SBJ/July 17 - 23, 2006/Media

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  • ESPN, Dish Network to follow Interactive Indy with X Games channel

    ESPN and Dish Network are teaming for their second interactive TV application with plans to launch an ESPN Interactive X Games channel around the Summer X Games, Aug. 3-6 in Los Angeles.

    The Indy 500 feature drew 550,000 users.
    The feature will be similar to the Interactive Indy channel the two rolled out at the end of May for ABC’s coverage of the Indianapolis 500. It will have six camera feeds, taped content from earlier in the day, stats and bios. It will be featured on Dish’s Home Channel 100 from 9-11 p.m. ET each night and will be free to Dish Network subscribers.

    Interactive Indy wound up being a popular feature for Dish, logging 550,000 users, according to Matt Murphy, ESPN senior vice president of broadband and interactive sales. Dish Network has 12.2 million subscribers.

    Murphy said the interactive applications represent “a place for us to start on ITV.” EchoStar, which runs Dish Network, and ESPN plan to launch ITV channels around six events per year, centered on events where ESPN holds the interactive rights.

    With the Dish Network channels not being exclusive, Murphy expects cable operators to begin delivering the interactive applications this year. He also predicted that ESPN’s linear channels would roll out ITV applications soon.

    ESPN’s push into the ITV space comes after a year’s absence, after ESPN ended ITV deals with DirecTV and Cablevision.

    “It’s good to be back in the game,” Murphy said. “The ITV environment has been full of fits and starts, but I firmly believe its time is now.”

    Though ESPN signed Capital One as a sponsor for Interactive Indy, its Interactive X Games channel will not have a sponsor, Murphy said, citing timing problems.

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  • Local market ratings for World Cup final on ABC

    Three California markets topped the list of local-market ratings for ABC’s coverage of Italy’s win over France in the title game of this year’s FIFA World Cup. Only four MLS markets (in bold) were among the top 10. ABC’s coverage of the Sunday, July 9, match began at 1:30 p.m. ET. Nationally, the game posted a fast-national 7.0 rating, averaging nearly 12 million viewers and more than 7.7 million households.

    Top 10

    Rank Market (size*)
    Avg. rating/share
    1 San Diego (26)
    14.0/30
    2 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (6)
    13.6/33
    3 Los Angeles (2)
    12.3/26
    4 New York (1)
    11.6/26
    5 Orlando (20)
    10.3/19
    6 Austin, Texas (53)
    9.9/22
    7 Denver (18)
    9.8/24
    8 Philadelphia (4)
    9.6/22
    9 Washington, D.C. (8)
    9.5/22
    10t Minneapolis-St. Paul (15)
    9.2/25
    10t Seattle (13)
    9.2/25
    10t Baltimore (24)
    9.2/19
    10t West Palm Beach, Fla. (38)
    9.2/18

    Other MLS markets

    Rank Market (size*)
    Avg. rating/share
    15 Salt Lake City (36)
    8.8/27
    19t Boston (5)
    8.2/19
    21t Kansas City (31)
    7.9/16
    36t Chicago (3)
    6.8/16
    36t Columbus (32)
    6.8/14
    39 Houston (10)
    6.6/12
    41 Dallas-Fort Worth (7)
    6.4/14

    * Market size ranking among all U.S. markets by number of TV households.
    Source: Nielsen Media Research

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  • Making the turn: NASCAR hits backstretch

    Fox posted an average rating of 5.6 for 11 races on its NASCAR Nextel Cup Series schedule this year, not including two races delayed by rain. That compares with a 13-race average of 6.0 last year. Following is a look at ratings for races at the midpoint of NASCAR’s 2006 season.

