Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, December 20, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

FOX Sports Media Group named producer Scott Ackerson as interim president of SPEED, beginning Jan. 1. Ackerson currently serves as Executive Vice President and Executive Producer for FSMG and will continue in that role. He previously was Coordinating Producer for FOX NFL Sunday.

On the Air

The NBC Sports Group and Red Bull Media House announced a long-term partnership for the development of a new property, the Red Bull Signature Series, which will bring 35 hours of action sports programming to NBC and the NBC Sports Network beginning next month. The Red Bull Signature Series will include snowboarding, mountain biking, freestyle motocross, ice cross downhill, skiing and BMX events and is set to kicks off on NBC on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Ratings for last weekend’s NFL games saw CBS Sports’ coverage of The NFL on CBS – led by a Patriots/Broncos matchup – deliver an overnight household rating/share of 19.5/36, up 16% over last year’s 16.8/31, according to Nielsen. That score is the highest rating in the metered markets for an NFL game telecast-to-date in the 2011 regular-season on any network, topping the previous high set by FOX with the Dallas/New England game in October. The rating was also CBS’ highest regular season number since 2007.

On NBC, SNF saw a Chargers blowout over the Ravens draw an 11.3/18, according to overnight data. The rating is down from last year’s Week 15 game that featured the 11-2 Patriots hosting the 8-5 Packers (15.2/24). Top markets included Baltimore, San Diego, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Sacramento.

NFL Network’s special Saturday night Cowboys/Buccaneers game was watched by an average of5.6 million viewers, to mark a 27% bump over the comparable game last year. This continues the channel’s uptick trend this year, with viewership growing 19% year-to-year so far.

Johnny Miller and Sir Nick Faldo, with eight major championship titles between them, are on deck to call an entire tournament together as co-analysts for the first time at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Jan. 6-9, as the PGA TOUR’s 2012 season kick off on Golf Channel. The event will be the first of three consecutive tournaments covered exclusively by the channel to begin the year.

SPEED revealed its January plans with six events on deck beginning Jan. 7 with the Monster Energy AMA Supercross season-opener, NASCAR testing beginning Jan. 12, the famed Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction launching Jan. 17, the third annual NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Jan. 22, and live coverage from the 50th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. In addition, Mario Andretti will present the 2011 SPEED Performer of the Year on Jan. 29.

With a launch set for 2012, the Pac-12 Network named Leon Schweir as its Senior Vice President of Production and Operations. Schweir will oversee all remote and studio production and operations for the Pac-12 Networks. He previously spent 25 years in production and programming with Madison Square Garden Networks and became the second employee of the Big Ten Network in 2007 when he was named Executive Producer/Vice President of Production.

Syndicated morning program LIVE! with Kelly is launching a sports-themed week from January 9-13, 2012, locking in Reggie Bush, Carl Edwards, Boomer Esiason, Jesse Palmer, and Apolo Anton Ohno to fill the co-host chair each day.

In the Big East vs. WVU legal battles, the Big East has asked a Rhode Island judge for a preliminary injunction that mandates that West Virginia stay in the conference for the full 27-month waiting period, according to the AP. Meanwhile, in West Virginia, a judge denied a motion by the conference to dismiss a separate West Virginia University lawsuit aimed at speeding up its exit from the conference to the Big 12.

ESPN released a statement to reporters on Monday stating that college football analyst Craig James was no longer with the company as he has declared his candidacy for the open US Senate seat in Texas. James had also been a tailback at SMU as well as with the Patriots

Sponsorship & Promotion

The NFL announced that twenty current and former NFL players will take part in the first-ever NFL Pro Hollywood Boot Camp, set to take place at Universal Studios in Universal City, California from April 2-5.The program is being directed by NFL Player Engagement and Film Life Inc. and will offer an overview of creative disciplines in the film industry including screen writing, directing, producing and film financing. John Singleton, Robert Townsend and Keenan Ivory Wayans are all set to share their knowledge with participants who will then have the opportunity to shoot and edit a short film.

Insurance company Geico inked a three-year extension as the “official automobile insurance company” for the NHL in the U.S. with the company expanding activation with the league to support the upcoming Bridgestone Winter Classic, the NHL’s All-Star Weekend and the Stanley Cup playoffs and Finals. Marketing will be anchored by two new hockey-themed commercials from the carrier airing on NBC on Jan. 2. Geico also announced a partnership with Major League Fishing on Outdoor Network.

Digital Fields

TuneIn is partnering with ESPN Audio in allow TuneIn listeners access to the selection of live and on-demand sports programming. This relationship commences with the availability of play-by-play coverage of the college football BCS games, which can be heard live through the TuneIn service in January. In addition, TuneIn listeners will have access to all ESPN audio coverage, including live play-by-play games, and popular shows such as “SportsCenter,” “Mike And Mike In The Morning,” “The Herd With Colin Cowherd” and more.

The Main Event

A battle of midmajor conference powers in Butler/Gonzaga on ESPN2 at 9p.


“I have been performing feats of strength all morning.”  Frank Costanza, Seinfeld

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ON THIS DAY in 1985: Sportscaster Howard Cosell retires from television after 20 years with ABC.

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: Who was the last receiver taken with the first pick in the draft? Answer: Keyshawn Johnson to the Jets in 1996. Kudos: Stephen Posnock – Nielsen/NY; Evan Perlmutter – One Line Sports Agency/NY; Adam Honig – IMG College/NY; Paul Brewer – Turner SI Digital/NY; Paul Tarrants – RTM Productions/Franklin; Scott Roegner – Rogers and Cowan/LA; Paul Gygli -NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City.

In The Know: When Cosell made his famous call “Down Goes Frazier! Down Goes Frazier! Down Goes Frazier!” in 1973, who was Joe Frazier fighting? (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 Cynopsis | Sports

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SITUATION WANTED: AD SALES ASSISTANT: (CHICAGO) Interned at Comcast Sports Net in Ad Sales, Works as Sales Assistant at NBCUniversal. Has B.A. from DePaul in PR/Advertising. Resume upon request. Contact [email protected] (12/22)

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