Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, June 15, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Multiple reports are suggesting that talks between NFL owners and players are finally progressing to the point where both sides are hopeful that they could reach a labor agreement before the end of June. The two sides met this week in Washington DC in an effort to hammer out a collective bargaining agreement, and owners have been informed to clear their schedules next week in order to allow late night discussions for their scheduled meeting on Tuesday in Chicago.

On the Air

Former University of Michigan football head coach Rich Rodriguez didn’t stay unemployed for long, inking a deal with CBS Sports Network to serve as a game and studio analyst for the 2011 college football season. Rodriguez will be paired with play-by-play announcer Dave Ryan to call the games, and he will also be part of the Network’s weekly studio programming from New York City.

Univision continues to draw eyeballs with its coverage of the 2011 Gold Cup, scoring a 3.2 rating among M18-34, with its coverage on Sunday of the Mexico vs. Costa Rica match. That score was good enough to lead the channel to a second place finish in the demo among all networks, as well as with A18-34, A18-49, and M18-49. Overall, 7.1 million viewers tuned in to all or part of Mexico’s 4-1 victory. In LA, the game scored as the top ranked program in the time period among A18-34.

ESPN Films has found another outlet for its roster of documentaries, and will turn to ESPN Classic as a destination for its content. Dubbed “ESPN Films on Classic,” the company set to program films for 50 hours each weekend, beginning at 10p on Friday and running through midnight on Sunday. ESPN Films will also look to acquire sports films to complement existing programming. Additionally, ESPN Films will create an annual documentary film series that will debut on ESPN in the Fall. The early programming schedule includes featured films from the 30 for 30 series beginning with director Brett Morgen’s June 17th 1994 on June 17 (appropriately).

More NCAA conference movement, as The Western Athletic Conference added Seattle University to its roster, July 1, 2012. The university was approved in a vote at the conference’s annual Board of Directors meeting. With the addition, the WAC will consist of nine full-time members for the 2012-13 season; Denver (non-football), Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Seattle (non-football), Texas State, UTSA and Utah State, following the losses of Boise St., Fresno St., Nevada, and Hawaii last year. (Anyone think that they should consider creating an east coast football-only division to boost numbers for football and only fly across country one time a year?)

Entering its second year, ESPN 3D is fleshing out its upcoming schedule and will once again air the State Farm Home Run Derby as well as increase the number of college football games televised by the network in its sophomore year. The channel will also add 17 Little League World Series games to the lineup in August as well as two upcoming World Football Challenge games in mid-July. Earlier this month, the channel announced it will televise Wimbledon’s Gentlemen’s semifinals and the Finals of both the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s draws.

Congrats are in order to Darrell Waltrip for making the 2012 class of inductees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Waltrip is, of course, lead TV analyst for NASCAR on Fox & SPEED as well as three-time NASCAR champion, and will join Cale Yarborough, Dale Inman, Richie Evans and Glen Wood in the class.

NFL Network is taking’s first podcast series placing it on the small screen. The network will add The Rich Eisen Podcast to its schedule beginning tomorrow, where it will run on Thursdays at 8p. The television premiere will include Eisen chatting with Hines Ward, as well as Cris Collinsworth and Kyle Chandler. The actual podcast will be available for download on and iTunes immediately following the network debut.

ESPN’s presentation of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship is set to wrap up with all 17 possible College World Series games beginning Saturday, with telecasts set to include the use of K Zone, as well as new graphics. For the first time, College World Series telecasts will feature “K Zone 2.0,” which will identify the speed and location of a pitch in replays as well as track the path of the ball from the pitcher’s hand through the strike zone. All of the graphics in each telecast will incorporate the appearance of technical drawings similar to blueprints used for architecture or engineering designs that morphs into the actual stadium, team logo, and player names.

ESPN is also lining up five former FIFA Women’s World Cup players from four countries for its coverage of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany in two weeks. Taking the microphone will be USA’s Kate Markgraf and Cat Whitehill, Mexico’s Monica Gonzalez, Australia’s Alicia Ferguson and Viola Odebrecht from Germany who will all take part as match and studio analysts for the tournament. The five analysts will be joined by play-by-play commentators Adrian Healey and Beth Mowins.

The Radio Television Digital News Association has recognized BTN with an Edward R. Murrow Award for the network’s feature story on Brock Mealer, the brother of University of Michigan football player Elliott Mealer. The network won for the category of video sports reporting and the story examines the 2007 car accident that took the lives of Brock and Elliott’s father, David, as well as Elliott’s girlfriend and left Brock partially paralyzed from the waist down. Brock later led with Wolverines, using two canes to walk, onto the Michigan Stadium field before their 2010 season opener.

ESPN and Arbitron Today unveiled the results from a proprietary research study at the ARF Audience Measurement 6.0 Conference, which measured consumption of ESPN Radio affiliates and football content on ESPN TV networks, both in home and out of home. This study demonstrated that radio listening and out-of-home TV viewing increased ESPN’s Reach by an additional 15.5 million persons, or 23 percent, over in-home TV viewing while the increase in time spent with the content was greater, adding 9.1 billion minutes, or 40 percent, over the average in-home TV audience.

