Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, July 13, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

ESPN’s telecast of the 2011 State Farm Home Run Derby, which was won by New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, drove in a ratings hit for the channel. ESPN’s coverage this year averaged nearly 6.7 million viewers for the telecast, to mark a 4% increase compared to last year, according to Nielsen’s fast nationals. The corresponding 4.7 rating was up 2% over last year’s 4.6 rating, and peaked with a 5.1 from 9:30-10p. Top five markets for the derby included Boston (with a 10.3), Milwaukee (9.3), Providence (8.4), St. Louis (7.8) and Hartford/New Haven (7.5). Online, ESPN Digital Media’s average audience across the MLB spectrum grew 15% over 2010.

On the Air

Fox Soccer is hitting Europe this summer, by way of Asia, by lining up the “Summer of Soccer” a month before the new season of the English Premier League kicks off. Programming is set to include 18-time English League and five-time European champion Liverpool in pre-season action while on its tour of Asia. The first game is set to take place today at 8a and another on Saturday at 5:30a. Next week, the channel will showcase Manchester United and Chelsea on their pre-season tours of the USA and Asia, respectively.

It’s a battle between two heavyweights with ESPN squaring off against Ohio St. ESPN filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court this week, claiming that the university officials violated the state’s public records law by not providing emails between then-head coach Jim Tressel, Athletic Director Gene Smith, and President Gordon Gee. The requested emails related to the NCAA investigation that led to the loss of Tressel as well as and star quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The lawsuit asks the court to release the records as well as reimburse ESPN for attorney and court costs. For its part, Ohio State is citing the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act, which was designed to ensure student privacy, as the reason for its refusal.

Days after a French television car caused two riders to crash at the Tour de France, race organizers installed new rules designed to help keep the athletes safe from the media frenzy. New restrictions for media vehicles now include a rule that cars must keep a two-minute distance from the race if roads permit. Nearly 170 cars and motorcycles are reportedly on the course for each stage of the race. On Sunday, Spanish rider Juan Antonio Flecha was hit by a car and slid into Holland’s Johnny Hoogerland, who then hit a barbed wire fence. Both riders finished the leg in spite of the injuries.

Golf Channel will make its presence felt at this week’s Open Championship from Royal St. George’s with more than 25 hours of coverage, including a two-hour pre-tournament conference show at 2p today. Morning Drive will expand to four hours Wednesday-Friday beginning at 7p and feature pre-event news conferences, phone interviews and leader board updates from Royal St. George’s. The Grey Goose 19th Hole is set to air at a special time on Wednesday at 8:30p. Features during the week will include Don Cheadle voicing Championship moments form the Open, a feature on Charl Schwartzel as well as an online chat with John Hawkins.

Forbes released its list of most valuable sports franchises, and to no one’s surprise, football (both American and international) dominated the rankings. The top ten most valuable franchises are:
1.      Manchester United, $1.86 billion
2.      Dallas Cowboys $1.81 billion
3.      New York Yankees $1.7 billion
4.      Washington Redskins $1.55 billion
5.      Real Madrid $1.45 billion
6.      New England Patriots $1.37 billion
7.      Arsenal $1.19 billion
8.      New York Giants $1.18 billion
9.      Houston Texans $1.17 billion
10.     New York Jets $1.14 billion

The NBC Sports Group is going all in for this year’s coverage of top celebrity golf tournament, the American Century Championship. Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Tony Romo, Tim Tebow, Aaron Rodgers, John Elway, and Jerry Rice are all scheduled to participate from Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Lake Tahoe, Nev., with coverage starting Friday at 4p on Versus before moving to NBC on Saturday and Sunday at 3p.Golf Channel will re-air Versus’ first-round coverage on Saturday at 11a. Dan Hicks, Roger Maltbie, Gary Koch, Mark Rolfing, Dottie Pepper and Jimmy Roberts will anchor the telecast. Golf Channel’s Holly Sonders will also be reporting on-site throughout the week for Morning Drive.

HBO Sports is ready for the super lightweight title unification bout between Amir Khan and Zab Judah, with World Championship Boxing on Saturday, July 23 at 10p. The bout will take place from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, and the telecast will be executive produced by Rick Bernstein.

Fox Sports Media Group will offer coverage of the 2011 US Open of Surfing on FUEL TV, which includes three and a half hours of programming for the surf, skate and BMX finals on Aug. 7 at 4:30p with two live Re-Open highlight shows set for Aug. 5 and 6. FUEL TV’s daily variety show The Daily Habit is set to dedicate an entire week to the Nike US Open of Surfing beginning Aug. 1

University of Texas at San Antonio is gearing up for its first season of football, and has completed a deal with Belo Corp.’s CBS affiliate KENS for the university’s inaugural football season. UTSA will begin its 11-game football season on Sept. 3 when the team takes on  Northeastern State.

Dorna Sports S.L. and ESPN STAR Sports have inked a five-year pact to broadcast the MotoGP World Championship on ESS’s platforms in 24 countries across Asia, which will extend the platform’s coverage until 2016. ESS has been broadcasting the MotoGP World Championship for the past 16 years, with the new agreement set to include exclusive Pay-TV rights across all of the company’s Southeast Asia territories and non-exclusive Pay-TV rights for its South Asia markets.

