SBD/Issue 34/Sports Media

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  • Phils-Yankees Game One Earns Fox 13.8 Overnight, Up 33.9% From '08

    Fox Earns 13.8 Overnight For World Series Game
    One; Highest Wednesday Rating Since "Idol"
    Fox earned a 13.8 overnight Nielsen rating for last night's Phillies-Yankees World Series Game One, up 33.9% from a 10.3 for Phillies-Rays Game One last year. The 13.8 also marks the second-best World Series Game One overnight in the past decade (Red Sox-Cardinals '04, 15.2 rating). The game earned a 44.5 in Philadelphia and a 29.7 in N.Y. Game One also gave Fox the highest-rated Wednesday night on any net since the "American Idol" finale in May (THE DAILY).

    QUICK OUT OF THE BOX: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes under the header, "Strong Night For McCarver." Mushnick, on McCarver: "Last night we got the one who asks us to think about things -- to consider the woulda, coulda and shoulda. Sometimes we get the one who tells us what to think." Meanwhile, there was "good show and tell early from Fox's truck" and McCarver on Phillies P Cliff Lee's "spiked curveball." The network offered "good replays and overall use of tape, all game," as "good telecasts tend to show up when Fox stays off the crowd and sticks with the game" (N.Y. POST, 10/29). But’s Aaron Gleeman: “McCarver just said the exact same thing three different ways in the same sentence” (, 10/28). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes it is "really getting hard watching baseball on Fox," as the "brainiacs there are not happy unless they are splitting the screen." Raissman: "Someone at Fox must have a thing for a catcher flashing signals. Is it some kind of fetish? Man, that shot is tired" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/29). Meanwhile, MLB Network’s Trenni Kusnierek wrote, “Stat geek here likes the cool new pitch speed/reaction time graphic on FOX” (, 10/28).

    SPECIAL EXPERIENCE: On Long Island, Neil Best reports Yankees radio announcer Suzyn Waldman last night "became the first woman to work a World Series game in a broadcast booth," calling the game on WCBS-AM. Waldman: "This is very important to me. This is the World Series -- it's the World Series. It doesn't get any more important, to me anyway, than this. So this is mine. This is something no one can ever take away" (NEWSDAY, 10/29).

    BABY STEPS: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is serving as a member of Fox' studio show during the World Series, and prior to Game One, Fox' Chris Rose called Guillen a member of the media and "part of the Fox family." Guillen: "Oh no, please! The Fox family is fine. Media: No way!" (Fox, 10/28).

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  • Blazers Offering Money Back To Fans Who Watched Game Online

    Trail Blazers Say There Were Two System-Wide
    Outages During First Online Broadcast Tuesday
    The Trail Blazers Tuesday streamed their home opener against the Rockets online, and the first broadcast “was a little rocky,” according to Mike Rogoway of the Portland OREGONIAN. The Trail Blazers said that there were “two system-wide outages caused by a failure on the team’s servers, then a failure at the NBA’s servers in Atlanta.” Given “those setbacks, and other connection problems fans experienced,” Trail Blazers Senior VP & CMO Sarah Mensah said that the team “will offer money back to those who ask.” Mensah said that “more than 500 watched at least part of the game online.” The service is currently only available for the 15 games that air on KGW-NBC and costs $4 per game, or $40 for the entire package. Rogoway noted the picture quality “was acceptable, if not great,” and the Trail Blazers said that the quality “will improve for fans with the fastest Internet connections.” The team “called the broadcast a qualified success, and said it hopes to expand streaming to Comcast’s games by early 2010.” Mensah: “We’re the guinea pig here. It had its challenges, but we’re encouraged.” Mensah said that Comcast, which broadcasts the team’s games on CSN Northwest, is “contemplating the idea in several markets, and has indicated the service might be available at the start of 2010” (, 10/28).

