-anything going on = so it could only be a use of Derek Jeter). I think the latter would create what lawyers like to call a chilling effect; while anyone can sue for anything, someone shouldn’t be able to win based on indirect contextual references.

James De Francisco

It’s a simple reminder to those companies with affiliations to the NY Yankees that unless you are one the companies he endorses, with a binding personal services agreement whereas he has authorized those companies, with his permission (and that of his agent) to use his image and likeness, they can’t create an ad that gives off the implied impression there is a relationship between the two entities.  What is turning people’s heads is the proactive nature of the agent’s message but I see nothing wrong with it.

Michael A. Neuman

Later — Chris
 Chris Pursell for Cyn opsis | Sports
July 14, 2011

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