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SBD/Issue 236/Sports MediaPrint All
Gannett Directs Its Newspapers Not To
Sign On To SEC's New Media Policy
OUT OF BOUNDS? In Louisville, Eric Crawford writes while the SEC is "well within its rights to sell broadcast rights to its games, there's a legitimate question over whether it can restrict news coverage of its events." Crawford: "If it wants to operate like a pro league, let it be treated like one. If it persists in this hardball policy -- some of which applies to ticketholders and amateur bloggers -- the SEC will take a big step in that direction. But as a college sports entity, it also has taken a big step out of bounds" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 8/26).
FRUITFUL PARTNERSHIP: In Virginia, Bob Molinaro wrote with ESPN "providing the money and coverage, the SEC is poised to become the most widely disseminated, wealthiest college football league in the country." The conference ranks "second only to the NFL in brand appeal," and now is putting "even more daylight between itself and its so-called competitors." By partnering with ESPN, the SEC "gets to enjoy the fruits of endless hours of hype on all sorts of electronic devices" (Norfolk VIRGINIAN-PILOT, 8/24). Meanwhile, the SEC and ESPN have launched the SEC Academic Network, a new Web site designed to promote classroom endeavors of its member schools. The network, powered by ESPN360.com technology, will feature content from each school ranging from research and economic development to civic engagement and service. The network launch will include five videos from each SEC school, and the videos will be updated throughout the year (SEC).
McManus Thinks RedZone
Will Have Select Audience
WHAT IS NEXT FOR REDZONE? MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Reynolds noted both Comcast and Dish Network last spring were "knocking helmets in different legal venues" with NFL Net, and he asked, "Who would have bet the over ... that Dish and Comcast would be the first carriers to put NFL RedZone into play?" While it "certainly is good news for NFL Network that these top players are in its RedZone huddle, the question at this writing remains: Who's next?" Distributors such as Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Charter and Suddenlink, which have kept NFL Network "on the sidelines over pricing and positioning issues, were expected to get in the game following Comcast's announcement last spring." But that "hasn't happened yet" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 8/25). In Albany, Pete Dougherty noted cable companies that add NFL RedZone "must assign it to a sports tier." The NFL is "trying to secure a monthly fee on par with the Golf Channel, but many operators are balking at paying the same price for a seasonal, once-a-week channel opposed to a 24-hour network" (TIMESUNION.com, 8/25).
DOWN TO THE WIRE: In Pennsylvania, Derek Levarse notes Service Electric Broadband Cable in Wilkes-Barre "does not have a deal to carry" BTN, and BTN President Mark Silverman and Penn State AD Tim Curley yesterday said that it "looks 'extremely doubtful' that a deal will be reached with Service Electric in time for the start of the football season." Silverman said that a deal "would likely have to be in place by Friday or Monday in time to have" the September 5 Akron-PSU game available to Service Electric's approximately 65,000 subscribers (Wilkes-Barre TIMES LEADER, 8/26).
GAINING TRACTION: In DC, Tim Lemke writes college sports networks "have gained big traction among sports fans and cable operators." Silverman said of BTN, which launched in August '07, "We're further along than I thought we'd be. I feel pretty good about our progress." TV sports analyst & consultant John Mansell: "Most new networks that are sports networks are going to reach the subscribers they expect to reach within five years. So it's getting to that point where they are getting a good saturation level" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/26).
CBS Sports yesterday announced the broadcast announcer pairings for its '09 NFL game telecasts. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms return as the net's No. 1 team (CBS). There are “few changes at the very top, but there are some more the rest of the way down the line” (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 8/25).PLAY-BY-PLAYANALYSTJim NantzPhil SimmsGreg GumbelDan DierdorfDick EnbergDan FoutsKevin HarlanSolomon WilcotsIan EagleRich GannonGus JohnsonSteve TaskerDon CriquiRandy CrossBill MacateeSteve Beuerlein
EYES ON THE FIELD: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes ESPN's "MNF" so far this season is "focusing on football." ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer Jay Rothman: "The goal will be to deliver the game. Fans are tuning in for a game. They want football." ESPN "MNF" analyst Jon Gruden said broadcasting is "a lot more pressure" than coaching. But Rothman said Gruden is "fabulous; he could be an all-timer in this business, really." Rothman added that he is "not worried about Gruden seeing TV as just a season-long pit stop between coaching jobs" (USA TODAY, 8/26).
BETTER TOGETHER: CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus said of NBC and the NFL extending their broadcast partnership and all the league's TV contracts now expiring after the '13 season, "The NFL has always had their deals expiring together. It’s always the best way to negotiate it." McManus: "When you have kind of an equal term for each of the networks, it allows you to have some flexibility, so if you want to move a package, as the NFL did last time, from ABC to NBC, or, the time before that, from NBC to CBS, it allows you a lot of movement. The NFL, especially in a down economy, just like CBS, is looking for security." Meanwhile, McManus said if the league had "come to us and said, ‘We want to do a 10-year extension,’ as long as it made sense for us financially, we would have done a 10-year extension." McManus: "Security’s a good thing in a good marketplace, but security’s even better in a down marketplace" (TIMESUNION.com, 8/25).
CSBSports.com's Rapid Reports Edited Before
Being Published On Site, Unlike Twitter
All Future Red Sox Games Beginning
Tonight Will Be Carried On WEEI-AM
TWEET ON: The SPORTING BLOG's Dan Levy noted several ESPN personalities, including Bill Simmons, Mark Schlereth and Jemele Hill, are still posting on Twitter despite the network's rules governing use of the site. Levy wrote it "will be interesting to see if ESPN further relaxes their edicts, puts the kibosh on the whole thing, or lands somewhere in between." Rumors "swirled that ESPN really only cared about breaking news on ESPN platforms instead of Twitter, and the rest of the guidelines were just window dressing." Levy: "Maybe the higher-ups are more concerned about Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter breaking news on Twitter than the Sports Guy ripping shock jocks" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 8/25).
NET GAIN: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Anthony Crupi reports USA Network last week "held on to win one of the final weeks of the ad-supported cable season, holding off surging ESPN to keep its hold on the two core demographics," adults 25-54 and 18-49. For the week ending August 23, USA averaged 1.5 million viewers in adults 25-54, ahead of ESPN's 1.3 million. USA averaged 1.3 million viewers in adults 18-49, leading ESPN by "about 19,000 viewers" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 8/26).
CORNERED KICK: "World Soccer Daily" radio host Steven Cohen said that he ceased production of his show last week due to "death threats made against his family." Cohen "infuriated Liverpool fans earlier this year with his comments regarding the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster, the worst tragedy in English soccer history." Since Cohen made the comments, his sponsors "were bombarded by e-mails from Liverpool fans," and Cohen said that he "lost around eight advertisers" (WHITTIER DAILY NEWS, 8/26).