Just as Fenway Park has been polished during its 100th anniversary season, NESN -- the regional sports network that carries games of the stadium's tenant and its part owner, the Boston Red Sox -- is burnishing its brand throughout New England.
In what are believed to be the first partnerships between an RSN and broadcast station in attendant markets, NESN has struck a pair of content-sharing pacts with the leading TV stations in The Hub and Providence, R.I. Working with CBS owned-and-operated WBZ-TV in Boston and NBC affiliate WJAR in Providence, NESN's Don Orsillo, Jerry Remy and Jenny Dell are providing live pre-game reports from Fenway and the RSN's road telecasts for the stations' noon and 6 p.m. newscasts.
In return the stations' on-air sports talent -- WBZ-TV anchor Dan Roche and WJAR director and sportscaster Frank Carpano -- are appearing alongside host Tom Caron, Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley, Jim Rice and Peter Gammons, and NESN's newest analyst, former MLB slugger Matt Stairs, on Sox pre-game shows.
The stations are also providing RSN viewers with weather reports during pre- and post-game shows, plus updates during rain delays. WBZ-TV News' team of AccuWeather meteorologists, led by Todd Gutner, are delivering the "Official Forecast of NESN's Red Sox Coverage," while Storm Team 10, led by Mark Searles, are presenting Providence area weather updates to NESN watchers in Rhode Island and Bristol County, Mass.
Similar content-sharing arrangements between the stations and NESN's other team, the NHL Boston Bruins will evolve next season.
After a slow start, the Red Sox have righted their on-field ship. NESN's May 30 telecast of the team's 6-4 win over Detroit scored a 9.1 rating in the DMA, despite matching up against ESPN's coverage of Game 2 of the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals during which the Celtics lost in overtime to the Miami Heat.
Through its firs 46 telecasts, NESN averaged a 7.5 household rating and 180,000 homes in the Boston DMA with Sox games, up from a 7.4 at that stage of the 2011 campaign. NESN finished the 2011 campaign with a 7.9 DMA mark with the Sox, the third best for an RSN covering a MLB team.