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Volume 21 No. 2
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ESPN warms to moving its coverage indoors

If ESPN’s Seth Markman learned one thing from last year’s surprisingly frigid Super Bowl week in Texas — when an ice storm paralyzed Arlington and weeklong temperatures were stuck below freezing — it’s that he doesn’t want to see his host’s breath on camera anymore.

“I told everybody that our goal from the first day was that we don’t want to see their breath,” said Markman, ESPN’s senior coordinating producer who oversees all of ESPN’s NFL studio shows. “Let’s put them inside. Let’s make them warm. … We spent more money to do this. But I think it’s going to look really cool on television.”

Much of ESPN’s coverage from Indy will originate from a heated set on Pan American Plaza.
Photo by: ESPN
The result is a cold-weather strategy that has seen ESPN build a heated set on Indianapolis’ Pan American Plaza.
Markman would not say how much extra ESPN is spending on its set, which will look out over Lucas Oil Stadium and will resemble the “Today” show set — glass enclosed and heated. The crowd outside can watch and listen to the shows via JumboTrons placed in the plaza.

“I don’t think the viewers enjoy, necessarily, those guys sitting out there all bundled up with their breath coming through and their lips frozen,” Markman said. “We’re just trying to do the best shows possible with the best information and analysis.”

Mars (M&Ms) 30
Hyundai 30
Skechers (Gorun shoes) 30
H&M (David Beckham line) 30
Bridgestone 30
Century 21 30
Dannon Yogurt 30
Volkswagen (Beetle) 60
Bridgestone 30
Honda (CR-V compact crossover) 60
Relativity Media ("Act of Valor") 30
2nd Story Software (TaxACT program) 30
Hyundai 30
A-B InBev 4 min., 30 sec.
Acura --
Audi 60
BestBuy 30 30
Chrysler 60
Coca-Cola --
E*Trade 30
GM Five spots 30 30
History Channel ("Swamp People") 30
Kia (Optima Limited) 60
Lexus 30
Paramount Pictures --
PepsiCo (Doritos) 30
PepsiCo (Doritos) 30
PepsiCo (Pepsi Max) --
PepsiCo (Pepsi/X Factor winner) 30
Samsung --
Teleflora 30
Toyota (Camry) 30
Universal Pictures --
Walt Disney Pictures --

Note: Chart is intended to reflect only spots set to air during the actual game. Pregame, halftime and postgame spots are not included.
Source: Media reports, news releases, SportsBusiness Daily research

NBC holds the rights to the game, and plans to produce several shows from Indianapolis, including NBC Sports Network’s “NBC SportsTalk Live” and NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” all this week. NBC also plans to produce the “Today” show from Indianapolis on Friday and Saturday, plus programs from The Weather Channel, Telemundo and Golf Channel. One of NBC’s biggest initiatives will be a live, two-hour, town-hall-style “Costas Tonight,” which will be carried by NBC Sports Network on Thursday night.

ESPN does not hold rights to the Super Bowl, or any NFL playoff game, for that matter. But ESPN will have, by far, the biggest programming presence in Indianapolis with 110 live hours of programming for its television and radio stations from the host city.

Last year, ESPN expected warmer weather in North Texas and constructed outdoor sets. As a result, it had to scramble and move some of its shows, like “SportsNation” and “Mike and Mike,” to different locations.

“We should be worrying about doing television and content,” Markman said. “We spent too much time last year focused on logistics, weather, how we’re getting where we’re getting. To be honest with you, nobody at home really cares about that.”

ESPN typically starts scouting locations for its Super Bowl sets about 18 months before the game. Markman already has been active in New Orleans and plans to start scouting locations in New York by the fall.

In New York, Markman expects to find a spot in Manhattan, or at least a place with a view of the skyline. ESPN also will have a set at the stadium. “That’s a totally different scenario than we’re used to doing,” Markman said. “Now, we’re talking about a cold weather city and a cold weather stadium. We’ve never had that.”

