Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, August 16, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The Texas A&M Board of Regents has officially delivered University President R. Bowen Loftin with the authority to change conferences. This approval now helps pave the way for the university’s much-discussed move to the SEC. Reports suggest that if that happens, with the Big 12 falling below ten teams, Fox’s recent 13-year $1 billion TV deal with the conference could become void. Kansas State President Kirk Schulz told reporters that Big 12 TV partners Fox and ESPN would be consulted on potential new members but the conference although they would not be involved in the final decision and that both companies have reaffirmed that as long as the conference stays at ten teams, TV deals would remain unchanged.

On the Air

CBS Sports Network has unveiled its programming plans for the channel’s ninth season of college football coverage, which will feature games from the Mountain West,Conference USA, Army and Navy football, NCAA Division II and the Patriot League. Overall, the network will air 42 games this season, and will feature seven new voices to call games, including former University of Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez as well as and veteran play-by-play announcers Gary Thorne and James Bates. Rodriguez will be paired with Dave Ryan to call Conference USA and Mountain West games. CBS Sports Network’s studio programming will be anchored by Adam Zucker. Highlights from this season’s games include 10 games featuring Army, Navy and Air Force, and three Boise State games.

NFL Network drew a record 737,000 average viewers for the primetime Around the League: Preseason 2011special that featured live look-ins on preseason games. That number marks a 767% increase over NFL Network’s programming on the same night a year ago and scored as the highest-ever primetime August viewership for a non-game telecast. Online, NFL Digital Media properties, which includes NFL.com,NFL Mobile Only from Verizon and other NFL mobile products, scored the highest numbers ever for the first day of a NFL preseason,with unique visitors rising by 86 percent over the same day in 2010. Fans also streamed138 percent more NFL.com video than last year.

Keegan Bradley’s three-hole playoff win at the PGA Championship last weekend dipped 14 percent for CBS compared to year ago numbers, drawing a 4.3 overnight rating. The network peaked between 7:30p and 8:00p as it drew 6.6% of households during the playoff.

ESPN debuted a new Baseball Tonight studio last night showcasing the company’s largest sport-specific studio, with approximately 5,000 square feet. Highlights of the studio 19 40-inch LCD monitors and seven 70-inch LCD monitors; an anchor desk that contains three seamless monitors which can include graphics, headshots and logos; two LED displays for standings, results and editorially-driven graphics, and a demo field that includes a figurative baseball diamond and a dimensional pitcher’s mound;

With playoff spots on the line, MLB Network has lined up two key matchups for next week’s coverage of the sport, with division leaders the Red Sox/Rangers on deck on Aug. 23 and 25, with MLB Network’s Matt Vasgersian and Joe Magrane calling the game, while the Angels/Rangers series will be shown on Aug. 26 and 27. 

FOX Deportes opened its doors to this year’s coverage of the UEFA Champions League, and will run a total of 110 games this season. Programming is set to include highlights show Lo Mejor de la UEFA Champions League, and weekly series UEFA Champions League Semanal.

The preseason debut of the Washington Redskins scored the highest local rating for the team of any preseason game in 20 years. The contest, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, scored a 16.3 rating in overnight ratings on WRC and Comcast SportsNet, the previous high was a 15.1. Across Maryland, the Ravens game against the Eagles scored a 20.4 rating in WBAL and CSN locally.

The BBC has received approval to launch a temporary Olympics radio station during next year’s Summer Games as part of the company’s coverage while extending BBC3’s broadcast hours. The radio service will be dubbed BBC 5 Live Olympics Extra and is designed to give another outlet to the company’s Olympic programming portfolio. 

The Phoenix Business Journal revealed a study on the most overextended sports markets around the country, using a system that uses total personal income and using professional team revenue data and ticket prices to uncover the TPI needed to adequately support a team in each league. The top ten, according to the study, offer some surprises (at least for me) with rankings from first to tenth that include: Denver, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Cincinnati.

Galavision has just announced that they will air tomorrow’s Brazil vs. Mexico semifinal match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup with pregame coverage beginning at 8:30p and game time at 8:50p. 

Sponsorship & Promotion

In celebration of its recent relaunch, GolfChannel.com is offering an online sweepstakes, called “New Site, New Set,” that is designed to put more golf into the hands of fans visiting the site. The promotion will award Callaway Golf equipment to daily and weekly winners and will run through Sept. 11.

The UFC has renewed its ties with Harley-Davidson, announcing a multi-year sponsorship agreement with the famed motorcycle maker, which will now be featured across the sport’s platforms. In addition, Harley Davidson and the UFC have teamed up for a “Hometown Throwdown,” contest in which fan voting will determine the next location for an UFC event.

Digital Fields

ESPN is rebranding the company’s ESPN RISE platforms into ESPNHighSchool.com, which will include Facebook ESPN HS pages as well as a Twitter handle of @ESPNHS. The rebranding initiative is designed to collaborate efforts across digital media, television, radio, event and print platforms for the company to better serve high school student-athletes and fans.

The Southern Conference has reached a four year deal with ESPN3.com to showcase as many as 45 regular season and conference championship contests.The agreement extends ESPN’s current pact with the conference which continues through 2014-15. As part of the agreement, the eight regular season football games that the league produces for public television will also be made available through ESPN3.com. The deal also includes eight regular season men’s basketball games along with the men’s and women’s basketball tournament semifinals and the championship game of the women’s basketball tournament.

Kansas State has launched its own online network, dubbed K-StateHD.tv which will deliver sports to subscribers beginning Aug. 30, offering games from the university’s third-tier broadcast rights.

The Main Event

Division leaders Diamondbacks/Phillies square off on MLB Network at 7:05p.

ON THIS DAY in 1954: Sports Illustrated begins publishing

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: What was the original name of the New York Jets?  The New York Titans. Kudos: Rich Dubroff – C-Span/Washington DC; Fred Kopecki – Comcast/Philadelphia; Michael A. Neuman – Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; Dan Parisi – Rowland Publishing/Tallahassee; Dan Radman – Busch Media Group/St. Louis; Kevin Micklo – Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago; Jane Degen – Mass Relevance/Austin; Greg Moloznik – GLM Media Dynamics/Scottsdale; David Hauptman – Katz TV/Denver; Joe Pedri – KLAS-TV/Las Vegas; Alan Perris – The Television Academy/North Hollywood; Roman Saienni – Fox Sports/LA; Robin M. Massey – Warner Home Video/Burbank

In The Know:    What team did the Kansas State Wildcats play in their only BCS Bowl appearance?  (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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