Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, February 6, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

We are now officially a year out of the 2014 Sochi Olympics and NBC is offering a peek of their plans for the Winter Games. The network announced that it will launch primetime coverage of the Games on Thursday, February 6 to capture early competition, one night before the broadcast network offers traditional primetime coverage of the Opening Ceremony. This will mark the first time any U.S. media company has dedicated primetime coverage to Olympic competition before the Opening Ceremony. To celebrate the one year out occasion, NBCUniversal will distribute promotional messages today across NBC, Telemundo, 17 cable channels, including Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network; 10 NBCU-owned stations and 235 NBC affiliates, the NBC Sports Radio network; the NBC Sports Regional Networks; and more than 40 NBCU websites.

At a press event to mark the occasion, NBC executives confirmed that they will utilize a similar streaming strategy as was used in London last year, with every event carried live on a platform with some tape-delayed coverage flagged for primetime. Executives also anticipate pulling a profit off of the event and ad sales are pacing “extremely well.”

On the Air

Let’s kick it off with two notable firsts for two notable sportscasters…

  • FOX Sports revealed that Gus Johnson will call his first-ever match for FOX Soccer on Feb. 13 for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at 2p. The assignment marks the first in a series of Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League matches (and probably World Cup) Johnson is expected to call on FOX. Johnson has previously called over a dozen MLS games on radio, mostly those of the San Jose Earthquakes.
  • For the first time in his career, ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale will call Final Four game for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The company announced that Vitale will serve as the analyst on Final Four telecasts from Atlanta, calling a semifinal and the championship for ESPN International, joining Brad Nessler. The telecasts will reach sports fans in 150 countries and territories across 35 television and broadcast networks outside the United States.

ESPN2’s two-hour morning show First Take is adding an additional live half-hour afternoon show starting tomorrow featuring commentators Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, along with host Cari Champion. The new addition will run at 3:30p on ESPN.

Spike TV made it’s flirtation with former UFC fighter Randy Couture official, announcing that the former champion will serve as a coach for the channel’s upcoming series Fight Master: Bellator MMA that will debut this summer. Couture inked a multi-year partnership with the network that includes various non-scripted projects including MMA Rescue, where Couture will seek to help struggling gyms become successful.

Ernie Johnson hosts a special edition of TNT’sNBA Tip-Off with analysts Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith on Thursday at 7p that will see Barkley and O’Neal drafting their respective BBVA Rising Stars Challenge teams as team GMs of the event. The telecast will also feature the exclusive unveiling of the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night participants who will take part in events such as the Sears Shooting Stars competition, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, Sprite Slam Dunk as well as Cynopsis Bench Warming. (Ok, not the last one.).

SPEED pinned down an in-depth interview with “The King” Richard Petty which will be shown in a one-hour special episode of A Racer’s Life on Feb. 18 at 8:30p. The episode features interviews with Petty and his four children  Kyle Petty, Rebecca Petty Moffitt, Sharon Petty Farlow and Lisa Petty Luck.

Pac-12 Networks and have plans locked in for Signing Day tomorrow. Starting at 8p, host Mike Yam will be joined by analysts Rick Neuheisel and Yogi Roth for a two-hour Pac-12 Football Signing Day Special. The trio will deliver the latest signing and team class lists that were secured during the day and feature interviews with Pac-12 head coaches sharing their thoughts on their 2013 recruiting classes. Online, starting at 9a, the conference will begin offering content and video commentary on the newest members of the family via a dedicated signing day channel on Pac-12 Post.

Tennis Channel added former No. 1 Rafael Nadal’s first singles match in seven months to its Wednesday lineup, where he will be featured at 4p at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar, Chile. Nadal has not played a tour singles match since being upset by Lukas Rosol in the second round of Wimbledon last June. Leif Shiras will call the match for Tennis Channel.

The Super Bowl edition of NBC Sports Network’s NFL Turning Point runs tonight at 10p breaking down the Ravens’ win last Sunday. For the episode, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was wired for sound during the game.

