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ESPN’s Bodenheimer Sits Royally Atop Nielsen Ratings

7/16/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

A number of famous faces graced the
Royal Box during the July 8 Wimbledon
final, notably those of the
Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine
Middleton, and her famous little sister,
Pippa.

The siblings were captured on
camera a few times during ESPN’s
coverage of the match, in which
Roger Federer won at The Championships
for a record-tying seventh
time, this year over a tearful Scot,
Andy Murray.

Murray was the first Brit to reach
the Wimbledon men’s final since
1938. But he could not erase Fred Perry’s
name as the last British man to
hold up the Challenge Cup two years
before that.

Another famous face — at least to
the cable industry crowd — was on
display behind the sisters Middleton:
ESPN executive chairman George
Bodenheimer. To their credit, as far
as The Wire remembers, match commentators
Chris Fowler and the brothers
McEnroe, John and Patrick, didn’t
identify the longtime network boss
during the telecast.

The Wire wondered if Bodenheimer
was rooting for Murray, as
the ESPNer was seen cheering for the
U.K.’s favorite native son that day. A
network spokeswoman said: “George
appreciated the invitation to the Royal
Box and put his support behind his
perennial favorite — Nielsen.”

Bodenheimer and John Skipper,
ESPN president and co-chair of Disney
Media Networks, who was unable
to attend the final, certainly had
to be pleased by how things fell on
that side of the net.

Federer’s four-set victory played to a
2.5 national rating and drew 3.93 million
viewers. That marked ESPN’s best
tennis audience in 33 years of covering
the sport and respective gains of 32%
and 48% over the 1.9 rating and 2.65
million watchers NBC served up for
Novak Djokovic’s triumph over Rafael
Nadal in 2011, the Peacock’s last Wimbledon
telecast after a 43-year run.

The worldwide leader has 11 years
remaining on an exclusive U.S. rights
deal with the All England Club.

After The Fire, Prism Appears

The news in Colorado Springs, Colo., in recent weeks
has mostly been bad, because of the Waldo Canyon Fire,
the most destructive blaze in the state’s history. Whole
neighborhoods in the city were destroyed, and more
than 32,000 were evacuated from their homes at the
peak, according to news reports.

On July 10, the fire was reported as 100% contained.
Farther back in the local Gazette newspaper for that
day was a historic footnote: Telco CenturyLink, which
has been rolling out an IPTV multichannel-video service
in some markets, was approved for a cable franchise to
make Colorado Springs the first former Qwest market to
get the Prism service, which will compete against Comcast
locally, starting sometime next year.

CenturyLink bought out Qwest in 2011 and plans to
launch video service in one or two Qwest markets per
year, spokeswoman Stephanie Meisse told The Wire. She
said it has been launched in eight markets in Wisconsin,
Missouri, Florida and North Carolina so far.

— Kent Gibbons

NECTA Confab
Honors Lonergan

The New England Cable
& Telecommunications
Association’s
annual conference opened on July 12 with
a dedication to Chris
Lonergan, the longtime
Discovery Communications
affiliate
marketing executive
who died in April at
age 54, leaving behind
a wife and two young
sons.

“Chris was a great friend of the industry, great
friend of NECTA, dedicated husband and father,
and an all-around great guy,” NECTA CEO Paul
Cianelli said. “I want to dedicate the convention
to Chris in a very positive way because he was one
of the most positive people I ever met.”

An education trust has been established for Lonergan's children: checks payable to "Lonergan Children Education Trust," Bank of America Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, 6000 Fairview Road, Suite 700, Charlotte, NC 28210. Attention: Neil Stikeleather. Or to arrange other methods of contribution, email neil.stikeleather@ml.com.
— Kent Gibbons

FCC Filing: Pangasa’s
Sincerest Form of Flattery?

Serial FCC filer Maneesh Pangasa, who has
flooded the commission with hundreds of comments
in numerous dockets (see Through the
Wire, March 5), was at it again last week, filing
a dozen new comments at press time opposing
the sale of cable spectrum to Verizon Wireless.
The comments included one that struck a little
too close to home.

The spur to all that activity was, apparently,
the July 10 comment deadline in that docket,
though Pangasa hardly needs a spur, having
filed scores of comments for weeks on the deal.

The Wire can’t fault him on his source material,
though we felt the need to clarify for the
record.

The headline on one of his many June 9 filings
looked oddly familiar: “CFA Brands SpectrumCo
Deal End of ‘96 Act’s Competitive
Promise.”

A check of the comment confi rmed that it
was simply Multichannel.com’s July 9 article
about the Consumer Federation of America comments,
lifted from the Web and pasted into the
FCC tool, though, sigh, without attribution.

So, for the record, and in case anyone noted
the resemblance to our Web item, The Wire
takes no position on the merger beyond pointing
out that the sentiments expressed in lifting
the piece were not those of Multichannel News.

— John Eggerton

 

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