Branding the World of Sports

Archive for the ‘NBC’ Category

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 »

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 »

NBC will lose money on 2010 Vancouver Olympics

Posted by ZA on January 12, 2010

According to NBC Sports president, Dick Ebersol, the peacock is going to lose money to broadcast the Olympics for the first time in their history showing the Games.  AdAge article quoted Ebersol as saying, “…we will, for the first time in all my years at NBC, lose money on an Olympics”.  Ebersol blamed the cost to secure the broadcast rights for the Olympics and a slumping economy which hurt early ad sales.

NBC Sports paid over $800 million dollars to broadcast the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.  That amount was just below the near $900 million they paid for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  But the Summer Olympics generate a ton more ad sales revenue than their winter counterpart.  That is why the IOC sells the broadcast rights commitment as a block of two that includes the upcoming Summer and Winter Games; you cannot buy rights to the Summer Games without taking the Winter Olympics as well.

In addition to the broadcast rights, NBC also has to spend heavily on production costs for the Olympics.  They have a staff of hundreds that broadcast from a remote location for the 2 weeks of the Olympics; some of those people have been in Vancouver for more than a year getting setup for these games.  So NBC has big costs to recoup on their Olympics production.  One key to doing so will be to build up campaigns around Winter Games athletes that get US television viewers to tune in during the Olympics.  If NBC can create interest in the athletes and sports of the Winter Games, then they will make more money on their broadcast rights.

Posted in NBC, Olympics, Sports Television | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

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 »

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 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
3. NFL Internet Group (includes all team sites)
4. Fox Sports (includes
5. (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 »

What is a Super Bowl commercial worth?

Posted by ZA on August 3, 2009

How valuable is a television commercial during the Super Bowl? Apparently a lot less in the current economy.

CBS is reportedly selling spots for the 2010 Super Bowl in the $2-3 million dollar (per spot) range.  That amount is down considerably from the $2.4 million to $3 million per spot that NBC received on the 2009 Super Bowl.  CBS is selling cheaper because they have to given the current economy.  They are also telling potential buyers that they are negotiable on the price, something that NBC was (publicly) inflexible last year until the economy tanked.

Smart move by CBS to get aggressive on working with advertisers to get them involved in the big game.  There are lots of marquee brands that love to get the exposure the Super Bowl audience provides, but many of those have seen their ad budgets slashed.  By working with the potential advertiser to create a program, CBS is going to salvage some deals that might have otherwise walked away.  CBS will probably also benefit from hooking some of these advertisers into packages that include online, radio and other CBS-owned media properties.

I like this move, but if CBS really wanted to make a bold move they would publish the spot schedule with prices.  Imagine if they had a link from their website that showed all of the available commercial inventory during the broadcast.  The link would include all of the spots in order, which each spot having a price tag next to it.  If an advertiser has committed to the spot, then their name would be included (without revealing the price they paid).

I think this would be successful because it would create a buzz around advertisers to lock down the prime spots (which sell at higher prices).  It could also land some new deals from companies who might see a competitor listed and make the bold decision to buy a spot.  Imagine Heineken deciding to buy a spot immediately after (or before) a Budweiser or Miller spot.  Putting the information out there publicly might alienate some brands, but could get other new advertisers to step up to the table.  Because rather than negotiating the deals in backrooms, where favoritism rules the day, it would bring all dealings into the public domain.  Except of course the final agreed upon price should not be disclosed.

I even think CBS could take this strategy one step further by allowing Google & Microsoft (and other large online ad divisions) to each sell spots on their own sites, to earn a commission on the sale.  Maybe a Super Bowl commercial could even be auctioned off by Ebay (with a reserve price, of course).  The buzz alone generated by these moves would help to drive some sales and could even create a new online media property for CBS to sell ads for (i.e.- their web site listing all of the ads for sale on the Super Bowl).

