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Ken Rosenthal to ESPN? Here PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 27 December 2007 11:03

Ken RosenthalIt’s not often that a story that isn’t a story becomes one, yet here we are.

Glancing at The Biz of Baseball’s logs today sees a flurry of Google and Yahoo searches such as this…

Rosenthal+ESPN

Ken Rosenthal to ESPN

Rosenthal to leave Fox 

Ken Rosenthal, for the uninitiated, is a senior baseball writer and television analyst for FoxSports.

(Read The Biz of Baseball interview with Ken Rosenthal)

Could he be headed to the Worldwide Leader? Is there more shifting going on between media outlets?

To those that are searching, I asked him, “Is something up?”

“Nothing whatsoever,” Rosenthal said. “I'm strictly Fox and will be for the foreseeable future!”

Let any rumors be laid to rest.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

 
HBO Producing Movie on Barry Bonds PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 29 November 2007 08:23

Barry BondsRon Shelton, who has screenplay credits for Bad Boys II, The Great White Hype, and who has directed Tin Cup, and Cobb to name but a few, will be directing a film for HBO on Barry Bonds. As reported by Variety:

HBO Films has acquired rights to "Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO and the Steroids Scandal That Rocked Professional Sports," a book by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, the San Francisco Chronicle reporters who broke numerous stories about the nutrition company accused of distributing illegal steroids to athletes including Bonds, Oakland A's and New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi and Olympic gold medal sprinter Marion Jones.

Shelton will write the script with his “Tin Cup” writing partner John Norville as soon as the writers strike ends. The film will be exec produced by Ross Greenburg, the HBO Sports president who exec produced Roger Maris biopic “61*,” and Michael Greenburg (“Stargate SG-1”), who’s now exec producer of Score Prods.

Bonds was recently indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice charges for telling the 2003 BALCO grand jury that he did not knowingly use anabolic steroids. The indictment (read the full searchable PDF here) uses 19 excerpts of his testimony in 2003 as the basis for the indictment.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Joe Girardi and Jon Heyman Headed to WFAN PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 20 November 2007 09:25

Joe GirardiWith Joe Girardi now in the fold with the New York Yankees, the newest manager of the Bronx Bombers will be doing a weekly radio show on WFAN. Also, Jon Heyman will leave ESPN 1050 and head over to WFAN, as well. As reported by Neil Best of Newsday:

Friday, the station revealed it had hired Jon Heyman away from ESPN 1050, for whom he had spent the past five years offering insights and information.

Yesterday, it added Yankees manager Joe Girardi for the weekly in-season guest spot his predecessor filled for 12 seasons, ending speculation that he might land at 1050 with former YES partner Michael Kay.

Recall in other media news related to the Yankees, Tom Verducci was fired from YES for being critical of the Yankees and Joe Torre’s departure.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 

 
FSN NW and Seattle Mariners Extend TV Agreement PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 06 November 2007 11:57

Seattle MarinersFSN Northwest and the Seattle Mariners today announced a long-term rights agreement extension that solidifies FSN’s position as the Mariners exclusive television partner. A significant new element of the partnership will begin in 2008, when FSN will televise all available Mariners games (except games restricted by MLB national TV agreements), which will result in the network delivering exclusively a minimum of 150 game telecasts. Another important aspect of the agreement calls for FSN to produce significantly more Mariners games in high definition on FSN HD.

Mariners President Chuck Armstrong said, “FSN has been an excellent partner of the Mariners and sports fans of the Northwest since 1994. For several years, fans have asked that all of our games be televised, and this new package accomplishes that. We believe FSN’s regional coverage of Mariners Baseball has been an important connection to the community.”

(Read The Biz of Baseball interview with Chuck Armstrong)

Fans will benefit from additional new elements of the partnership, including:

Significantly More Mariners Games in High Definition (HDTV)

Beginning in 2008, the number of Mariners games produced in high definition on FSN HD will drastically increase, bringing the number of events annually on FSN HD to over 200.

FSN to Produce Mariners Spanish Audio for All Home Games

Ensuring Spanish-speaking fans in the region will be able to follow the Mariners, FSN has agreed to produce and distribute a Spanish audio feed of all home games. FSN will also make the Spanish language feed available to all of the network’s distribution partners on the Secondary Audio Programming (SAP) channel, and will work with the Mariners to grow a Spanish radio network.

