SBD/Issue 89/Sports Media

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  • Former NASCAR Driver Rusty Wallace Signs On With ESPN/ABC

    Wallace Inks Deal To Become ESPN/
    ABC’s Lead Auto Racing Analyst



    Recently-retired NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace will become the lead auto racing analyst for ESPN/ABC Sports when the nets return to televising NASCAR in ’07. Wallace this season will report from at least 20 NASCAR races for “SportsCenter,” beginning with the Daytona 500. He will also be an analyst for the ’06 IRL season, including the Indy 500, and will serve as analyst for ESPN2’s upcoming daily motor sports series (ESPN). Wallace: “I’m going to be a little bit edgy. I’m going to tell the truth. I want to get into the nuts and bolts of things. Basically, I want to educate the world about NASCAR and about IRL. ... I’m going to try to bring more in-depth interviews to it, things that the fans have not seen enough of” (ESPNews, 1/25). Fox NASCAR analyst Darrell Waltrip said of Wallace, "The IRL needs guys like us to help tell their story, because they've got a good one to tell. Rusty will be good, and I'm happy for him because this will help get him ready for (2007)" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 1/26).

    Print | Tags: ABC, ESPN, IndyCar, NASCAR, Media, Walt Disney
  • Atlantic 10 Conference Inks ESPN, CSTV Deals

    The Atlantic 10 Conference has inked multi-year broadcast deals with ESPN and CSTV that begin with the ’06-07 season. ESPN’s extension of its TV agreement covering men’s and women’s basketball games including each conference championship will run through the 2009-10 season. ESPN and ESPN2 will offer eight men’s and one women’s game annually, while ESPNU will offer six men’s and one women’s game annually. Meanwhile, CSTV gains media and marketing rights through 2011 for all 21 men’s and women’s sports, covering TV, broadband, Internet, VOD, Wireless, national over-the-air and satellite radio. The deal also includes exclusive corporate sponsorship and licensing rights to all Atlantic 10 sports during the regular season and postseason (THE DAILY).

    Print | Tags: CBSSN, ESPN, Media, Walt Disney
  • No NHL, No Prob: Canadian Sports Audiences Increase In ‘05

    Blue Jays’ Ratings Benefit
    From Absence Of NHL
    Canadian sports nets TSN, Rogers Sportsnet and The Score all reported “substantial audience increases in 2005 ... despite missing five months during the most-watched part of the NHL season” due to the lockout, according to Chris Zelkovich of the TORONTO STAR. TSN held the top position among the sports nets with a 24-hour average of 100,200 viewers, a 10% increase from ’04, while Sportsnet’s daily average was up 26% to 61,800, and The Score increased 27% to 19,900. TSN’s prime-time audience increased 14% to 240,000, while Sportsnet’s was up 22% to 160,000. TSN reported “increases in all demographics, placing it third among all specialty channels, behind WTBS and YTV.” TSN President Phil King: “With the NHL not available, many sports fans migrated to other sports.” Sportsnet President Doug Beeforth: “People who normally would have watched playoff hockey watched the [Blue] Jays and stayed. The fact that hockey came back in such a robust fashion was also a big factor.” Zelkovich notes the Blue Jays’ audience was up 72% on TSN and 77% on Sportsnet. NASCAR, CFL, golf and tennis also “benefited from hockey’s absence” on TSN with increases of 37%, 27%, 30% and 17%, respectively. With the NHL’s return, fall audiences on TSN were up 77%, while Maple Leafs regional audiences have risen 38% (TORONTO STAR, 1/26).

    Print | Tags: CFL, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, NASCAR, NHL, Media, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Maple Leafs
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