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SBD/Issue 135/Sports MediaPrint All
CBS Celebrating Fiftieth Consecutive
Year Of Airing The Masters
PICTURE THIS: USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand noted CBS will have nine announcers and “more than 50 cameras” present at The Masters. CBS will “debut an unmanned ‘Robo-Camera’ which CBS used on football but not golf above a creek at the 13th hole” (USA TODAY, 4/6). In Denver, Dick Kreck notes CBS is using 42 HD and ten hand-held cameras to cover the tournament (DENVER POST, 4/7).
TALENT: GOLFWORLD’s Stu Schneider reports CBS is “bringing back Pat Summerall, who did 26 Masters telecasts for the network, to do the ‘billboards’ introducing the coverage.” Also, CBS’ Peter Kostis, whose contract with USA was not renewed before the ’04 Ryder Cup, will return to USA at The Masters “as part of his CBS gig” (GOLFWORLD, 4/8 issue).
GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY? In Richmond, Jerry Lindquist reports that in a teleconference Monday, McManus was asked about CBS’ association with The Masters and “bowing down to the Green Jackets to keep the event at all costs.” McManus: “I’ve been in this job for eight years. I promise you, I’ve never had one discussion with one announcer or production person saying how they should or shouldn’t talk about Augusta National.” He was then asked, “Have there been times when you’ve backed off the news angle to make it more palatable to Augusta National?” McManus: “The answer is no” (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 4/7). Meanwhile, USA TODAY’s Hiestand noted that CBS’ Jack Whitaker referring to The Masters gallery as a “mob” several years ago “prompt[ed] Augusta to remove him from CBS’ coverage.” Also, when CBS analyst Gary McCord said the greens had a “bikini wax” and shots landed like “body bags” in ’94, “he too was pulled” (USA TODAY, 4/6).
PROPER TREATMENT: In an in-depth interview with Jim Nantz, GOLF DIGEST’s Craig Bestrom asks, “Why at Augusta in 2003, when Martha Burk had created such a firestorm of controversy ... did you not say a word about it during CBS’ coverage?” Nantz: “Who had it wrong? CBS or the mainstream media? Was the amount of coverage commensurate with what happened at Augusta? There were 38 stories written in The New York Times from when that issue first surfaced until the Masters.” Bestrom: “Did The New York Times have it wrong?” Nantz: “I don’t know; they dedicated 38 stories to it. I know that she had seven protesters out there with her in the end who were not paid” (GOLF DIGEST, 4/5 issue).
Basebrawl: Vinciquerra Calls
Fight Over Mobilecasts “Ugly”
MLBAM has updated its Web pricing strategy, “and put in place a number of valuable fan-friendly technologies,” according to David Radin of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. MLB has also “set itself up for a sophisticated fan experience –- both online and at the ballpark –- by developing technology and even buying” Tickets.com. While the previous ticketing model charged a per-ticket fee when a fan bought via MLB.com for any of the 30 teams, the number of dollars per ticket now “has been dropped substantially; and a small ordering processing fee has been added to each order.” MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman said that the league “also has capped the total convenience fee on any online purchase.” Radin notes the fees “now vary depending on the price of the tickets.” For example, a $2 convenience fee is attached to online purchases of $9 Pirates tickets, down from $4; and a $3 fee is attached to $26 tickets. For Red Sox tickets, the fee starts at $3.50. In addition, each transaction for Pirates tickets adds a $3 processing fee, while it is $7 for the Red Sox. Profit from convenience fees “is subject to revenue sharing. Last year that amounted to 15.3[%] of ticket sales.” Bowman said that MLB plans to use Tickets.com “to further enhance the ticket buying process and keep fees down” (POST-GAZETTE, 4/7).
LAWN BOYS: Sirius Satellite Radio has signed a four-year agreement to air live coverage of Wimbledon for ten hours a day beginning with this year’s tournament (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 4/6). The broadcasting package “includes play-by-play coverage of key matches, courtside reports from other matches and other Wimbledon news” (AP, 4/6).
NCAA WOMEN: ESPN earned a 2.6/ (2,369,000 HHs) cable Nielsen rating for its coverage of the Baylor-Michigan State NCAA women’s basketball final, down 39.5% from a 4.3/ (3,801,000 HHs) for Connecticut-Tennessee in ’04, which was the highest-rated women’s basketball game ever. ESPN averaged a 2.5/ (2,260,000 HHs) for all three games of the Final Four, down 26.5% from last year’s three-game average of 3.4/ (2,990,000 HHs). For the entire women’s tournament, ESPN averaged a 1.3/ (1,133,000 HHs) for 15 games, down 13.3% from 1.5/ (1,300,000 HHs) for 17 games in ’04. But the ’05 tournament was the second most-viewed for ESPN in the network’s ten-year history of televising the event, and tied for second best rated with three other years. ESPN2 averaged a 0.6/ (491,000 HHs) for 14 broadcasts, up 20.0% from a 0.5/ (445,000 HHs) for the same number of games last year, and marking ESPN2’s best-rated women’s tournament in the ten years (THE DAILY).
STONE COLD: Steve Stone moved from the Cubs broadcast booth and team flagship WGN-AM to WSCR-AM this season, and in Chicago, Paul Sullivan reports that Stone’s criticisms of Cubs Ps Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano “already have rankled some.” Cubs manager Dusty Baker believes that Stone’s remarks “are making news because the outlets promoting Stone are in direct competition” with The Tribune Co., which owns the Cubs. Baker: “He’s on a radio station opposite WGN, and I guess his comments come out regularly in a newspaper opposite the Tribune” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/7). Excerpts from Stone’s commentary on WSCR are appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/7). Stone’s criticism of the Cubs is reportedly one reason he is not back with the team this season (THE DAILY).