SBD/Issue 202/Sports Media

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  • New York Minutes: IOC Likely To Move Swim Finals For NBC

    Beijing Games Swimming Finals Likely
    To Be Moved To Accommodate NBC
    The swimming finals at the ’08 Beijing Games are expected to be moved from their “traditional evening [time] slots to the morning to please” NBC, according to Denis Campbell of the London OBSERVER. The BBC is at “the forefront of angry broadcasters trying to get the decision reversed,” and a BBC spokesperson said that it is working with the European Broadcasting Union on the matter. The BBC has asked British Swimming to lobby FINA “to do what it can to block the IOC’s plans,” and it has also asked British IOC members Sir Craig Reedie and Sir Phil Craven “to use their influence.” British Swimming CEO David Sparkes said that the IOC “would be ‘setting a dangerous precedent’ if, as expected, it ratified the decision when it meets next month.” Sparkes: “You are a hostage to fortune if you change it this time because every time the Olympics goes into a time zone that doesn’t suit the American audience you are going to change the whole programme.” A senior BBC exec said that NBC has also asked for track & field, gymnastics and basketball finals to be rescheduled as well, and IOC President Jacques Rogge and senior colleagues are “considering that request too” (London OBSERVER, 7/16).

    Print | Tags: IOC, NBC, Media
  • Browns End Deal With TV Partner After Station Airs 911 Call

    The Browns last Thursday terminated their relationship with WOIO-CBS, three days after the station aired the 911 tape of Browns Owner Randy Lerner’s sister, Nancy Fisher, finding her six-year-old daughter drowned in a creek, according to Tony Grossi of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. WOIO “was the only station to air the gruesome portion of Fisher’s emergency call.” The Browns were entering the second year of a three-year deal with WOIO, which reportedly paid the team $2M annually. Browns VP/Communications Bill Bonsiewicz “confirmed the team is looking for a new station to air its four preseason games and other programming throughout the season,” but “declined to elaborate on the reason for the abrupt switch.” WOIO GM Bill Applegate could not be reached for comment. Grossi writes the airing of the 911 call “was the last straw in a relationship that was rocky from the start,” noting that neither party “was satisfied with local ratings” for Saturday and Monday night Browns programming (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 7/18).

    Print | Tags: CBS, Cleveland Browns, Media, Viacom
  • Red Zebra Launching Triple X ESPN Radio To Cover DC Area

    Red Zebra Broadcasting today launches Triple X ESPN Radio in DC. Three stations -– WWXT-FM, WWXX-FM and WXTR-AM –- will trimulcast sports programming in the area. Triple X is the official home of the Redskins and the exclusive carrier of ESPN Radio in the region. Former Redskins RB John Riggins is hosting an afternoon drive-time show (RZB). In DC, Farhi & Heath write Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder is “counting on twin brands, the Redskins and ESPN, to lift three relatively weak stations that have been broadcasting Spanish-language pop music and talk. He is betting that if he can acquire more and more powerful stations ... he can create a wholly owned Redskins network reaching millions of fans from Pennsylvania to the Carolinas.” Red Zebra is “counting on listeners to find the strongest signal by jumping from one station to the next.” But BIA Financial Network VP Mark Fratrik said, “It would be better if there were one signal. It doesn’t knock me down. ... If you want to position yourself as the Washington area sports network, not having complete coverage makes it more challenging” (WASHINGTON POST, 7/18).

    Print | Tags: ESPN, NFL, Media, Walt Disney, Washington Redskins
  • MLB Reportedly Asking About $70M For Remaining LCS Package

    MLB Reportedly Seeking
    $70M For Available LCS Games
    MLB is asking about $70M for the remaining available LCS, according to sources cited by John Consoli of MEDIAWEEK. MLB is “looking to package those games with regular season games and even a new nightly baseball news/results show which MLB could co-produce with a network.” ESPN and Turner said that they are interested “only in the remaining [LCS] games,” while sources said that Fox “wants to put those games on FX but only if it gets all of the games.” Fox “would also be interested in adding some of the [LCS] games each year, splitting them with another network.” A source said that while FX is “interested in acquiring the [LCS] games, it is not interested in carrying a regular season weeknight package.” MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan said that the league “is unlikely to split the [LCS] games among networks, but another scenario, which he wouldn’t comment on is that Fox get the remaining [LCS] games to split on Fox and FX” (MEDIAWEEK, 7/17 issue).

    FOX: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Eric Fisher notes MLB’s decision to split its TV rights last week between Fox and Turner was “driven by necessity.” With Fox “insisting on lowering its annual fee as a means to avoid a repeat of the $225[M] in write-downs in its current, six-year-deal with baseball, MLB had little choice but to carve up the inventory.” Two actions “helped MLB work through” Fox’ concerns: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig “steadily negotiating” with News Corp. President Peter Chernin, and MLB President & COO Bob DuPuy having lunch in S.F. about a month ago with Fox Sports President Ed Goren and Fox Networks Group President Tony Vinciquerra” (SBJ, 7/17 issue).

