Word began filtering into The Biz of Baseball late last week that the Texas Rangers had inked a television contract extension with Fox Sports Southwest. When asked for a contract that might be good to compare to, I cited the Mariners deal with Fox Sports Northwest in 2007, a 12-year deal well in excess of $400 million.
According to the USA Today reporter, three sources within baseball say it is a 20-year, $3 billion dollar deal that would make it the most lucrative local television deal for a team that does not own its own regional sports network.
There are some questions as to whether the numbers are quite right. Multiple attempts to get Chuck Greenberg to respond have gone unreturned, and some have said that the figures could be off – possibly wildly.
But, given the leveraging power of the moment, the extension figure is possible. According to Nightengale, the deal was brokered shortly after the Rangers were auctioned off to the Greenberg-Nolan Ryan group. During the auction process, News Corp (FOX) considered bidding for the club over concerns of a RSN being created by Mark Cuban. As I’ll report further for FanGraphs tomorrow, FOX may have been worried about a Rangers RSN, period, regardless of the owner.
TBS, the television home of all four of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Division Series and the American League Championship Series (ALCS) this year, is taking no chances on leveraging the New York market. On Monday the network kicked off the “Never Miss a Moment” marketing campaign with a unique partner: MTA New York City Transit. The campaign will feature an elaborate Times Square/Grand Central Shuttle subway takeover, with first-ever sponsored video screen footage and sports-themed head-to-toe wrapped design, all driving awareness for TBS’s exclusive coverage of the Division Series starting Oct. 6, followed by the ALCS on Oct. 15.
Riders of the Times Square/Grand Central Shuttle will see campaign materials entering the subway station and spot one of TBS’s subway dioramas, or ride inside a branded subway car designed to capture the look and feel of a baseball stadium. Some of Major League Baseball’s most popular players like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Evan Longoria, Joe Mauer and Cliff Lee, will adorn the fully-wrapped interior and exterior design of the subway cars. Riders will also experience video screens within the subway car, featuring up-to-date information on matchups.
To launch the marketing campaign, Turner Sports, MLB, CBS Outdoor, and the MTA will host a press event today at Grand Central Station in New York City , featuring Turner Sports Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Lenny Daniels and MLB Executive Vice President, Business Tim Brosnan, along with TBS analysts Cal Ripken, Ron Darling and David Wells. Attendees will have the opportunity to check out the redesigned Time Square Shuttle and interact with the TBS announcers and executives, as it is all unveiled to subway riders.
“Postseason in New York is always a big moment for sports fans, and this is an opportunity to excite the local fan base and launch a campaign that highlights iconic players in local markets,” said Christina Miller, senior vice president, Turner Sports Strategy/Marketing/Programming.
“As people are commuting home and making decisions on what to do with their evening, Turner will reach millions of potential viewers in a creative way with messages about the excitement of the Postseason,” said Brosnan.
“The MTA is creating new, dynamic advertising opportunities utilizing the latest technology to both increase ad revenue and communicate better with our customers,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder. “Inviting advertisers to “wrap” entire trains and the use of digital displays will generate a buzz among customers and advertisers alike.”
"We're very pleased to be working with Turner and the MTA in this creative out-of-home campaign promoting Major League Baseball," said Jodi Senese, Executive Vice President, Marketing, CBS Outdoor. "Utilizing both traditional transit messaging with more advanced digital signage, like video screens in the subway cars, CBS Outdoor has crafted a unique, lively promotion that demands your attention."
TBS’s marketing campaign will extend beyond New York City to the national baseball community. The network’s multiplatform marketing campaign surrounding its exclusive MLB Postseason coverage will include a presence on national television, national radio, print advertisements in USA Today and Sports Illustrated, online promotion on Yahoo! MLB as well as across social media outlets, including Facebook and Twitter, and digital out-of-home billboards, spot television/spot cable ads, and radio traffic sponsorships in select target markets. The micro site, www.MLB.com/TBSHotCorner will feature dedicated footage and information for Postseason coverage. In addition, TBS is teaming up with Kid Rock to create an exclusive full length video featuring his soon-to-be released song “Born Free.” The video, which debuted earlier this month in National CineMedia theatres, includes exclusive footage from a recent concert outside of the singer’s hometown of Detroit , Mich. The song will be used throughout TBS’ marketing campaign for its MLB Postseason coverage including shorter versions of the video which began running earlier this month. It will also be used as a secondary theme throughout the network’s coverage, serving as the primary musical bed to enhance the network’s broadcast elements.
