SBJ/June 20 - 26, 2005/Media

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  • Ad Tracker: San Diego Padres

    Agency: Hoodoo Design, in conjunction with Padres staff

    Tag line: Play Downtown

    Media: TV ads run according to a set schedule on cable to tout promotions at Friday night home games, airing on a roster that includes ESPN, ESPN2, A&E, TNT, CNN and Discovery Channel. Spot buys on local TV. Radio spots on most local stations. Print ads in the San Diego Union-Tribune and smaller papers. Spanish-language ads used for all media as well.

    Time line: Second year of campaign. Spots for season tickets began running in December; additional spots began running in February and will run throughout the season.

    Target: The ads have a more serious tone than in the campaign’s inaugural year, intended to reflect the Padres being serious about winning. The ads also draw attention to the second year of downtown San Diego’s Petco Park.

    Sample ads: Infielder Mark Loretta describes the advantage the Petco Park crowd gives the team; members of the team, including San Diego’s mascot, unite to “Beat L.A.”

    Print | Tags: Baseball, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres
  • Comcast scrap hinders O’s RSN deal with MLB

    Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos was handed $75 million and the keys to a shiny new regional sports network from Major League Baseball, all so he wouldn’t try to stop the Washington Nationals’ move into the nation’s capital.

    Owner Peter Angelos’ Orioles got 90% of the network, but Comcast won’t let the O’s go.
    But until he finds a way around Comcast Corp., he won’t be able to complete what many baseball insiders are calling the sweetheart deal of the decade.

    The battle between Angelos and Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, took another turn last week with two legal maneuvers by Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), the new regional sports network that is owned 90 percent by the Orioles and 10 percent by MLB and the Nationals. MASN is televising Nationals games this season and plans to begin Orioles telecasts in 2007.

    On Tuesday, MASN petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to force Comcast’s Washington-area cable systems to carry the new network.

    The day before, MASN attorneys asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Comcast against MASN.

    At the center of that lawsuit and the entire dispute is Comcast’s claim that Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, the current Orioles rights holder, has the right to match any offers for the Orioles’ television rights and that the Orioles can’t assign those rights to MASN or anyone else without going to Comcast first.

    But in the court motion filed last week, MASN claimed the right to match applies only to third-party offers, and that MASN is merely a new name for a team-owned business entity that already owned the Orioles’ television rights, so no third-party offer has been made. In other words, the Orioles are keeping their television rights in-house, and Comcast has no say in the matter.

    They further contend that Comcast is using the right-to-match claim as a ploy to try to protect its dominance of regional sports television inside the Beltway.

    In the FCC petition, MASN and the Orioles argued that Comcast is refusing to carry the new network only because Comcast wants to own both the Nationals’ and Orioles’ television rights for Comcast SportsNet, and that Comcast is illegally using its clout as a cable operator to thwart distribution of a new competitor.

    “We have two arguments,” said David Frederick, an attorney at Washington-based Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel PLLC, which represents MASN. “One is that Comcast is discriminating against MASN in favor of Comcast SportsNet because Comcast SportsNet was denied the opportunity to be the regional sports network that would produce and exhibit Washington Nationals games.

    “The second argument is that up until MLB and the Orioles struck their deal, Comcast floated proposals for a [new] two-team regional sports network. Their position is they weren’t going to carry the games unless they owned an equity interest.” This, he said, is a violation of federal communications law that bars cable operators from demanding equity in a network in exchange for carriage.

    Comcast denies that it ever made any proposal to own part of a new regional sports network, and Frederick acknowledged that the Orioles had no direct communication with Comcast regarding ownership in a new network.

    He said the proposals he referred to were made by Allen & Co. partner Steve Greenberg, who was a paid representative of MLB. In the FCC filing, MASN charged that Greenberg “was in fact acting as an agent of Comcast” when he told the Orioles that Comcast would require a large equity stake in any new network in order to carry it.

    Greenberg has publicly denied having any conflict of interest.

    Comcast says these are all just creative ways of Angelos trying to get out of an ironclad contract.

    “Program carriage rules have never required a cable operator to carry a network that was created through a breach of contract with that cable operator,” said Chris Helein, vice president of communications at Comcast SportsNet. “MASN unfortunately seems to want to use this very important public policy to shore up its defense of a very clear breach of contract.”

    To support their claim that the Orioles breached their right to match, Comcast attorneys point to the fact that in 1994, the Orioles had a clause in their television deal with the regional sports network HTS that allowed the club to bring its rights in-house without having to offer any right to match. If that clause were still in effect, they said, there would be no issue.

