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SBD/Issue 15/Sports MediaPrint All
ESPN Working On Girls'
High School Sports Site
SCHOOL SPIRIT: In Ft. Lauderdale, Cabrera Chirinos & Talalay noted St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Ft. Lauderdale) plays Byrnes High School (Duncan, SC) on ESPNU Friday night in the "biggest prep football game in the country" this weekend. The teams are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in USA Today's national poll, and "keeping an eye on the outcome will be executives from major corporations" such as ESPN, Nike, Old Spice and Gatorade. Those companies each have a "stake in Friday's game and [have] targeted high school sports as one of the next great markets." Nike has put up banners at St. Thomas this week "picturing the Raiders team mascot and Nike's iconic logo" across campus. ESPN is televising 22 high school football games this year -- up from 19 last year -- and advertisers are becoming involved in the broadcasts in part due to the "growth of college sports," as college sports fans are "eager to watch future stars now" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/1). Meanwhile, in Miami, Fred Grimm wrote under the header, "Exploiting Sports Prodigies Now Is ESPN." ESPN has been in the "business of exploiting high school football games since 2005," as the net has "taken to contriving games between distant winning high school programs previously happy to stay in their own vicinity" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/1).
Verizon FiOS has launched free, on-demand Patriots programming in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, according to Jay Fitzgerald of the BOSTON HERALD. The 24/7 service will include Patriots press conferences, interviews, some team practices and "any other non-game video products allowed" by the franchise. It is a "major step" for Verizon's FiOS network. Comcast already is offering "similar free, on-demand services" for the Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins (BOSTON HERALD, 10/2). The Patriots on-demand channel will include "cheerleader bios and daily show 'Patriots Today.'" More programming "will be added in the coming weeks" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 10/2).
Writer Lauds Harrison's Work
As Analyst On NBC's "FNIA"
COACH'S CORNER: MSG Network Thursday announced that former NHL coach Mike Keenan has joined the net as a regular guest analyst for pregame, intermission and postgame reports. Keenan will make his debut for the net during Friday's Rangers-Penguins game (MSG)....NESN has signed analyst Mike Milbury to a multi-year extension. Milbury will return for a third season as studio analyst for the net's pregame, intermission and postgame Bruins coverage. Milbury also will continue to host "The Instigators," whose second season begins in December, and he will also contribute to NESN.com (NESN).
GIVING INK A VOICE: In L.A., Diane Pucin notes new Ducks radio analyst and former Orange County Register Ducks beat writer Dan Wood was hired for the role "based on the knowledge of hockey he had acquired by writing on the sport ... though he had no broadcast experience." Wood admitted that he "expects criticism" from fans. He will team with play-by-play announcer Steve Carroll; former Ducks radio analyst Brent Severyn took a television role with the Stars (L.A. TIMES, 10/2).
BACK FOR ANOTHER: The UNION-TRIBUNE's Posner notes the Channel 4 San Diego Padres broadcast team of Mark Neely and Mark Grant, "which improved throughout the season, will be back in 2010." Channel 4 VP/GM Craig Nichols said of the pairing, "They've built a good rapport with each other. They found their way. And mostly what I'm hearing from the viewers are positive things" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/2).
Frangie Is Not A Fan Of
NFL's Blackout Policy
Q: Home games are likely to be blacked out on local TV for the entire regular season. Who do your listeners blame for that?
Frangie: Number one, the team isn't very good. When we got the franchise in the mid-90s and the team in two years went to an AFC Championship, there was never a thought of a blackout. They've no longer created the feeling that it's a big deal to go to these games. Then there's the economy. There has not been a lot of corporate growth in our city, and you get sellouts with corporate growth.
Q: Has there been a public outcry in Jacksonville for the NFL to change its blackout policy?
Frangie: I think it's horrible. It denies too many fans league-wide who badly want to follow their team and can't. But I don't sense that fans are complaining about the policy. They're complaining that the team isn't better.
