SBD/Issue 197/Sports Media

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  • Viewers Upset Over Federer Match Being Shown On Tape Delay

    Federer Match Shown On Tape Delay On NBC,
    Upsetting Fans Who Want To See It Live
    Wimbledon viewers were upset this morning when ESPN failed to show Roger Federer's quarterfinal match and did not provide score updates during the match. Instead, ESPN was showing the less popular Tommy Haas-Novak Djokovic match. The reason: NBC gets to choose one match to show in their window. The broadcaster chose the Federer-Ivo Karlovic match, even though it could not be aired live. "We're following history," said an NBC spokesperson, referencing Federer going for his record 15th Grand Slam title. By contract, ESPN cannot show highlights or provide score updates during its Wimbledon coverage. However, an ESPN spokesperson said it was providing those updates on "SportsCenter," ESPN.com and ESPN Mobile. NBC is making live feeds of the Andy Murray-Juan Carlos Ferrero and Andy Roddick-Lleyton Hewitt matches available on NBCSports.com (John Ourand, THE DAILY). 

    DELAYED REACTION: FANGSBITES.com's Kenny Fang writes, "This was quite maddening to tennis fans who wanted to see the Federer match. ... This is a disservice to fans and an insult to their intelligence. Fans want to see matches live, they don't want to be stuck with tape knowing they can find the results elsewhere" (FANGSBITES.com, 7/1). The BUSINESS INSIDER's Henry Blodget writes under the header, "NBC Sports Wrecks The Wimbledon Quarterfinals Again." Blodget: "The only hope for us fans is that one good match will extend later than 1PM ET when NBC goes off the air and ESPN gets the rights again. Because ESPN will be smart enough to show Wimbledon live" (BUSINESSINSIDER.com, 7/1). Meanwhile, SI.com's Arash Markazi noted, "The tweets regarding NBC and ESPN's handling of their Wimbledon coverage have been classic. As entertaining as the matches in my book" (TWITTER.com, 7/1).

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  • BBC Denies Role In Decision To Close Centre Court Roof Monday

    BBC's Exclusive Deal With All England Club
    Gives It Rights To Wimbledon Until 2014
    The BBC moved quickly yesterday to "distance itself from suggestions that it had influenced the decision" to close the Centre Court roof at Wimbledon on Monday to "boost primetime viewing figures on BBC1," according to Owen Gibson of the Manchester GUARDIAN. The BBC, which has an "exclusive deal with the All England Club giving it the rights to the tournament until 2014," insisted that the "final decision over when to close the roof lies solely with championship referee Andrew Jarrett." But the BBC is "understood to have made it clear that it would prefer" matches featuring Andy Murray to be "scheduled as late as possible to maximise audiences and post-work viewing." Meanwhile, All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC) CEO Ian Ritchie "dismissed Murray's implied claims that the air management system had not worked correctly and that the resulting humidity affected his game" during his win over Stanislas Wawrinka on Monday. Ritchie: "It was very humid generally. We thought the conditions were fine and perfectly playable. The court was perfectly dry, I've not heard anyone say it was slippery on court." Ritchie said the closed roof "produced a fantastic event for people here and for millions on television." Ritchie: "From where I'm sitting it was a great success. ... From an event and tennis point of view it was fantastic. A great advert for tennis and Wimbledon." Murray's match concluded after 10:30pm local time on Monday, but Ritchie yesterday "denied that night-time finishes ... would become a regular feature of Wimbledon" (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 6/30).

    ALL AROUND SUCCESS: In London, Burgess & Dixon write the new Centre Court roof is "likely to benefit the All England Club's coffers," as industry figures indicate that the estimated US$41.1M annual TV income "would increase by as much as a quarter if matches were regularly allowed to run later." Matches running until midnight in London would finish at 7:00pm ET in the U.S., "right at the beginning of prime time in the world's biggest television market" (LONDON TIMES, 7/1). Also in London, Cassandra Jardine writes the debut of the roof "must be judged a resounding success." The roof and its lights are the "best new developments in British tennis since women emerged from long skirts." Jardine: "Hooray for [NBC] and the other networks who put pressure on Wimbledon's organisers to cover over. Those who pay to broadcast the matches to 1.8 billion people in 131 countries aren't the only ones who don't enjoy a fortnight of uncertainty" (London TELEGRAPH, 7/1).

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  • Sprint Cup Posts First Year-Over-Year Ratings Gain This Season

    TNT’s telecast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Lenox Industrial Tools 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday earned a 4.1 cable rating and 5.555 million viewers from 1:59-5:45pm ET. The telecast marks the first Sprint Cup race this season to see both year-over-year ratings and viewership gains, up 2.5% and 1.1%, respectively, from last year’s 4.0 cable rating and 5.495 million viewers. The race also was the ninth most-viewed telecast on all of cable for the week of June 22-28. For four Sprint Cup races to date, TNT is averaging a 4.0 cable rating and 5.502 million viewers, down 4.8% and 3.7%, respectively, from a 4.2 rating and 5.715 million viewers last year. Airing up against the Sprint Cup race from 2:10-4:30pm, ESPN’s telecast of the Brazil-U.S. FIFA Confederations Cup final earned a 2.6 cable rating and 3.945 million viewers. The telecast was ESPN’s most-viewed program for the week, and also ranks as the third-largest audience for a U.S. men’s national team match on the net behind two World Cup matches -- Germany-U.S. in ’02 (5.335 million viewers) and U.S.-Colombia in ’94 (4.810 million viewers) (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

