Is Baltimore-Washington Media Mega Market?

Posted on November 19, 2009

By Dave Hughes, DCRTV.com

We get letters!

A local sports media biggie who wishes to remain anonymous had “one small contention” with my sports media column in PressBox’s November issue, which looked at the popularity of Washington’s Wizards and Capitals among Baltimore sports fans.

“The DC-Baltimore market is really one big ‘mega market.’ And I think, based on Nielsen, that O’s fans might quibble with your contention that Washington is Nationals territory," he wrote.

He pointed to Sports Business Daily’s reporting of D.C. being the only TV market in the country where a team from another city gets better ratings than the hometown team.

Orioles’ games on MASN drew a 0.67 rating, converted to 16,000 homes in D.C. during the '09 season, a rating 12 percent higher and a household distribution 14 percent higher than the Nationals' 0.60 rating and 14,000 homes.

Also on the same "D.C. sports in Baltimore" story, I heard from Doug Hicks who said I left out the DC United professional soccer team from the article.

“Considering Baltimore has recently commissioned a study of the viability to build a soccer stadium with the hopes of United playing there, the fact that Scarborough reports more than 125,000 people from Baltimore attend/watch United games annually and one of our star players (Santino Quaranta) is a Charm City-native, I'd think our club should be involved in the discussion,” he said.

Even local radio personalities weighed in.

"Baltimore will never get an NHL or NBA team. There are territorial rights issues that would be more complex than the Orioles/Nationals/Expos/MASN/MLB,” sports talk WNST owner and personality Nestor Aparicio told me.

“The Caps are quickly gaining popularity in Baltimore. We do sold-out bus trips to Caps games. We've done full bars for playoff games in Hunt Valley and White Marsh. It also helps that several people in my company love hockey. The Caps are a winner, have a great product, the best player in the sport and a marketing team that is reaching out to Baltimore after 37 years. That's pretty cool.”

But on the other hand....

“The Wizards are a bad team. I don't hear much about them," Aparicio said. "They do zero to market in Baltimore. They took the Bullets name away. They took the handful of games they had in Baltimore away 12 years."

***

Comcast SportsNet started its CSNWashington.com Web site earlier this year, and now the Bethesda-based, Mid-Atlantic version of the network plans to start CSNBaltimore.com soon.

Comcast is building out the companion sites to its five major regional sports networks, expanding staff and scope to attract fans between games, repored PaidContent.org.

The effort kicked off earlier this month with the launch of what Comcast calls the “most comprehensive and dedicated online local sports destination” or Comcast SportsNet New England, with local big name writers and some 40 new positions.

Comcast upgraded its Philadelphia sports operations earlier this year but New England, where Comcast Sports Group also operates New England Cable News, appears to be the template for the planned expansion of its Baltimore/Washington web operations, PaidContent.org said.

CSN is planning two full sites for the Mid-Atlantic network, with beat writers for every professional team in the market, then expanding to local colleges and high schools. There will also be lifestyle and entertainment sections.

***

The charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest for a now-former Channel 16/WBOC sports anchor were dismissed Nov. 5 by a Delaware court.

According to WBAL.com, Dewey Beach police officers arrested Yianni Korakis in mid-September after he refused to vacate a motel room when ordered to do so. Authorities said Kourakis and another male suspect would not leave the room when asked by motel security. Kourakis announced via his Twitter account later that month he and Salisbury's WBOC were parting ways.

***

The Examiner's Jim Williams recently talked to Dave Johnson, radio voice of the Wizards who also handles the DC United broadcasts, is the sports director on WTOP radio, sports anchor for CSN and is heard nationally on FOX Soccer Channel broadcasts. Johnson will be joined on the radio with color analyst and partner of three years, Glenn Consor.

According to the Williams piece, Johnson is very excited about the support the new station (D.C.'s news sports talker WJFK) was giving the team and the commitment they have to promoting Wizards basketball throughout the day on all of their daytime programming. The Wizards are heard in Baltimore on Fox 1370, WVIE.

On the TV side, most Wizards games will be seen in high-definition on CSN. Courtside, the Wizards will be covered by the popular team of Buckhantz and longtime broadcast partner and former Bullet Phil Chenier.

Posted: November 19, 2009

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