SBD/Issue 144/Sports Media

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  • Critics May Not Like It, But FSN Show A Hit With Advertisers

    FSN's "The Best Damn Sports Show Period" is the "first original Fox Sports program to have real traction with viewers, and its sponsorship deals have been a slam dunk with advertisers," according to Jim McConville of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, who notes the show, which launched in July, "accounts for about 10%-15% of [FSN's] overall sales revenue." Fox Cable Sports Exec VP/Ad Sales Guy Sousa said that FSN has "no problems selling its 30-second ad spots and its sponsorships, which are commanding seven-figure deals." Sousa: "We've more than doubled the amount of revenues from clients that are now buying specifically that primetime slot." McConville notes the show's sponsor's products are "displayed — and sometimes consumed — on the show's set." FSN President Tracy Dolgin said, "It's like guys sitting around a bar and watching games. So anything they would normally consume, we'll let them consume (on the show)." Meanwhile, FSN has a "half-dozen sports-entertainment pilots in development, including a scripted sports comedy show and a combination local/national entertainment show." Dolgin: "We made a mistake five years ago when we created [FSN]. We created a lot of ESPN clone programming. We took the Fox name and created something that was not really Foxlike" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 4/16).

    FORGIVE AND FORGET: In Dallas, Barry Horn reports former Cowboys WR Michael Irvin this week is replacing DeMarco Farr on "Best Damn Sports Show." Fox is "testing the waters, wanting to make certain Irvin's charisma still shines." Meanwhile, Irvin will be introduced today as the analyst to work with play-by-play man Brad Sham on local AFL Desperados TV broadcasts (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/16).

    Print | Tags: Dallas Cowboys, ESPN, Football, Golf, Media, Walt Disney
  • Media Monitor

    TV MONITOR: Last night's 11:00pm ET 60-minute edition of ESPN's "SportsCenter" led with Yankees-Red Sox, followed by Cubs-Expos. The first non-MLB report was Sonics-Lakers. See THE DAILY INSIDER's TV Monitor for a complete listing from last night's "SportsCenter" (THE DAILY).

    ON THE AIR: Jay Mohr will host "The 2002 Action Sports & Music Awards" tonight on ESPN. IMG football agent Tom Condon and NFL prospect Bryant McKinnie will be on "Unscripted." Bucs S John Lynch, Braves LF Chipper Jones and NFL prospect Mike Williams will be on the "Best Damn Sports Show Period." Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman will be on "The Last Word." Alice Cooper will be on FSN's "Arizona Sports Report."

    Have a submission for On The Air? Contact Schuyler Baehman at

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Braves, Baseball, Basketball, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Detroit Red Wings, ESPN, Football, Hockey, IMG, Los Angeles Lakers, MLB, New York Yankees, Media, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Walt Disney
  • Media Notes

    YES-CABLEVISION: On Long Island, Zipay & Berkowitz write, "In an exchange of letters, YES proposed carrying Yankees games on expanded basic in Cablevision systems where MSG Network is on basic, and on a premium tier where MSG is provided as an optional channel" (NEWSDAY, 4/16). In a separate piece, NEWSDAY's Steve Zipay writes that to the "consternation of some," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "hasn't stepped in to mediate [on the dispute], and won't right now. For Selig, it's a no-win position." Selig "must be careful of appearing to favor one side or the other because of both the recent past and his hopes for baseball's economic future." Zipay: "The question does arise: Is having Yankees telecasts available to 3 million homes 'in the best interests of baseball?'" (NEWSDAY, 4/16).

    MLB RATINGS: Friday's Tigers-Twins game, the Twins' home-opener, earned a combined 12.4 rating on KSTP-ABC and KSTC-Ind. The game was viewed by 193,110 HHs and finished as the highest-rated TV show in the Twin Cities for the evening. On Saturday, FSN earned a 7.6 /(119,320 HHs), the second-highest for a Twins game on cable since '96 (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/16)....Friday's Yankees-Red Sox game earned a 9.9 rating on NESN. Saturday's game on WFXT-Fox earned a 12.3/35, and Sunday's game on WFXT-Fox earned a 12.8/33 (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/16).

    TEAM NEWS: Wild radio analyst Barry Buetel "is leaving the organization and will return to Arizona to be with his family" (STAR TRIBUNE, 4/16)....The Steelers and KDKA-CBS have reached a multi-year deal, giving KDKA exclusive local broadcasting rights for the Steelers' non-nationally televised games. KDKA has held the Steelers' preseason local TV rights since '98 (Steelers).

    CABLE NOTES: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' R. Thomas Umstead cites some MSO execs as saying that AOL Time Warner's CNN/SI "will not be immediately replaced when it goes dark in mid-May." Instead, operators will "examine other options," including the proposed AOL TW/NBA-owned sports network. Turner Sports Senior VP/PR Greg Hughes "would not say if Turner is encouraging operators to keep the channel open until the new AOL/NBA service" is ready to launch (MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 4/15)....From January 1 to April 1, most cable nets "added only a small percentage of new homes." Speed Channel added 4.3 million HHs for a total of 50.8 million. ESPNews added 1.6 million to climb to 29.5 million overall. However ESPN Classic "fell by 3.6 million homes" (MEDIA LIFE, 4/15).... DAILY VARIETY's John Dempsey wrote, "A number of shifts in the industry have jolted natural cable antagonists — nets and operators — into a new stage of grumpiness over the question of license-fee increases." FSN Midwest is off NPG Cable in St. Joseph, MO, and Sunflower Cable in Lawrence, KS, "after they balked at the increase in license fees." NPG Cable GM Bill Severn said that FSN "wanted an 86% jump in fees in the first year alone." Also, The Golf Channel and E! "fell off Media One cable systems when they failed to reach" a deal (DAILY VARIETY, 4/15).

