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Volume 24 No. 155
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Sports Broadcasters Judged On Case-By-Case Basis For Endorsement Deals

Plenty of sports media figures are "endorsing products these days," according to’s Richard Deitsch, who spoke with network execs, broadcasters and agents over the past three weeks “to gain insight into which on-air talent are allowed to endorse products and why.” Execs from each net interviewed (CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC) said that they “judged requests on a case-by-case basis, though Fox was far and away the most liberal when it came to green-lighting requests.” Fox Sports co-President & co-COO Eric Shanks said, "People give us the heads up on what they have been offered and then there are a few of us who discuss whether it is reasonable and does not negatively affect the schedule for the on-air talent, or negatively affect the Fox Sports brand." Shanks said that he “gets between 10 to 20 requests every year.” He added, "For the most part, we take a pretty liberal view because we like people to make a little extra scratch if they can." Deitsch noted one broadcaster who “has benefited financially from shifting from ESPN to Fox is Erin Andrews, who is clearly interested in being a product endorser.” But Shanks said that was “not a selling point in negotiations as Fox attempted to woo Andrews from ESPN.” He said, "We didn't use that as a selling point but I think it was a known fact."


Erin Andrews
Chris Berman
Cris Collinsworth
Western & Southern Financial
Bill Cowher
Time Warner Cable
Jay Glazer
Kirk Herbstreit
Allstate, Kellogg's
Jimmy Johnson
Jim Nantz
Papa John's, Sony
Tony Siragusa
Dick Vitale
Hooters, Wendy's
CASE BY CASE: CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus said, "We basically do it on a case-by-case basis." McManus estimated that he is “asked 25 times a year about endorsements and approves more than he turns down.” He said, “Generally speaking, we try to be relatively liberal with the opportunities." McManus was asked how he views Jim Nantz appearing in Papa John's and Sony ads with Broncos QB Peyton Manning, given Nantz “sometimes broadcasts Denver games.” McManus said, "We look at it carefully and if I thought that in any way it jeopardized his ability to be objective, I would not let him do it." NBC Sports Exec Producer Sam Flood said that his net also “made case-by-case decisions.” Flood: "We look at what the opportunity might be and see how it fits in with where we are and where that talent is."

NAVIGATING THE MARKET: ESPN Exec VP/Programming & Acquisitions John Wildhack said that the “many relationships ESPN has with pro leagues and college conferences, and the network's journalistic ambitions makes ESPN's decisions more challenging than the others.” Wildhack was asked “how he would respond to the assertion that there is a different standard for ex-athletes and coaches versus other talent when it came to endorsements.” He said, "There is some delineation between someone who is an analyst such as Kirk Herbstreit or Bob Knight and someone who is a SportsCenter anchor. Kirk and Bob are responsible for their commentary and thoughts on their individual sports but not necessarily reporting the news." Wildhack said that he “did not know how many endorsement opportunities had been rejected by ESPN management but he did say ESPN does not get a large number of requests.” He said that those who represent ESPN on-air talent “know where management stands on things such as taste or tone.” Wildhack: "They are not coming to us with things that are clearly off-brand" (, 6/9).