SBD/Issue 112/Sports Media

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  • NBC To Show Tiger During Match Play Airings Despite Early Ouster

    NBC Producer Says It Is The Network's Duty
    To Show What Happened To Tiger
    With his loss Thursday in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, golfer Tiger Woods will not be playing Saturday and Sunday during "live network coverage of the event, but he'll still be prominent on NBC," according to Diane Pucin of the L.A. TIMES. NBC golf producer Tommy Roy said, "We'll have to deal with showing what happened to Tiger because this has gone from being a golf tournament to a news event. Our weekend telecast will have to deal with showing what happened to Tiger. It will be our duty" (L.A. TIMES, 2/27). But in San Diego, Jay Posner writes the "concern -- particularly if Phil Mickelson doesn't reach the Final Four -- is that NBC will continue to focus on Woods." Posner: "I hope when [Roy] says NBC will 'document' what happened to Woods, he's talking about a recap of just a few minutes. Anyone interested in Woods either found a way to watch his two matches on Golf Channel or PGATour.com ... or saw plenty of highlights on ESPN or any other outlet. Come midday tomorrow, nearly 48 hours after Woods' defeat, I think the last thing viewers want to see is an extended discussion of Tiger" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 2/27).

    MISSED OPPORTUNITY: In Houston, David Barron notes NBC will telecast the tournament from 2:00-6:00pm ET Saturday and Sunday, and the "chances for a noteworthy rating likely vanished into the ether with Woods' elimination" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/27). In Ft. Worth, Ray Buck writes, "Just when the PGA Tour became relevant again, NBC lost its weekend chance to reel in viewers" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/27). In Oakland, Cam Inman writes Tiger's elimination is "bad news for NBC, which now may as well show re-runs of 'Alf' in its weekend afternoon timeslots if it hopes to draw any ratings" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 2/27). In California, Jim Carlisle: "The bailout was nice while it lasted, but no more." NBC this week "gets nothing from Woods' comeback" (VENTURA COUNTY STAR, 2/27). In N.Y., George Willis writes Woods exits the tournament "taking with him the potential weekend television ratings boost and economic lift the PGA Tour had hoped he would bring" (N.Y. POST, 2/27). But in Albany, Pete Dougherty writes, "This week's blip aside, rest assured the networks are giddy that Woods is back" (Albany TIMES UNION, 2/27).

    TIGER BOOM: Woods' return to competition Wednesday resulted in record Web traffic numbers on PGATour.com. The site set a single-day record of 2,504,820 videos streamed for its coverage of the Match Play event. It also earned more than 1,024,062 unique users, the largest ever on a non-major day and the second largest overall behind 1.5 million during the Woods-Rocco Mediate U.S. Open playoff on June 16, 2008. The site's 23,592,077 page views were up 120% from the opening round of the '08 Accenture Match Play event, which Woods won (THE DAILY).

    OFF THE FAIRWAY: In Arizona, Greg Hansen writes Golf Channel's "all-Tiger, all-the-time coverage" of the tournament "hasn't been complicated." When the net cut to commercial "you'd see a panoramic view of cacti," and the production "came off like those long-ago 'Shell's Wonderful World of Golf' productions when [golfers Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus] would be playing a made-for-TV twosome in some exotic setting." Meanwhile, the tournament, and "all of those that find themselves without Tiger, should have a simple fall-back plan: Get Mickelson on stage and hope he doesn't goof it up" (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 2/27). SI.com's Gary Van Sickle wrote under the header, "We Can Live Without Tiger Woods This Weekend At Match Play." Woods' elimination was "a brick wall that stopped the wave of Tigermania that had been almost out of control this week in the Arizona desert." But "this isn't the time to bemoan the loss of Woods and write off the tournament," as instead it is "a time to celebrate" golfer Tim Clark's accomplishment in defeating Woods (GOLF.com, 2/26).

