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ESPN To Announce Revamping Of Web Site
During Its Upfront Presentation In N.Y.
COMPLEX REBRAND: Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, which took its name from the iconic sports broadcast property when it opened in '97, is updating with a rebrand to a name that is still undetermined, but will likely include the ESPN brand. That presumably means sponsorship assets across the 220-acre indoor/outdoor participatory sports complex -- which annually hosts more than 180 events -- will be sold centrally, along with other ESPN commercial assets. However, a Disney spokesperson said the rebrand and associated elements were "very much a work in progress, with those details still to be worked out." However, more ESPN TV programming from the sports complex is a certainty. In December, the 11-year-old sports complex opened additional outdoor playing fields for football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey, and a new field house is scheduled to open this summer.
SPORTSCENTER: Starting August 11, ESPN will telecast a nine-hour block of "SportsCenter" live from 6:00am-3:00pm ET Monday-Friday. The move, which coincides with the opening week of the Beijing Olympics, replaces the current wheel of "SportsCenter" repeats. ESPN will use three separate two-person anchor teams during the block, including Storm, who will host the program from 9:00am-noon ET. The show will refresh during the day (Ourand & Lefton, THE DAILY).
ORIGINAL PITCH: In N.Y., Steinberg & Elliott write ESPN today also “intends to play up its new-media offerings along with what is coming on TV, outlining plans for original programming that will appear only online or on mobile devices.” Those shows include “Mayne Street,” featuring Kenny Mayne and “Erik’s Got Issues,” featuring Erik Kuselias. Other shows include “P.O.V,” which will “compile and present video clips that are submitted to ESPN by viewers and fans,” and an untitled MMA series. ESPN/ABC Sports Consumer Marketing & Sales President Ed Erhardt said that there also will be “sponsorships available with the new media offerings … along with the opportunity for advertisers to integrate brands and products into the shows” (N.Y. TIMES, 5/13).
NBC: NBC yesterday during its upfront presentation had “autograph-signing tables for the broadcast team of ‘Sunday Night Football’” (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 5/13).
Cherry Explains His "Redneck
Town" Comment On ESPN
CHERRY PICKER: YAHOO SPORTS’ Greg Wyshynski wrote Cherry during his Sunday spot “criticized the Mellon Arena’s ice crew for helping to make” a disallowed Penguins goal inconclusive during Game Two of the team's Eastern Conference Finals series against the Flyers. Cherry: “When did they paint the goal line across there? 1992?” But Wyshynski noted when the clip was uploaded to ESPN.com yesterday, "that section wasn’t included” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/12). Gross said that Cherry’s remark was “made to ESPN’s ‘SportsCenter’ as an aside … after his spot was over. That’s why it didn’t appear online” (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/13).
OUTSPOKEN : AOL SPORTS’ Kevin Schultz writes of the redneck comment, “Like him or loathe him, hockey fans that are familiar with Cherry know that this type of talk is nothing new from him. The question is -- did ESPN?” (SPORTS.AOL.com, 5/10). In Michigan, Pat Caputo wrote, “What Cherry does at times borders on bigotry. It’s his dark side. He can’t seem to fawn over ‘Good, old Canadian boys,’ without taking cheap shots at European players in the process.” It makes Cherry a “double-edged sword. It’s wonderful that he is a dinosaur living in the days of the Original Six.” However, it is “deplorable the way Cherry strikes out at a change that has made the game far more skilled than back when Cherry reached the NHL as a player” (OAKLAND PRESS, 5/12)
The top spot in today’s Top Five topics is taken by Cavaliers F LeBron James yelling at his mom to “sit down” following a hard foul by Celtics F Paul Pierce in last night's Eastern Conference Semifinals game. The scandal involving former USC G O.J. Mayo and BDA Sports is in second place, followed by Cowboys WR Terrell Owens' upcoming appearance on MyNetworkTV's “Under One Roof.” Rounding out the list are Brewers P Eric Gagne wanting his closer role back and Lakers G Kobe Bryant reportedly planning to play with an injured back in Game Five against the Jazz. Visit www.sportsmediachallenge.com for more info or see chart below.
PGA Tour Exec VP/Communications & Int'l Affairs Ty Votaw said the Tour is "very pleased" with the 3.4/8 overnight rating for NBC's final-round coverage on Sunday of The Players Championship. The tournament was held for the second time in May after being switched off its former late-March date, and Votaw said, "We knew, for a lot of reasons, that the move from March to May would provide us with a greater potential for success" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 5/13).PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP: FINAL ROUND OVERNIGHT TRENDDATEOVERNIGHT RATING/SHARETIGER5/11/083.4/8DNP5/13/073.7/9T373/26/063.1/7T223/27/05*T533/28/044.1/9T163/30/034.2/8T113/24/025.3/11T143/25/015.7/121
NOTES: * = Due to rain, NBC’s Saturday coverage of The Players in '05 was second-round play, while Sunday’s coverage was of second- and third-round play. The final round took place that Monday on NBC.
Writer Feels Van Gundy Should
Provide More Analysis During Games
OLYMPIC SITE: In San Antonio, David King writes the IOC's Web site, Olympic.org, has a "real sense of inclusion now," with features such as Olympic Personal Trainer. While it is "aimed at the younger crowd, as part of the Olympics' new Summer Youth Olympic Games, there's good information at Olympic Personal Trainer for anyone involved in sports." King: "Just hearing from such a wide array of athletes on any one subject shows just how wide the world really is" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 5/13).
NOTES: Sunrise Sports & Entertainment (SSE) last week debuted "Unrestricted," a 64-page, N.Y.-based monthly sports publication that covers New York sports. Advertising for the inaugural edition was sold out. The mag will be published monthly by SSE's publishing division, which also publishes "Unrestricted South Florida" and "Panthers Insider." SSE publishing plans to launch similar publications in Boston, Philadelphia, DC, Chicago and L.A. (SSE)....Versus and Golden Boy Promotions, in their first partnership to televise a boxing event, will air the Ricky Hatton-Juan Lazcano and Paulie Malignaggi-Lovemore N'Dou Welterweight World Championship doubleheader on May 24 at 3:30pm ET, live from Manchester, England (Versus)....Former MLBer Lou Merloni has joined NESN as a Red Sox studio analyst (NESN).