SBD/Issue 52/Sports Media

Media Notes

Packers-Saints "MNF" Game Earns An 8.6 
Cable Rating, Down 10.4% From Last Year
Through 13 games this season, ESPN’s "MNF" is averaging a 9.1 cable rating with 12.2 million viewers, up 7.1% and 10.9%, respectively, from an 8.5 cable rating with 11.0 million viewers through the same point last season. ESPN earned an 8.6 cable rating (11.4 million viewers) for its "MNF" coverage this week of Packers-Saints, down 10.4% from a 9.6 rating for the comparable Dolphins-Steelers game in '07 (THE DAILY).

QUICK CHANGE: The AP's Rachel Cohen noted the NFL "quietly changed its policy this season to allow more fans to see games" on NFL Network, a shift that affects a "relatively small number of viewers who live in outlying areas to the cities of the teams playing." NFL Net games have "always been simulcast on an over-the-air station in each market," and "some of those stations are carried on cable systems outside the market, but before this year, the games were blacked out." Now, those systems' subscribers "will be able to watch," though residents in "those areas who don't get the channel on cable still won't see the games unless they receive NFL Network." NFL Exec VP/Communications & Public Affairs Joe Browne: "It made more sense to us upon reflection that if a cable station was carrying the programming 24-7 that it be allowed to carry our NFL Network games" (AP, 11/24).

WEB OF INTRIGUE: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Stuart Miller notes live streaming of sporting events online is "providing new opportunities for fans." CBSSports.com Senior VP & GM Jason Kint: "There is tremendous growth in live streaming sports. It is not cannibalizing television audiences but providing dynamic opportunities across platforms." Tennis Channel Chair & CEO Ken Solomon: "Live streaming events over the Internet is part of the personalization of the sports experience. The technology of streaming allows you to become the programmer and follow what you want." But Miller notes the platform "also faces some challenges, in terms of rights issues and differing business models," as while "everyone believes in live streaming, not everyone is certain about what the best business model is" (MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 11/24 issue).

 
DIALING UP FROM LONG DISTANCE: In Anchorage, Mike Campbell reported the Great Alaska Shootout college basketball tournament, which began Tuesday and concludes Saturday, is "expanding its reach among television viewers across the country" after being dropped by ESPN after last year's tournament. KCFT-Ind., which is broadcasting eight Shootout games, earlier this month announced an agreement with FSN Northwest in which the RSN "would carry four Shootout games this week." ESPN began airing the Shootout in '85, but a "bevy of new tournaments around Thanksgiving ... signaled the end of the relationship" (ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS, 11/24).

PEOPLE & PERSONALITIES: MLB Rangers Exec VP/Communications John Blake said that Padres TV rights holder Channel 4 San Diego has asked permission to speak with Rangers radio announcer Victor Rojas "about the vacant lead TV announcer's job" (DALLASNEWS.com, 11/25)....Vikings radio play-by-play announcer and KFAN-AM host Paul Allen has "signed a five-year contract extension to remain" at the station. The agreement "marks the first time that KFAN has combined Allen's talk-show contract with his agreement to call Vikings games" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 11/26).

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