Marketing

French Open Finale Fandango Leads Wire From Net to Net

6/18/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

This will probably take longer to explain
than it is worth, but here goes.

Prepped for the historic French Open final between
Novak Djokovic (going for the career Grand Slam) and
Rafael Nadal (chasing a record seven French titles), we
were frustrated by the rain delay, and tuned in and out
on Sunday (June 10). If the rain did not let up, we were
told by NBC, the match would finish Monday at 7 a.m.

As it became clear the rain was not letting up, we
tuned away — OK, our first mistake — keeping 7 a.m.
in mind. We missed the note that the continuation
would be on the NBC Sports Network.

On Monday morning, we tuned to NBC, only to
find Al Roker and the Today crew. Ah, we thought,
knowing no better, the match is probably on Tennis
Channel.

The on-screen guide’s Tennis Channel listing said:
French Open 2012, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Fair enough.
Clicking over, there were Djokovic and Nadal, playing
on a clay court, with Nadal dominating. This must
be the place.

It took us a minute — this was 7 a.m. and we do like
our beauty sleep — to notice the sign that said Monaco
on the side of the court. Dead giveaway there.

Must be another rain delay and they are showing an
archived match, thought we. We saw no crawl to inform
viewers this wasn’t French Open coverage.

Eventually, we concluded that this also wasn’t the
place. Somewhat exorcised, we surfed back to NBC, and
there was Today again. Back to Tennis Channel. Then
back to NBC, where finally we saw a crawl saying the
match was on NBC Sports Network.

We found that channel just in time to see Nadal leap
into the stands to hug everybody. Back to bed, with an
unsatisfying feeling of not having been hugged — and
of missing a historic tennis moment.

NBC Sports Group vice president of communications
Adam Friefeld told The Wire, “There
were intermittent crawls on the Today show,
a press release that went out from NBC Sports
Public Relations Department, we did announce
it at the end of the tennis day on Sunday, and it
was available on the NBC Sports Network, live
and live-streamed.”

Graciously, he did not add, “you idiot.”

Tennis Channel’s Eric Abner was sorry The
Wire had trouble finding the match, “but you
must have missed our notice at the bottom of
the screen that noted schedule updates and
when Tennis Channel would be airing the men’s
final yesterday.”

Abner noted some guides need more than a
24-hour window for updates. “I don’t know if
that’s what happened in your case, but I know
that it’s a common occurrence. I have Time
Warner Cable, and my program guide said that
NBC Sports Network was showing the Belmont
Stakes when they were live with the men’s final.”

The Wire missed the Belmont, too, because The
Horse Channel was covering a race called “The Delmont,”
in which the favorite, “No Thank You, I’m Full”
had scratched.

Or were we dreaming?

Longhorn Net Shoots
Image Ads at UT
To Hook Fans, Affiliates

Looking to steer a new brand campaign, Longhorn Network
turned to a creative team well-versed in the ways of the
University of Texas: six UT graduate and undergraduate
advertising students.

The campaign’s objectives were rooted in the wont to
show that LHN — ESPN’s 20-year, $300 million venture
with the school — understands what it means to be a UT
supporter while
also demonstrating
that fans’
unique Texas
spirit is part of
the service.

In this case,
it also offered
the deepened
connection
LHN has with
students and fans by keeping the work on campus.

“We know the Longhorn Network brand is in its infancy
and that it’s going to grow and evolve,” LHN associate director
of marketing Jill Husak told The Wire. “We were looking
at a new way to infuse our brand and thought it was a great
opportunity to work with students.”

LHN reached out to the school’s advertising department
chair, Isabella Cunningham, and things were set in motion
during the spring semester, under the tutelage of UT lecturer
Ryan Romero.

Husak said the students were given “a tour of LHN facilities
and briefed about our goals for the campaign. It was
great to hear six different creative pitches, rather than the
typical account-management structure from an agency.”

Four spots (there are 30- and 15-second versions) were
shot in early May and begin airing today (June 18). Under
the tagline “Watch What You Love,” the ads will air all summer
on LHN and other ESPN properties.

Brand-building benefits aside, Husak said the commercials
— “Little Longhorn,” “Fact Check,” “Shoot It Out” and
“Homesick” — “will work as an outreach for distributors to
underscore the passion students, alumni and fans have for
UT and Longhorn Network.”

“Little Longhorn,” with a father telling his young daughter a
bedtime story about Vince Young leading the team to a football
national title over USC in 2006, is first out of the chute.

“Homesick” features a young man working in New York
at night who gains comfort by obscuring his office view of
the Empire State Building with a photo of the landmark oncampus
University of Texas Tower.

LHN has deals with Verizon Communications, Grande
Communications
and a number of small Texas distributors,
but has yet to score carriage pacts with Time Warner Cable,
Comcast, Charter Communications, Suddenlink Communications
or DirecTV.

MSG Finds Rare Video
Of a Game That Helped
Frazier Become ‘Clyde’

Before he was moving and grooving as “Clyde,” the
basketball Hall of Famer, sartorial showman and New
York Knicks
word-wizard analyst on MSG Network, Walt
Frazier
was a precocious neophyte “mesmerized” by his
first trip to Manhattan.

During that visit, on March 18, 1967, he led his Southern
Illinois University
Salukis against Marquette in the
National Invitational Tournament championship game at
the old Garden.

Tales of that trip
were told when
MSG Network last
Thursday (June
14) screened clips
from “Before He
Was Clyde,” a new
episode of Emmywinning
MSG’s
Vault
, at Clyde
Frazier’s Wine and
Dine restaurant,
well worth a visit in
The Wire’s view.

MSG put on a
successful fullcourt
press in
search of video of
the game, which was televised by WSIU, a PBS station
in Carbondale, Ill.

“It showed up about three months ago,” show host Al
Trautwig
explained. “They found it in a closet.”

Not only was the original video housed on two-inch
quad tape in pristine condition, the telecast was in
color. Play-by-play man Tom Kelly had the call, with a
laconic Frank Gifford as analyst and post-game interviewer
of Frazier, who was the game’s MVP.

Frazier, who grew up segregated in Atlanta before deciding
to attend a “northern” school, said his 21-point,
11-rebound performance in Southern Illinois’ comefrom-
behind win “unequivocally” led to the Knicks drafting
him a few weeks later. For the record, Frazier says a
Saluki is an Egyptian hunting dog.

The installment premieres June 23 at 9 p.m. on MSG.

September