“The extension of our partnership with the Mariners reaffirms FSN Northwest as the region’s leader in local sports and the primary destination for fans to turn to and follow their hometown teams,” said Senior Vice President and General Manager Mark Shuken. “We have solidified the strength of this network for years to come with the desired quantity of games, quality of partners and exclusive opportunities for programming. The Mariners have worked very hard to build a loyal following and we’re proud to be in the position to showcase this great organization across the region.”

The Mariners on FSN have traditionally garnered some of the highest ratings in all of baseball. In 2007, from April through September, Mariners telecasts on FSN were the highest–rated primetime programming in the Seattle DMA, beating all broadcast and cable competition, averaging a 9.0. Overall, FSN’s Mariners telecasts finished with an 8.2 rating in 2007, nearly a 40% increase from the 2006 season. For eight consecutive seasons, from 1996-2003, the Mariners led all MLB teams in television ratings. The Mariners also continue to be a strong product for FSN Northwest in Portland, averaging a 2.3 rating over the past three seasons.

Viewers will continue to receive the most extensive coverage of any MLB team, including:

Mariners Live Before and After Every Game.

Mariners Live gives fans 30 minutes of the latest insights and analysis on the Mariners and all of baseball leading in to the game, then at least an additional 30 minutes of fast-paced action with highlights and reaction from both clubhouses after the game.

Mariners All Access

FSN gets you behind the scenes with exclusive access you can't get anywhere else to learn more about every facet of the Mariners organization. For all of those moments that happen off the field, FSN presents Mariners All Access.

Mariners Nightly Spring Training Show

Nothing captures the excitement of baseball’s return like Spring Training, and FSN will bring that atmosphere into the homes of Mariners fans in the Northwest every night throughout the month of March with Mariners Nightly. FSN will provide 30 minutes of complete coverage every night from the Peoria Sports Complex, detailing the latest with the Mariners roster, providing tips for fans making the trip to Arizona and giving viewers the first look at the new and returning players.

Distribution to all five states in the Northwest region

Extending the Mariners coverage to viewers across the Northwest, FSN carries the telecasts to all of Washington, Oregon, and parts of Idaho, Montana, Alaska, and Canada. In all, Mariners telecasts will reach over 3.4 million homes.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Comcast Extends Hrs. in Boston Area for HDTV Access PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 26 October 2007 10:46

Boston Red SoxWith the Boston Red Sox in the World Series and High-Definition TVs growing in popularity, Comcast is responding to strong consumer demand for High-Definition (HD) cable boxes by announcing that it will extend hours at select Boston-area service centers on Saturday, October 27.

Though they typically close earlier on Saturdays, the following Comcast service centers in the Greater Boston area will have extended hours:

   Wilmington            Beverly                      Lynn

   2 Lowell Street        12 Tozer Road            26 Tremont St.

   Wilmington, MA        Beverly, MA                Lynn, MA

   Brockton             Taunton                            New Bedford

  90 Main Street      440 Myles Standish Blvd.    630 Mount Pleasant St.

   Brockton, MA      Taunton, MA                         New Bedford, MA

In addition, Comcast service centers in Cambridge, Allston, Dedham, Quincy and Needham are regularly open until late Saturday afternoon. HD boxes are also available at Connect stores, the retail locations opened jointly by Comcast and Circuit City, located in Burlington and Medford. Connect stores are open until 9 PM on Saturday as well as Sunday from 11 AM to 6 PM. In addition, Comcast is stocking up on HD equipment at its Natick Collection kiosk, which is open until 10 PM on Saturday.

"Watching a game in the crystal-clear clarity of High-Definition is the next best thing to actually sitting in the stands," said Paul D'Arcangelo, Vice President for Comcast's Metro Boston Region. "The Red Sox post-season has sent demand for HD service into high-gear and we're happy to meet that consumer demand by extending hours at select service centers for those who want to pick up an HD cable box."

The World Series is on FOX HD, which is carried by Comcast.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus.and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
World Series Game One TV Ratings a Massive Home Run PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 25 October 2007 10:24

2007 World Series on FOXLast night’s World Series Game One television ratings were a hit out of the ballpark when compared to last year’s World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers.

According to Nielsen Media Research, the game between the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies in an 11.8 rating, with a 19 share (A ratings point represents 1,114,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 111.4 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show), up 37.2 percent from the 8.6/15 overnight rating that Game One of the 2006 World Series drew.

