SBD/Issue 15/Sports Media

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  • ESPN Prepping New Web Site Dedicated To Girls' High School Sports

    ESPN Working On Girls'
    High School Sports Site
    ESPN is "prepping a Web site focused on girls' high school sports -- falling under an espnW brand," according to David Goetzl of MEDIAPOST. While young female athletics is "arguably under-covered" from a content perspective, it "offers some opportunity for advertisers to reach an elusive target -- one that a male-oriented ESPN may not have tapped." ESPN said that the espnW venture is "in the early stages -- but the network is exploring some combination of athlete-generated content, social media and its own editorial material." Goetzl noted there "may be an opportunity to branch out beyond scores and highlights into areas such as self-help, conditioning and performance tips." ESPN did not provide details, saying the venture is in "the developmental stage." It is "unclear how much ESPN will sync the new 'W' site with its ESPN Rise umbrella high school brand, which includes a magazine with locally targeted issues and an eponymous Web site that was launched last year" (MEDIAPOST.com, 9/30).

    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).

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  • Verizon Launches Patriots On-Demand Programming In Mass., RI

    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).

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  • People & Personalities: Collinsworth, Harrison Off To Good Starts

    Writer Lauds Harrison's Work
    As Analyst On NBC's "FNIA"
    In California, John Maffei writes NBC through the first three weeks of the NFL season "appears to have scored a touchdown" in selecting Cris Collinsworth to replace retired analyst John Madden on "SNF." Collinsworth "didn't fall into the trap of trying to be Madden," as what he has "delivered is solid, insightful commentary." Maffei writes of Collinsworth, "He's glib and well prepared. He's enthusiastic without being over the top. He gives strong opinions, but isn't afraid to laugh at himself" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 10/2). Meanwhile, in San Diego, Jay Posner writes NBC "FNIA" analyst Rodney Harrison has "shown the same qualities we all knew he had, speaking what's on his mind, regardless of what anyone might think." Harrison "garnered national attention" this week after referring to Bills WR Terrell Owens as a "clown." Harrison: "I'm not ever intentionally or gratuitously going after anyone. ... There comes a point in time when athletes have to be accountable for their actions" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/2).

    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).

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  • First Time, Long Time With WJXL-AM's Frank Frangie

    Frangie Is Not A Fan Of
    NFL's Blackout Policy
    Sunday's game against the Titans will be the second regular-season home contest for the Jaguars, and it also will mark the second in a potentially season-long streak of local TV blackouts. Add to this Jaguars Owner Wayne Weaver's interest in possibly playing some future games in Orlando, and questions abound regarding the team's future in Jacksonville. Staff writer Preston Bounds posed some of these questions to WJXL-AM's Frank Frangie, who hosts "The Frank Frangie Show with Rick Ballou" weekdays from 4:00-7:00pm ET.

    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.

    Download podcasts of "The Frank Frangie Show with Rick Ballou" hereat www.1010xl.com.

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  • Final Nielsen Ratings From Recent Sports Telecasts

    The chart below lists final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts (THE DAILY).

    TELECAST
    DATE
    NET
    TIME
    RATING
    "NFL on Fox": (single)
    9/27
    Fox
    1:03-4:13pm
    11.9
    "NFL on CBS": Steelers-Bengals (54%)
    9/27
    CBS
    4:16-7:12pm
    10.9
    "Sunday Night Football": Colts-Cardinals
    9/27
    NBC
    8:31-11:13pm
    10.7
    "NFL on CBS": (regional)
    9/27
    CBS
    1:03-4:04pm
    6.8
    "Football Night In America"
    9/27
    NBC
    7:30-8:22pm
    5.2
    NCAA Football: Iowa-Penn State
    9/26
    ABC
    8:06-11:31pm
    4.0
    NCAA Football: (regional)
    9/26
    ABC
    3:30-7:00pm
    3.9
    NASCAR Sprint Cup: AAA 400
    9/27
    ABC
    2:00-6:13pm
    3.1
    PGA Tour: The Tour Championship: Final Round
    9/27
    Fox
    1:30-6:09pm
    3.0
    "Fox NFL Sunday"
    9/27
    Fox
    12:00-1:00pm
    2.8
    "The NFL Today"
    9/27
    CBS
    12:00-1:00pm
    2.5
    NCAA Football: Arkansas-Alabama
    9/26
    CBS
    3:30-7:05pm
    2.4
    MLB: (regional)
    9/26
    Fox
    4:00-7:00pm
    2.1
    PGA Tour: The Tour Championship: Third Round
    9/26
    NBC
    2:00-6:00pm
    2.1
    Golf: "Titans at the Tee" (taped)
    9/27
    Fox
    4:39-5:39pm
    1.0
    "College Football Countdown"
    9/26
    ABC
    3:00-3:30pm
    0.7
    "NASCAR Countdown"
    9/27
    ABC
    1:00-2:00pm
    1.1
    "College Football Today"
    9/26
    CBS
    3:00-3:30pm
    0.6
    Poker: "Ante Up for Africa" (taped)
    9/26
    CBS
    2:00-3:00pm
    0.4
    TELECAST
    DATE
    NET
    TIME
    U.S.
    CABLE
    VIEWERS
    (000)
    "Monday Night Football": Colts-Dolphins
    9/21
    ESPN
    8:30-11:36pm
    9.4
    11.0
    14,710
    NCAA Football: Ole Miss-South Carolina
    9/24
    ESPN
    7:30-11:10pm
    3.1
    3.7
    4,717
    NCAA Football: Florida-Kentucky
    9/26
    ESPN2
    5:56-
    9:33pm
    2.2
    2.6
    3,643
    "Monday Night Countdown"
    9/21
    ESPN
    7:00-
    8:30pm
    2.2
    2.6
    3,286
    "Sunday NFL Countdown"
    9/27
    ESPN
    11:00am-1:00pm
    2.0
    2.3
    2,900
    NCAA Football: Notre Dame-Purdue
    9/26
    ESPN
    8:00-11:29pm
    1.8
    2.1
    2,815
    NCAA Football: Indiana-Michigan
    9/26
    ESPN2
    12:00-3:30pm
    1.8
    2.1
    2,661
    NCAA Football: Missouri-Nevada
    9/25
    ESPN
    8:55pm-12:16am
    1.6
    1.9
    2,365
    NCAA Football: Texas Tech-Houston
    9/26
    ESPN2
    9:33pm-1:11am
    1.4
    1.7
    2,301
    "College GameDay"
    9/26
    ESPN
    10:00am-12:01pm
    1.6
    1.9
    2,214

    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).

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  • Media Notes

    Del Rio Reportedly Strongly Suggests Garrard
    End His Participation On Friday Radio Show
    In Jacksonville, Michael Wright reports Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio "strongly suggested" QB David Garrard end his participation on a Friday afternoon radio show, citing the "importance of resting and studying film 48 hours before games." Garrard has ended the WJXL-AM show after it aired the first two weeks of the season. Del Rio: "I've let my feelings be known to David about what's most important late in the week. It's important to make sure your attention is on the game, your focus is on the game. Less than 48 hours away from the game, it's not even a question" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 10/2). Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said, "Garrard should have the opportunity to have a radio show. Del Rio has his own TV show. What is the difference?" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 10/1). But ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said when football coaches "tape their show for television, they tape it on Monday or Tuesday. I don't have a terrible objection to this, especially since Garrard didn't bother to clear it with Del Rio" ("PTI," ESPN, 10/1).

    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).

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