    But in 1996, when HTS increased its annual rights fees substantially, it negotiated to have that clause taken out of the contract as a trade-off. Comcast, which later acquired HTS and that agreement, says the fact that the clause was deleted indicates that both sides intended for the right to match to apply even if the Orioles wanted to control their own television rights.

    Comcast has 30 days from when the FCC complaint was filed to respond, but there is no set timetable on when the FCC would have to make a decision. In the civil case, a hearing has been set for July 27.

    Print | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Baseball, Comcast Corp., MLB
  • Down at the stretch: Lack of Crown contender hurts NBC

    NBC saw a drop in its ratings for coverage of this year’s Belmont Stakes, which was the first time no horse was pursuing a Triple Crown in the race since 2001, NBC’s first year of Triple Crown coverage. Each of the three Triple Crown races scored down for NBC this year from 2004. Among individual markets, St. Louis posted the highest local-market rating for the June 11 Belmont Stakes and joined Louisville, Ky., Buffalo and Fort Myers, Fla., as the only four markets nationwide to rank in the top 10 for local-market ratings for each of the three races.

    TRIPLE CROWN RATINGS RECAP
    Race segment
    Avg. rating/share (change from prior year)
    Year Belmont Stakes Kentucky Derby Preakness Stakes
    2005 6.0/13* (NA) 9.0/22 (-3.2%) 6.3/16 (-18.2%)
    2004 13.1/29 (+22.4%) 9.3/22 (+22.4%) 7.7/19 (+35.1%)
    2003 10.7/25 (+27.4%) 7.6/20 (-8.4%) 5.7/15 (-12.3%)
    2002 8.4/22 (+71.4%) 8.3/21 (-10.8%) 6.5/16 (+1.6%)
    2001 4.9/14 (—) 9.3/24 (—) 6.4/17 (—)
    Full broadcast
    Avg. rating/share (change from prior year)
    Year Belmont Stakes Kentucky Derby Preakness Stakes
    2005 5.0/11* (NA) 7.3/18 (-1.4%) 5.1/13 (-16.4%)
    2004 11.3/26 (+18.9%) 7.4/18 (+15.6%) 6.1/15 (+22.0%)
    2003 9.5/23 (+25.0%) 6.4/17 (-9.9%) 5.0/13 (-12.3%)
    2002 7.6/21 (+68.9%) 7.1/18 (-12.3%) 5.7/14 (+1.8%)
    2001 4.5/13 (—) 8.1/21 (—) 5.6/16 (—)

    TOP MARKETS
    Belmont Stakes Kentucky Derby Preakness Stakes
    Rank Market (size^) Avg. rating/share Avg. rating/share (rank) Avg. rating/share (rank)
    1
    St. Louis (21) 11.6/23 13.5/29 (7t) 10.1/22 (11)
    2
    West Palm Beach, Fla. (39) 11.1/20 12.6/26 (13) 12.1/25 (3)
    3
    Louisville, Ky. (50) 11.0/21 34.9/68 (1) 13.3/28 (2)
    4
    Philadelphia (4) 10.2/22 13.2/26 (11t) 11.4/24 (5)
    5
    New York (1) 9.9/21 10.8/24 (24) 7.3/18 (28t)
    6
    Knoxville, Tenn. (59) 9.7/17 14.1/28 (4t) 7.8/18 (25)
    7
    Hartford, Conn. (27) 9.6/19 13.2/27 (11t) 10.8/24 (7)
    8
    Jacksonville (52) 9.5/16 11.3/21 (21) 9.3/16 (15)
    9
    Buffalo (46) 9.0/20 13.4/29 (9t) 10.3/24 (9t)
    10
    Fort Myers, Fla. (68) 8.8/18 14.8/29 (2) 10.6/22 (8)
    NA: Not applicable
    * Overnight rating. Final rating was not available at Media Tracker press time.
    ^ Rank among all U.S. markets by number of TV households
    Sources: Nielsen Media Research, NBC, SportsBusiness Daily archives
    Research by Katherine Johnson-Reid, SportsBusiness Daily

    Print | Tags: Churchill Downs Inc., Horse Racing, NBC
  • Nielsen Weekly Sports Ranking

    MISS UNIVERSE TRUMPS NBA PLAYOFFS: More than 5.1 million households tuned in for ABC’s coverage of Game 4 of the Phoenix-San Antonio Western Conference Finals, ranking it No. 30 among all network programs for the week. Reruns of “CSI: Miami,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Listen Up” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” on CBS, as well as NBC’s coverage of the lowest-rated Miss Universe pageant ever, outdrew the game in its time slots.

