Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Cynopsis: Sports

Good morning! It’s Wednesday, November 30, 2011, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

Could the country’s second largest market finally have an opening to bring back an NFL franchise? Outlook still cloudy. The Jacksonville Jaguars reached an agreement to sell the team to Illinois businessman Shahid Khan. The announcement was made Tuesday with Khan receiving complete control of the team. Outgoing majority owner Wayne Weaver, who had turned down potential owners looking to bring the team to the west coast, said that the new owner plans on keeping the team in Jacksonville.

On the Air

The America East Conference has entered a new five-year deal with ESPN that will up the tally of the conference’s national appearances on ESPN networks. The agreement will run through the 2015-16 season with the new package including a minimum of 47 national appearances on ESPN platforms, to mark the most in league history. The deal also includes flexibility that could increase that total in future years. Under terms of the deal, the conference’s men’s basketball championship game will air on ESPN2 while the women’s championship game will be distributed to regional sports networks through ESPN Regional Television and also carried on ESPN3.  The league’s ESPN3 package also includes seven men’s games and four women’s games in the regular season beginning Jan. 14 with Stony Brook visiting Boston U.

MLS has announced that their 2012 season will open on March 10 with six games, including expansion team the Montreal Impact playing their first MLS home game at Olympic Stadium on March 17. Other home openers on that day will take place in Colorado, DC, LA, San Jose, Seattle and Vancouver. .

TiVo spent its post-Thanksgiving holiday crunching game numbers and tapping its audience research measurement data to see which college and pro games over the long weekend were considered most urgent and captured the most live viewers, compared to being time-shifted. The company found that:

  • Of all of the NFL games played during the holiday weekend, the Steelers and Chiefs on Sunday Night proved most compelling with 81.3% of TiVo users watched the game live versus time-shifted.
  • The most time-shifting took place on Thanksgiving Day itself, with the Packers/Lions game being recorded the most, with just 76.9% of TiVo users tuning into the game live.
  • In college football, Boston College/Miami (FL) captured 86% of live viewers  the most across all of the college and pro games over the entire holiday weekend.
  • Of all the nationally televised college games, Saturday’s Iowa State/Oklahoma matchup scored fewest live viewers, as just 75 percent of viewers watching the game as it happened.

BTN’s coverage of the inaugural Big Ten’s football conference championship is set to launch on Friday, with look at the Michigan State/Wisconsin matchup at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Coverage will kick off at 4p when Mike Hall hosts live coverage of the press conferences for both head coaches as well as key players from both teams. Rick Pizzo and analysts Derek Rackley and Tim Doyle then host a new episode of The Pulse at 6:30p. At 7p, BTN will replay the Oct. 22 matchup between the two teams when Michigan State upset Wisconsin, 37-31. At 9p, the channel features a full 60-minute preview on a special edition of the Big Ten Football Report . Saturday finds a new episode of the interactive show, BTN Live before the  Championship Pregame Show Saturday starts at 6:30.

NBC Sports could be on the verge of finding its voice for the company’s upcoming coverage of the MLS. According to local reports, the company is wooing Arlo White, the play-by-play voice for the Seattle Sounders, over to take on the lead announcer role for the new national package.

ION Television is set to televise four preliminary card fights from next Saturday’s UFC 140 event in Toronto. ION’s coverage will begin at 7p. Meanwhile, Spike’s last hurrah with the MMA promotion will take place on Dec. 30 when the channel runs two preliminary card bouts from UFC 141.

ESPN Classic has lined up documentary The Wayman Tisdale Story for Dec. 3, 4 and 24 at 9p. The airing follows regional screenings of the film in Sacramento, Wichita, Tulsa, Norman, OK, Oklahoma City, Mukogee, OK, Los Angeles and Chicago. The film showcases the life of former basketball star and jazz musician Wayman Tisdale and explores his life from this childhood as a preacher’s son to his battle with cancer.

Sportsman Channel is teaming with the NRA to create a new series dubbed NRA’s Guns and Gold. The series will explore the stories behind classic firearms in an Antique style format to learn the true value of their possessions. The new series will debut in January.

Sponsorship & Promotion

Gearing up for the new season, NASCAR is creating a Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint fan event featuring the newly-crowned 2011 champions in the three NASCAR national series. The event will take inside the Charlotte Convention Center on Saturday, Jan. 21. Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and first-time national series champions Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (NASCAR Nationwide Series) and Austin Dillon (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series) are all confirmed for appearances. The preview represents a new addition to the sport’s annual calendar.

The UFC and UFC Octagon Nation Tour are teaming with HDNet to create the HDNet Punch Meter Challenge and Sweepstakes. One Grand Prize winner will receive an all-expense-paid trip to attend a live broadcast of the network’s signature MMA news program,Inside MMA.

Digital Fields

A massive demand for tickets to see Team Great Britain play at Wembley and other stadiums during the Olympics next year, mucked up the server for the throng of people attempting to buy tickets. Thousands of would-be attendees were greeted with error messages, often entering payment details while trying to buy some of the remaining 1.5 million tickets for the soccer tournament. Within an hour of going on sale, all of the tickets to see the national team were reportedly sold out.

WWE has purchased the domain name for, likely in a move to generate pressure for MSOs to pick up and carry the channel. The company is reportedly eyeing a launch around WrestleMania in the spring.

The Main Event

Wisconsin Badgers face the North Carolina Tar Heels on the hard court on ESPN at 9:30p.


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ON THIS DAY in 1993: The NFL announces the Jacksonville Jaguars as the league’s 30th franchise

Answer to Yesterday’s Sports Trivia Question:    At which university did Urban Meyer have his first head coaching job? Answer: Bowling Green. Kudos: RT Harris – WideOrbit/Detroit; Andrew Joyner – Wasserman Media Group/Raleigh; Bobby Coyle – New York Yankees Radio Network, CBS Digital Media Group/NY; Katie Schenk – ESPN/NY; Bob Ramsey – WCIU/Chicago; Ron Salcedo – Zimmerman/Nashville; Kevin Micklo – Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago; Neil Shurts – Dish Network/Englewood; Brian Sullivan – KHQ-TV/Spokane; Adam Deverell – Cox Reps/LA; Alex Petrilli, Jr. – TiVo/Alviso

In The Know:  Who was the first coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars? (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

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