SBD/Issue 219/Sports Media

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  • Erin Andrews Responds To Column Questioning Her Behavior, Dress

    Andrews Defends Her Work After Columnist
    Questions Her Behavior, Wardrobe
    ESPN's Erin Andrews Saturday responded to a column by GateHouse News Service's Mike Nadel that criticized Andrews for a "number of things, including her interactions with players and how she was dressed," by saying it is "really sad that in 2008 ... I have people watching every single move I make," according to Michael Rand of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Nadel made the criticisms following Wednesday's Cubs-Brewers game, which Andrews covered for ESPN. Andrews said, "These players are not into me like that. If anything, I think these guys look at me like a little sister or one of the guys. ... I don't look at myself as a sex object. I've never carried myself in that way. I'm a girl that loves sports. I'm a tomboy. That's the last thing on my mind when I'm in the clubhouse -- worrying about players checking me out." Andrews is "adamant that she does not flaunt anything other than her professional talent in pursuit of doing the best job possible." Andrews indicated that she "will not dress differently or act differently now than she did before." ESPN Exec VP/Studio & Remote Production Norby Williamson said in a statement, "Erin is a tremendous reporter. She's a prepared and a hard-working journalist, who is well respected and asks excellent questions. We're proud to have her as an important part of our coverage team." Andrews: "I thought at some point we were all past this. I'm not going to change. I can't change. ESPN puts me on the best games not because of the way I look, but because they trust me. ... The cool thing for me is that I trust ESPN with everything I have. I think that if I was conducting myself in a wrong manner, this would have been an issue a long time ago" (STARTRIBUNE.com, 8/2). Andrews added she had "never been attacked like this before. There are also naysayers on sideline reporters, but I never thought they'd take my dress and how players respond to me." Andrews said that after four years of reporting, she is "old news to players and 'the whole sex object thing doesn't even come up'" (USA TODAY, 8/4).

    WHERE IT STARTED: Nadel originally wrote of Andrews, "Her skimpy outfit -- designed to accentuate her, um, positives -- had players leering at her. Some made lewd comments under their breath. Others giggled like 12-year-olds." Nadel reported as Andrews spoke to Cubs players before the game, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said, "Hey, hey, hey! Look at this! Are you doing a baseball game today or a modeling assignment?" Nadel: "Fair question. I have seen Andrews at many events in recent years and this was the first time I had witnessed anything quite like this, which is why it seemed so bizarre. Did she really feel playing the sexpot was necessary to practice journalism?" (GATEHOUSE NEWS SERVICE, 7/31). Nadel discussed the column in an e-mail Q&A with DEADSPIN's A.J. Daulerio and said, "I was expecting to write a baseball column Wednesday. But as the scenario unfolded in the clubhouse, I began to notice -- it would have been impossible for me not to have." Nadel said when Piniella addressed Andrews, "I realized that pretty much everybody was thinking exactly what I was thinking. In my mind, that made it a viable angle. (I also bounced the idea off my editor to make sure it worked)." Daulerio asked if Andrews "were not attractive, wearing that dress, showing that much leg, etc. and had still interacted with the players in a similar fashion do you think you would've found it objectionable enough to be column worthy?" Nadel: "Almost surely not. What made me even think of the column was the way the athletes and manager responded to Andrews" (DEADSPIN.com, 8/1).

    REAX: ONMILWAUKEE.com's Drew Olson, who also covered the Cubs-Brewers game, wrote of Andrews' appearance in the Brewers clubhouse, "I didn't directly hear any lewd comments from players, but Erin Andrews' outfit did draw a lot of attention and generate comments." As "sideline reporters go, Erin Andrews is a competent professional. It's not her fault that she is both attractive and a pop culture icon." But "you wonder if the folks at ESPN may talk to Andrews privately about her choice of wardrobe" (ONMILWAUKEE.com, 8/2). THE BIG LEAD writes, "Erin, here’s a bit of a newsflash: If you want to be perceived as a professional, you dress professionally" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 8/4). In Orlando, Shannon Owens wrote, "Andrews has reached Britney Spears-like celebrity status in the sports world. She has a cultlike fan base that follows every crease in her pants and stitch of her blouse. Her attractiveness undoubtedly makes her a target of inappropriate behavior" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/2). But in Chicago, Joe Cowley wrote, "Seriously, what is becoming of this profession when a girl can't wear a summer skirt to a baseball game without offending someone?" (SUNTIMES.com, 8/1).

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  • IMG College Shells Out $86M In 12-Year Deal For UM's Media Rights

    Michigan Sells Complete Media Rights
    Package For First Time Ever
    IMG College has acquired the media rights for the Univ. of Michigan (UM) in a 12-year, $86M deal through June 2020, according to John Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The deal marks the "first time Michigan has bundled all of its media rights into one package and marks the continuation of a trend where colleges are hiring companies ... to maximize revenues from those rights." IMG College has held UM's radio rights for the past seven years, and recently it also had "picked up publishing and Web site management rights." Under the new deal, set to be announced this week, IMG College also will "pick up all rights associated with corporate sponsorships, hospitality and coaches' endorsements, as well as manage coaches' TV and radio shows." Most of UM's "expanded rights previously had been handled in house." UM will continue to manage its apparel rights (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/4 issue).

