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SBD/Issue 175/Sports MediaPrint All
Stanley Cup Finals Game Three Marks
Lowest-Rated Primetime Show Ever On NBC
VERSUS: Versus' coverage of Game One ranked 58th among all TV programs on May 28, with its 0.5 U.S HH rating and average audience of 769,000 viewers, ranking just behind Food Network's "Build a Better Burger" (807,000 viewers) and E!'s "Sunset Tan" (795,000 viewers). Game Two ranked 74th on May 30 with a U.S HH rating of 0.4 and an average audience of 576,000, placing it just behind a pair of episodes of "Mama's Family" on ION Networks (659,000 viewers and 620,000 viewers) and "VH1 All Access: Celebrity Parties" (578,000) (THE DAILY).
Versus signed a multi-year deal to sublicense ten Pac-10 and Big 12 football games from FSN. Deal terms will have Versus telecast five games from each conference, including the marquee Cal-Stanford Pac-10 matchup on December 1. Other Pac-10 games will include BYU-UCLA (September 8) and Stanford-USC (October 6), with two other games being selected during the season. Versus will telecast Iowa-Iowa State (September 15). Four other Big 12 games will be selected later in the year. Versus will handle the production for each of these games. It has not decided on the on-air talent it will use.
FUELING DISTRIBUTION: These conferences operate in several markets, like L.A., Arizona and Iowa, where the network is looking to add distribution. It currently is in about 72 million homes and will not make these games available to any over-the-air broadcasters in the local markets. "We are on a path to grow to 80-90 million homes," said Versus President Gavin Harvey. "We continue to be in a growth mode. We really like college sports a lot." The deal makes a good fit for the channel, given its affiliation with the Mountain West Conference's channel The mtn. Comcast owns Versus and part of The mtn, and Versus telecasts several Mountain West football games per year. "When you get the opportunity to jump on the Pac-10 and Big 12, you jump on it," said Versus Senior VP/Programming & Production Marc Fein.
TURNER: Turner Sports previously carried these games, but its five-year sublicense arrangement with FSN ended after last season when Turner opted not to renew. Though it has no college football games on its schedule, Turner hasn't completely turned away from the sport."If a premium college football package were to become available, and it fits within our financial model, we would certainly consider it," said Turner Sports President David Levy.
HBO’s “Barbaro” Documentary Airing Tonight
THUMBS MOSTLY UP: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes the documentary is a “hero’s journey told with respect.” It is “restrained as it shifts from the derby victory to [Barbaro's] breakdown at the Preakness” (N.Y. TIMES, 6/6). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER’s Irv Letofsky writes the show is a “straightforward, dutiful recitation of the Barbaro story, with touching commentaries from the owners, the trainer, horse historians, etc.” (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 6/6). In Orlando, Jerry Greene writes the presentation “is excellent. Producers, writers and editors build a sad tale of ill-fated love, making the people the focus. And Liev Schreiber is one of the best narrators in the biz” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/6). In DC, Dick Heller wrote “good taste ... is very much in evidence here,” as the documentary only shows one replay of Barbaro’s breakdown at the Preakness (WASHINGTON TIMES, 6/3). In Houston, David Barron wrote NBC’s "Barbaro" documentary, which ran the weekend of the Kentucky Derby, “was a creditable job, but HBO’s effort feels more like the definitive word.” The “star of the show" is Barbaro’s co-owner, Gretchen Jackson. Carillo “seemed to get something out of her that others didn’t” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/4).
LOOKING FOR MORE: In Illinois, Ted Cox wrote under the header, “HBO’s ‘Barbaro’ Barely Scratches Surface Of Tragedy.” Cox: “It never delves into what made Barbaro burst out of the starting gate before the bell at the Preakness a year ago. It accepts the Pimlico doctor’s story that he then examined the horse and found him sound.” But it is “not as if ‘Barbaro’ is going to disappoint anyone who watches it" (ILLINOIS DAILY HERALD, 6/1).
