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Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Thursday, March 28, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

Longtime baseball television analyst Tim McCarver is stepping down from his lead MLB on FOX position after this season’s World Series, noting that it was time to “cut back.” McCarver has worked 28 consecutive MLB post seasons on network television dating back to 1984, providing analysis for a record 23 World Series and 20 All-Star Games. McCarver teamed with Joe Buck, his MLB on FOX play-by-play partner, for a record 17 years as the network’s lead national baseball broadcast team.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank Tim for seven decades of service in one form or another to Major League Baseball,” said MLB Commissioner Bug Selig. “He’s certainly been a Hall of Fame broadcaster, but to me, more importantly, he has always been a great symbol of class. He’s a great analyst, and through all of our great events his remarkable composure has been a pleasure. On behalf of all the 30 clubs and everybody associated, we congratulate and thank him for all he’s done for the great game of baseball.”

On the Air

Tuesday night’s Mexico/USA FIFA World Cup qualifying match delivered a ratings charge for ESPN, with an average of 2.385 million viewers and a 1.4 household rating to make it the most-watched and highest-rated FIFA World Cup qualifying match (or international friendly) telecast ever on an ESPN network, according to Nielsen. Audiences for the 0-0 tie doubled the previous best outing, also a USA/Mexico matchup from Feb 11, 2009. Birmingham, Ala. was the top market for the match telecast, delivering a 2.9 score.

Around the dial, Univision Deportes announced that its own coverage of the World Cup Qualifier between the US and Mexico scored as the highest-rated telecast ever on UniMas, beating the record previously held by the CONCACAF Copa Oro (Gold Cup) match between Mexico and Guadeloupe on June 21, 2007. The broadcast averaged 4.8 million total viewers.

The Miami Heat’s 27-game winning streak continues to alter programming plans, with NBA TV announcing that it has added the team’s game against the Hornets on Friday, March 29 at 8p. The network will also televise the previously scheduled game vs. San Antonio on Sunday, March 31.

ESPN is also beefing up its slate for the team, announcing that the network will televise both the Heat’s game against the Bobcats on April 5 as well as the potential record-tying matchup against the Sixers on April 6. The Bobcats game on April 5 will replace the previously scheduled Oklahoma City Thunder/Indiana Pacers ESPN telecast and will be subject to blackout in the Miami market only.

IMG Media extended its deal with the LPGA for another term. The relationship started in 1996 with TV distribution to six countries but now boasts coverage in approximately 160 countries, usually live. “Global exposure for our players and tournaments helps to drive the success of the LPGA,” said LPGA Tour Commissioner Michael Whan. “We are happy to extend our partnership with IMG Media to ensure that our approachable and engaging athletes continue to be accessible on television across the world.”

CBS Sports and Turner Sports added Villanova University head men’s basketball coach Jay Wright to serve as guest studio analyst for the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship games. Wright will join host Ernie Johnson and analysts Seth Davis and Steve Smith for coverage of the Regional Semifinals on Thursday, March 28, and Friday, March 29, from Turner Studios in Atlanta.

Commissioner Mike Aresco announced that East Carolina University has gone all in to the conference and will shift from a football only presence in the league to all sports in the soon-to-be-renamed Big East Conference starting July 1, 2014.

Speaking of conference realignment, the Sun Belt Conference officially welcomed Georgia Southern and Appalachian St. to its ranks starting July 1, 2014.

The winners of the72nd Annual Peabody Awards were announced yesterday with HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel winning a prize for its coverage of stories in 2012. Among the stories noted by the selection committee were: fan-on-fan violence at major sporting events in the U.S.; painkiller abuse in NFL locker-rooms; and the deadly hazing of a Florida A&M drum major, who was a member of the school’s legendary marching band.

Join us on April 17 for the Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards when John Kosner, ESPN Executive VP & GM of Digital and Print Media, receives the Cynopsis Award of Distinction. The breakfast takes place at Yale Club in Manhattan. Click here for more info and stay tuned for more special award winners to be announced this week!


Cynopsis Sports Media Awards

The Cynopsis Sports Media Awards Breakfast is set!
April 17 | 8:00-10:00am | The Yale Club | NYC

Join award finalists, support your colleagues + network with the best in the industry!

