Disappointed media outlets, disgusted fans, demoralized arena and team workers. We've seen it all and I will keep emphasizing the vast impact this NBA Lockout has on those three factors. I'm a fan of most of the movies posted in this article, but TBS obviously can't play them uncensored and that's an extra bad replacement for basketball. Turner Sports and NBC really got screwed hard considering how fresh their deal with the Association was.
Movies for guys who like movies.
That's how Superstation TBS usually promotes its library of action films. Starting this week, it's more like ``Movies for guys who like basketball.''
With NBA games canceled through November because of a labor dispute, TBS and sister network TNT are turning to such testosterone-heavy flicks as The Delta Force and 48 HRS. - and more professional wrestling - to keep the predominantly male audience from turning the dial.
Turner Sports and NBC are both in the first season of a four-year, $2.6 billion contract with the NBA.
The Turner Sports contract calls for TNT and TBS to combine to carry 80 regular-season games and a minimum of 30 playoff games this season.
With players sidelined, there's a scramble to keep viewers and advertisers with alternative programming.
Instead of tonight's season opener, TNT viewers will see Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in Rain Man. On Friday, it's Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 48 HRS.
Next Tuesday, TNT will go with WCW Nitro Extra, an extension of its Monday night professional wrestling show.
TBS, which was scheduled to carry its opening NBA game on Wednesday, is going with Chuck Norris in Delta Force.
Turner Sports, which is paying $890 million for its four-year deal, has canceled 16 games, about 20 percent of its season schedule. A spokesman wouldn't discuss specific revenue projections, but said the company had expected double-digit growth in advertising revenue this season.
So far, advertisers are keeping the faith.
``We have not had any reaction from our advertisers in terms of them dropping out or seeking cash back,'' said Mark Harrad, spokesman for Turner Broadcasting.
``We have an exhaustive library of action movies and action shows that can deliver the same audience.''
Things aren't as critical yet for NBC, which doesn't broadcast its first game until Christmas Day and doesn't launch game-of-the-week telecasts until Jan. 16. NBC generated $300 million in profits from its last four-year NBA deal. It is paying $1.75 billion for its new four-year package.
``We're looking forward to having a whole schedule,'' said Ed Markey, NBC Sports vice president.
Even if advertisers stay with replacement programming, the Turner networks will lose money without the NBA, said Steve Sternberg, broadcast analyst with TN Media in New York. A typical NBA game generates roughly $1 million in advertising revenue, about twice the rate for replacement programs.
``They don't charge nearly as much for that stuff as they charge for basketball,'' Sternberg said.
``Plus, a lot of the advertisers that have committed to basketball may not want to be in that stuff. Sports like the NFL and NBA are considered higher profile events that a lot of advertisers want to be associated with. It's not the same as being in a movie.''
In Central Florida, WB affiliate WKCF-Channel 18 will cancel three of the 25 away games scheduled to air this season on the Magic Television Network, owned and operated by the Orlando Magic. Likewise, radio station 580 AM (WDBO) is losing 11 Magic broadcasts in November.
``I don't think any advertisers are asking for money back,'' said Dave Ward, WKCF program director. ``I think advertisers realize if this thing gets settled we might still air the same number of games.''
The regional Sunshine Network is scheduled to carry 44 Orlando Magic games this season. Advertisers are being offered significantly more advertising time on college basketball games for the same price they would pay for Magic contests.
``Instead of getting one spot in five Magic games, you might get one spot in 50 college events,'' said Jim Liberatore, Sunshine Network general manager. ``If one game is missed or 100 games are missed, Sunshine Network is going to lose money.''
NOTE: Magic President Bob Vander Weide announced today that the team has entered into an agreement with 1440 AM (WPRD) to serve as the team's Spanish language flagship radio station. The 1998-99 season will mark the inaugural campaign of Magic Spanish radio broadcasts.
All home games during the year will be broadcast in Spanish on WPRD and simulcast on 1400 AM (WTRR). In addition, a Spanish-language call-in show, which made its debut last season, can be also heard Mondays during the season from 6-7 p.m. on the two stations.
Broadcasting veteran Joey Colon will serve as the voice of the Magic in Spanish, handling game play-by-play, pregame, halftime and postgame analysis. He will also host the Monday call-in show.