SBJ/January 9 - 15, 2006/Media

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  • Ad Tracker - Chicago Bulls

    Agency: DiMeo & Co.
    Tag line: “You Gotta Be There!”
    Media: Campaign features TV, radio, newspapers, billboards, bus backs, direct mail, telemarketing and e-marketing efforts. The campaign is supported by 16 full-time, in-house telemarketers for season- and group-ticket sales.
    Time line: The campaign began July 5 and runs through April. Approximately 90 percent of the TV and newspaper budget was scheduled for August through November, the prime selling period for season and group tickets.
    Target: “You Gotta Be There!” aims to create urgency to buy tickets for what’s considered the next great run of basketball in Chicago as well as highlighting the fun and excitement of attending Bulls games.
    Sample ads: Three spots feature dramatic highlights of Bulls players, along with a voice-over that recalls the Bulls of the late ’80s and the team’s subsequent sellout streak of 610 games during their championship years.

    To view the ads in full, see www.sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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  • ESPN sees overall ratings drop in 2005

    ESPN experienced a slight ratings slide for the full-year 2005, marking the first year since 2001 that ratings for the network were down.

    On a 24-hour basis, the network averaged a 0.7 rating, down from a 0.8 last year. The household dip was less pronounced, from 673,000 households to 655,000, a slide of only about 3 percent. In prime time, ratings stayed even at 1.6, and households were down just a tad from 1.405 million to 1.395 million, not even a 1 percent dip.

    The trend was pretty consistent across all the key demographics on ESPN, as households for both men 18-34 and men 18-49 were slightly off, although the network maintained its No. 1 position within those groups on a 24-hour basis across all of cable.

    It was generally a good year for live events on ESPN, with average ratings up 4 percent despite NFL numbers being down slightly. Where the network took a hit was in the news and information category, as “SportsCenter” ratings were down 7 percent (including re-airs) and other news programs were off 5 percent. The brightest spot was the “other programming” category, which includes ESPN Original Entertainment and was up 14 percent.

    While ESPN’s streak of year-over-year increases ended, the company touts 2005 as its best ever on a cumulative-viewer basis, when including all of its networks. For ESPN2, the 24-hour and prime-time ratings were flat, but households were up slightly. It averaged a 0.3 for the total day and a 0.6 in prime time, with 236,000 and 504,0000 households, respectively.

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  • NBC, ESPN strike deal on Olympic coverage

    NBC has reached an agreement with ESPN to provide next-day video highlight clips to ESPN.com, while ESPN.com will display prominent links to NBC’s Olympic Web site.

    The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, represents the first time NBC has ever licensed video highlights during the Olympic games to another media company, or had a promotional agreement with any of the prominent multisport Web sites. It is one of several partnerships in the new media space that NBC Olympics has announced or will announce over the next few weeks. The network also unveiled its wireless plans for the Olympics, adding video highlights to the existing NBC Mobile service, creating a branded wireless application protocol site and also offering ring tones and wallpaper through New York-based Zingy, an entertainment-oriented mobile media company. In addition, it reached an agreement with Intel to make high-resolution video available on www.NBCOlympics.com using Intel’s Viiv technology.

    ESPN.com will provide links to NBC’s
    Olympics Web site, NBCOlympics.com.

    While Olympics content will be available through a variety of platforms, NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel said much of the focus when it comes to new media will be on broadband video, which has exploded in terms of consumer acceptance and availability since the last Olympics in Athens.

    “Our Web site I think will set a new standard for how events should be and will be covered by a U.S. television network,” Zenkel said.

    NBCOlympics.com, which totaled more than 13 million unique users during the Athens Olympics, will include bios on every U.S. athlete, blogs written by NBC on-air talent and people such as athlete Bode Miller’s friend and traveling buddy Jake Cerino (athletes are not allowed to write for the site), and video highlights of every Olympic event.

    The video clips will contain 15-second advertisements, sold as part of broader NBCOlympics.com packages. ESPN.com will also have a daily two-minute highlight clip, produced by NBC and narrated by Bob Costas, and promoted by ESPN “SportsCenter.” ESPN.com will be able to sell its own advertising attached to the clip, but only to companies approved by NBC.

    ESPN.com will have its own Olympic coverage from ESPN writers and columnists, but each ESPN story will contain links to the NBC site, where the real troves of Olympic information can be found.

    “We could have created our own [site] for Torino and it would have been great,” said John Kosner, senior vice president and general manager of new media at ESPN. “But the audience coming to it would have been dwarfed by the audience coming to NBC, and both of us would have created a lot of the same things.”

