SBD/Issue 167/Sports MediaPrint All
If Broadcasters Agree To Extensions, CBS Will
Broadcast Super Bowl In '13, Fox In '14
IN-GAME STRATEGY: SI.com's Peter King noted extensions with Fox and CBS allowed the NFL to "move close to a deal with Comcast, because the league could give the cable giant a valuable chip in the Red Zone Channel to use on Sundays." Part of the NFL's "motivation to deal with Comcast and the networks, surely, was its desire to be able to use the Red Zone Channel on cable instead of only on satellite, and NBC wasn't part of the Red Zone deal." NFL Net sources "feared that without wider distribution, some owners tired of the five-year fight for wider distribution of the Network would have soon moved to kill the channel in the current bad economy." King reported NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been the "key player in the deal from the NFL side," working with Comcast Chair & CEO Brian Roberts "to bridge the major differences between the two sides." King added it "could be that the league is intent on getting the deal done with Comcast first, then moving on to the second-biggest of the Big Cables, Time Warner, with the framework of a concept in place" (SI.com, 5/17).
Kornheiser Cites His Fear Of
Flying As Reason For Leaving
SHAKEUP IN FOX' PRODUCTION TEAMS: EYE ON SPORTS MEDIA reported Fox Sports Chair & CEO David Hill has demoted lead NFL director Artie Kempner, relegating him from the "A" team to the "C" team. Sources said that there has been a "rift or some level of tension" between Hill and Kempner, who has served as lead director for Fox NFL games since '03. Meanwhile, Hill also has split the NFL team of producer Bob Stenner and director Sandy Grossman, who have "worked together at Fox and CBS Sports for more than four decades." A source said that the split "has many people scratching their heads, as this is supposed to be Grossman's last year" (EYEONSPORTSMEDIA.com, 5/18).
NECESSARY CHANGE? Selig said, "I give Fox a lot of credit. I've wanted this (for) a long time. And it's a very significant change." USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes the earlier start times "might seem like a no-brainer, given that baseball's weeknight postseason games can last past midnight." But despite last year's weather-plagued Phillies-Rays World Series averaging an all-time Series low 8.4 rating, World Series numbers have "generally suggested that viewers don't seem all that bothered by games ending in the wee hours" (USA TODAY, 5/18).
NBC Earns 7.9/18 Overnight Nielsen Rating
For 134th Running Of Preakness Stakes
EASY RIDER: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jason Gay writes, "What is it with horse racing that it so effectively grabs the American imagination?" Jockey Calvin Borel, who won the Kentucky Derby with Mine That Bird and the Preakness with Rachel Alexandra, delivers a "pair of knockout performances in the two biggest races of the year, and suddenly we're getting all dew-eyed and gooey." NBC "wisely made him the showcase" during its Preakness coverage, "even catching him zipping up his fly just before walking to the track." But it has been "hard not to detect a slightly patronizing tone in some of the coverage of the jockey, as if he's some magical bayou Zelig, a la Forrest Gump," and what has been "overlooked is what a ruthless, Jordanesque competitor he is" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/18).
Lakers' Win Down 12.5%
From Comparable '08 Game
CABLE GUYS: ESPN earned a 5.4 cable rating and 7.352 million viewers for Lakers-Rockets Game Six last Thursday, marking the net's most-viewed basketball game ever. The previous record was held by Game Six of the Heat-Pistons Eastern Conference Finals in '06, which drew 6.602 million viewers. Lakers-Rockets Game Six earned a 13.0 local rating in L.A., and a 16.0 rating in Houston, marking the net's highest-rated NBA game in the Houston DMA (ESPN).
First Two Periods Of Canes-Bruins Game
Seven Available Only On Regional Nets
CAN'T PLEASE EVERYONE: Bettman appeared on WFAN-AM's "Mike Francesa" show Friday and discussed why Game Five of the Penguins-Capitals Eastern Conference Semifinals series on May 9 was on Versus instead of NBC. Bettman, citing the PGA Tour The Players Championship, said, "NBC had contractual commitments, and we knew about it. ... NBC is a terrific partner and we have no complaints." Bettman: "Had we shown the game in the afternoon, I promise you there would have been screaming from our friends in Canada that we didn't have a game on Saturday night for ‘Hockey Night in Canada.’ We have five national packages that all go at about the same time. We have multi-language and two countries. It is more complex in terms of the scheduling than perhaps anybody else has to deal with at the league level." Bettman added, "Versus has really been growing and doing a terrific job. They don't get enough credit for what they're doing. If you look at Versus’ numbers for the semifinal round this year and compare it to the last time we were on ESPN and ESPN2 we are actually doing better numbers. So this myth that we are somehow not in the right place is ridiculous" ("Mike Francesa," YES Network, 5/15).