    TURNER: In this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, John Ourand notes Turner now owns rights to the NBA, NASCAR, pro golf and MLB, which has industry execs “now pointing to TNT/TBS, not OLN, as cable’s second most important sports outlet, behind ESPN.” Turner will cease airing Braves games nationally after next season under its new MLB contract. Former Clear Channel TV Chair Mike Trager, on Time Warner’s pending sale of the team: “If someone else owns the team, they have no real incentive to carry them nationally” (SBJ, 7/17 issue). In Atlanta, Tim Tucker wrote ratings “were a key factor in Turner Sports’ decision to essentially end” airing Braves games nationally. Cable ratings for Braves games on TBS since ’83 have dropped 82%, from a 4.9 to a 0.9 (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/16).

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Braves, ESPN, MLB, NASCAR, NBA, News Corp./Fox, Media, TBS/TNT, Time Warner, Versus, Walt Disney
  • Columnist Taken Aback By Armstrong’s Risqué Joke At ESPYs

    Armstrong Points Out “Brokeback
    Mountain” Actor In ESPY Monologue
    In N.Y., Richard Sandomir wrote he was “stunned” to hear host Lance Armstrong make an anal-sex joke during the ESPY Awards telecast Sunday night. The joke was directed to “Brokeback Mountain” star Jake Gyllenhaal, who was sitting in the front row of the Kodak Theater (ed. note: during his monologue, Armstrong said, “Jake, why are you sitting in the front? I thought you liked it in the rear”). ESPN Exec Editor John Walsh said that the joke “was among the three or four most-discussed items” as the production team looked at what to edit for the broadcast. Walsh added the inclusion of the joke was a “reasonable risk” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/18). Read more of Armstrong’s monologue.

    MORE REVIEWS: In Allentown, Keith Groller writes under the header, “ESPYs Lacked Punch, But Got The Awards Right.” Armstrong was “somewhat stiff in delivering his monologue,” and ESPN, as it “does all too often, [aired] too many clips, too many highlights of the nominees, too many reaction shots of LeBron James” (MORNING CALL, 7/18). However, ABCNEWS.com’s Alexa Pozniak wrote, “I dread most award shows. ... [But] I have found the exception: ESPN’s ESPY Awards”
    (ABCNEWS.com, 7/16).

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Media, Walt Disney
  • GolfObserver.com Examined By Washington Times

    Web Site Features Original Content
    From Billy Casper And Frank Hannigan
    GolfObserver.com was examined by the WASHINGTON TIMES’ Barker Davis, who noted the site “provides readers with a comprehensive set of links to each day’s golf stories from around the globe,” but there is “no copyright infringement involved because [the site] isn’t capturing and claiming the stories.” Publisher Sal Johnson is “merely providing links to each individual publication’s story on its own Web site.” While the Web site’s article links are its “main attraction,” it also offers original content with “more than a dozen journalists and insiders” including regular columns from former golfer Billy Casper and former USGA Exec Dir Frank Hannigan. The Web site is adding a new feature called BizObserver on August 4, which will include stories and links to articles on “equipment, apparel and the business of golf and Course Observer, a section dedicated to exploring the planet’s best layouts and places to play.” Meanwhile, Golf Digest has bought the rights to feature Johnson’s GolfStats on its Web site (WASHINGTON TIMES, 7/16).

    Print | Tags: LPGA, PGA Tour, Media, USGA
  • Media Notes

    CNBC’s Julia Boorstin reported despite the box-office success of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” Wall Street analysts “continue to downgrade Disney stock.” Among other concerns, ESPN’s “pricey new deals” with the NFL and NASCAR are “weighing on ESPN, pushing its growth down to single digits” (“On the Money,” CNBC, 7/17).... Grupo Televisa’s Q2 profit jumped 75% due to “strong political and World Cup advertising and lower costs,” but the results were “weaker than expected.” Televisa earned $204M compared to $120.2M last year, and revenue climbed 21% to $893M, but analysts had forecast a profit of $221M (REUTERS, 7/18).

    PEOPLE & PERSONALITIES: Pat O’Brien will host CBS’ “U.S. Open Late Night Show” during the net’s coverage of this year’s tournament (CBS Sports)....NESN has extended the contracts of broadcasters Tom Caron and Hazel Mae. Mae was rumored to be moving to ESPN once her original contract with NESN expired in August (THE DAILY)....John Boruk has joined Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia after previously working for WDIV-NBC in Detroit (Comcast SportsNet).

    CARRIAGE DEALS: The Coyotes and AZ-TV have signed a new multi-year deal making KAZT-Ind the team’s over-the-air home (Coyotes)....Italian broadcaster RAI reached a deal to air the Euro 2008 soccer championships after “record viewing figures for its coverage of Italy’s dramatic World Cup championship.” RAI said that it was the “first broadcaster among the five major European markets to reach a deal” for the event (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 7/18).

    Print | Tags: CBS, Comcast-Spectacor, Eastman Kodak, ESPN, NASCAR, NBC, NFL, Arizona Coyotes, Pittsburgh Pirates, Media, Viacom, Walt Disney
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