SBJ/August 13 - 19, 2007/This Weeks News

SNY finds sports on NYC streets

SportsNet New York is taking to the streets of New York City for its first original series, “Street Games,” which will debut Sept. 12.

A Bronx stickball game and a bike messenger
race are featured in the first episode.

Described as “Wide World of Sports” meets the Big Apple, “Street Games” looks at non-mainstream sports played in the boroughs. The episodes will focus as much on the personalities of the athletes involved as the competition.

The first, “sneak peek” episode on Sept. 12 will feature a stickball game in the Bronx and a bike messenger race through the Bronx and Manhattan.

“You would never see this in another market,” said SNY President Steve Raab. “These are very neighborhood-based events with competitors that are out playing these things all day, every day.”

Pontiac has signed as the presenting sponsor with a deal in the mid-six figures.

SNY executives have thought about producing this type of show since the RSN’s launch in spring 2006. “If our position is about being the home for the New York sports fan, then we have to be in the community. We have to get out there in the right way,” Raab said.

If it’s successful, the series will fill a hole in the RSN’s programming lineup, which does not feature a professional team beyond the New York Mets.

SNY has scheduled the series to run 10 consecutive Thursdays at 7 p.m., starting Sept. 13. The Sept. 20 episode will air after the Mets-Marlins game that starts at 7 p.m.

Most of the half-hour episodes will feature two events. Kenan Harkin will host. Harkin also has hosted AST Dew Tour coverage on NBC and has competed in the X Games.

The network hired Ogilvy to come up with a marketing campaign that will focus on the tag line, “Street Games is our stadium.” The campaign will be conducted on-air and via bus shelters, phone kiosks, subway signage, billboards and print and radio spots. The network plans to launch an online component to the series via SNY’s Web site.

Other New York-centric activities will  include a roller derby in Queens, lawn bowling in Brooklyn, rugby in Manhattan and arm wrestling on Coney Island.

“Viewers don’t really care who wins or loses, just like on ‘Wide World of Sports’ we didn’t care who won the barrel-jumping competition,” Raab said. “A lot of the events we’re uncovering we never knew existed.”

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