SBD/January 23, 2012/Media

Media Notes

OU president to negotiate with licensees to increase school's media content distribution
In Tulsa, John Hoover noted the Univ. of Oklahoma's regents at a meeting tomorrow are "expected to authorize president David Boren and his designees to negotiate with 'current and potential licensees in order to increase distribution of the University's media content.'" A source said that the Fox Sports distribution model "was 'attractive to OU'" because Sooner programming "will be seen on cable and satellite TV throughout Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana -- an audience of just more than 10 million people." By contrast, the Longhorn Network is "currently available to about 4 million people, of which, some 3.7 million have Verizon's FiOS television service." A source said that it is "unknown at this time if Fox Sports will pick up an OU football game for Tier 3 distribution, but said it wasn't any kind of hangup in the negotiation process" (TULSA WORLD, 1/22).

LATEST IN TWC/MSG FUED: In N.Y., Matt Flegenheimer notes while some "higher-profile games are available to Time Warner Cable customers if they are broadcast on national television," TWC and MSG have "accelerated their public relations efforts in recent weeks." The cable company’s employees have "worn Knicks jerseys at Time Warner Cable retail centers in the city," while TWC has "organized a sweepstakes to send 10 fans, and one guest each, to the Knicks’ road game on Tuesday" against the Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. MSG, meanwhile, has "hosted a series of viewing parties at bars across the city -- most of which have DirecTV." But Flegenheimer notes for "many fans, driven from their couches, paying for a ticket has proved more palatable" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/23).

NOT ABUSING PLATFORM: In Pittsburgh, J. Brady McCollough noted Jay Bilas' platform as an ESPN college basketball analyst is "big enough on some nights that he can be heard by millions, and Bilas does not want to abuse that power." He is "meticulous in his preparation and fearless in saying what he thinks about any topic -- a refreshing quality in a world where talking heads just keep talking louder and louder." Bilas "rarely turns up the volume, and his words hold more weight among fans with each passing year" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 1/22).

ROUND OF VENTURE FUNDING: Toronto-based Polar Mobile, which has developed mobile applications for numerous entities including SI, The Hockey News, NFLPA and MLBPA, among others, has closed on a $6M round of venture funding led by private equity outfit Georgian Partners, also based in Toronto. The funds will be primarily used to develop MediaEverywhere, a new Polar product designed to distribute content across a wide variety of platforms. Polar also intends to double its employee base to 80 people and open offices in N.Y. and London (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
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