SBD/19/Sports Media

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  • ARE BROADCASTERS ROOT, ROOT, ROOTING FOR THE HOME TEAM?

              Every radio and TV broadcaster for the 30 MLB teams "is
         either paid by the club he or she covers or is hired with
         that club's approval," according to Ted Rose, who examines
         the relationship between teams and their announcers in
         BRILL'S CONTENT magazine.  Rose: "As a practical matter,
         these broadcasters are not independent journalists but
         conduits to the public for the team that directly or
         indirectly employs them. ... What viewers and listeners may
         not expect is that the boundaries for the ubiquitous on-air
         discussions are often set by the teams, not the
         broadcasters."  Indians VP/PR Bob DiBiasio, on announcers
         being a part of the team's marketing strategy: "What better
         opportunity do you have to sell your image than when your
         (team is) playing?  You have a three-hour window to present
         your product in the best way that you can" (CONTENT, 9/98).
              CONTROLLING INVENTORY: Astros Dir of Broadcasting Jamie
         Hildreth said the team helps decide what is discussed on-
         air: "I don't want to hear players' salaries discussed ...
         Let other people do that.  Anything positive we can get out
         in front of the public, I prefer them to accentuate." 
         Hildreth "believes fans aren't interested in negative
         comments, such as speculation" in the past that the team
         would move to VA.  Hildreth: "I don't think they want to
         hear that goop.  Maybe I am wrong.  If they want that, they
         can pick up the papers and tune in to the talk shows." 
         Marlins broadcaster Dave O'Brien, who is paid by the team,
         said he doesn't talk of the impending sale of the team. 
         O'Brien: "I'll almost never mention it.  Until the sale
         happens, I really don't think it's newsworthy."  Yankees
         radio voice Michael Kay, who has covered the team as a beat
         reporter for both the N.Y. Post and Daily News, received a
         championship ring from the team in '96, and was "clearly
         uncomfortable about the post-season gift."  Kay: "If I was
         covering the Yankees in '96 as a writer for the Post or
         News, I wouldn't get a ring" (BRILL'S CONTENT, 9/98 issue).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cleveland Indians, Miami Marlins, Houston Astros, MLB, New York Yankees, Media, YankeeNets
  • ESPN AND FOX TANGLE IN MARTZKE'S FORUM OVER RATING INCREASES

              Six months after ESPN's "SportsCenter" ratings
         "plummeted," ESPN Exec Editor John Walsh said that the show
         "now has a larger audience than last year at this time,"
         according to USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke.  The show's 1.23
         rating is up 7% from last year's 1.15, and "SportsCenter"
         ratings "have jumped" 29% from the 0.95 in '98's first
         quarter.  CNN's "Sports Tonight" has remained at 0.3, while
         FSN's "Fox Sports News" shows at 10:00pm and 11:00pm earn a 
         combined 0.9.  Walsh said that the 6:30pm ET "SportsCenter"
         is "beating Fox Sports News by five to six times."  Walsh:
         "What's real gratifying is that this tells us that Kenny
         Mayne and Dan Patrick (11pm anchors) have checked out well
         with the viewers.  To say that Kenny and Danny's shows rate
         higher than Dan and Keith Olbermann is pretty impressive." 
         Fox Sports Senior VP/Media Relations Vince Wladika noted
         that FSN's rating has increased 50% in a year from 0.6 to
         0.9.  Wladika: "ESPN should be out-rating us.  They've been
         doing this for 19 years; us for two.  We're concerned with
         growing our Fox Sports News.  They have an unhealthy
         preoccupation with us.  We are flattered they are devoting
         this much attention to us" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 8/19).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, News Corp./Fox, Media, Time Warner, Walt Disney
  • MEDIA NOTES

