SBD/Issue 174/Sports Media

Print All
  • MMA's Network TV Debut On CBS A Milestone Moment For Sport

    Slice Headlining Saturday's EliteXC Card On CBS
    CBS Saturday night at 9:00pm ET will broadcast the debut of CBS EliteXC Saturday Night Fights, the first MMA event ever broadcast on network TV in primetime, and while the move is a "risk for CBS, it's [a] major milestone for MMA, whose growth has been one of the decade's most stunning sports business success stories," according to Sean Gregory of TIME. EliteXC parent company ProElite Inc. Chair Doug DeLuca said, "This is hugely important for the sport. MMA has done a great job reaching a hard-core, niche audience. Now, it's time to take it to the next level. All eyes will be on us." Gregory writes the "biggest potential challenge is probably also its biggest appeal -- the level of violence itself." By exposing MMA to "kids who are channel surfing, the network, and advertisers like Burger King and Miller, are risking a backlash." SportsCorp President Marc Ganis: "Anyone who thinks CBS will not come out of this with some kind of black eye is fooling themselves." But CBS Senior Exec VP/Programming Operations Kelly Kahl said, "Yes, it's violent. But so is pro football and boxing" (TIME.com, 5/30).

     
    A GOOD REPRESENTATION OF MMA? YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote MMA "long ago deserved network attention," but if Saturday night's broadcast is the "most important card in the history of the sport, wouldn't it be nice if it actually had some of the best fighters and best representatives" of MMA? EliteXC fighter Kimbo Slice, who will headline the event, "isn't the best and brightest in MMA." EliteXC is a "desperate promotion that's hemorrhaging money. It's willing to sell anything, even a false portrait of its sport, to succeed." CBS is "so focused on quick television ratings, it will present a cheap trick, lowest common denominator show. This, rather than an introduction to a sport that if treated with respect and patience could grow into a powerful property" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/29). Slice is featured on the cover of the current ESPN The Magazine and in a one-page spread in the May 30 issue of Entertainment Weekly, and SHERDOG.com's Jake Rossen wrote the "banner of mainstream MMA, in short, is being pinned on a guy with exactly 62 seconds logged in the ring" (SHERDOG.com, 5/26). But in L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes in Slice, "who has created a buzz with his quick Mike Tyson-like beatdowns, CBS has latched onto a marketable TV character, rather than someone who may be more well known in the MMA world" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/30).

    LOW RISK FOR CBS: On Long Island, Neil Best writes the risk of broadcasting the event is "low for CBS, because in recent years broadcast networks have all but stopped trying to draw big audiences on Saturday nights" (NEWSDAY, 5/30). In Philadelphia, Bernard Fernandez wrote CBS "might have tried anything within reason to pull in ratings on a night that has become TV's skid row." Kahl: "We're putting it on Saturday nights, a night that has been underserved by all the networks for quite some time. So it's a low risk and potentially large reward" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 5/29). USA TODAY's Robert Bianco writes, "Hey, it's summer, and at least the network is trying something on a Saturday night, instead of using the evening as a dumping ground for faded hits and repeats" (USA TODAY, 5/30). Kahl: "It's a case where need met opportunity. The sport is so popular right now" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL, 5/27). In Chicago, Teddy Greenstein wrote the event for CBS is "not much of a gamble when you consider the ratings Spike TV has garnered for 'The Ultimate Fighter' or NBC for the non-prime time 'Strikeforce' series or Showtime for its foray into MMA" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/27).

    MAKING A MISTAKE: In Miami, Greg Cote wrote under the header, "CBS Is Now Legitimizing Barbaric Sport." Cote: "Can the combination of network backing and the fleeting flare of Kimbomania legitimize MMA or make it mainstream? If the question is necessary, the answer begs a good laugh or at least an incredulous harrumph. Something does not achieve legitimacy simply because it is widely seen. ... Nor does something achieve legitimacy simply because it might entertain the more depraved among us" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/29). In Utah, Scott Pierce writes CBS "should be ashamed." MMA is "more like the Christians vs. the lions in the Roman Coliseum than a legitimate sporting event" (DESERET NEWS, 5/30).

