SBD/Issue 165/Sports Media

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  • ESPN Ombudsman Praises Mayo, Pans Tejada Investigative Reports

    Ombudsman Lauds ESPN's
    "OTL" For Mayo Story
    In her latest contribution as ESPN Ombudsman, Le Anne Schreiber discussed several recent reports on "Outside The Lines" and "E:60," and writes "OTL" “capped a long streak of excellent centerpiece features ... by devoting its air time to the results of Kelly Naqi’s four-month investigation into allegations of illicit payments” to former USC G and NBA Draft prospect O.J. Mayo. It was a “breakthrough report, impeccably researched, and it is likely to provoke further inquiry into the too-cozy relationship between NCAA basketball programs and the rogue agents chomping to get an early hold on players expected to reap hefty pro contracts.” The report also “helps answer a question that has existed in some minds: Would ESPN’s rights contracts with conferences and leagues hamper the enterprise unit from breaking investigative stories jarring to its business partners, as opposed to advancing such stories already broken elsewhere by pursuing new aspects of them?" The answer, "based on this report, is that the enterprise unit is free to investigate where it sees fit." Schreiber: "All this has been so heartening that I sometimes entertain the giddy hope it heralds the beginning of the end of opinion's dominance at ESPN."

    Schreiber Feels ESPN Erred In
    Handling Of "E:60" Tejada Report
    TEJADA INTERVIEW: Schreiber wrote of the "E:60" report in which Astros SS Miguel Tejada was confronted on camera with evidence that he had lied about his age, "Many viewers ... took it hard, objecting not to ESPN's uncovering the lie, but to the way it was exposed in a face-to-face interview." The "offense was compounded for many viewers by ESPN's running the clip of that interview on 'SportsCenter' five days in advance of its airing on 'E:60,' making it seem they were exploiting Tejada's humiliation as a tease to draw viewers to 'E:60.'"  ESPN Senior VP/News Vince Doria said that ESPN "did not intend to run the interview as a news story on 'SportsCenter,'" but Tejada announced his actual age without any explanation before "E:60" aired. Broadcasting the interview on "SportsCenter"  "forced a crucial change in the profile" that aired on "E:60" five days later. "E:60" Coordinating Producer Robert Abbott: "Originally, the Miguel Tejada interview clip was going to appear in the middle of our 11-minute piece. Once the piece was aired by 'SportsCenter' and picked up by numerous Web sites, the management of E:60 decided to start our piece with the clip and spend the next 10 minutes of the piece providing the context of why it was important." Schreiber wrote the "end product was a profile so at odds with itself that many viewers were left shaking either their heads or their fists at the screen." The "explanations for why Tejada's aborted interview received more prominent play than was intended make sense, but they do not change the result, which was a train wreck."

    MAKING IT WORK: Schreiber wrote when "E:60," "OTL" or ESPN documentaries work, it is because the "weaving of individual cases within the larger context of issues that surround them is tight." Several segments in the latest "E:60" reports "accomplished that. Several did not." It is "crucial that E:60's management team place as much emphasis on perspective and thoroughness of reporting as they do on packaging." The "OTL" team that worked on the Mayo report "faced the opposite challenge." The "density of reporting and research that went into the piece made it difficult to shoehorn so much complicated information into a lucid, compelling TV story. More emphasis was placed on core evidence and its corroboration than on context or dramatic storytelling." Schreiber: "Refining and extending the coordination between ESPN TV and ESPN.com could be the solution to providing more context and tucking in more loose ends than is possible with limited TV air time" (ESPN.com, 5/15).     

