SMW Q&A with ESPN President George Bodenheimer (1 Viewer)

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TMC1982

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Jun 26, 2008
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Sports Media Watch: SMW Q&A with George Bodenheimer

SMW: There was an article that came out a couple of weeks ago, where some ABC affiliates were concerned about the amount of sports migrating from ABC to ESPN. I wanted to know, is there any idea, or any plan in the works to maybe move some of those events back to ABC? Or is there going to be continued migration to ESPN?

Bodenheimer: Well, I think you're going to see we're constantly refining what we're airing and where we're airing it. We still have an extremely strong line-up -- Indy 500, NBA Finals, Little League World Series, college football Saturday night -- we still have an extremely strong line-up on ABC, and I expect that to continue. As far as exactly how it flows in the future, we'll have to see. I think you'll see -- we could see it balancing. But we're going to stay strong on ABC.

SMW: This year in particular, there seems to be a lot more movement towards ESPN. I know you guys are planning to air the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA entirely on ESPN instead of ABC, also no more Rose Bowl on ABC. So do you see the concern that some affiliates might have?

Bodenheimer: We work closely with the ABC affiliates, we understand their issues. They understand the economics of the business are changing, and sports on free, over-the-air television is a challenged model. That's why you're seeing some of the shifts. It's no more complicated than that. But I don't think you're going to continue to see a wholesale evolution of everything shifting from ABC to ESPN. As I said, we're going to stay strong on ABC with the properties that remain.

ABC doesn't have an "extremely strong" sports line-up! They have no NFL (having given Monday Night Football up to ESPN in 2006), no Major League Baseball (the having broadcast that since 1995), no NHL (not since 2003-04), no major college football bowls (having lost the BCS to Fox several years back), minimal college basketball, minimal horse racing (they lost the Triple Crown to NBC in 2001 and now, only have the last race of the Triple Crown), no PGA Tour (having lost that in 2006), and minimal NBA coverage (and some of the lowest ratings for the NBA Finals ever). ABC pretty much treats their sports programming like weekend filler at the moment. The folks at ESPN just flat out can't admit that they want to charge as high as a subscription fee rate as possible by having all of this big time events there instead of on ABC.
 
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Jimbo

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Sports Media Watch: SMW Q&A with George Bodenheimer



ABC doesn't have an "extremely strong" sports line-up! They have no NFL (having given Monday Night Football up to ESPN in 2006), no Major League Baseball (the having broadcast that since 1995), no NHL (not since 2003-04), no major college football bowls (having lost the BCS to Fox several years back), minimal college basketball, minimal horse racing (they lost the Triple Crown to NBC in 2001 and now, only have the last race of the Triple Crown), no PGA Tour (having lost that in 2006), and minimal NBA coverage (and some of the lowest ratings for the NBA Finals ever). ABC pretty much treats their sports programming like weekend filler at the moment. The folks at ESPN just flat out can't admit that they want to charge as high as a subscription fee rate as possible by having all of this big time events there instead of on ABC.

Makes more money for the parent company this way.
 

TMC1982

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I've been thinking about this all morning. How is what ABC-ESPN-Disney, whomever doing any different than what NBC got in trouble with their affiliates with the whole Jay Leno at 10 p.m., five days a week snafu!? Lets for a moment, over look the fact that it's easier right now, to kick NBC while their down as oppose to ABC (since they aren't in last place like NBC is). Just like Jeff Zucker and company figured that having Leno on in prime time would result in more money being made (since it's considerably more cost-effective to have the same talk/variety show in that time slot than a different scripted drama every day), Disney obviously doesn't want a whole lot of marquee sports programming on ABC because they don't have double revenue stream (i.e. subscription fees and ad rates) like ESPN has.

And claiming that you still have an extremely sports line-up on ABC, yet in virtually the same breath, speak about how you want the NBA Finals (and even the Super Bowl) come to ESPN in the foreseeable future, is pure doublespeak. If you're running ABC Sports, then you're primary job is to help that operation flourish, not run it like a barebones-like afterthought. Otherwise, that's a major conflict of interest.
 

anders5189

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It's all about how you can best make money. Few sports are worth it on networks anymore. ESPN is a total cash cow for Disney. I don't blame them for shifting more stuff over there. Besides what are ABC affiliates to do? They can't switch and become an NBC or CBS affiliate, and dropping down to CW or something like that is just dumb. At the end of the day they have to take what ABC gives them.
 

TMC1982

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It's all about how you can best make money. Few sports are worth it on networks anymore. ESPN is a total cash cow for Disney. I don't blame them for shifting more stuff over there. Besides what are ABC affiliates to do? They can't switch and become an NBC or CBS affiliate, and dropping down to CW or something like that is just dumb. At the end of the day they have to take what ABC gives them.

You have a good point, but at the same time, as I keep harping up, NBC's affiliates gave them a ton of heat over the Jay Leno situation (because Leno was killing their late local news). So what's not to say, that ABC's affiliates should or could possibly do the same?
 

