K.C. Rivals Teaming Up

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While they will still compete to some extent, Time Warner Cable's Metro Sports Channel and CBS affiliate KCTV are now teaming to capture Kansas City sports viewers.

Beginning on Feb. 9, the regional sports network will report, edit and present daily local sports newscasts for the Meredith Broadcasting Co. station. In what the parties believe is an industry first, The Metro Sports Report will originate live from Time Warner Cable studios in Kansas City and air as KCTV's sports segment at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and at 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Under the three-year deal, Metro Sports will also produce a number of specials covering the National Football League's Kansas City Chiefs, whose games air on KCTV, as well as about Kansas and Missouri universities.

Although monetary terms were not disclosed, Time Warner Cable Metro Sports vice president Carol Rothwell said the regional sports network will receive production fees from the station, which will retain all of the advertising inventory.

Former KCTV sports anchor and reporter Leif Lisec has been retained by Metro Sports and will handle the sportscasts from Sunday through Thursday, while Metro Sports anchor and reporter Danyelle Sargent will be at the desk on Friday and Saturday.

Station general manager Kirk Smith said the relationship was borne out of conversations going back a year ago, during which he and Rothwell discussed the local sports market and KCTV's staffing and costs issues.

"We only had three people dedicated to sports and to do specials we had to pull from the news operation," he said. "Metro Sports does top-quality work and by outsourcing, I think we'll be able to show our viewers a better product and save some money overall."

Additional revenue aside, Rothwell said Metro Sports should benefit from greater exposure. "[KCTV] has a bigger footprint and reaches non-cable homes. Hopefully, they'll be impressed by what they see and they'll become cable subscribers," she said.

Smith said on-air openings will kick things over to "Metro Sports on KCTV5."

Metro Sports counts over 400,000 subscribers — 305,000 through Time Warner and another 100,000 from Comcast Corp., according to Rothwell.

The regional, which carries 100 Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball games, Major League Soccer's Kansas City Wiz, Chiefs pre- and post-game shows and an array of high school action, will continue its one-hour Metro Sports Talk at 6 p.m. and 30-minute Metro Sports Zone sportscasts at 10 p.m.

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