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  • NBA League Pass Mobile Being Released Across Different Platforms

    App Will Feature Over
    40 Live Games A Week
    NBA Digital today is releasing NBA League Pass Mobile, a newly developed application for both the iPhone and Android platforms that will feature more than 40 live games per week. The game video will also include DVR-type functionality, mirroring improvements installed on the broadband version of League Pass, and 48-hour game archiving. The new application, costing $39.99 and developed in partnership with mobile media outfit MobiTV, marks a heightened commitment by NBA Digital to mobile content that will also include a relaunched version of NBA Game Time. The new version of that application for the Android, BlackBerry and iPhone platforms, costing $9.99 for a full version and free for a lighter one, updates a springtime, playoff-oriented release with several new elements, including “The Barkley Zone.” The recurring feature starring TNT's Charles Barkley, available only to Android purchasers of the application, will involve the HOFer interacting with current players and opining on various topics. Other content on NBA Game Time includes scores, statistics, schedules, access to the NBA’s Twitter feed, game alerts, and live radio broadcasts for every team. With the new releases, the NBA becomes the first major sports league to have a mobile application with live game video on two different platforms, and the first to have an application presence across the Android, iPhone and BlackBerry platforms. The mobile version of League Pass presently will be sold only as a standalone product and be subject to local blackouts, but it is possible the product will be coupled later on with its broadband and TV counterparts. League Pass Broadband is sold independently, and bundled with the TV product. “League Pass Mobile is a natural evolution of the TV and online products. We said we were going to be aggressive about being cross-platform and multi-platform with our products and we meant it,” said NBA Digital Senior VP & GM Bryan Perez (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Perez added, "I think the biggest point is we developed across multiple platforms simultaneously. For us, that's a key operating philosophy." He added down the road, the league "will want to try and do a local in-market mobile package, coordinating with teams and regional sports networks" (, 10/29).

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  • TNT Opening Night NBA Doubleheader Earns Top Audience Since '96

    Celtics-Cavaliers Game Up
    Double-Digits From '08
    TNT averaged a 2.7 cable rating and 3.676 million viewers on Tuesday for its NBA Opening Night doubleheader from 7:31pm-1:30am ET, marking the net’s most-viewed doubleheader since Suns-Cavaliers and Bulls-Lakers in ’96. Tuesday’s doubleheader, which featured Celtics-Cavaliers and Clippers-Lakers, also marks the most-viewed opening night in TNT’s 26 years of NBA telecasts. The doubleheader was up 35.0% and 42.5%, respectively, from a 2.0 rating and 2.579 million viewers for the season-opening doubleheader last year. Tuesday's two games also saw gains from '08 in all key adult and male demos. Celtics-Cavaliers earned a 3.0 cable rating and 4.021 million viewers from 7:31-10:23pm, up 50.0% and 53.9%, respectively, from a 2.0 rating and 2.612 million viewers for the same matchup last year. The game earned a 20.0 rating in Cleveland and an 8.3 rating in Boston. In the late window, Clippers-Lakers earned a 2.4 cable rating and 3.358 million viewers, up 26.3% and 32.3%, respectively, from a 1.9 rating and 2.539 million viewers for Trail Blazers-Lakers last year. The game earned a 6.2 rating in L.A. Additionally, saw a 25% increase in page views over Opening Night ’08 (8.3 million vs. 6.6 million), while total video streams were up 121% (724,000 vs. 327,000) (THE DAILY).

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  • Publisher Cancels Tim Donaghy's Book Over Liability Concerns

    Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy's "tell-all book has been canceled by Triumph Books and parent company Random House," according to Sam Alipour of "Blowing the Whistle: The Culture of Fraud in the NBA" was "slated for publication later this month," and the book was to have covered Donaghy's "experience as an NBA referee and the events leading up to his conviction on federal wire fraud charges." But a Triumph spokesperson in an e-mail said that Random House and Triumph "made the joint decision to cancel the book out of 'concerns over potential liability.'" Executive Prison Consultants Senior Consultant Pat Berdan, Donaghy's liaison to the publisher, said that the "decision not to publish the book came two weeks ago," and that it was the "result of a threat of legal action by the NBA." But NBA VP/Basketball Communications Tim Frank in an e-mail said the NBA "never threatened a lawsuit or anything else." Alipour reported the NBA was "aware of the book but had not received or reviewed a copy." Meanwhile, Berdan said that "there is 'legitimate interest' from five publishers to continue with the book" (, 10/28).'s Tommy Craggs noted the site obtained a copy of Donaghy's book, and it "falls somewhere between a confessional and an indictment, both of his former colleagues and their employer." The book was "ready for printing ... two weeks ago," and CBS' "60 Minutes" had plans to "interview Donaghy in conjunction with the book's publication." But a source said the project is "dead right now," and the "whole thing has fallen flat on its face" (, 10/28).

