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ESPN Considering Enhanced Advertising Ideas

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Brian Steinberg of Variety explored what various networks will be doing this fall to combat viewers using DVRs to fast forward through traditional commercials. His article, titled “The Death of the Commercial Break: Why Marketers Need to Get More Creative Than Ever”, features an interesting tidbit about ESPN’s plans.

ESPN has an offer that is akin to real-time product placement. Producers at the sports-media outlet have their hands on constantly changing brews of statistics about players and teams, notes Ed Erhardt, ESPN’s president of global sales and marketing, “and we can literally tweak those in real time as we find out what’s going on and use them with ad messages from someone who is buying a college football game.”

Steinberg notes that traditional product placement usually requires weeks of planning and previous knowledge of plot lines and blocking. ESPN doesn’t have the same luxury for live sports, so targeting ads featuring prominent athletes for some kind of enhanced content makes sense. The inability to know the outcome ahead of time also makes ad placement on in-game graphics the most valuable “product placement” ESPN can offer.

Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing has another unique idea that could benefit ESPN.

A lot of the ads during sports events involve athletes, which makes some sense. The whole idea of athlete endorsements is that they’re perceived to have value in promoting a brand to fans, and showcasing that connection during a game is logical. But it’s not necessarily great when those ads come on when the particular athlete (or to a lesser extent, their team) is struggling; if, say, an Aaron Rodgers State Farm ad comes on in a game where he’s thrown several interceptions, that’s presumably not as effective an endorsement, and it’s certainly going to lead to a lot of jokes. If a brand takes a stance that all conversation about an ad is good conversation, maybe that’s okay, but for obvious reasons, brands want to be associated with successful athletes. So what if this kind of “tweak in real time” was about choosing which commercial to show based on how the game’s going? (And if it’s too expensive to shoot multiple commercials with athletes, maybe have a generic one without an athlete that can be subbed in if your athlete spokeperson is performing poorly.)

Advertisers have done this in the past for big events like the Super Bowl or other championships. It would be interesting to see what concessions both advertisers and the networks covering live events would have to make both financially and in terms of content to make that kind of advertising on a more regular basis feasible.

Sports TV News

AT&T Sportsnet’s Kelsey Wingert Shows Off Stitches After Being Drilled Line Drive

“The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.”

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Baseball reporters at the regional level have some of the toughest jobs in all of sports. Not only do they cover each for all 162 games, but there’s always the potential for getting drilled by a foul ball.

While all MLB ball clubs have expanded their netting this season to protect fans sitting close to the field, Rockies sideline reporter Kelsey Wingert suffered a nasty injury via a foul ball earlier this week.

A scary incident took place on Monday’s outing against the Rockies and San Francisco Giants at Coors Field in Denver. In the ninth inning, Giants outfielder Austin Slater hit a foul ball off Daniel Bard, with the ball heading straight to the dugout, right where Wingert was standing while reporting for AT&T Sportsnet.

After getting attended to by the Rockies medical staff and walking it off, giving fans a “thumbs up,” Wingert ended up having to go to the hospital where she received multiple stitches to her forehead.

The 29-year-old reporter took to Twitter on Wednesday to express her gratitude towards the Rockies organization and AT&T Sportsnet general manager David Woodman, who along with his wife Paula, stayed by her side at the hospital.

“I had a CT scan to make sure there was no internal bleeding or fractures and all came back clear. Thank God,” Wingert said on Twitter Wednesday. “The stitches will have to come out in a week. I’m very lucky it wasn’t worse. It was just really scary and bummed me out given the circumstances.”

You would think this was the first time Wingert got hit by a ball but back in 2018 while working for Fox Sports and the Atlanta Braves she was struck by a foul ball while standing near a camera past the Braves dugout, resulting in a fractured eye socket. 

Wingert retweeted a photo taken of her black eye after returning home where she made light of what could’ve been an awful occurrence.

While recovering from her wound, Wingert will be taking a few games off. The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.

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Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII

“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”

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The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.

Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.

Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.

Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.

Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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