Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Cynopsis: Sports
04.30.13

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, April 30, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

With ratings in for last weekend’s coverage of the NFL Draft, both ESPN and NFL Network scored gains from the three days of coverage. ESPN’s telecasts saw upticks in both ratings and viewership compared to 2012, according to Nielsen, with the 15-plus hours on ESPN and ESPN2 earning a 2.1 rating overall, up 3% over 2012 and 6% over 2011. Average viewership scored 3,035,000 viewers, up 4% year-to-year. Top metered markets included New Orleans with a 4.7 rating, followed by Birmingham, Ala., Kansas City, Buffalo and Dayton, Ohio. On the digital front, the average minute audience to the NFL section on ESPN.com and the ESPN mobile Web was up 13% and 7%, respectively, compared to last year.

Around the dial on NFL Network, the channel’s coverage garnered in record rating and viewership numbers for the network, with the channel averaging 933,000 viewers for a spike of 23% over 2012. Meanwhile, NFL Network’s rating for the 2013 NFL Draft jumped 26% over 2012 to a .62 HH rating. Digital platforms saw even more dramatic heights, as NFL.com and NFL Mobile’s draft coverage grew to over 13 million unique viewers, a 31% increase over 2012, with NFL Mobile up 126% versus last year.

On the Air

NBC Sports Group offers up 14.5 hours of Kentucky Derby coverage starting tomorrow at 4p on NBC Sports Network with Kentucky Derby Classics, and wrapping it up with the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby on NBC on Saturday, starting at 11a on NBC Sports Network and continuing at 4p on NBC. Coverage will feature co-hosts Bob Costas and Tom Hammond along with analysts Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey and more. Online, NBC Sports Live Extra will stream Kentucky Derby week coverage on NBC and NBC Sports Network and offer four online-only camera angles that showcase the activity happening across Churchill Downs on Derby day as well as online-only analysis and replays from key prep races.

ESPN announced six prime time Big Ten Conference college football games for the new season across ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. Action will feature three Ohio State games as well as two Penn State and two Michigan matches, including the Notre Dame/Michigan contest on September 7, which kicks off the slate of games.

A few more details on broadcast plans for the NHL Playoffs, which start today with games set for NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC, and NHL Network. While NBC Sports Network will serve as the primary home of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, NBC offers exclusive afternoon coverage during the weekend of May 4-5. NBC will also broadcast the conference semifinals during the weekend of May 18-19, as well as a primetime game on Saturday, May 25; the Saturday games of the conference finals on June 1 and June 8, and Game 1, Game 4, and Games 5-7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, analyst Eddie Olczyk and ‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst Pierre McGuire will call the Stanley Cup Final.

ESPN officially unveiled its programming plans for the College World Series and, as expected, will cover all 16 sites of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship from Friday, May 31 to Monday, June 3. That marks the first time every first-round game of the event  up to 7 games from each of the 16 locations for a total of a possible 112 matchups over four days  will be available to fans live on a national platform. ESPN will also launch Bases Loaded, a four-day platform that updates fans with unlimited live cut-ins and highlights from games, plus up-to-the-minute commentary from ESPN analysts and experts each day of the Regionals. In addition to the expanded Regionals schedule, ESPN will continue to cover every Super Regional site (up to 24 games from eight sites) and all possible 17 games of the College World Series. The 2013 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship field of 64 teams will be announced on May 27 at Noon on ESPNU.

Golf Channel announced the largest grand prize in the history of its Big Break series when the series returns on May 13 at 9p with Big Break Mexico. The winner will receive a sponsor exemption to either the PGA TOUR’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba or the LPGA Tour’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational presented by Banamex and Jalisco (both Nov. 14-17) as well as $50,000 in cash; an endorsement contract from Adams Golf, which includes an additional $10,000 in cash; $5,000 in cash from Dick’ s Sporting Goods; $10,000 in car rental credit courtesy of Avis Car Rental, $15,000 in travel credit from Travelocity; and an all-expense paid return trip for two to the all-inclusive, adults-only Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The winning team on Big Break Mexico also will receive $30,000 in cash courtesy of Macanudo.