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  • Canadian Sports Nets Report '07 Financials, TSN Tops In Profits

    TSN and French-language net RDS for FY '07 posted profits of $58.82M (all figures C) and $22.76M, respectively, while Rogers Sportsnet earned a $18.11M profit, according to Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) filings cited by William Houston of the GLOBE & MAIL. TSN's figures were "tops among all specialty services," and marked an increase of more than $10M from the year-ago period, while RDS' profits climbed about $4M from '06. However, Sportsnet's profit dropped by almost $7M from '06, a result "largely of the network paying a huge fee starting in 2007 for regional TV rights" to the Maple Leafs. The Score, which was "once a money loser, is now earning millions annually," as it posted a $5.92M profit in FY '07, up from $4.61M in the previous year. Among digital sports nets, NHL Network, principally owned by the NHL, posted a $1.49M profit, up from $1.27M in '06. But Leafs TV, owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), lost $3.43M in FY '07 "despite increasing its distribution in Southern Ontario through a deal with Rogers Cable." Raptors NBA TV, also owned by MLSE but distributed nationally, lost $879,767 last year, down from $897,078 in '06.

    IN THE WORKS: Meanwhile, sources said that the CBC in "about 18 months" will launch a digital sports channel called CBC SportsPlus that will "devote up to 75[%] of its programming to professional sports." The channel has "jumped the queue ahead of the Canadian Olympic Committee's proposed amateur channel, and will have its application heard by the CRTC in July." The channel is "expected to be up and running by the fall of 2009" (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/16).

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  • Final Nielsen Ratings From Recent Sports Events

    The following lists final Nielsen ratings from recent sports events (THE DAILY).

    SHOW
    DATE
    NET
    TIME
    RAT/SHR
    IRL: Indianapolis 500 Pole Day
    5/10
    ABC
    3:00-6:05pm
    0.9/3
    "NBA Countdown"
    5/10
    ABC
    8:00-8:12pm
     1.6/-
    NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Semifinals:
    Celtics-Cavaliers: Game Three
    5/10
    ABC
    8:12-11:01pm
    3.2/6
    NCAA Women's Gymnastics
    Championships (taped)
    5/10
    CBS
    3:00-5:00pm
    0.7/2
    "Bowling's Clash of Champions" (taped)
    5/10
    CBS
    5:00-6:00pm
    0.6/2
    MLB: (regional)
    5/10
    Fox
    3:37-7:00pm
    2.2/6
    NASCAR Sprint Cup: Dodge Challenger 500
    5/10
    Fox
    7:38-11:13pm
    4.8/10
    PGA Tour: The Players Championship: Third Round
    5/10
    NBC
    2:00-7:14pm
    1.8/5
    "NBA Countdown"
    5/11
    ABC
    3:00-3:30pm
     1.2/-
    NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Semifinals:
    Lakers-Jazz: Game Four
    5/11
    ABC
    3:25-6:35pm
    4.1/10
    "Bowling's Clash of Champions" (taped)
    5/11
    CBS
    4:00-5:00pm
    0.6/1
    Toyota Texas Bass Classic (taped)
    5/11
    CBS
    5:00-6:00pm
    0.6/2
    National Heads-Up Poker Championship (taped)
    5/11
    NBC
    12:00-12:50pm
    0.9/3
    National Heads-Up Poker Championship (taped)
    5/11
    NBC
    12:50-2:00pm
    1.3/4
    PGA Tour: The Players Championship: Final Round
    5/11
    NBC
    2:00-7:50pm
    3.1/8
    SHOW
    DATE
    NET
    TIME
    U.S. AREA
    COV. AREA
    VIEWERS (000)
    NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Semifinals: Spurs-Hornets: Game Two
    5/5
    TNT
    9:50pm-12:21am
    2.9
    3.5
    4,276
    NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Semifinals: Magic-Pistons: Game Two
    5/5
    TNT
    7:00-9:50pm
    1.9
    2.2
    2,729
    NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Semifinals: Cavaliers-Celtics: Game One
    5/6
    TNT
    8:16-11:03pm
    3.5
    4.1
    4,873
    NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Semifinals: Jazz-Lakers: Game Two
    5/7
    TNT
    10:45pm-1:28am
    3.0
    3.5
    4,424
    NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Semifinals: Pistons-Magic: Game Three
    5/7
    TNT
    8:00-10:45pm
    2.3
    2.8
    3,337
    NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Semifinals: Hornets-Spurs: Game Three
    5/8
    ESPN
    9:54pm-12:21am
    3.4
    4.0
    4,953
    NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Semifinals: Cavaliers-Celtics: Game Two
    5/8
    ESPN
    7:00-9:54pm
    2.2
    2.6
    3,103
    NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Semifinals: Lakers-Jazz: Game Three
    5/9
    ESPN
    8:57-11:01pm
    2.6
    3.0
    3,624
    NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Semifinals: Hornets-Spurs: Game Four
    5/11
    TNT
    8:16-10:46pm
    2.4
    2.9
    3,590
    MLB: "Sunday Night Baseball": Red Sox-Twins
    5/11
    ESPN
    8:00-11:17pm
    1.7
    2.0
    2,525

