SBD/Issue 129/Sports Media

MSG Obtains Rights To "The Bronx Is Burning" Miniseries

MSG Plans To Run "The Bronx Is Burning"
Miniseries In Conjunction With Opening Day
MSG picked up the rights to ESPN's "The Bronx is Burning" and plans to run the miniseries with limited commercials starting April 5, the day before the Yankees' season opener. MSG will telecast the series about the '77 Yankees' run to a World Series title on eight consecutive Sunday nights at the start of the baseball season. At the end of each episode, the N.Y.-based RSN will run 15 minutes of new interviews it conducted with several members of that Yankees team, including Reggie Jackson, Bucky Dent, Sparky Lyle and Mickey Rivers. "We feel we are presenting this in a way that will be completely different," said MSG Networks GM & Exec VP Dan Ronayne. The net will run the series with three minutes of commercials each hour, thanks to a six-figure title sponsorship deal with the Tri-State Cadillac Local Marketing Association. MSG will break into programming three times in the hour -- at the beginning, halfway and end -- for the Cadillac group's message. "Trying to sell things traditionally right now doesn't really excite our advertisers," said MSG Senior VP/Media Sales Art Ventura. "They're looking for something different right now." MSG will repeat the series a couple of times during the week. It also is planning to run it as a marathon around the All-Star Game. MSG also plans to provide bonus footage and full-length interviews on its Web site, www.msg.com/summerof77.

PART OF A LARGER PACKAGE: The network acquired the miniseries' rights as part of a larger syndication package it picked up from ESPN, which included college basketball telecasts, sources said. MSG was eager to pick up the rights even though it has no live MLB programming on its schedule. The planned episodes on April 26 will run opposite a Yankees game against Boston on ESPN. The Mets do not have any Sunday night games scheduled for the first half of the season. Produced by ESPN Original Entertainment, ESPN ran the miniseries in the summer of '07. Its debut, which followed MLB's "Home Run Derby," pulled a 1.9 cable rating. The following week, it dropped to a 0.7 cable rating, which is how most of the remaining series rated.

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