     
    Avg. rating / share
    (no. of HHs, 000s)
    Date Net Race Site
    2006
    2005
    Change
    July 1 Fox Pepsi 400 Daytona Beach, Fla.
    5.1/11
    5.5/13
    -7.3%
    June 25 Fox Dodge/Save Mart 350 Sonoma, Calif.
    5.1/11
    5.7/13
    -10.5%
    June 18 Fox 3M Performance 400
    (a)
    Brooklyn, Mich.
    4.5/11
    4.7/12
    -4.3%
    June 11 Fox Pocono 500 Pocono, Pa.
    5.2/12
    5.6/14
    -7.1%
    June 4 FX Neighborhood
    Excellence 400
    Dover, Del.
    4.6/ (4,079)
    4.9/(4,245)
    -6.1%
    May 28 Fox Coca-Cola 600 Concord, N.C.
    5.1/11
    6.1/13
    -16.4%
    May 20 FX Nextel All-Star
    Challenge (a)
    Concord, N.C.
    3.4/ (3,057)
    4.3/(3,691)
    -20.9%
    May 13 Fox Dodge Charger 500 Darlington, S.C.
    4.8/10
    5.6/11
    -14.3%
    May 6 FX Crown Royal 400 Richmond, Va.
    4.3/ (3,776)
    4.4/(3,779)
    -2.2%
    May 1 Fox Aaron's 499
    (b)
    Talladega, Ala.
    4.4/11
    7.6/18
    NA
    April 22 Fox Subway Fresh 500 Phoenix
    4.8/9
    5.1/10
    -5.9%
    April 9 Fox Samsung / RadioShack 500 Fort Worth, Texas
    5.4/13
    5.7/15
    -5.3%
    April 2 Fox DirecTV 500 Martinsville, Va.
    6.2/15
    5.1/13
    +21.6%
    March 26 Fox Food City 500 Bristol, Tenn.
    6.2/14
    6.3/16
    -1.6%
    March 20 FX Golden Corral 500
    (b) (c)
    Atlanta
    1.5/ (1,293)
    5.5/13
    NA
    March 12 Fox UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 Las Vegas
    6.2/12
    6.4/14
    -3.1%
    Feb. 26 Fox Auto Club 500 Fontana, Calif.
    7.4/14
    7.9/16
    -6.3%
    Feb. 19 NBC Daytona 500
    (c)
    Daytona Beach, Fla.
    11.3/23
    10.9/23
    +3.7%
    Feb. 12 TNT Budweiser Shootout
    (c)
    Daytona Beach, Fla.
    4.5/ (4,090)
    5.3/10
    NA

    Notes: All cable marks are coverage-area ratings. Dates and names are for events as run in 2006, with additional notes below.
    NA: Not applicable
    (a) Race shortened or delayed by rain.
    (b) Scheduled Sunday race postponed to Monday because of rain.
    (c) Race aired on Fox in 2005.
    Source: Fox, SportsBusiness Daily archives
    Research by Katherine Johnson-Reid, SportsBusiness Daily

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  • NBA's draft night ratings winner: Memphis

    Memphis, a market whose NBA team had the No. 24 pick in this year’s NBA draft, posted the highest local-market rating for ESPN’s June 28 selection show coverage, and three non-team markets — Louisville, Hartford and Raleigh-Durham — were among the nation’s top 10. Ratings for Toronto, whose Raptors had the No. 1 overall pick, were not available.

    Nationally, ESPN posted a coverage-area rating of 2.4 for the draft, up 14 percent from 2005.

    Top 10

    Rank Market (size*)
    Avg. rating/share
    Change from 2005
    1 Memphis (44)
    5.7/9
    +54.1%
    2 Louisville, Ky. (50)
    4.5/8
    -29.7%
    3 Cleveland (16)
    3.6/7
    +71.4%
    4t Hartford, Conn. (28)
    3.4/6
    +88.9%
    4t Indianapolis (25)
    3.4/6
    -12.8%
    6 Raleigh-Durham (29)
    3.3/6
    -44.1%
    7 Philadelphia (4)
    3.1/6
    +121.4%
    8 Charlotte (27)
    2.9/6
    -23.7%
    9 Atlanta (9)
    2.8/5
    +7.7%
    10 Detroit (11)
    2.7/5
    -27.0%

    Other NBA team markets

    Rank Market (size*)
    Avg. rating/share
    Change from 2005
    13t Washington, D.C. (8)
    2.5/5
    +31.6%
    13t Houston (10)
    2.5/4
    +47.1%
    15 Milwaukee (33)
    2.4/4
    -33.3%
    17 Dallas-Fort Worth (7)
    2.2/4
    +22.2%
    18t Oklahoma City (45)
    2.1/4
    -8.7%
    18t San Antonio (37)
    2.1/4
    -34.4%
    18t Orlando (20)
    2.1/3
    +75.0%
    23t New York (1)
    2.0/4
    0.0%
    23t Miami-Fort Lauderdale (17)
    2.0/3
    -23.1%
    26 Chicago (3)
    1.9/4
    0.0%
    28t Denver (18)
    1.7/4
    +6.2%
    28t Los Angeles (2)
    1.7/4
    -10.5%
    28t Portland (23)
    1.7/4
    -45.2%
    33t Minneapolis-St. Paul (15)
    1.6/4
    +6.7%
    37t Boston (5)
    1.4/3
    +27.3%
    40t Salt Lake City (36)
    1.3/4
    -53.6%
    46t Phoenix (14)
    1.1/3
    -45.0%
    46t Sacramento (19)
    1.1/3
    -35.3%
    46t Seattle (13)
    1.1/3
    -50.0%
    52 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose (6)
    0.9/3
    -59.1%
    NA New Orleans (43)
    NA
    NA

