SBD/Issue 19/Sports Media

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  • MLB Divisional Games On TBS Up 11.8% In Metered-Market Ratings

    Yesterday's three MLB Divisional Series (LDS) games on TBS averaged a 3.8 metered-market rating, up 11.8% from a 3.4 rating for the three games last year. The Rockies-Phillies game earned a 15.5 local rating in the Philadelphia market and a 5.9 rating in Denver. Twins-Yankees delivered a 13.4 rating in N.Y and a 21.6 rating in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The day's final matchup, Cardinals-Dodgers, delivered a 20.0 rating in St. Louis and a 9.6 rating in L.A. The chart below lists metered-market (overnight) ratings for yesterday's slate of LDS games on TBS, with comparisons to the games in similar time slots on the first day of LDS games last year (THE DAILY).

    '09 GAME
    '08 GAME
    % +/-
    Red Sox-Angels

    OPENING DAY JITTERS: In L.A., Diane Pucin writes of TBS' coverage of Cardinals-Dodgers, "What was up with some jumpy glitches?" Pucin added, "Wasn't so crazy about PitchTrax, the graphic in the lower right corner that showed pitch location. To even see what the graphic was called, had to squat in front of a 37-inch high-definition TV and squint." But Pucin "loved the camera work" and analyst Bob Brenly's comments during the game. Meanwhile, Brenly in the top of the fourth inning "spoke glowingly about how this was the first time he'd seen" Dodger Stadium full at the first pitch despite cameras showing "grand spans of empty bleacher seats and then at least 14 empties behind home plate" (L.A. TIMES, 10/8).

    STARING AT THE SUN: Turner Broadcasting Senior VP/PR Sal Petruzzi said that the "position of the sun caused brief disruptions in the satellite signal" during Rockies-Phillies, "leading to a blacked-out screen or a pixelated image for some viewers." Petruzzi said that solar interference "happens for a few days every fall and spring, potentially interrupting television broadcasts." The situation could occur again today, with the "period of potential disruption" lasting from about 4:10-5:10pm ET. Petruzzi said that "any difficulties are expected to last only 2 to 5 minutes" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/8).

    ROCKY RADIO COVERAGE: In Albany, Pete Dougherty wrote ESPN's Chris Berman, who called Rockies-Phillies on ESPN Radio, seemed intent on engaging analyst Rick Sutcliffe "in conversation, which works on TV but not radio." Berman's "descriptions of pitches were lacking, and he was slow to reveal where a batted ball was heading." Berman's style "works fine in the NFL studio, and he has a Grade A radio voice, but in the postseason especially we should be hearing experienced baseball broadcasters." Dougherty: "Berman is not, and it shows" (, 10/7).

    TBS' 6.5 Million Viewers For Twins-Tigers
    Marks Best For MLB Tiebreaker Since '98
    TIEBREAK THRILLER: TBS drew a 4.2 U.S. rating and 6.543 million viewers for Tuesday's Tigers-Twins AL Central tiebreaker game, marking the most-viewed regular-season game on broadcast or cable during the '09 MLB season. The 4.2 rating and 6.543 million viewers were up 56% and 57%, respectively, over last year's Twins-White Sox AL Central tiebreaker. Tigers-Twins earned a 27.1 local rating in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market and a 24.6 rating in the Detroit market (TBS). The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin noted TBS announcers Chip Caray and Ron Darling during the game "posted a few errors of their own." Darling "raved about a crucial called strike-three from Twins closer Joe Nathan -- even as the TV screen showed that the pitch was a good six inches off the strike zone," while Caray in the 10th inning "called what was clearly a Twins fly ball a hit" (, 10/7).

    MISGUIDED DECISION: The NATIONAL POST's Jeremy Sandler notes "tens of thousands of viewers"on Rogers Sportsnet were unable to watch Tigers-Twins, as Sportsnet only offered the game "on its East and West regional feeds, but not on Sportsnet Ontario or Pacific" (NATIONAL POST, 10/8). In Toronto, Chris Zelkovich writes under the header, "Leaving Ball Fans In Dark Bad Move By Sportsnet." Rogers Sportsnet Ontario Tuesday "chose to a show a combination of Bob McCown's radio-show-on-TV offering, taped boxing and other archived filler" instead of Tigers-Twins, resulting in "irate baseball fans across" Canada. Sportsnet VP/Content David Akande: "We've got four national channels that we're trying to move in the marketplace. I've got to do two things: I've got to confirm for the people who have multi-channels that it's of value. And for the 3 to 4 million (Sportsnet subscribers) who don't have multi-channels, I have to provide incentive for them to get it." Zelkovich writes, "It doesn't get much plainer than that: Subscribe to our extra channels and you get to watch all kinds of stuff. Don't subscribe and you get stuck with filler" (TORONTO STAR, 10/8).

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  • Vick, BET Partnering On Series Profiling His Past, Return To NFL

    Series Will Examine Vick's
    Comeback And Past
    Eagles QB Michael Vick is "partnering with BET for a new eight-part docu-series scheduled to air early next year" tentatively titled "The Michael Vick Project," according to Greg Braxton of the L.A. TIMES. The show would spotlight Vick's "controversial comeback ... while also examining his tumultuous past." The show's producers, DuBose Entertainment, Vick's production company MV7 Productions and Category 5 Entertainment, "emphasized the program should be considered a docu-series -- not a typical reality show like VH-1's 'The T.O. Show.'" The producers added that the tone of the show will be "serious and somber as it focuses on his personal struggles since his release, including the strains on his relationships with his fiancee ... and his children." It will "revisit the federal prison" in Leavenworth, Kansas, where Vick was imprisoned and the Virginia property where Vick "ran and financed a dogfighting ring." DuBose Entertainment Founder & CEO James DuBose, the show's Exec Producer, said that the series "would be much more illuminating than Vick's recent media interviews." Meanwhile, PETA officials have "expressed skepticism about the project" (L.A. TIMES, 10/7). Producer Brian Sher said he was "blown away" by Vick's "willingness to be honest about everything." Sher: "We met, and I was very intrigued and compelled by his story, and I've grown to like him as a person. I believed he was sincere. If I thought he was anything other than that, I wouldn't have done it" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/8).

