SBD/Issue 156/Sports Media

Meet The Mets, Again: ESPN Giving Viewers Large Dose Of Team

Mets Featured On ESPN's "Sunday Night
Baseball" Three Consecutive Weeks This Month

ESPN "loves the Mets," as the network is in the midst of featuring the team three consecutive weeks on "Sunday Night Baseball," according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. ESPN featured Mets-Cardinals on April 18, Mets-Braves on April 25 and the network is scheduled to air Mets-Phillies this Sunday, before taking three weeks off and "picking up May 23" for Yankees-Mets. Sandomir wrote three consecutive "Sunday Night Baseball" games is "terrific for Mets' loyalists," but is it "good for the rest of the nation?" ESPN "cannot ignore that the Mets play in the nation's No. 1 market and have so many displaced fans outside New York, many of them in Florida." ESPN VP/Programming & Acquisitions Mike Ryan: "You have the Mets, Cardinals, Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and to a certain extent, the Braves, who are popular nationally, especially when they're competitive and even more so, when they play each other." Ryan added that ESPN "calculated that the Mets games it chose would be better than others being played on those Sundays, and that the Mets would be a better team than the one that lost 92 times last year." Sandomir noted MLB teams are limited to a "contractual maximum of five Sunday appearances" on ESPN, but Ryan "rejected the suggestion that ESPN front-loaded its Sunday night schedule with Mets games as a hedge against another losing season" (NYTIMES.com, 4/26).

PLAYING TO THEIR STRENGTHS: In N.Y., David Waldstein writes the Mets "have developed a nice little home-field advantage in 2010" at Citi Field. When the team unveiled the ballpark last year, some fans "complained that the team's history was barely acknowledged." Waldstein: "Yet, from the start, Citi Field was in some ways an homage to the team's former digs. Like Shea Stadium before it, Citi Field was designed to accommodate pitching and defense. It is a formula that sometimes worked at Shea and for the moment is producing some decent results at the new stadium next door." The Mets are currently 10-9, one game behind the Phillies in the NL East (N.Y. TIMES, 4/27).

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