NFL Team Gets Into the Content-Creation Game

New York Giants' Deal With Local Fox Stations Even Features 'Idol' Knockoff

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CHICAGO -- The National Football League's New York Giants and Fox Television's two New York stations are forming a new partnership they say will give would-be sponsors and advertisers unprecedented one-stop shopping with a major sports franchise.

The Giants' chief marketing officer, Mike Stevens, said 'We want to almost be viewed as an agency.'


The deal calls for the Giants' new entertainment division to air programs and news segments exclusively on Fox-owned stations, which already carry the rights to most of the team's regular season games.

'Idol'-style sing-off
The programming, created by the Giants, will be diverse, including the expected range of pre- and post-game shows, but also entertainment- and lifestyle-oriented fare to appeal to a demographic wider than its normal sports base. One planned program is an "American Idol" knockoff called "One Giant Star" that will feature sing-offs on Fox's New York morning show and at Giants games, with the winner scoring a Sony record deal. The Giants' content effort will be led by Don Sperling, former senior VP of NBA Entertainment.

The team's chief marketing officer, Mike Stevens, said that because the team already controls its radio production and sales, the close partnership with Fox's stations makes it one of the most streamlined ad buys in all of sports.

"We want to almost be viewed as an agency," said Mr. Stevens, a marketing veteran who has held top positions at the National Basketball Association and eBay. "We want this to be as turnkey and simple as possible."

Pitching marketers
He said the team will begin pitching marketers on its new suite of programs and services within the next week.

Lew Leone, general manager of Fox's two New York stations (channels 5 and 9, a My Network affiliate), said fans have typically had to turn to cable TV -- and a growing number of regional sports networks -- to find team-specific programs.

"Fans now have a single source to turn to in a 500-channel universe," he said. "In the past, you had to be a really avid fan to search out Giants programming, but not anymore. We're going to wrap our stations in the Giants."

Mr. Leone said he was particularly excited to be able to use the team's pre- and post-game shows to effectively extend the lucrative gameday broadcasts his Fox affiliate gets through its parent's broadcast rights deal with the NFL.

Non-gameday programming
The non-gameday programming from the deal debuts this Sunday at 11:30 a.m., when Channel 5 will air a Giants training camp report. Soon after, a weekly segment called "Giants Access Blue" will debut on Channel 9's Saturday night newscast at 10:30, airing personality profiles and behind-the-scenes Giants content 52 weeks a year.

There will be also health and wellness features with New York Giants giving workout tips, Giants-branded high-school football coverage and other program initiatives in addition to the "American Idol"-style effort.
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