Best Entertainment Group inked an exclusive agreement to the Ed Randall Talking Baseball library of 530 half-hour classic sports interview TV shows from Talking Baseball Productions, LLC., optioning worldwide rights for television, DVD, VOD and digital download. Randall is currently host of New York radio powerhouse WFAN; and a weekly radio host on SiriusXM’s national MLB radio network; and as the New York Yankee’s post-game host on MY9 Network.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Fox Soccer Channel is undergoing a makeover, with the channel unveiling a new name, re-designed logos, upgraded studio sets and a high-tech on-air graphics package. The channel will now be known only as Fox Soccer, and the network’s new look featured a typeface more closely aligned with its FOX heritage. The new studio sets and improved on-air graphics packages will be unveiled as the Barclays Premier League and UEFA Champions League kick-off in 2011, and FOX Soccer begins producing all of its programs shows from Studios A and B on the FOX Studio Lot.

Formula 1’sTeam Lotus now has the power of GE, which inked a sponsorship deal and technology partnership with the race team. GE branding will now appear on the Lotus cars and infrastructure beginning with next month’s Silverstone race.

NASCAR Team Properties is teaming with Spin Master Ltd. to build out the sport’s merchandising program and to extend its reach with the youth demographic. The deal makes Spin Master the primary toy licenses for NASCAR and the new line of products will begin hitting store shelves in 2012. The multi-year agreement gives Spin Master exclusive licensing rights for NASCAR branded toy categories including replica vehicles, play sets, action figures, as well as remote control items and more

Digital Fields

Sunday’s season debut of TNT’s NASCAR telecast saw the network’s online steam of RaceBuddy on NASCAR.COM set a single-day record-setting traffic of 1.1 million streams, besting last season’s total by 187% (375,000 in 2010), as well as RaceBuddy’s previous single-day best 712,000 streams (set in Pocono, June 8, 2008). In addition, RaceBuddy Player Page Views grew 24%, total Racebuddy visits were up 52% and uniques were up 45%.

Move over EA, there’s a new sheriff of social sports. Nordeus, developers of popular Facebook soccer game Top Eleven, has now reached the top spot among active monthly users, besting EA Sports FIFA Superstars for the first time. Top Eleven is now the most played sports game on Facebook, with over 2.8 million monthly active users and 700,000 people logging on daily to pit their football managerial skills against that of their friends.

The Main Event

Who doesn’t love a game 7? Coverage of the deciding game in the Stanley Cup Finals between Boston and Vancouver begins at 8p on NBC. Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick and Eddie Olczyk anchor with analyst Pierre McGuire stationed “inside-the-glass.” The studio show will feature host Dan Patrick and analysts Keith Jones and Mike Milbury.

ON THIS DAY in  1928 – Ty Cobb stole home for the 50th and final time.

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: Now that the Mavericks have claimed the NBA Championship, what was the last professional team in Dallas (from the traditional “big four” sports) to be crowned champion?  The Dallas Stars took home the city’s previous championship in 1999. Kudos: Ross Molloy – CBS Sports Network/NY; Rob Donner – Entravision Northeast TV Stations/NY; Jeff Miller – Meredith Corporation/Atlanta; George Finkel – MegaSports Productions/Myrtle Beach; Scott McAdams – INTERSPORT/Chicago; Suzy Shoup – Moroch/Dallas; Mike Patterson – Turner SI Digita/Chicago; Brendan Moran/NCC Media/Chicago; FitzJohn Flynn – Rewarding Media/LA; David Chill – DIRECTV/LA; Sean Boardman – KCPQ TV – Seattle; Dottie Diaz – KVOA TV/Tucson

In The Know:  What quarterback won the Super Bowl that followed the last strike-shortened season?  (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 Cyn opsis | Sports
June 15, 2011

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Agree or disagree? 

In My Opinion …

In spite of their newly-found paydays, recent scandals have only highlighted the growing flaws within the NCAA. The organization is in trouble, and it’s only going to get worse if doesn’t start making a stand and provide proactive leadership, even if the decisions aren’t popular. Passing the buck and blaming the BCS, USC, Pryor, Tressel, the state of Arizona, and so forth isn’t going to make these issues go away. Recently, coaches at some of the BCS schools have been vocalizing support to begin paying players, an idea that sounds terrific on paper, and is perhaps deserved. But when you look at school athletic budgets, you quickly realize that the only universities that are able to afford this are the BCS schools, leaving behind the vast majority of the country’s institutions. If NCAA executives don’t provide the leadership necessary to execute some sort of vision soon, maybe those columnists suggesting a BCS split is in the future will be on to something.

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


I enjoy reading your opinions on the Cynopsis Sports emails I get… I’ve coached basketball at every level, high school thru the pros and I spend half my time as a sports choreographer/coordinator/consultant on movies, TV and commercials (one of the main reasons why I subscribe to you guys!)

Today’s topic about the NCAA really caught my attention because I agree with you 100%.  The NCAA wants to show that they have a firm grip on these programs and try to flex their muscle… what went on at USC and Ohio State is not uncommon, they just happened to punish 2 programs that because of who they are can bounce back fairly quickly.  If this happened to other schools such as  Georgia State, UTEP or even a school like Hawaii, it would devastate them like no other…  SMU had the death penalty in the 1980’s and they had a hard time recovering from that.  As for paying players, I personally think that is what they should do but the NCAA would have to subsidize the whole program in order for every school to pay their players… you are right when you say that only the BCS schools can afford it and even then there are some schools that would not be able to stay afloat.

There is no sure way to get this NCAA thing straight, college athletics especially football and for some schools basketball is a BIG money maker, programs and conferences make millions and the rich keep getting richer…  Everything is not on an equal playing field and it probably never will! 

You have great stuff and always look forward to it…

Hernando Planells

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