Q: How did your listeners react to Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton pleading with fans to buy tickets?
Frangie: It was perceived with a bit of a yawn. I think from an approval rating standpoint, somebody told him, "You better position yourself so it looks like you're trying to help the Jaguars." But I don't think that will move the meter one bit.
Q: Do listeners view Wayne Weaver's recent comments about Orlando being a possible "second home" as an indication that the team will relocate there?
Frangie: I don't think people took it that way. Look, they're selling out zero of the 10 games now, so one day, there may be nine games. There's always going to be concern that the team would leave. Jacksonville's always a team that gets mentioned ... for L.A. If there's a template in place for this, it's Buffalo. That's the business model that Wayne Weaver probably cited. But nobody is jumping off bridges yet. To be honest with you, I thought that would concern people more than it did.
Q: How do listeners feel about reports that the team may draft Florida QB Tim Tebow? Would that be a marketing move or a football move?
Frangie: That's all the buzz here. There are "Draft Tebow" bumper stickers. There is now Draft15.com. If the Jaguars draft him, they will sell out every game. Stores will not be able to keep No. 15 Jaguars Jerseys in stock. It will be a great marketing move, and at least for the short term, will end all their ticket-selling woes. If they are drafting him just for marketing reasons, and it turns out that he is not a great pro QB, then it's a horrible error. But if they do draft him, there will be a party in this city the likes of which you haven't seen since they announced the team was coming in November '93.
The chart below lists final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts (THE DAILY).
TELECASTDATENETTIMERATING "NFL on Fox": (single)9/27Fox1:03-4:13pm11.9 "NFL on CBS": Steelers-Bengals (54%)9/27CBS4:16-7:12pm10.9 "Sunday Night Football": Colts-Cardinals9/27NBC8:31-11:13pm10.7 "NFL on CBS": (regional)9/27CBS1:03-4:04pm6.8 "Football Night In America"9/27NBC7:30-8:22pm5.2 NCAA Football: Iowa-Penn State9/26ABC8:06-11:31pm4.0 NCAA Football: (regional)9/26ABC3:30-7:00pm3.9 NASCAR Sprint Cup: AAA 4009/27ABC2:00-6:13pm3.1 PGA Tour: The Tour Championship: Final Round9/27Fox1:30-6:09pm3.0 "Fox NFL Sunday"9/27Fox12:00-1:00pm2.8 "The NFL Today"9/27CBS12:00-1:00pm2.5 NCAA Football: Arkansas-Alabama9/26CBS3:30-7:05pm2.4 MLB: (regional)9/26Fox4:00-7:00pm2.1 PGA Tour: The Tour Championship: Third Round9/26NBC2:00-6:00pm2.1 Golf: "Titans at the Tee" (taped)9/27Fox4:39-5:39pm1.0 "College Football Countdown"9/26ABC3:00-3:30pm0.7 "NASCAR Countdown"9/27ABC1:00-2:00pm1.1 "College Football Today"9/26CBS3:00-3:30pm0.6 Poker: "Ante Up for Africa" (taped)9/26CBS2:00-3:00pm0.4 TELECASTDATENETTIMEU.S.CABLEVIEWERS
"Monday Night Football": Colts-Dolphins9/21ESPN8:30-11:36pm9.411.014,710 NCAA Football: Ole Miss-South Carolina9/24ESPN7:30-11:10pm3.13.74,717 NCAA Football: Florida-Kentucky9/26ESPN25:56-
"Monday Night Countdown"9/21ESPN7:00-
"Sunday NFL Countdown"9/27ESPN11:00am-1:00pm2.02.32,900 NCAA Football: Notre Dame-Purdue9/26ESPN8:00-11:29pm1.82.12,815 NCAA Football: Indiana-Michigan9/26ESPN212:00-3:30pm1.82.12,661 NCAA Football: Missouri-Nevada9/25ESPN8:55pm-12:16am1.61.92,365 NCAA Football: Texas Tech-Houston9/26ESPN29:33pm-1:11am1.41.72,301 "College GameDay"9/26ESPN10:00am-12:01pm1.61.92,214
PENNANT FEVER: FS Detroit earned a 15.6 local rating in the Detroit market for its telecast of Wednesday's Twins-Tigers game, which marked the net's highest rated Tigers game since it began broadcasting the team in '98. The game was also the third highest-rated game ever on the net, behind two games from the Red Wings-Ducks Western Conference Semifinal series in May (FSN Detroit)....FS Midwest earned a 13.6 local rating for its telecast of Saturday's Cardinals-Rockies game, in which the Cardinals clinched the NL Central title. The rating marks the highest rating this season for a FS Midwest telecast (THE DAILY)....CSN Philadelphia earned a 13.3 local rating and 395,000 HHs for its telecast of Wednesday's Astros-Phillies game, in which the Phillies clinched the NL East title. That marks the highest-ever rating in the net's history, beating the previous record of 11.1 set on August 12 with Phillies-Cubs. Wednesday's game was the most-watched program on television in the Philadelphia market during the timeslot (CSN Philadelphia).
