We learned just over a month ago that the Flyers will be appearing on national television an impressive twenty times. Then NBC announced the Orange and Black will be featured on a four-part behind the scenes show on NHL Network titled Behind the Glass: Philadelphia Flyers Training Camp. Now we know the breakdown of the local TV schedule, namely the NBC Sports Philadelphia/NBC Sports Philadelphia+ splits:
Been a while since I’d seen anything regarding Neil Hartman, who most recently was teaching at Temple and working a couple of other gigs . Hartman was a Comcast SportsNet original before parting ways with company in 2016 after almost three decades on the air. His was one of the first dominoes to fall as the station rebranded to NBC Sports Philadelphia and then made a bazillion more personnel and programming changes.
Now he’s popped up on my Twitter feed as the new director of Rowan’s “Center for Sports Communication & Social Impact” –
We're so excited to welcome @NeilHartmanTV as the new director of @RowanUniversity's Center for Sports Communication & Social Impact! https://t.co/KGDhAcHT5N @RowanSportsComm pic.twitter.com/0GvkoQw5bu
— Rowan CCCA (@RowanCCCA) August 26, 2019
After the jump, a blurb from the press release explaining his role:
Sports Betting Updates
Bryce Harper’s acquisition was bound to wake a quasi-dormant Phillies fanbase after a few years of dreck and a season of progress in 2018. Per Jeff Blumenthal of Philadelphia Business Journal, the Phillies saw a 31% increase in ratings on NBC Sports Philadelphia in the month of April. The Phillies’ average household rating increased from 3.5 in April of 2018 to 4.6 in April of this year. NBC Sports Philadelphia has also seen a steaming viewers increase of 132%.
According to Blumenthal:
The team’s April 2 game against the Washington Nationals scored a 7.2 rating, the highest-rating game since the July 5, 2012 game against the New York Mets. A 1.0 rating equals 28,169 households.
What this means for NBC Sports Philadelphia is an increase in ad revenue, as their advertisers are willing to spend more money and presumably buy more ad time than a year ago. The network has added four new sponsors on TV and four different sponsors on their steaming side.
As Blumenthal mentioned in his article, NBC Sports Philadelphia cannot bring on any sports betting advertisers interested in running ads during Phillies coverage, as per MLB policy.
None of this is entirely surprising, as Major League Baseball is often behind the curve on new and emerging trends. We’ll see how May’s ratings will look as Harpermania dies down a bit and the reality of a long and arduous season sets in.
NBC Sports rolled out a digital streaming service a few months ago for displaced fans.
The “Philly Pass” on NBC Sports Gold features studio shows, pre and post-game programs, and other specials that the network produces. It does not, however, include any actual Phillies, Sixers, or Flyers games, which left a lot of people wondering why they would pay $3.99 a month or $29.99 a year for this product.
Today we got a press release announcing that Flyers programming will be added to the service, but again, no games:
PHILADELPHIA – November 21, 2018 – NBC Sports Gold’s “Philly Pass” will add Philadelphia Flyers pregame, postgame, and special programming content to its offerings starting on Thursday, November 29. The addition of the Flyers to “Philly Pass” will add to the more than 200 pre- and postgame shows, more than 30 hours of studio shows and team-oriented content for all four Philadelphia pro-teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Sixers, Phillies and the Flyers.
This new direct-to-consumer product targets Philadelphia sports fans residing outside the NBC Sports Philadelphia territory. “Philly Pass” is available for purchase for $29.99 for the year, or $3.99 per month. Fans can visit www.nbcsports.com/gold/phillypass to purchase the product and confirm if the pass is available in their area.
Flyers content for “Philly Pass” will include NBC Sports Philadelphia’s “Flyers Pregame Live” and “Flyers Postgame Live,” plus specials such as “The Case for 88,” “Flyers in 50,” and the 42nd Annual Flyers Wives Carnival. The pass currently includes the network’s Eagles, Phillies and Sixers pre- and postgame programs; the network’s weekday sports program “Philly Sports Talk;” the Eagles-centric “Quick Slants;” and other specials including the 2018 Eagles Championship Parade, and “World Champions: The Story of the ’08 Phillies” documentary.