    BIG MOMENT FOR MMA: EliteXC President Gary Shaw said the event being broadcast on CBS in primetime is "probably the biggest thing ever to happen to MMA. These fighters will be like the people on 'Survivor' and 'American Idol.' They'll be recognized at airports and Burger Kings." FOXSPORTS.com's Mark Kriegel wrote Shaw with the primetime coverage envisions a "new kind of fame" for the company, as the biggest PPV audience "represents a tiny fraction by the standards of prime time" (FOXSPORTS.com, 5/29). In Baltimore, Mark Chalifoux wrote Saturday is EliteXC's "moment of truth." If viewers "don't tune it, it could pretty much mean the end of the company. The entire MMA-world has a lot riding on this event as it will be the first exposure to MMA for a lot of casual sports fans" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 5/28). CBS announcer Gus Johnson, who will call Saturday's event, said, "Once we can make terms like 'triangle choke' and 'rear-naked choke' and 'arm-bar' household words like a jab or a cross or an uppercut, that's when MMA will really, really hit a point that will allow it to become one of the big sports in the country" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 5/28).

    UFC's White Calls
    EliteXC Farm League
    MAY THE BEST LEAGUE WIN? USA TODAY's Beau Dure in a sports section cover-story wrote under the header, "UFC Has Fight On Hands. CBS Event Latest Challenge To MMA Leader." UFC President Dana White said of EliteXC, "Whether they like it or not, they're the farm league." UFC this week hired a lobbying firm to "promote the sport on Capitol Hill." White: "There's so much work to do. And I'm the one out here doing all the work. Everybody else is riding in our wake" (USA TODAY, 5/29). Shaw said of White, "If he wasn't an idiot, May 31 would have been the UFC instead of EliteXC" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 5/29). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir notes ProElite in the three months ending March 31 posted a $5.6M loss, and the company in its most recent filing said that it "had $3.7[M] available for its expansion plans, but needed more financing." Shaw: "We're a start up. If you're not prepared to bleed and take it on the chin for a while, you shouldn't be in the game" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/30). Meanwhile, the N.Y. POST's George Willis writes while boxing "knocks at the door hoping someone from the broadcast networks will answer, CBS clearly has an interest in MMA" (N.Y. POST, 5/30).

    TAPPING OUT: The N.Y. POST reported several CBS affiliates will not carry Saturday's event. Ads for the show appearing last weekend in various newspapers read, "This program will not be seen in this area." Fans in Pennsylvania were "among the first to complain that the show was being blacked out there" (N.Y. POST, 5/27). Meanwhile, in San Jose, John Ryan noted one of EliteXC's main sponsors, Reality Kings, "will not have its logo in view Saturday night" because of a "rule against promoting porn sites on network television" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 5/29).

    BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE: In N.Y., Michael Brick writes the U.S. military, "acknowledging the phenomenon and the suitable demographics, are using the sport not only as a way to build morale and aid in recruiting, but also as a training aid to enhance the skills of soldiers." The Army has conducted MMA tournaments among soldiers, and the military has "produced fighters for the professional leagues." Modern Army Combatives Program Dir Matthew Larsen has been "trying to coordinate a tournament in Baghdad for broadcast on ESPN" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/30).

    Print | Tags: Media
  • Green Giants: Celtics-Pistons Game Five Up 59% Over '07 Game

    ESPN Earns 5.1 Coverage Area Rating For
    Wednesday's Pistons-Celtics Game Five
    ESPN earned a 5.1 coverage area rating (6.4 million viewers) for Wednesday night's Pistons-Celtics Eastern Conference Finals Game Five, up 59.4% from the comparable 3.2 coverage rating (4.0 million viewers) for the Jazz-Spurs Western Conference Finals Game Five last year. Wednesday's game marked ESPN's third-most-viewed NBA telecast ever (THE DAILY).

    ESPN NETS SEE RECORD MONTH: ESPN2 and ESPNEWS each posted its best May ever, averaging more HHs on a total-day basis than any previous May. In addition ESPN's 24-hour audience grew 21% over last year, and was the second largest for the month in the net's history. ESPN's jump is due in large part to increased audiences for the NBA Playoffs, MLB and "SportsCenter." In addition, ESPN also set viewership marks in male demos 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 (ESPN).

    HOORAY FOR MAY: TNT saw an increase in HHs from last May, as the NBA Playoffs led the network to a 5.9% jump. For MLB, each major cable partner also saw an increase for May, as ESPN, TBS and WGN saw gains. Golf Channel was the only sports network to see a significant decline in May. The chart below shows average HHs for the month of May for select cable networks (THE DAILY).

