BrandDunk

Branding the World of Sports

Posts Tagged ‘ESPN’

Who can compete with ESPN?

Posted by ZA on January 19, 2011

The FCC may have just unleashed the most viable option to compete against “the Worldwide Leader”.  NBC Universal and Comcast have the resources to go compete with the boys in Bristol.  But rather than me telling you about it, go read this excellent blog post from Dan Shanoff on how NBC Sports Network is setup to try to challenge ESPN.

If NBC Comcast is able to do some of the things Shanoff suggests, then we as fans win.  Because as great as ESPN is, they’ll be much better with competition.  They are “the Worldwide Leader” but I want to have a second option that is just as good.  I want to see Sunday Night Football quality broadcasts brought to more sports.  Now that NBC and Comcast are rolling up their sleeves, that might come very soon.

Posted in ESPN, Internet, NBC, Sports Television | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

ESPN will help NBA avoid a lockout

Posted by ZA on January 17, 2011

A good article in Ad Age by sports marketing guru, Rich Thomaselli, about the effects of an NBA lockout.  The article details who has the most to lose if the NBA does have a lockout next season.  There is $1 billion worth of television ad revenue at stake, much of that coming from ESPN.  One of the best points in the article is about how ESPN & Turner will fill open time slots in their TV schedules, if there is a lockout.  Thomaselli points out that ESPN doesn’t have NHL programming to fill open spots like they did during the NBA lockout in 1999.

That surely has got ESPN execs in Bristol nervous about the possibility of this lockout happening.  I mean it’s one thing for them to fill their Monday Night Football time slot if the NFL has a lockout, that is one night a week.  It would be something much greater for ESPN to have to find quality programming to fill multiple days of their week in place of their NBA broadcasts.  ABC would be scrambling as well to fill in holes, which would be especially painful since they just recorded their highest ratings ever for their Christmas Day NBA broadcasts.

So what happens to avert an NBA lockout?  I think the folks at the Worldwide Leader get involved to help negotiations. They will of course say they play no role in league versus labor issues, but they do.  ESPN is a brand maker, they can take a player and make him rich just by giving him the exposure that “Madison Avenue” craves.  So you better believe that ESPN has the ear of the players and their agents.  ESPN also works with the league to set the broadcast schedules and each owner knows the more his team is on TV the higher the value of his franchise climbs.  So in the end, I think ESPN helps the NBA to keep playing without a lockout.

If you are ESPN, it’s good to be the king.

Posted in ESPN, NBA, Sports Television | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

What will FOX pay to broadcast the Olympics?

Posted by ZA on May 5, 2010

Variety reports that Fox is planning to make a “major run” at securing the rights to broadcast the 2014 Olympics (Sochi) and 2016 Olympics (Rio).  Fox would need to knock off incumbent broadcast partner, NBC, in order to land the Olympics.  NBC has been the television partner for the Olympics since 2000, but have said they lost money to broadcast the most recently Vancouver Olympics.  Fox is rumored to have bid much less than NBC (half is the reported number) for broadcast rights to ’08 & ’10 Olympics.

So how much will Fox bid on rights to the ’14 & ’16 Olympics? My guess is they bid somewhere in the $750 million range for each, which is well below the current broadcast rights on Olympics.  NBC will lay out close to $2 billion dollars for the rights to broadcast the ’10 Olympics and 2012 London Olympics (chart of broadcast rights paid on Olympics).  So the natural questions are why would Fox bid an amount lower than what it costs today?  And does Fox stand a chance to win the broadcast rights for the Olympics?

I think Fox bids $750 million (-ish) for each of Sochi & Rio because that’s what they think they are worth.  No network in their right mind should think that Sochi & Rio are going to have the revenue potential as London (2012) and Beijing (2008).  So Fox’s bid will be closer to what NBC paid in Athens ($793 million) and Sydney (Sydney $705 million) earlier this decade.  And it’s possible that Fox (and others) bid even lower on the 2014 Olympics, because Winter Games do not sell as well in the United States and Sochi isn’t a name destination.

