SBJ/July 2-8, 2012/Events and Attractions

Fox uses big-event promo strategy for All-Star

On an episode of the Fox prime-time show “So You Think You Can Dance” last week, the show’s host and dancers referred to MLB’s All-Star Game. Two of the judges wore All-Star Game caps.

For Fox Sports co-president Eric Shanks, the episode was the best example of the marketing plan Fox has put in place around the July 10 game: the most extensive promotional push the broadcaster has ever put behind the All-Star Game.

“We’re starting to coalesce about how to make big events bigger,” Shanks said, referring to Peter Rice, Fox Networks Group chairman of entertainment, and John Landgraf, FX Networks president and general manager.

The push includes promos in other Fox entertainment shows, including “Family Guy,” “House,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Bones.” It also includes a 30-second roadblock across most of Fox’s networks just before 8 p.m. ET on July 10 that alerts viewers to the start of the game. Fox News, FX, Speed, Big Ten Network, Fuel TV, Fox Soccer, Fox Soccer Plus and FoxSports.com have committed to be part of the roadblock.

Reminders of the All-Star Game will pop up on all Fox channels throughout the week leading up to the game.
All of Fox’s live events, including UFC matches, NASCAR races and soccer games, are carrying billboards that say, “Presented by the MLB All-Star Game.”

Fox will add All-Star Game watermarks to its prime-time shows this week, and it’s concluding this week a commitment that started June 11 to run more than 1,500 promos across all Fox Sports Media Group networks, plus FX, Fox News, Fox Business, National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild.

Fox shot 10 10-second “bumpers” with MLB players that began running on Fox last week. One shows clips of Nigel Lythgoe, a judge from “So You Think You Can Dance,” offering over-the-top criticisms of dancers, followed by the New York Mets’ David Wright saying, “Nigel’s a tough one, huh? I’m just glad he’s not an umpire.” The video cuts to an All-Star Game logo with a voice-over that says, “The MLB All-Star Game on Fox.”

“Whether it is a sports property or an entertainment property, the way to make those really big events expand outside their genre and become cultural events requires the entire company to get behind it,” Shanks said. “There’s so much noise out there with 300 channels. You can’t break through that noise all on your own.”

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