    NHL PLAYOFFS: TSN's telecast of Red Wings-Stars Western Conference Finals Game Four on Wednesday drew 846,000 viewers, marking the net's second-highest NHL Playoffs audience, behind 990,000 viewers for first-round Flyers-Capital Game Seven on April 22 (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/16).

    BREW CITY: The first three games of the Cardinals-Brewers series last weekend were the top-rated sports telecasts in the Milwaukee market. The Saturday afternoon game on WITI-Fox had an 8.5 HH rating (75,735 HHs). Sunday's game on FSN Wisconsin had a 7.5 HH rating (66,825 HHs), while Friday night's game on the net had a 6.7 HH rating (59,697 HHs) (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/13).

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  • Blog Hound: USC/Mayo Scandal Igniting A Trojan War Of Words

    Bloggers discuss the controversy surrounding NBA Draft prospect O.J. Mayo and its effect on USC athletics and coach Tim Floyd's basketball program.

    Check Ball
    Posted by: Bill Woten
    "Maybe Floyd is taking the Trojans to greater heights. Or maybe he's going to drag them down with him."
    Bleacher Report
    Posted by: Michael Felder
    "Tim Floyd won't be parlaying Mayo's stint on campus into recruiting gold, instead he'll be greeted with NCAA sanctions and forced to make lengthy explanations "
    Bruins Nation
    Posted by: Menelaus
    "Southern Cal might have taken steps to limit additional incidents, or at least conceal them from view.  Perhaps they have for the football team.  But, clearly, not so for the basketball team."
    Signal To Noise
    Posted by: Signal to Noise
    "This is going to get a whole lot uglier. Whether it becomes a full exposure of the seedy world behind big-time college recruiting or simply a witch hunt."
    Stream of Dreams
    Posted by: mfergus1
    "Though this is alarming, Mayo is not the first USC superstar to run afoul of NCAA recruiting rules."

    BUILDING THE BUZZ: Sports Media Challenge's Buzz Manager analyzed the online conversation about Mayo allegedly receiving financial gifts while in high school and at USC. Bloggers who think USC will not be sanctioned for Mayo’s indiscretions were tallied positive, while bloggers who think the university will be punished were counted negative.

    • The topic ranked 10 of 10 on The Buzz, indicating a very high level of interest among sports bloggers.
    • The majority of bloggers believe USC turned a blind eye to the infractions committed by Mayo and think the school should be punished even if they did not directly take part.
    • Bloggers have coupled this issue with the allegations toward Saints and former USC RB Reggie Bush, citing the two situations as evidence that USC will win at all costs and without regard for ethics.
    • Some bloggers do not blame USC and instead blame the NBA's age restrictions. These fans believe that forcing a player to attend one year of college even though he could be making millions of dollars drives him to seek financial benefit elsewhere.

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  • What's The Frequency?

    THE DAILY presents "What's The Frequency?" which highlights the subjects being discussed this week during afternoon drive shows on sports talk radio across the U.S. The following chart lists some of those topics. Local stations are listed in order of market size.