From its set in Pan Am Plaza, ESPN is planning a series of Super Bowl-themed specials to run in the 3-4 p.m. time slot.
On Monday and Tuesday this week, it will feature “The Insiders” with NFL reporters Chris Mortensen, Adam Schefter and John Clayton. On Wednesday at 3 p.m., Mike Tirico is hosting a one-hour show dedicated to safety in the NFL.

“The one tricky part about the Super Bowl is that there’s 30 fan bases that aren’t overly interested in the results of the Super Bowl,” Markman said. “We’re always careful to make sure we’re still covering the entire league and not just spending all of these hours talking about two teams all week.”

On Thursday, ESPN will have “Monday Night Football’s” look ahead to the Super Bowl with Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski. And on Friday, it will produce a “champions” show, featuring all analysts who have won a Super Bowl ring on set.

ESPN will have a four-hour “Sunday Countdown” on Super Bowl Sunday, but it has to end by 2 p.m. because that’s when the Super Bowl broadcaster’s window of exclusivity starts.

2011 XLV Fox 46.0 111,010 Packers-Steelers
2010 XLIV CBS 45.0 106,476 Saints-Colts
2009 XLIII NBC 42.0 98,732 Steelers-Cardinals
2008 XLII Fox 43.1 97,448 Giants-Patriots
2007 XLI CBS 42.6 93,184 Colts-Bears
2006 XL ABC 41.6 90,745 Steelers-Seahawks
2005 XXXIX Fox 41.1 86,072 Patriots-Eagles
2004 XXXVIII CBS 41.4 89,795 Patriots-Panthers
2003 XXXVII ABC 40.7 88,637 Buccaneers-Raiders
2002 XXXVI Fox 40.4 86,801 Patriots-Rams
2001 XXXV CBS 40.4 84,335 Ravens-Giants
2000 XXXIV ABC 43.3 88,465 Rams-Titans
1999 XXXIII Fox 40.2 83,720 Broncos-Falcons
1998 XXXII NBC 44.5 90,000 Broncos-Packers
1997 XXXI Fox 43.3 87,870 Packers-Patriots
1996 XXX NBC 46.0 94,080 Cowboys-Steelers
1995 XXIX ABC 41.3 83,420 49ers-Chargers
1994 XXVIII NBC 45.5 90,000 Cowboys-Bills
1993 XXVII NBC 45.1 90,990 Cowboys-Bills
1992 XXVI CBS 40.3 79,590 Redskins-Bills
1991 XXV ABC 41.9 79,510 Giants-Bills
1990 XXIV CBS 39.0 73,852 49ers-Broncos
1989 XXIII NBC 43.5 81,590 49ers-Bengals
1988 XXII ABC 41.9 80,140 Redskins-Broncos
1987 XXI CBS 45.8 87,190 Giants-Broncos
1986 XX NBC 48.3 92,570 Bears-Patriots
1985 XIX ABC 46.4 85,530 49ers-Dolphins
1984 XVIII CBS 46.4 77,620 Raiders-Redskins
1983 XVII NBC 48.6 81,770 Redskins-Dolphins
1982 XVI CBS 49.1 85,240 49ers-Bengals
1981 XV NBC 44.4 68,290 Raiders-Eagles
1980 XIV CBS 46.3 76,240 Steelers-Rams
1979 XIII NBC 47.1 74,740 Steelers-Cowboys
1978 XII CBS 47.2 78,940 Cowboys-Broncos
1977 XI NBC 44.4 62,050 Raiders-Vikings
1976 X CBS 42.3 57,710 Steelers-Cowboys
1975 IX NBC 42.4 56,050 Steelers-Vikings
1974 VIII CBS 41.6 51,700 Dolphins-Vikings
1973 VII NBC 42.7 53,320 Dolphins-Redskins
1972 VI CBS 44.2 56,640 Cowboys-Dolphins
1971 V NBC 39.9 46,040 Colts-Cowboys
1970 IV CBS 39.4 44,270 Chiefs-Vikings
1969 III NBC 36.0 41,660 Jets-Colts
1968 II CBS 36.8 39,120 Packers-Raiders
1967 I CBS 22.6 26,750 Packers-Chiefs
1967 I NBC 18.5 24,430 Packers-Chiefs

Note: Super Bowl I was simulcast       Source: Nielsen