Marketing

SNY Predicts Ad Sales Prospects From UConn Pact

5/14/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

SNY’s rights deal for UConn women's basketball
games should provide local ad sales opportunities
for distributors.

The regional
sports network, the
cable home of Major
League Baseball’s New York
Mets, last week
scored a four-year,
$4.55 million deal
with the University
of Connecticut for
the rights to Geno
Auriemma’s storied
women’s program,
which has won seven
NCAA national
titles.

SNY beat out
Connecticut Public
Television, which
has carried the
club’s games for the
past 18 years, and
whose four-year
contract expired at
season’s end.

CPTV, which reportedly
had been
paying $900,000
annually under its
most recent deal,
bid $4.537 million, including $1.2 million up front, to retain
the contract.

HUSKY TIES EXTENDED

The new agreement expands SNY’s relationship with
UConn: The RSN
is the local television
outlet for Husky
football and men’s
basketball through
rights granted
by the Big East Conference
to ESPN Regional
Television.

Tipping with the
2012-13 school year,
SNY will air a minimum
of 17 of the
women’s basketball
team’s games, plus
assorted other shoulder
programming
that will result in close
to 350 hours of coverage
annually. The programming
trails only
SNY’s commitment
to the Mets and the
NFL’s New York Jets
and is highly valued
in the Nutmeg State,
SNY president Steve
Raab said.

Although Raab,
who called the rights
deal an investment in SNY, said the programming will
open advertising doors for the RSN, it will have more of
an impact for distributors. “This is an opportunity for
our distributors to pick up some programming that has
been extremely popular across the state and affiliate ad
sales opportunity that has produced 6 local household
ratings,” he said, noting they will now control inventory
that previously manifested in “pledge drives at halftime.”

Raab said he believes SNY’s bid ultimately prevailed
for a number of reasons: SNY’s superior reach (13.7 million
versus the 1 million for CPTV in Connecticut); crossplatform
promotion across its other properties, including
UConn telecasts; and the quality of its studio production.

“UConn is very familiar with us from working with
them on the men’s side with football and basketball and
through the Big East,” Raab said. “Our 350 hours of programming
is seven to eight times what was available on
CPTV.”

‘UNIQUE’ COACH ON AIR

Raab said in addition to games SNY will produce pre- and
post-game shows, a season review and a Big East tourney
preview. SNY plans to reformat Auriemma’s show that
has been airing on the network. “He’s a unique personality.
It won’t be your old-school coaches show,” Raab said.

SNY is also eyeing Geno’s Legacy, which will feature the
coach interviewing some of his former players and stars.
“It will not only be a walk down memory lane, but a catchup
with some of the program’s most impactful players,”
Raab said. The show will feature some of the program’s
top talent, as well as others who might not have that kind
of profile but helped set the ball in motion in Storrs, CT.
“Geno’s first team to win the Big East and make the NCAA
tournament was in 1988,” he noted.

SNY said the live games would air throughout the
RSN’s footprint, while encores and some of ancillary fare
would wind up on its separate Connecticut feed.

March