    FOCUSING ON FOOTBALL RIGHT NOW: In Philadelphia, Les Bowen reports Vick yesterday clarified that the documentary is "not currently filming." Vick: "It's on the back burner. ... I've got to play football right now." Vick added, "We haven't been shooting lately, but it's something we've been doing since I was in prison, through the bankruptcy -- it was all out then, that I was doing it. As the season goes on, I won't have time for it, but hopefully, sometime in 2010, we'll be able to pick up where we left off" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/8).'s Jackie MacMullan said, "I wonder how Roger Goodell feels about this. I don't think this is what he meant by community service. I think he was supposed to be going out there and keeping a low profile and improving his image" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 10/7).

    REAX: Miami Herald columnist Dan Le Batard said, "This is exactly what he needs to do." Le Batard: "Show people another side." But ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said the program is an "ill-advised move." Kornheiser: "It would be terrible if Michael Vick had some behavioral lapse on television that made it seem like he shouldn't even be in the league. I think you hold back on this for a year or so" ("PTI," ESPN, 10/7). Meanwhile,'s Courtney Hazlett predicted the series will be a "fantastic success at least from a viewership standpoint." Hazlett: "There are a number of Vick fans out there who will watch for the simple reason that in the privacy of your own living room, you’re not judged for supporting a football player who preferred dogs engaged in bloodsport over dogs engaged in games of fetch" (, 10/7).

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  • ESPN Radio, WEEI Reach Agreement; Station To Air ESPN Content

    WEEI-AM and ESPN Radio have reached an agreement under which ESPN weekend and overnight programming, as well as a variety of game programming, will appear on the station beginning November 2. As part of the agreement, ESPN's Adam Schefter will appear on "Dennis & Callahan" every Friday during the NFL season beginning this week, while ESPN's Peter Gammons will appear on "The Big Show" during every week of the MLB Playoffs and once a week next season. Other ESPN personalities will appear on WEEI shows on a regular basis (Entercom). In Boston, Chad Finn writes the deal "makes sense for both sides." ESPN, "which made its intentions to become a significant player in the Boston market clear with its launch of in September, has lacked a radio outlet since" ESPN Radio 890 went off the air on September 14. Meanwhile, WEEI "will gain content and well-known contributors" as it competes with WBZ-FM for listeners. Finn notes WEEI "previously carried syndicated Fox Sports programming overnight." The move is the "first step in WEEI's plan to move to an FM signal, perhaps as soon as the end of the Red Sox' postseason run" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/8).

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  • Learfield, ISP Sports Reach Deal With Official Sports Report

    OSR Inks Marketing Partnerships
    With Learfield Sports, ISP Sports
    Official Sports Report (OSR), a daily e-mail newsletter formatted to cover individual colleges, has struck a marketing partnership with Learfield Sports and ISP Sports. OSR offers both free and pay subscriptions for 15 different schools, including Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State and Penn State. Learfield and ISP, which represent a combined 100 schools, will have the ability to take the OSR product to their clients and sell advertising around it. The combined daily distribution across the 15 schools is about 525,000 readers for OSR, which is produced internally by each athletic department. "We'll now be able to put our university partners in a position of having a more innovative, cutting-edge way of communicating with their primary constituents," said Learfield Senior VP Mike Behymer. OSR is part of Sports Echo, LLC, of which Neal Pilson is a board member. He said OSR was created to reach "highly-targeted audiences with significant reach and frequency, while delivering the measurement required today by sophisticated marketers."

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  • Media Notes

    In London, Giles Smith writes, "I attended an NBA game in America once and it was a complete and utter blast from start to finish, largely because the spectacle was founded on the principle that you, as a paying customer, have an inalienable right not to go un-entertained for even a split second." But TV broadcasts of NBA games "high-mindedly turns its face away from all this stuff, regarding it as peripheral to the main action, thereby depriving the viewer at home of a potentially rich amusement stream." Smith: "Yes, please, to the hoops. But yes, please, also, to the hoopla" (LONDON TIMES, 10/8).

    WEB WATCHING: The London TELEGRAPH reports England's European Under-21 Championships qualifier against Macedonia tomorrow "will be broadcast live on the Football Association website and Chelsea TV, the club's satellite channel" after England drew "no interest from rival broadcasters." The FA "will stream live coverage for free on its website, explaining that its 'landmark decision' to air the game online was reached after broadcasters confirmed they were unable to schedule the match during Friday's peak-time slots." Fans "will only be able to subscribe" to Chelsea TV's telecast of the game if they are "signed up with Sky or Tiscali." Chelsea TV currently costs US$9 a month for subscribers (, 10/8).

    NOTES: Big Ten Network has "agreed to stream certain live football games to Verizon wireless subs who receive V CAST Video, a service offering full length eps from more than 140 cable and broadcast shows" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 10/8)....Hallmark Channel "plans to air eight ice-skating specials on the network over the next six months." The series of acquisitions from Disson Skating will begin on October 30 with "Halloween on Ice" (DAILY VARIETY, 10/6).

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  • Media rights: We really know our stuff

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