GOING FOR SECONDS: ESPN.com's Damien Cox wrote under the header, "Will NHL Benefit From These Playoffs?" The question is "how much the NHL benefited from having its most competitive second round in almost a quarter century." The "ongoing bankruptcy battle over the future of the Phoenix Coyotes offers an instructive backdrop to these NHL playoffs, for although the quality of play has been undeniably high, if a tad vicious at times, there are still those who argue that the league remains stubbornly regional in nature and thus is wasting its time keeping teams in certain markets as part of a larger U.S. footprint." But the league is "populated these days by the largest collection of young stars it has boasted in years, maybe ever, and many are still active participants in the postseason." Cox: "Is it all growing the game and expanding its appeal? Big cities, big stars and thrilling competition might just catch on if the NHL can keep up the momentum established in the past two weeks" (ESPN.com, 5/15).
NUMBERS UP IN CANADA: TSN averaged 681,000 viewers for 13 broadcasts during the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, up 21% over 561,000 last year. The 681,000 total also marked the most-viewed second round ever on the net, topping the previous high of 575,000 viewers set in '07 (TSN).
Irvin's "4th And Long" To Provide The
Winner With A Shot At Making Cowboys
NO HOLDS BARRED: In N.Y., Neil Genzlinger writes the show "has the courage to show the ugly side of professional football," as "lots and lots of vomit is spewed in the opening episode of the program, which despite all the retching and a fair amount of disingenuousness is pretty entertaining, in its testosterone-fueled way." The winner of the competition will earn a chance to attend the Cowboys' training camp, which "isn't much of a prize," but Irvin "sells the bit perfectly, injecting his role as drill sergeant/eliminator with a menacing, overhyped gusto" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/18). Also in N.Y., David Hinckley writes the show "maintains a fast pace while focusing on just how high a level of skill is required to become even a marginal pro." But that does not mean the show "avoids all trappings of reality shows," as Irvin "sounds like he's trying to channel Gen. Patton when he makes his speeches to the players." Also, there is "way more footage than we need of a player throwing up after running drills," and it is "hard not to notice the product placement" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/18). When asked if he is "running the show like an NFL training camp," Irvin said, "I have to, because there's no other way to show this is real football. You're pushing people to go places that in their mind, they don't know they can. There's no easy way to do that, except by emphasizing the realness of it all. You push hoping to pull the best out of them" (SPORTING NEWS TODAY, 5/14). Spike Dir of Original Series Joe Weinstock: "It's not going to feel like a reality show. It's going to feel like a training camp to compete for a roster spot on the Dallas Cowboys. It's very real. Competition is high and these are all incredible athletes" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 5/15).
KNOCK ON WOOD: The Bengals will be featured this season on HBO's "Hard Knocks," and ESPN’s Herm Edwards, who was coaching the Chiefs when they appeared on the show in '07, said, "Very important: This is not a reality show." Edwards: "You’re not trying to become a soap opera star. It’s about football. It’s about going to training camp, getting better as a football team." But ESPN's Trey Wingo said, "They say any publicity is good publicity. We’ll find out this summer” (“NFL Live,” ESPN, 5/15). ESPN's Jim Rome: "Nobody wants to see a buttoned-up professional franchise, like the Pats or the Steelers, on that show. Reality TV is all about casting. They need knuckleheads and dysfunction, or they’re not going to get the train wreck that they’re looking for and that we all want" ("Jim Rome Is Burning," ESPN, 5/15).
REALITY CHECK: VH1 currently is filming Bills WR Terrell Owens for an upcoming reality show, and SI.com's Ross Tucker wrote of the potential restrictions on filming, "I would imagine the Bills would forbid T.O. from filming anything that could either put the organization at a competitive disadvantage or paint the Bills in a negative light. Buffalo is a small market, so maybe the franchise is happy to get this type of exposure and coverage just like the Bengals are thrilled to be this year's featured team on HBO's 'Hard Knocks.' That said, I can't imagine teams like New England, Pittsburgh or even Kansas City, now that [GM] Scott Pioli is in charge, condoning something like this in any way, shape, or form because of the either real or perceived distraction" (SI.com, 5/15).
S.F.-based Sportgenic has signed a multi-year deal with comScore Inc. to incorporate the digital measurement agency’s Internet traffic reports into its Torque advertising platform. The Web-based Torque platform, introduced earlier this year, incorporates purchasing and monitoring for both offline and online advertising in one spot, and the comScore Media Metrix data is part of an increasing attempt by Sportgenic to bring more third-party information into the system. “Data rules the world, and by including comScore within Torque, we can allow buyers with us to do their job quicker and better,” said Sportgenic President & CEO Robert Tas. "Before, they had to go outside to another source to validate what they were buying. The goal is to provide as much transparency as possible.” Terms were not disclosed, but the pact was structured as a licensing agreement for Sportgenic to use the comScore data.
Streeter Says USOC Close To
Making An Announcement