I think Fox will have a shot, but probably loses out to NBC or ABC/ESPN.  NBC has made the Olympics their thing, so I think it’s worth it to them to bid more just so they can continue to be the “Olympic Network”.  ESPN is a sports media juggernaut 365 days a year, so they would have the potential to market the Olympics in a way we’ve never seen.  It just seems those two networks should want the Olympic broadcast rights more, so I think ultimately Fox’s bid will fall short.

Posted in ESPN, Fox, NBC, Olympics, Sports Television | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

ESPN voted most innovative sports company

Posted by ZA on February 23, 2010

FastCompany just released its 2010 top 10 list of the Most Innovative Sports Companies and the Worldwide Leader in Sports, ESPN, was at the top of the list.  Below is the top 10 list and here is a link to the full article.

Top 10 Most Innovative Sports Companies (by FastCompany)
1. ESPN
2. Indian Premier League (IPL)
3. Sportvision
4. MLB Advanced Media
5. AEG
6. Populous (formerly: HOK Sports)
7. Cleveland Cavaliers
8. Turner Sports Interactive
9. Cisco Systems
10. Spyder

[Assist: SportsBusinessDaily]

Posted in Internet, Sports Brands | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Who are the best announcers in football?

Posted by ZA on November 20, 2009

The Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily have published their list of the top 25 football announcers for 2009.  The list includes football commentators from both college football and the NFL.  Twelve panelists from the SBJ & SBD rated the announcers to produce the rankings.

Top 25 Best Football Annoucers for 2009:
1. Gary Danielson – CBS
2. Cris Collinsworth – NBC
3. Al Michaels – NBC
4. Phil Simms – CBS
5. Kirk Herbstreit – ABC/ESPN
6. Troy Aikman – Fox
7. Ron Franklin – ABC/ESPN
8. Verne Lundquist – CBS
9. Joe Buck – Fox
10. Jim Nantz – CBS
11. Mike Tirico – ESPN
12. Brad Nessler – ABC/ESPN
13. Brent Musburger – ABC/ESPN
14. Jon Gruden – ESPN
15. Daryl Johnston – Fox
16. Ron Jaworski – ESPN
17. Greg Gumbel – CBS
18. Sean McDonough – ABC/ESPN
19. Todd Blackledge – ABC/ESPN
20. Dan Fouts – CBS
21. Bob Papa – NFL Network
22. Mike Patrick – ABC/ESPN
23. Chris Fowler – ESPN
24. Gus Johnson – CBS
25. Dick Enberg – CBS

Here are the guys that are rated too high:
* Buck – He’s in the top 10 based on his baseball rep.  He’s solidly average in football.
* Gruden – It would be “outstanding” if he could expand his vocabulary.
* Gumbel – Living off his brother’s rep.  He’s okay, but not top shelf.
* Fouts – Top 20, really?  Proves no one is watching those AFC West games on CBS.
* Papa – Who gets to see him broadcast?  Time Warner still doesn’t offer NFL Network.
* Enberg – Great career, but listing him is more of a ‘lifetime achievement award’.

Here are the guys that need to be rated higher on the list:
* Franklin – Could easily be the top college football guy on list.
* Musburger – Polarizing figure, but he’s great for the game.  Getting old, but still comedic gold.
* McDonough – Always solid, would be rated higher if he were more of a “name”.
* Johnson – The panelists not only rate him too low they slight him with “Youtube generation” comment.

Here are some key names that did not make the list:
* Erin Andrews – ESPN (Put a lady on the list)
* Bob Davie – ESPN
* Dan Dierdorf – CBS
* Ian Eagle – CBS
* Bob Griese – ESPN
* Kevin Harlan – CBS  (Should make top 25 in future)
* Craig James – ESPN
* Andrea Kremer – NBC
* Jesse Palmer – ESPN (Should be in top 25 in future)
* Tony Siragusa – Fox
* Dick Stockton – Fox

PS – Could some production assistant at ABC/ESPN do Mike Patrick a favor and get him a better photo?

