Does CBS station's acquisition of Tampa Bay Buccaneers preseason games highlight deflated value?
St. Petersburg CBS station WTSP-Ch. 10 will air three Tampa Bay Buccaneers pre-season games this year, moving the broadcasts from NBC's WFLA-Ch. 8 and officially marking the end of the rival station's "Pewter Partnership" with the football team.
The move also may signal the end of big deals for local broadcast of pre-season football games, in an era of widespread blackouts of home games and sinking media ad revenues.
WTSP and the Buccaneers issued a press release on the new, two-year agreement this morning, amid news that the NFL's lockout was officially over. Under the new deal, WTSP will keep on air partners Chris Myers and John Lynch.
WTSP general manager Ken Tonning said the new agreement with WTSP is not as extensive as WFLA's highly touted Pewter Partnership, where the Media General-owned TV station's logos appeared prominently throughout the stadium and the alliance was highlighted in on air promotions and programming.
The team's Pewter Partnership with Media General's Tampa Tribune newspaper remains in place.
Given the possibility of blackouts -- forcing games to air hours later or even the next day by tape delay -- and the continuing troubles of the the media industry, such blockbuster partnership deals may be a thing of the past. Last year, all the Buccaneers home games were blacked out when the contests failed to sell out.
"I don't know what WFLA's interest level was, but we looked at this as a tremendous opportunity," said Tonning, adding that the deal took four months to pull together. "It's some of the most high profile programming in town."
John Schueler, president of the subsidiary which oversees Media General properties in Florida, said the company suggested a couple of scenarios for airing preseason games on WFLA, but the team eventually decided to seek another TV partner. Considering the blackout threat and rumors that preseason games might be cut or eliminated next season, Schueler said WFLA couldn't present the sort of grand sponsorship it once offered.
"The broadcast rights are very expensive, and if you don't know about blackouts 72 hours before a game, the advertising becomes harder to sell," Schueler said. "Most of these games, they put the starters in for a limited amount of time and everybody esle is slugging it out for aj ob. With the economics of today, it's hard to know if that makes sense."
At Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS-Ch. 28, general manager Rich Pegram said the station did not bid on preseason games, deciding instead to buy rights to broadcast locally the Oct. 3 Monday Night Football game also airing on ESPN that night. "We paid a hefty price for it and we're pre-empting Dancing with the Stars, which is our biggest show," said Pegram of the contest, a home game against the Indianapolis Colts. "If all the (preseason) games were in real time, in primetime, with choice opponents, that might have been attractive. But we chose to put our money elsewhere."
According to the press release, "2011 will mark the first year that WTSP-TV has held the rights to the Buccaneers’ preseason slate, and the station will produce three games: at home against New England on Thursday, August 18, at 7:30 p.m.; at home versus Miami on Saturday, August 27, at 7:30 p.m.; and at Washington on September 1 at 7:30 p.m. The Buccaneers’ first preseason game at Kansas City will be broadcast on FOX at 8:00 p.m. In the event that the two home games are blacked out, they will be broadcast on tape delay."
Click below to see the official release:
WTSP 10 News will air 2011-12 Bucs Preseason Games
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that they have entered into a multi-year agreement with local CBS affiliate WTSP-TV Channel 10 News to provide preseason broadcast rights.
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are pleased to introduce WTSP-TV as the new official home of Buccaneers preseason football,” said Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer. “Both sides are excited to have this agreement in place to provide top-flight coverage of our emerging young team. We are especially thrilled that we will be continuing our partnership with the exceptional broadcast team of Chris Myers and John Lynch.”
“We are very proud of our preseason partnership with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,” Ken Tonning, President and CEO of WTSP-TV said. “The Bucs are a tremendous asset to the communities of Tampa Bay and 10 News is committed to providing fans with the highest quality HD broadcasts of the preseason games. We have climbed on board and encourage fans to do so as well.”
2011 will mark the first year that WTSP-TV has held the rights to the Buccaneers’ preseason slate, and the station will produce three games: at home against New England on Thursday, August 18, at 7:30 p.m.; at home versus Miami on Saturday, August 27, at 7:30 p.m.; and at Washington on September 1 at 7:30 p.m. The Buccaneers’ first preseason game at Kansas City will be broadcast on FOX at 8:00 p.m. In the event that the two home games are blacked out, they will be broadcast on tape delay.