Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, January 25, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

CBS Sports is set to launch its most comprehensive lineup of PGA Tour events, announcing that the channel will carry 23 golf tournaments this year, for a total that tops 155 hours of coverage in 2012. Events will include the Masters, PGA Championship, 20 PGA Tour events, one Champions Tour event as well as seven golf specials. The season gets underway this Saturday at 3p with the Farmers Insurance Open, live from the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla. Jim Nantz serves as anchor for the networks’ golf coverage with Sir Nick Faldo, returning for his fifth year as lead analyst.

On the Air

The Naval Academy has ended its long run of football independence to join the Big East conference, where they will begin competing in the 2015 season as a football-only member. Navy has played as a football independent since the program began in 1879. With the departures of Syracuse, Pitt and West Virginia, in 2015, the Big East football membership will consist of Boise State, UCF, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, Navy, Rutgers, San Diego State, USF and SMU.

With the NHL All-Star Weekend on deck for Sunday’s 4p game, NBC Sports Network has slated 10 hours of coverage for the event, beginning with the NHL Fantasy Draft Pre-Show on Thursday at 7:30p, followed by the NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft at 8p. The network will also air the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday at 7p and wrap up Sunday with the game. Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play) and Olczyk (analyst) will anchor coverage. Heading into the All-Star break, viewership for NHL games on both NBC and NBC Sports Network has grown compared to last season with NBC jumping 9% to 1.36 million viewers, while NBC Sports Network has grown 17% to 467,000 viewers.

NHL Network is set for 16.5 hours of coverage of the festivities, bringing NHL Tonight hosts Kathryn Tappen and Brian Duff, analysts Barry Melrose, Kevin Weekes, Mike Johnson and EJ Hradek and reporter Heidi Androl to the events.

While we’re on the topic of the All-Star Game, the NHL announced that the contest will feature performances from multi-platinum selling recording artist Drake, singer and rapper Outasight, and Javier Colon, winner of NBC’s The Voice.

Thursday’s public memorial service for former Penn St. coach Joe Paterno will air live in its entirety on BTN, BTN2Go, and, according to the network. “A Memorial For Joe” begins at 2p at the Bryce Jordan Center on campus. BTN will then re-air the service at 10p.

The UFC’s first big event on FX drew an average audience of 1.3 million viewers. That is down from Spike TV’s 2011 average of 1.9 million for the network’s three UFC Fight Nights last year.

MLS announced that the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game will be held in Philadelphia, utilizing PPL Park to host the game. The match will take place on July 25 at 8p, with broadcast coverage by ESPN2, either Galavision or TeleFutura and TSN and RDS. The 2012 AT&T All-Star Game will mark the ninth time in League history that an elite international club has played the MLS All-Stars squad.

MLS squad Real Salt Lake has entered a deal with ABC affiliate KTVX for a new, multi-year broadcast agreement with will bring 10 live games to the station, while the station-operated KUCW will carry the remaining 20 non-national broadcasts. The station’s coverage kicks off on March 10 for a match with the Galaxy.

Phillies broadcaster Andy Musser has passed after a 45-year career that included a quarter century with the team. Musser retired in 2001.

The longtime play-by-play voice of the Packers, Bucks and Badgers Jim Irwin has died. The WTMJ staple joined the company in 1969.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Nielsen’s year-end roundup of sports events on national broadcast and cable revealed that with more than 42,500 hours of live sports events on the platforms last year, the industry generated $10.9 billion in advertising expenditure, up from 2010’s $10.3 billion. Cable sportscasts drew an increase of 37.3% over 2010, compared to a 5.9% spike overall for sports ad spending. Top ten heavyweight spenders in the sports categories were (in order): AT&T, Bud Light, Verizon Wireless, McDonald’s, DIRECTV, GEICO, Sprint Wireless, Southwest Airlines, State farm Insurance and Miller Light.

Ford unveiled the Fusion prototype of its 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry yesterday, which was modeled after Ford’s production car and was a result of feedback NASCAR collected from its fans. This marks the second version of the Fusion, which debuted as Ford’s flagship model in the NSCS in 2006.

New Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is considering changing the name of the franchise as well as its uniforms, according to local reports. He told reporters earlier this week that the team will conduct a study to decide whether or not a name change would be needed.

Digital Fields is bringing back its popular fantasy game Streak For The Cash for the new year, with Progressive insurance returning to serve as the presenting sponsor. The game challenges players to select the outcome of daily sports-related questions tied to the day’s events, and the company will add some tweaks this year that include a weekly feature in the new show Numbers Never* Lie on ESPN2 as well as a Facebook Friends feature, which will allow fans to compete against each other automatically via the ESPN Facebook application.

The USA Today Sports Media Group has acquired Fantasy Sports Ventures (FSV) and Big Lead Sports into the company portfolio. When all FSV assets are combined with the other USA TODAY Sports Media Group properties, the company projects that the slate of digital properties will become one of the top five sports sites on the web. 

Sugar Ray Leonard is launching with interviews and commentary on some of his most memorable fights with Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns and others. On the site, Leonard will also feature interviews with the likes of Mike Tyson and Tommy Hearns.

The Main Event

A potentially good looking Big Ten matchup between Minnesota and Michigan St. runs on BTN at 8:30p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1924: The first Winter Olympic games open in Chamonix, France.

Answer to Friday’s Sports Trivia Question: Who caught the game winning pass from Eli Manning that gave the Giants a victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII? Plaxico Burress caught the game-winning touchdown. Kudos: Rob Stecklow – NFL/NY; Daniel Schachne – NBA/NY; Deidra Maddock – ESPN/NY; David Tratner – Runner’s World/NY; Chris Faulds – Bell Media Interactive/Toronto; Gregg Hess – NCC Media/Minneapolis; Frank Forgey – Missouri Broadcasters Association/ Jefferson City; Ray Strain – ESPN/Chicago; Valerie Tucker – VALJTUC Management/Garden Grove; Miriam Aardahl – OMD/LA; Brian Sullivan – KHQ-TV/Spokane; Bryan Geidt  – DIRECTavenue/Carlsbad.

In The Know: Wayne Gretzky’s streak of eight Hart Trophies as the NHL’s MVP was broken by which hockey great? (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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