SBD/Issue 121/Sports Media

Media Notes

ESPN Handling Roethlisberger Story
Differently With Latest Allegations

In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones noted ESPN last summer "came under fire for, at first, refusing to report a civil suit in which a Nevada woman accused" Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger of sexual assault. But with Roethlisberger again "being accused of sexual misconduct," ESPN is "taking a different, more aggressive tact." The network "has dispatched ace reporter Kelly Naqi to Milledgeville, Ga., the site of the latest allegations." Jones noted there is a "difference between the cases," as in the first situation, a "civil suit was filed without a police report and, at the time, ESPN said it would not report a story based on nothing more than a civil suit." But this time, the "police are investigating" (TAMPABAY.com, 3/7).

HARSH CRITICISM: MLB.com's Keith Olbermann wrote ESPN.com's Bill Simmons in a recent column shared the "most poorly-informed conclusion I've come across in sports media this year" by arguing that the "comeback of Tiger Woods will be more difficult than the one Muhammad Ali faced in the 1960's." Olbermann: "If the writer can let me know when Woods is punitively drafted by the military even though he is about eight years older than almost all the other draftees, I'll begin to take him seriously. In the interim I am again left to marvel how somebody can rise to a fairly prominent media position with no discernible insight or talent, save for an apparent ability to mix up a vast bowl of word salad very quickly" (MLB.com, 3/5). Simmons, on his Twitter feed, responded: "KO, please know the feeling is mutual. You’re my worst case scenario for my career in 12 yrs: a pious, unlikable blowhard who lives alone" (TWITTER.com, 3/5). The BIG LEAD's Jason McIntyre wrote Olbermann's comments on Simmons were "impulsive, spiteful and unnecessarily personal" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 3/6).

POST-OLYMPICS BOOST: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Sam Schechner reports NBC's primetime lineup "got a ratings boost in the week after" the Vancouver Games ended, and the "biggest gains came in" the 10:00pm ET time slot, which last week averaged 8.1 million viewers, "up 57% from the average of about 5.2 million" before the Olympics. The net's overall primetime viewership last week was up a "more-modest 21%." Ad buyers said that it is "too early to tell how much of NBC's bigger audience will stick around once the glow of its Olympics promotions ... wears off." Meanwhile, the Olympics "may have helped NBC improve more than its Nielsen numbers." BrandIndex, which "tracks consumer perceptions of more than 1,100 brands," said that the buzz around NBC in February "improved most of any brand it tracks." NBC's buzz "shifted from a negative view to a slightly positive one" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/8).

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