    CABLE NET AVERAGES FOR THE MONTH OF MAY
    NET
    PRIMETIME HHs (000)
    '07 (000)
    % +/-
    FULL DAY HHs (000)
    '07 (000)
    % +/-
    TNT
    2,257
    1,976
    14.2%
    1,123
    1,060
    5.9%
    ESPN
    1,432
    1,134
    26.3%
    701
    577
    21.5%
    TBS
    1,254
    1,065
    17.7%
    733
    652
    12.4%
    Versus
    437
    259
    68.7%
    116
    79
    46.8%
    ESPN2
    389
    391
    -0.5%
    230
    211
    9.0%
    Speed
    313
    259
    20.8%
    144
    125
    15.2%
    WGN
    251
    238
    5.5%
    198
    169
    17.2%
    Golf Channel
    99
    118
    -16.1%
    68
    73
    -6.8%
    ESPNews
    66
    67
    -1.5%
    59
    59
    0.0%

    Print | Tags: Media
  • Writer Says CBC's Reluctance To Cover Crosby A Disservice To Net

    Writer Calls Out The CBC For Its
    Reluctance To Cover Crosby
    The CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" postgame coverage of Red Wings-Penguins Stanley Cup Finals Game Three Wednesday largely focused on Penguins LW Gary Roberts instead of C Sidney Crosby, who scored two goals, and the show's "grudge against Crosby has gone well beyond ridiculous," according to William Houston of the GLOBE & MAIL. Houston writes if the CBC's Don Cherry "mentioned Crosby in his postgame commentary, we missed it. Instead, he enthused about Roberts." Later, in his postgame spot for ESPN's "SportsCenter," Cherry "continued to ignore Crosby and wax lyrical about Roberts." ESPN analyst Barry Melrose asked Cherry, "What about the Crosby kid?" Cherry: "Oh. I forgot. Yeah, he played a great game." Houston writes Crosby's Game Three performance "ranked as one of the big NHL stories of the year and it deserved raves." Crosby was interviewed by the net after the game, but the "HNIC" response to Crosby's effort as a whole was "dismissive and small -- a disservice, not to Crosby, because he receives plenty of kudos and doesn't need them from 'Hockey Night.' It was a disservice to the telecast and the viewers" (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/30).

    HOCKEYTOWN: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir reports NBC's broadcast of Red Wings-Penguins Game Three drew an 18.2 rating in Detroit, 14% above ESPN's coverage of Pistons-Celtics Eastern Conference Finals Game Five. Sandomir notes "hockey's win over basketball was partly because of its game being on NBC, a broadcast network, and the NBA game being seen on a cable network" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/30).

    Print | Tags: Media
  • Redskins' Snyder Seeks To Buy Sports Station WTEM-AM, Two Others

    Snyder Nearing Deal To Acquire
    Three DC-Area Radio Stations
    Redskins Owner Daniel Snyder is "moving closer to an agreement to buy [DC] sports-talk station WTEM-AM and two other AM stations," according to Paul Farhi of the WASHINGTON POST. Purchasing WTEM would give Snyder's radio station group, Red Zebra Broadcasting, a "much better signal for Redskins games and Redskins-related programming," as well as a "lock on the sports radio market" in the DC market. The three stations Red Zebra currently owns, known as Triple X ESPN Radio, are "so weak their broadcasts can't be heard without interference in many parts of the area." Adding WTEM would "improve Red Zebra's signal problems, but wouldn't solve them entirely," as the station "reduces power at night, making it hard to hear in parts of Northern Virginia." WTEM for several years in the '90s was the Redskins' flagship station, before Snyder purchased the team (WASHINGTON POST, 5/30). Sources said that if the contract is signed, it will "have to be a lease agreement in the short term, until the big Clear Channel corporate buyout is completed." Sources added that Snyder would "have to move ESPN sports radio programming" to WTEM, which currently airs a mix of local and Fox Sports national programming (DCRTV.com, 5/29).