    TOP FIVE MOST-VIEWED SPORTS TELECASTS
    ON CABLE FOR WEEK OF JUNE 22-28
    DATE
    PROGRAM
    NET
    VIEWERS (000)
    6/28
    NASCAR Sprint Cup: Lenox Industrial Tools 500
    TNT
    5,555
    6/28
    FIFA Confederations Cup Final: Brazil-U.S.
    ESPN
    3,945
    6/28
    "Sunday Night Baseball": Yankees-Mets
    ESPN
    3,283
    6/24
    College World Series: LSU-Texas: Game Three
    ESPN
    3,160
    6/25
    '09 NBA Draft
    ESPN
    2,639

    FLORIDA FUTBOL: In West Palm Beach, Hal Habib notes two of the top four markets nationally for the Confederations Cup final were in South Florida. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale led the nation with a 5.67 local rating for the game, while the West Palm Beach market ranked No. 4 nationally with a 3.65 local rating. The 3.65 rating for West Palm Beach translates to 28,000 HHs out of 779,000 in the market "that receive ESPN" (PALM BEACH POST, 7/1).

    HYPE IT UP: In Utah, James Edward writes under the header, "ESPN Hype Tunes Fans In To Soccer." ESPN is the "entity that will benefit most from the U.S. performance in the 2010 World Cup." Soccer's growth in the U.S. "can only benefit from more ESPN coverage, and last week was the perfect storm" (DESERET NEWS, 7/1).

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  • EPL's Man City To Unveil Media Partnership With Endemol Sport

    New Partnership Includes Relaunch
    Of Manchester City's Web Site
    EPL club Manchester City tomorrow will unveil a "wide-ranging partnership" with TV production company Endemol Sport in an “attempt to accelerate their ability to compete on a global basis with Manchester United and Real Madrid,” according to Owen Gibson of the Manchester GUARDIAN. The multi-year deal will include the relaunch of the club’s Web site today and the development of “TV ideas and its brand throughout the world.” The Web site will be available in both English and Arabic, as the club is owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group. Endemol Sport Managing Dir Gregg Oldfield said that the Web site will be “built around social media elements and focused at targeting under-25s who were fans of Premier League football but were yet to decide whom to support.” Oldfield: “The Middle East is very important for obvious reasons and we’ll also target Asia and Latin America.” Oldfield also said that the company would “use its presence in more than 25 countries around the world to help develop new television and new media formats for each market” (Manchester GUARDIAN, 7/1).

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  • ESPNArcade.com Relaunching With More Games, New Ad Strategy

    ESPN has relaunched its two-year-old casual games destination ESPNArcade.com with more than 70 games and an expanded advertising and content strategy that includes integration with “SportsCenter.” Among the individual moves within the ESPN Arcade relaunch is a rebranding of its ESPN Cameraman photo game franchise to ESPN Zoom. Within that new brand, ESPN has created “ESPN Zoom: Freeze Frame Edition” for online and mobile play, with the title using photos showcased weekly on “SportsCenter” and carrying Bud Light as a multi-platform sponsor. “We’re seeing this year a big uptick in the interest and activity with casual gaming, presenting us with a big opportunity to get a new set offerings together for both fans and advertisers we think is going to be a lot more compelling and integrated between platforms,” said ESPN VP/Games Raphael Poplock.

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  • Media Notes

    TNT NASCAR play-by-play announcer Bill Weber will not be part of the net's coverage of the final two Sprint Cup Series races it has this season. Ralph Sheheen will take over for Weber during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona Int'l Speedway and the LifeLock.com 400 from Chicagoland Speedway (TNT). THE DALY PLANET notes Weber was "involved in a late night incident last Friday night at the TNT hotel" in Manchester, New Hampshire, that "spilled-over into Weber being sent home by TNT executives on Saturday and now his release from the TV package." The net is being "tight-lipped about the issue and gave no indication whether or not Weber would continue with the network in 2010" (DALYPLANET.BLOGSPOT.com, 7/1).

     
    HARD TO SAY GOODBYE: Fox confirmed that "Best Damn Sports Show Period" taped its final studio show yesterday, and it was telecast last night. The show will remain on the schedule through the fall in its "Top 50" format. A few new "Top 50" shows will be produced as well. The demise of "BDSSP" is the result of the Fox RSNs producing more local pro games and shoulder programs, which shrinked the window where this type of show could be telecast. "It was unorthodox from Day 1 as it challenged contemporaries to dust off their formats and do more than run highlights, and that will be its legacy," a Fox spokesman said. "Its departure shouldn't minimize the tremendous effort the cast and crew gave every show. FSN is now focused on its regional sports networks which have become the industry's leader in local sports programming" (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

    BRENNAN OUT AT ESPN: In Vermont, Mike Donoghue reported ESPN college basketball studio analyst Tom Brennan "has been cut loose ... after four years." Brennan said that he had "one year left on a three-year contract, but the sports network indicated it was not going to pick up his option." ESPN has been "trimming staff and costs," and Brennan said that he "believed he might get released." Brennan: "I kind of knew that I might not continue. I knew I was on the bubble" (BURLINGTON FREE PRESS, 6/30). AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Brian Powell wrote, "I actually enjoyed Brennan from time to time. ... I suspect he'll go back into coaching, given the lack of College Basketball outlets, but someone should take a flier on him" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 6/30).

    CABLE CARS: USA Network was the top cable station for primetime during the second quarter, averaging a 2.4 rating and 2.37 million viewers. The NBA Playoffs "helped" TNT finish second with a 2.0 average rating and 1.98 million viewers. Disney Channel, Fox News and a tie between ESPN and Nick at Nite rounded out the top five slots (CABLEFAX DAILY, 7/1).

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