SamCdbs

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For complex historical reasons, ABC is often the weakest station, at least among the original 3, in most markets. On last, historic UHF, poor news, rimshot, etc. These stations have less leverage to make a move than NBC or CBS affiliates. Remember ABC was 3rd in a 3 team race for the first 25 years of the OTA era, every year.

But, IMHO, the supposed lightness of ABC's offering is a matter of where you are. ABC has regular season college football. That is a HUGE deal, outside the northeast. It also has the SEC basketball tournament. And, at least in my market and several others I am familar with, ABC stations have maximum freedom to go out and sign the local syndication for even more college sports, which, of course, is more profitable for them than network programming.
 

anders5189

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You have a good point, but at the same time, as I keep harping up, NBC's affiliates gave them a ton of heat over the Jay Leno situation (because Leno was killing their late local news). So what's not to say, that ABC's affiliates should or could possibly do the same?
The Leno thing was all about primetime. NBC's primetime lineup sucks and Leno was making things worse. Affiliates have to show what the network offers in primetime, so they were mad that they had to show Leno and nobody was left to watch their late local news.

The situation with ABC is different. Very few sports are shown in primetime on networks, and ABC has one of the few that do, the NBA Finals. What ABC lacks are quality sports on weekends, besides college football. Affiliates can fill that time however they want. The ratings for showing 6 hours of infomercials may stink, but what are the affiliates going to do about it?
 

TMC1982

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Makes more money for the parent company this way.

George Bodenheimer just seems like somewhat of a two-faced, uber self-congratulatory person if you ask me. Here's what he said when he first took over ABC Sports back in 2003:
When ESPN's George Bodenheimer was handed the reins at ABC Sports in 2003, he praised the sports division's "elegant" 40-year history.

"It's one of the greatest assets in television sports history," he said. "We're going to obviously seek to maintain and enhance that."

Seven years later, not only has ABC Sports ceased to exist, but the replacement (ESPN on ABC) continues to shed sporting events. NASCAR is just the latest sports property to virtually vanish from ABC.

Bodenheimer was also once quoted saying "Anybody looking for the demise of ABC Sports is barking up the wrong tree!" Of course, one year later, ABC Sports officially became branded as "ESPN on ABC".:rant:
 

The Insider

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The whole "Network" tv is as dead as news papers. It will just take a bit longer for everyone to realize it then newspapers. ABC,NBC,CBS etc need to just buy out the affiliates and become "cable" channels if you will.
 

SamCdbs

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First, that is not legal under the current law. Each company is limited to owning stations that represent 35% of the population, no more.

Second, these stations are not for sale. Owning a local station, for all their current poor mouthing, is still a virtual liscense to print money.

Third, if local stations are profitable, then they are not for sale, if they are not, then the networks are not going to make it either.
 

The Insider

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When the networks move most of their prime programming off of the "network" channels, they certainly will die out on their own. its a dead median/system. Very outdated,
 

TMC1982

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George Bodenheimer just seems like somewhat of a two-faced, uber self-congratulatory person if you ask me. Here's what he said when he first took over ABC Sports back in 2003:


Bodenheimer was also once quoted saying "Anybody looking for the demise of ABC Sports is barking up the wrong tree!" Of course, one year later, ABC Sports officially became branded as "ESPN on ABC".:rant:

Here's a Yahoo! club devoted to what I personally think of Mr. Bodenheimer at the moment:
Fire_George_Bodenheimer_from_ABC : Fire George Bodenheimer from ABC :mad:
 

boomer69

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First, that is not legal under the current law. Each company is limited to owning stations that represent 35% of the population, no more.

Second, these stations are not for sale. Owning a local station, for all their current poor mouthing, is still a virtual liscense to print money.

Third, if local stations are profitable, then they are not for sale, if they are not, then the networks are not going to make it either.

Let me know when you make it to the 21st century, Sam!!!...:rolleyes:

While it was true many years ago, it is cetainly not the case anymore...Cable TV and all the other TV viewing options have seen to that!!!...:eek:

But hey, keep living in the past Sam...you're really good at it!!!...;)
 

SamCdbs

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I'm well grounded in the 21st century. The one where well run companies whose major assest are OTA broadcasting stations in mid-major markets are hyper-profitable. As they have been for 60 years.

But, hey, if anybody has an FCC permit for anywhere, just sign it over and I will take it off your hands.
 

boomer69

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Apr 4, 2008
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I'm well grounded in the 21st century. The one where well run companies whose major assest are OTA broadcasting stations in mid-major markets are hyper-profitable. As they have been for 60 years.


And you do have facts and figures or at least a link or two to back that up, right???...Or am I just supposed to believe you because you say so???...:smug

I happen to work for a well run company whose broadcasting division owns 4 OTA broadcasting stations in mid-major markets, and "hyper-profitable" has not been an issue in years!!!...:eek: Never said that at one time they weren't, but that was in the past...kinda like you!!!...;)

But, hey, if anybody has an FCC permit for anywhere, just sign it over and I will take it off your hands.

You might want to contact Tribune Broadcasting, LIN Broadcasting, or any of the "well run companies whose major assets are OTA broadcasting stations in mid-major markets" who are in or facing bankruptucy at this moment in time. You might just be able to make a deal!!!...:rolleyes:
 
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