    Print | Tags: Media
  • 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
    WNBA: Storm-Silver Stars
    5/24
    ABC
    3:30-5:36pm
    0.5/2
    "NBA Countdown"
    5/24
    ABC
    8:00-8:27pm
    1.7/4
    NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Finals:
    Celtics-Pistons: Game Three
    5/24
    ABC
    8:27-11:22pm
    3.7/8
    PGA Tour: Crowne Plaza
    Invitational at Colonial: Third Round
    5/24
    CBS
    3:00-6:02pm
    1.2/4
    MLB: (regional)
    5/24
    Fox
    3:45-6:45pm
    1.7/5
    Golf: Senior PGA Championship: Third Round
    5/24
    NBC
    3:00-6:00pm
    0.5/1
    IndyCar: Indianapolis 500 Pre-Race Show
    5/25
    ABC
    12:00-1:00pm
    2.2/7
    IndyCar: Indianapolis 500
    5/25
    ABC
    1:00-5:00pm
    4.6/13
    "Identity of a Racing Champ"
    5/25
    ABC
    5:00-6:00pm
    1.4/4
    Collegiate Nationals: Intramural Games (taped)
    5/25
    CBS
    2:00-3:00pm
    0.3/1
    PGA Tour: Crowne Plaza
    Invitational at Colonial: Final Round
    5/25
    CBS
    3:00-6:00pm
    1.7/5
    NASCAR Sprint Cup: Coca-Cola 600
    5/25
    Fox
    5:51-10:22pm
    4.7/10
    Championship Off Road Racing:
    Pomona, CA (taped)
    5/25
    NBC
    1:30-3:00pm
    0.4/1
    Golf: Senior PGA Championship: Final Round
    5/25
    NBC
    3:00-6:09pm
    0.5/1
    SHOW
    DATE
    NET
    TIME
    U.S. AREA
    COV. AREA
    VIEWERS (000)
    NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Semifinals: Spurs-Hornets: Game Seven
    5/19
    TNT
    8:31-11:15pm
    4.3
    5.0
    6,547
    MLB: "Monday Night Baseball": Cubs-Astros
    5/19
    ESPN
    7:00-10:29pm
    0.9
    1.1
    1,334
    NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Finals: Pistons-Celtics: Game One
    5/20
    ESPN
    8:27-11:12pm
    3.7
    4.4
    5,431
    NBA Draft Lottery
    5/20
    ESPN
    8:00-8:27pm
    1.8
    2.1
    2,329
    NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Finals: Spurs-Lakers: Game One
    5/21
    TNT
    9:14-11:57pm
    4.1
    4.8
    6,190
    NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Finals: Pistons-Celtics: Game Two
    5/22
    ESPN
    8:27-11:28pm
    3.9
    4.6
    5,698
    NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Finals: Spurs-Lakers: Game Two
    5/23
    TNT
    9:14-11:48pm
    3.7
    4.4
    5,513
    NASCAR Nationwide Series: Carquest Auto Parts 300
    5/24
    ESPN2
    7:30-10:30pm
    1.7
    2.0
    2,569
    NHL Stanley Cup Finals: Penguins-Red Wings: Game One
    5/24
    VS
    8:00-10:51pm
    1.2
    1.8
    2,352
    NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Finals: Lakers-Spurs: Game Three
    5/25
    TNT
    8:31-11:10pm
    3.7
    4.3
    5,729

    MLB: In San Diego, Jay Posner reports ratings for Channel 4 San Diego's first 49 Padres telecasts this season averaged a 5.0 HH rating, down "nearly 30[%] from last year's final season average" of 7.0. The ratings have fallen since an 11.2 for the March 31 Astros-Padres season opener, which marked the "highest Opening Day rating ever on Channel 4" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 5/30)....Blue Jays games on Rogers Sportsnet were averaging 291,300 viewers through May 18, up 4.3% over 279,200 at the same point in '07 (Rogers)....The May 23 Brewers-Nationals game on FSN Wisconsin drew a 5.6 HH rating (49,896 HHs). The four-game series averaged a 5.1 (45,441 HHs) (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/28).

    Print | Tags: Media
  • Blog Hound: Ashley Harkleroad To Pose In Playboy

    Bloggers discuss WTA player Ashley Harkleroad’s decision to pose nude for Playboy.

    The Hollywood Gossip
    Posted by: mischalova
    "Move over, Anna Kournikova! You had your (hot) time in the spotlight as the best looking player ever on the professional women’s tennis tour. Ashley Harkleroad is now looking to take that title from you."
    In Entertainment
    Posted by: Daniel
    "She must worry if it will cause a backlash from other players in the sport. However … Serena Williams did offer her support. "
    Larry Brown Sports
    Posted by: Larry Brown
    "I’m kinda scratching my head on this one. And not to mention, think about all the different places Playboy’s efforts could be better focused."
    Red Hot News
    Posted by: mles
    "Most of us who don't follow women's tennis on a regular basis had probably not heard of Ashley Harkleroad up until last weekend."
    Fresh Loaf
    Posted by: Scott Freeman
    "It seems unbecoming and desperate for a professional tennis player to make her statement by posing for Playboy."

    BUILDING THE BUZZ: Sports Media Challenge's Buzz Manager analyzed the online conversation about Harkleroad posing for Playboy. Bloggers who approve of the photo shoot were tallied positive, while those who disapprove were counted negative. See www.SportsBusinessDaily.com for more info. See more info on this topic.

