SBD/23/Sports Media

WHAT ABOUT BOB? IS BRENLY EMERGING AS STAR IN FOX BOOTH?

     Fox reports its coverage of Game Three of the World Series
Tuesday night drew a preliminary overnight rating of 18.7/29 in
34 overnight markets.  The game was the highest rated night in
Fox network history (THE DAILY).
     RATINGS: Final numbers of the first two Series games from
Nielsen Media Research.  Game One earned a 15.7/25, down 4% from
'95's opener.  Game Two received a 14.0/23, down 28% from Game
Two last year.  ABC's "Monday Night Football" rating of a 12.2
was the lowest for a Monday night game in ten years when the
Giants-Redskins went against the Red Sox-Mets in '86 (Prodigy
Online, 10/23).  The two game average of a 14.8 is "hardly
surprising" but it is 11% off the two-game all-time low of 16.7
for the '93 Series on CBS (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 10/23).
Unless the Series extends to six or seven games, Fox "faces the
possible distinction of televising the lowest-rated World Series
ever" (L.A. TIMES, 10/23).  But Fox Sports' Vince Wladika notes
Fox won Monday night overall, adding, "Our competition may be
gleeful about this rating, but we operate under a different
business plan and have different goals than they do. What doesn't
work for others works for us" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES,
10/23). For the week of October 14-20, Fox earned a 9.6/16
rating, good for third place, and "its best-ever ratings as a
full-time network" (Josef Adalian, N.Y. POST, 10/23).  Noting the
7:15pm ET start on Monday and the subsequent rating, Acting
Commissioner Bud Selig said, "We always get rapped for starting
games late.  The networks always said, 'Don't start at 7 or
you'll get ripped,' and they were right" (Steve Zipay, NEWSDAY,
10/23).
     ARE THEY WORKING? Fox is using the Series to "extend the
luster of the still-nascent Fox Sports and provide plenty of
promotion for its primetime series," according to Gary Levin of
VARIETY.  But the fact that MLB's audience "is among the oldest"
in pro sports is a "problem."  Dan Rank, Media Dir at DDB Needham
Worldwide: "You can promote 'The Simpsons' all day long, but if
you're promoting to a 60-year-old male, he's not gonna watch."
Still, VARIETY's Levin notes "as a badly needed form of event
programming, the World Series ... can't hurt" (VARIETY, 10/21).
     WHAT ABOUT BOB? In Atlanta, Prentis Rogers credits Fox
analyst Bob Brenly for alerting viewers on the batting strategy
of the Yankees in trying to throw off Braves pitcher Tom Glavine
to start Tuesday's game (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/23).  In
Toronto, Bob Elliott calls Brenly "Rookie-of-the-Year in the TV
booth."   Elliott notes one NL GM called Brenly the "star of the
post-season," adding "He knows the game, is humorous, [and] adds
more insight than the average ex-player" (TORONTO STAR, 10/23).
In Dallas, Barry Horn calls Brenly "promising" while adding Fox
"offered a solid" World Series broadcast (DALLAS MORNING NEWS,
10/22). In Boston, Jim Baker says the "top" Series story is Fox's
"unusual audio" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/22).
     ONLINE: UltraPLEX Information Systems, the Bellevue, WA -
based Internet design company, is handling World Wide Web
coverage for the Yankees and Braves team sites.  The Yankees are
at www.yankees.com, while the Braves are at www.atlanta
braves.com (UltraPLEX). CNN's Jim Moret examined World Series web
sites www.sportsillustrated.com and www.sportsline.com ("Showbiz
Today," CNN, 10/22).
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