SBD/Issue 141/Sports Media

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  • Tennis Channel, DirecTV Reach Multi-Year Distribution Deal



    Tennis Channel and DirecTV have entered into a multi-year distribution agreement that begins with a “Sneak Peek” of the French Open, May 27-June 10, followed by the launch of Tennis Channel later this summer. As part of the Sneak Peek, DirecTV will offer French Open Interactive, providing viewers with expanded coverage and features. Tennis Channel’s HD network, scheduled for a December launch, will also get carriage on DirecTV. Tennis Channel will be available on DirecTV’s Choice Xtra base programming package that has more than 8 million subscribers (Tennis Channel). In this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, John Ourand notes this is “the most significant carriage deal the four-year-old network has signed,” as it will “nearly double” Tennis Channel’s distribution (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/16 issue).

    Print | Tags: DirecTV, Media, Tennis Channel
  • FoxSports.com Unveils Redesign

    By Eric Fisher, Staff Writer, SportsBusiness Journal

    FoxSports.com Redesign Features
    Greater Emphasis On Video Content

    FoxSports.com today unveils a new site redesign, part of a much larger systemic reworking of the Fox Interactive Media outlet. Changes include a significantly heightened emphasis on video content, lead stories changed on a steady rotational basis, deeper use of rich media and a new spacial configuration that takes advantage of wider monitors. Other changes, including customized sports TV listings and expanded social networking and user generated content offerings, will roll out over the next several months. “Our research and focus groups didn’t show a demand for vast, sweeping changes. But we’ve done a number of important things to enhance and improve the look and feel of the site,” said FoxSports.com VP/Programming & Product Development Ed Bunnell. “We feel this is one of the things that can push us over the top.”

    Print | Tags: News Corp./Fox, Media
  • St. Louis Fans Missing NBC Telecasts For Cardinals Games

    KSDK-NBC Foregoing Network
    Programming For Cardinals Games



    NBC is scheduled to air sporting events on nine of the 17 Sundays on which St. Louis affil KSDK airs a Cardinals game, and “no arrangements have been made to move NBC programming that is being pre-empted” to another station, according to Dan Caesar of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. KSDK this past Sunday aired Brewers-Cardinals instead of Flames-Red Wings Game Two, the “first of four hockey playoff games” that will be affected. Other events that may be pre-empted include the French Open, Wimbledon and the final rounds of the U.S. Women’s Open and two PGA Tour events. KSDK Program Dir Rebecca Rahm said that the station’s contract with NBC “allows for the pre-emptions, and that it is up to the network ... to find another station to carry the overridden events.” KPLR-CW GM Bill Lanesey said that NBC “didn’t want to pay [the station] for taking the telecasts” and instead let it sell local advertising. WRBU-MYT VP & COO Gregg Filandrinos said NBC left a message with his assistant on Friday concerning Flames-Red Wings. But Filandrinos said, “Yeah, sure, call me on Friday ... and ask me if I want to clear a game for Sunday. I said, ‘Don’t even bother returning the call.’”

    FSN SETTLEMENT: Meanwhile, Caesar reported a settlement “appears imminent” between FSN Midwest and DirecTV, as sources said that negotiations “have progressed to the point that the blackout of Cardinals telecasts in central Illinois has been lifted.” FSN wanted satellite operators to include the net with basic service, but the games have returned on a sports tier (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/14).

    Print | Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Calgary Flames, Detroit Red Wings, DirecTV, Milwaukee Brewers, NBC, News Corp./Fox, PGA Tour, Media, St. Louis Cardinals
  • People & Personalities: Ebersol Expects K.O. To Make Waves

    NBC’s Olbermann Adds “Football
    Night In America” Co-Hosting Duties

    MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, who is joining NBC’s “Football Night in America” as a co-host, will continue to host his daily MSNBC show, “Countdown,” as well as contribute to “NBC Nightly News.” NBC Universal Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol said that Olbermann “was in the midst of negotiations when [NBC Universal TV Group CEO] Jeff Zucker asked Ebersol if he would like Olbermann to become a part of NBC Sports again.” Ebersol: “I said, ‘Yeah,’ at the drop of the hat” (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 4/17). Olbermann said that he will “likely keep his left-leaning political opinions mostly confined” to “Countdown.” Olbermann: “I’m not going in there with any agenda” (N.Y. POST, 4/17). Ebersol said of Olbermann, “I’m sure there will be some phone calls from the [NFL] on Monday morning from occasional opinions that will come up now on ‘Football Night in America’” (NBC).