    • The topic ranked 8 out of 10 on The Buzz, indicating a high level of interest among sports and entertainment bloggers.
    • Entertainment bloggers discussed Harkleroad’s pictorial in reference to how it will affect her marketability, while sports bloggers discussed the topic with respect to whether they would enjoy the images as well as how she will compare to other female athletes who have appeared in past editions.
    • The majority of bloggers believe this is a good business move for Harkleroad. They admit that until the announcement was made, they had never heard of her.
    • Some bloggers believe Harkleroad is destined to become the next Anna Kournikova, an attractive tennis player that dominates headlines because of her appearance and not her play. 

     

    Print | Tags: Media
  • 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”
    Willie Randolph’s job security; Gary Carter interview; Is MMA too violent for primetime TV?; NBA Playoffs talk
    Sirius NFL Radio (3-7pm ET) “Movin’ The Chains”
    Owners opt out of CBA -- what effect will that have on league?; Jason Taylor trade rumors; Tank Johnson wants Pacman Jones reinstated; Rookie salary scale
    MARKET -- STATION
    SHOW
    Detroit -- WXYT “Valenti & Foster”
    Red Wings up 2-1 over Penguins in Stanley Cup Finals; Pistons down 3-2 to Celtics in Eastern Conference Finals
    Miami – WAXY “The Dan Le Batard Show”
    Heat land #2 pick in NBA lottery; NBA Playoffs talk -- was Brent Barry fouled?; Marlins remain atop NL East; Jason Taylor skipping offseason workouts
    Phoenix – KDUS “Calling All Sports With Roc & Manuch”
    Suns coaching vacancy remains – Doug Collins turns Suns down for Bulls; Should Suns trade Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire?; NBA Playoffs talk; D’Backs put Eric Byrnes on DL
    Minneapolis – KFAN “The Chad Hartman Show”
    T’Wolves land #3 pick in NBA lottery; T’Wolves returning to KFAN -- interviews with Glen Taylor, Kevin McHale; NBA Playoffs talk; Vikings trade former No. 1 pick Erasmus James – ’05 NFL Draft one of worst ever for team; Stanley Cup Finals talk
    Charlotte – WFNZ “Prime Time With The Packman”
    Recap of Coca-Cola 600, Indianapolis 500; NBA Playoffs talk; Number of teams from Carolinas in NCAA Baseball tournament; Panthers training camp notes

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

    Print | Tags: Media
  • Media Notes

    In Chicago, Teddy Greenstein reports Rick Reilly's early assignments with ESPN include an "essay during ESPN's coverage of the June 7 Belmont Stakes" and a column for ESPN the Magazine on his father, who passed away in April. Reilly also will write bi-weekly columns for ESPN.com, "do essays for SportsCenter ... and is developing a monthly show" titled "ESPN Homecoming" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/30).

    Joe Thomas (r) To Co-Host Outdoors TV Show
    CASTING A LINE: In Akron, George Thomas reports Browns OT Joe Thomas is co-hosting "Outdoors Ohio with D'Arcy Egan & Joe Thomas" on SportsTime Ohio. Pairing Thomas with Egan, an outdoors writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, gives the show "more celebrity cachet and, during the offseason, keeps at least one member of the Browns in the public eye." Thomas said that the show has "filmed half of their next season," but he was "noncommittal when asked if he would pursue broadcasting when he retires" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 5/30).

    IN THE DARK: In N.Y., Bob Raissman reports Time Warner Cable (TWC) subscribers Thursday night “were left in the dark for a few minutes during a crucial part” of the Dodgers-Mets game on SportsNet N.Y. The bottom of the fourth inning “appeared to end ... and as SNY went to commercial,” umpire Bill Welke “could be seen calling timeout in the background.” While SNY “came back on the air quickly enough to catch” the next at-bat, TWC customers “were stuck in commercials” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/30). 

    BIDDING WAR: DAILY VARIETY's Ed Meza reports KirchGroup Founder Leo Kirch's EM.Sports Media is "bidding for the 4.78% of outstanding shares in Constantin Film it doesn't own via its stake in Constantin parent Highlight Communications" (DAILY VARIETY, 5/30).

    NOTES: In Miami, Barry Jackson reports the Heat are “speaking with several options about [their] radio rights for next season," including Clear Channel on behalf of WINZ-AM and incumbent rights-holder WIOD-AM, WAXY-AM and WQAM-AM. WAXY is the radio home for both the NHL Panthers and Marlins (MIAMI HERALD, 5/30)....KNTH-AM in Houston has signed on to air WNBA Comets games (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/30)....Saturday’s White Sox-Rays game will begin at 6:10pm ET, but Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s coverage will not start until 7:00pm because of Fox’ exclusive national window. The White Sox “asked the Rays to reconsider their start time, but the team said no.” MLB also “rebuffed the Sox’s request for an exception to the exclusivity window” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/30).

    Print | Tags: Media
Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug