SBD/Issue 34/Sports Media

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  • Fox Earns 10.4 Overnight Rating For World Series Game One

    Fox Earns 10.4 Overnight For World Series
    Game One, Down From 13.8 Last Year

    Fox earned a 10.4 overnight Nielsen rating for last night's Rangers-Giants World Series Game One from 8:00-11:30pm ET. The rating, as expected, was down from a 13.8 overnight for Yankees-Phillies Game One last year, but up slightly from a 10.3 for Phillies-Rays Game One in '08. Red Sox-Rockies Game One in '07 earned an 11.8 overnight. The game last night earned a 33.9 local rating in Dallas-Ft. Worth and a 35.9 rating in the S.F./Oakland/San Jose market. The game led Fox to a win among all nets in primetime, peaking at an 11.9 rating from 9:30-10:00pm (THE DAILY).

    SIGN ME UP: Fox Sports Media Group Vice Chair Ed Goren yesterday said advertiser interest in the World Series has "been unbelievable." Goren, appearing on Sirius XM Radio's "Mad Dog Unleashed" show, said, "The advertisers have bought in. We have done very well in the ad market." He noted Fox has sold every available spot for the World Series, and the price advertisers are paying is "high single digits above last year." Goren: "Our sales guys have knocked it out of the park on baseball and football this year" ("Mad Dog Unleashed," Sirius XM Radio, 10/27).

    PATIENCE, PLEASE: Fox' Joe Buck and Tim McCarver appeared on ESPN's "PTI" yesterday, where ESPN's Tony Kornheiser asked them, "Do you have any sense that baseball has been squeezed out this week or recently by the NFL and the NBA?" Buck said, "That's the kind of stuff I think we talk about every year, and this is the kind of a series that I think America will latch on to as it goes deeper into a Game Five, into a Game Six. You get a Game Seven, people will be watching." He added, "If they tune in to these games over the next few nights ... we're going to try and tell the stories of these players, what they're all about, introduce them maybe in a case or two to the people across the country" ("PTI," ESPN, 10/27).

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  • News Corp. Rejects Deal; Cablevision To Pay Subs' MLB.com WS Buys

    Cablevision Vows To Reimburse Subscribers
    Who Watch World Series On MLB.com

    News Corp. yesterday "quickly rejected Cablevision's offer of a one-year deal," calling the offer to carry the Fox affiliates in N.Y. and Philadelphia a "publicity stunt," according to Cynthia Littleton of DAILY VARIETY. Cablevision yesterday "went public with an offer to pay the same price that Fox charges Time Warner Cable for carriage" of WNYW and WTXF "for a one-year period." Fox "has used its Time Warner Cable retrans pact as a benchmark in the Cablevision negotiations because it is contractually bound through a favored-nations clause to ensure that Time Warner Cable does not pay a higher rate for the stations than any other subscription TV provider." But Fox' deal with Cablevision also encompasses WWOR-MYT, "plus other Fox-owned cablers, and it runs for a five-year term." Cablevision sent the one-page offer to Fox officials yesterday, "after which execs from both companies spoke by phone." It is "understood that Cablevision rebuffed Fox's effort to discuss a deal encompassing other channels similar to the structure of its pact with Time Warner Cable." Meanwhile, as it became "apparent that there would be no deal in time for the start of the World Series, Cablevision issued a statement vowing to reimburse subscribers who pay to watch the games on MLB.com." Cablevision said that subscribers "who sent in purchase confirmations from MLB.com would receive a $10 credit on their bill" (DAILY VARIETY, 10/28). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Georg Szalai notes while Cablevision said that the carriage offer "came under terms proposed by Fox, the latter highlighted that the cable firm had offered terms proposed in a broader content package deal." The FCC "has encouraged the sides to reach an agreement as it doesn't have powers beyond reprimanding and fining companies" for not negotiating "in good faith" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 10/28).

    JETS FACE BLACKOUT: In Newark, Jenny Vrentas notes Sunday's Packers-Jets game is scheduled to air at 1:00pm ET on Fox, "meaning that if the impasse between Fox and Cablevision is not settled by then, more than 3 million subscribers in the region will not receive the game." Jets Owner Woody Johnson yesterday said in a statement, "I spoke with Cablevision and News Corporation about the importance of broadcasting our game this Sunday. ... If a resolution cannot be reached, I hope that they can set aside their differences to air our game against the Packers" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 10/28). ESPN N.Y.'s Rich Cimini wrote, "You have to assume Giants ownership tried the same thing two weeks ago, when their game against the Detroit Lions was on Fox" (ESPNNEWYORK.com, 10/27).

    SEE YOU IN COURT: In N.Y., Atkinson & MacIntosh report Cablevision was "slapped with another class action lawsuit over failing to provide Fox programming to customers." The latest suit seeks a total of $450M "for a month of restitution for all subscribers, or more if the dispute continues." The plaintiffs said that they have been "deprived of their favorite shows, including 'Glee,' as well as the MLB playoffs and Giants football" (N.Y. POST, 10/28). An FCC official last night said that the agency is "looking into whether Cablevision subscribers should receive refunds for programs missed during the dispute." The official "declined to elaborate" (NEWSDAY, 10/28).

    DISH DEAL EXPIRING: In Salt Lake City, Scott Pierce notes Dish Network's contract with Fox "expires at midnight Sunday, and there's no new deal in sight." KSTU-Fox President & GM Tim Ermish: "I'm afraid what's going to happen is that Dish customers are going to be without Fox." KSTU "launched a media blitz to inform Dish subscribers of the impending interruption, including advertisements and news stories on its own channel, commercials on radio and cable, and newspaper ads" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 10/28).

