Disney CFO Jay Rasulo on Thursday said that there "won't be a contest to unseat ESPN's position" as the leader in sports TV. Rasulo: "There may well be a very fierce battle for a distant No. 2. People are going to spend a lot of money for rights, but they are going to end up a distant No. 2." He added ESPN is "one of the most predictable businesses." MEDIA POST's Wayne Friedman noted 70% of the net's affiliate deals "are done in eight- to-10-year pacts." Rasulo said that a "little more than 30% of its revenue comes from advertising sales." Meanwhile, Rasulo said, "In an a la carte world, consumers will wind up paying more for less available content. ... If you look at ESPN's subscribers over the last two years, there has not been a net change" (MEDIAPOST.com, 5/30).
LEFT TURNS: The AP's Jenna Fryer noted TNT beginning with coverage of the June 9 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Party In The Poconos 400 will "attempt to give fans a backstage pass" as it showcases one driver per week in a pre-race segment titled "All Access." It could "make for compelling television as teams are generally hesitant to give too much of a glimpse of their preparations for risk of revealing strategy." Turner Sports Senior VP/Production Craig Barry said that TNT is "aware teams could find the process invasive as cameras follow them for a week." But he said, "We were very forthcoming in telling them what we expected, and giving them examples of what we were looking for" (AP, 5/30).
MIND FOR THE MIC: In Columbus, Bob Hunter asks with play-by-play announcer George Matthews "stepping out of the radio booth, will the Blue Jackets finally add a commentator with NHL coaching or playing experience?" The presence of President of Hockey Operations John Davidson "suggests the team may." Davidson had a "successful career as a broadcaster before moving into hockey management." Former Blue Jackets players Andrew Cassels and Jody Shelley "spring to mind to pair with Bob McElligott, who will slide over from the commentator’s chair to handle play-by-play" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 5/31).
ROPE-A-DOPE? Austria-based CAMCAT, which operated the aerial camera rig for Fox Sports during Sunday's Coca-Cola 600, said that it would "know by next week at the latest what caused the rope attached to a TV camera to break." CAMCAT CEO Alexander Brozek said that workers "dismantling the system Sunday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway determined none of the mechanical parts of the camera or pulley system caused the rope to break" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/31).