Good morning. It’s Thursday, March 22, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
Now that it’s almost time to play ball, FOX Sports and MLB Network are teaming to offer fans a new-look and expanded pregame show prior to the FOX Saturday Baseball Game of the Week. Dubbed the FOX Saturday Baseball Pregame Show, the 30-minute program will now originate live from MLB Network’s Studio 3 in Secaucus, NJ and hosted by longtime FOX Sports and MLB Network broadcaster Matt Vasgersian. He’ll be joined each week by the likes of MLB Network’s studio analysts such as Harold Reynolds, Mitch Williams, Eric Byrnes and Kevin Millar. Chris Rose, who hosted FOX Saturday Baseball since 2009, now devotes his energy to hosting of MLB Network’s Intentional Talk. According to industry sources, FOX Sports will handle ad sales for the show. The 2012 MLB on FOX season opens on Saturday, April 7at 3:30p.
The second go-around for NBS Sports Network’s coverage of MLS saw a nice spike over the debut week between the two organizations. The Philly/Colorado game drew 145,000 viewers while the entire block of MLS programming, including pre-game and post-game coverage scored 124,000 viewers for a 51% rise over week one. Game viewership peaked with 211,000 viewers in the 5:30-5:43p quarter hour.
CBS Sports and Turner Sports are bringing in Kansas State head coach Frank Martin and VCU head coach Shaka Smart as guest studio analysts for the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. Martin will serve as a guest analyst in the New York studio, joining host Greg Gumbel and analysts Charles Barkley, Greg Anthony and Kenny Smith, for the Regional Finals on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25, which will air on CBS. Smart heads south to work with the Atlanta studio team of host Ernie Johnson and analysts Steve Smith and Seth Davis, working the Regional Semi-Final and Finals on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, which will air across CBS and TBS.
ESPN announced that its new Sunday Night Baseball team – Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser, Terry Francona and reporter Buster Olney – will open the 2012 MLB season by calling four games in five days; beginning with MLB Opening Night feauring the Cardinals/Marlins on Wednesday, April 4, at 7p. The next day, Francona call’s his former team’s season-opener, Red Sox/Tigers. On Friday, the crew hits the Royals/Angels game with coverage beginning at 10p on ESPN2. Finally the team hosts the first Sunday Night Baseball telecast of the season with a White Sox/Rangers showdown at 8p on ESPN.
NBC Sports Group detailed broadcast plans for this weekend’s Arnold Palmer Invitational with 18 hours set to run beginning today beginning at 3p on Golf Channel, continuing on Friday from 3-6p as well as Saturday and Sunday from 12;30-2:30p. NBC plays ball on the weekend as well, with coverage from 2:30-6p on both days. Terry Gannon and Frank Nobilo handle Golf Channel microphone duties while Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller make the calls for NBC.
Peter Guber’s Mandalay Entertainment Group is expanding its presence in sports entertainment, according to Deadline. Film and television producer/director Mike Tollin will be working with Mandalay’s chairman and CEO Guber and vice chairman and COO Paul Schaeffer to create Mandalay Sports Media where it will “develop and produce sports-themed entertainment programming for distribution across multiple platforms including film, television, mobile, and digital.”
Multiple reports that Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman is buying a piece of the Mets. The executive was listed as one of several investors who bought a piece of the pie with a $20 million stake in the team.
More speakers announced! Kevin LaForce, NFL Vice President of Media Strategy & Business Development, and Jennifer Storms, Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing at PepsiCo, have been added to the roster of panelists for Tuesday April 24 in New York. Join us for the Cynopsis Sports Business Summit. Register now at this site: http://www.cynopsissportssummit.com/.
Sayonara Dodgers stadium? At least one party looking to buy the Dodgers is mulling a sale of naming rights to the stadium, according to the Los Angeles Times. The venue turns 50 this year and has never been known by another name, but with the team likely to set a record sales price, naming rights are now entering the picture. The current bids for the Dodgers are believed to be somewhere between $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion.
Electronic Arts and ESPN revealed the 32 fan-selected NFL players who will now advance in the EA Sports Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote. The announcement comes after the play-in round, pitting two teammates against each other. Every Wednesday throughout the campaign, fans can tune in to SportsNation at 5p to see the latest voting results and to see which players have advanced to the next round. The tournament will wrap up on April 25, the night before the 2012 NFL Draft. Contenders include Victor Cruz, Aaron Rodgers, Larry Fitzgerald and Drew Brees.
Denver-based Sports Authority is making quick work of Peyton Manning’s move to the Broncos, announcing that local stores will have name and number Peyton Manning t-shirts ready to go this weekend in its 21 Front Range locations. Nike’s officially licensed NFL gear, from jerseys to sweatshirts will be available in local Sports Authority locations on April 27.
NASCAR Kinetics: Marketing in Motion kicks-off the 2012 season with 18 partner schools from across the U.S. This competition once again gives college students the opportunity to work through real-world business challenges and scenarios provided by NASCAR and its various industry stakeholders, such as Official Partners, teams and tracks. This year’s schools in contention include: Belmont Abbey College, Centenary College, Central Michigan University, Coastal Carolina University, East Tennessee State University, Elon University, High Point University, Indiana State University, Ohio State University, Ohio University, Oklahoma State University, Southern New Hampshire University, Troy University, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of Miami, University of Oregon and Virginia State University.
Sirius XM Radio and NASCAR locked in an agreement to simulcast the programming on the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel in its entirety, including live broadcasts of every national series race, as well as daily NASCAR talk – online for SiriusXM subscribers nationwide.
FIFA is beefing up its social media presence with the launch of a YouTube channel that offers free highlights from various World Cup matches. The organization said that it will add features for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where they will stream live media events as well as other international tournament contests.
The Main Event
Looking forward to Louisville/Michigan St. on TBS in some Sweet 16 action.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Where the crossroads of athletes, audiences, and advertisers meet.
On April 24, Cynopsis:Sportshosts the 1st annual conference to examine how the industry using content, context and digital connectivity to build audiences and integrate sponsors.
Maximizing Sponsorships || State of Industry || The Digital Apex || Turning Fans into Fanatics
Plus – Lifetime Achievement Awards
For info/tickets: CynopsisSportsSummit.com | Sponsorships contact: Mike Farina
ON THIS DAY DAY in 1989: Pete Rozelle announces his retirement as NFL Commissioner after a 29 year run.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Mary Carillo famously teamed up with what tennis great to win her two Grand Slam Mixed Doubles titles? (Whoops, thanks to everyone who pointed out that it was only one) Answer: John McEnroe. Kudos (FYI to balance out the volume of answers, from now on we are going to divide this up with four in New York, four from the rest of the eastern TZ, four from Central and Mountain and four on west coast.): Steve Culkar-Fox Sports Net/Atlanta; Marc Wollis-NBC Sports Group/Orlando; Carol Teichman-Comcast Spotlight/Bloomfield; Rick Rosenfelt-New York Jets/Florham Park; Keith Marder- Halstead Property/NY; Adam Freifeld-The NBC Sports Group/NY; Ross Molloy-CBS Sports Network/NY; Steve Posnock-Nielsen/NY; Aly Stogol-KOLD/KMSB/KTTU/Tucson; Peter Steckelman, The Tennis Channel/Santa Monica; Dani Beaulieu-USA TODAY Sports Media Group/LA; Steve Morrow-Eclipse TV/Mill Valley.
In The Know: What MLB team has a mascot named Homer? (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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