Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, March 20, 2013, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

ESPN and the current Big East Conference made it official, announcing details of their multiyear, multimedia rights agreement that hands ESPN exclusive worldwide distribution rights across all media. The deal extends ESPN’s coverage of the conference’s football, basketball and more through 2019-20 and includes rights to all conference contests that are not included in CBS’ basketball rights package for a minimum of 66 football games and 170 men’s basketball games. “I am delighted that the current Big East Conference, which will be renamed and rebranded, will be partnering with ESPN well into the future,” said Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco. “The extraordinary exposure provided by the ESPN networks will give viewers the opportunity to see the exciting competition and intense rivalries that will characterize our Conference.”

On the Air

The NFL is preparing to beef up its stake in media and technology companies, and will team with Providence Equity Partners in a $300 million investment in private sports and entertainment-related media and technology companies. The league and firm will both commit equity to the partnership for a joint operation with the league targeting growth equity investments between $25 million to $50 million. Providence’s investments in sports- and entertainment-driven media companies include the, The Chernin Group, Hulu, Kabel Deutschland, MLS Media, ProsiebenSat.1, Univision, World Triathlon Corporation, and Yankees Sports & Entertainment Network. “We are excited to partner with Providence, a leading player in the media sector, to identify and support the growth of high quality media assets around the globe,” said Eric Grubman, Executive Vice President of Business Ventures at the NFL in a statement. “We selected Providence as our partner because they share our vision of the opportunities and bring exceptional experience and relationships in the industry. Together we will focus on innovative media assets that create meaningful value for both the business of the NFL and our fans.”

With the Celtics looking to break the Heat’s streak (they didn’t), fans tuned-in to watch the outcome of the game with ratings on ESPN drawing a 3.1 overnight rating, marking the third-highest rated score ever for a regular season NBA game on the channel. reports that locally, the game pulled a season-best 4.8 in households on CSNNE despite the shared telecast window, marking its highest number for a shared game since Feb. 2011.

NBC Sports and Golf Channel laid out plans for the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard this week with nearly 80 total hours of news and tournament action, including 22 live hours of tournament coverage on NBC and Golf Channel. Golf Channel offers a one-hour, pro-am special on Wednesday; six total hours of early rounds on Thursday and Friday; four total hours of coverage leading into NBC’s coverage on the weekend; as well as five hours of Spotlight coverage that will complement NBC’s weekend coverage. NBC will deliver a combined seven hours of live tournament coverage on Saturday and Sunday.

beIN Sport locked in a deal with Verizon FiOS TV for distribution, adding 4.7 million customers to its fast-growing tally. Verizon will offer beIN SPORT on FiOS TV Channel 598 in its Ultimate HD package. The Spanish-language channel, beIN SPORT en Espanol HD, will be available on FiOS TV Channel 1598 in Verizon’s La Conexion and Spanish-language TV packages.

NBC Sports Radiois expanding the role of weekend talker Newy Scruggs via a new show that will debut on Monday, April 1, the day the network rolls out 24/7 programming. Voices of the Game with Newy Scruggs is slated to run from noon-3p weekdays where he will be  joined every day by a recognizable sports “voice” during the entire second hour of the show with personalities set to include Chipper Jones, Stan Van Gundy, Bobby Valentine and Chris Mannix.

Mark Cuban wants to remain in the MMA game, telling USA Today that HDNet’s transformation into AXS TV will keep the sport in its programming plans. “We have a great fan base. They love to watch ‘Inside MMA’ and our live fights. We broadcast more live fights than anyone. That is a great platform from which to promote our concerts and other live programming. MMA fans love music too.”

Speaking of MMA, World Series of Fighting has a new Spanish language home, inking a deal with Univision Deportes. That marks the first time the channel will carry MMA with the first telecast reportedly set to start on Saturday.

FOX Sports Arizona is tapping the services of former ESPN SportsCenter anchor Cindy Brunson for its Arizona Diamondbacks coverage this season. Brunson will co-host the channel’s Sunday pre-game and post-game shows when the D-backs play at home. She will team up Jody Jackson for the shows.

