Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Thursday, September 8, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

It’s about to get even rougher in the Big 12. Texas A&M’s scheduled celebration of the university’s acceptance into the SEC came to a screeching halt when a group of fellow Big 12 members refused to sign documents the promised not to sue. For now the SEC invite is contingent on clearing the legal hurdles. But, I’ll just let them explain it…

Statement from Dr. Bernie Machen, Chairman, Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors: “After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on September 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member, the presidents and chancellors of the SEC met last night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC. We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action. The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure. The SEC voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M University as a member upon receiving acceptable reconfirmation that the Big 12 and its members have reaffirmed the letter dated September 2, 2011.

Statement from Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe: “This is the first time to my knowledge that a conference has been requested to waive any legal claims toward another conference for any damages suffered with a membership change. The Big 12 Conference was asked by Texas A&M University and the Southeastern Conference to waive any such claim to help facilitate Texas A&M’s departure from the Conference without any consideration to the Big 12. Although they were not obligated to do so, the Big 12 Board of Directors decided to accommodate that request as it relates to The Big 12 Conference, Inc., which is reflected in the September 2 letter sent to SEC commissioner Mike Slive. However, the waiver did not and could not bind the individual member institutions’ governing boards to waive institutional rights. If the departure of Texas A&M results in significant changes in the Big 12 membership, several institutions may be severely affected after counting on revenue streams from contracts that were approved unanimously by our members, including Texas A&M. In some cases, members reasonably relied on such approval to embark on obligations that will cost millions of dollars.”

On the Air

College football’s kickoff over the weekend drew a mixed bag for broadcasters, which weren’t helped by weather conditions that caused game delays. Still, some carriers saw nice upticks year-to-year. ABC’s matchup between LSU/Oregon on Saturday night drew a 4.7 overnight rating, up 68% from 2010′ LSU/UNC game. ESPN’s Saturday game pitting Boise St. against Georgia dipped 12% with a 2.3, while the channel’s Monday game between a depleted Miami team facing Maryland scored a 3.4, down 50%. FX’s first outing of college football drew a 0.8 rating

President Barack Obama’s speech is pushing NBC’s NFL Kickoff 2011 to other channels ahead of the season opening Saints/Packers game on the network, with VERSUS, USA, Syfy and G4 as well as NFL Network picking up coverage of the pregame show on Thursday at 7p. NFL Kickoff 2011 has been extended to 90 minutes and NBC will join NFL Kickoff 2011 in progress once its coverage of the speech has concluded while VERSUS, USA, Syfy and G4 will resume their regularly-scheduled programming shortly thereafter. NFL Network will carry NFL Kickoff 2011 in its entirety.

The Sun Belt Conference has found a long-term home, inking a deal with ESPN that extends the network’s relationship with the conference through the 2019-20 academic year. The agreement will begin with the 2012-13 academic year will expand the conference’s national television exposure with a minimum of two football games on either ESPN or ESPN2 as well as a minimum of five games on ESPNU that will be scheduled for Thursday or Friday nights. In addition, ESPN Regional Television will have the right to produced, distribute and syndicate up to five football games each year. ESPN will also continue to air the Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball championship game on the Tuesday prior to Selection Sunday with the men’s basketball teams appearing a minimum of four times annually on ESPN or ESPN2 during the regular season.

With the launch of the 2011 NFL season, NFL is offering free previews for fans on the league’s NFL RedZone channel, SiriusXM NFL Radio and NFL Sunday Ticket, as well as free shipping for all orders on, on Kickoff Sunday next week.

HBO Sports’ 24/7 reality series is marked to return in October with 24/7 Pacquiao/Marquez. The four-episode series will debut on Oct. 22 at 10p, following two fighters as they prepare for their Nov. 12 encounter in Las Vegas.

Labor talks for the NBA are at least moving, with league officials and representatives of the player’s association meeting for over five hours yesterday and slated to resume today. The back-to-back sessions mark the first consecutive days of talks since the lockout began on July 1.

BTN has locked in 64 Big Ten men’s basketball conference games on the channel’s schedule this season. Combined with the 44 games appearing on CBS, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU that the Big Ten announced yesterday, the conference’s latest media agreements result in more than 100 conference games appearing on national networks for the coming season. BTN tips off conference action with a Illinois/Minnesota game on Dec. 27 at 7:30p. During the season, BTN will typically carry one game on Tuesday nights, before or after the start of the ESPN game that same evening as well as Super Wednesday doubleheaders. In addition, the network will showcase games on Thursdays as well as several Saturday and Sunday doubleheaders throughout the season.

