The Media Learning Curve: Nov. 26- Dec. 3

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When the readership of the Sports Business Journal/Sports Business Daily takes the time to fill out a survey, you listen. The numbers are very weighted.

This is a core group of high-paid professionals in the sports business world — many in the high-stakes field of running franchises, marketing and advertising, movers and shakers. They don’t have time usually to take these kind of surveys, but they do so because they know the results mean something in their strategies.

In the sixth annual reader survey, conducted online over three weeks starting Sept. 27, these were some of the findings:

== Do you use Twitter?
1. No. (57.6 percent)
2. Yes (42.2 percent)
3. What is Twitter? (0.3 percent)
Responses: 1,949
(Note: 35 percent said yes in last year’s survey)

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== What is the most powerful brand in sports?
1. ESPN (34.9 percent)
2. Nike (25.7 percent)
3. New York Yankees (18.4 percent)
Responses: 1,964

== Favorite major league website:
1. MLB.com (33.3 percent)
2. NFL.com (25.3 percent)
3. NBA.com (11 percent)
4. NHL.com (8.6 percent)
5. MLSsoccer.com (7.3 percent)
6. PGATour.com (5.3 percent)
Responses: 1,104

== The media company that will win the rights to become the IOC’s TV partner in the U.S. for the 2014 and 2016 Olympics:
1. NBC (58.2 percent)
2. ESPN/ABC (32.1 percent)
3. Fox (5.7 percent)
4. CBS (4 percent)
Responses: 1,013.

== Favorite studio show:
1. ESPN SportsCenter (34.6 percent)
2. ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” (23.64 percent)
3. ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” (9.1 percent)
4. HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (7.6 percent)
Responses: 1,138

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== Favorite TV play-by-play personalities:
1. Al Michaels (29.1 percent)
2. Bob Costas (29 percent)
3. Jim Nantz (21 percent)
4. Joe Buck (18.9 percent)
5. Mike Tirico (16.3 percent)
Responses: 1,137

== Favorite TV game analysts:
1. Cris Collinsworth (26.3 percent)
2. Kirk Herbstreit (24.1 percent)
3. Troy Aikman (19.7 percent)
4. Jon Gruden (18.2 percent)
5. Jay Bilas (13.4 percent)
Responses: 1,120

== NFL pregame show you enjoy the most:
1. ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown (35.7 percent)
2. Fox NFL Sunday (28.3 percent)
3. CBS The NFL Today (16.8 percent)
4. NBC Football Night in America (14.4 percent)
5. NFL Network GameDay Morning (4.8 percent)
Responses: 1,077

== Favorite sport-specific studio show:
1. ESPN College GameDay (24.4 percent)
2. ESPN Baseball Tonight (10.8 percent)
3. MLB Network Tonight (9.5 percent)
4. TNT Inside the NBA (5.4 percent)
5. Fox NFL Sunday (5.4 percent)
Responses: 1,077

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== Favorite sports-related mobile app:
1. ESPN ScoreCenter (27.3 percent)
2. MLB.com At Bat (23.7 percent)
3. NFL Mobile (7.2 percent)
4. CBS Sports Mobile (5.8 percent)
4. ESPN Fantasy Football (5.8 percent)
6. NBA Game Time (4.5 percent)
Responses: 1,067

== Favorite non-league sports website:
1. ESPN.com (50 percent)
2. Yahoo! Sports (9.3 percent)
3. SI.com (6.9 percent)
4. Deadspin (6.8 percent)
5. CBSSports.com (6.5 percent)
Responses: 1,141

== Who produces better sports documentaries?
1. HBO (56 percent)
2. ESPN (44 percent)
Responses: 1,136

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In another question that relates to our media column lead today on Tiger Woods (linked here), the readers were asked: What’s the biggest challenge facing professional golf?

Outside of developing more widely known stars (35.5 percent) and creating more interest outside the majors (31.7 percent), the answer “getting Tiger to win” brought 15 percent response. That was more than twice as much as “television ratings” (6 percent). The two, of course, usually go hand-wedge-in-hand, which is why, despite a heavy college football and NFL weekend, Tiger’s Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks on Golf Channel and NBC could use some viewership, if only to see how Tiger responds and possibly wins his first event of the year.