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  • ESPN Deportes Lauded For Coverage Of Alex Rodriguez Scandal

     
    ESPN Deportes “has made occasional splashes in the English-language media, but never has the channel and its Web site enjoyed the level of attention it received” for its coverage of Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez, according to Neil Best of NEWSDAY. ESPN Deportes helped identify Rodriguez’ cousin, Yuri Sucart, who Rodriguez said supplied him with performance-enhancing drugs. The net also learned that Primobolan was "illegal in the Dominican Republic at the time Rodriguez tested positive" for the substance in '03, and talked to trainer Angel Presinal, who claimed he worked with Rodriguez from ’01-03. Best writes the stories “illustrated the value of broad journalistic reach, especially when it comes to speaking Spanish and covering baseball.” ESPN Senior VP & Dir of News Vince Doria said ESPN Deportes has been "invaluable" on the Rodriguez story. Doria: "It speaks to the multiple platforms we have here to spread your circle of potential contacts and sources" (NEWSDAY, 2/27).

    SENDING A MESSAGE: In Miami, Barry Jackson writes ESPN2’s regular Tuesday feature of allowing fans to post comments during college football and basketball broadcasts "easily has crossed the line.” The gimmick is a “transparent attempt to drive traffic" to ESPN.com, and when the “interactive element detracts from the enjoyment of a game, then we have a problem.” When the Texas A&M men's basketball team defeated Nebraska on Tuesday on a last-second shot, “part of the screen was polluted by a recurring graphic encouraging fans to submit their remarks on ESPN.com.” Jackson: “It’s the equivalent of TV graffiti, irritating enough to make you change the channel if you’re only moderately interested in the game” (MIAMI HERALD, 2/27).

    HELPING HAND: Beta Research’s annual “Cable Operator Study-Evaluation of Basic Cable Networks” survey has Disney-ESPN Media with a 74% rate of being “very helpful in selling high-speed Internet, HDTV and/or video on demand” services, only behind 75% for Discovery Network. Meanwhile, ESPN was named the "most valuable network" for the ninth consecutive year by cable operators. ESPN2 ranked second in that category, the fourth straight year it has landed in that spot (MULTICHANNEL.com, 2/25).

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  • Final Nielsen Ratings From Recent Sports Telecasts

    The chart below lists final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts (THE DAILY).

    TELECAST
    DATE
    NET
    TIME
    RAT/SHR
    "Race to March Madness"
    2/21
    ABC
    2:00-3:30pm
    0.5/-
    NCAA Basketball: North Carolina-Maryland
    2/21
    ABC
    3:30-6:00pm
    1.3/-
    NCAA Basketball: (regional)
    2/21
    CBS
    1:00-3:00pm
    1.1/3
    PGA Tour: Northern Trust Open: Third Round
    2/21
    CBS
    3:00-6:00pm
    1.7/4
    NASCAR Camping World Truck Series:
    San Bernardino County 200
    2/21
    Fox
    3:18-4:40pm
    1.3/3
    Alli Winter Dew Tour: Toyota Championship
    (Lake Tahoe)
    2/21
    NBC
    2:30-4:00pm
    0.5/1
    Gymnastics: Tyson American Cup
    2/21
    NBC
    4:00-6:00pm
    1.1/3
    NBA Countdown
    2/22
    ABC
    2:00-2:30pm
    0.9/-
    NBA: Celtics-Suns
    2/22
    ABC
    2:27-5:15pm
    2.1/-
    Rugby: USA 7's Highlight Show (taped)
    2/22
    ABC
    5:15-6:00pm
    1.1/-
    NCAA Basketball: (regional)
    2/22
    CBS
    1:00-3:00pm
    1.6/4
    PGA Tour: Northern Trust Open: Final Round
    2/22
    CBS
    3:00-6:00pm
    3.3/7
    NASCAR Sprint Cup: Auto Club 500
    2/22
    Fox
    6:21-10:07pm
    6.0/10
    NHL: Penguins-Capitals
    2/22
    NBC
    12:30-3:00pm
    0.9/2
    Alli Winter Dew Tour: Toyota Championship
    (Lake Tahoe)
    2/22
    NBC
    3:00-6:00pm
    0.7/2
    TELECAST
    DATE
    NET
    TIME
    U.S.
    CABLE
    VIEWERS (000)
    NCAA Basketball:
    Pittsburgh-Connecticut
    2/16
    ESPN
    7:00-9:12pm
    1.8
    2.1
    2,543
    NCAA Basketball:
    Texas-Texas A&M
    2/16
    ESPN
    9:12-11:11pm
    1.1
    1.3
    1,632
    NBA: Lakers-Warriors
    2/18
    ESPN
    10:35pm-1:05am
    1.5
    1.7
    2,072
    NBA: Spurs-Pistons
    2/19
    TNT
    8:16-10:49pm
    1.2
    1.4
    1,852
    NBA: Celtics-Jazz
    2/19
    TNT
    10:49pm-1:39am
    1.2
    1.4
    1,717
    NBA: Hornets-Lakers
    2/20
    ESPN
    10:33pm-1:31am
    1.6
    1.8
    2,345
    NCAA Basketball:
    Oklahoma-Texas
    2/21
    ESPN
    9:00-11:02pm
    1.6
    1.9
    2,472
    NASCAR Nationwide
    Series: Stater Bros. 300
    2/21
    ESPN2
    7:45-10:22pm
    1.6
    1.9
    2,513
    NBA: Heat-Magic
    2/22
    ESPN
    5:30-8:08pm
    1.2
    1.4
    1,722
    NBA: Pistons-Cavaliers
    2/22
    ESPN
    8:08-10:22pm
    1.4
    1.6
    2,062