    NATIONAL SHOWS
    Sirius Sports (3-6pm ET) “The Mike & Murray Show”
    O.J. Mayo/USC scandal; Spygate continues; NBA Playoffs talk – can Celtics win on the road?; Can Marlins, Rays, Cardinals stay in contention all season?
    Sirius NFL Radio (3-7pm ET) “Movin’ The Chains”
    Spygate; How will Cowboys handle Terrell Owens’ contract?; Bucs QB Jeff Garcia, Bears LB Brian Urlacher threatening to hold out of training camp; Should Michael Strahan retire?
    MARKET -- STATION SHOW
    Detroit -- WXYT “Valenti & Foster”
    Tigers swept by Royals, remain in last place in AL Central; Red Wings on verge of reaching Stanley Cup Finals; Pistons defeat Magic, advance to Eastern Conference Finals; Celtics struggling with Cavaliers
    Miami – WAXY “The Dan Le Batard Show”
    Marlins continue to lead NL East; Spygate; O.J. Mayo/USC scandal; NBA Playoffs talk
    Seattle – KJR “The Gas Man”
    Mariners continue to struggle, now in last place in AL West – is it time for heads to roll?; Should Mariners look at trading back for Ken Griffey Jr.?; O.J. Mayo/USC scandal; Spygate
    Phoenix – KDUS “Calling All Sports With Roc & Manuch”
    Who should Suns interview to succeed Mike D’Antoni?; Will Robert Sarver and Steve Kerr make the right decision?; D’Backs, behind Brandon Webb, continue to have MLB’s best record; Did D’Backs make mistake re-signing Eric Byrnes?
    Minneapolis – KFAN “The Chad Hartman Show”
    Kevin Garnett, Celtics struggling against Cavaliers; Jacques Lemaire staying with Wild; NHL Playoffs talk; Zygi Wilf, Adrian Peterson visits middle school; Spygate; Annika Sorenstam, Justine Henin retire
    Charlotte – WFNZ “Prime Time With The Packman”
    NBA Playoffs talk; Spygate; NASCAR revs up for All-Star race; O.J. Mayo/USC scandal; TV weather forecasts interrupt The Players final round, Jazz-Lakers game

    Want to add your own Frequency? Contact Rick Ellington at rellington@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

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  • Media Notes

    In Miami, Barry Jackson reports the Dolphins "aren't allowing live blogging at offseason practices and training camp but won't stop reporters from taking notes and reporting everything once practice is over." Dolphins Senior VP/Media Relations Harvey Greene: "We don't believe in any live transmission of any part of our practice through any means. In the past, that included outlets such as TV cameras and radio broadcasts. Now, with the advent of new technology, it includes blogs." Greene polled NFL teams about their policy and found that "13 of the 15 that responded don't allow live blogging" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/16).

    (l to r) Cohen, Darling And Hernandez Calling
    Nationals-Mets Game From Upper Deck
    THE GREAT OUTDOORS: SportsNet N.Y. announcers Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez broadcast Thursday's Nationals-Mets game from the upper deck to the right of home plate instead of from the press box. Darling said after the game, "It's a very interesting way to do the game, not from our little cocoon downstairs." Cohen added, "Just having people around us in the stands, that was the most refreshing part to me." Hernandez: "I wouldn't want to do it in July when its 87-90 degrees and the humidity around 90%, but it was a beautiful day to do it up here and I just had a ball" (SNY, 5/15).

    SIGNING OFF: In Houston, David Barron reports Houston Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon Thursday was dropped as host of KFNC-FM's "The Bottom Line" because of a newspaper policy barring employees "from selling or reading ads on the air." Solomon: "I can't endorse products and sell ads, and that's that. If they can't afford to keep me because I can't sell ads, I guess I understand" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/16).

    NOTES: In DC, Tim Lemke wrote of ESPN.com's Bill Simmons voicing complaints about his exposure on the site, "It's surprising that Simmons would be so frank and open about his feelings toward ESPN, but I don't find the feelings themselves too surprising, based on things he told me in an interview last year" (WASHINGTONTIMES.com, 5/15)....In Orlando, Dave Darling writes the Magic's '07-08 season was a "disaster for the organization and its fans." Darling: "And this will continue to be the case until the Magic, FSN Florida and Bright House Networks figure out a way to get every game on TV" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/16)....USA Today received an EPpy Award for best sports Web site with more than 1 million unique monthly visitors, and AOL Sports’ Fanhouse received the award for best sports blog. The awards were presented Thursday during the Editor & Publisher/Mediaweek Interactive Media Conference and Trade Show in Las Vegas (EDITORANDPUBLISHER.com, 5/15).

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