    HAMMER TIME: While Hank Aaron has said that he will not attend the game when Barry Bonds breaks his career home run record, ESPN MLB announcer Jon Miller said that there were “several reasons” why he and partner Joe Morgan did not ask Aaron about Bonds during Sunday night’s Padres-Dodgers game. First, Aaron’s reps “said he was not willing to answer questions on topics other than Jackie Robinson. Second, Miller thought Aaron already addressed the issue in newspaper interviews. Third, Aaron was telling such great stories about Robinson, Miller did not see an opening to change the subject.” Miller: “I felt that if I asked that question, I’m asking it for some writer somewhere so I don’t get second-guessed. That wouldn’t be fair to Hank Aaron” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/17).

    WHITLOCK: In K.C., Jeffrey Flanagan writes K.C. Star columnist Jason Whitlock appeared yesterday on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” to discuss the Don Imus controversy, following recent appearances on CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” “Anderson Cooper 360” and “American Morning,” NBC’s “Today” and MSNBC’s “Tucker.” What has “intrigued the national media recently is Whitlock’s contention that society ... should be far more appalled by the language and culture of hip-hop music than by Imus.” Whitlock taped a follow-up episode of “Oprah” that will air today (K.C. STAR, 4/17).

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Los Angeles Dodgers, NBC, San Diego Padres, Media, Time Warner, Walt Disney
  • Ratings News: NBA Tops NASCAR In Texas, But Not Nationally

    Spurs-Mavericks On Sunday
    Averages 6.9 Rating In Dallas Market
    The Spurs-Mavericks game Sunday averaged a 6.9 Nielsen rating (164,220 HHs), on WFAA-ABC in Dallas, while the NASCAR Nextel Cup Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway earned a 6.1/ (145,180 HHs) on KDFW-Fox, according to Barry Horn of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. But nationally, the race scored a 5.4 overnight, up 13% from last year, and “easily beat” the NBA game’s 2.9. Sunday night’s Canucks-Stars Game Three averaged a 3.1/ (73,800 HHs) cable rating on FSN Southwest, marking the net’s best rating for a Stars game since a 3.9 for an ’04 first-round game against the Avalanche (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/17).

    NHL: In Toronto, William Houston reports the CBC drew 1.02 million viewers for Penguins-Senators Game Two on Saturday, but the 3:00pm ET start time for the game “appears to have cost the CBC about 500,000 viewers.” On Sunday, the net drew its “largest playoff audience so far” of 1.546 million viewers for Senators-Penguins Game Three, which began at 6:00pm. Prior to Senators-Penguins, the CBC drew 672,000 viewers for Flames-Red Wings Game Two at 1:00pm Sunday and 1.424 million for Canucks-Stars Game Three at 9:30pm (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 4/17).

    ROCKIES: The Rockies’ season-opening game against the D’Backs April 2 drew a 4.3/12 on FSN Rocky Mountain, marking the most-viewed Rockies game since August 15, 2006. The average of 60,000 HHs marked the largest TV audience ever on FSN for one of the team’s home games, and the largest audience for a season-opener since ’03 (FSN).

    Print | Tags: ABC, Calgary Flames, Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rockies, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, NASCAR, NBA, News Corp./Fox, Nextel, NHL, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Antonio Spurs, Southwest Sports Group, Speedway Motorsports Inc., Media, Vancouver Canucks, Walt Disney
  • Blog Hound: Is Chicago The Right Choice For The 2016 Games?

