Media Guide: Blast Throws In With MPT
By Barry Silverman
From the first railroad to the first telegraph transmission, Baltimore has been known as a city of firsts. Well, now there’s a new first to “cel-e-brate” around here and it involves the Baltimore Blast Major Indoor Soccer League franchise and believe it or not, Maryland Public Television.
MPT will broadcast four Baltimore Blast Soccer games this season live and in real time. No tape delays, no next day replays, just fast-action, Baltimore Blast Soccer while it happens at the First Mariner Arena.
So how does a TV network known for its award-winning program get involved with the local soccer team?
“Well it was something we were thinking about,” said MPT senior account executive Randy Farmer-O’Connor. "Then when someone in the Blast sales office approached us, things just started to fall into place.”
According to Farmer-O’Connor, this is the first time in the United States that a professional sports team has had its games broadcast on a public broadcasting station.
“The University of Connecticut has had its basketball games on Connecticut Public Television but this is the first time for a professional franchise,” she said.
While soccer is a drastic departure from regular public TV programming, it should be noted that the traditional soccer audience dovetails nicely into the family oriented demographic of public television. Plus the fact that MPT’s broadcast coverage goes throughout the state made it even more attractive to both sides.
“It really is a very good fit for both the Blast and MPT,” Farmer-O’Connor said. “Plus we will reach a lot of fans who normally don’t tune into public television but will now that they have a good reason.”
Farmer-O’Connor added that a lot of time and effort went into making the agreement. Commercials during the Blast telecasts had to be reworked to fit the Public Broadcasting guidelines. Also, game commentary has to be adjusted so as not to mention commercial sponsors at the Arena.
“That doesn’t mean the commercials will say, ‘This program is brought to you in part by a special grant from so and so,’ but will be a real message without the so-called ‘sell’ that public television forbids,” she said.
STILL AN IDIOT
You probably saw the Orioles' Kevin Millar throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park before the deciding game of the ALCS. He even did a commercial in Boston encouraging Red Sox fans to “Cowboy Up” and root their team on to victory and a berth in the World Series. Lovely.
Everyone knows Millar was one of the self-named “bunch of idiots” who ended Boston's 86-year championship drought in 2004. Well, that’s all fine and dandy except that Millar now plays for and is paid by another major league team, the Baltimore Orioles.
A lot of fans may see this as much ado about nothing and could not care less. They feel Millar's a great guy in the clubhouse, good with the kids and a fan favorite, so what’s the big deal? Call me old-fashioned, but this is like ordering well-done and getting rare. It’s a little hard to swallow.
He gave himself the name “idiot” and he’ll certainly get no argument here.
SIX-POINT FIELD GOAL
With less than two minutes left in the Ravens' loss to the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore was driving toward a possible score when TV announcer Rich Gannon said the Bills should be wary of Matt Stover’s ability to kick a winning field goal. The score was 19-14 in favor of the Bills. Obviously, a field goal was of no use. Two would have been great but highly unlikely with the clock running down.
Methinks Gannon is still a little slappy from that body slam Tony Siragusa laid on him back in the 2001 AFC Championship game.
A.D. IN SI
In a recent issue of Sports Illustrated, former Raven and now New England Patriot Adalius Thomas compared what it was like playing in Baltimore versus that of his new multi-million dollar football home in New England. In Baltimore he said he played with guys who sought the limelight, starting with the head coach. Ouch. He went on to explain that is not how they do it in New England, where it’s all about team, and no one is pounding their chest, playing to the cameras.
Well, people can say what they want about Thomas, but he speaks the truth. And like they say, the truth will set you free.
Issue 2.43: October 25, 2007