              NORTH & SOUTH: Ottawa Sports Radio (OSR-1200), the
         area's first all-sports station, will launch next month. 
         OSR VP & GM Dianne Wilson: "It's going to be a guys-oriented
         station.  Our target is the 35-year-old guy, who probably
         works in high-tech, and has children playing soccer and
         hockey."  The Senators recently signed a 10-year deal with
         OSR, giving the station English broadcast rights.  Wilson,
         who said the station will "ride the Senators" interest as
         much as possible, said, "If they go in the crapper, so do
         we" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 8/18)....Winnipeg business exec Izzy
         Asper announced a C$950M deal making his CanWest Global
         Communications Corp. a national TV system.  CanWest said it
         will buy 11 TV stations currently owned by WIC Ltd., which
         "propels CanWest ahead of rival network CTV" as the largest
         privately owned Canadian broadcaster (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/19).
         ...Fox Sports South, the U.S.'s largest RSN, has reached the
         seven million subscriber mark with the addition of Time
         Warner Cable of Davidson County, NC (Fox Sports Southwest).
    
    

    Print | Tags: News Corp./Fox, Ottawa Senators, Media, Wilson Sporting Goods
  • MLB PLAYS HARDBALL IN PULLING SUNDAY NIGHT FROM ESPN

              After "months of negotiations," MLB announced that
         because ESPN "plans to bump its final three Sunday night
         baseball games in September to ESPN2" in favor of NFL games,
         MLB "has taken back the games and will return local
         television rights to the six clubs involved," according to
         Scott Hettrick of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.  An MLB
         spokesperson "said further action against ESPN, including a
         suit, has not been ruled out."  MLB President & COO Paul
         Beeston: "These will be important and critical games in
         September, and we are disappointed that ESPN has chosen not
         to carry our games.  ESPN2 was never an option.  Our
         contract specifies that Sunday games are to be on ESPN."   
         Hettrick reports that ESPN "might seek compensation for the
         three lost baseball games."  ESPN issued a statement saying
         that MLB's action "violates our contract, which expressly
         provides for pre-emption and distribution on ESPN2."  The
         three MLB games in question are September 6, Giants-Dodgers;
         September 13, Cardinals-Astros; and September 20, Yankees-
         Orioles (Scott Hettrick, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 8/19).
              ESPN'S COVERAGE: Forty-one minutes into the 6:30pm ET
         edition of "SportsCenter," ESPN's Larry Beil said: "Major
         League Baseball today informed ESPN that it is withdrawing
         three games scheduled for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball
         telecast in September, and is returning them to the
         individual teams involved to make their own local television
         arrangements."  With less than 10 minutes remaining in the
         11:00pm ET edition of "SportsCenter," ESPN's Steve Levy
         reported the same announcement, and like Beil, read ESPN's
         statement in its entirety ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 8/18).  The
         AP version of the MLB story is also displayed on the upper
         right side of ESPN SportsZone under the header: "MLB Sacks
         ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball In September" (THE DAILY).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, ESPN, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, New York Yankees, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Media, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
  • YOUNG AMERICA, TAKE A SEAT: ARENABOWL LIVE IN ORLANDO

              Orlando ABC-TV affil WFTV, which is "committed" to
         showing "Young America Outdoors" from 1:00-1:30pm ET on
         Sunday -- the start time for the AFL's ArenaBowl, will move
         the children's show to 9:00am and "risk the displeasure" of
         the FCC, according to Jerry Greene of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. 
         The ArenaBowl features the Orlando Predators and the Tampa
         Bay Storm, and will be seen "in its entirety" in the Orlando
         area.  WFTV Programming Dir Susan Adams Loyd: "We're running
         a risk of being in violation (of FCC requirements for
         children's programming), but we know Predator fans are both
         passionate and loyal" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/19).
              STORMING THE WEB: The ArenaBowl will be Webcast for the
         first time, on CNNSI.com, along with broadcast.com. 
         Broadcast.com also will carry AFL Commissioner David Baker's
         state of the league address on Sunday (AFL). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, AFL, Nashville Predators, Seattle Storm, Media, Time Warner, Walt Disney
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