Tickets are now available for the Cynopsis: Sports Media Awards, which will take place on April 17 at Yale Club in Manhattan. Click here for more info.

Sponsorship & Promotion

NCAA Corporate Champion AT&T, along with the NCAA and Turner Live Events, announced Zac Brown Band as the headliner with My Morning Jacket for the 2013 NCAA Big Dance Concert Series in Atlanta, which runs alongside the 2013 NCAA Men’s Final Four. The bands will appear at the AT&T Block Party stage Friday, April 5, as part of the free, three-day music festival. In addition to Zac Brown Band and My Morning Jacket, the 2013 Big Dance lineup is set to include Dave Mathews Band, Sting, Muse, Flo Rida, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Ludacris, and Grace Potter & The Nocturnals.

Digital Fields

The new partnership between Turner Sports and Twitter kicked off last night with the start of the First Four. The sales and content agreement between the two companies is designed to drive tune-into its television properties (truTV, TBS, TNT), alerting Twitter followers to what’s happening at that moment, and also create awareness with new audiences. Coke Zero and AT&T serve as launch sponsors for the initial activation of this partnership around March Madness and the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament.

Grantland is going live for the NCAA Tournament, with a live stream on the site that will stream throughout the day on both Thursday and Friday. The stream will feature Bill Simmons in his home and joined by the likes of ESPN analyst Jalen Rose, Grantland writer Rembert Browne and longtime friend Joe House.

Silver Chalice and IMG College are launching Campus Insiders, a new daily site for “insider” college sports news. The digital sports network will incorporate talent such as Seth Davis and Bonnie Bernstein, and will be supported by a nationwide collection of on-campus “insiders,” studio analysts, former coaches and pundits. The network will look to offer daily video-on-demand, live games and events such as WCC basketball and more. is offering a March Madness game of its own, allowing fans to compete for cash prizes with spokesman “Cousin Sal” Iacono. The March Madness Pick 5 game features online competition with entry points ranging from $2 to $500, with a free $5 credit for signing up. For each matchup the two competitors select five players from that day’s NCAA Division I Men’s Tournament games, add up their points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, and the one with the most total statistic results wins the cash prize.

The Main Event

Nets/Mavericks on ESPN at 8p.


Sports Luminaries To Be Honored at Cynopsis Sports Media Awards in April

Steve Bornstein (President and CEO) NFL Network + (EVP of Media) NFL
John Kosner
(EVP & GM) ESPN Digital + Print Media
Scott Blackmun (CEO) US Olympic Committee
Scott McCune
(VP, Global Partnerships & Experiential Marketing) The Coca-Cola Company

Cynopsis Sports Media Awards Breakfast
April 17 | 8-10a.m. | The Yale Club NY
Sponsored by: NFL
Last year’s event sold out Register here:

ON THIS DAY in 1990: The Lakers retire Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s #33.

In The Know: Who was the first female member of the MNF on-air team? (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.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: What was the last team to sweep a World Series? Answer: (Ah, how quickly we forget! Most of the answers today were wrong.) The San Francisco Giants in 2012. Kudos: Denis Barry-CBS Television Station Sales/NY; Mark McDonald-ESPN/NY; Bobby Coyle-New York Yankees Radio Network/NY; Ryan Hall-NBC Sports Group/NY; RT Harris-WideOrbit/Detroit; John Langerman-WXCW TV/Naples; Lucie Prann-The Richards Group/Dallas; John Kukla-KDFW-KDFI/Dallas; Daniel Radman-Anheuser-Busch/St/ Louis; Dani Beaulieu-USA TODAY Sports Media Group/LA; Miriam Aardahl-OMD/LA; Anne Wettig-MundoFox/LA; Amy Kent-ABC Affiliate Relations/Burbank.

Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports

Roberta Caploe: Editorial Director
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JOB OPENING: MGR RSCH/NYC NY: Mgr, Rsch/FX/NYC/ 3+ yrs exp in media rsrch, cable/ad sales exp required, Agency exp a plus, Nielsen exp req, estimates exp strongly pref’d. Apply: (FNG0001922) (3/27)

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