Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports
10/13/11

Good morning. It’s Thursday, October 13, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

It appears that the NBA stalemate is about to get some federal aid. National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter told WFAN radio yesterday that league owners and union representatives will meet with a federal mediator next week in an effort to bridge the gap between the two sides. Hunter also said during the interview that he expects games to be back in full swing before the holidays.

On the Air

Game 3 of the American League Championship Series gave FOX its best numbers of the series so far, as well as the network’s best Tuesday night audience in 12 weeks, according to fast-national figures released by Nielsen Media research. The game averaged a 5.3household rating and 8 share last night on FOX, with 8.4 million viewers tuning in to the game, and marked a 61% uptick over FOX’s broadcast of NLCS Game 3 a year ago. Detroit led all markets with a postseason high 29.3/42, followed by Dallas with a 23.9/37, also a postseason high. Through the channel’s three telecasts of the series, with two disrupted by weather, the 2011 ALCS on FOX is averaging a 4.3/8, even with last year’s average for the NLCS.

Tennis Channel is coming back to Wimbledon, inking a deal with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for a multi-year extension of the network’s nightly series Wimbledon Primetime. In addition, the new agreement also expands Tennis Channel’s overall Wimbledon coverage with Wimbledon Primetime set to run every evening of the two-week tournament as well as a 30-minute preview edition of the program that will run during the two weeks leading up to the event.

CBS Sports Network lined up its hoops game plan, with 113 college basketball games set to run on the channel this season. The action tips off beginning on Veterans Day,Friday, Nov. 11with the first-ever “All Military Classic” on the channel, featuring Air Force/Army at 9:30p, followed by Citadel/VMI at midnight. The outlet will deliver 24 games from the Atlantic-10 conference, as well as the Atlantic-10 Championship men’s and women’s semifinal games. In addition, CBS Sports Network will again showcase games from the Mountain West,Conference USA and Patriot League, including for the first time, the Patriot League Men’s Championship game.

One conference is already benefiting from the NBA lockout. ESPN has upgraded several MAC games on its channels due to the loss of NBA content in early November. The open slots have now shifted the Nov. 2 Temple/Ohio football game to ESPN from ESPN2. The Central Michigan/Kent St. on Nov. 4 will now run at 8p on ESPN2 instead of 6p on ESPNU. Finally, on Nov. 9, the Miami/Temple game will now run on ESPN instead of ESPN2.

With Detroit suddenly a red hot sports town again, NFL ratings continue to surge in the market. Week five of the NFL action delivered the market with a 36.4 household rating, the city’s highest regular season rating ever. That rating wasn’t good enough to break the top ten though, with Milwaukee topping the list of NFL markets with a 51.3 rating, followed by New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Buffalo, Kansas City, Boston Minneapolis, San Diego and Denver.

Spike TV has made a hire to beef up its sports content, promoting Jon Slusser to the new position of Senior VP of Sports and Multi-platform Programming. Slusser will now oversee the creation of “live, multi-platform, socially driven events” that focus on sports as well as live events such as E3.

Bob Mincieli is moving from CBS Sports to MLB Network, where he will serve as VP of Studio and Broadcast Operations beginning November 6.

TSN has hired sports reporter Mark Masters to serve as the channel’s hockey reporter throughout the NHL season. His multiplatform reports will be featured on SPORTSCENTRE, TSN.ca, as well as the network’s full slate of hockey programming, including the NHL ON TSN, THAT’S HOCKEY and THAT’S HOCKEY 2NITE.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have inked a deal with CBS RADIO’s KDKA-FM, to serve as the team’s new flagship station with a multi-year broadcast agreement that starts with the 2012 season. The deal calls for KDKA-FM to produce and broadcast all Pirates regular and post-season games as well as a minimum of 16 spring training games each season. The stations will also broadcast pre- and post-game shows for all 162 regular-season games.

Longtime Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters is retiring, and will leave the position effective July 1, 2012. The conference announced that a national search will begin immediately to find the league’s fifth commissioner. Waters was named the Sun Belt’s fourth commissioner on December 15, 1998 and, under his watch, the conference saw its TV package grow dramatically via ESPN.

Sponsorship & Promotion

NASCAR is going pink in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, driving awareness and raise funds for the cause during this weekend’s activities at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. To show support, NASCAR will add pink accents to its NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series vehicles during the upcoming race weekend. In addition, race cars and trucks will carry a NASCAR Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon logo on A-posts, NASCAR officials will wear pink lanyards and gloves in the garage area throughout the weekend, and partner Mechanix Wear will provide pink gloves that will later be signed by drivers to auction off on the NASCAR Unites website.

Panasonic has locked in a three-year sponsorship deal with U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer. The agreement will make the company the “Official Consumer Electronics Partner” of U.S. Soccer as well the “Official/Proud Sponsor” of the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams and renews these same designations with Major League Soccer.

Here’s a cautionary tale to keep you marketers and designers up at night. The San Francisco Giants are being sued by Gogo Sports (a local polar fleece distribution company) for rights over the “San Francisco” script logo, according to SF Weekly. The Giants and MLB had been utilizing the “San Francisco” logo since 1993, but never trademarked the logo. Gogo subsequently applied for a trademark using a similar logo that was granted to them. Since then, the Giants and MLB have asked Gogo to cease and desist. Gogo refused and is now suing both the league and the team for declaratory judgment.

Digital Fields

ESPN reports that U.S. sports fans spent 4.7 billion total minutes on ESPN.com in September, to break a sports category record, according to data released by comScore. The site ranks fifth in average minute audience among males 18-34,25-54 and 18-49, trailing Facebook, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

ESPN.com also launched Kenny Mayne’s Wider World of Sports yesterday, marking Mayne’s latest online series which covers six countries on five continents to find the world’s most important and unusual sports.

Mark Chipman, Chairman of the Winnipeg Jets, is set to discuss Winnipeg’s return to the NHL today on NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman on NHL.com and on Sirius XM Radio at 6p.

Apple TV is adding hockey in its latest update, with version 4.4 now offering the NHL to its expanding slate of sports subscriptions available on the service.

The Main Event

Baseball post-season continues on FOX and TBS, and I can’t miss am always good Capitals/Penguins game on NHL Network at 7p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1971: The first-ever World Series night game is played between Pittsburgh and Baltimore

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question:  What team was Boston College playing when Doug Flutie threw the famed immaculate reception? Answer: The University of Miami. Kudos: Chris Connaughton – Big Lead Sports/NY; Chris O’Hara – USAToday.com/NY; Farrah Segaloff – Comcast Spotlight/Quincy; Michael A. Neuman – Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; Eric Jackson – Richardson Bike Mart/Dallas; Kevin Shannon – Charter Media/St. Louis; Kevin Micklo – Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago; David Hauptman – Katz Television Group/Denver; Ronald D. Chong – Warner Bros TV/LA; Eric Bates – Tennis Channel/Culver City; Jessallee Calugas – KIRO-TV/Seattle; Roman Saienni – FOX Sports/LA

In The Know:    Name at least three players who have won multiple Super Bowl MVPs.  (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
10.13.11

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