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News Corp. is asking for $.90-1.00 "per subscriber for its Fox Sports 1 channel," and the company "expects to increase that price in future years," according to Ronald Grover of REUTERS. News Corp. will "unveil its long-rumored national sports channel to advertisers in early March." Sources said that the net will "soon send advertisers invitations to its first sports 'upfront' presentation." News Corp. will "make sales pitches for both its 22 regional sports channels and its new Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 national channels." The two new channels are "expected to begin broadcasting games in August." Carrying national sports would "allow Fox to charge more to the cable and satellite operators who carry its channels and expand its carriage to more homes to sell higher priced ads." Speed Channel, which is "seen in 87 million homes, currently gets 22 cents a month for each subscriber," while Fuel TV "gets 15 cents monthly for each of its 37 million subscribers" (REUTERS, 2/8).
Media-analysis firm SNL Kagan said CBS "likely broke even or lost a little money" on its broadcast of Super Bowl XLVII last Sunday, according to Joe Flint of the L.A. TIMES. The firm notes CBS "took in $240 million in ad revenue from the game and calculated that its production cost and license fees were probably more than that." But Flint noted that calculation might be a "little too simple for something as complex" as the Super Bowl. Kagan seems to be "forgetting that CBS also owns dozens of TV stations -- including outlets in Baltimore and San Francisco -- that had local commercial spots to sell in the game." A CBS spokesperson said that overall the net "took in tens of millions in local advertising." CBS also "sold ads for the Internet coverage of the game, which was basically found money for the network." A CBS spokesperson added that the NFL, including the Super Bowl, was "profitable for the company" (LATIMES.com, 2/7).
NANTZ' NUTTY NIGHT: CBS' Jim Nantz, who called Super Bowl XLVII, reflected on the broadcast and said, "We went from a blowout to a blackout to a shootout. I loved being there just to see it all unfold. I could have done without the middle part of that equation, but that's sports, that's life -- you just never know. Who could have ever predicted something like that?" In California, Michael Lev writes considering how "unexpected that scenario was, and how potentially chaotic, I thought CBS handled it well." CBS Lead NFL Producer Lance Barrow "did his best to keep his team calm." Barrow during the blackout "called Nantz' cell phone -- their only means of communication -- and relayed a brief message: Sit tight; we don't know how long it's going to be." Nantz added, "Like every single other person inside the dome that night, you go through a mental checklist of all the worst-case scenarios. You just don't know" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/8).
MLB Network has been “setting a righteous tone for all radio outlets and regional sports networks by focusing on baseball’s red light district of liars, cheaters, drugs and wellness clinics,” and if the league is “going after the cheaters, it certainly is not going to give them a soft place to land on its TV network,” according to Bob Raissman of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Viewers of the channel “can keep up with the latest information on the AL, NL and PEDs.” MLB Net on Tuesday night “aired a graphic of some of the drugs” Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez allegedly used, according to documents released by the Miami New Times. The network then brought on Bleacher Report’s Will Carroll, whose “beats are injuries and sports medicine, to analyze the effect some of these drugs could have had.” That kind of discussion would “never be seen on a local pregame show, whether it be on YES, SNY, NESN or whatever.” Nor would viewers “see it on NFL Network or NBA TV, two other league-owned national TV outlets.” Fans can “look no further than how NFLN covered” the allegations that came out during Super Bowl Media Day about former Ravens LB Ray Lewis using deer antler spray. Raissman: “Not a word about the spray, and the possibility of it containing a banned substance, was mentioned on NFLN until Lewis was asked about it by a reporter.” Just over a month after MLB Net’s launch on Jan. 1, 2009, SI’s story “about A-Rod testing positive in 2003 broke,” and MLBN “passed its first credibility test.” Four years later, the net's “song remains the same” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/8).
