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SBD/Issue 238/Sports MediaPrint All
ESPN will launch ESPNBoston.com on September 14, its second locally oriented version of ESPN.com to begin following a successful debut in Chicago in April, and previously announced plans to begin similar online destinations for Dallas, New York and Los Angeles over the next 10 months. The Boston version, morphing out of sites for ESPN Radio’s 890 AM station, will feature news coverage devoted to the local pro, college and high school teams, contributions from ESPN writers with Boston ties such as Peter Gammons, Bill Simmons and Michael Smith, locally oriented community tools and a localized, three-to-six minute version of SportsCenter, among other content. ESPN.com Editor Peter Lawrence-Riddell has been named Managing Editor of ESPNBoston.com, and Boston Globe NFL writer Mike Reiss will cover the Patriots for the site. The launch is timed for the '09 debut of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” which will feature Bills-Patriots.
Bodenheimer Says Local Sites
Present Economic Opportunity
SHIPPING UP TO BOSTON: In Boston, Chad Finn cites sources as saying that ESPNBoston is "pursuing other Globe writers" in addition to Reiss. WEEI and Boston Herald sources indicated that they are "unaware of ESPNBoston pursuing any of their staffers." Finn writes Reiss is a "shrewd initial hire, an indication that ESPN has done its homework on what has succeeded in the Boston marketplace." A source at a competing Boston sports media outlet said, "If they come up with a creative way to spin Simmons's and Gammons's traffic as part of their site here, their numbers are going to be insane." Meanwhile, Finn notes there will be "yet another player on the local media scene soon," when CSN New England launches a site that "intends to compete with Boston.com, WEEI.com, and ESPNBoston, among others, in covering local teams" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/28).
TWITTER REAX: Reiss said, "Boston Globe is a great place with great people. I have a few more weeks on the job, and I'm planning on sprinting toward the finish line.” ESPN's Bill Simmons clarified, "I'm not writing new material for 'em. If I write a Boston-related column, it'll just run there as well.” Meanwhile, SI's Richard Deitsch writes the launch is "compelling for many reasons, including the no. of ex-Globe employees at ESPN and Bristol's proximity to Boston." The Boston Globe's Finn, in response to Deitsch, writes, “No kidding. They have inside info on who they should pursue. And they hit a home run with Reiss.” The N.Y. Times' Pete Thamel: "Interesting how this ESPN experiment is building."
Ley (c) Demonstrates New Technology Where
Hosts Can Appear On Screen As Holograms
INTO THE THIRD DIMENSION: The USC-Ohio State football game on September 12 is being broadcast in 3D, and Pagano said the game is ESPN’s latest “research effort” into developing the technology. Noting the net has been working with 3D technology for the last three years, Pagano said the game is “just a test scenario to see what we need to learn more.” “We’re very focused on innovation,” he added. “We’ve got to get ready for the complexity and the dynamics that are changing the viewing habits and the behavior of the viewer.” Television companies are working on creating 3D sets for widespread use, and Pagano said, “We’re just getting ourselves into position for if and when the floodgates open to be ready for it.” Should the technology become readily available, consumers should be in for a treat based on early reviews. Ley called 3D broadcasts “amazing,” while Pagano said, “It just blew me away when I saw the first sports production done in 3D.”
ESPN Exec Says "SportsCenter" Block Is An
Example Of Net's Focus On Live Programming
NOT MADE FOR TV: In Hartford, Eric Gershon reports in a “shift of strategy,” ESPN has “decided against further broadcast on its network of made-for-TV movies or miniseries.” ESPN execs Thursday said that the company instead “will pursue what it calls ‘scripted content’ in movie theaters only.” ESPN Senior VP/Content Development Ron Semiao: “Viewers come to our networks for games and news and information.” Skipper said that cost was “also a consideration.” But ESPN President George Bodenheimer Thursday said that the shift “away from television movies is unrelated to the company’s performance during the recession.” Gershon notes ESPN “will continue to broadcast documentaries on its own networks” (HARTFORD COURANT, 8/28).