The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced that Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will return to the broadcast booth for an unprecedented 62nd season in 2010, calling all Dodger home games and those road games against National League West Division opponents.
“I’m just honored and humbled to continue my association with the Dodgers, which has been a major part of my life,” said Scully.
Scully’s 61 years of service constitute the longest tenure of any broadcaster in sports history. While he handles all nine innings of the team's television broadcasts on PRIME TICKET and KCAL 9, the first three innings of each of his games are also simulcast on KABC 790 AM.
“I'm as thrilled as our fans that Vin will be returning,” said Dodger Owner Frank McCourt. “He is not only the greatest broadcaster of all time, but also a wonderful friend."
With accolades far too numerous to detail, Scully’s crowning achievement came nearly 30 years ago when he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
Scully began his baseball broadcasting career in 1950, and since then has gone on to call three perfect games, 19 no-hitters, 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games. He was also at the microphone for Kirk Gibson’s miraculous Game 1 homer in the 1988 World Series, Hank Aaron’s record-setting 715th home run, Barry Bonds’ record-breaking 71st, 72nd and 73rd home runs and the scoreless-inning streaks’ of Dodger greats Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser.
When Scully first began broadcasting, the Dodgers had yet to win a single World Series. Gasoline cost 27 cents a gallon, a postage stamp was just three cents and the minimum wage was only 75 cents per hour. Three years later, at the age of 25, he became the youngest person to ever broadcast a World Series game and in 1955, he had his most memorable moment behind the microphone, as he called the Dodgers' first and only championship in Brooklyn.
The following season, Scully once again found himself in the enviable position of calling what he would later say was the greatest individual performance he had seen -- Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series.
The thought may be too much to bear for some fans, but the announcement could come today. Vin Scully, the iconic voice of the Dodgers since 1958 will make his plans known on retiring before today’s game at Dodger Stadium against the Reds.
"I know what I am going to do and I would imagine the Dodgers will arrange things so an announcement can be made before [Sunday's] game,'' said Scully to the Los Angeles TImes, who will be 83 before the start of next season. "I'd like to do that so everyone hears it at the same time. It's the proper way to do it.''
The broadcast legend said he would finish out this season and announce his plans for 2011 then. He said before this season started that he wanted to part of any farewell tour when the time did come for retirement.
Scully has been on rolling one-year contracts, and that while he still loves the game, it has become increasingly difficult for him over the years. He no longer travels with the team to call games any further east of the Rockies.
Two games last night that could highlight playoff matchups in a little over a month had ratings records for three FOX regional sports networks. The Cardinals-Reds and Yankees-Rangers games on Tues. night saw ratings wins for FS Midwest, FS Ohio, and FS Southwest, according to the SportsBusiness Daily’s “Closing Bell”.
In the St. Louis market, the Cardinals-Reds matchup earned a 17.6 local rating, marking the highest-rated event ever on FS Midwest. It marked the second-highest rated regular season telecast for the club in the last two years, as well, “behind only the 20-inning game against the Mets on April 17, which earned an 18.3 rating on KTVI-Fox.” According to the SBD, “The Reds-Cardinals game also set a Reds record on FS Ohio, earning a 10.8 local rating in Cincinnati. The previous high for a Reds game was against the Phillies on July 8, which earned a 10.7 local rating.” The game saw a bench-clearing brawl breakout before the first pitch was thrown.
In the Dallas-Ft. Worth market, last night’s 10 inning thriller 4-3 game between the Yankees and the Texas Rangers from the Ballpark in Arlington set an all-time ratings record for FS Southwest, an 8.0 local rating. According to the SBD, “The game beats the previous record of a 6.9 rating for a game against the Angels on Sept. 16, 1998. Yankees-Rangers was also the No. 1 rated program in Dallas-Ft. Worth on Tuesday.”
The game between the Yankees and Rangers saw a walk-off single off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 10th by David Murphy.
My suggestion? Eateggplant calzone and wear cotton instead polyester for this.
