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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Full Arsenal A Dud So Far

- Thanks to those who commented regarding ESPN's promotional efforts, or lack thereof, for the Breeders Cup. It sounds like not much has been going on. As promised when the deal was announced, we've had the five two-hour Road to the Cup shows, which have been generally well-received, and the seven hour telecast. Seven hours! The show runs on over an hour and a half after the last race. The show starts at noon, the Classic goes off at 5:20, and by 5:35, we're gonna be so fucking sick of listening to these guys that it could be until the Blue Grass until we watch racing on ESPN again.

But the prep telecasts and the marathon broadcast are not going to do anything to attract new viewers. I thought we were going to see ESPN cross-promote it on their other sports telecasts and networks. When the deal was announced, an ESPN exec vice-president told the Thoroughbred Times: "We intend to bring our full arsenal of resources to present, to promote and distribute the storied property as no one else can."

Thus far I've seen no effort at all, and you guys confirmed what I suspected about the lack of advertising during football and baseball telecasts. Even NBC would try to build a general awareness that they telecasted the event, from time to time running a short "home of the Breeders Cup" clip.

If you go to ESPN's website, you have to scroll down almost to the bottom, below NASCAR, soccer, fantasy, and EVEN HOCKEY to find the horse racing section. Their Breeders Cup section is, aside from their regular columnists, mostly content from the Daily Racing Form.

And here's the schedule for the extra programming during the big build-up to the event during the week:

Nov. 1, ESPN2, 2-2:30 p.m., Today at the Breeders' Cup
Nov. 2, ESPN2, 2-3 p.m., Wire to Wire at the Breeders' Cup
Nov. 3, ESPN2, 5-6 p.m., Breeders' Cup Selection Show [Bloodhorse]
Oh yeah, I'll be sure to be home for those.

There is still time for some cross-promotion. Hopefully we'll see Trevor Denman in the booth during Monday Night Football, taking the mike to call a few plays ("And Brady is having a big one!"), Randy Moss doing a stand-up routine at halftime of the West Virginia - Louisville game, Jerry Bailey tossing up the ceremonial jump ball before the Wizards - Cavaliers NBA season opener, and Hank Goldberg trying, with moderate success, to handicap old races on ESPN Classic.

Perhaps they'll do extensive promotion during those games, and not just during the World Series of Poker. (And how many World Series can one game have in one year??) But thus far, the promotional effort is not even close to the promised "full arsenal." It's more like a token defense.


Ruben Bailey said...

We should def. talk about this.

Also: I think this is a fantastic, reasonable, doable idea:

"Trevor Denman in the booth during Monday Night Football, taking the mike to call a few plays"

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael said...

Before he went on hiatus thanks to MNF, Tony Kornheiser's (local) radio show in D.C. (680 AM) would have Andy Beyer, Pat Forde and others on throughout the week to talk about the BC. Granted Tony knows zero about racing (and admits it), he still gives the sport its due before each 3x Crown and Breeders' Cup.

TK also has a great story about seeing Beyer hit a big bet during a Belmont in the 80s, leaving Tony all alone to file the story as Andy left to celebrate...

Superfecta said...

Isn't the Outside the Lines airing just before the BC meant to be about Barbaro? Wouldn't that be something else to mention in relation to one's horse racing coverage? I've only seen it mentioned in a few blogs -- nothing 'official' anywhere.
Even if they do mention the BC coverage during the show, it rather leaves out the 'cross' in cross-promotion.

Anonymous said...

Hank Goldberg trying, with moderate success, to handicap old races on ESPN Classic.