Posted in CBS, College Football, ESPN, Fox, NBC, NFL, Sports Television | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

ESPN’s “30 for 30″ is worth watching

Posted by ZA on October 8, 2009

I don’t usually promote on behalf of the Worldwide Leader (mostly because they don’t need me to) but I think their new “30 for 30″ series is worth watching.  And not just because Bill Simmons (aka: the Sports Guy) was responsible for getting the series made.  ESPN  launched this new series of sports stories that detail important sports moments over the past 30 years.   The concept was to select a subject that was well known, but then tell the unknown story behind that topic.  Each of the documentaries will be directed by feature films director.

I watched the first one this week called King’s Ransom which was directed by Peter Berg.  Kings Ransom was the story of the trade that sent Wayne Gretzky from Edmonton to Los Angeles.  Director Peter Berg really got into the behind the scenes dealings and emotions that helped to pull off the deal.  He also focused on the pain, anger, anguish that Edmonton fans felt after their star player was traded.  He exposed the role that Gretzky played in making the deal happen.  He even wrapped it up neatly in the end with most agreeing it was a trade that had to be made.  Even thought the deal hurt the Edmonton Oilers and their faithful, it was still a trade that had to happen.

The ratings on this first installment were not stellar, but I think it’s a series that is worth watching.  As sports fans we often only hear the big stories in the media.  This program, modeled after HBO Real Sports, tells the less known story.  That’s personally something that I love.  Here are a few of the future episodes that I’m looking forward to watching:

* Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL – airs October 20th
* Muhammad and Larry – Oct 27
* The Legend of Jimmy the Greek – Nov 10
* No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson – 2010
* Jordan Rides the Bus – 2010
* June 17, 1994 (story of OJ Simpson’s run from police in white Bronco) – 2010
* Steve Bartman: Catching Hell – 2010
* One Night in Vegas – 2010
* The Best That Never Was – 2010
Complete list here at ESPN’s 30 for 30 website.

My only complaint about the series is that they are going to make me wait 9 months to see all of these great features.

Posted in ESPN, Random Stuff | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Top sports media sites – August 2009

Posted by ZA on September 21, 2009

Who is the top sports media site on the web today? Yahoo Sports according to ComScore ratings (August 2009) of the top sports sites on the web.  Although a large portion of that traffic is due to Rivals.com which accounts for almost 1/3 of Yahoo Sports 29 million number.  So Yahoo seems to be getting some value from the $100 million they spent to buy the Nashville company in 2007.  Rivals has a strong network of college fan communities, although it could be weakening since the top Rivals brass has now exited stage left.  But for now Yahoo is on top of one key internet category, who are the other top sports sites?

Top 10 Sports Media Sites (August 2009)
1. Yahoo Sports (includes Rivals.com)
2. ESPN
3. NFL Internet Group (includes all team sites)
4. Fox Sports (includes Scout.com)
5. MLB.com (which counts traffic from all team sites)
6. Fantasy Sports Ventures
7. CBS Sportsline
8. Fanhouse
9. Sports Illustrated sites (includes FanNation)
10. Stack Media
Honorable Mention: NBC Sports (includes Pro Football Talk)

Posted in CBS, ESPN, Fox, Internet, NBC, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Most viewed college football game in ESPN history?

Posted by ZA on September 15, 2009

The game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and USC Trojans on Saturday, September 12th, 2009 was the most watched college football matchup in the history of ESPN.  ESPN reports that over 10.6 million people watched USC defeat Ohio State in a thrilling game in Columbus, Ohio.

The USC/Ohio State game was the highest rated cable broadcast since Florida State played Miami in 1994.  The highest rated regular season game in 2008 was the Texas Longhorns versus Texas Tech Red Raiders, which tallied a 7.5 rating and had over 8.5 million households watching.  USC versus Ohio State, in Los Angeles, was the 2nd highest rated regular season game in ’08, which over 7.8 million viewers.

