SBJ/20100607/This Week's News

FSN adds playlists to its playbook

Fox Sports Net has developed a strategy to use popular music acts in its on-air promos as a way to bring a younger audience to its live sports telecasts.

In March, FSN started a campaign on its regional networks incorporating the O.A.R. song “This Town” into its on-air marketing and promotional campaign. The campaign combines shots from an O.A.R. concert with highlights from FSN’s MLB, NBA and NHL games.

The promos all are locally produced and typically cut to crowd shots featuring fans holding “This Town” signs.

FSN also has used a song from The Beach Girl5 around the Pac-10 basketball tournament. It is in deep negotiations to use an artist from Capitol Records for its college football telecasts. And it’s a couple of months away from signing a deal with a “mega star” for its NBA telecasts.

FSN began working “This Town” by
O.A.R. into its promos in March.

“This is all about taking music and building brands around our games,” said Chris Hannan, FSN’s senior vice president of marketing. “This elevates our brand and status. When you can get the biggest artists, it helps you reach younger audiences.”

FSN is not the first TV network to market musicians this way. ESPN has had deals like this in place for years, featuring acts like Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, the Dave Matthews Band and, even, O.A.R.

FSN is newer to the idea. In the past, it paid relatively small fees to license music that it would use on-air. Under terms of the new deal, no money changes hands, though Hannan said FSN may look to attach sponsors to the videos.

“The music industry has changed so much. It’s archaic to solely rely on that license fee. You might be left behind,” Hannan said. “We’re offering hundreds of thousands of dollars in exposure. We’re providing marketing and advertising for the music industry.”

Hannan said he is using MTV as his model, adding that his regional sports networks could become an established home for music videos.

“Live games can be the future of music videos,” he said. “We can create a music video platform around our live games. We can offer unbelievable exposure and reach from our viewers.”

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