    IN THE FAST LANE: In L.A., Diane Pucin noted last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Auto Club 500 race on Fox was the "top-rated sports event of the week." The broadcast, part of which ran against ABC's telecast of the 81st Academy Awards, was up 28% from '07, when the race was also up against the Academy Awards. The '08 race began on Sunday and was concluded Monday due to rain (LATIMES.com, 2/24). Meanwhile, USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand wrote the PGA Tour's TV ratings "are scheduled to be hit by lightning" with Tiger Woods' return, and that is "not necessarily good news for NASCAR." The first two races were won by a "less-than-mediagenic Matt Kenseth," which isn't good news for an "expensive sport whose financially squeezed sponsors don't need any more bad news" (USA TODAY, 2/24).

    HARD COURT: Fox Sports Oklahoma is averaging a 1.3 local rating for its Thunder game telecasts, 41% less than FSN's "national average of 2.2 for its 24 NBA franchises." The top rating this season was a 2.8 local rating on November 5 for a game against the Celtics (NEWSOK.com, 2/27)....ESPN's telecast of the Duke-Maryland men's basketball game on Wednesday was the "highest-rated sports show in Baltimore" that night, averaging a 6.7 local rating with 74,000 HHs (Baltimore SUN, 2/27).

    SIR LANCE-A-LOT: U.K.-based Cyclingnews.com reported it had 2.8 million page views during Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California on February 17, marking the "second most in the site's history behind only one Tour de France mountain stage day." On a typical February day, the site receives "800 page views a day" (L.A. TIMES, 2/27).

    IN THE BATTER'S BOX: YES Network earned a 1.19 HH rating for its coverage of Thursday's Rays-Yankees Spring Training game, marking the highest rating for a weekday Spring Training game ever on the net (YES Network).

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  • What's The Frequency?