Preview the list of finalists:

Sponsorship & Promotion

The Hertz Corporation locked in a four-year deal with the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard to serve as the Official Car Rental Sponsor of the Invitational.

Major League Baseball is expanding its efforts to help returning American veterans and their families, donating $10 million to Welcome Back Veterans, according to the league site. The added money ups the tally to the organization to $23 million since its inceptions as an initiative of Major League Baseball Charities and the Robert R. McCormick in 2008. The organization uses funding to offer grants to hospitals and clinics that provide post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatment to veterans and their families.

CSE announced that it will sponsor the upcoming 2013 Business of Sports Summit organized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The event will be held tomorrow at the Hyatt Regency, with a focus on the “big money behind sports business.” Speakers will include a featured keynote from NCAA President Mark Emmert, with CSE President of Marketing Adam Zimmerman moderating a session that features top marketing executives from Coca-Cola, AT&T, The Home Depot and Kia Motors.

Digital Fields debuted the newest installment of ESPN Films ’30 for 30 Shorts series, with Silver Reunion, which brings the 1972 USA Men’s Olympic Basketball team that declined their silver medals after controversially losing the gold to the Soviet Union. The 12 team members gathered together to “ultimately either accept or refuse the medals for a game the players believe they never lost.”

Golf Digest is launching Golf Digest America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses Plus+ special edition for tablets, which will be available for free to subscribers and for $0.99 to non-subscribers. The special issue offers users with an in-depth guide to America’s 100 Greatest Courses, 100 Greatest Public Courses as well as America’s Second 100 Greatest Courses and Canada’s Top 30 Courses.

Roster Moves

Adam Smith has been names Vice President, Digital Ad Operations for ESPN’s Sales and Marketing Business Operations team. Smith originally joined the Business Operations team last year and has led all operational efforts to support digital ad sales in the US and globally across all digital platforms. In his new role he will continue to partner with Digital Media and Ad Sales leadership teams to develop global operational strategy to support strategic and tactical sales and product development plans as well as lead all operational efforts to support and advance digital ad sales for WatchESPN.

Production & Tech

Technology company Breakfast has built the new “Mission Control” set-up for the MLB Fan Cave this year, designed to offer this year’s dwellers not only immediate access for social media integration, but also an interface that will collect data from an entire season of baseball. The 18-foot-long machine will serves up candy that includes everything from live feeds from every ballpark to real-time wind speeds across every field. In addition, over 30 toggle switches will pull up team, stadium, league, and social data.

Fujifilm revealed that the Seattle Mariners will utilize two new Fujinon XA77x9.5 HD telephoto field lenses and one Fujinon HA14x4.5 super wide angle HD ENG/EFP lens. The XA77x9.5 box lenses will be used on two new Grass Valley LDX 80 Premiere multi-format studio/field cameras. The new gear will start being used at Safeco Field later this month.

LiveU is demonstrating its complete integrated Xtender antenna solution for SNG (satellite newsgathering) and ENG (electronic newsgathering) trucks that “complement existing satellite connectivity and dramatically improves cellular reception, bandwidth, resiliency and latency in every scenario,” at this year’s NAB 2013. Execs noted that “thee tripod-mounted Xtender antenna can also be connected to LiveU’s other backpack and handheld units, offering even greater resiliency, performance and flexibility in crowded demonstrations, sports stadiums and other extreme scenarios. With extended wireless connectivity, the Xtender can be situated up to 1,000 feet/300 meters away from the uplink unit, offering far more than a regular cellular antenna.”

The Main Event

Syracuse/Indiana in NCAA Tournament action on CBS at 9:45p.

ON THIS DAY in 1984: The Baltimore Colts move to Indianapolis.

In The Know: With what team did Tim McCarver end his MLB playing career? (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.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Actor Donald Gibb, aka “the Ogre” from the Revenge of the Nerds movie franchise, also had a stint playing football with what NFL team? Answer: The San Diego Chargers. Kudos: J. Barry McMullin-Professional Bull Riders/NY; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Judie Henninger-Valentine Productions/Santa Monica; Neal Stevens-Stevens & Associates/Beverly Hills.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports

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