It ain’t the Masters, but it’s an incredible simulation, with a condensed, world-class field, and a strange trophy given out to the winner — and $5 mil at stake.

Aside from that we have these media notes to crunch:

== Another intriguing question that Golf Channel’s Steve Sands put Woods in the interview that aired Wednesday and was repeated during the first round of the Chevron World Challenge on Thursday:

Q: How much does the public have a right to know about its heroes?

Woods: “This is a different day in age. Something I really didn’t grow up with. My day in age was my dad making me get up and turn the dial on the TV. Our rabbit antennas, making sure we could pick up a Laker game … this day and age had changed. The fans want to know more and there’s a fine line of what’s too much. The gray areas become bigger.”

Added Terry Gannon after that clip was replayed: The fans will ultimately judge the gray areas as he’s trying to open up.

Frank Nobilo: “You’ve got to appear to disconnect, but from a fan’s point of view, they vote. As prolific as Tiger Woods has been on the golf course, for every dollar he’s earned, the public has really contributed nine dollars in his endorsements. So that’s why there’s always the fear, ‘Should they have that much?’ or ‘Should they not have that much information?’ The public can vote heavily with their pocketbook.”

== Jim Watson and Tony Moskal will call the CIF Northern Division semifinal between Valencia and Oaks Christian, live streaming on foxsportswest.com tonight at 7:30 p.m., while Chris McGee and John Jackson call the other Northern semifinal between St. Bonaventure and Westlake at 10 p.m., delayed on Prime after the Clippers-Nuggets telecast. On Saturday, foxsportswest.com will stream the Pac-5 semifinal between Alemany and Servite at 7 p.m., with Justin Alderson and Moskal.

Also Saturday, the website will stream the CIF State Girls Volleyball Championship at 7 p.m. between Long Beach Poly and Palo Alto, with McGee and Mike Dodd.

== Your L.A. NFL TV weekend stacks up this way:

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= Sunday:
= 10 a.m., Channel 11: Washington at N.Y. Giants (with Kenny Albert, Darryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa), instead of Chicago-Detroit, New Orleans-Cincinnati or San Francisco-Green Bay). CBS also has Buffalo-Minnesota, Cleveland-Miami, Jacksonville-Tennessee and Denver-Kansas City in this window.
= 1 p.m., Channel 2: Oakland at San Diego (with Jim Nantz and Dan Fouts). The Chargers announced Wednesday that they’ve sold enough tickets to get the TV blackout lifted. Three of the previous five home games this season were blacked out. Nantz and Phil Simms, out this week recovering from back surgery, are scheduled to reunite for New England at Chicago next week.
= 1 p.m., Channel 11: Dallas at Indianapolis (with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman) instead of Atlanta-Tampa Bay, St. Louis-Arizona and Carolina-Seattle.
= 5:15 p.m., Channel 4:
= Monday:
= 5:30 p.m., ESPN: New England at N.Y. Jets (with Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden).

== ESPN’s College GameDay ends up in Oregon again — Corvallis, this time — prior to the Oregon-Oregon State game that ABC will cover Saturday (12:30 p.m., Channel 7). Afterward, Kirk Herbstreit has to jet over to Arlington, Tex., to do the Big 12 Conference championship game.

== Prime Ticket has a one-hour pre and one-hour post game show Saturday surrounding the 7:30 p.m. kickoff at the Rose Bowl of USC-UCLA.

A look at the best from Saturday’s TV lineup:

= 12:30 p.m., Channel 7: No. 2 Oregon at Oregon State, with Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Erin Andrews.
= 1 p.m., Channel 2: No. 1 Auburn vs. No. 19 South Carolina, SEC title game from Atlanta, with Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson with Tracy Wolfson.
= 4:45 p.m., ESPN: No. 21 Florida State vs. No. 15 Virginia Tech, ACC title game from Charlotte, with Sean McDonough, Matt Millen and Quint Kessenich.
= 5 p.m., Channel 7: No. 9 Oklahoma vs. No. 13 Nebraska, Big 12 title game from Arlington, Tex., with Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Holly Rowe.

