Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports
10/27/11

Good morning. It’s Thursday, October 27, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

With UFC off to FOX, it didn’t take long for Viacom to reinvest into its relationship with MMA sports. The company has bought a majority stake in Bellator Fighting Championships and is slating bouts from the promotion to air on Spike TV in January 2013 or even sooner. Bellator ranks as the No. 2 promotion in the sport behind Zuffa, which owns UFC and Strikeforce. Reports stated that in addition to Bellator’s two seasons every year, Spike would run additional programs such as highlight shows on TV and online. MTV2 has been airing Bellator’s main cards since March and subsequently increased its Bellator programming last month by streaming preliminary fights on Spike TV’s website.

On the Air

Tennis Channel has extended its programming deal with the Women’s Tennis Association through 2016, keeping at least a dozen Premier-level tournaments on the network each season, as well as the WTA’s year-end Championships, which will take place in Istanbul, Turkey for the period 2011-2013. Under the new agreement, the network will continue to hold U.S. television rights to at least a dozen Premier-level tournaments and deliver 170-to-190 live or first-run match hours per year on the network. Tennis Channel also gains “TV Everywhere” rights under the extension.

With Game 6 of the World Series between the Cardinals and Rangers scratched due to inclement weather, the potentially series-ending game has now been rescheduled for tonight at 8:05p. If the Cardinals win, Game 7 would be pushed back to Friday night at the same time.

Golf Channel is continuing its pace for a record-breaking year for the network, with coverage of the entire PGA Tour Fall Series scoring the most watched in history. The series bested the previous-best mark set in 2007 by 66% as well as last year’s scores by 105%. In year-to-year comparisons, the Frys.com Open grew 165%, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open was up 35%, The McGladrey Classic 62% and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic rose 68%.

IMG has named Aimee Leone, most recently Director of Operations and Special Assistant to the Chairman of NBC Sports & Olympics, as the company’s new Vice President of IMG Clients, in both the Broadcasting and Speakers Divisions in New York City. Leoine recently left NBC, following a 23-year run with the company in which she came aboard in 1988 as Associate Producer on the “Later…with Bob Costas” show.

President Barack Obama was quick to discuss the NBA lockout during his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Tuesday, and he urged NBA owners and players to find a resolution to the labor dispute. “They need to remind themselves that the reason they are so successful is because a whole bunch of folks out there love basketball. Basketball has actually done well, but these types of lockouts take a long time to recover from.” NBA owners and players resumed talks on Wednesday, amid reports that another round of game cancellations was imminent.

Speaking of politics and sports, reports have surfaced the Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell is lobbying for the University of Louisville to be added to the Big 12, rather than West Virginia, which has halted a decision that seemed like a sure thing earlier this week. Now, West Virginia lawmakers are jumping in the game. Senator Joe Manchin went to the press yesterday about WVU and the Big 12 and issued a statement that read, “If these outrageous reports have any merit  and especially if a United States Senator has done anything inappropriate or unethical to interfere with a decision that the Big 12 had already made  then I believe that there should be an investigation in the U.S. Senate, and I will fight to get the truth. West Virginians and the American people deserve to know exactly what is going on and whether politics is interfering with our college sports.”

Look for some Halloween goodies this weekend when The NFL on CBS celebrates at the home of Kris Jenkins both NFL coaches and players stopping by for tricks-and-treats. Jenkins joins the show this week in his recurring role as a contributing analyst.

Canada’s Score Media is launching a new fantasy sports series called The Project. The show will have nothing to do with stats and lineups, however, and will instead Laurence Payne and Ethan Cole, two regular sports who go on a mission to track down their sports heroes as part of a sports bucket list they’ve created. The series launches on Nov. 8th at 11p.

Sponsorship & Promotion

NFL Players, Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFL Players Association is entering a partnership with Playmark designed to give businesses and entrepreneurs access to the official licensing rights of NFL players. Playmark allows online access as a way for product developers and designers to obtain the official rights of NFL players. As part of the deal, Playmark will offer prospective licensees with access to the official rights of more than 2,000 NFL players, including name, jersey number, likeness, photographs, illustrations and the digital autographs of each player.

Digital Fields

MSG Varsity has unveiled a free app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch that offers mobile access to its coverage of tri-state area high school sports and activities. The app is designed to offer photos, scores, stories and game highlights to users and Optimum Online customers will receive the live stream of MSG Varsity as an exclusive benefit.

The Main Event

Game 6, take two. World Series on FOX at 8p.


ON THIS DAY in 2004: The Red Sox win the World Series for the first time in 86 years

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question:  What West Virginia quarterback and longtime NFL player owns the record for most career passing yards and most career touchdown passes at the university? Answer: Marc Bulger. Kudos: Paul Brewer – Turner SI Digital/NY; Synda Kollman – Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; Gino Ruggiero – Fox Cable Networks/NY; Chris Kuhrt – DISH Network/Englewood

In The Know:  Who is the only athlete to play in both the Super Bowl and the World Series?  (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
10.27.11

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