Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, June 22, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

With details of a proposed CBA leaking out, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with the media yesterday, following a five-hour meeting with owners in Chicago.

“It was a good day in the sense that we had a full discussion on the issues and I think our ownership continues to be determined to reach an agreement and play that full season,” Goodell told the press.” They are united. They believe that in the best interest of the game we need to correct various aspects of collective bargaining. Everyone’s determined to try to get that done and still have the full 2011 season.”

Among the new aspects of the CBA under consideration, according to various reports, are a 16-game TV package of Thursday night matchups that would begin in 2012. League sources said that if the package is passed, the NFL Network could be a likely landing place for the games. Other aspects of the deal are said to include: players accepting 48% of all revenue, a rookie wage scale, improved plans for retired players that include health and pension benefits and free agency after a four-year period.

On the Air

The NBA is moving to hammer out its own CBA to prevent a lockout before the current deal expires on June 30, with players and owners alike presenting new proposals yesterday. During the three-hour meeting, union representatives asked for the league to retain its current soft salary-cap system, but salaries would be reduced by several hundred million dollars over the next half-decade, according to reports. Owners want a flex cap system that would dedicate at least $2 billion a season toward player salaries with the luxury tax removed. The two sides will meet again on Friday.

NFL Network is looking north of the border, announcing that the channel will carry two Canadian Football League games per week this season. The telecasts are part of a new deal with the CFL that also gives the network the option to showcase additional games during the regular season, as well as the CFL Playoffs and the Grey Cup championship game. Last season, NFL Network aired 14 CFL games in its lineup. The games will be produced by TSN, and kick off on June 30th when the British Columbia Lions take on the Montreal Alouettes.

Former Ohio State Quarterback Terrelle Pryor may have missed the annual draft this year, but he won’t be missing Gruden’s QB Camp on the way to the supplemental draft. ESPN has announced that the special will return on June 30 at 9p, with Pryor joining ESPN MNF analyst, and former coach, Jon Gruden, to conduct a one-on-one film session and workout. The special has previously featured athletes such as Cam Newton in previous editions.

Just in time for Sunday’s coverage of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, espnW has locked in Mia Hamm as an analyst for the three-week tournament. Hamm will offer blog postings, insights and interviews for as well as select appearances on ESPN telecasts as a special contributor for espnW. ESPN also unveiled its mobile studio, designed to handle travel throughout the country for game matches with two levels for the studio set  including host and three analyst positions  on the top floor, as well as a fully-functional control room on the lower level. The set will be used for pre-match, halftime and post-match shows live, as well as World Cup-branded segments on SportsCenter, First Take and ESPNEWS.

It’s official, the NHL is returning to Winnipeg. Of course, the news had been expected, but the league’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to approve the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers to True North Sports & Entertainment, and move the team to Winnipeg. The vote provided the better than 50% of the ballots needed to approve relocation as well as the 75% needed to change ownership.

Speaking of the NHL, the league’s draft will take place on Friday, airing on Versus, and league platforms are beefing up content ahead of the selections. NHL Network is scheduling two days of coverage beginning Thursday with a special edition of NHL On the Fly beginning at 6p, followed by a 30-minute 2011 NHL Network Scouting Combine Recap Presented by Reebok at 7p. The channel’s coverage will then feature kick into high gear on Friday, June 24, at 6:00 p.m. ET with NHL Network Draft Preview Show Presented by Cisco. On Day Two, the NHL Network team will have exclusive coverage beginning at 11a.

MLB All-Star Game festivities continue to lock in participants for the 2011 Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, which will be carried by ESPN on July 10. New names announced for this year’s game include Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton, as well as actors Chris Pratt, Greg Gumberg, Jake T. Austin, Dave Annable, Amaury Nolasco, AJ Calloway, and James Denton. Past MLB stars are set to include former Diamondbacks players Luis Gonzalez and Mark Grace; former MLB All-Stars Fred Lynn, Mike Piazza, Steve Garvey and Bernie Williams and Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Rollie Fingers, Rickey Henderson and Ozzie Smith.

Apparently, sports are serious business. Comedy Central has pulled the plug on both of its rookie sports-themed series, Sports Show with Norm Macdonald and Onion Sportsdome due to low ratings.

