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Good morning. It’s Wednesday April 29, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.

The PGA TOUR is going OTT. The organization is launching PGA TOUR Live, a digital Over-The-Top subscription service that will give fans live Thursday and Friday morning coverage of more than 30 PGA TOUR events per season. The PGA TOUR and MLB Advanced Media struck a multi-year deal to develop, produce, and distribute the OTT service to golf fans in North America and other key markets around the world. The service launches this summer and will feature exclusive Thursday and Friday coverage of two morning-featured groups leading up to the afternoon Golf Channel broadcast.

“PGA TOUR LIVE is an important development for golf fans, as it will bring live action to the devices they use most, while building great momentum and viewership for the ensuing broadcast coverage each weekday afternoon and into the weekend,” said Tim Finchem, Commissioner of the PGA TOUR. “Working with MLBAM was a natural fit, as it was a top priority to find a partner to meet the challenge of delivering the digital hybrid our fans want most  a live HD broadcast with world-class technology distribution.”


The NFL is bidding adieu to its tax-exempt status, according to the AP. In a letter to team owners, Goodell stated that the league will file tax returns as taxable entities for the 2015 fiscal year. The league has been tax-exempt since 1942, though all 32 teams pay taxes on their income. "As you know, the effects of the tax-exempt status of the league office have been mischaracterized repeatedly in recent years," Goodell said in the letter, the report stated. "The fact is that the business of the NFL has never been tax exempt."

THE PLAYERS Championship hits the green starting May 4, with more than 90 hours of combined live programming on Golf Channel and Golf Channel on NBC for the tournament. Golf Channel on NBC’s live tournament coverage will be anchored by Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller. Terry Gannon and Sir Nick Faldo will host the majority of early round coverage on Golf Channel, with Hicks and Miller contributing. On the production front, a total of nine high-definition cameras, including a microscopic lens embedded in the lip of the small bunker fronting the green, will be in place. The Actioncam will also be in place, flying over the lake between the 16th and 17th greens.

HBO Boxing’s coverage of heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday was a hit for the channel, delivering an average viewership of 1,637,000 viewers. The bout, which Klitschko won by unanimous decision, peaked at 1,742,000 viewers and marked the “top performing bout on premium or basic cable this year.” The entire HBO telecast on April 25th from Madison Square Garden averaged 1,300,000 viewers, marking the most watched World Championship Boxing event since June 2012.

With the media world nesting in Vegas this week for Mayweather/Pacquiao, FOX Sports 1 joined the fray, announcing plans to settle at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Broadcast Center throughout fight week, offering preview coverage original studio programs America’s Pregame and FOX Sports Live. Coverage is led by host Mike Hill, who is joined throughout the week by FOX Sports 1 gaming expert Todd Fuhrman and a rotating panel of analysts, including some of the sport’s biggest and most recognizable personalities. Guest analysts tentatively scheduled to appear include former champions Evander Holyfield, Bernard Hopkins, Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi, in addition to Mayweather Promotions Chief Executive Officer Leonard Ellerbe. Coverage launches today at 5p.

The Atlantic 10 Conference and Sinclair Networks Group entered a multi-year partnership to annually televise at least 52 A-10 events across seven sports on the American Sports Network. Sports include coverage of both men’s and women’s basketball, and championship exposure in baseball, men’s and women’s soccer, softball and volleyball, beginning this fall. The network will carry a minimum of 32 men’s basketball games, including the two Men’s Basketball Championship first-round games. ASN will also produce and air a minimum of nine women’s basketball games, including the Women’s Basketball Championship quarterfinals.

Speaking of college sports, the sixth annual TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby will return at 8:30p on Thursday, July 2 on ESPN. The family-friendly event, produced by Intersport, showcases some of college baseball’s premier sluggers.

ESPN’s E:60 will delve into a the life of a media personality for the first time, announcing a two-part profile on TNT’s Ernie Johnson, a first for ESPN’s award-winning news magazine show. The series will see Jeremy Schaap spend time with Johnson, from the television studio to his home in suburban Atlanta.

The Mountain West Conference released the remainder of its football national television package for the 2015 season, lining up 33 games that will be available on CBS Sports Network and ESPN exclusively on Saturdays. Between the two television networks, 44 football games will be aired this coming season on various platforms this fall. The action kicks off on Sept. 12 at 3:30p on CBS Sports Network, followed by Arizona/Nevada at 4p and UCLA/UNLV at 7:30p A fourth game, pitting San Jose State/Air Force will also run at a time TBA on an ESPN network.

