Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Thursday, September 1, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The NBC Sports Group continued its overhaul of Versus/NBC Sports Channel, announcing a block of new live studio shows for the outlet that will air on weeknights from 6-7p under the NBC SportsTalk umbrella. In addition, the channel will also launch a sports-business show with CNBC’s Darren Rovell, titled CNBC Sports Biz: Game On, on Friday nights at 7p. The studio block will launch of Sept. 8 with NBC SportsTalk hosted by Russ Thaler who will be joined by talent from across all NBC Sports Group platforms, including Peter King and Mike Florio. 

On the Air

ESPN has locked in its schedule for this season’s Big East men’s college basketball games, with a minimum of 70 conference games as well as non-conference matchups set to run across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and Conference action is slated to tip off on Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 7p with Notre Dame at Pittsburgh on ESPN2 and In addition, ESPNU will televise four Monday night Big East games for the first time ever, with all four set for 9p beginning with Cincinnati at Georgetown on Jan. 9.

FOX Sports made it official, and will add Barclays Premier League soccer to its Sunday schedule on days when the channel airs a NFL singleheader. In addition, the company is adding an exclusive Ultimate Fighting Championship special as well as a college football championship preview to the Sunday mix. FOX Sports’ regular season Barclays Premier League (BPL) coverage, a first for US broadcast television, will kick off on Sunday, Sept. 8 with a tape-delay match showcasing Manchester United vs. Chelsea as the first of four games to hit the airwaves. BPL coverage wraps up on the channel with broadcast television’s first-ever live Barclays Premier League match on Super Bowl Sunday dubbed, the “Game Before the Game,” on Feb. 5 at 10:30a. On Sunday, Oct. 30, FOX Sports will air UFC PRIMETIME, a one-hour,behind-the-scenes look at the fighters’ preparation leading up to channel’s Nov. 12main event. On Nov. 27, the channel will run the College Football Championship Special.

ESPN2’sBig Monday Presented by Bud Light primetime women’s college basketball series is set to debut on Jan. 16 at 7p, with a UNC/Connecticut matchup. The channel’s game of the week will run for seven consecutive weeks and feature, for the first time, an afternoon game on President’s Day, Monday, Feb. 20, pitting Notre Dame against Louisville. All 14 teams in the Big Monday schedule were 2011 NCAA Championship participants made up of ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC programs with Connecticut getting the most play with four appearances.

Tennis Channel has added a couple of US Open vets to the mix, tapping Mats Wilander and Jim Courier for microphone duties during this year’s tournament this week. This marks the first time either has appeared as part of the network’s broadcast team.

Texas A&M announced yesterday that it will leave the Big 12 Conference by July 2012, when the university will likely settle down next door at the SEC. University President R. Bowen Loftin said that leaving the conference was in the best interest of the school.

The AP reports that the Formula One schedule is expanding by one to hit 20 races next year, after returning to the US with November’s Austin race, and bringing Bahrain back in the mix in 2012, although the association will drop the Turkish Grand Prix. The last US Grand Prix held by the sport was back in 2007.

FOX Sports hits the weekend with a Rangers/Red Sox game set to be the primary game of the week for its Saturday MLB telecast.Dick Stockton and Tim McCarver will call the game, which will air in 71% of the country. Other regions will get Reds/Cardinals, with Kenny Albert and Mark Grace behind the mic, or the White Sox/Tigers, with Matt Vasgersian &Mitch Williams in the broadcast booth.

MSG Network has released the schedule for coverage of the east coast’s surfing event, Quiksilver Pro New York, running from Sept. 3-15 in Long Beach, New York when the channel will air a 30-minute morning show at 10:00a hosted by Quiksilver’s Todd Richards. MSG Network will also show a live, four-hour telecast of the Quiksilver Pro New York championship, including the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.

True North Sports & Entertainment has inked a 10-year agreement with TSN that delivers regional rights to the revived Winnipeg Jets to the Canadian channel. TSN will broadcast more than 60 regional regular and preseason games to fans as part of the new specialty channel TSN Jets which will launch on Sept 20.

Sponsor ship & Promotion

The PGA Tour will be dropping the latest segments of its “These Guys are Good” campaign during The Deutsche Back Championship. The latest work will feature Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Graeme McDowell and Matt Kuchar. The four 30-second sports will feature fan quotes about why they like the players. The ads can be viewed at

Cooper Tire and Rubber Company is returning to sponsor ABC’s Saturday Afternoon Halftime Report for the fifth consecutive year. Cooper will support the sponsorship with an integrated marketing plan set to include national advertising, consumer marketing programs and promotions, as well as social activation.

Digital Fields is gearing up for today’s launch of the college football season with exclusive online features that include online companions Game Center and NCAA Football Saturday, designed to provide a dashboard for football content that will give users a true companion experience every Saturday during the college football season by providing users with video highlights from the day’s top games, a live blog titled “From the Stands,” trending topics, expert analysis, fan polls and photos.Content will vary throughout the week and include: NCAA Football plays of the Week on Mondays, NCAA Football Power Rankings on Tuesday, College Football Preview Show on Wednesday, Weekend Preview on Thursday and finally What to Watch.

ESPN is renaming, dubbing the site, and mirroring the WatchESPN app. To spread the word, ESPN has launched a new ad campaign featuring the return of the WatchESPN Cowboy.

Activision Publishing is gearing up for a return to the track, announcing videogame NASCAR Unleashed for the fall. The game will allow players to take their racer “to the streets” by driving on AND off some of NASCAR’s most famous tracks in this stylistically souped-up arcade racing competition. Featured names include Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon, and Joey Logano.

The Dodgers are set to launch Social September, serving as a month-long initiative designed to engage Dodger fans online, in-stadium and at home. Throughout the month, fans will receive unique opportunities to win once-in-a-lifetime prizes by participating in the social campaign.

The Main Event

College football season kicks off! Sure there are better games this weekend but start off with UNLV @ Wisconsin at 8p on ESPN.

ON THIS DAY in 1975: NY Met Tom Seaver became the first to strike out 200 in eight consecutive seasons

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: The Mariners are one of two MLB franchises to have never played in the World Series. What is the other team?  Whoops! I repeated Tuesday’s question and listed the answer right underneath. Let’s all pretend that didn’t happen or I will list the people who still got it wrong!!

In The Know:  Who is Big East’s only three-time men’s basketball player/co-player of the year?  (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

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