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  • Nielsen weekly sports ranking

    ABC GETS LUMPS OF COAL...: More than 5.3 million households watched ABC’s second consecutive Christmas Day NBA matchup of the L.A. Lakers and Miami, down 33 percent from last year’s game. The network’s penultimate “Monday Night Football” game earlier in the week drew 9.04 million households, 25 percent fewer than last season’s comparable game.

    Top 10 Network Sports Telecasts

    Rank Net Program Date Rating Share #HH watching (000s)
    1 CBS NFL: Regional Coverage (late games) 12/24 10.9 27 12,000
    2 FOX NFL: Chicago at Green Bay 12/25 9.7 24 10,701
    3 FOX NFL: Regional Coverage (early games) 12/24 9.2 22 10,160
    4 ABC NFL: Monday Night Football (Green Bay - Baltimore) 12/19 8.2 14 9,040
    5 FOX NFL: Early Games' Postgame, Part 1 12/24 7.9 19 8,697
    6 ABC NFL: Monday Night Football Pregame 12/19 7.7 12 8516
    7 FOX NFL: Early Games' Postgame, Part 2 12/24 6.7 16 7,403
    8 CBS NFL: Regional Coverage (early games) 12/24 6.6 16 7,282
    9 FOX NFL: Postgame, Chicago - Green Bay 12/25 6.0 13 6,604
    10 ABC NBA: L.A. Lakers at Miami 12/25 4.8 14 5,337


    ...WHILE ESPN FEELS JOLLY: Bolstered by five straight nights of bowl games and an NFL game, ESPN’s prime-time programming Dec. 19-25 was watched by an average of 2.22 million households. Bowl game viewership was up 6 percent compared to games on similar dates last season, and nearly 6 million households watched the Sunday NFL game, up 9 percent over last year.

    Top 10 Cable Sports Telecasts

    Rank Net Program Date National Area Share #HH watching (000s)
    1 ESPN NFL: Sunday Night Football (Minnesota - Baltimore) 12/25 5.4 6.6 13 5,954
    2 ESPN SportsCenter Late 12/25 2.0 2.4 6 2,186
    3 ESPN NCAA Ftbl: Las Vegas Bowl (BYU - CAL) 12/22 2.0 2.4 4 2,164
    4 ESPN NCAA Ftbl: Fort Worth Bowl (Kansas - Houston) 12/23 1.9 2.3 4 2,056
    5 ESPN NCAA Ftbl: Hawaii Bowl (Nevada - UCF) 12/24 1.8 2.2 5 1,984
    6 ESPN NFL Prime Time 12/24 1.7 2.1 5 1,900
    7 ESPN NCAA Ftbl: GMAC Bowl (Toledo - UTEP) 12/21 1.6 2.0 3 1,784
    8 ESPN NCAA Ftbl: New Orleans Bowl (ARK. St. - S. MISS.) 12/20 1.4 1.7 3 1,539
    9 ESPN Monday Night Countdown 12/19 1.4 1.7 3 1,532
    10 ESPN NFL Countdown 12/24 1.3 1.6 4 1,472

    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

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  • Sources: ‘MNF’ producer will sign with NBC

    Monday Night Football” producer Fred Gaudelli is close to signing a deal with NBC to produce the network’s Sunday night NFL broadcasts next year. Gaudelli was promised an unspecified job within ABC/ESPN after ABC did not renew its “Monday Night Football” deal, but there had been no word on what that job would be. It was pretty clear all along that he might leave the network, and there was no more obvious place for him to go than NBC. “Monday Night Football” director Drew Esocoff is likely to join Gaudelli at NBC, industry sources said.

    The end of “Monday Night Football” on ABC
    started a talent swapfest among networks.

    Their ABC swan song will be the Super Bowl. They also were scheduled to work the AFC wild-card game in New England on Saturday.

    The pair had been at “Monday Night Football” since 2001. Before that they handled ESPN’s Sunday night NFL games, where Gaudelli was the producer for a decade. He’d been with ESPN since 1982, cutting his football chops on the USFL in the early ’80s.

    Gaudelli jumping to NBC is just another piece of the Sunday-Monday swapfest that saw analyst John Madden switch networks and nights, while Al Michaels stayed put on Monday night by signing with ESPN.

    On the production side, ESPN announced last summer that the current Sunday team — producer Jay Rothman and director Chip Dean — would stay with ESPN and take over “Monday Night Football.” That left Gaudelli and Esocoff without an assignment, and a fairly obvious choice to fill the same posts at NBC.

    Fred Gaudelli will take his broadcast
    innovations to a new network.

    The prime-time broadcast network NFL gig is considered the top job in sports television production, and is probably the highest-paying. At ABC, Gaudelli has lived up to that billing through experimentation and occasionally inviting controversy. Whether it was practical-joke segments, the constantly updated lyrics to the “Monday Night Football” song (for which he recently got some ink in The New Yorker) or the “Desperate Housewives” pregame debacle, Gaudelli always pushed the envelope and aimed to advance the tradition of “Monday Night Football” being an entertainment as well as a sports vehicle.