ESPN Regional Television, which serves as the syndication home for the SEC Network, has reached a multi-year agreement with WOLO-TV, the ABC affiliate in Columbia, SC to televise SEC football and basketball games beginning in September. ABC Columbia will televise the first of 13 weekly SEC Network football games beginning Saturday, Sept. 3 and will increase its basketball coverage, airing all 18 Saturday men’s basketball games and eight SEC men’s tournament games on the channel.

NASCAR will be leaving tread marks this summer with HDTheater, which is air Daytona 500: The Inside Story on June 30 at 9p. The one-hour documentary takes viewers behind the scenes from this year’s race.

ESPN STAR Sports has secured live and exclusive rights to air soccer matches for the Spanish La Liga for the 2012/13 through the 2014/15 seasons across 18 Asian markets. The deal covers both standard and HD coverage, as well as online and mobile, and select games in 3D. markets will include Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Taiwan, Philippines, and North Korea, as well as China & South Korea in English only.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Michigan is embracing NASCAR, with the state’s Economic Development Corp. announcing that they have entered a deal to place the state’s “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign slogan on a NASCAR race this summer. The race will take place on Aug. 21 at the Michigan International Speedway and be known as the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race as part of the one-year agreement.

Digital Fields

The Boston Red Sox are unveiling a new Spanish-language page dedicated to the team, in The site, which was created in partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media, will include Spanish-versions of  feature stories from beat reporters, as well as regular video interviews with Red Sox players, select segments of El Reporte De Los Red Sox,’ the team’s official weekly Spanish-language television show produced in partnership between Telemundo Boston and Red Sox Productions. Fans will also have the opportunity to sign up for a new Spanish-language quarterly newsletter from the team, which will feature top stories, videos and ticket opportunities. The Red Sox are also expanding their social media initiatives to Hispanics by launching a new Spanish Twitter account as well as a new Spanish Facebook page dubbed Los Red Sox.

After successful streams of other events earlier in the year, UFC will once again turn to Facebook for the upcoming UFC on Versus 4 prelims. The Facebook stream will begin at 6p on Sunday and include eight fights including Manny Gamburyan vs. Tyson Griffin.

The Main Event

Gold Cup Semifinal action on Univision and Fox Soccer, featuring the US seeking redemption against Panama at 7p.

ON THIS DAY in 1979 – Larry Holmes TKOs Mike Weaver to win the heavyweight boxing title

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question: When was the last time the Dodgers won the Championship? Answer: 1988. Kudos: Darren Grubb – Clarendon Public Relations/NY; Igor Moliver – ESPN/West Hartford; Michael A. Neuman – Scout Sports and Entertainment/NY; Jason King – Jasonkingtv/Wrightsville Beach; Scott McAdams – INTERSPORT/Chicago; Wes Parker – The Bridge Partnership/Beverly Hills; Alan Perris – The Television Academy/North Hollywood; Paul Gygli
NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City; Steve Miller – Cmedia/Portland

In The Know:  How many times have the Gamecocks been crowned champion in SEC Football?  (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 22, 2011

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Agree or disagree? 

In My Opinion …

What exactly is in the water in Boston? When the Patriots are the local team that has the longest drought in Championships, something seems to be clicking with teams in that market. While some editorials cite solid and smart ownership of the teams, which is obviously a factor, there is something to be said for the rabid fan base and solid media coverage within the market. Large crowds, high merchandise sales, and a draw for star athletes helped propel the Bruins to the Cup this year, helped deliver the Celtics their rings in 2007-2008, and broke the Red Sox curse in 2007. Analysts can say that Boston’s big market gives them an unfair advantage, but what other major city is finding this type of success? Maybe it’s time to pity the poor Patriots, who haven’t won since 2005. Nah…

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

It’s chicken and egg! Smart ownership invests in players, team, stadium/park when they are confident there is an appreciative fan base. Media ownership invests in better writers, websites, talk hosts and reporters when the fan base can’t get enough. Good players want to come to cities that appreciate their talent and where THEY are the story. But the fans make the market. They feed The Tradition! If they aren’t into it, you get the Tampa Bay Rays.

Interesting observation I heard yesterday on talk radio.  When has one city had four active championship coaches all coaching/managing at the same time? Francona, Belichick, Rivers, Julien

Can’t think of another yet.

Beverly Tilden

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