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

    NATIONAL SHOWS
    Sirius XM Mad Dog Radio (2-7pm ET) “Mad Dog Unleashed”
    Spring Training with live broadcasts from Cactus League sites; Tiger Woods returns; March Madness approaches – Who are the bubble teams?
    Sirius NFL Radio (3-7pm ET) “Movin’ The Chains”
    Review of '09 Scouting Combine; Giants and RB Brandon Jacobs agree to 4-year extension; Dolphins sign SS Gibril Wilson; Buccaneers release 11-time Pro Bowl LB Derrick Brooks and four others; Free agency preview
    XM MLB Home Plate (3-6pm ET) “The Show” with Rob Dibble & Kevin Kennedy
    Spring Training; Alex Rodriguez controversy; World Baseball Classic
    MARKET – STATION SHOW
    Boston – WWZN “The Young Guns”
    As Red Sox begin preseason, which players look the sharpest so far?; Is Celtics losing to Clippers without F Kevin Garnett a sign of struggles over the next week and a half?; How will signing C Mikki Moore and G Stephon Marburry impact Celtics?; Bruins play a big home game against second-place Capitals Saturday
    Detroit – WXYT “Valenti & Foster”
    Should Lions draft QB Matthew Stafford No. 1?; Sharks RW Claude Lemieux returns to Joe Louis Arena; Should Lions be active in free agency?; Pistons freefall
    Phoenix – KDUS “Calling All Sports With Roc & Manuch”
    D'Backs begin Spring Training; Suns play their first week without F Amar'e Stoudemire; G James Harden tries to lead Arizona State men's basketball to Pac-10 regular season championship; Cardinals have big decisions to make with their roster during the free agency period
    Seattle – KJR “The Gas Man”
    Live From Mariners Spring Training in Peoria, Arizona; Ken Griffey Jr.'s return to Seattle; Who will get Mariners closer job?; Arizona State-Washington men's basketball game; Beginning of NFL free agency
    Minneapolis – KFAN “The Paul Allen Show”
    Vikings likely to trade for Sage Rosenfels (Is that enough for fans?); Who will win the NCAA men's basketball tournament?; Will Vikings make a run at a free agent WR?; Jim Calhoun vs. reporter controversy; AL Central preview
    Miami – WAXY “The Dan Le Batard Show”
    Marlins open Spring Training play as one of the favorites in the NL; Univ. of Miami men's hoops on life support for NCAA Tournament; Heat in Eastern Conference playoff mix; NFL free agency underway, Dolphins active already
    Charlotte – WFNZ “Prime Time With The Packman”
    Matt Kenseth’s hot start in NASCAR; ACC basketball; Univ. of South Carolina men's basketball takes the lead in SEC East; Tiger Woods' return to PGA Tour; NFL Panthers prepare for free agency

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  • Media Notes

    Writer Watches Combine To See
    Players Like Malcolm Jenkins
    SI.com's Austin Murphy wrote while he does not like the NFL Scouting Combine, he "clicked on the NFL Network's coverage of [it] on Sunday, just to see how some of the players I've gotten to know on the college beat were faring in their quest for the next level." Murphy: "Something unexpected happened. I settled in for an hour. Or two. And again the next day. And the next." The key to the net's coverage was "its team of analysts," and "regardless of which special guest the network used ... the combine's regular trio of Rich Eisen, Charles Davis and Mike Mayock mixed solid analysis and (in Mayock's case) a frightening depth of knowledge" (SI.com, 2/26).

    RADIO GA GA: In Boston, Chad Finn examined local sports talk radio station WEEI-AM and writes the channel features "a perfect storm of arrogance." While not all WEEI programming "beats your eardrums into submission," it is "telling that the two smartest sports radio shows in the city in recent years -- Michael Felger's drive-time program on ESPN 890 and the Ryen Russillo/John Anik/Anthony Pepe crew on WWZN 1510 -- were broadcast elsewhere on the dial." Finn writes he is "longing for something for better, something not only entertaining but intelligent, passionate, and insightful" from the station (BOSTON GLOBE "OT," 2/26 issue). As of presstime, 33.9% of 7,189 respondents to a poll on the Boston Globe's Web site said they were happy with the current state of Boston sports radio, while 66.1% of respondents said they were not (THE DAILY).

    ONE-OFF SITE: In Minneapolis, Roman Augustoviz notes FS North broadcasters Frank Mazzocoo and Doug Woog covered last weekend's Univ. of Minnesota-Colorado College hockey game "from the company's home studio in Minneapolis" rather than the game site in Colorado Springs. FS North Communications Manager Becky Ross said that the net "was only trying to be cost efficient in these tough economic times." Ross, when asked why the net "didn't inform viewers that the broadcasters were not on site," added, "This was a one-time thing. We have no plans to continue this" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/27).

    NOTES: In Philadelphia, Dan Gross notes Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones and Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Wednesday were at Comcast Center in Philadelphia for a meeting. Comcast "declined to comment," and an NFL spokesperson said that he "was unaware of the meeting" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/26)....Yahoo Sports and blog network SB Nation have struck a content-for-distribution deal in which more than 180 blogs from SB Nation will be integrated into team pages within the portal's sports area (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal)....With the Rocky Mountain News ceasing publication after Friday, sports columnist Dave Krieger will join the Denver Post (POYNTER.org, 2/26)....The MLS Dynamo have named team Communications Manager Jonathan Yardley as its radio play-by-play announcer on KBME-AM (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/27).

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