SBD/Issue 236/Sports Media

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  • SBD/SBJ Parent Company Purchases Sporting News From Vulcan

    American City Business Journals Inc. (ACBJ), parent company of SportsBusiness Daily and SportsBusiness Journal, has announced the acquisition of Sporting News magazine and its related assets from the Paul Allen-owned Vulcan Sports Media Inc. In addition to the 120-year-old Sporting News magazine, the ACBJ purchase includes, the Sporting News book publishing unit and the Sporting News Radio Network. Terms of the deal, expected to be completed in October, were not disclosed. ACBJ Chair & CEO Ray Shaw: “Sporting News is a strong brand that we believe has considerable upside in print, online and on-air platforms.”

    END OF THE ALLEN ERA: The acquisition comes on the heels of a period of transition for the Sporting News brand under Allen’s six-year ownership run. Allen purchased the print operations from Times Mirror Co. in ‘00 for more than $100M and added the radio operations a year later through an acquisition of One-on-One Sports. Sporting News then pursued an extensive series of editorial revampings, a change in the overall design and feel of the magazine, and an overhaul of its online strategy. But unable to turn a profit, even amid rising revenue, Allen formally put the properties on the market early this year. Sporting News CEO Rick Allen said, “We feel fortunate that the next phase of Sporting News growth will be accelerated by ACBJ. They have a deep knowledge of sports and media, a large audience that reinforces and extends our own, and a portfolio of complementary media products” (THE DAILY).

    MOVING DAY? In St. Louis, Christopher Boyce reported ACBJ “plans to study the Sporting News’ operations before deciding whether to keep” the magazine’s HQs in Creve Coeur, Missouri. While neither side would disclose the terms of the deal, Rick Allen in a February N.Y. Times article said that he “expected the franchise would ‘fetch into the hundreds of millions.’” Hoover’s estimated Sporting News’ annual revenue at $60M (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/6).

    Print | Tags: Media, Vulcan Ventures
  • U.S. Open, Agassi Draw Big Weekend Numbers For CBS, USA

    Agassi’s Farewell Draws Best Rating For
    U.S. Open's First Sunday Since '90 On CBS
    CBS earned a 3.0/8 overnight Nielsen rating for its U.S. Open coverage on Sunday in the 11:00am-6:15pm time slot, which included Andre Agassi’s final match, marking the net’s best overnight for Sunday coverage on the tournament’s first weekend since a 4.5/14 in ’90. The 3.0 is up 30% over last year’s 2.3/6 for the comparable time. Agassi’s match peaked with a 4.3 rating. On Saturday, when play was postponed due to rain, CBS earned a 1.6/4 overnight.  The network got a 1.9/5 for Monday's coverage from 11:00am-12:00pm and a 2.4/5 from 12:30-6:00pm, both down 17% from a 2.3/6 and a 2.9/6 for the respective time slots last year.  Meanwhile, USA Network’s coverage of Agassi’s five-set win over Marcos Baghdatis last Thursday night earned a 2.08/ (1,910,000 HHs) cable rating, tying for the highest-rated primetime U.S. Open telecast on the net in almost four years. The 2.08 is up 189% over 0.72 for the fourth night of the tournament last year (THE DAILY).

    NOTABLE NUMBERS: Agassi’s finale drew a 10.8 rating on KLAS-CBS in his hometown of Las Vegas, while the “rest of the tennis coverage drew” a 6.0 on Sunday. CBS’ coverage on Monday averaged a 3.1 in the market (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 9/6). The match drew 315,000 viewers on TSN, “a huge tennis number” (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 9/6).

    REVIEWS: The crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium gave Agassi an 8-1/2 minute ovation after the match, and in Las Vegas, Bill Taafee noted CBS’ Dick Enberg “had the good sense not to babble through the cheering, letting the cameras and the sounds alone tell the story” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 9/5)....In Ft. Lauderdale, Charles Bricker wrote “you shouldn’t have a tennis analyst (Mary Joe Fernandez) who is married to an agent (Tony Godsick of IMG) doing commentary or heaping praise on players [Tommy Haas] represented by her spouse or his company” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 9/5).

