SBD/November 6, 2013/MediaPrint All
Viewers watching the European Tour recently have "witnessed an interesting experiment on Golf Channel, which has continued showing live action, with no sound, through commercial breaks during the final two hours" of its Final Series rounds, according to Martin Kaufmann of GOLFWEEK. The experiment "apparently never has been tried in golf." Golf Channel Senior VP/Programming Tom Knapp said that the format, dubbed "Playing Through," is designed to "allow fans to keep track of developments late in rounds." He said that European Tour advertisers were "enthusiastic about the experiment." Knapp: "We're testing something, and they're interested in seeing what the results are." Bridgestone Golf Exec VP/Marketing & Sales Dan Murphy said the idea was a "smart" move. Murphy said of viewers, "Annoyed or pleased, that's something we really need to understand." Murphy also "wonders whether the impact of ads will be diminished in this format." Kaufmann writes, "I like the concept; it gives me hope that the medium is evolving. I did find it ironic while GC's goal is to keep viewers apprised of action, I actually paid more attention than usual to the commercials" (GOLFWEEK, 11/8 issue).
THE RIGHT STUFF: In L.A., Jill Painter wrote Golf Channel "did the right thing" in not firing analyst Brandel Chamblee for his Golf.com column that was critical of Tiger Woods. The net deserves credit for "not caving under the public pressure from Woods, his agent Mark Steinberg and fellow golf star Rory McIlroy," as there would have been "little surprise if the Golf Channel gave in to the world's top-ranked golfer." Perhaps Woods "retaliates by not doing interviews with the Golf Channel anymore," but Golf Channel can "still show every Woods golf swing" (DAILYNEWS.com, 11/5). GOLF WORLD's Ron Sirak writes Woods' "doghouse is deep and difficult to escape" and he wonders how Woods will "punish Golf Channel." Sirak: "Will Steve Sands no longer get those quickie interviews with Tiger?" Meanwhile, Chamblee's profile "has never been higher," and people who "didn't know who he was now do." That includes the "folks at Fox Sports, who will be putting together a team to televise the U.S. Open" beginning in '15. However, Sirak did ask, "How does Golf Channel use Chamblee now? Is his credibility covering Woods diminished?" (GOLF WORLD, 11/11 issue). Meanwhile, SI's Michael Bamberger writes Woods and Steinberg "have immense power, and they wielded it" in the Chamblee situation. Bamberger: "They made this thing about Chamblee and his commentary and not about Woods and his rules problems" (SI, 11/11 issue).
SHARK IN THE WATER: In West Palm Beach, Brian Biggane noted CBS golf analyst Ian Baker-Finch thinks it will be a "home run" if Fox hires Greg Norman for its lead analyst position when the net takes over U.S. Open coverage in '15. Baker-Finch said, "He’d be the best. He’s the most knowledgeable, the most articulate, and they’ve obviously got the money to afford him. That’s what it comes (down) to. He’s promoting his brand, he’s promoting himself, but he’ll do a very good job." Meanwhile, Baker-Finch said of NBC losing the Open rights to Fox, "I feel sorry for NBC, that they were dealt the hard blow by the USGA. But if somebody comes in and says, hey, I'll pay you double, I know which deal I'm taking." Baker-Finch feels CBS' Nick Faldo and ESPN's Paul Azinger "have changed the way golf analysts are perceived from days of Ken Venturi and, more recently, Johnny Miller." Baker-Finch: “They’ve done a good job of making it a little bit lighter, a little more modern than it had been. NBC is a bit too serious sometimes" (PALM BEACH POST, 11/6).
Hungry Fan, a new smartphone app that launched Monday, is "a Yelp-like guide to food and drink stands at stadiums across the country and Canada," according to Jenn Harris of the L.A. TIMES. Sports blogger Daina Falk, daughter of agent, David Falk, "came up with the idea." She "teamed up" with N.Y.-based digital marketing firm DeepFocus Founder & CEO Ian Schafer to develop the app. The app "uses your geographic location to locate baseball and football stadiums nearby." It then "gives you the lowdown on every concession stand, along with their menus and prices." The app's social aspect "allows you to log in through Facebook and share what you're eating." Users also can "leave comments on each concession stand" (L.A. TIMES, 11/5). MASHABLE.com's Todd Wasserman noted the app "claims to be able to locate all the concession stands in more than" 40 MLB and NFL stadiums in the U.S. and Canada and "helps fans find vegan and gluten-free options." Getting such information "was trickier than Schafer thought it would be." While some stadiums "were upfront with data about the stands, most were tight-lipped." Schafer and Falk to get around such restrictions "used Task Rabbit and Craigslist to recruit people to take pics of the menus." Schafer and Falk are "confident they have a hit in the making -- one that will be advertiser-friendly." Pepsi is "its first sponsor." For now, "the plan is to add" NBA and hockey arenas to the app (MASHABLE.com, 11/4).
Top Rank Chair Bob Arum yesterday said that the Timothy Bradley-Juan Manuel Marquez PPV on HBO "generated at least 375,000" buys. ESPN.com's Dan Rafael reported the PPV also "generated approximately" $21.75M in domestic television revenue. The Oct. 12 event at the Thomas & Mack Center "generated a gate of $2,998,950 from 10,683 tickets sold." There were "1,370 complimentary tickets given away and 5,649 tickets went unsold" (ESPN.com, 11/5).
MOUNTAIN MEDIA: In Denver, Jason Blevins reports the state of Colorado's "fledgling film-incentive program is paving the road to Sochi, Russia, for the Universal Sports Network." The network, which began in January, was "one of the first to take advantage of Colorado's Office of Film Television & Media incentive program, which provided a grant allowing" the L.A.-based net "to anchor much of its Olympic coverage in Littleton's satellite-ringed Comcast Media Center." The grant "supported hiring 42 local employees and has enabled the network to tweak its business model by branching into original programming such as 'Countdown to Sochi.'" Universal partner NBC also is "planning a prime-time cable show in Colorado" (DENVER POST, 11/6).
PRO DAYS: In L.A., Houston Mitchell reports the MLS Galaxy has "launched its first-ever original Web series, 'Be A Pro,' which it hopes will help change the culture around fitness, nutrition and soccer." The show, which can be viewed on the Galaxy website or the Galaxy Facebook page, is "a documentary-style series featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the lives and careers of some of the Galaxy players." It features eight episodes that explore "what it takes to be a professional soccer player through the eyes of Galaxy players including Omar Gonzalez, Marcelo Sarvas and Jaime Penedo" (L.A. TIMES, 11/6).
THE BEAT GOES ON: Seattle Times Sports Editor Don Shelton wrote the paper has hired Tacoma News Tribune reporter Ryan Divish as Mariners beat reporter. Divish replaces Geoff Baker, the paper's Mariners reporter "for the past seven years." Baker recently was "promoted to the newly created job of sports investigative and enterprise reporter and will cover the Mariners" until Divish starts his new role on Nov. 25 (SEATTLETIMES.com, 11/5).