With Billy Donovan negotiating to return to Gainesville to coach the Univ. of Florida after backing out of his commitment to coach the Magic, some bloggers think his decision could change the way NBA teams deal with college coaches in the future.
Posted By: Sports Dude
“I think that something has to be done to prevent people from having a ‘change of heart’ and not honoring their contract. Remember, the media kills players when they want to renegotiate or ask to be traded. I just hope that this is a lesson to those coaches who don’t want to honor that signed document that we call a contract.” From Aj’s Skybox
Posted By: aj3166
“He has not only destroyed any chance of going to the NBA himself, but has made it difficult for any college coach to make the jump to the pros. Do you think any NBA team is ever again going to consider hiring a college coach, knowing in the back of their minds that whoever they hire could pull a ‘Donovan’?” Sports Manor “I think that Billy Donovan going back to Florida is a good decision. I watched the press conference he held with Orlando and to me, he looked scared, like a deer caught in the headlights. It just looked to me like he was going through the motions; like it hadn’t really sunk in yet what he was doing.” Kentucky Wildcat Basketball
Posted By: UK1BIGBLUE
“I think Billy Donovan has spoiled his chances of returning to the NBA in such a good position. Note that doesn’t mean I don’t think eventually he will go - I still think the NBA calls to him. I just think that his chances of landing as good of a job as the Orlando Magic will escape him.” Get a lodha this
Posted By: K.L.
“Could Donovan have handled this situation any worse? He’s definitely alienated the Magic, he’s probably alienated most of his players at Florida, and here’s betting that most NBA teams will now be quite unwilling to give him a shot.” Duke Basketball Report
Posted By: DBR
“Everyone understands that contracts in this business mean nothing, but everyone also knows that if both your bosses and your recruits get whiplash trying to keep up with your career shuffle, your credibility necessarily declines.”
BUILDING THE BUZZ: Sports Media Challenge's Sports Blog Index analyzed the buzz surrounding Donovan’s expected return to Florida. There was mixed reaction among bloggers. Click here for more analysis.Visit www.SportsBusinessDaily.com for more analysis.
- The topic measured 10 of 10 on The Buzz, which indicates an extremely high level of interest.
- Most of the positive exposure is drawn from Florida bloggers who support the return of Donovan, or bloggers who feel it is in Donovan’s best interest to avoid previous college-to-NBA coaching failures.
- Negative exposure is drawn from critics of the “flip-flopping” behavior on Donovan’s part. Surprisingly, this sentiment is even felt by some Florida fans.
- Fans feel that a ban for Donovan to return to the NBA is fair, and some bloggers have called for that ban to be longer, if not permanent.
The Mountain West Conference BOD voted unanimously Tuesday to follow a BYU and Univ. of Utah initiative in “retaining legal counsel to clarify the league’s television contract and hasten distribution of The Mtn.” Utah and BYU announced the hiring of L.A.-based Morrison & Foerster Partner Kelly Crabb last week (DENVER POST, 6/6).
NBC: SI.com and NBCSports.com have partnered to create “Sidelines,” a daily Web show featuring WFAN’s Chris Russo, NBC’s Jimmy Roberts and comedian Matty Blake. Guests will include SI reporters Peter King, Tom Verducci, Jon Heyman, Seth Davis and Ian Thomsen, as well as analysts from NBC Sports (SI/NBC)....NBC received 13 TV Critics Association nominations, including five for “Friday Night Lights.” The show was the most nominated series overall (DAILY VARIETY, 6/6).
BROADCAST BOOT CAMP: USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand writes the NFL will stage its first-ever “Broadcast Boot Camp” for players wanting to become broadcasters on June 18 at NFL Films in New Jersey. NFL TV consultant Dick Maxwell said the three-day camp will have 12-hour days and curriculum including a “session on ethics and what it’s like to criticize former teammates.” The camp will involve programmers and producers from each national TV and radio network carrying NFL games. CBS’ James Brown and Gus Johnson, Fox’ Brian Baldinger and Ron Pitts, ESPN’s Ron Jaworski and NFL Network’s Dick Vermeil will also participate (USA TODAY, 6/6).