“Like a breakout pass from Gostisbehere to Giroux, and the viral sensation Gritty, we are thrilled to add Philadelphia Flyers programming to an already robust lineup of Eagles, Sixers and Phillies programs on ‘Philly Pass,’” said Brian Monihan, President, NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“Philly Pass” is NBC Sports Regional Network’s second foray into direct to consumer offerings, as “Blazers Pass” launched in November 2017. “Philly Pass,” which launched in September, is part of NBC Sports Gold’s suite of direct-to-consumer live streaming products to desktop, mobile, tablets and connected TV devices.
NBC Sports Gold is available on Apple iOS, Android, Apple TV V4, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast and online at NBCSportsGold.com. NBC Sports Gold is powered by Playmaker Media, NBC Sports Digital’s technology service which provides end-to-end support for companies in need of best-in-class live streaming and VOD solutions.”
This just seems like a tough sell for out-of-market fans because I’d assume they already have subscriptions to streaming services like NBA League Pass or NFL Sunday Ticket. Unless you’re the most authentic fan on the planet, I can’t imagine something like this is a huge needle-mover, but maybe I’m wrong.
PHILADELPHIA- (October 18, 2018) – NBC Sports Philadelphia, the home of the Authentic Fan – is launching “Sixers Outsiders” – a new, interactive program for Sixers fans, by Sixers fans. Hosts Tyrone Johnson and Krystle Rich – both huge fans – will provide their own unique take on that night’s game, with interaction on social media. “Sixers Outsiders” makes its debut on Saturday, October 20 immediately following “Sixers Postgame Live” on NBC Sports Philadelphia and the MyTeams by NBC Sports App.
During “Sixers Outsiders” Johnson (@TyJohnsonNews) and Rich (@KrystleRich) will provide viewers with the hottest takes, insightful analysis, and spirited commentary with interaction from fellow fans on social media. Fans can get a sneak peak of their new show this Thursday, October 18 during “Sixers Postgame Live.”
Tyrone currently produces the Mike Missanelli show, which is simulcasted on NBCSP.
The release says that Rich is a South Jersey native coming home from Los Angeles, where she worked as a reporter for “Time Warner Cable Network (now Spectrum SportsNet).” That actually looks like it was a few jobs ago. Her Linkedin page lists her most recent gig as a reporter/anchor at CBS Sacramento and she was previously a sports reporter and anchor at WBOC in Maryland. She’s a Rutgers alumna.
Thoughts on this new show?
Stamford, Conn. – September 27, 2018 – NBC Sports Regional Networks today announced the launch of its direct-to-consumer product targeted to displaced Philadelphia sports fans, NBC Sports Gold’s “Philly Pass.” This new streaming product allows fans residing outside the NBC Sports Philadelphia territory to access NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Eagles, Phillies and Sixers pre- and postgame programs; the network’s weekday sports program “Philly Sports Talk;” the Eagles-centric “Quick Slants;” plus additional team-focused programs, including the 2018 Eagles Championship Parade and “World Champions: The Story of the ’08 Phillies” documentary.
“Philly Pass” is available for purchase beginning today for $29.99 for the year, or $3.99 per month. Fans can visit www.nbcsports.com/gold/phillypass to purchase the product and confirm if the pass is available in their area.
“Philadelphia sports fans are some of the most passionate in the country. We are pleased to offer displaced Philly fans the ability to watch our popular sports programs, and give them the insight and coverage of their home teams from the voices of NBC Sports Philadelphia,” said David Preschlack, President, NBC Sports Regional Networks & Platform and Content Strategy.
This is NBC Sports Regional Network’s second foray into direct to consumer offerings, as “Blazers Pass” launched in November 2017. “Philly Pass” is part of NBC Sports Gold’s suite of direct-to-consumer live streaming products to desktop, mobile, tablets and connected TV devices.
NBC Sports Gold is available on Apple iOS, Android, Apple TV V4, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast and online at NBCSportsGold.com. NBC Sports Gold is powered by Playmaker Media, NBC Sports Digital’s technology service which provides end-to-end support for companies in need of best-in-class live streaming and VOD solutions.