    Print | Tags: CBS, Media, Viacom
  • MSG Networks Inks Ten-Year Extension To Carry Sabres Games

    MSG Networks Ink Rights
    Deal With Sabres
    MSG Networks and the Sabres have agreed to a ten-year extension of their TV deal, under which MSG owns the exclusive local rights to telecast the team’s games. The deal starts after the ’06-07 season and runs through 2016-2017. In addition, the Sabres will take control of selling all ad inventory during broadcasts, starting with the upcoming season (Sabres). Sabres Managing Partner Larry Quinn would not disclose the annual fee the team is receiving, but said, “The financial package is better than what we currently enjoy.” In Buffalo, Alan Pergament noted ’06-07 is the final season of the Sabres’ $8-9M annual deal with defunct Adelphia Cable. Quinn said that the team paid “a minor fee to control advertising sales this season, revenue that Adelphia kept last season.” The Sabres will pay for production costs starting in ’07-08 –- “believed to be in the range of [$2-2.5M] a season — and will keep all the advertising revenue to offset the costs.” Adelphia paid for production costs in the previous deal. Quinn believes that MSG “will remain on basic cable on local systems that Time Warner operates” (BUFFALO NEWS, 9/1).

    THRASHERS: In Atlanta, John Manasso reported FSN will broadcast 61 Thrashers games this season, “which will be more evenly spread throughout the season than last year’s front-loaded schedule which almost left the season finale ... not broadcast locally.” The Thrashers will have a “stronger national presence,” as three games will be carried by OLN and two will be on NBC (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/2).

    DUCKS: The Ducks will have a franchise-high 78 games broadcast locally this season, besting the previous mark of 73 set last season. FSN Prime Ticket will cover 40 games this season, KDOC-Ind will air 30 games. The Ducks’ four road games against the Kings will air on FSN West. Four Ducks games will air nationally: three on OLN and one on NBC (Ducks).

    Print | Tags: Buffalo Sabres, Cablevision, Madison Square Garden, NBC, Media
  • Mic Check: Laimbeer Refuses To Be Wired Up For Game Four

    Laimbeer Upset About ESPN Mic

    WNBA Shock coach Bill Laimbeer is refusing to wear a live microphone during tonight’s telecast of Game Four of the WNBA Finals on ESPN, saying that ESPN “had used snippets of what he had said on the bench to create controversy or slam people,” according to Chris Silva of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Laimbeer also will not let ESPN “have cameras in the locker for pregame routines and speeches.” Laimbeer: “They’re using their own tool to create their own story. That shouldn’t happen.” During practice this week, Shock F Kara Braxton “told some ESPN people seated courtside that her coach wanted them to leave.” Laimbeer: “We’re telling ESPN today to basically stick it” (DETROIT FREE PRESS 9/6).

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Media, Walt Disney, WNBA
  • NFL Media Notes: Panthers, Colts Reach Sideline Compromises

    The Panthers and local TV stations have reached a compromise on the NFL’s ban on sideline TV cameras, under which “one local TV photographer will be allowed on the sidelines and the video will be shared with all local stations,” according to Mark Washburn of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The stations will rotate shooting the games. The Panthers “will have editing oversight of what sidelines video will be provided to the stations” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/2). In Indianapolis, Phillip Wilson reports the Colts will allow two local TV cameras that will “share all video in a pool-shooting capacity with other stations.” The four local network affils “reluctantly agreed to alternate pool shooting.” For road games, each team “must seek league approval to have more than one visitor-market camera on the field during the game” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 9/6). The agreements in Charlotte and Indianapolis follow a similar compromise in Cincinnati (THE DAILY).