The NBA’s relocation committee was unanimous in rejecting a potential relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle, likely resulting in a denial by the NBA Board of Governors to allow the move. The Board of Governors is slates to meet during the week of May 13 to discuss the situation.

NESN announced record Bruins ratings for the channel this NHL season, with benchmarks that include records in demographics that include: Adults 25-54 with a 65% climb year-to-year to a 5.7, Men 25-54 (7.6, up 76%), and Women 25-54 (3.8, up 47%)

The Oakland Raiders agreed a multi-year radio rights deal with 95.7 The Game that will include broadcast coverage of the Raiders’ pre-season, regular season and post-season games this season, according to local reports. The station will also broadcast additional Raiders programming, including pre and post-game shows.
 


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Sponsorship & Promotion

NBC Sports Group will tap Civic Entertainment Group, the newly acquired marketing agency by Seacrest Global Group, to develop and execute experiential marketing campaigns and broker strategic, promotion partnerships for the network starting with the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs campaign and continuing through NBC Olympics’ presentation of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. The first campaign drops this week, with NBC Sports and the NHL teaming with Crumbs Bake Shop to celebrate the start of postseason. As part of the “Because It’s The Cup” marketing campaign, NBC and CEG have created a limited edition set of Stanley Cup Cupcakes that feature Crumbs Cupcakes featuring all sixteen (16) playoff clubs to be sold at 65+ Crumbs retail locations throughout the country as well as a co-branded mobile vehicle touring key playoff cities distributing the specially “iced” Cupcakes.

NBA center Jason Collins received the support of his sponsor Nike following his decision to announce in Sports Illustrated that he was gay. The brand released a statement that read, “We admire Jason’s courage and are proud that he is a Nike athlete. Nike believes in a level playing field where an athlete’s sexual orientation is not a consideration,” according to CNN.

Jamba Juice Company inked a deal to sponsor USA Water Polo that will see USA Water Polo and its 2012 Olympic Medalists join Jamba to support activities aimed at inspiring and simplifying healthy, active lifestyles. Athletes will serve as spokespersons for Jamba’s energy drink. 

Digital Fields

Major League Baseball is deepening ties to YouTube, announcing a stronger partnership that will deliver highlights from the current season as well as archival footage to site. In addition, the deal will allow baseball fans outside the US, Canada, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan to watch two live games each day during the regular season.

The NFL announced the league’s first-ever NFL Sports Journalism & Communications Boot Camp that will see twenty three current and former NFL players look to improve each player’s writing skills for newspapers, radio, and the digital media industry. The camp runs from May 13-16 at Bowling Green University and will include athletes such as Charlie Batch, Troy Brown and Eric Crouch.

The United States Golf Association launched usopen.com, marking the official website of the 113th U.S. Open Championship, which will be played at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., from June 13-16. The site offers enhanced design and functionality, and is powered by IBM cloud computing and analytics technologies. A redesigned video console now offers fans an interactive experience that includes sectional qualifying coverage and enhanced course profile.

The Main Event

The NHL drops the puck for the playoffs beginning at 8p with Wild/Blackhawks on NBC Sports Network and Kings/Blues on CNBC.


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In The Know: For the first time since 1996, all of the NHL’s Original Six teams are in the playoffs. What are the teams? (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: What late-night host was once a reporter for ABC’s Wide World of Sports? Answer: David Letterman. Kudos: Perry Serwitz-Fox Sports/NY; Ross Molloy-CBS Sports Network/NY; Doug Boynton-International Broadcasting Bureau/Washington, DC; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA; Alan Perris-Academy of Television Arts & Sciences/North Hollywood; Larry Hutchings/Pacific Palisades.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
04.30.13

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