[Assist: Sports Business Daily]

Posted in College Football, ESPN, Sports Television | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Act II: Gatorade vs Powerade – The Legal Battle

Posted by ZA on April 14, 2009

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are at it again; battling tooth-and-nail for the lead position to quench consumers thirst.  This time the fight is with their sports drink division, which matches up heavyweights Gatorade and Powerade.  The current dust up started with Powerade’s new campaign launch, which directly attacked Gatorade as the “incomplete sports drink”.  Powerade is using a heavy buy on ESPN and outdoor to support their message of superiority to Gatorade.

Now Gatorade is striking back, but not in the form of an advertising campaign.  Gatorade is seeking legal action to stop Powerade from what G calls, “false advertising, trademark dilution, deceptive acts…and unfair competition.”  Gatorade refutes Powerade’s claim of superiority in having two additional electrolytes.  Gatorade also wants the court to prevent Powerade from using “distorted” depictions of Gatorade bottles in their advertisements.

If nothing else this gives the lawyers at PepsiCo & Coca-Cola something new to clash over.  My guess is that Gatorade wins in preventing Powerade from using their direct brand marks in the campaign, but doesn’t prevail in stopping Powerade from claiming to be more “complete”.

Gatorade Logo

The best line in the AdAge article was from the Coca-Cola spokesman who said, “We stand behind our product and are prepared to defend the role that Powerade plays in hydrating consumers.”  I loved the part about “hydrating consumers” because it is typical PR guy speak to use while defending your brand.

Posted in Gatorade, Powerade, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Nike has every team in the 2009 Final Four

Posted by ZA on March 31, 2009

By the end of the week you will know every fact about every player on the four teams that are playing in the 2009 NCAA Final Four.  If you do not read them in your local newspaper or online, then you will hear about them on SportsCenter or from CBS during their broadcast.

But let’s examine one area of these programs that might not get covered by Dick Vitale on ESPNews.  Where is the money behind each program.  What are the partners that are generating the revenue needed to drive these powerful programs?  Let’s look at the brands supporting the teams in the Final 4.

We will reveal 4 key ingredients in each team’s sports brand:
1. Who handles their marketing & media rights.
2. Which company has their shoe contract.
3. Where they rank on list of college licensing (CLC 2008-2009 data).
4. Their team & athletic department sponsors.

Connecticut Huskies

  • Marketing partner: IMG College
  • Shoe contract: Nike
  • Licensing rank: 53rd
  • Sponsors: AT&T, Coca-Cola, Dunkin Donuts, Nike, People’s United Bank & Toyota.

Michigan State Spartans

  • Marketing partner: N/A
  • Shoe contract: Nike
  • Licensing rank: Did not rank top 75.
  • Sponsors: Alltel, Nike & Pontiac

North Carolina Tar Heels

  • Marketing partner: Learfield Sports
  • Shoe contract: Jordan Brand by Nike
  • Licensing rank: 8th
  • Sponsors: Capital Style, Continental Tire, Domino’s, Eye Care Associates, Jordan Brand, United Healthcare & Verizon Wireless, Wachovia.

Villanova Wildcats

  • Marketing partner: ISP Sports
  • Shoe contract: Nike
  • Licensing rank: 71st
  • Sponsors: Anthony Travel & Nike
Nike's big at the 2009 Final 4

Nike's big at the 2009 Final 4

One brand that has already won big at the Final Four is Nike, because they have endorsement deals with all four schools that qualified.  UConn, Michigan State and Villanova are Nike schools, while UNC is with Nike’s Jordan Brand.  Last year Nike only had two schools in the Final Four (Memphis & North Carolina), while rival Adidas had the UCLA Bruins and eventual National Champion Kansas Jayhawks.  This year Nike won’t be sharing the spotlight with anyone, so expect to see them roll out some support behind their four schools.

So as you watch the games this weekend, remember that these sponsors helped to fun the programs.  Sponsorship dollars are huge towards creating a successful program.

Posted in Nike | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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