Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports


Good morning. It’s Tuesday, December 6, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The first-ever Pac-12 Championship game on FOX Sports on Friday night delivered a 3.2 overnight rating to the network in spite of the lopsided matchup, according to Nielsen. The score represents the network’s second-highest Friday night rating of the fall TV season, behind only its coverage of Game 7 of the World Series. Meanwhile, inaugural overage of the Big Ten Championship game handed the channel with a 4.3 overnight score.

On the Air

FOX is lining up some battle of heavyweights ahead of the 2012 NFC Championship Game with a live broadcast of Arsenal and Manchester United from the Emirates Stadium on Sunday Jan. 22 at 10:30a. Later that day, FOX Sports offers its 18th consecutive NFC Championship Game at 6:30p for the right to go to the Super Bowl. FOX Sports’ Barclays Premier League coverage continues on Super Bowl Sunday, Sunday, Feb. 5, when the network airs “The Game Before the Game” featuring Chelsea hosting Manchester United, live from Stamford Bridge at 10:30a.

As for the NFL, FOX drew a hefty 18.5 overnight rating for its Sunday games, led by a Packers win over the Giants to mark the third-highest NFL overnight this season, and up 3% over the same week in 2010. On CBS, the network’s early-afternoon Sunday regionalized action drew a 9.7 in the overnights for a 27% rise. Meanwhile, NBC’s Detroit/New Orleans game received a 11.9 in fast ratings, off pace by 18% from last year’s game. The game was the Lions first on SNF with Detroit delivering a 26.5 rating/37 share. New Orleans led all markets with a 56.3 rating/69 share.

Meanwhile, NBC and the NFL confirmed that Madonna is lined up to perform at the Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show. Madonna said in a statement that she will be teaming with a creative team from Cirque du Soleil, choreographer Jamie King as well as multimedia artists from Moment Factory, “to create a signature performance for the Super Bowl’s Halftime Show, which will be broadcast worldwide.” Super Bowl XLVI will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Sunday February 5.

The news has been expected for a while, but a new report states that the NFL is close to renewing TV deals with rights fees with its current broadcast partners growing by over 60%. Of course that adds fuel to the fire that the NFL is about to get a whole lot richer. SBJ reports that negotiations could create $24 billion over the next eight years with a deal beginning in 2014 and running through the 2021 season. ESPN has already locked in rights for MNF, at a similar increase and the new deals could be completed within a month, according to the report.

The NBA announced with preseason games will open on Friday, Dec. 16 with a Wizards/76ers matchup at 7p. Two other games will also take place on that day including Cleveland/Detroit at 7:30p and New Orleans/Memphis at 8p. (By the way, I apparently shouldn’t have hockey on TV in the background while I work as I mistakenly called the Celtics the Bruins yesterday as part of TNT’s Christmas Day NBA broadcast. But it would have been fun to see the Bruins charge the lane!)

With the Bowls games locked down, ESPN announced plans for its coverage of The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 9, at 9p, as well as the 77th annual Heisman Trophy Presentation Presented by Nissan on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 8p. The live telecast from the Best Buy Theater in New York will be simulcast on ESPN3 and ESPN Mobile TV and accessible online at WatchESPN.com. ESPN Radio will also broadcast the announcement of the winner.

CBS Sports has named Dan Weinberg as Senior Vice President, Programming of CBS Sports Network where he will oversee CBS Sports Network’s programming department, working closely with CBS Sports, Showtime Sports and CBSSports. Weinberg most recently served as Vice President, Licensing, Major League Baseball.

MMA Promotion Bellator announced that the promotion will open its sixth season on Friday, March 2nd live on MTV2 and EPIX with fights running every Friday night during the season. The premiere marks the first time Bellator has aired on Friday nights.

After watching Oklahoma St. get shut out of the BCS Championship Game in favor of an all-SEC matchup, Interim Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas told the AP on Sunday night that he is throwing his support behind the “Plus-One” model that will allow for an extra game to be played before crowning a champ. “The plus-one model has received consideration before,” Neinas said. “As a result of this year, I feel that consideration should become more serious as we move forward.” If the model was in place for this season, LSU would have faced Stanford in one game while Alabama would have played Oklahoma State in another, with the winners then moving on to play for the title. Meanwhile, Boise St. coach Chris Petersen echoes his frustration with the BCS after his team was left out of the most lucrative games, telling local reporters that “everybody is just tired” of the BCS system.

FOX Sports announced that veteran sports television producer John Entz has returned to the company to serve as Senior Vice President, Production, FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG). His responsibilities will now include all studio and event production for the networks and entities within FSMG, including FOX Sports, FOX Sports Regional Networks, SPEED, FOX Deportes, FOX Soccer, FUEL TV and FOXSports.com as it pertains to digital programming. He will also serve in an advisory capacity to the Big Ten Network. Entz most recently served as Senior Vice President of Production for MLB Network since September 2008, and helped launch the platform.