No, seriously, I’m interested in your thoughts. Obviously they can’t stream the games out of market, but you can get the rest of their programming through this service.
Both Kevin Kinkead and Kyle Scott worked on this post.
We got a ton of feedback on a story published last week, titled “Some Thoughts on Whatever the Hell NBC Sports Philly is Doing.”
Beyond the reader replies, we were contacted by a number of current and former NBCSP employees, all of whom felt like the station was headed in the wrong direction due to a number of unpopular talent cuts and a wonky revamp of both the television and digital product.
We talked to a half-dozen people – a combination of off- and on-camera folks representing a variety of departments – who were interested in speaking anonymously about the issues. Leadership, money, and a lack of direction were the three topics that came up most frequently in discussion.
Before we get to that, it’s worth considering the important crossroads at which NBC Sports Philly, and all sports networks, regional and national, find themselves at the moment.
Once an indispensable part of sports fandom, cable sports networks have become less relevant in recent years. Gone are the days of fans needing to tune in for highlight shows or roundtable discussions to get brought up to speed on the news and topics of the day. New and social media, along with the continued success of sports talk radio, has rendered almost anything a sports network can show you during traditional news-block hours useless, at worst, or redundant, at best.
For the Philly sports fan, SportsNite with Neil Hartman and Leslie Gudel, or SportsRise with Ron Burke used to be appointment viewing. What’s more, it was novel in the both the breadth and depth of local coverage it provided, beginning in 1997.
The height of the cable news boom, the late 90s were shaped largely by the new and varied niches cable networks could cover, from Music TV to Court TV to sports. Not only did a network like CSN air the games, but they offered nearly around-the-clock coverage of the teams. Until then, local fans were served during off-hours by only the newspaper, sports talk radio, and a few minutes of nightly news broadcasts.
Michael Barkann, Hartman, Gudel, Burke, Dei Lynam and Derrick Gunn became mini rockstars to local sports fans. CSN was essential in a sports-dominated market.
That landscape has completely changed.
The value added by highlight, roundtable, and, to a lesser extent, debate shows is gone. The web fills that vacuum admirably while providing a platform for the average fan to engage and create. You’re now literally part of the sports conversation, whereas before you were only in branding– the voice of the fan. Suddenly, the back-and-forth of static studio shows feels boring and contrived compared to lively Twitter debates, in-depth podcast discussions, and the comment sections of social media posts. We don’t need to hear what Joel Embiid said after the game, because we can watch him celebrate or lament live on Instagram. Highlight shows serve only to reinforce the importance of clips we saw online four hours earlier, or sometimes eight hours earlier. Sites like this one (and many others) provide the continuous updates without readers having to wait for a scheduled broadcast window. Even self-important branding plays, like a “CSN Insider,” which is actually just a beat reporter who, often, is no more inside than 6-8 of their peers, or “Authentic Fan,” feel outdated and disingenous.
So, we’ll argue that NBC Sports Philly, and many other regional sports networks, are right to do away with their stale fare. From a content standpoint, that stuff is no longer interesting. From a financial standpoint, it loses money.
The decisions to do so, including the choice to let go of longtime veteran on-air folks who excel at reading a teleprompter, are not popular, but they are necessary. You can’t teach someone who is used to a camera setup, a script, multiple takes, and a tightly defined framework to just pick up their phone and be creative. [A counter to this would be someone like John Clark, who has excelled on social media and uses his access to inform fans everywhere, and not surprisingly he has been elevated in the NBC Sports-Comcast family of networks.]
More relevant to this piece, though, is what NBC Sports Philly has done in the wake of unpopular decisions and cost-cutting. Some of those decisions can be excused as NBC-led initiatives over which the local shop had little control, while others can be critiqued from a local level. Both deserve attention.
So it’s with that framework and understanding of the business dynamics that we take you inside with current and former NBC Sports Philly staffers as they identify pain points within the once-hallowed halls of the Comcast SportsNet studios. Continue Reading