On the local front, game seven between the Islanders/Capitals on Tuesday scored an all-time high Nielsen HH rating for the team on MSG Networks. The matchup notched a 4.47, averaging 459,786 total viewers, marking the highest rated Islanders game on MSG since the network began tracking ratings in 1991.



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The LPGA locked in a deal with computers, software and technology services company Acer to serve as the newest Official Marketing Partner of the organization. Acer will also be the Official Tablet of the LPGA this tournament season. Acer is sponsoring Acer Connection Zones, lounges outfitted with Aspire Switch Series 2-in-1 notebooks at upcoming tournaments in North America. Acer Connection Zones will also be located in the player locker rooms as a venue for players.

PBR is hitting Wal-Mart via a book series between the bull riding circuit and Harlequin. The collector’s edition Harlequin PBR novel series will be sold exclusively by the stories and offer covers showcasing top PBR riders Matt Triplett, Reese Cates, Harve Stewart and Zane Lambert. Additional exclusive content includes interviews, photos and more from the riders featured on the covers. Each book will also contain $20 of value-added coupons for select PBR events, fan club membership and upcoming titles from Harlequin.


120 Sports announced that the current 120 Sports Football Fix program will be re-branded  as “The 120 Sports Football Fix Powered by Pro Football Focus” but will continue to run live Monday through Friday from 12-2p. The partnership will see Pro Football Focus’ proprietary grading system incorporated into the show, offering insights into the match-ups on the field while analysts from the 90+ member team of Pro Football Focus will regularly contribute to 120 Sports.

CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports app will be offering a second screen experience for the 2015 NFL Draft, lining up live video analysis and grades for every pick and a real-time Draft tracker throughout all three days of the event. Draft coverage on the digital sites is presented by Volvo Cars. Beginning at the start of the first round on Thursday at 8p, the company will deliver Draft Grades Live with extensive news and commentary from a team of pro football insiders. In addition to the live show, fans will be able to predict upcoming picks on CBSSports.com’s live Draft tracker, search for prospects by school, position and player rating, and see real-time grades, analysis and tweets from experts.

Bleacher Report is taking on the NFL Draft with Team Stream Now offering fans more than 250 videos surrounding the draft as well as instant analysis on every selection and in-depth player and team-specific coverage. Video content will be hosted by Adam Lefkoe and Stephen Nelson with NFL analysts Chris Simms and Jonathan Vilma, NFL Draft analyst Matt Miller and lead college football analyst Michael Felder.

ESPN Digital Media saw March deliver 80.5 million unique visitors in March, marking an uptick of 18% over a year ago. Overall, fans spent 7.9 billion minutes with ESPN content across platforms, up 33% from a year ago and ranked as the sixth highest total in ESPN history. Overall, ESPN accounted for 33.8% of all sports category usage on digital platforms.

Cari Champion, moderator of ESPN2’s weekday morning First Take, is set to host a new weekly ESPN Audio podcast. The show debuts tomorrow and will be dubbed espnW Presents: Be Honest with Cari Champion. The series will see Champion talking sports and more with A-list athletes and celebrity guests with the debut show featuring an interview by Champion and SportsCenter’s Linda Cohn with actor Michael Rappaport and a discussion of Saturday’s much-anticipated Floyd Mayweather  Manny Pacquiao fight.


eSports are hitting a new level, with Unikrn announcing that the fans of competitive video-game competitions can now real money on the outcomes of some of the matchups taking place. Of course, wagering won’t be allowed stateside but the service will be open to other nations.


Red Wings/Lightning Game 7 on NBCSN at 7:30p.



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Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which team began the 1988 MLB season on a 21-game losing streak? Answer: The Orioles. Kudos: Don Gorski-Westwood One Sports/NY; David Kalan-NHL.com/NY; David Tratner-Rodale Inc. Sports Group/NY; Todd Hinckley-Major League Soccer/NY; Doug Jacobs-Integrated Sports Media/Tenafly; Jon Miller-NBC Sports Group/Stamford; Mark Altabe-Citibank/Jersey City; David Schaefer-Golf Channel/Orlando; Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station; Joe Lyons-Back Nine Productions/Dallas; Kevin Wicker-Chiefs Radio Network/Mission; Lance Phegley-Texas Runner Triathlete/Houston; Doug Kelly-Foster Farms Bowl-South San Francisco; Don Surath-KPIX-TV  KBCW-TV/San Francisco; Paul Gygli-NBCUniversal Television Distribution/Universal City; Neal Stevens-Stevens & Associates/Beverly Hills.

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The post 04/29/15: The PGA TOUR goes OTT; The NFL wants no exemptions; LPGA dials up Acer appeared first on Cynopsis Media.

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