    * Market size ranking among all U.S. markets by number of TV households.
    NA: Not available
    Source: Nielsen Media Research
    Research by Katherine Johnson-Reid, SportsBusiness Daily

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  • Nielsen weekly sports ranking

    FOR THE WEEK OF 6/26/06 - 7/2/06

    DOUBLE COVERAGE: Univision’s coverage of the FIFA World Cup earned it four of network TV’s 10 most-watched sports programs between June 26 and July 2, but ABC drew the largest soccer audience of the week. Coverage of England-Portugal on July 1 simultaneously drew 3.6 million households on ABC and 1.8 million households on Univision. Fox’s Saturday night coverage of NASCAR’s Pepsi 400 ranked No. 1 for the week.

    Top 10 Network Sports Telecasts
    Rank Net. Program Date
    Rating
    Share
    Households Watching
    (000s)
    1 FOX NASCAR: NEXTEL CUP SERIES PEPSI 400 7/1
    5.1
    11
    5,569
    2 ABC WORLD CUP: ENGLAND-PORTUGAL 7/1
    3.3
    10
    3,627
    3 NBC GOLF: U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN (SUNDAY COVERAGE) 7/2
    3.1
    8
    3,364
    4 FOX MLB: FOX SATURDAY BASEBALL (REGIONAL COVERAGE) 7/1
    2.6
    7
    2,824
    5 UNI WORLD CUP: BRAZIL-FRANCE 7/1
    2.3
    6
    2,559
    6 UNI WORLD CUP: ARGENTINA-GERMANY 6/30
    1.6
    5
    1,786
    7 UNI WORLD CUP: ENGLAND-PORTUGAL 7/1
    1.6
    5
    1,764
    8 NBC GOLF: U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN (SATURDAY COVERAGE) 7/1
    1.6
    4
    1,725
    9 UNI WORLD CUP: BRAZIL-GHANA 6/27
    1.4
    5
    1,530
    10 NBC TENNIS: WIMBLEDON (EARLY ROUND PLAY) 7/1
    1.3
    4
    1,480


    TRIFECTA: ESPN posted nine of the week’s 10 most-watched sporting events on cable. The net’s Wednesday night NBA draft coverage averaged 2.2 million households. Its Saturday afternoon World Cup coverage of Brazil vs. France attracted 2.6 million households, the network’s biggest audience for a non-U.S. team game. The final game of the College World Series drew just under 2 million households on a Monday night.

    Top 10 Cable Sports Telecasts
    (RATING)
    Rank
    Net
    Program Date National Cov. Area Share
    Households Watching
    (000s)
    1 ESPN WORLD CUP: BRAZIL-FRANCE 7/1
    2.4
    2.9
    7
    2,598
    2 ESPN NBA DRAFT 6/28
    2.0
    2.4
    4
    2,201
    3 ESPN MLB: SUNDAY NIGHT BASEBALL: N.Y. METS-N.Y. YANKEES 7/2
    1.9
    2.3
    5
    2,118
    4 ESPN COLLEGE WORLD SERIES: UNC-OREGON ST. (CHAMP. GAME) 6/26
    1.8
    2.2
    4
    1,968
    5 ESPN WORLD CUP: ARGENTINA-GERMANY 6/30
    1.6
    2.0
    6
    1,807
    6 ESPN WORLD CUP: BRAZIL-GHANA 6/27
    1.6
    1.9
    6
    1,722
    7 ESPN WORLD CUP: SWITZERLAND-UKRAINE 6/26
    1.5
    1.9
    5
    1,705
    8 ESPN WORLD CUP: FRANCE-SPAIN 6/27
    1.4
    1.7
    5
    1,589
    9 FX NASCAR: BUSCH SERIES WINN-DIXIE 250 6/30
    1.4
    1.7
    3
    1,522
    10 ESPN WORLD CUP: AUSTRALIA-ITALY 6/26
    1.3
    1.6
    5
    1,455

    Rating — Estimated percent of all TV households of persons tuned to a specific program source. One ratings point equals 1,102,000 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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  • SFX foursome evolves into new company

    Four former executives from SFX Sports Group and SFX Media Group are expected to announce this week the formation of Evolution LLC. The company will be based in Manhattan and will feature two divisions: Evolution Media Talent and Evolution Management & Marketing.

    Rick Diamond and Seth Mayeri will lead the Media Talent division, while Josh Schwartz and Brian Samuels will head the Management & Marketing department.

