Fans' Views Could Spawn Fox Sports Show


In another move that walks the fine line between sports programming and entertainment, Fox Sports Net may turn an interactive promotion into a full-fledged original show.

Segments gleaned from FSN's "Viewer's VoiceBox" — an interactive kiosk through which fans can record responses to sports questions — have run on Fox Sports Net West's Regional Sports Report, and could find their way to other regional networks by this fall, said Fox Sports Net vice president of marketing Bill Bergofin.

The kiosk, initially stationed at Los Angeles's Staples Center last month, has afforded sports fans the chance to offer input on local teams and sports developments at Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers National Basketball Association games, as well as Los Angeles Kings National Hockey League regular- and post-season contests.

The kiosk has also been active at concerts and other live events at the Staples Center, said FSN executives.

Fox Sports Net West initially built the kiosk to gain footage for daily 30-second and 60-second on-air promotional pieces for the network. But the concept has been so successful — more than 1,000 people have entered and interacted with the voice box — that the network has included two- to three-minute daily segments of fan comments on its Los Angeles-based regional sports news show.

"We have a relationship with our fans due to our coverage of the local teams, so this provides us with an opportunity to find different ways to promote our properties while incorporating our fans into our product," Bergofin said.

If it proves to be a ratings and fan success in Los Angeles, he added, other voice box kiosks could be set up in more arenas prior to the start of the National Basketball Association's season next October.

"If the format picks up, we'll roll it out to other regional markets," Bergofin said. "The real win for us is that we're offering something compelling to the network's sports fans. They are often really opinionated, so this is a chance to let them be heard."

Fox Sports Net has already committed to roll out the VVB kiosk at Dodger Stadium after Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in early July.

Bergofin would not comment on the cost of building and maintaining the kiosk, a fully-automated remote studio that resembles a giant television set. The local Los Angeles teams and the Staples Center promote the VVB through commercials on the arena's Jumbotron scoreboard, as well as through in-arena public address announcements.