Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, January 24, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Victories by the Giants and Patriots propelled the NFL to the most watched Conference Championship Sunday in 30 years, according to fast national ratings from Nielsen with an average of 53.7 million viewers. The Giants/49ers matchup handed FOX with the third most-watched conference championship game of all time, drawing 57.6 million viewers. FOX scored a 30.6/44 rating/share for the game. Over on CBS, the Ravens/Patriots nail biter handed the network with 48.7 million viewers with a 27.4/48 in households.

On the Air

The Breeders’ Cup and the NBC Sports Group inked a multi-year media rights partnership that begins with the 2012 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The event will take place on November 2-3 from Santa Anita Park, featuring the first-ever running of the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in primetime. NBC and NBC Sports Network will combine to offer 9.5 hours of live coverage of the event including live primetime coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Classic on NBC on Saturday, Nov. 3 beginning at 8p. This will mark the return of The Breeders’ Cup to NBC where it was broadcast from its inception in 1984 through 2005 before moving to ESPN.

EPIX announced that the channel will run a trio of fights from world heavyweight champions Vitali Klitschko (WBC Belt), Alexander Povetkin (WBA) and Wlandimir Klitschko (WBO, IBF and WBA) beginning Feb. 18. All three boxers will defend their respective championship crowns over three consecutive weeks on the channel. The fights will be televised live in the U.S. exclusively on EPIX, with EpixHD.com also streaming the fights live as part of a special free trial offer for boxing fans.

Fox Sports is launching a new sports channel in Brazil as part of an aggressive expansion into the territory. Fox Sports Brasil will officially kick off on Feb. 5 with the Libertadores da America Cup serving as a programming anchor.

FOX is also spreading its wings into the Hispanic market here at home, launching MundoFox, a new Spanish language network that will launch in this Fall. The venture between Fox International Channels and RCN Programming will include content from FOX Deportes, which carries sports programming ranging from the UFC to various soccer tournaments from around the world.

ESPN unveiled its 2012 NCAA college lacrosse programming slate which will span ESPN, ESPNU and ESPN3. The telecasts will include 49 total games, featuring 39 regular season matchups, as well as six conference on ESPNU and ESPN3. Coverage begins with Johns Hopkins hosting Towson on Friday, Feb. 17, at noon on ESPNU.

FUEL TV is reportedly set to air eight preliminary bouts for the upcoming UFC on FOX: Evans vs. Davis event this Saturday starting at 5p.

NASCAR on SPEED is back with the return of NASCAR Race Hub, and the channel is tweaking its lineup of NASCAR-driven programs. The network’s longest-running NASCAR program, Trackside, will now split to two nights a week with one on Friday evenings and the second on Saturday. Krista Voda hosts with Kyle Petty, Rutledge Wood and Marianela Pereyra all returning to the show. Danielle Trotta is bolstering her responsibilities for 2012, as she will now host tech show NASCAR Performance, working with McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and Chad Knaus from SPEED’s Charlotte-based studio. Meanwhile, congrats to SPEED’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain which is gearing up to celebrate the show’s 10th year in 2012.

MLB Network game show Baseball IQ will premiere tonight at 9p, with another episode set at 9:30. Hosted by Matt Vasgersian, the series is a trivia show featuring 32 participants from each of the teams including front office personnel, equipment managers, scoreboard operators and museum curators who will square off in a bracket-style tournament over 31 episodes. Two new episodes will air every Tuesday through Thursday at 9p through February 23, leading up to the start of Spring Training.

Golf Channel is beefing up instructional programming this year with a new season of The Golf Fix airing each week from 7-8p on Mondays. In addition, Golf Channel’s new instruction series, Golf Channel Academy, will feature Hall-of-Famers Greg Norman and Annika Sorenstam sharing the best tips and lessons they ever received from tee-to-green. Norman kicks off the series tonight with a five-week run featuring new, half-hour episodes of instruction focusing on full swing, bunker play, driver, short game and putting. Rich Lerner will co-host alongside Norman.

The Big South Conference is welcoming Longwood University as its newest member effective with the 2012-13 academic year, bring 13 of its 14 sports to the table. The addition of Longwood gives the league four members based in Virginia, joining Liberty, Radford, and VMI, as well as four in North Carolina and four in South Carolina .

Ed Delaney has been promoted to Senior Vice President, broadcast operations and engineering at the YES Network where he will be responsible for all aspects of the technical operations for the company. Delaney joined YES in October 2001 as director of operations.

Outside Television has named Dennis Gillespie as Senior Vice President of Distribution where he is charged with expanding distribution and extending the network’s reach by creating alliances with multichannel providers and Internet companies. Gillespie was most recently Senior Vice President of GSN.

Fun World Media acquired distribution rights in North America (USA, Canada), all of South and Central America, as well as in all Caribbean territories for 45 one-hour episodes of the Strongman Champions League television series.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Tennis Channel announced two new consumer marketing initiatives during the network’s coverage of the 2012 Australian Open. The first is dubbed The Tennis Channel Advantage program, which offers viewer discounts, exclusive tips and news, access to VIP events, and a chance to connect with other members. The second will be used to engage online audiences, giving away a racquet signed by tennis stars each week to Facebook users that “Like” the channel’s profile.

Legacy Sports Group announced that the company is merging with marketing and management company The Agency Sports Management TLA Worldwide, to form The Legacy Agency, Inc. (“TLA”). The newly-combined unity “intends to become the pre-eminent, fully integrated representation and marketing services agency with an on-field focus on professional baseball. As a combined group, TLA will unite industry-leading capabilities in baseball, broadcasting, coaching, golf and talent marketing as well as event management.”

A higher profile has caused the UFC to reconsider some long standing partnerships. Multiple reports state that promotion has decided to implement a ban on gun and weapons sponsors from all UFC events.

Aspen Dental reached a multi-year agreement with Stewart-Haas Racing to serve as the primary sponsor of Ryan Newman’s No. 39 team with driver Ryan Newman at the July Sprint Cup race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway as well as at the September event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. In other races, Aspen Dental will be an associate sponsor with placement on the lower-rear quarter panel of the vehicle.

Papa John’s is betting on a coin toss for its Super Bowl promotion, announcing that if fans can correctly call whether the coin lands on heads or tails, they will get a free pizza and a 2-liter of Pepsi MAX. Here’s a stat to help make the decision. 24 of the 45 tosses have come up heads, and 21 tails…

Digital Fields

WWE announced the launch of its new Russian language website, developed by Russian-based Tvigle Media that will replicate content from the global WWE website and include localized content created specifically for Russian fans. 

The Main Event

Cavaliers visit LeBron James and the Heat on NBA TV at 7:30p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1964: CBS purchases the 1964 and 1965 TV rights to the NFL for $28.2 million.

Answer to Friday’s Sports Trivia Question: Who was the first pick in the 2001 NFL draft? Michael Vick. Kudos: Sarah Galvin – Flashpoint Mktg Inc/NY; Noah Coslov – CineSport/NY; David Mulhern – Sucherman Consulting Group/NY; Bob Nuttall – Univision/Atlanta; Dan Radman – Busch Media Group/St. Louis; Lance Williams – Comcast Spotlight/Chicago; Rich Allport – Viacom/LA.

In The Know: Who caught the game winning pass from Eli Manning that gave the Giants a victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII? (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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