ONE EXAMPLE: MLB Network's Tom Verducci on Thursday noted Tigers SS Jhonny Peralta "is the latest big-leaguer with reported ties" to a Miami anti-aging/drug clinic. The broadcast went on to discuss the Miami Biogenesis Clinic and the players linked to it and PED use. MLB Network’s Larry Bowa noted the penalties handed out by MLB for PED usage "aren’t stiff enough." Bowa: "I thought the thing was cleaned up a little bit, and I still believe it’s working, but now this comes out. It’s a black eye for baseball again" ("MLB Tonight," MLB Network, 2/7).
Wizards and Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis on Wednesday discussed the recently launched Monumental Network that airs programming related to the teams and DC-area arenas operated by Leonsis’ company, including the Capitals, Wizards, WNBA Mystics and Verizon Center. Bloomberg's Jon Erlichman said Leonsis’ focus is on "finding new homes to make money tied to these sports teams," whether it’s online or acquiring TV rights. Leonsis said, “Everyone who owns a sports team, and especially those who own multiple sports teams, has to look at what is the way they can grow their revenue and be competitive.” That includes generating "more media dollars.” Leonsis: “One of the ways to do that is to launch and own or own a part of your own network. Today, we sell our rights to Comcast SportsNet, and they’re great partners. (But) one day, yes, we would like to own a network or be partners in a network and be able to share in the upside. Sports programming is proving its value in this new media landscape.” Leonsis said sports programming has “helped prop up the whole cable industry and so people that own the actual content are looking to find ways to unlock that value” Leonsis: “Monumental Network is a way for us (to unlock that value)” (“Bloomberg West,” Bloomberg TV, 2/6).
SHIFTING TIDES: In DC, Dan Steinberg notes ESPN Radio 980 DC, which is owned by Redskins Owner Dan Snyder, “spent several segments on Wednesday asking if Ted Leonsis gets a free pass" in DC, and many listeners “seemed to agree that he does.” Radio host Kevin Sheehan asked, “Does he get a free pass, when you consider the two franchises that he owns and their recent performances? First, the Caps having the worst record in the NHL as we speak, never having been beyond the second round in the playoffs since Ted bought the team. The Wizards currently with the second-worst record in the league, they had the second-worst record in the league last year, they haven’t sniffed the postseason for several years and they’re not gonna sniff it this year.” Host Thom Loverro said, “The bloom is starting to come off the rose with Ted. I’m sensing much more of a sense of anger out there.” He added, “The lack of transparency with the Wizards, and his indifference to the fans that have spent decades of frustration with this team is just accentuating what’s becoming a wave of negative feelings towards him” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/7).
FX averaged a 1.0 U.S. rating and 1.9 million viewers for the UFC 156 prelims on Saturday night from 8:00-10:00pm ET, figures that “set several ratings marks on the network.” FX Exec VP Chuck Saftler said that the viewership is the “largest for a preliminary show the UFC has ever done, including when it was on Spike.” Saftler: “Probably most importantly, it took about a year for people to understand that UFC had moved from Spike to Fox and specifically for prelims, FX. That was not easy messaging because for a year, Spike was still putting on repeats of UFC product. I think that was confusing people” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/5).
NOTES: YES Network averaged a 3.1 local rating in N.Y. for the Lakers-Nets game on Tuesday night, marking the channel’s most-watched Nets game ever (YES)….January marked the Big Ten Network’s best monthly primetime ratings average ever among the net’s eight metered markets (BTN)….FS Arizona drew a 1.5 local rating in Phoenix for the Wild-Coyotes game on Monday night, marking the Coyotes’ highest-rated regular-season game since ’04 (FS Arizona).
The charts below list final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts.