ESS did lose, however, rights to the French Open for the Indian subcontinent, with Neo Sports winning the bid. Neo Sports acquired broadcast rights for the Grand Slam event for the next five years, beginning in 2012 and including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives.

In soccer news, CFA Team China is coming back to China Central Television agreeing to a three-and-half year deal with China Football Industry Development Company/World Sport Group to broadcast games involving the National Teams at all levels. The deal will launch with the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifying match against Laos in Kunming on July 23, which will be televised nationwide sports channel, CCTV 5, and will continue until the end of 2014.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Major League Baseball Properties (MLBP) has locked down a five-year sponsorship extension with Chevrolet that will keep the company as the “Official Vehicle of Major League Baseball,” which it has held since 2005. The deal will keep Chevrolet’s exclusive category rights, with Chevrolet remaining the presenting sponsor of three of baseball’s most prestigious awards, the Roberto Clemente Award, the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award and the World Series Most Valuable Player Award. Chevrolet will also remain presenting sponsor of the annual All-Star Red Carpet Show. As part of its commitment, Chevrolet will provide media support to national Major League Baseball television rightsholders, and continue to produce MLB-themed commercials.

The NHL and Molson Coors won a legal battle on Tuesday when the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that their $375-million sponsorship deal was legal. The sponsorship agreement had been challenged by rival brewery Labatt which had won a lower court’s decision that an agreement was already in place between the two parties, thereby nullifying the Coors deal.

Mastercard has bought itself a sponsorship with the Open Championship golf tournament, which will begin in 2012 and run over a four-year term. The Open Championship is the oldest major golf championship in the world and the only major that is currently hosted outside the US.

Digital Fields

MLB’s first-ever “Social Media Derby,” which integrated social media into Monday’s State Farm Home Run Derby seems to be a winner in its first outing. The 23 All-Stars who actively tweeted from the field during the event gained a combined 121,428 new followers over an 18-hour period for an average increase of 17%. Leading the pack was Robinson Cano whose Twitter following soared84% during that time period. In addition, the MLB and Club Facebook and Twitter accounts gained a combined 52,375 new fans/followers in that same 18 hour period.

The USA/Brazil game delivered with the most unique viewers ever for a women’s sporting event on the broadband sports network. The World Cup quarterfinal logged 220,000 unique viewers with nearly an hour of time spent watching the match per unique viewer.

The Main Event

ESPY’s with host Seth Meyers at 9p on ESPN.


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in  1972 – The Los Angeles Rams (Irsay) and the Baltimore Colts (Rosenbloom) swapped owners

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question:  Who did the US beat to win the Women’s World Cup in 1999?  China. Kudos: Stephen Narissi – Optimedia/NY; Jonathan Halitsky – Team Epic/Atlanta; Mike Doyle – Spot On Media Consultants/Madison; Bob Eisenstaedt – Granite Springs Productions/Tampa Bay; Mike Patterson – Turner – SI Digital/Chicago; Scott McAdams – INTERSPORT/Chicago; Derek Crownover – Crownover, Blevins, P.C./Nashville; Nick Alivernia – ABC National Television Sales/Dallas; Greg Moloznik – GLM Media Dynamics/Scottsdale; Anne Wettig – FX Network/LA; Daniela Jeffries – Fox Soccer/LA; Adam Deverall – Cox Reps/LA; Peter Sullivan – The Marketing Arm/Marina Del Rey

In The Know: Which player has the most all-time wins in the Home Run Derby?  (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 … 

A story that struck me earlier this week was the lockdown on any companies looking to congratulate Derek Jeter in ads. In the story, Jeter’s agent said that organizations may not run ads with Jeter’s image, name, the number 3,000 or the word “captain” in them to commemorate the landmark, save for the sponsors he has a partnership with. I admit, this one has me scratching my head. Obviously, other than using a player’s image and name, mandating that certain words are forbidden in advertisements could make for an interesting free speech case. Anyone out there care to enlighten me on this? Is this over the top or simply necessary in today’s marketplace?

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

I hope you get some good responses to your ‘In My Opinion’ question. I would like to hear some real answers. I know enough to recognize the issue as you framed it.  It’s either 1-part legit warning, 1-part scare tactic, or perhaps there is some case law where a plaintiff successfully sued over rights to publicity based on context alone (here there being no other well publicized 3,000-anything going on = so it could only be a use of Derek Jeter). I think the latter would create what lawyers like to call a chilling effect; while anyone can sue for anything, someone shouldn’t be able to win based on indirect contextual references.

James De Francisco

It’s a simple reminder to those companies with affiliations to the NY Yankees that unless you are one the companies he endorses, with a binding personal services agreement whereas he has authorized those companies, with his permission (and that of his agent) to use his image and likeness, they can’t create an ad that gives off the implied impression there is a relationship between the two entities.  What is turning people’s heads is the proactive nature of the agent’s message but I see nothing wrong with it.

Michael A. Neuman

Later — Chris
 Chris Pursell for Cyn opsis | Sports
July 13, 2011

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