    “We’re not just close colleagues, we are close friends,” Mayeri, 35, said. “There was no other way to do it. This is just what we wanted.”

    Diamond and Mayeri were able to bring over nearly all of their 80 to 100 clients from SFX. They represent talent in news and entertainment, and the biggest names who are now under the Evolution umbrella are CBS/Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis, ABC/ESPN’s Eric Wynalda and NBC’s Bud Collins.

    Before forming the company, Diamond and Mayeri first had to work out an agreement with SFX to keep their clients. Diamond described the process as “amicable.” Neither he nor Mayeri would give details about what they agreed upon.

    Diamond and Mayeri both broke into the business 13 years ago under Art Kaminsky at Athletes and Artists. They stayed with it as it transferred from the Marquee Group to SFX and then finally to Clear Channel, so they have gone from a small business to a conglomerate.

    “Now, here we are part of a small business again, so it is kind of like full-circle,” Diamond, 37, said. “Seth and I will continue to focus on representing media talent. Our partners, Josh and Brian, will handle talent marketing and other areas such as television production and development.”

    Is this the real game or the painstakingly
    reconstructed DirecTV ad? (It’s the former.)
    Recently, Samuels was the talent coordinator for Spike TV’s “Pros vs. Joes.” After helping to bring in the likes of Jerry Rice, Bo Jackson and John Rocker, Samuels was promoted to senior producer. Under the new Evolution umbrella, Schwartz will also play a part in producing “Pros vs. Joes.”

    The staff is currently “five and growing,” Diamond said, adding, “Our goal is to continue to build on what we did before but now in an environment where we are a small business, where we are our own bosses and [where] we can help [our clients] achieve their goals ourselves and not have to worry about corporate parents’ objections and things like that.”

    DIRECT-TD: In DirecTV’s new ad campaign, it appears that the Indianapolis Colts’ Peyton Manning is taking a moment from throwing a touchdown pass to discuss the merits of NFL’s “Sunday Ticket” package. While diehard fans will be able to tell what was staged and what was real, the shots are pretty seamless because the producers of the ad, Deutsch, Los Angeles, did not just place Manning in front of a blue Computer Generating Imagery screen.

    Instead, Deutsch rented out the RCA Dome and put Manning and his actual offensive linemen in the exact same position as when he threw the touchdown pass against the Tennessee Titans on Dec. 4 last year.

    “We spent a lot of time meticulously matching the angles and the cuts and the lighting to really replicate what was actually happening on the field,” said Eric Hirshberg, Deutsch L.A.’s president and chief creative officer.

    CAPITAL GAIN: After starting as a New York Knicks public relations intern 12 years ago, Eric Gelfand is leaving his position as vice president of MSG Networks and Sports Public Relations to join Sports Capital Partners. While Gelfand’s new title is undefined, he will oversee marketing and public relations for the group.

    “While I will miss the Garden dearly, this is an opportunity that I am extremely excited about and one that I am certainly looking forward to getting started,” Gelfand said.

    SCP is a collection of Madison Square Garden employees. Its leaders — Dave Checketts, Mike McCarthy and Ken Munoz — all have Garden ties.

    The group just bought the St. Louis Blues and the Savvis Center. It also owns the MLS Real Salt Lake.

    With their MSG Networks connections, it wouldn’t be surprising if SCP becomes a major player in television eventually.

    Andrew Marchand covers sports media for the New York Post.

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  • XOS, Digital Orchid target college fans through wireless

    XOS Technologies Inc. and wireless content developer Digital Orchid Inc. have agreed to a multiyear partnership designed to expand significantly the level of mobile offerings dedicated to college sports.

    The deal calls for the companies to develop content such as live and archived video and audio, in-game scoring, photo archives, and news feeds using XOS’s foothold in developing digital offerings for college athletic programs and Digital Orchid’s established base in creating and distributing content via wireless carriers.

    “There’s not really much out there for college fans right now,” said Bobby Betros, Digital Orchid co-founder and chief technology officer. “It’s way behind a lot of other properties. Your options right now are pretty much logos and fight songs, and a lot of them aren’t really very good quality ones at that. … There’s a lot of room to move forward in this space.”

    Financial terms were not disclosed, but similar arrangements in the mobile industry have often centered on revenue-sharing agreements. Specific mobile offerings, to be marketed primarily through colleges’ athletic Web sites and the content decks of mobile devices, will become available for the 2006 college football season with a similar push for basketball to follow.

    “Neither one of us are consumer-facing brands, but this was an area we needed to ramp up to really offer a one-stop solution,” said XOS Network President Nada Usina.

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