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The Pac-12 Conference next Wednesday will launch the Pac-12 Networks, “one of the grandest, boldest -- and potentially, most lucrative -- experiments in college sports," according to Jeffrey Martin in a sports section cover story of USA TODAY. It is a TV "enterprise completely owned and controlled” by the Pac-12. In addition, the conference will be launching a new website, Pac-12.com, "also debuting Wednesday.” Martin writes, “It’s about mobile. It’s about money.” Pac-12 Enterprises President Gary Stevenson said, “We don’t think just about a television network or a digital network, but rather, we’re creating a content company.” The TV portion will debut “with at least Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Bright House and the National Cable Television Cooperative on board.” Talks with other video programming providers, “including DirecTV, Dish, AT&T and Verizon, are ongoing.” The venture has been “compared to the Big Ten Network," and the Pac-12 "studied its colleague’s model.” But unlike the Pac-12's setup, Fox "owns 51% of the Big Ten Network, with the league owning 49%.” The Pac-12 has “no partner in this project, meaning its start-up costs will be substantial but revenue and decision-making won’t have to be shared outside the league.” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said, “It’s a premier offering. I think we had the benefit from learning from the Big Ten, the things they did well and the things they’d improve upon. But we’re different. There is no other financial master to serve.” Martin writes if the network is “lucrative, anything at all approaching the windfall the Big Ten has enjoyed since the inception of its network in 2007, it should enable Pac-12 schools to accomplish important competitive and financial goals” (USA TODAY, 8/10).
GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME: In California, Jim Carlisle writes, "It hasn’t always been easy to find the Pac-12 on TV, but that won't be the case anymore.” Regionalization of the conference's football games “is a thing of the past.” In addition to the Pac-12 Network airing 35 games, a new $3B, 12-year contract with ESPN and Fox "will have those networks showing 44 more games nationally.” Every men's basketball game “will also air either on Fox, ESPN or the Pac-12 Networks and there will be much more coverage of women's basketball and other men's and women's sports that have [been] ignored by television.” Stevenson said that 350 events “will be shown on all seven networks.” Also, about 50 more events per school "will be shown regionally” (VENTURA COUNTY STAR, 8/10). In Phoenix, Paola Boivin writes under the header, “Pac-12 Networks Offer Viewer Paradise.” The conference “has yet to come to terms with several big-name distributors,” but sources said that the “odds are good that agreements with many of those providers will be reached by the start of football season, which is late August.” Stevenson said, "Any conversation we've had with them has been encouraging. And it's encouraging because they believe we have very good content” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/10).
PGA.com, a Turner Sports website, introduced mobile streaming this week for the PGA Championship. Streaming had been available on the PGA Championship app for iPhone or iPad, as well as the online website, but this week, for the first time, PGA.com’s live streaming could be accessed through any Web browser on any mobile device. The PGA.com mobile website offers scoring updates and video highlights, in addition to live streaming of the on-course action. Turner, which won a Sports Emmy for last year’s coverage of “PGA Championship Live,” also is cross-promoting PGA.com on its TNT broadcasts. For the first time, TNT is allowing the analysts on PGA.com (Brian Katrek, Michael Breed) to occasionally call some of the action on the TNT broadcast. When TNT throws it to PGA.com, the TV broadcast carries the featured group for a hole that also is being showed on PGA.com. Turner Sports VP/Business Operations Jon Kropp called it the most extensive integration between the TV broadcast and the live streaming that it has had. “We’ve always promoted our digital coverage on TNT, but this is the first time we’ve shown the PGA.com streaming and the PGA.com brand like this,” Kropp said.
EARLY ROUNDS DRAW MOST TRAFFIC: Traffic on PGA.com tends to be the strongest on Thursdays and Fridays when many viewers are catching the action while at work. About 80% of the "PGA Championship Live" traffic in the past came from the first two rounds. Kropp said the mobile streaming will draw more viewers on the weekend and lend balance to PGA.com’s overall traffic on weekdays and the weekend. Kropp said Turner and the PGA of America work very closely on the advertising. Many of the PGA’s top sponsors, including Mercedes-Benz, National Car Rental, Westin and Omega are prominent advertisers on "PGA Championship Live." Some non-PGA sponsors, such as Bridgestone, are advertising as well, either on the live stream or on the array of video highlights that are offered. “It’s Turner’s responsibility to sell the advertising, but we work very closely with the PGA, and their sponsors are huge supporters of what we’re doing on PGA.com,” Kropp said. “Innovation is not cheap and they allow us to be very innovative.” Bridgestone is a PGA Tour official partner, but not a PGA of America sponsor. Turner also runs PGATour.com, which enables it to sell across multiple golf platforms. That deal between Turner and the Tour runs out this year, but Turner has a long-term arrangement with PGA of America.