NOTES: CABLEFAX DAILY reports ESPN Senior VP & Exec Producer Jed Drake "will forego his day-to-day duties overseeing 'smaller' matches like 'Monday Night Football' and the NBA playoffs to handle" the '10 World Cup solely. Drake said that the net will have 125 staffers in South Africa "working on the coverage, which begins in June." Meanwhile, Bratches indicated that the network has "opened a media and advertising laboratory" in Texas to "investigate new forms of advertising," and ESPN Exec VP/Administration Ed Durso noted that the net "hopes to have a second digital production facility 'up and running' within 3-5 years" (CABLEFAXDAILY, 8/28).
ESPN To Unveil Blackberry
Version Of Its MVP Service
ESPN is readying a significant wave of new mobile applications this fall, including a Blackberry version of its MVP service, which originally formed the core of the original Mobile ESPN phone service and now is available through Verizon, a fantasy football iPhone application, and another application that will make ESPN Radio content available to iPhone and Blackberry devices. The MVP application will carry a monthly subscription cost, while the fantasy football and ESPN Radio applications will be one-time paid downloads. Specific release dates and pricing for each has not been finalized. But the moves look to capitalize on a period of marked growth for ESPN’s mobile properties. The network registers 9 million unique users per month to its mobile sites, up 78% compared to the same time period last year. The net has recorded 2 million downloads of its iPhone ScoreCenter application, sends out more than 63 million mobile alerts per month, and is now streaming roughly 1,000 live events this year to wireless devices. “We see this as a major growth area for us, and importantly, people seem more likely to pay for content on mobile than they are for the PC, so that opens up additional opportunities,” said ESPN Senior VP/Digital Media Production John Zehr. Zehr also made light of the network’s failures to run its own wireless service with the now-shuttered Mobile ESPN. “If anybody still wants an ESPN phone, we can probably ship you one,” he joked. “They’re probably still sitting in some warehouse.”
TWITTER POLICY: Several ESPN execs during the net's media workshop in Bristol Thursday also addressed recent controversies around the network’s internal Twitter policy, and said the measures are not designed to be limiting to company employees. Rather, the move was intended to get ESPN employees to treat the microblogging service as they would a live microphone or camera. Additionally, ESPN.com is actively exploring how best to integrate Twitter feeds, particularly those from its own talent, into the Web site, similar to efforts also being pursued at MLB.com and several other prominent sports media outlets. “We never said that our people couldn’t tweet,” said ESPN Exec VP/Content John Skipper. “It’s simply important to remember that Twitter is not private communication.” Skipper added he has spent some significant time lately on “internal adjudicating” with regard to Twitter rules, but added he remains encouraging of staffers, particularly columnists, to not stifle their voice via their tweets. ESPN.com VP, Exec Editor & Producer Patrick Stiegman: “This was not at all an attempt to be restrictive, but rather be more expansive -- but with guidelines. ... As a user, I shouldn’t necessarily have to go to another platform to find what an ESPN perspective is on a particular story of the day. I also want to make sure that this content is available on ESPN.com.”
Growing Subscription Base: ESPN360.com has grown to 42 million subscribing households in the U.S., up from 23 million a year ago. The service is sold through broadband Internet service providers.
SEC Has Billed Latest Media Policy
Revision As The Final Product
MEDIA MATTERS: In Birmingham, Jon Solomon writes the revised policy, which marks the "third time this month" the SEC has issued a new media policy, "appears to address a bulk of the media's concerns." Additional revisions include allowing TV stations to "use video of SEC schools for preseason and postseason specials without paying a licensing fee," and permitting a media pool agreement "so TV stations can share video if they miss a game." However, the SEC "retained its exclusive rights for game action video on the Internet," and Cherwa said that "some restrictions, especially those concerning video, remain too severe" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 8/28).
Solomon Says Cablevision Has
Yet To Respond To New Proposal
IMPROVING THEIR SWING: In L.A., Meg James notes Tennis Channel has "burned through $100[M]" since its launch in '03, but in the last two years the net has "dramatically raised its profile, and its ratings, with live matches from major tournaments." SNL Kagan estimated that Tennis Channel will "lose $1.5[M] this year on $61[M] in revenue." Cablevision BOD member and former Viacom CEO Frank Biondi Jr., who "recused himself from Cablevision's Tennis Channel dealings," said of the net, "It's the classic story: Entrepreneurs come in with an idea, they get funding, find initial success, and then a professional management team comes in and takes it to the next level" (L.A. TIMES, 8/28).