    With the USOC selecting Chicago as the applicant city for the 2016 Summer Olympics, bloggers are discussing the city’s chances of winning the bid, its ability to host a successful Games and whether the USOC made the right choice in choosing the Windy City over L.A.

    The Jolly Spectator
    Posted By: Ted Pratt
    “The Olympics would mean significant monies for improving things like mass transit and parks, but the real benefit for Chicago would be for its profile internationally.  Just look at what the Olympics have done for Barcelona.  The world would love Chicago as a host, but the work is just beginning.”
    the texasyank
    Posted By: Joe McDade
    “So, Chicago, 2016. Peter Ueberroth is supposed to be in charge of all this. Doesn’t he remember that the Los Angeles Olympics, circa 1984, were the greatest in history, that those were the games that signaled the modern Olympics as we know them? Guess not.”
    Fuzz Martin
    Posted By: Claude
    “Sure, you have O’Hare, lots of great restaurants, and even spendier hotels, but with facilities and space on the short end of the stick, the city of Chicago itself will be hard pressed to make a great case for holding such events.”
    Sportable
    Posted By: Ryan
    “Chicago’s numerous venues and plans for an 80,000 seat Olympic Stadium certainly strengthen their bid, as does their strong transportation network. There are few things as powerful as the Olympic Games. It may be nine years away but the decision will be made in just two years. Time is ticking. Chicago is on the clock.”
    My Heroic Bits
    Posted By: Ruster
    “The emerging concept of geographical rotation favors a host city in North America or Asia. Since London will be hosting the Games in 1012 after Beijing, potential host cities in Europe such as Madrid and Rome are less likely to get the nod.”

    BUILDING THE BUZZ: Sports Media Challenge’s Sports Blog Index measured the interest around Chicago being selected as the U.S. candidate for the 2016 Olympics. Click on the chart for further analysis.

    • The topic measures a 1 out of 10 on Buzz Meter, which indicated a very low level of interest.
    • Bloggers express quiet optimism about Chicago as a bid city, with most of the major sports blogs giving nothing more than a mention.
    • 2016 Olympics in Chicago Blog, created to build support for the bid, notes it “will be tough to keep momentum for the next 2.5 years.”

    Do you have a blog post that our readers would find interesting? Please forward your submission to bloghound@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

    Print | Tags: Media, USOC
  • Media Notes

    SI’s Peter King wrote the Patriots-Colts game November 4 was given an afternoon time slot on CBS and not a primetime slot because CBS “deserved the game.” King: “The last three times the Colts and Pats have met in the regular season, the games were on Monday night, Monday night and Sunday night, respectively. The NFL had to be fair to a network that has been a good partner” (SI.com, 4/16).

    NHL IN HD: FSN Pittsburgh has not broadcast the Penguins-Senators series in HD. FSN Pittsburgh Exec Producer Shawn McClintock said the FSN facility in Houston has “limited capacity. Additionally, it can be challenging to find an available truck on such short notice.” But McClintock said if the Penguins advance, “we’re making plans to cover as many games as we can in HD” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 4/17). Meanwhile, the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER runs a correction today that states, “A hockey notes column in Sunday's sports section incorrectly blamed the Versus network for not carrying the [Rangers- Thrashers] on its HD channel last week. The game was scheduled to be televised on NBC” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/17). The note ran in yesterday’s issue of THE DAILY.

    NOTES: Electronic Arts has signed APM Music, which provides music for various media platforms, to produce 10 CDs a year featuring music from videogame soundtracks, including “Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf.” The first batch of CDs will include “EA Sports Rock” (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 4/17)....Cablevision has moved cable music channel Fuse from its Rainbow Media division to its MSG unit, a move “some observers believe may be a prelude to a sell-off of the operator’s cable network portfolio.” Former MTV exec Eric Sherman will become Fuse President (BRANDWEEK, 4/16 issue).

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, CBS, EA Sports, Indianapolis Colts, Madison Square Garden, New England Patriots, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Ottawa Senators, PGA Tour, Pittsburgh Penguins, Sports Illustrated, Media, Viacom
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