NBC Sports made a major Olympics-driven move during July in monthly comScore reach rankings of top U.S. sports online destinations, surging from 7th in June to 4th and more than doubling its number of unique visitors from the prior month to 24.14 million. Yahoo Sports again held its customary spot at the top of the list with 46.47 million uniques, while FoxSports.com on MSN continued its back-and-forth battle with ESPN, again moving up to the second slot with 36.3 million uniques. ESPN retained its usual large lead in consumption with an average of 87.9 minutes per visitor during the month. BleacherReport.com, acquired this week by Turner Sports and in 9th with a reach of 10.58 million uniques, is still listed separately as the reporting period predates the closing of the purchase.
MOST-VISITED SPORTS WEBSITES DURING JULYRK
WEBSITEUNIQUE VISITORS (000)1 Yahoo Sports46,4662 FoxSports.com on MSN36,3073 ESPN31,9274 NBC Sports*24,1385 USA Today Sports Media Group**21,4386 MLB14,7357 CBS Sports11,5318 Turner Sports Digital***11,1789 BleacherReport.com10,58110 Sporting News on AOL10,02711 Sports Illustrated Sites9,86012 NFL Internet Group8,93813 SB Nation8,36514 Active.com sites6,97915 Stack Media6,458
NOTES: All numbers do not include wireless traffic. * = Includes NHL.com. ** = Sites include 81 local Gannett newspaper sites, 23 Gannett-owned broadcast TV station sites, USA Today High School Sports, BNQT Media Group. *** = Sites include NBA.com, PGATour.com, PGA.com, NCAA.com and WNBA.com.
The chart below lists final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts. All rating listed are U.S. ratings (THE DAILY).
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) London Olympics (primetime)8/5NBC7:30-11:29pm17.531,262 London Olympics (primetime)8/3NBC8:30-11:09pm16.228,508 London Olympics (primetime)8/4NBC8:30-11:15pm15.927,964 London Olympics (afternoon)8/4NBC12:00-6:00pm8.212,600 London Olympics (afternoon)8/5NBC12:00-6:00pm7.611,800 London Olympics (morning)8/4NBC10:00am-12:00pm7.411,000 London Olympics (morning)8/5NBC9:00am-12:00pm5.78,600 London Olympics (late night)8/5NBC12:33-1:22am4.87,200 London Olympics (early morning)8/4NBC9:00-10:00am5.07,000 London Olympics (early morning)8/5NBC6:00-9:00am4.87,000 London Olympics (late night)8/6NBC12:38-1:23am4.25,900 "UFC on Fox 4": Rua d. Vera8/4Fox8:00-10:22pm1.42,436 WGC: Bridgestone Invitational:
WGC: Bridgestone Invitational:
Izod IndyCar Series:
Honda Indy 2008/5ABC12:30-3:00pm0.5626
"PGA Championship Preview"8/5CBS1:00-2:00pm0.4n/a American Le Mans Series:
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge8/4ABC2:00-4:00pm0.3n/a
"ESPN Sports Saturday"8/4ABC4:00-6:00pm0.3n/a Golf special: "Arc of Triumph"8/4CBS1:00-2:00pm0.2n/a TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) NASCAR Sprint Cup:
NASCAR Sprint Cup:
Pennsylvania 500 (rain delay)8/5ESPN1:03-2:58pm1.62,395
NFL Hall of Fame Game:
London Olympics7/31NBCS12:00-8:00pm0.91,376 London Olympics8/4NBCS12:00-8:00pm0.81,218 London Olympics8/4NBCS6:00am-12:00pm0.81,202 London Olympics8/5NBCS12:00-7:00pm0.71,160 London Olympics8/2NBCS12:00-8:00pm0.71,085 NASCAR Nationwide Series:
U.S. Cellular 2508/4ESPN28:00-10:12pm0.71,079
London Olympics8/5MSNBC12:00-6:00pm0.71,045 London Olympics8/4MSNBC12:00-6:00pm0.71,045
Bleacher Report co-Founder Dave Finocchio on Thursday addressed the company's purchase by Turner Sports in an e-mail sent to readers and said, "I wanted to take a moment to thank all of our loyal community of writers and readers for believing in us. When we started the company in 2006, we never imagined how big this would become. Turner is going to help us move even faster to give fans the best experiences out there for following their teams." He added, "With Turner behind us, we are excited to see what's next!" Turner Sports already was running promotions for Bleacher Report’s “Team Stream” on a crawl during its PGA Championship coverage Thursday (THE DAILY).
ANGEL EYES: Bloomberg Sports has struck a deal with the Angels to develop a state-of-the-art player evaluation system marrying the company's expertise in analytics with video for both major and minor league players, beginning with the '13 season. Similar to a broad-based pact Bloomberg Sports signed in January with the Cubs, the Angels deal is among the largest to date for the company, and calls for the customizable player analysis platform to be accessible on both computer and tablet platforms. Bloomberg Sports now is working with 24 MLB clubs on player evaluation, the company said more than 200 big-league players are using their tablet-based products (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).