SBD/Issue 94/Sports Media

Media Notes

Comcast Chair & CEO Brian Roberts yesterday reiterated that the company "isn't going to make NBC a cable channel" once its takeover of NBC Universal is complete. Roberts said there is "still a broadcast audience," as when "MNF" went from ABC to ESPN, the audience "went down." Roberts: "For those of us who are connected, you can't understand that. But there are people who aren't connected, and there are people who turn on their dial and they want to watch broadcast because that's how they were trained" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 1/28). Roberts added, "We think there is a vibrant role for local broadcast and national broadcast television" (, 1/27). 

COVERAGE PLAN: ESPN yesterday announced that 10 FIFA World Cup games will be on ABC, including U.S.-England on June 12 and the July 11 championship game. ESPN will televise 44 matches, with the remaining 10 on ESPN2 (ESPN). The AP's Ronald Blum notes all but the ABC games "will be on, 46 games will be on ESPN Mobile TV and every game will be replayed at night on ESPN Classic." Meanwhile, in what "appears to be an attempt to ambush Univision's Spanish-language coverage, ESPN Deportes will broadcast up to 40 matches" in Portuguese. Blum noted ESPN2 also will "go all soccer for a 24-hour countdown before" the opening game of the World Cup on June 11. ESPN Senior VP & Exec Producer Jed Drake: "The level of ambition we have for this project is second to none compared to anything we do at ESPN" (AP, 1/27).

COMFORTABLE WITH SHOW: NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson said of his control over the content of HBO's "24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona" documentary, "If there's something they're shooting that I don't like, I can certainly say no, but once they have it, they take it. ... Essentially once they seal the package and FedEx that little package off, it's done. It's in the hands of the editors." However, Johnson added the "part that probably makes it easier is it is not a reality show." Johnson: "They're not camped out in our house waiting for every moment. ... I would not be interested in this if it was a reality show. I have no desire to open my life up and have my relationship with my wife and my personal stuff exploited" (, 1/27).

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