UFC Magazine Will Be
Published Six Times A Year
Galloway Says Cowboys Stadium's
"Wow" Factor Has Been Immense
Q: What are your listeners' reactions to the new Cowboys Stadium? Do they feel the impressiveness of the building is worth the extra money fans and taxpayers are having to pay?
Galloway: Now that it has opened, the "wow" factor has been absolutely immense. The cost has been a huge controversy, much more so the ticket and suite prices than the $1.2B cost of the stadium. But once it opened, you didn't hear that as much. I didn’t pay for tickets, but the people who did seem to be very happy, and frankly the people who didn't seem to be coming around. So from that standpoint, Jerry (Jones) has had a winner so far.
Q: Do listeners think that Jerry Jones will have to make changes to the video board? If so, who do they think should pay for that?
Galloway: It's about split over whether Jerry will have to raise it. What makes this even better, and I love this story, is that Jerry is totally dug in. And for all the screaming from national media and prominent NFL people, Jerry is just in one of those "bleep you" modes. What it's going to come down to is, does Jerry have the support of Roger Goodell on this? The thought process is that Goodell is as wowed as anyone by the $1.2B, raised in the toughest economic conditions since the Great Depression, and the impact the stadium has had nationally. I would say only the Astrodome opening in '65 has had a bigger national impact. So the Jerry answer to this is, "Hey, punt around it, punt under it, to hell with the rest of you." Listeners' opinions seem to trend a little more in favor of Jerry here.
Q: Do listeners feel the stadium needs a naming-rights partner or do they like the building being named after the team?
Galloway: It’s almost unanimous that people would like to see it named Tom Landry Stadium. Of course, Jerry could not do that and get a naming rights partner and suddenly take that name off. So he puts a very generic Cowboys Stadium name on it until he gets the $300M or whatever it is he thinks he can get for naming rights. But I would say no one wants to see a corporate name up there. Everyone would like to see Tom Landry Stadium, but we all know that ain't gonna happen.
Q: With the Cowboys and college football seasons set to begin, are the Rangers still on the radar as they look to secure a playoff spot?
Galloway: Absolutely. The Rangers have taken what would normally be the dog days of August as everybody gets ready for September, and they have refused to disappear. It's not a football-type impact, nor will it ever be, but the Rangers have captured everyone's attention. We're fortunate to have a great sports market, and in most cases, fans of the Cowboys are fans of the local teams.
Download podcasts of "Galloway & Company" here.
The chart below lists final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts (THE DAILY).TELECASTDATENETTIME (PM)RAT.NFL Preseason: Eagles-Colts8/20Fox8:07-11:094.2/8NFL Preseason: Titans-Cowboys8/21Fox8:09-11:044.3/8LLWS: Pool Play: Warner Robins (GA)-Staten Island (NY)8/22ABC3:00-5:361.1/3PGA Tour: Wyndham Championship: Third Round8/22CBS2:00-5:000.8/2MLB: (regional)8/22Fox4:07-7:152.3/6World Track & Field Championships: Men's 4x100 Relay Final8/22NBC1:00-3:001.1/3Lucas Oil AMA Motocross: Budds Creek (MD) (taped)8/22NBC3:00-4:000.7/2Champions Tour: JELD-WEN Tradition: Third Round8/22NBC4:00-6:000.6/1LLWS: Pool Play: Russellville (KY)-San Antonio (TX)8/23ABC2:00-4:300.8/2Olympus U.S. Open Series: ATP Western & Southern Financial Group Masters Final: Federer-Djokovic8/23CBS12:30-2:340.7/2PGA Tour: Wyndham Championship: Final Round8/23CBS3:00-7:001.6/4World