== The Sports Business Journal also reports that ESPN is close to securing the inaugural Pac-12 football title game for 2011, and would probably air it head-to-head against Fox’s coverage of the Big Ten title game. SBJ reports that if ESPN and the conference can’t reach an agreement soon, the Pac-10 will take the championship game’s rights to the open market. Recently, Fox, which has a stake in the Big Ten Network, paid $30 million to air the Big Ten title game from 2011-16. The soon-to-be Pac-12′s TV rights are up for negotiations after the 2011 season.

== Halfway into an eight-year, $4.48 billion deal with Fox, ESPN and Turner, NASCAR’s final ratings for the 2010 season dipped for the fourth year in a row, according to data surveyed by the Sports Business Journal. NASCAR has lost nearly 2 million viewers in the past four year, more than 23 percent of its market. “With the racing where it is now, I have no doubt it’s going to take hold, and the excitement we’ve built coming out of this season will build into next season,” Steve Phelps, NASCAR’s chief marketing officer, told SBJ. This season, NASCAR dropped 6 percent on Fox, 9 percent on TNT and 14 percent on ESPN/ABC.

== One of the newest “This is SportsCenter” commercials highlights SportScience host John Brenkus, who will be doing a “The Perfection Point” book signing at ESPN Zone/L.A. Live on Tuesday, December 7 from 6-7 p.m. before the Lakers-Wizards game.

== L.A.-based Tennis Channel has the Serbia-France Davis Cup finals from Belgrade this weekend, with live and same-day replays today through Sunday.The two matches today started at 5 a.m., with doubles on Saturday at 6 a.m. and reverse singles Sunday starting at 4 a.m. Every night at 4 p.m., the events are replayed.

== CBS starts its college basketball coverage with Kentucky-North Carolina (Saturday, 9:30 a.m.), with Gus Johnson and Clark Kellogg on the call.

== ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” (Sunday, 6 a.m.) looks back at 30 years ago when the shooting death of former Beatle John Lennon was announced by Howard Cosell on an ABC “Monday Night Football” game (Dec. 8, 1980). There was 40 seconds left in the game as Patroits kicker John Smith was about to line up for a field goal, and Cosell was uncertain about how to braek the news that had just been confirmed by the WABC news desk in New York. This ESPN piece promises to present a “rarely heard, off-air discussion between Cosell and Frank Gifford seconds before millions of football viewers would become the first to learn of Lennon’s death.” Tom Rinaldi reports on how it was WABC news producer Alan Weiss who was admitted to the hospital moments before Lennon, called his office, and ultimately got the breaking story to the “MNF” broadcast booth in Miami.
“My ears are still ringing from the impact of the road, and two police officers come out and they are literally standing over my head,” said Weiss, who was in a Central Park motorcycle accident and taken to nearby Roosevelt Hostpital. “I got my eyes closed and I hear one officer say to the other one, ‘Can you believe it? John Lennon.’”
In addition. ESPN.com’s Jeff Ausiello has a story from the point-of-view of Smith as he was preparing to attempt his field goal.

== Any attempt by the U.S. Olympic Committee to launch a cable network would be in the distant future and would only come with approval from the International Olympic Committee and cooperation with its American broadcasting partner, USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

“It’s not on the back burner; it’s not on the radar screen today,” Blackmum said about a USOC cable channel. In 2009, the USOC had a deal with Comcast to launch a network, which would have put it in direct competition with NBC Universal. That didn’t rub NBC right, since the IOC makes $2 billion in its contract with NBC to carry the Olympics to the U.S. audience. Comcast has since reached a deal to buy NBC Universal, and negotiations for the 2014 and 2016 TV rights have been delayed, with bidding among all the major networks expected to take place next month.

AND FINALLY:

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== Not long after UFC chief Dana White laid out some loose plans for an all-MMA channel sometime down the road, WWE boss Vince McMahon’s promise to launch an all-wrestling cable channel has been declared for a 2012-early 2013 date, reported Reuters this week.

“It’s taken us longer to galvanize the troops and figure out where we’re going.”
WWE COO Donna Goldsmith said, noting that the model for the WWE channel is similar to what Major League Baseball has done — an could include pay-TV operators as part of the network ownership.

That’s got to make Bud Selig feel good — he’s rubbed off on Vince McMahon.

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