As races gear up for this year’s Kentucky Derby, HRTV announced the premiere of weekly series Fasig-Tipton Pursuit of the Crown, presented by, starting tomorrow at 8p. Laffit Pincay, III hosts with Gary Stevens serving as analyst. Scott Hazelton returns to offer Triple Crown news and perspective.

Travel Channel is teaming with Sports Illustrated for a revealing look at the exotic locales being used in the 2013 edition of SI Swimsuit franchise. The one-hour special, dubbed Sports Illustrated: The Making of Swimsuit ’13 – 7 Continents, 17 Wonders, premieres Sunday, February 17 at 8p.

Comcast SportsNet Chicago is launching a new, live, weekly series called Full Court Press-presented by Buffalo Wild Wings that will hone in on the latest Bulls and NBA news and player/team analysis starting Tuesday, February 12 at 5p. Full Court Press will be co-hosted by Comcast SportsNet’s Bulls Pre/Post Game Live tandem of Mark Schanowski and Kendall Gill.

Ack! Did you miss the deadline for the Cynopsis Sports Media Awards? Well, you have one last opportunity to submit your late entries before our final deadline passes on Friday. Click here to enter!




Award categories range from Best Live Coverage of a Sporting Event to top Online/Video Game, to Best Marketing Campaign to Top Digital Executive.
To see the complete list of categories, click here.
Entry deadline is February 8th!

View 2012 Winners & Honorable Mentions & Submit your Entry Today!

Sponsorship & Promotion

Hilton HHonors renewed its sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams, extending its deal through the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio. As the official hotel sponsor of Team USA, Hilton HHonors provides discounted hotel rates to U.S. Olympians and Paralympians, the USOC and members of National Governing Bodies, as well as renovations to U.S. Olympic Training Centers.

Formula 1 has entered a five-year sponsorship agreement with Emirates airlines that will offer company branding at 15 races this season. Branding will reportedly be displayed on circuit bridges, ground signs and in the F1 paddock.

In addition, Rolex has signed on to become the title sponsor of the 2013 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix that will take place in Melbourne on March 14-17. The news follows Rolex’s Global Partner agreement signed in December to serve as the Official Timekeeper and Official Timepiece of Formula One.

NBC Sports Group tapped Steven Justman to serve as Vice President, Sales, NBC Sports Ventures. Justman will now oversee sales efforts for NBC Sports Ventures’ business portfolio, which includes Alli Sports, the American Century Golf Championship, the National Dog Show and the Rugby Sevens Collegiate Championship. Prior to joining NBC Sports Sales, Justman served as President of Entertainment, Sales & Marketing for indoorDIRECT.

Digital Fields

Super Bowl data keeps pouring in. The game’s streams on, and NFL Mobile from Verizon set multiple viewership records for a single game sporting event in the United States and also made history as the most social telecast ever, according to data provided by Omniture and third-party monitoring firms. The live stream drew three million unique viewers to the Super Bowl XLVII video player, up 43 percent from Super Bowl XLVI. Viewers generated nearly 10 million live video streams, up more than 100% over year ago numbers, resulting in a record 114.4 million minutes streamed, which was up 46%.

WWE on YouTube reached the 1 million subscribers milestone yesterday, continuing the brand’s growth pattern on the platform. The company saw a 340% increase in subscribers over the past year.

The Main Event

Minnesota and Michigan St. tangle on BTN tonight at 7p.


JUST ANNOUNCED: Cynopsis Webinar

Maximize Hispanic Market Engagement to Increase Viewership & Brand Lift
Wednesday, February 27 | 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET

La Loca Entertainment: Diane Librizzi (CEO/Executive Producer)
Univision Communications: Steve Mandala (EVP of Advertising Sales)
The Vidal Partnership: Tony Ruiz (Partner, Communications Planning)


ON THIS DAY in 1993: Tennis legend Arthur Ashe dies from AIDS-related pneumonia.

In The Know: Due to technical complications, let’s try this again! What number bonds Dr. J, Franco Harris, Magic Johnson, Sandy Koufax and Shaq? (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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E-mail [email protected] or call Trish Pihonak at 888.702.3858 for rates and specs for Job Openings.

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