    Perhaps he generated the most discussion in industry circles through the credits that preceded each “MNF” game. The names of Gaudelli, Esocoff and a few other techies were splashed on the screen as if they were the stars of the show — unheard of in sports broadcasting.

    Now that his boss will be the best-known sports producer in the world, Dick Ebersol, it will be interesting to see whether Gaudelli and his name will still be front and center.

    LOWBROW, BUT EFFECTIVE?: Fox Sports Net teamed with The Sporting News and Coca-Cola’s Full Throttle energy drink brand to create “the Best Damn Guide to Football,” a 12-page, 4-by-6-inch guide filled with Super Bowl facts, recipes and tips on throwing an “estrogen-free Super Bowl party.” Three million guides will be distributed at convenience stores. They are free with the purchase of a can of Full Throttle. The guides also will be inserted into The Sporting News’ Feb. 3 Super Bowl preview issue. Low-brow as it may be, it’s one of the better examples of sales integration between television, print and consumer product brands.

    Contact Andy Bernstein at abernstein@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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  • Top cable networks of 2005

    TNT posted the highest coverage-area rating of all cable networks for prime-time programming in 2005. Its 2.2 average was up 5 percent from 2004. ESPN’s 1.6 average was flat with 2004. Nickelodeon ranked first for 2005 for total-day programming average rating.

    Prime time programming

    Rank Network Avg. rating (change from '04) No. of HHs (000s)
    1 TNT 2.2 (+5%) 1,963
    2 USA Network 2.0 (+5%) 1,774
    3 Disney Channel 1.9 (+12%) 1,614
    4 Nickelodeon 1.7 (+6%) 1,505
    5 Lifetime 1.6 (0%) 1,426
    6 ESPN 1.6 (0%) 1,395
    7 Fox News Channel 1.6 (+7%) 1,376
    8 Cartoon Network 1.5 (0%) 1,305
    9 TBS 1.4 (0%) 1,277
    10 Spike TV 1.3 (+30%) 1,116

    Total-day programming

    Rank Network Avg. rating* No. of HHs (000s)
    1 Nickelodeon 1.8 1,634
    2 TNT 1.2 1,081
    3 Cartoon Network 1.2 1,031
    4 Disney Channel 1.1 989
    5 Lifetime 1.0 894
    6 USA 1.0 871
    7 Fox News Channel 0.9 798
    8 TBS 0.9 788
    9 ESPN 0.7 655
    10 MTV 0.6 568

    * Comparisons to 2004 were not available at presstime. Source: Nielsen Media Research

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  • Torino Games Countdown

    NBC’s pre-Olympics coverage began last month with a number of qualifying events. Its Dec. 10-11 broadcast of “Ice 2005” was a taped special featuring luge, bobsled, skeleton and curling qualifying events.

    Date (ET) Avg. rating No. of HHs (000s)
    Dec. 10 (4 p.m.) 1.3 1,462
    Dec. 11 (4 p.m.) 1.1 1,171
    TOTAL 1.2 1,320
    PRIOR* 1.0 1,100

    * Marks for NBC’s comparable “Verizon Challenge” event on Dec. 8, 2001. Sources: SportsBusiness Journal archives, Nielsen Media Research

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  • MSpot bringing sports talk from around the country to mobile phone customers

    MSpot, a California-based wireless entertainment company, will introduce a battery of sports radio offerings this week for mobile phone users.

    The radio content, including shows from Sporting News Radio and sports talk stations in about 20 top metro markets, will be streamed in nearly real time, with a 15- to 25-second delay due to encoding.

    Though not ostensibly designed to compete against satellite radio companies Sirius and XM Radio, MSpot similarly trades in commercial-free, specifically formatted audio content for consumers frustrated by the limitations of traditional terrestrial radio. The content will be sold by Sprint as a $5.95 per month a la carte service to its PCS phone customers, but MSpot is actively seeking out other cell-phone carriers.

    “The cell phone is one of those devices you have with you from the moment you wake up in the morning to when you go to bed,” said Daren Tsui, MSpot chief executive. “But what we’re also able to offer is a combination of live, streaming audio and on-demand, looped programming. It makes for a much greater level of interactivity.”

    The sports content joins music, news and talk offerings already being sold by MSpot, as well as a separate movie service that streams full-length features to cell phones. In the Sprint-MSpot deal for the sports content, MSpot pays royalties to all of the content owners and then shares the monthly user fees with Sprint.

    “MSpot Sports allows our listeners the opportunity to stay connected with our programming like never before,” said Clancy Woods, Sporting News Radio president.

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