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ESPN Earns 7.4 Metered-Market Rating For
Ravens-Browns, Lowest This Season
LOOKING LONG-TERM: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes in persuading "MNF" analyst Jon Gruden "not to coach anytime soon," ESPN "no doubt raised his salary" as part of his multi-year extension. And it is possible that any team trying to hire Gruden "would have to pay the network to pry him loose." Gruden is "not a great analyst yet," but he is "highly knowledgeable and exuberant." And like "most former coaches, he analyzes plays well." ESPN Exec VP/Production Norby Williamson said that he "cautioned Gruden against using jargon and overusing superlatives." But Williamson added, "We've focused on not overcoaching him." Sandomir offers Gruden some feedback, writing he he "can be critical without being mean." It also is important to "detail your case." Gruden during Monday's Ravens-Browns game said Browns coach Eric Mangini is a "heck of a coach." Sandomir: "If Mangini ... is better than his 1-8 record this season shows, tell us why." Williamson said that Gruden's "reticence to criticize Mangini directly might emanate from knowing the pressures of coaching a bad or rebuilding team." However, Sandomir notes Gruden "must learn to call a game as if he will never coach one again" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/18).
STILL ON THE MARKET? NFL.com's Vic Carucci wrote he does not "buy the speculation" that Gruden's new ESPN deal means he is "off the coaching market for 2010 and beyond." Carucci: "When the end of the season arrives and teams begin calling with an opportunity for him to coach and be the primary person in charge of a football operation, you can be certain Gruden will listen." Industry sources indicated that it is "unlikely his salary comes anywhere close to the $5[M] or so per year he could easily be offered by a struggling team looking for new direction" (NFL.com, 11/17).
EA Sport's "NCAA Basketball 10" To Feature
Both ESPN And CBS Elements For First Time
FSN signed a deal to telecast Gatorade's online series "Replay" that originally was housed on the Gatorade Web site MissionG.com. The series, which restages high-school sports rivalries, launches on FSN November 29 at 9:00pm ET, with a one-hour special between the season-one teams -- the Easton (PA) Red Rovers and the Phillipsburg (NJ) Stateliners, two high-school football rivals that played to a 7-7 tie in '93. As part of the partnership, FSN will carry the second and third seasons, though those teams have not been picked yet. The RSN plans to roll out additional programming in the rivalries' markets where FSN also operates an RSN. The program also will be televised nationally on Comcast and Liberty RSNs. FSN Exec VP/Ad Sales Kyle Sherman said, "We’re thrilled to work with Gatorade on this project. It’s a great example of creating organic sports programming and integrating media to market Gatorade to consumers."
Enberg Expresses Interest
In Broadcasting For Padres
JUST MIGHT WORK: SPORTINGNEWS.com's Dan Levy wrote if Comcast SportsNet's move to enhance its local offerings is a "preemptive strike against ESPN, it just might work" in cities like Philadelphia and DC. But Levy added, "Let's just hope the new model isn't so successful that [it] gobbles up all the talent in town ... to the point where none of the existing local news outlets can compete with CSN or ESPN" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 11/17).
BRAND STUDY: AD AGE includes 2K Sports' NBA franchise among its list of "America's Hottest Brands." AD AGE's Rita Chang notes the franchise "has been the No. 1-rated NBA simulation game ... for eight years running" according to Gamerankings, as the franchise brings a "dose of uncanny realism to game play, where graphics and animation mimic in detail everything." As 2K Sports "taps into what makes NBA fans tick, it's also beating a different path to market to its youth audience, finding that it's more effective to provoke them than to sell to them" (AD AGE, 11/16 issue).
HE'S IN THE GAME: Single-A Northwest League Vancouver Canadians Assistant GM and broadcaster Rob Fai "has entered into a three-year agreement with EA Sports to be the public address voice" for the next three installments of its NHL videogame franchise (VANCOUVER SUN, 11/14).