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SELLING NATIONAL AD TIME BY CONNECTING LOCAL SPORTS OUTLETS
Published March 17, 1995
The success Major Market Network (MMN) in starting up a basketball unwired network is examined by INSIDE MEDIA's Wayne Friedman & Langdon Brockington. MMN, a division of Cox Enterprises, is an unwired network that pools together ad slots/spots from TV stations and/or regional cable networks and packages them into a national advertising buy. The company is better known for its network for baseball. According to MMN VP/GM Jerry Puccio, the basketball network has "enjoyed modest success. Deals have been made with six advertisers," but Puccio declined to identify the sponsors. For the past few years organizations such as Group W sports Marketing and Rainbow Sports Sales "have been selling a variety of unwired basketball networks, consisting primarily of regional cable networks." But the problem for some advertisers is that those unwired networks are "largely dependent on cable time slots, on average they garner" only 50% of U.S. TV households. MMN promises 83-87% reach, "thanks to healthy coverage via broadcast stations." A major component of the lineup is WGN-Chicago, which reaches 37% of the country. Every NBA team has signed up with MMN except the Blazers and Jazz. Both of those clubs' broadcast games are completely sold out. MMN promises a 5.5 Nielsen national rating, selling each spot for $75,000. "Media buyers say that if MMN can deliver that rating," the cost-per-minute for its ads would be comparable to those on NBC's NBA telecasts. MMN has had a hard time selling baseball this year. So far Puccio has six incumbent advertisers that bought packages at the normal rate, which is $80,000 a spot for an 11 rating. Last year, MMN signed up 25 advertisers, pulling in $12M (COWLES BUSINESS MEDIA, 3/16).