    Print | Tags: ABC, Baseball, Basketball, Boston Red Sox, Cablevision, CBS, CFL, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, ESPN, Football, Hockey, Madison Square Garden, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild, MLB, Motorsports, NBA, New York Yankees, Olympics, Pittsburgh Steelers, Media, Turner Sports, USOC, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • NASCAR Brings The Ride Along Program To Digital Subscribers

    NASCAR and iN Demand officially announced yesterday a three-year partnership where iN Demand will offer to approximately 12.5 million digital cable subscribers a multi-channel TV package to complement broadcasts of NASCAR Winston Cup races. The package, which is a season-long package and not a pay-per-view race-by-race service, offers seven channels — one with a simulcast of the race, one offering statistical data and other race enhancements and five dedicated to views from in-car cameras with live team audio and real-time car data displayed on animated dashboards. The "NASCAR In Car on iN Demand" service will cost $99 in '02 and will first be available for the June 16 Michigan 400. The package will include all 36 races next season. NASCAR VP/Broadcasting Paul Brooks told THE DAILY that the in-car camera channels will use the feed from the main broadcaster of the race, either Fox/FX or NBC/TNT. Therefore, when the main race broadcast goes to a commercial, all of the "NASCAR In Car On iN Demand" channels will also break. Accordingly, ad inventory will continue to be sold by the networks. Brooks would not give an estimate on the number of subscribers NASCAR is aiming for in year one, saying, "We're going to leave that up to iN Demand, who are the experts in selling these kind of packages. Our focus at NASCAR has been in developing a good solid product that fans are going to like and appreciate. ... If we make the product right, then it will be successful." More Brooks: "We don't think it takes eyeballs away from the broadcast. We think it acts as a complement to the broadcast. Fans are going to have a pretty cool new use for picture-in-picture on their TV sets. ... Fans will be able to act as the director and move around from car to car or back to the race coverage as they want to." NASCAR Managing Dir of New Media Jeffrey Pollack added, "This is a first for NASCAR. We really don't have out-of-market events to sell on a subscription basis, so we've had to think creatively about the content." Asked what NASCAR will do to promote the new service, Brooks said, "The best promotion is going to come from the local cable operators and iN Demand that are offering the packages in their specific markets, because that is where we really need to promote and reach out to fans and let them know the package is available on their local cable system and how to order it. We will certainly do our part of promotion — whether it is or Speed Channel — on getting the word out that this package is available" (THE DAILY).

    Print | Tags: Motorsports, NASCAR, NBC, Media
  • Sunday Silence: CBS Wishes A Challenger Emerged For Tiger

    CBS' two-day Masters coverage, from 3:30-6:45pm ET Saturday and 1:30-6:45pm ET Sunday, averaged an 8.8/19 overnight Nielsen rating, becoming the third-highest two-day Masters average ever, behind the 12.8/27 in '97 and the 10.5/23 in '01. Tiger Woods won the event in all three of those years. Sunday's overnight was a 9.9/21, down 23% from a 12.9/27 last year. Final-round coverage from 4:00pm through the Green Jacket ceremony Sunday earned a 12.1/25, also the third highest ever behind '97's 15.8/32 and '01's 12.9/27. Sunday's rating peaked between 6:00-6:30pm with a 14.1/27 overnight (THE DAILY). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Cynthia Littleton notes the "lead-in from the Masters gave CBS a healthy start in primetime," as CBS won the night with 14.9 million viewers, and earned second place in adults 18-49 with a 3.4/10 (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 4/16).

    REAX: In L.A., Larry Stewart writes the "main reason" why Sunday's rating was down from last year is that the "coverage was expanded from three hours to more than five." The ratings for the final three hours Sunday was "about the same as last year" (L.A. TIMES, 4/16). Advanswers, N.Y., media buyer Tom DeCabia, on Sunday's rating: "With Tiger going in tied, everyone thought he'd win. There was no drama to hold an audience"   (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 4/15). NEWSDAY's Steve Zipay writes the decreased ratings should not "detract from CBS' effort. The production was consistently high-quality," and analyst Ken Venturi was "a good listen and accurate in predicting shots" in his farewell appearance at Augusta (NEWSDAY, 4/16).

    WEB SITE A SMASH: Visitors to increased 37% over last year, as a record of almost 1.5 million unique users logged on during the tournament week and stayed on the site for an average of one-hour, fifty-four minutes. Peak traffic occurred around 3:00pm ET Friday, when 85,300 Real-Time Leader Boards were in use. The top ten requested bios were Woods, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington, Davis Love III, John Daly, Retief Goosen, Arnold Palmer, Sergio Garcia and Greg Norman (IBM).

    Print | Tags: CBS, Golf, Media, Viacom
  • Media rights: We really know our stuff

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