More 9/11 tributes are being planned for this weekend throughout the sports world.

  • NASCAR announced yesterday that a special in-race tribute will take place on Saturday, Sept. 10 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway with fans, ABC and MRN Radio broadcasters, as well as the track announcer going quiet for a three-lap moment of silence from laps 9 through 11 at the .75-mile oval. During the moment, all fans at the race will wave American flags. ABC’s broadcast of the Richmond race will also feature a NASCAR Foundation PSA encouraging fans to pay tribute by pledging to perform good deeds, support charitable causes, and volunteer in honor of those affected by 9/11.
  • The NFL on CBS will feature Lesley Visser speaking with former Patriots offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi and his brothers Billy and Marc, who served as New York City firefighters on September 11, 2001, where they will discuss their memories of the events that happened 10 years ago.
  • Golf Channel’s Golf in America will return for its third season with the premiere dedicated to the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday at 8p. Rich Lerner will follow up with New York firefighter Ken Eichele, who will reflect on the events that unfolded 10 years ago, and how golf has helped him through the past decade and also feature former firefighter turned putter-designer Ken Flanigan, who has created 343 handmade “Flanigan Bilt” putters to honor the 343 firefighters who passed away on 9/11.
  • BTN’s Big Ten Football Saturday Pregame Show is set to honor the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with a look at reactions from current Big Ten coaches as well as Nebraska Athletic Director and former Congressman Tom Osborne to gain their perspective. The tribute wraps up with reactions from Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, who discusses the decision surrounding when to resume Big Ten competition following the attacks.

SPEED is gearing up to send broadcast teams into Australia for the famed V8 Supercars races, with the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and Armor All Gold Coast 600 both set to air live on the channel. For production, SPEED will share the resources of V8 Supercar Television as well as be provided with a purpose built set in pit lane for both events.

Former New York Jets and Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kris Jenkins is joining CBS Sports for selected weeks throughout the season as a contributing analyst for The NFL Today as well as the CBS Sports-produced Inside the NFL on Showtime. His first appearance is scheduled for the second week of the season. Jenkins has also inked a deal with Jets’ broadcaster SNY where he will serve as an NFL analyst on Jets Game Plan and make appearances on SportsNite and more for the channel.

MSG Networks announced its slate of New York Giants football programming for the season, with five weekly shows on MSG Network and MSG Plus, including the all-new Giants Opening Drive Live every Sunday morning, as well as Coach Tom Coughlin’s live Wednesday press conference. The weekly schedule begins every Sunday morning at 9:30a on MSG Network with Giants Chronicles, before moving to Giants Opening Drive Live at 10a. Other programs include Giants Press Conference Wrap-Up and Giants Rewind on Wednesdays, and Giants Online on Saturdays.

Sponsorship & Promotion

GroupM has turned to veteran sports marketing executive John Kristick as the company’s new Global CEO of GroupM Entertainment & Sports Partnerships where he will work with GroupM agencies and clients worldwide to build relationships between GroupM clients and major sports teams, leagues and rights holders. Kristick recently served as a managing director of Premier Partnerships.

Bud Light is celebrating its first season as the official and exclusive beer of the NFL Ultimate Fan Experience, giving fans experiences in 2012. In addition, as part of the NFL Kickoff festivities, Bud Light will host Bud Light Fan Camp exhibition events with the camp being incorporated into Jimmy Kimmel Live, where Kimmel will challenge fans to test their football skills in a variety of different challenges. 

Digital Fields

NASCAR.COM saw the site’s second most-trafficked day of the 2011 season on Tuesday with the AdvoCare 500atAtlanta Motor Speedway. Sunday’s rainout helped push traffic on Tuesday when the race resumed, to draw 8.6 million page views as well as more than 1.2 million uniques. NASCAR.COM is managed by Turner Sports.

The Main Event

NFL season kicks off on NBC with a good looking Saints/Packers matchup at 8:30.


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ON THIS DAY in 1995: The Cleveland Indians clinch their first AL Central Division title.

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question:  Which university did Chad Ochocinco attend? Oregon St. Kudos: Matthew Nicholson – IMG Media/NY; Bobby Coyle – New York Yankees Radio Network, CBS Digital Media Group/NY; Patrick Maura –  wieden + kennedy/NY; Meltresia Brady – Fitzgerald and Company/Atlanta; Jim Himmel – American Saver/San Clemente, Adam Deverell – Cox Reps/LA; Rich Roberge – KUNS-TV/Seattle; Steve Miller – R2C Group/Portland

In The Know:  Who was the very first draft pick ever for the Carolina Panthers? (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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