This type of economy is when companies need to be most courageous.  CBS would be taking a big risk, but could also permanently change the way Super Bowl spots (and maybe others) are sold.  The change could have a positive financial impact now and down the road.  And before you remind me of the financial troubles of SpotRunner, I’ll say I think CBS has a few more resources than a 3rd-party site that is selling remnant commercial inventory.

Posted in CBS, NBC, NFL, Sports Television | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Beijing Opening was most watched live event in TV history

Posted by ZA on May 11, 2009

If you added up the entire population of the countries that make up North & South America, they still would not equal the number of people that watched the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  The Times of London is reporting that nearly 1 billion people (984 million) tuned in to watch all or part of the kickoff event from the Summer Games in China. And the report from Futures Sport + Entertainment does not account for people that watched in public places, which easily pushes the number over a billion.

That makes the Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies the most watched live event in the history of television.  More people tuned in to the Birds Nest (venue that housed the event) than had ever watched a Super Bowl, World Cup Final or other sporting event in the past.  The billion viewers number also greatly surpasses the largest non-live television audience, which was approximately 100 million viewers for the final episode of M*A*S*H in 1983.

The folks at NBC must be pretty excited to be a big part of that historic event.  Even with technology enabling more of the World to have access to television, it is hard to imagine any upcoming event surpassing this record.  At least until 2012 rolls around and we have the Opening Ceremonies for the London Games.

[Assist: Sports Business Daily]

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

NBC rakes in cash from the Super Bowl

Posted by ZA on February 5, 2009

NBC sold $206 million worth of Super Bowl advertising for the 2009 game.  That is a record amount for any Super Bowl.  For the day, including pregame and postgame shows, NBC sold over $260 million worth of television advertising.

NBC lost a number of high profile advertisers including General Motors and Fedex, but still had 32 advertisers involved.  Including a few new Super Bowl advertisers like Cash4Gold, Hulu, Pedigree and Teleflora.  Advertisers for the 2009 Super Bowl paid close to $3 million dollars per commercial.

2009 Super Bowl Advertisers:
* Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser, Bud Light)
* Audi
* Bridgestone
* CareerBuilder
* Castrol Motor Oil
* Coca-Cola
* Columbia Pictures
* Denny’s
* Dreamworks
* E-Trade
* PepsiCo (Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi, SoBe)
* General Electric
* Heineken
* H&R Block
* Hulu
* Hyundai
* Kellogg’s
* Nextel
* Paramount Pictures
* Pedigree
* Pixar
* Sony
* Sprint
* Taco Bell
* Teleflora
* Toyota
* Universal Orlando Resort
* Vizio
* Walt Disney Pictures

Posted in NBC, NFL, Sports Marketing, Sports Television | Leave a Comment »

How will Tom Brady’s knee injury impact the NFL?

Posted by ZA on September 8, 2008

“It’s cast a pall over this league.” – columnist Peter King
“It’s a major downer for [the NFL] to lose the league’s reigning MVP in Week 1” – columnist Don Banks
“He is the face of the NFL.” – commentator Steve Mariucci

Tom Brady’s knee injury that occurred during the Patriots/Chiefs game on the opening weekend of the season is going to sideline him for the rest of the season.  Brady is going to have surgery on the knee and will begin working on getting back on the field for the 2009 NFL season.  Wow, that’s a depressing sentence if you are a Patriots fan.  It is also a depressing sentiment for executives in the league office, television execs, Pats sponsors, Brady’s endorsers and anyone who makes their livelihood from the success of the NFL.

What impact will Tom Brady’s absence from football have?

Plenty.  When the marquee player on the marquee team (love them or hate them, you cannot die the Pats are the team in the back of everyone’s minds for the past few years) goes down, it is going to have a catastrophic affect on the league.  Brady is an NFL poster child because of his stellar play, Hollywood good looks, humble charm and winning record.  He and Peyton Manning are the types of QB the NFL marketing people dream about when they think of their perfect ad campaign.  Losing Brady isn’t just losing one of the best players on the field, you also lose one of the top earning endorsers.