This year sees the start of the World Series moved to a weekday to help in the ratings. Last year’s World Series started on a Saturday, historically the lowest rated day of the week for television.

(Source: Nielsen Media Research)


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus.and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
ALCS Game 7 Highest Rated LCS Game Since PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 23 October 2007 09:02

2007 ALCSSunday night’s ALCS Game 7 between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox was ratings gold for FOX as 19 million viewers and an 11.7/18 household rating and share tuned in to watch the game, making it the highest rated LCS since the Red Sox dramatically beat the Yankees to advance to the World Series in 2004. As reported by Mediaweek:

The entire seven-day Red Sox-Indians televised series on Fox produced an average of 11.6 million viewers per game and an average 7.4/13 household rating/share. That is up 49 percent over last year’s ALCS series in viewers and 37 percent in household ratings.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
MLB Reaches Agreement to Air World Series in China PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 22 October 2007 11:17

2007 World SeriesMajor League Baseball International (MLBI) and Shanghai Media Group (SMG) reached a groundbreaking, three-year agreement this season that has significantly increased exposure for Major League Baseball (MLB) in the People’s Republic of China. Through the agreement, a first-of-its-kind endeavor for MLBI with a local Chinese television partner, the 2007 World Series will be broadcast live in its entirety on Great Sports, the country’s leading cable sports channel.

Financial terms were not released. 

“As we continue our efforts to expand the game of baseball and the MLB brand in China, it is vital that we have the necessary partners in place to display the excitement of the game at its highest level,” said Paul Archey, Senior Vice President, International Business Operations, Major League Baseball. “This partnership with the Shanghai Media Group provides MLB with a greater platform to showcase its jewel events and deliver comprehensive coverage of the MLB season to a growing baseball nation.”

The agreement was launched in July with coverage of the 2007 All-Star Game and has continued throughout the second half of the 2007 Championship Season on a weekly basis with a China-specific edition of “This Week in Baseball.” Produced and aired by SMG, the show includes a weekly recap of MLB action and features segments entitled “Baseball Basics” and “Baseball in China” that highlight the most important elements of the game and provide viewers with in-depth coverage of the local baseball scene. “This Week in Baseball” will continue to run through the end of the postseason in its normal time slot on Fridays at 6:30 P.M. The World Series, MLB All-Star Game and “This Week in Baseball,” will air on Great Sports through 2009.

“As a leading professional sports channel, Great Sports is always delighted to work with giant international sports associations and organizations,” said Mr. Xu Sai, Chief Director of Great Sports Channel, SMG. “We are so pleased to be the long-term partner of MLB, one of the world’s largest sports leagues, and hope this cooperation will bring more exciting and wonderful sporting events to Chinese viewers.”

SMG will initiate its coverage of the 2007 World Series on Great Sports with Game One on Thursday, October 25 at 8:00 A.M. (Shanghai local time). Overall, the 2007 World Series will be broadcast in 229 countries and territories and in 13 different languages via the MLBI world feed.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
2007 ALCS TV Ratings By the Numbers (Games One-Four) PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 20 October 2007 07:01

2007 ALCSWhile the NLCS will go down as the lowest rated LCS in television history, the ALCS has been quite the opposite, posting sizable increases in viewership from last year’s ALCS between the Athletics and Tigers. The reasons show that, yet again, a large market, storied franchise, and star power draws in fans nationally. No, Tribes fans, we’re not talking the Cleveland Indians, we are of course talking about the Boston Red Sox.

As we head into today’s ALCS Game 6 (8pm ET on FOX. Schilling v. Carmona), here are the ratings for this year’s ALCS (Games One-Four. Game 5 ratings not yet available):

Game One (Fri., Oct. 12): 5.7 national household rating and 8.8 million viewers. Represents a 6% and 17% advances over Fox’s lone Saturday 2006 primetime LCS telecast—the third NLCS game between the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets, which produced a 4.9 mark and 7.5 million viewers. Cleveland's 13-6 win was the network’s best Saturday LCS primetime contest since 2004, according to Fox officials. The rating, though, was off 16% from 6.8 average for the second game of last year’s ALCS, which aired on a Wednesday night, when TV usage is 11% higher than Saturdays, according to the network. (Mediaweek)