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  • Versus Earns Highest-Rated NHL Telecast, Best Oct. Primetime Ever

    Versus earned a 0.6 cable rating and 477,000 viewers for the Flyers-Capitals game on Tuesday night, marking the net's highest-rated NHL regular-season telecast ever. Maple Leafs-Red Wings on October 9, 2008 remains the net's most-viewed telecast with 577,000 viewers. Season-to-date, Versus' NHL telecasts are averaging a 0.4 cable rating and 342,000 viewers, up from a 0.3 rating and 297,000 viewers through the same point last season. Additionally, Versus earned 245,000 viewers in primetime during the month of October, the net's best October mark ever, and up 14.5% from 214,000 viewers in primetime during the same period a year ago (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski wrote of the Versus-DirecTV carriage dispute, "Versus getting ratings without DirecTV, and DirecTV being content to satisfy angry hockey fans with concessions like free services, are going to keep this thing at a stalemate for the foreseeable future" (, 10/28).

    CANADA REPORT: The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin reported the CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" did "great business Saturday night," as the network earned 2.306 million viewers for early-window games including Maple Leafs-Canucks, Rangers-Canadiens and Bruins-Senators, and 1.119 million viewers for the late-window Oilers-Flames game (, 10/28). In Toronto, Chris Zelkovich wrote while we are "not even a month into the NHL season, hockey ratings are almost doubling the next highest" sports programs in Canada. Zelkovich: "Imagine what they'll be doing when the games start to actually mean something." The CBC's early-window "HNIC" telecast ranked as the most-viewed sports program in Canada for the weekend, followed by the CFL Lions-Roughriders game on TSN, which drew 1.202 million viewers. CTV's coverage of early-window NFL games ranked No. 4 with 899,000 viewers, behind Oilers-Flames (, 10/28).

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  • Media Notes

    USA TODAY reports "Fox NFL Sunday" viewers ahead of Sunday's Seahawks-Cowboys game on the network "will be the first to see the new trailer" for director James Cameron's film "Avatar," which is slated for a December 18 release. The 3-minute, 30-second trailer will air live at 12:55pm ET (USA TODAY, 10/29). Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, Judd Zulgad reports Fox for Sunday's Vikings-Packers game "will have a camera on the 50-yard line isolated" on Vikings QB Brett Favre "during the entire game." A "constant video stream of the angle will run on and" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/29).

    FIGHTING BACK: In Manchester, James Robinson reports the governing bodies of "some of the U.K.'s most popular sports, including cricket, rugby union and Premier League football, have criticised plans to force BSkyB to wholesale its sports channels to pay-TV competitors more cheaply." The sports bodies have "responded furiously" to U.K. communications regulator Ofcom's "consultation on its plan to ensure Sky makes its premium sport and movie channels available to rivals ... at lower prices, claiming it will reduce the amount of money they receive from selling media rights." Ofcom is "due to make a final ruling early next year after considering the responses to the consultation" (, 10/28).

    BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT: In St. Louis, Bernie Miklasz reports MLB Cardinals hitting coach Mark McGwire's "baseball comeback is providing abundant fodder for the media," as he is "filling newspaper columns, blogs, Internet forums, sports-talk radio segments and prime blocks of TV news." It is "all McGwire, all of the time." Miklasz writes, "We criticize and condemn McGwire. But he's pure gold for ratings, website traffic and newspaper readership. Prince or pariah, McGwire is great business for the media" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/29).

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