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RATINGVIEWERS (000) "Super Bowl Greatest Commercials"1/30CBS8:00-9:00pm6.09,652 Soccer friendly: Mexico-Denmark1/30UniMas9:49pm-12:17am1.12,094 "NFL Honors"2/2CBS9:00-11:00pm2.63,995 U.S. Figure Skating Championships2/2NBC1:00-3:00pm0.81,200 PGA Tour: Waste Management Phoenix Open: Third Round2/2NBC3:00-6:00pm1.92,700 Liga MX: Leon-Cruz Azul2/2Telem.9:00-11:08pm0.4763 Liga MX: Tigres UANL-Tijuana2/2UniMas7:53-10:00pm0.5821 Liga MX: Club America-Queretaro2/2Univ.6:00-8:00pm0.6922 Super Bowl XLVII: Ravens-49ers*2/3CBS6:32-10:47pm46.4108,693 Super Bowl postgame2/3CBS10:51-11:11pm28.763,260 NHL: Penguins-Capitals2/3NBC12:30-3:15pm0.91,500 PGA Tour: Waste Management Phoenix Open: Final Round2/3NBC3:15-5:45pm2.84,300 TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) NCAA Basketball: Michigan-Indiana2/2ESPN8:55-11:09pm2.54,035 NBA: Lakers-Suns1/30ESPN10:33pm-1:04am1.62,431 NBA: Lakers-T'Wolves2/1ESPN9:38-11:56pm1.42,032 NBA: Heat-Nets1/30ESPN8:05-10:33pm1.32,003 UFC 156 Prelims2/2FX8:00-10:01pm1.01,897 "Sunday NFL Countdown"2/3ESPN10:00am-2:01pm1.21,756 NCAA Basketball: Kentucky-Texas A&M2/2ESPN6:06-10:39pm1.11,735 NCAA Basketball: Kentucky-Ole Miss1/29ESPN9:02-11:13pm1.11,714 NBA: Heat-Pacers2/1ESPN7:00-9:38pm1.11,639 NBA: Grizzlies-Thunder1/31TNT8:17-10:43pm1.11,612
On Long Island, Neil Best writes regardless of whether Fox announcer Gus Johnson "turns out to be the right man" to be Fox' main soccer announcer heading into the '18 FIFA World Cup, it is "past time for the sport to have a signature American voice." There is "no reason an American can't pull off calling the sport at its highest levels." Johnson said, "A network hasn't really made a serious commitment to establishing that voice and sticking behind that." He said that he "plans to preserve some British-isms, such as 'nil' and 'pitch.'" But he added, "I think I have a chance to make it rhythmic, and American. I think there is room to combine both" (NEWSDAY, 2/8). In L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes making Johnson the net's soccer voice is a "risk-reward challenge that Fox and its so-called attitude have no problem taking" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/8).
FCC WON'T LET ME BE: CABLEFAX DAILY notes a DC Circuit Court soon will "hear arguments on the FCC's decision that Comcast had discriminated against Tennis Channel by distributing it to fewer homes than Golf Channel and Versus." FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai on Thursday said he "strongly" disagreed with the FCC's decision. Pai: "The record showed that every major MVPD in the country at the time distributed Golf Channel and Versus to more homes than Tennis Channel. Indeed, even Dish and DirecTV, which have ownership interests in the Tennis Channel, distributed that network to fewer homes than both Golf Channel and Versus" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 2/8).
NO LANGUAGE BARRIER: The Red Sox have launched a Japanese language Twitter feed at @redsoxjp. The club is the first in MLB to have an official Japanese language-specific feed. Content will include translations of the English-language feed, and exclusive interviews with Red Sox pitchers and Japanese natives Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara, among other material. This is the club's second foreign-language feed, as it also created a Spanish one in '11 (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
PEOPLE & PERSONALITIES: In Philadelphia, Jonathan Tannenwald reported former soccer player Alejandro Moreno has been "hired to replace Bob Rigby as the color analyst" on the MLS Union's local television broadcasts. He will join JP Dellacamera, who "returns for another season as the team's play-by-play voice." Moreno played for the Union during their inaugural '10 season (PHILLY.com, 2/7)....Former Thunder sideline reporter Kelly Crull has "joined Fox Sports San Diego as the host of the network's San Diego Padres magazine show, 'Padres Weekly.'" Crull will "fill in as sideline reporter for Padres telecasts and various other games on the regional network" (NEWSOK.com, 2/7)....Comcast SportsNet Chicago did not renew the contract of Gail Fischer "after 14 years as an anchor and reporter." The company in a statement said, "Her final day on our air was January 31" (TIMEOUTCHICAGO.com, 2/7).