    VIEWERS’ CHOICE? With NBC placing its score and time graphic at the bottom of the screen during its NFL game broadcasts, “Sunday Night Football” Producer Fred Gaudelli said, “It seemed to me that with all the graphics, the screen was getting smaller and smaller. The very bottom is a place where not much happens. We want to give the screen back to the viewer” (John Molori, MEDIA BLITZ, 9/5 issue).

    SLY FOX: In Charlotte, Scott Fowler notes Fox’ announcing team during its August 24 broadcast of the Dolphins-Panthers preseason game promoted a “free car giveaway on air at the end of the third quarter,” but sideline reporter Tony Siragusa instead gave Panthers fan Greg Good a toy car. Good, who believed that “the toy was a symbol for the real thing,” said, “I thought I had won a real car.” Fox Sports Manager of Communications Tim Buckman said, “As far as we know, Mr. Good hasn’t contacted anyone at Fox Sports about this. We would welcome an opportunity to speak to him and offer an apology for any misunderstanding” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 9/6).

    Print | Tags: Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, NBC, NFL, Media
  • Overnight Nielsen Ratings From Weekend Sports Events

    The following chart presents overnight Nielsen ratings for recent sports events.

    College Football Countdown
    NCAA Football: (regional)
    NCAA Football: Notre Dame-Georgia Tech
    Tennis: U.S. Open - Men & Women's Third Round
    Golf: Ryder Cup Preview
    Ice Skating: Smucker's Stars on Ice
    Volleyball: AVP Cincinnati Open
    Golf: Deutsche Bank Championship - 3rd Round
    Tennis: U.S. Open - Men's Third Round, Women's Fourth Round
    Volleyball: AVP Cincinnati Open
    Golf: Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach - Final Round
    NASCAR: Sony HD 500
    Golf: Deutsche Bank Championship - Final Round
    Tennis: U.S. Open - Men & Women's Fourth Round
    Tennis: U.S. Open - Men & Women's Fourth Round

    NOTE: ABC's final-round coverage Monday of the Deutsche Bank Championship, won by Tiger Woods, was up 128.6% from a 2.1 last year.  Third-round coverage was up 50% from a 2.0.  Woods finished out of contention last year (THE DAILY).

    Print | Tags: Dallas Mavericks, ESPN, NBC, Media, Walt Disney
  • Media Notes

    Florida State-Miami Pulls In
    Big Numbers For ESPN
    ESPN earned a 6.1 overnight cable Nielsen rating for its coverage of Monday night’s Florida State-Miami game. If the rating holds, it will be the net’s highest-rated regular-season college football game since a 7.7 for Florida State-Miami on October 8, 1994. ESPN offered “Full Circle” coverage of Monday night’s game, with special content on ESPN2 and ESPNU, as well as several other media platforms. ESPN2’s multi-screen telecast earned a 0.6 (THE DAILY).

    CALLING IN: Trevor Denman, the voice of Santa Anita Park and Del Mar, will call Breeders’ Cup races for ESPN, when the network carries the event for the first time November 4 from Churchill Downs (ESPN). Tom Durkin signed an exclusive deal with NBC in February, meaning he cannot call the Breeders’ Cup for the first time since the event’s inception in ’84 (, 9/5).

    BE HOME BLYLEVEN, AND WATCH YOUR CUSSING! Twins TV analyst Bert Blyleven was “suspended for two telecasts for accidentally using [an] obscenity on the air” before Twins-Yankees on Sunday. Blyleven “thought the pregame portion of the telecast was being taped” when he swore (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/4).

    NEW DEFINITION: In an e-mail interview with CNET, Mavericks Owner and HDNet co-Owner Mark Cuban wrote, “The sports that gain the most [in HD] are hockey and soccer, which is why HDNet pursued these sports. ... Their ratings suffered in the past because the sports aren’t suited for 4-by-3 standard-definition coverage” (CNET, 9/5).

    Print | Tags: Florida Panthers, NFL, Media
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