PIGSKIN POWER: Fox is averaging an 11.2 rating and 18.4 million viewers for its NFL telecasts through three weeks, marking its best start ever and up 23% and 27% from a 9.1 rating and 14.5 million viewers last year. Fox also earned an 11.9 rating and 19.3 million viewers for its single game coverage last Sunday (Fox)....NBC’s “Football Night in America” through three weeks is averaging a 5.5 rating (8.8 million viewers) from 7:30-8:15pm ET, marking the best start for the show since NBC debuted the program in the ’06 season. “FNIA” is also up 14.9% from a 4.8 rating (7.8 million viewers) through the same period last year (THE DAILY)....WITI-Fox' telecast of last Sunday's Packers-Rams game earned a 32.4 rating and 292,183 HHs in the Milwaukee market. About 22% more HHs watched WTMJ-NBC's telecast of Bears-Packers in Week One (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 9/30).
BREAK ME OFF A SLICE: Spike TV's UFC series "The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights" drew 5.3 million viewers Wednesday, making it the most-watched episode for an original series since the network rebranded as Spike TV six years ago. The episode featured a bout between Kimbo Slice and Roy Nelson (John Ourand, THE DAILY).
Del Rio Reportedly Strongly Suggests Garrard
End His Participation On Friday Radio Show
OUT OF TOUCH? ESPN.com's Bill Simmons, who is serving as an Exec Producer of ESPN's "30 for 30" documentary series, said of HBO's approach to documentaries, "It's consistently good, but I think it's really predictable." Simmons: "It's a bunch of older sports fans making decisions based on what maybe they think people in their age range want to see." Simmons added, "What they fail to realize is there are people from, like, 30 and under who can't connect with ideas like that in any way. People under 30 don't care about Ted Williams." HBO Sports VP/Sports Publicity & Media Relations Ray Stallone in response said, "The body of work done by HBO's sports documentary unit speaks for itself" (NEWSDAY, 10/2).
GIVE CREDIT WHERE ITS DUE: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes ESPN "continues to take dubious credit for so many stories that Pinocchio would be left traumatized." A crawl on ESPN's bottom line last Saturday "repeatedly noted that Florida [QB] Tim Tebow would play later -- on ESPN -- at Kentucky, despite illness, 'ESPN's Wendy Nix reports.'" But Nix "wasn't at UF-UK, she was working on-air from the studio." ESPN.com also "credited that story to ESPN.com's Chris Low, ESPN's Joe Schad, the AP and Nix" (N.Y. POST, 10/2).
ZONED IN: In Utah, Scott Pierce writes those who have access to the NFL Network's Red Zone channel should "check it out." Pierce: "You just might find yourself watching it for entire Sunday afternoons" (DESERET NEWS, 10/2).