Tuesday, January 31st, 2012



NCAA March Madness®
176 Million Engaged Viewers

More Minutes on More Screens
4 TV Networks – TBS, CBS, TNT, TruTV
3 Websites, Mobile, Out of Home & Social

Marketing and Promotional Opportunities

The Road to the Final Four® Starts HERE
Source: 2011 Nielsen Custom Research Study; fusion of Nielsen (P2+), Arbitron (P6+), Omniture (P2+) and Bango (P13+) databases

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, January 31, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

NASCAR and Turner Sports agreed to restructure and extend their long-standing digital partnership in a new deal that runs through 2016. Under terms of the agreement, NASCAR will now manage business and editorial operations for its digital platforms starting in 2013 while Turner Sports continues to oversee advertising sales and sponsorships across NASCAR-branded digital platforms. NASCAR had been looking to assume operational control of its interactive, digital and social media rights and the new deal will grant that while keeping Turner Sports in the loop for sponsorships and advertising, while the unique users from the NASCAR digital properties continue to roll up to the Turner digital portfolio.

On the Air

In revised numbers for Saturday night’s UFC ON FOX event, the special handed the network with a 2.7/5 household overnight rating/share, which is up 42% over FOX’s Saturday primetime average for the previous four weeks (1.9/4), according to Nielsen Media Research. FOX Sports Research projects that the network will win the night among Adults 18-49. The two-hour event is down from the one-hour UFC on FOX premiere in November (3.5/6) that featured a heavyweight championship fight. Top markets included Las Vegas, Louisville, Indianapolis, Greenville and Tulsa.

The NCAA is reportedly mulling further division in the ranks that could split its top football playing schools from the rest of the pack. A USA Today report states that NCAA President Mark Emmert is appointing a group to examine creating a football tier that would divide the FBS ranks as financial disparities have widened between schools.

ESPN’s pairings for the 10th annual Sears BracketBusters slate of games, set for Friday, Feb. 17 and Saturday, Feb. 18, are locked in. This year’s field will feature 13 nationally televised games across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 selected from 142 eligible teams, with ESPNU airing five games; ESPN2 and ESPN3 each with two exclusively as well as four flex options that will be televised on either ESPN or ESPN2. Leading the broadcast matchups will be St. Mary’s/Murray St. at 10p on Saturday on ESPN/ESPN2.

While we’re on the subject, ESPN reports that ESPN and ESPN2’s men’s college basketball telecasts are bringing in bigger audiences this year, with ESPN averaging 1,068,000 households and 1,356,000 viewers based on a 1.1 rating through Jan. 26, marking increases of 4%, 3% and 10% respectively over last year at the same point. ESPN2 is averaging 402,000 households and 517,000 total viewers for increases of 10 percent and 9% respectively over last year. The rating is even at a 0.4 average.

Nielsen reports that in overnight numbers the NFL Pro Bowl saw a ratings dip on NBC on Sunday with a 7.9 score in households, marking a drop of 8.1%.

NBC is set to air Road to the Super Bowl at noon on Sunday, produced by NFL Films which went through 1.7 million feet of game film from the season to create the show. The program will look at how the two teams got to the big game and will feature original orchestral music, including a 60-person choir that was used in producing the show.

ESPN2 is set to air the 2012 All-Star Football Challenge on Super Bowl Sunday beginning at 4p. The 14th annual event will showcase 12 college football standouts who compete in a live skills challenge, with athletes that include Houston’s Case Keenum, Boise St. quarterback Kellen Moore and Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd. The ESPN broadcast team will include Joey Galloway, Mark Jones, Danny Kanell, Jesse Palmer and Samantha Steele.

SiriusXM announced that it will broadcast Super Bowl XLVI in 10 languages, with 13 different live broadcasts as well as a mix of sports and entertainment programming from Indianapolis throughout Super Bowl Week. Live shows will include Sirius XM NFL Radio, Rosie O’Donnell, Mad Dog Radio, Larry the Cable Guy, Maurice Jones-Drew, Fran Tarkenton and more.

BTN is will run a live, 90-minute Football Signing Day Special at 4:30p tomorrow, revealing what athletes have signed on to attend Big Ten universities. Mike Hall hosts with analysts Gerry DiNardo,Howard Griffith and Chris Martin reviewing each school’s recruiting class and evaluating how each team filled its most pressing roster needs.

Mark Cuban told Access Hollywood that he has pulled out of the running to own the Los Angeles Dodgers. “It just didn’t work out. I wanted to buy a baseball team; they were selling a media rights deal,” said Cuba before stating that “The economics got so out of control because the Dodgers’ TV deal’s up for bid and so there’s a lot of groups coming in going, ‘This TV deal’s worth so much money that we’re gonna pay whatever it takes to get the Dodgers.’ And so they’re buying the TV rights deal first and the team second.”

R&B star John Legend is getting in the debate ring with ESPN’s Skip Bayless, where they will grind it out tomorrow at 10a on ESPN First Take on ESPN2. Other musicians to take the hot seat have included LL Cool J, Lil Wayne, Common and Queen Latifah.

MSG Network is dedicating the week to the New York Giants with news and developments from Super Bowl XLVI as well as a new nightly show. The channel will air Giants Road to the Super Bowl every day through Friday this week at 10:30p, featuring Bob Papa, Carl Banks, Anita Marks and Paul Dottino, and include press conferences, player interviews and other news from the day. Throughout the week, MSG Network will also telecast special Giants episodes from its vault that include The Game 365 and Halls of Fame.