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  • Local Univ. Of Oregon Broadcaster Passes On New Deal With IMG

    Local Univ. Of Oregon Affiliate Ends Relationship
    After IMG College Seeks High-Priced Deal
    KEZI-ABC has ended its association with Univ. of Oregon (UO) athletics, saying that IMG College, which signed a 10-year, $67.1M multimedia marketing rights deal with UO in February, "sought too high a price and put too many restrictions on a new broadcast deal," according to Greg Bolt of the Eugene REGISTER-GUARD. KEZI had been UO's local and state broadcast partner for 10 years, "airing games not picked up by the national networks as well as pre- and post-game shows, coaches' shows and other university sports programming." Chambers Communications President Scott Chambers said that his company, the parent company of KEZI, "paid about $1[M] a year for rights to UO sports programming" before the school signed with IMG. Chambers added that a new contract sent on Friday from UO and IMG "would have barred his company from selling advertising time to businesses in seven to 10 'key categories,' such as banking." Chambers also said that the new deal "would have slashed benefits such as game tickets and other perks that previously went to KEZI advertisers," as well as eliminating coaches' shows and other sports programming. With its five-year agreement expiring last Thursday, KEZI's decision not to sign a new contract "leaves the university without a local broadcaster just a month before" the start of the '08 football season. Oregon Sports Network (OSN) President Tim Roberts said that "he's sure a deal will be made" to air UO's September 6 game against Utah State locally. He added that he is "near a pact with Comcast Sports Net to air Duck sports programs in Portland that might be expanded to Eugene and other cities, even those served by other cable providers" (Eugene REGISTER-GUARD, 8/1).

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  • Jacked Signs New Syndication Deals With Versus, Tribune Co.

    Jacked is continuing the commercial rollout of its 11-month-old interactive SportsTop product, signing an expanded syndication deal with Versus as well as a new pact with Tribune Co. to link into the company's TV, radio, Web and newspaper holdings. The new multi-year Versus pact adds Pac-10, Big 12 and Mountain West college football and Mountain West college basketball to a prior deal that linked the network's coverage of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs with Jacked's online offering of stats, images, videos, news, commerce links and other content to pair with the TV broadcasts. The Tribune deal, meanwhile, is designed in part as a multi-platform ad play in which an advertiser, for example, can now execute a single campaign within Tribune-owned KTLA-CW's coverage of the Clippers, the print and online sports pages of the L.A. Times, and Jacked coverage of Clippers games that will in part feature content from those other spots. The Tribune execution will begin later this summer with KTLA coverage of Raiders preseason games. "Where a lot of the early days were focused on the product and overall user experience, we're now continuing to be more aggressive in developing the ad sales component and commercially exploiting this," said Jacked CEO Bryan Biniak. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deals generally involved revenue sharing of advertising sales generated around the SportsTop product. "This is another step in an arduous process that will ultimately see all this information converge from two screens to one," said KTLA VP/Programming & Marketing John Moczulski. Jacked debuted last fall with NBC's coverage of Notre Dame football, and has since supported more than 4,500 games across every major sport.

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  • Fox Soccer Channel Picks Up Supercopa Match, Eyes La Liga Rights

    Fox Soccer Channel Picks Up English-Language
    Rights To Real Madrid-Valencia Supercopa Match
    Fox Soccer Channel (FSC) picked up the English-language rights to the two-leg Spanish Supercopa match between Valencia and Real Madrid -- a move its executives hope will help it land rights to Spain's La Liga soccer league when it comes up at the end of this season. "We have rights to the top leagues in England and Italy," said FSC Exec VP/GM David Sternberg. "But we don't have them in Spain. We've looked at them in the past and remain interested." The rights, which were last available two-and-a-half years ago, come up again after this season. Currently the rights are shared between Gol TV and the Voom HD channel World Sport, Sternberg said. FSC will telecast the Spanish Supercopa live, starting August 17 in Valencia. The second leg is scheduled for Madrid on August 24. "We're focused on bringing our viewers international soccer competitions like this," Sternberg said.

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  • Blog Hound: Favre Back To Packers And To No. 1 Topic Status

    Over the weekend Packers QB Brett Favre reclaimed the top spot with the news that the Packers would welcome him back to the team. Dodgers LF Manny Ramirez' debut with the team was also a popular topic. Rounding out the top five were discussions of ESPN's Erin Andrews and her response to a critical article by columnist Mike Nadel; the NFL Panthers suspending WR Steve Smith for two regular season games after Smith punched Panthers CB Ken Lucas during practice Friday; and the U.S. men's basketball team's victories over both Lithuania and Russia. Visit www.sportsmediachallenge.com for more info or see chart below.

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