Tuesday, July 5th, 2011



When the best soccer teams in the world meet, including Argentina,
Brazil, and Gold Cup winners Mexico, millions of fans are sure to follow.

Univision is the only place to see the action in real time.

Copa America. July 1-24 Live only on Univision and Univision.com.

Get into the game. Call Carlos Deschapelles 212-455-5209

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, July 5, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Well, Breakfast is all but over, with NBC sending a statement out to reporters over the weekend that they were “outbid” in their quest to continue their 43-year association with Wimbledon. The new home of the Grand Slam tournament will shift to ESPN, which is wrapping up negotiations to receive the full-rights package. According to Sports Business Journal, that deal will include plans to offer matches on its mobile application as well as via broadband and broadcast all matches live instead of on a tape-delayed basis. The agreement would bring the tournament fully under the ESPN umbrella beginning next year.

Tennis Channel is also in the thick of negotiations, with sources expecting the channel to close a renewal of its primetime broadcast rights package.

On the Air

The International Olympic Committee has awarded media rights to channels in France, Germany and South Korea. In France, the IOC gave France Televisions the exclusive broadcast rights in France for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio De Janeiro, as well as the 2018 and 2020 Olympic Games. As part of the deal, France Televisions will receive broadcast rights across all media platforms, including internet and mobile. In Germany, ARD and ZDF networks scored the contract which will run through 2016. In South Korea, the IOC inked a deal with SBS television which runs through the 2024, the first outlet so far to receive the rights that far in advance.

Meanwhile, the IOC will vote on the host city for the 2018 Winter Games tomorrow, with Pyeongchang, South Korea; Munich, Germany, and Annecy, France the three finalists in contention.

NASCAR ratings may be on the upswing this year, but that hasn’t stopped executives from looking forward. Representatives from the association met with the Sprint Cup Series drivers and owners to review results of an extensive research study that thoroughly examined the sport, which included four dozen focus groups, 223 interviews with industry shakers, and 110 hours of fan interviews conducted by seven different research companies. Now NASCAR will undergo a five-year plan of action to shore up interest in the sport. Among the issues NASCAR officials will take on immediately will be to remove barriers between drivers and fans (presumably not the concrete ones), help new fans quickly get acclimated to the sport; diversify drivers, brand drivers earlier in their careers and expand its digital and social media presence.

Spike TV is adding another “UFC Prelims” special to its lineup, this time ahead of “UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami” which will take place on Aug. 27 at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. Bouts are set to include Spencer Fisher vs. Thiago Tavares and David Mitchell vs. Paulo Thiago. Meanwhile, Spike TV’s recent counter-programming moves that featured UFC matches airing at the same time as Sunday’s UFC live event on Versus, didn’t go unnoticed by UFC President Dana White, who told reporters “That’s what I would do too, and you guys know I would do that” but later noted, “I owe you one, Spike.”

New York is dumping the Red Sox, with The New York Times Co. selling more than half of its stake in the Boston-based MLB franchise for $117 million. The shares went to three different buyers for a total of $117 million.

Today NFL owners and players are set to return to the bargaining table, with both sides scheduled to meet in New York in an effort to come to an agreement and save the preseason. In addition to revenue sharing, the sides are also reportedly trying to hammer out the installation of a “legacy fund” which would provide retired players with benefits once they walk away from the field, although union representatives have said that they do not want to contribute cash to it. Training camps are slated to begin at the end of the month, before the start of preseason on Aug. 7.

After weeks of programming, NFL Network concluded the channel’s “Top 100 Players” over the weekend with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady voted to the top spot by players in the NFL.

Fox is making the most of The Midsummer Classic, and will be showcasing a “world premiere preview” of The X-Factor at 8p right before the start of the 2011 MLB All-Star Game on July 12.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Sponsors are already hot and heavy with Olympic promotion, with BP resurfacing, Panasonic pushing digital and Great Britain itself all revealing plans for make the most of next year’s Games. One spot, created by tourism board VisitBritain, features stars such as Judi Dench, Rupert Everett, Twiggy, Jamie Oliver and Slumdog Millionaire’s Dev Patel all praising London culture ahead of the Games. BP is dropping its first spot in five years, although it won’t air in the US, featuring BP-sponsored athletes pushing the company’s dedication to fuels of the future. Finally, Panasonic has unveiled a slate of limited edition ‘London 2012’ branded products which include custom-designed versions of its DMC-S3 and Lumix G3 compact cameras as well as special edition gold SD cards.

Michael Vick and Nike had made amends with the Eagle quarterback inking a sponsorship deal the will bring him back into the Nike fold. Vick’s previous deal with Nike ended after the athlete’s 2007 conviction for backing a dog-fighting operation from a home he owned in Virginia.

The Australian Football League has extended its relationship with sponsor Toyota Australia for an additional three years in a deal deemed by League CEO Andrew Demetriou as possibly “the largest sponsorship for any sport in this country.” Toyota has been a premier sponsor of the league since 2004.

Digital Fields

Teams are already gearing up campaigns via Facebook and Twitter for the 2011 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by Sprint, which spurred fan and teammate support of the 10 candidates to the tune of more than 10 million votes in the first 24 hours of balloting. Voting ends on Thursday at 4p.

With the NBA lockout in full swing, league executives are ensuring that coaches and general managers do their part by threatening to drop a $1 million fine as well as a possible loss of picks for any coach caught retweeting or even just mentioning a player on Twitter. ESPN’s Ric Bucher first reported the Twitter ban on Friday.

The Big 12 Conference is giving its website a facelift, partnering with NeuLion to update Big12Sports.com. The site launched on July 1 with a new look as well as a stronger video presence and live streaming of numerous events. In addition, the league will by posting full rebroadcasts of any game that ran on broadcast partner ESPN on its network 72 hours after completion. Other assets will be added in coming months, including mobile and digital media platforms, as well as e-commerce solutions.

With a strong Armed Forces presence throughout the region, the San Diego Padres launched a military extension to the team’s website over the weekend that offers content tailored specifically for military personnel and their families as well as supporters of the U.S. Armed Forces. Visitors to the new section of the site will be able to access videos, photo galleries and stories that highlight heroes who have been honored by the Padres. The website is also showcasing special military merchandise and ticket discounts.

The Main Event

MLB action, Reds at Cardinals in a tight National League Central race at 7p on ESPN.



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ON THIS DAY in 1968 – The Philadelphia 76’ers trade Wilt Chamberlain to the Los Angeles Lakers

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question:    Who was the last pitcher to win the MLB All-Star Game MVP? Pedro Martinez in 1999. Kudos: Denis Barry – CBS Television Station Sales/NY; Bill Goodfriend – Charter Media/St. Louis; Tom Moore – Kalt Productions/LA; Matthew Morse – CBS47 KGPE Television/Fresno; Matt Landes – MATTER, Edelman Sports & Entertainment Marketing/LA

In The Know: From what university was Michael Vick drafted?   (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.)

In My Opinion …

With the official birth of the Pac-12, and the tip of my hat to Larry Scott for propelling that conference to new highs, I’m still curious how, exactly, they play to launch the Pac-12 Network. As the Big Ten found out, it’s not easy out there and after spurning Comcast in TV negotiations (Comcast is prominent is a slew of Pac-12 markets) but where now does the Pac-12 turn? Reports this week suggested that instead of Fox or Comcast, the conference may instead look to Apple or Google as a de facto MSO for a branded channel. That, of course, could be subscription-based and spawns questions on whether that the best way to for an organization with millions of dollars worth of content at its disposal to reach new highs. Commissioner Larry Scott has quickly surprised people before, so I wouldn’t bet against him

Agree or disagree?  Send in your views for posting here to chris [email protected] under Emails to the Editor …

I would agree that spurning Comcast presents a challenge, but this is not your typical stand alone looking for distribution. This is a network that enjoys strategic alliances with both FOX and ESPN. I think it will depend completely on how much either, or both, of these heavyweights are prepared (or contractually obligated) to go to bat for the Pac-12. As for Apple and/or Google, it should be fascinating to see what transpires if Larry Scott does choose to go in that direction. But whether he does or not, I think most would agree that the big digital players are likely to emerge as the primary distribution platforms of the future.

Michael Hurley

Later — Chris
 Chris Pursell for Cyn opsis | Sports
July 5, 2011

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