TBS will celebrate the life of George Steinbrenner with a full week of classic Seinfeld episodes featuring Larry David as the legendary New York Yankees owner. The 10-episode collection will air Monday,July 19 – Friday, July 23, at 7 and 7:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The week will kick off with “The Opposite,” the fifth-season finale in which George Costanza (Jason Alexander) lands a job with the Yankees. The tribute will close out with “The Muffin Tops” episode, in which George loses his job when Steinbrenner trades him for new chicken concessions at Yankee Stadium.
Monday, July 19
7 p.m. - “The Opposite” – George convinces Steinbrenner to give him a job.
7:30 p.m. - “The Secretary” – George finds out Steinbrenner’s secretary makes more than he does.
Tuesday, July 20
7 p.m. - “The Race” – George heads to Cuba to recruit baseball players for Steinbrenner.
7:30 p.m. - “The Wink” – Steinbrenner lists all the people he’s fired over the years.
7 p.m. - “The Hot Tub” – Steinbrenner convinces George that a hot tub is the perfect way to relieve stress.
7:30 p.m. - “The Caddy” – George’s father (Jerry Stiller) confronts Steinbrenner about a traded player.
Thursday, July 22
7 p.m. - “The Calzone” – Steinbrenner gets the idea to put Yankees clothes in a pizza oven.
7:30 p.m. - “The Nap” – George’s napping habits at work lead Steinbrenner to think he has ESP.
Friday, July 23
7 p.m. - “The Millennium” – George does everything he can to get fired, but Steinbrenner loves what he does.
7:30 p.m. - “The Muffin Tops” – George’s relationship with the Yankees finally ends when Steinbrenner trades him.
Ratings for the 81th MLB All-Star Game in Anaheim were the lowest ever based on fast overnight numbers for the telecast. The game drew a 7.5 national overnight rating down from a previous low of 8.1 for the “Mid-Summer Classic” in 2005 and down 17.5 percent from last year’s game from St. Louis where it drew a 8.9 overnight rating.
In an odd twist, the Los Angeles market added a considerable drag on the ratings where it drew an anemic 8.6 rating. By comparison, the St. Louis market topped all with a 22.8 rating, according to FOX Sports. Last year, the 2009 All-Star Game from St. Louis drew a 22.8 rating in the home market.
The camera with the cameras. This stand for the Home Run Derby has the standard camera on the bottom, and dual 3D cameras on top.
The future is here at Monday night's MLB Home Run Derby. Pictured above is the camera that ESPN uses for much of the event, looking in at the batter over the shoulder of the pitcher. The twist this year is ESPN is broadcasting the event in 3D. The dual cameras on the top are the 3D units for the broadcast. One wonders just how long before they get drilled by a lazer line drive.
Baseball in three dimensions is no longer limited to a live in stadium experience. The Associated Press reports that both last night and this afternoon's games at Safeco Field in Seattle are the first regional broadcasts of MLB games in 3D.
"This is a great opportunity for the Mariners to participate in the first-ever regional 3D telecast of a Major League Baseball game here at Safeco Field," said Randy Adamack, Vice President of Communications for the Seattle Mariners. "Just a few years ago we worked with FSN to provide a handful of games in HD. Now that HD has grown to nearly 50% of the TV universe, we are able to get a glimpse of the next generation of televised baseball."
The historic 3D broadcasts will be made available to DIRECTV HD customers on DIRECTV's n3D, Powered by Panasonic channel, and other affiliates within the FSN Northwest and YES distribution areas, which includes the entire states of Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, parts of Montana and Idaho, all of New York State and Connecticut, north and central New Jersey, and northeast Pennsylvania.
In addition to DIRECTV, Comcast (Washington) will deliver the event on alternate channel 897 and fans with Time Warner Cable in Eastern Washington can watch the game on channel 100. Other carriers may take part in the historic event as well. Customers of these distributors will need to subscribe to the 3D service, have a 3D television and have the appropriate 3D glasses for their television in order to view the 3D telecasts.
Fans at Safeco Field for the games also have the opportunity to take part in these telecasts through a public viewing experience being staged at the ballpark. Panasonic has provided a 3D monitor and glasses at a special viewing location at the "Outdoor Corner Picnic Patio" on the upper concourse.