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Changes at ESPN, Mega$ NASCAR, promotions

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  • Changes at ESPN, Mega$ NASCAR, promotions

    On Oct 6 Disney announces that John Wildhack has been given the responsibility of overseeing ESPN rights negeotiations. Preamble by George Bodenheimer on the restructuring and the Wildhack promotion:

    "Changes in our management ranks presented an opportunity to redefine our structure," said Bodenheimer. "Aggregating all our creative energies in one division; placing all sales and marketing in one area to sell our growing menu of services; consolidating oversight of all technology; and affirming the centralized management of all international businesses are powerful statements. I'm excited about the prospects of this realignment and the people leading these areas. Not only does this reaffirm ESPN as the leading sports media entity, it will strengthen our commitment to serving sports fans."
    John Wildhack, who has been promoted to one of two top programming positions in the company as Senior Vice President, Programming Acquisitions and Strategy, overseeing all rights negotiations and league relationships for all ESPN domestic television networks and ABC Sports (joined ESPN in 1980)
    John Wildhack on NASCAR, 1997:

    "ESPN enjoyed another strong NASCAR season and we look forward to celebrating the sport's 50th anniversary in 1998," said John Wildhack, ESPN senior vice president, programming. "With out multiple networks, ESPN Radio, ESPN SportsZone and our Emmy Award-winning productions, ESPN is the perfect partner to continue expanding the fan base nationwide."
    More:

    This is the most comprehensive media effort ever assembled by a professional sports property, said John Wildhack, ESPN senior vice president of programming. “The scope of media programming for NASCAR’s 50th Anniversary is unparalleled.
    http://www.theautochannel.com/callah.../97112802.html

    Now many of us have questioned the commitment and execution of Indycar broadcast productions and, more importantly, series promotion on the part of ABC/ESPN. Some hope this will change with the addition of NASCAR to the network family, that the presence of that sanctioning body on ABC will lift Indycar. My gut feeling is 'not gonna happen'. Let the Fox model to the former Speedvision be your guide, with such high stakes on the line in the form of mega-million $ NASCAR rights fees every effort will be put forth by ESPN towards getting the most out of it during every minute of TV time available. Call me pessimistic but I don't think this promotion bodes well for IRL. I searched for Indycar, IRL, and Indy statements on the part of Wildhack and came up empty. If someone can bring them up and argue the point an invitation is offered to do so.

    So what to do?

    Over at CBS Mr. Sean McManus is the president of CBS Sports, during an intervew earlier this year he had this to say about Indy:

    Also, on a much brighter note, my father loves auto racing and it was great going to the Indy 500 and seeing A.J. Foyt who would race sprint cars the night before the 500. There were so many good memories of being with my father we could fill a couple of books.
    http://dcexaminer.com/articles/2005/.../67media17.txt

    At least Sean McManus has a deep appreciation for the history and heroes of Indy like most of us do, with fond memories to boot. Note this interview wasn't about Indy ro auto racing, it was a frank discussion with the CBS Sports President on what make him tick. The Indy 500 mention as among his fondest memories in sports and the relation of a racing fan upbringing came straight out of the blue.

    Talk to him?

  • #2
    the heart of the CBS Golf season is the heart of the IRL racing. I don't want to be stuck on Spike or USA. At least we have the ESPN outlet currently for the IRL.

    Do I detect ESPNRPM as a channel soon?
    "We won a few races here and there, but the magic died the day Helmet melted." - Doc Austin on slotcar champion Michael Shannon

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    • #3
      Am I the only one that takes his quotes to indicate that ESPN might go back to actually showing sports?
      Chicago Blackhawks done didn't do it again!

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      • #4
        An entensive interview with Sean McManus from 2003.

        http://www.pbs.org/newshour/media/sportTV/mcmanus.html

        CBS Sports President Sean McManus discusses the surge in demand for broadcast sports, why football is the most profitable venue for television, the migration of televised sports from broadcast to cable networks, and new strategies to capture the attention of younger audiences.
        Some interesting topics were touched on.

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