Golf Channel is expanding Morning Drive to seven days this week to recap all of the action from the Dubai World Championship, the season-ending event on the European Tour. Morning Drive will air live Tuesday and Wednesday from 7-9a, and Thursday-Sunday from 8-10a.

Sportsman Channel is entering a partnership with author, hunter and outdoorsman Steven Rinella, to launch new original series, MeatEater on the network.  The weekly half-hour series is a Sportsman Channel original production and will premiere on January 1, 2012 at 9 pm ET.

HBO Sports voice Liev Schreiber will continue to work with the network in spite of his new series with Showtime, according to Deadline.com. HBO Sports renewed its overall deal with the actor to serve as the voice of virtually all HBO documentaries as well as the 24/7 reality series, and the NFL reality series Hard Knocks, according to the report.

ESPN dropped NHL analyst and former NHL star Matthew Barnaby, who was arrested and charged with DWI on Monday. Deputies told station WGRZ that Barnaby was driving his Porsche Cayenne on a rim, which caused sparks and after being pulled over, failed standard field sobriety tests and refused a breath test.

Sponsorship & Promotion

The NHL and NBC Sports announced that for the fourth straight year, the duo are partnering to produce the national advertising campaign for the upcoming 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, set for Jan. 2 between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers. The TV commercials at the center of the campaign will showcase the historical competitiveness and long-standing rivalry between the teams and cities, as well as celebrate the NHL Winter Classic as the new holiday tradition and appointment television for sports fans. The NHL and NBC Sports Agency, along with global advertising agency, Young & Rubicam, developed the creative for this year’s campaign with spots bowing this past weekend within several sports telecasts, including SNF.

Twenty current and former NFL players are set to take part in the league’s first-ever Business of Music Boot Camp at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music in New York. The program will run from Feb. 27-March 1, 2012 and feature interactive workshops focusing on all aspects of the music industry including production, artist development and management, digital music, publishing, marketing and touring. Participants will gain a better understanding of establishing a career in the music industry and how to develop business plans from their creative ideas.

The NFL Players Association and IMG Worldwide Inc. announced a strategic partnership to develop the inaugural AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, set to take place on the campus of California State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, CA on January 21, 2012. Under the terms of the agreement, IMG Events and Federations will consult and support event and game day operations for the AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. The game is designed to showcase the top draft eligible collegiate football players from across the country.

Digital Fields

Major League Baseball is turning its famed Fan Cave into a new competition series that will showcase a group of fans vying for the title of King of the Cave. Throughout the season, fans will be eliminated until one winner is crowned before the finale of the World Series. MLB is now looking for contestants at MLBFancave.com.

ESPN The Magazine is continuing its tradition of spotlighting a group of emerging athletes to watch in the year ahead, dubbed NEXT and for the first time ever,The Maghas launched a website where fans can vote on which athletes are NEXT. The list of candidates can be found at www.espn.com/NEXT .

CBSSports.com is bringing in veteran journalist Jon Heyman to help the site cover Major League Baseball. He will officially begin on Dec. 12. Heyman comes to CBSSports.com after five years working for Sports Illustrated.

Digital media service provider XOS Digital announced that former IMG College executive Tom Stultz is joining the company’s board of directors. Stultz was previously responsible for IMG College’s multimedia rights business as Senior Vice President and Managing Director for College Media.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter told reporters that the organization will be bringing in goal-line technology for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in an effort to quash the controversial calls of past tournaments. In an interview with El Mundo Deportivo, Blatter said the move would become reality for the 2014 event, noting, “Brazil 2014 will have technology to avoid ‘phantom goals.”

The Main Event

Red Wings/Blues on Versus at 8p should be a classic battle.


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ON THIS DAY in 1992: 49er Great Jerry Rice catches his 101st touchdown, an NFL record.

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: What was the last non-SEC team to win the BCS Championship Game? Answer: Texas in an epic battle vs. USC. Kudos: Shawn Gerchicoff – Turner Sports/Atlanta; Adam Freifeld – NBC Sports & Olympics/NY; Mike Gammone – Fox Sports Media Group/NY; Kirk Agius – Clear Channel Media & Entertainment/Tampa; Lucie Prann – The Richards Group/Dallas; Joanna Kuebel – Entertainment Studios/Chicago; Mary Ryan – Raycom Media/Dallas; Larry Hutchings – Retired/LA; Jordan Cohen – USC Athletics/LA; Andrew Hilton – KPMR Univision/Santa Barbara.

In The Know: Who was the only defensive player in modern history to win the Heisman? (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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