Game Two (Sat., Oct. 13): 4.8 household rating and 7.4 million viewers, with the primetime portion (8 p.m. to 10-47 p.m. (ET), notching a 5.0 mark and 7.8 million watchers. That gave Fox its highest-rated, most-watched Friday night since the fifth game of last year’s World Series, between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers, which pulled a 9.1 rating and 14.1 million viewers, for the Redbirds’ clinching contest. (Mediaweek)

Game Three (Mon., Oct. 15): 6.6/11 fast national Nielsen rating (9.9 million viewers), up 78% and 98%, respectively, over the 3.7/9 and 5.0 million viewers for last year’s A’s-Tigers Game Three, which was played on a Friday afternoon. There was no MLB playoff game in the comparable Monday window last year. (Sports Business Daily)

Game Four (Tues., Oct. 16): 12.3 million viewers, and recorded an 8.2 household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

That represents 60 percent more viewers and a 58 percent higher household rating than last year’s ALCS Game 4 on Fox between the Oakland A’s and the Detroit Tigers, which was played on a Saturday afternoon. The game and pre-game show also scored a 3.8 rating in the 18-49 demo, highest for a prime time show in the 8-11 p.m. time period.

Overall: In total, the ALCS on Fox is averaging 9.5 million viewers and a 6.3 household rating, up 21 percent and 17 percent, respectively, over the comparable number of games in the A’s-Tigers series last year. (Mediaweek)


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.and is an available writer for other media outlets.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
Rock Bottom: Ratings for NLCS Low in Phoenix & Denver PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 17 October 2007 07:10

NLCSAs we’ve been reporting, based on the ratings for Games One through Three of the NLCS, TBS was going to see the lowest rated LCS in television history.

Now, with Game Four’s rating numbers in the mix, that projection is now fact.

The national average for the NLCS comes in at 2.8% of metered households.

And, to add to the national apathy, the games did not rate high on the local level. As Michael Hiestand of USA Today reports:

Worse yet, even the hometown fans weren't all that interested. TBS' NLCS games averaged 26.4% of TV households in Denver and 13.6% in Phoenix. That's down from last year's New York Mets-St. Louis Cardinals NLCS, which drew 31.3% in St. Louis and 15.8% in New York, which has more than twice as many households as Phoenix and Denver combined.

And last year's NLCS had more appeal in big cities. The markets in which it got its highest ratings (after St. Louis and New York) were No. 2 Los Angeles, No. 4 Chicago and No. 5 Philadelphia. TBS' top cities, after Denver and Phoenix: No. 47 Memphis, No. 27 San Diego and No. 43 Las Vegas.

David Levy, president of Turner Sports, which has a seven-year MLB deal, agrees game times weren't the problem — "it had nothing to do with times" — and cites one pivotal factor: "It was the teams."

Back to the national average rating of 2.8% what was comparable? As reported further:

In college football, ESPN's most recent coverage of the Emerald Bowl drew 3.7%, its Chick-Fil-A Bowl 4%. In golf, CBS' final-round telecast of the Nissan Open, Wachovia Championship and Bridgestone Invitational each drew 3.4%. And baseball this year got better ratings with ESPN's Home Run Derby (4.3%) and ABC's Little League World Series final (3.3%).

Tim Lemke of the Washington Times weighs in on the ratings as well today (Ratings Plunge for NLCS):

"The moving of the start times was an educated gamble to try and cater to the all-West matchup," said Maury Brown, [founder and president] of the Web site bizofbaseball.com and a contributor to Baseball Prospectus. "By shifting the times, televisions executives and MLB know that these two teams have had little coverage on the East Coast and therefore are looking to capture as much viewers as possible where they have had the most coverage — the West."

Brown, who resides in Portland, Ore., suggested the teams involved in the series played a bigger role in the ratings dip.

"The difficulty is that MLB — and professional sports as a whole — is a star-driven entertainment industry," he said. "The Diamondbacks and Rockies are not laced with stars, and therefore, even in the West, interest has been lukewarm at best, with Denver and Phoenix the possible exceptions."

So much for my "possible exceptions" comments as I had not seen the ratings at the time. When the numbers were published today, I was more than a bit surprised. 

TBS response to the ratings was that although the ratings for this NLCS was abysmal, the ratings will average out over the life of the agreement due to other markets being in the mix. Welcome to The Ratings Game.


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus.

He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.

 
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