NESN announced a pair of new arrivals; including Jenny Dell as its Red Sox field reporter and Matt Stairs as a Red Sox studio analyst.  Dell joins from ESPN where she served in a variety of roles including on-air reporter. Stairs joins after wrapping up a 10-year career in MLB in 2011.

Fox Sports Latin America locked down a deal with MP & Silva for media rights to the Lega Nazionale Professionisti Serie A (the “Italian League”) through 2015, inking an exclusive sublicensing agreement for all Serie A matches in all media throughout Latin America and Brazil, beginning with the 2012/2013 season.

Bellator Fighting Championships is partnering again with the Armed Forces Network, extending a relationship that was formed in 2010. The new deal will make Bellator’s sixth season and beyond available to approximately one million service members and their families deployed to 175 countries around the world.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Ace Metrix unveiled some of its Super Bowl Ad Facts complied from the broadcast of the big game. Among its findings: During last year’s Super Bowl, ads without celebrities performed 9.2% better than those with celebrities; ads with animals performed 21% better than ads with celebrities, and that the 2011 Super Bowl auto ads were nearly 12% more effective than 2010 automotive Super Bowl ads. Ace Metrix will be tweeting the results of many of the Super Bowl ads as they break on Sunday at @ace_metrix.

Cartoon Network announced a bevy of sponsors for the channel’s upcoming Hall of Game Awards on Feb. 20 at 7p. Among the brands locked in to the telecast include the NERF brand from Hasbro, Kids Foot Locker and Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s upcoming film “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.” TNT NBA analyst Shaquille O’Neal will host. Through Jan.26, HallofGame.com has received over 49 million votes, already surpassing last year’s total of 37 million.

The LPGA is releasing four new spots as part of the “See Why It’s Different Out Here” marketing campaign that first launched last year. The 30-second spots are now available at LPGA.com and will also be seen on Golf Channel, the LPGA’s international television partners, and local tournament markets throughout the 2012 season.

For the first time since entering the NFL in 1995, the Carolina Panthers are changing their logo and logotype. According to the team’s press release, the new look was designed to “provide a more aggressive, contemporary look to the logo while making it more three-dimensional for ever-increasing digital use.” The Panthers will transition to the new look throughout 2012.

Sportscaster James Brown, who hosts CBS’s The NFL Today and Showtime’s Inside the NFL, is teaming with Verizon to launch a national campaign designed to end domestic violence against women and men. The campaign will feature Brown promoting respect and equality and he asks men to be informed and be appropriately proactive when they witness disrespectful or abusive behavior.

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Think you’re an MVP in the world of sports media or will your rivals steal the spotlight? Enter the Cynopsis Sports Awards and bring home a crystal award for your shelf, recognizing the grit and strategy you’ve shown all year long. The awards will cover the best of 2011 from the world of television, radio and online, with categories that range from news shows to apps to marketing campaigns.

Digital Fields

The NFL revealed some new tweaks in its digital plans for the Super Bowl this year. Superbowl.com will showcase live programming, community features, in-depth event coverage from reporters and expert analysts, plus an interactive trivia challenge. In addition, the league released a new app, the Super Bowl XLVI Official Guide Presented by Verizon, to spotlight the local restaurants, nightlife, and official Super Bowl events during the week, with a 3D map of Indianapolis and an interactive 3D map of Lucas Oil Stadium for game day.

ESPN Games and Disney Social Games are bringing the game ESPN Return Man to Facebook, marking the third collaborative social game release. The game is ESPN’s “first playable, action-based game in the sports category, giving the most avid sports fans a chance to test their return man skills on the digital gridiron.” Players can also channel a live feed of ESPN Radio through the sound system to receive the latest sports news while playing the game.

CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell will serve as host and industry expert for a NBC Sports Google+ Hangout discussion of the Super Bowl commercials on Monday, Feb. 6. During the conversation, Rovell will review the commercials, dissect their buzz, and interact with fans to find out what commercials worked best. On Friday evening, Feb. 17 during his NBC Sports Network show CNBC SportsBiz: Game On, Rovell will also reveal the most popular Super Bowl commercial as selected by YouTube Ad Blitz voters.

The Main Event

Rangers/Devils at 7p on MSG2.




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ON THIS DAY in 1988: The Washington Redskins beat the Broncos 41-10 at Super Bowl XXII in San Diego.

Answer to Friday’s Sports Trivia Question: What team did Ferris Bueller go see on is Day Off? The Cubs. Kudos: Jordan Goldberg – Disney and ESPN Media Networks/NY; Loni Berman – Lbi/NY; Chris Connaughton – USA Today Sports Media Group/NY; Matthew Willence –  ITN Networks/NY; Steve Alexander – Octagon/Chicago; Greg Finch – Time Warner Cable/Dallas; Jay Goslee – Comcast Spotlight/Nashville; John Ward – NBC Sports Group/Chicago; Jess Schoep- STARZ Entertainment/Denver; Steve Morrow – Eclipse TV/Mill Valley; Jordan Cohen – USC Athletics/LA; Michael Harabin – Tennis Channel/Culver City; Nick Monroe – Monroe Photography/San Diego.

In The Know: In what stadium was the very first Super Bowl held? (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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