Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Up The Stream Of NBA Telecasts

The fact that the NBA Eastern Conference only has a couple of teams with decent records more than a month into the season is certainly not good timing for the league's media presence. Having numerous teams near or below the .500 mark does not increase the appetite for fans to want to watch their favorite team more often. This while the NBA and its teams are pursuing the live streaming of local telecasts more than ever.

As of now, the only teams offering live streams of their games are in the Western Conference. L.A. Lakers telecasts are again streamed via Time Warner Cable. The Portland Trailblazers are again offering an independent package of up to 58 of their games for one fee (currently $99.99), mainly because the team does not have "full" local cable/satellite coveraage through local providers. The Blazers' package is technically not "pay-per-view" because it covers all remaining regular season telecasts whether they are "viewed" or not by the purchaser. Sports Business Journal reports that as of Thanksgiving week, there were only 150 subscribers, even at a cost averaging out to under $2 per game (at this point in time).

Some fans understandably argue that they already pay a large amount for their cable/satellite service without having to pay anything extra to watch more of a local team.

Reports are that Fox Sports and Comcast SportsNet are gearing up to allow streaming of local team games their regional networks have the rights to, perhaps as soon as the first few weeks of 2014.

With the regional networks paying all of those millions for the rights to televise the games, and the subscribers paying higher fees to watch these networks, this should be sooner rather than later. And at no additional cost.

Meanwhile, NBCSN provided a funny and sad moment at the same time this past Friday (11/29). The network has begun to promote that it will have "LIVE" coverage of Olympics events in February, an obvious reference to viewers who in the past have complained about delayed telecast of events overseas in past years. And that is quite understandable, given the technology and the availability of multiple network platforms which NBC has.

What made it both funny and sad on Friday is that these promos, running on the bottom screen scroll, were running during the morning's The Dan Patrick Show. The show that was, unfortunately, a "Best of Dan Patrick". Therefore, this "live event" promotion was airing during a re-run of outdated segments!

I suppose NBCSN doesn't think it has a large enough audience in the morning for their content to matter, but that is no excuse. This is an embarassment. As I have said before, Dan Patrick is entitled to his days off. But his "Show" is not. Given the resources of NBC, I can't believe they couldn't find other sportscasters to host some or all of the show and provide the live and fresh content viewers are entitled to. Or, at the very least, if the show "can't" be done live, then record and plan for topical features.

That morning's "The Dan Patrick Show" could have consisted of highlights and recaps of the Thanksgiving NFL games, one of which was shown on NBC hours before, with Patrick as part of the cast of thousands that co-host it.

What makes this even more incredible is that just one hour after Patrick's show ended, NBC-TV showed its first ever Thanksgiving Friday NHL game in the afternoon (ET and CT) with little fanfare.

Yet, NBCSN, which airs the most NHL games in the U.S., did not even have a LIVE preview of the game in the hours leading up to it.

Sports fans are entitled to a live sports show instead of a hapless rerun of outdated segments, especially with the rising cost of cable/satellite these days. Advertisers are entitled to be a part of a live show that would hold an audience, no matter how small.

Elsewhere, TV sports networks continue the trend of bringing radio shows to TV, as if doing so will bring in more viewers. After CBS Radio Sports failed to make a dent (in many markets) with its airing of WFAN 660 New York's "Boomer & Carton" morning show, it has decided to bring this show to TV. If anyone is paying attention to CBS Sports Network on TV, they will see "Boomer & Carton" from 6:00 to 10:00 AM ET starting in early January.

It remains to be seen whether or not the show will retain a New York focus or go more toward a national sports show. If they risk going more national and lose some of the New York flavor and appeal, it would likely mean a ratings dip for WFAN, which adds the Yankees broadcasts starting in March. If they keep it to NYC, the national appeal will be far less than Mike & Mike, who do a national sports show successfully for ESPN Radio and TV.

LOS ANGELES: Time Warner Cable Los Angeles is spending money almost like the Dodgers are spending Time Warner's money. While some think that TWC is pursuing Orel Hershiser away from ESPN to do color on Dodger telecasts, the network has snagged Nomar Garciaparra for pre-game and post-game analysis of its telecasts. Garciaparra had been with ESPN in an analyst role for the past four years.

CHICAGO: Congratulations to Bruce Fasol, who was honored on Saturday (11/29) for calling more than 3,000 West Frankfort H.S. Redbirds games over the past 40 years. Fasol was presented with the Distinguished Media Service Award from the Illinois High School Association for his efforts. Even though Fasol's broadcasts have only been heard on very small stations and he is not well known even in the Chicago area, 40 years of broadcasting at any level is worthy note and this award!

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