SBD/Issue 168/Sports Media

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  • ABC, ESPN, TNT Continue To See Ratings Increases For NBA Playoffs

    ABC, ESPN Seeing Double Digit Ratings
    Gains For NBA Playoff Coverage
    ABC for its NBA Playoffs coverage through the Conference Semifinals (nine broadcasts) is averaging 4,193,000 HHs, an increase of 31% over 3,204,000 HHs in '07 (eight broadcasts). The corresponding 3.7 rating is up 28% over last year's 2.9 rating. ESPN for its Playoffs coverage of is averaging 2,657,000 HHs (16 telecasts), up 28% over 2,076,000 HHs in '07 (14 telecasts). ESPN's 2.8 coverage rating marks a 27% increase over last year's 2.2. ABC's coverage Sunday of Game Seven of the Cavaliers-Celtics Eastern Conference Semifinals earned a 5.7 rating (6,421,000 HHs), making it the fourth-most viewed non-Finals NBA Playoff broadcast ever on the net (ESPN).

    TNT: TNT for the first two rounds of the Playoffs has averaged a 2.8 coverage area rating through 36 games, up 12% from a 2.5 through 37 games in '07. For the net's 14 Conference Semifinals games, TNT averaged a 3.3 coverage area rating, a 14% increase over a 3.0 for the net's 13 games in '07 (TNT).

    '08 NBA PLAYOFFS VIEWERSHIP THROUGH CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

    NET
    GMS
    08 VIEWERS (000)
    07 VIEWERS (000)
    % +/-
    07 GMS
    ABC
    9
    5,429
    4,144
    31.0%
    8
    TNT
    36
    3,459
    3,019
    14.6%
    37
    ESPN
    16
    3,424
    2,590
    32.2%
    14

    NHL PLAYOFFS: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Paul Gough reports NBC for its coverage of the '08 Stanley Cup Playoffs has seen an 8% increase in viewership over last year. Versus for its coverage of the NHL Conference Finals saw a 77% increase in viewership over '07, the net's "best numbers" since '02 (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 5/21)....Monday's Game Six of the Red Wings-Stars Western Conference Finals on Versus was the "second-most watched sporting event" of the night in Dallas-Ft. Worth, behind TNT's coverage of Spurs-Hornets Western Conference Semifinals Game Seven. Spurs-Hornets earned a 5.0 (121,780 HHs), and Red Wings-Stars drew a 3.1 (75,504 HHs) (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/21).

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  • Media Execs Discuss Cost Of Sports Rights At Cable Show

    It’s not often that sports programmers and cable operators see eye-to-eye on the state of TV sports these days, but that was the case during a panel session yesterday at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's annual Cable Show in New Orleans. The panel generally agreed that the cost of sports rights are putting “stress” on the business, as Comcast SportsNet President Jon Litner said. But they also described the state of TV sports as generally healthy. “It’s working, but it’s under extreme pressure,” Cox Senior VP/Programming Bob Wilson said. The main disagreement came from deciding where the tipping point will be. Time Warner Cable (TWC) Exec VP & Chief Programming Officer Melinda Witmer said that she has to make decisions for non sports fans that subscribe to TWC’s service and wind up subsidizing sports channels. “We have to find ways to superserve the fan but allow the non-fan to not carry the freight,” she said. ESPN Exec VP/Sales & Marketing Sean Bratches and FSN Network President Randy Freer suggested that there’s still a lot of room for sports to grow. Bratches said operators should communicate that the $50-per-month price tag of an expanded basic package costs less than tickets to most sporting events. And Freer mentioned that the current price of sports on TV “may actually be low when compared to how many people watch sports and how it’s helped the cable business grow.” But Insight Vice Chair & CEO Michael Willner, who moderated the panel, warned that skyrocketing prices could bring federal regulations, “and that could do some serious damage to our business.”

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  • Fine Dining: Cowboys Players Could Appear On Cooking Show

    Witten Approaching Current, Former Cowboys
    About Appearing In Cooking Reality Show
    Cowboys TE Jason Witten has "tentatively agreed to approach teammates and former Cowboys standouts" to appear on a new reality show entitled "Cooking with the All Pros," according to sources cited by Dave Moore of the DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL. The sources said that the show will "pair fans with players, and pit them against each other in cooking competitions." It is scheduled to begin filming in late June. Mendelson Entertainment Group LLC President & Founder Barry Mendelson, whose company plans to produce the show in Dallas, said that he thinks the show "could be picked up by a network." Five half-hour episodes would then air in August on Dallas-based WFAA-ABC. Grocery store Market Street "has tentatively agreed to be the show's primary sponsor." Eddie Owens, Dir of Corporate Communications for Texas-based United Supermarkets LLC, Market Street's parent company, said that the "exact financial commitment of Market Street hasn't been determined." The competition is expected to begin with nine contestants, and "about three contestant spots might be reserved for random drawings," but those details have not yet been finalized. Witten's charity, the S.C.O.R.E. Foundation, also "stands to benefit," as preliminary plans "call for the public to be invited to bid on tax-deductible contributions toward" the charity. Minimum bids to the charity are "expected to start at $3,000," and the top bidders will be on the show (DALLAS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 5/16 issue).

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  • Blog Hound: Four Sports Represented In Today's Top Five Topics

    The Bulls' beating the odds to win the top spot in the NBA Draft Lottery was the hottest topic over the last 24 hours, followed by NFL owners opting out of the CBA early. Rounding out the Top Five topics are free agent C Mike Piazza retiring, the Celtics' Game One Eastern Conference Final victory over the Pistons team in and today's Chelsea-Manchester United Champions League final. Visit www.sportsmediachallenge.com for more info or see chart below.

     

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  • Media Notes

    CBS golf analyst David Feherty will return to his on-air role this weekend at the Crowne Plaza Invitational in Ft. Worth. Feherty has appeared only at The Masters since being hit by a car while riding his bike in mid-March. Feherty "doesn't expect to ever regain full use" of his left arm (Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY, 5/21)....ESPN Consumer Products and tvCompass announced the release of ESPN The Ultimate Remote. The Internet-connected Wi-Fi device operates all home entertainment outlets and has access to various sports standings, team information and news (ESPN)....Online chat company KnockNok has partnered with Turner Sports to host NBA Playoffs-focused chat rooms on TNT.tv and TNT OverTime on NBA.com (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 5/21)....The Ski Channel has "targeted August for the launch of the channel" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 5/19).

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