SBD/Issue 179/Sports Media

Media Notes

Cardinals May Drop KSDK-NBC Next Season
And Move All Local Telecasts To FS Midwest

In St. Louis, Dan Caesar reports the MLB Cardinals "might drop" KSDK-NBC entirely next season and move all local telecasts to FS Midwest. KSDK this season has just 19 games in the "final year of its four-year contract," while FS Midwest "has increased its schedule and now offers 130 games." Caesar notes it also is a possibility that KSDK "could have a shorter schedule next year, say 10 games, with the others" airing on FS Midwest. While 88% of the St. Louis market "wouldn't be affected" by the move, the ratings "show a greater disparity in viewership between cable and over-the-air broadcasts." KSDK ratings were 34% "better than FSM's games in the past decade" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/28).

FEELING GOOD: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he feels ESPN has been "doing a good job increasingly of covering us in ‘SportsCenter.’" Bettman: "People have been commenting to me, and it may be a function of how good the playoffs have been, that even though they don't have us, they feel compelled to cover us because the stories are that good and that important." He noted when ESPN had the TV rights to the league, "I always felt we should have gotten more coverage than we did." Bettman: "But I have no complaints with ESPN” ("Mike Francesa," WFAN-AM, 5/27).

SELECTION SHOW OVERKILL: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes NFL Network's coverage of Tuesday's vote on the host for Super Bowl XLVIII "made for so much silliness it all seemed like a spoof." The network's live, in-room coverage of the secret balloting "looked like the caucus to determine who selects the barbecue sauce for the Annual Rib Bash down at the Flintstone-Kramden Lodge" (N.Y. POST, 5/28). NFL Network's coverage of the vote earned 66,000 viewers, up 50% from the same period a week earlier (SI.com, 5/27).

GIVE THEM A CHOICE: TSN2 will air live national coverage of one NFL early-window game each Sunday throughout the regular season, beginning next season. TSN2's schedule of NFL games will complement CTV's package of NFL regular-season Sunday early-window games. CTV will customize its schedule depending on local markets, while TSN2 will broadcast a national game, giving viewers in most Canadian markets a choice between two different NFL games at 1:00pm ET (CTV).

LOCAL LOVE: In Ft. Lauderdale, Tom Jicha reported WSFL-CW "has landed the local TV rights to a couple of Dolphins prime-time games" this season -- the Oct. 4 Patriots-Dolphins "MNF" game and the Nov. 18 Bears-Dolphins "Thursday Night Football" game. Both games also will be on cable, but a Congressional stipulation mandates that "all games of the home team must be available on 'free' over-the-air TV." As a result, games "scheduled only for cable nationwide must be put up for bids among TV stations in the home market" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 5/27).

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