Track & Field Championships: Men's 4x400 Relay Final (taped)8/23NBC2:00-4:001.2/3Champions Tour: JELD-WEN Tradition: Final Round8/23NBC4:00-6:300.6/2TELECASTDATENETTIMEU.S.CABLEVIEWERS (000)NASCAR Sprint Cup: Sharpie 5008/22ESPN7:30-11:17pm3.33.85,323MLB: Yankees-Red Sox8/23ESPN8:00-11:26pm3.03.54,579NFL Preseason: Panthers-Giants8/17ESPN8:00-11:10pm3.13.74,561"NASCAR Countdown"8/26ESPN6:30-7:30pm1.31.52,106NASCAR Nationwide Series: Food City 2508/21ESPN28:00-10:30pm1.31.51,956LLWS: Pool Play: Curacao-Japan8/23ESPN28:28-10:39pm1.01.11,499LLWS: Pool Play: Chula Vista (CA)-Peabody (MA)8/23ESPN26:00-8:28pm0.91.11,427"Monday Night Countdown"8/17ESPN7:00-8:00pm1.01.11,348LLWS: Pool Play: Mexico-Canada8/22ESPN11:00am-2:07pm1.01.11,328LLWS: Pool Play: NW Mercer Island (WA)-Midwest Urbandale (IA)8/23ESPN12:00-2:00pm0.91.11,314
GIRL POWER: Golf Channel earned a 0.9 cable rating for last Sunday's final-round coverage of the Solheim Cup, up from a 0.3 rating for the final round in '07, and up from a 0.6 in '05, the last time the event was played in the U.S. The net also drew 956,000 viewers for Sunday's coverage, marking the "highest for an LPGA telecast on the Golf Channel this year and second only" to the U.S. Women's Open for women's golf in '09 -- network or cable (JSONLINE.com, 8/25).
DIAMOND VISION: FSN Rocky Mountain earned a 9.7 local rating and 150,000 HHs in the Denver market for Tuesday's Dodgers-Rockies game, marking the most-watched Rockies telecast in network history (FSN Rocky Mountain)….YES Network earned a 7.3 local rating in N.Y. and 757,000 viewers for the August 21 Yankees-Red Sox game, marking the second-highest rated Yankees telecast of the year on the net behind a 9.6 rating and 984,000 viewers for the August 7 Red Sox-Yankees game (YES)….The August 21 Rangers-Rays game on FS Southwest drew a 1.4 local rating and 34,860 HHs. The game aired opposite the Titans-Cowboys preseason game on KDFW-Fox, which earned a 20.5 local rating (DALLASNEWS.com, 8/24).
NOTES: The CBC drew 212,000 viewers for last Sunday's Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rogers Cup final between Elena Dementieva and Maria Sharapova, up 39% over last year (THESTAR.com, 8/25)….NFL Network through Tuesday was averaging a 1.4 cable rating and 590,000 HHs through seven live preseason games, led by a 1.8 and 763,000 HHs for the August 15 Bears-Bills game (CABLEFAX DAILY, 8/26).
Clippers, FSN Prime Ticket Thursday Announce
Exclusive Multi-Year Telecast Rights Agreement
FORMATION SHIFT: In California, Jim Carlisle writes it is a "good time" for NBC's Bob Costas to start hosting "Football Night In America" from the site of the "Sunday Night Football" game this season since Cris Collinsworth is "being moved out of the studio to replace the retired John Madden" as Al Michaels' partner. Costas' presence "at the event gives it an air of importance, but it will still be a problem luring people over to NBC after the games on CBS and Fox" (VENTURA COUNTY STAR, 8/28). In Houston, David Barron writes NBC Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol and Costas "agreed Costas' presence will add gravitas and perspective to the proceedings," but that "begged the question of whether 'Football Night' was evolving into more of a, dare we say it, pregame show" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/28).
JOINING THE FLOCK: In California, Jim Carlisle reports the Ducks have "extended their agreement" with KLAA-AM for the '09-10 season. The team also officially announced that Orange County Register Ducks beat writer Dan Wood will serve as the team's radio analyst, joining play-by-play announcer Steve Carroll (VENTURA COUNTY STAR, 8/28).