SBD/August 2, 2013/Media

Bristol Briefs: ESPN Execs Bodenheimer, Walsh Ink Extensions Through Middle Of '14

Bodenheimer will help Skipper deal with the net's increasingly viable competition
THE BIG LEAD's Jason McIntyre reported ESPN Exec Chair George Bodenheimer and Exec Editor John Walsh have "agreed to stay on in their current roles at the network" through the middle of '14. A company spokesperson confirmed that Bodenheimer "signed an extension to remain in his role." Walsh is "widely regarded" as ESPN President John Skipper's "most trusted adviser." Bodenheimer and Walsh "will be crucial sounding boards for Skipper as he navigates the waters of an interesting year ahead" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 8/1).

LOOKING FOR MORE: TENNIS.com's Steve Tignor wrote, "Whatever you think of ESPN’s tennis coverage, you can’t say the network hasn’t put money into the sport." Tignor wrote of ESPN's getting full U.S. Open media rights, "The question going forward is whether it was enough to get the Worldwide Leader to cover and promote tennis as well." Sports fans are "only going to believe something is important or exciting if ESPN makes them believe it, and highlights have always been a big part of how people understand what matters in sports." If ESPN can "make the world care about every detail" in other sports, it "can make us at least pay attention to the weekly ups and downs of Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams" (TENNIS.com, 8/1).

JOHNNY BE QUIET: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar writes, "Summer generally is the slowest time in sports, and in recent years ESPN has developed storylines, many contrived or overblown, that, it has forced at viewers to try to keep interest up." In '09, there was the "Brett Favre saga as to whether he would stay retired or return to the NFL, which became a media frenzy when he agreed to join the Vikings." Now this summer, ESPN "has exhaustively chronicled reigning Heisman Trophy holder Johnny Manziel’s off-field behavior, not only pointing out his alleged indiscretions but going into exhaustive coverage and analysis from a bevy of commentators about the activities of a 20-year-old college student" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 8/2).

SPECIAL K: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Carolyn Giardina reported Sony is "shooting ESPN’s Summer X-Games in 4K, roughly four times the resolution of today's HD." The company "has been working to create entertainment content in 4K to drive demand for 4K 'Ultra HD' TVs that are now on the market." Plans are to "create a sizzle reel and a 20-minute story reel that will be available via the new Sony Media Player, created to deliver 4K movies and other content to owners of Sony's Ultra HD TVs" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 8/1).
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