Brady currently endorses Nike, Visa, Stetson cologne, Movado watches, Sirius satellite radio, Hershey’s and The Gap.  All of those companies will suffer (slightly) from not being able to use the notoriously selective pitchman to pitch their products.  How effective is a Visa commercial about a quarterback and his lineman, if the QB isn’t on the field?  All of the endorsement deals will have to wait and hope Brady is back in 2009.

The effect to Brady’s team and their sponsors is fairly obvious.  How do you replace best player and most marketable athlete on your team?  You don’t, the Patriots will certainly feel the affect on their bottom line and some of their partners will as well.  Even if they use Brady, which I’m sure they will, he isn’t as effective as a quarterback rehabbing an injury.  Certainly will be a sharp decline from last season when he was a record setting quarterback on an undefeated team.

That leaves the question of how Tom Brady’s injury will effect the NFL?  The answer is that his missing the season will have a significant initial impact, but might be better in the long-term.  Initially the reaction is going to be negative in the league offices, because they just lost the best player on their best team.  It’s not quite as significant as Tiger Woods knee injury had on the PGA Tour, but it’s in the same ballpark.  The Pats got more television time and media exposure than any other NFL team last season.  Tom Brady was the focal point of much of that exposure.  No Brady means not as many mentions, stories, columns and features.  It also means less people turning on their televisions when the Pats square off against the Colts, Jets, etc.

The long-term positive effect that Brady’s injury has on the NFL is that it creates more parity.  Vegas odds makers couldn’t drop the Patriot’s odds of winning the Superbowl fast enough today.  The Pats went from the clear class of the league (sorry NY Giants, Colts, Cowboys) to a possible top tier team in the AFC.  No one hopes for an injury (well, maybe Jets or Eagles fans), but there was a lot more optimism this morning in the team offices of every AFC squad.  The king is dead, so to speak, so now everyone has a better chance on winning a Superbowl.  At least until 2009 when I’m sure Tom Brady will be back with a vengeance.

Best wishes to Tom for a quick & speedy recovery.  Good luck to the Pats and their new quarterback Matt Cassel, it should be an interesting season in Foxboro.

Posted in Endorsement Deals, NBC, NFL, Sports Brands | Leave a Comment »

3/4 of the World watched the 2008 Olympics

Posted by ZA on September 8, 2008

The 2008 Beijing Olympics were the most watched games in history; Nielsen Media Research reported that over 4.7 billion people watched over the 17 days of competition.  That means that over 70% of the population of the World watched some part of the 2008 Olympics. The Nielsen ratings are the based on audience surveys done in over 100 countries around the World.  Nielsen surveyed “37 markets” to come with these Olympic figures.

4.7 billion viewers is another record for China on these Games, surpassing the 3.9 billion viewers reported for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, the 3.6 billion people worldwide who watched the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and the 3.2 billion from Atlanta 1996.  Those viewer figures should push over 5 billion for the 2012 Games in London, which was the first Olympics to ever cost more than $1 billion in US broadcast rights fees.

The Nielsen Media Research figures revealed that 94% of the Chinese population of 1.3 billion people watched the 2008 Olympics.  The next highest rate of viewership for a nation was South Korea (94%) and surprisingly Mexico (93%).  The percentage was not as high in the United States, but the 2008 Olympics were the most viewed TV event ever with 211 million viewers, surpassing the 209 million that watched the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia.  NBC averaged 27.7 million viewers per day during the 17 days of the 2008 Games. 

Now you know why those corporations pay such big bucks to sponsor the Olympics.  Where else can you have the opportunity to capture the attention of the majority of the World’s population.  There are only a handful of events that have global appeal including the World Cup and Superbowl, but the Olympics is the biggest of them all.

Posted in NBC, Olympics | Leave a Comment »