FOX/ESPN HARD AT WORK SELLING AD TIME FOR NHL BROADCASTS
Fox Sports is "out once again trying to sell its inaugural
NHL package," according to the current issue of INSIDE MEDIA.
Although the network declines to comment on sales, sources say
that Fox has sold almost half of its inventory. Soft drink,
computer, and telecommunications company categories "are being
targeted." Although the network has landed "one major deal" with
Chrysler, other ad agency execs "are squawking about Fox's
sizable price tags, and they're threatening to take a pass on
hockey." Asking prices range from $35-60,000 per 30-second spot
for regular-season and playoff telecasts. One sports media
buyer: "It's more expensive than the freakin' NBA." Sales should
be helped by "an already tight second-quarter marketplace.
Still, the network has a way to go to reach sell-out"
(Brockington & Reynolds, INSIDE MEDIA, 2/28 issue).
ESPN'S NHL SPOTS: ESPN and ESPN2 are "extremely well sold
during the regular season," according to Jack Bonanni, Senior
VP/Ad Sales at ESPN. The network's NHL cost per minutes are
cheaper than Fox, and Bonanni said "fortunately, our sponsors
stayed with us (during the lockout); no one got out." Among the
advertisers with a strong presence on the hockey cablecasts are
Visa, Dodge, Miller Brewing, A-B (Bud Ice), MCI, Nike, and
Heineken. A select list of sponsors have been "afforded the
opportunity to run spots on both ESPN and ESPN2" (INSIDE MEDIA,
FROZEN FOODS: Fox ran a promo ad with the Canucks' Pavel
Bure during last night's "Melrose Place," to promote its NHL
telecasts in April. Bure explains the fine points of shooting by
hitting frozen foods with his stick ("Melrose Place," Fox,
2/27). This morning's TORONTO STAR chronicles the making of the
Fox info-spots. Fox VP/Creative Dir George Greenberg on the
featured NHL players: "They're beginning to realize how big the
game is getting and what big stars they can become. We're just
asking them to come out of their shells a little bit. The onus
is on us to bring out their personalities" (TORONTO STAR, 2/28).