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  • NHL Seeking To Grow Exposure Of League In New TV Contracts

    NBC Pays No Rights Fees Under
    Current TV Deal With The NHL

    The NHL's TV deals with NBC and Versus expire after this season, and "beyond the simple goal of generating more money from its next contracts, the league faces the question of how to best grow the game," according to Rachel Cohen of the AP. The league "clearly has far more leverage than it did when it signed a deal just before" the '04-05 lockout in which NBC "paid no fees for the broadcasting rights but instead shared advertising revenues." NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer said the net has a "great partnership" with the league. Schanzer: "It's a terrific product. We are proud to have broadcast some of the most-watched games in NHL and hockey history in recent years and would love to see our relationship continue in the future." But NHL COO John Collins recently "made clear he believes the league has been held back by a lack of exposure." Collins: "Particularly here in the U.S., the hockey fan is so underserved." ESPN officials have "repeatedly said they're interested in possibly televising hockey again but won't comment beyond that." However, Cohen reported the "trade-off in gaining all those extra potential viewers is the NHL would have to compete for time and favorable programming slots with the many other major sports aired on ESPN's networks." Versus has "dedicated itself to deep and frequent coverage of the league," and network President Jamie Davis said, "We cover it like no one else has ever covered it." Versus' NHL viewership through the first five games of the season was up 27% from last year, and its telecast of the Oct. 7 Flyers-Penguins game was the "most-watched NHL regular-season telecast on cable since 2004" (AP, 10/26).



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  • MLS Sees Game Viewership Decline On ESPN2; FSC Audience Flat

    ESPN2 averaged 249,000 viewers for its 25 MLS game telecasts this season, down 12.3% from the net's 284,000 average viewers for 24 telecasts last season. It is also down 1.6% from 253,000 viewers for 25 telecasts in '08. The majority of this season's telecasts were slotted for Thursday night in primetime, compared to the '09 season, during which MLS games aired on various days and only had seven Thursday telecasts. The '08 season also featured a primarily Thursday night schedule of games. The league's most-viewed ESPN2 telecast this season was the July 4 Sounders FC-Galaxy match -- a Sunday night telecast that was added after the World Cup to capitalize on Galaxy F Landon Donovan's first game back in the league. Meanwhile, Fox Soccer Channel -- whose MLS telecasts aired primarily on Saturday nights -- saw its slate of 31 matches average 53,000 viewers this season, flat with last season. The net's Galaxy-Red Bulls match on August 14, which marked the first game for Red Bulls MF Rafael Marquez, was FSC's most-viewed game telecast this season with 144,000 viewers. Viewership figures for games on ESPN Deportes and Univision were unavailable at presstime.

    MLS REGULAR-SEASON VIEWERSHIP ON ESPN2
    YEAR
    TELECASTS
    VIEWERS (000)
    '10
    25
    249
    '09
    24
    284
    '08
    25
    253
    MLS REGULAR-SEASON VIEWERSHIP ON FSC
    YEAR
    TELECASTS
    VIEWERS (000)
    '10
    31
    53
    '09
    34
    53


    NOTE
    : Figures include intra-MLS matches only. All friendlies excluded.

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  • Media Notes

    Fox Studio Personalities Spent More Time Laughing
    Than CBS Counterparts During NFL Week Five

    CBS Corp. President & CEO Les Moonves today said that the net is "in a good enough position elsewhere in the company that it no longer needs to spend on sports properties that are loss leaders." Moonves, speaking at the '10 Broadcasting & Cable/Multichannel News OnScreen Media Summit, said, "We are no longer going to bid for loss leaders, we don't need to do that. We don't need to invest in something we will lose money on to help (other parts of the business)." Moonves added that CBS "will have little interest in acquiring the next round of Olympics." Moonves: "Not at the prices they seem to be going for" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 10/28).

    FUNNY BUSINESS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's David Biderman reports an analysis of the Fox and CBS NFL pregame shows during Week Five "shows that the hosts do spend a lengthy amount of time laughing -- sometimes at nothing, sometimes at their own jokes and, occasionally, at things that are funny." The five hosts on "Fox NFL Sunday" "had a combined laughing time of two minutes, 22 seconds," which is "about 11.6% of the 20 minutes, 27 seconds they were shown on set together." CBS' "NFL Today" crew "only laughed for 43 seconds" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/28).

    WAITING FOR A GROWTH SPURT: SI.com's Jon Wertheim wrote most tennis fans "agree that Tennis Channel is a force of good," but the "fact remains that too many fans still can't get the channel." Wertheim: "One wishes there was more original and innovative programming -- which, yes, costs money, but will ultimately provide much more viewer satisfaction than reheats of the Doha semifinals, much less World TeamTennis matches from the '70s. With any luck, Tennis Channel picks up full rights to Indian Wells and Key Biscayne and then uses this as leverage in its ... marathon fight against Cablevision et al" (SI.com, 10/27).

    FACES MADE FOR RADIO: FOXSPORTS.com's Brian Lowry wrote TV "almost literally morphs into sports radio during chunks of the daytime," but watching radio on television "is every bit as numbing as that sounds -- even with video clips to add visual variety." Producers on "The Dan Patrick Show" "attempt to rectify this drawback by shooting the host from every conceivable angle, and still can't escape that the TV show is akin to staring at guys sitting at office desks for three hours." Meanwhile, the best aspect of Jim Rome's syndicated radio show is an "intimacy that makes listeners focus on the patter he's essentially created." However, that "doesn't fare nearly as well" on TV with ESPN's "Jim Rome Is Burning" (FOXSPORTS.com, 10/26).

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