    RACING AHEAD: The NASCAR Nextel Cup Series MBNA RacePoints 400 was FX’s highest-rated and most-watched race ever, with a 4.9 cable rating. The Sunday afternoon race scored ahead of the clinching game of the San Antonio-Phoenix NBA series for the week, as well as Games 5 and 6 of the seven-game Detroit-Miami series, though Game 4 of that Pistons-Heat series topped the race with a 5.0 average rating.

    TOP 10 NETWORK SPORTS TELECASTS
    RANK
    NET
    PROGRAM
    DATE
    RATING
    SHARE
    HOUSEHOLDS WATCHING (000S)
    1
    ABC
    NBA PLAYOFFS: PHOENIX-SAN ANTONIO (GAME FOUR)
    5/30
    4.7
    8
    5139
    2
    CBS
    PGA: MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT (FINAL ROUND)
    6/5
    3.3
    8
    3611
    3
    ABC
    GMC NBA GAMETIME (PHOENIX-SAN ANTONIO PREGAME)
    5/30
    2.9
    5
    3203
    4
    CBS
    PGA: MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT (THIRD ROUND)
    6/4
    2.5
    7
    2745
    5
    FOX
    MLB: SATURDAY BASEBALL (REGIONAL COVERAGE)
    6/4
    2.3
    6
    2497
    6
    NBC
    TENNIS: FRENCH OPEN (MEN’S FINAL)
    6/5
    1.6
    5
    1720
    7
    CBS
    PGA: MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT (FIRST-ROUND HIGHLIGHTS)
    6/2
    1.5
    6
    1597
    8
    NBC
    TENNIS: FRENCH OPEN (WOMEN’S FINAL)
    6/4
    1.5
    5
    1596
    9
    NBC
    TENNIS: FRENCH OPEN (MEN’S SEMIFINALS)
    6/3
    1.3
    4
    1387
    10
    NBC
    TRACK: NIKE PREFONTAINE CLASSIC
    6/5
    1.1
    3
    1163

    TOP 10 CABLE SPORTS TELECASTS
    -- RATING --
    RANK
    NET
    PROGRAM
    DATE
    NATIONAL
    COVERAGE AREA
    SHARE
    HOUSEHOLDS WATCHING (000S)
    1
    TNT
    NBA PLAYOFFS: MIAMI-DETROIT (GAME FOUR)
    5/31
    4.1
    5
    8
    4463
    2
    FX
    NASCAR: NEXTEL CUP SERIES MBNA RACEPOINTS 400
    6/5
    3.9
    4.9
    11
    4245
    3
    TNT
    NBA PLAYOFFS: DETROIT-MIAMI (GAME FIVE)
    6/2
    3.9
    4.8
    8
    4321
    4
    ESPN
    NBA PLAYOFFS: SAN ANTONIO-PHOENIX (GAME FIVE)
    6/1
    3.8
    4.6
    8
    4145
    5
    TNT
    NBA PLAYOFFS: MIAMI-DETROIT (GAME SIX)
    6/4
    3.2
    3.9
    8
    3526
    6
    FX
    NASCAR: MBNA RACEPOINTS 400 PRERACE
    6/5
    2.2
    2.8
    8
    2391
    7
    TNT
    NBA PLAYOFFS: PREGAME SHOW (MIAMI-DETROIT)
    5/31
    2
    2.5
    4
    2212
    8
    TNT
    NBA PLAYOFFS: PREGAME SHOW (DETROIT-MIAMI)
    6/2
    2
    2.4
    4
    2163
    9
    TNT
    INSIDE THE NBA (DETROIT-MIAMI POSTGAME)
    6/2
    1.8
    2.3
    4
    2020
    10
    TNT
    INSIDE THE NBA (MIAMI-DETROIT POSTGAME)
    6/4
    1.6
    2
    4
    1802

    Rating — Estimated percent of all TV households of persons tuned to a specific program source. One ratings point equals 1,096,000 homes.

    Share — Estimated percent of all households using television at that time which are tuned to a specific program source.Source: Nielsen Media Research

    Print | Tags: Basketball, Detroit Pistons, Golf, Miami Heat, Motorsports, NASCAR, NBA, PGA Tour, Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs, Tennis
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