01 November 2007

Giants move to NBC11

This one's a shocker. Today the San Francisco Giants announced that they will be leaving their long-time TV flagship, KTVU-2, for KNTV-11, the Bay Area's NBC affiliate. KTVU continues to have a small stake in the Giants, which seems, well, awkward.

The deal will run for three years, with the broadcast teams staying intact.

For the Giants, the move shouldn't change things much. KNTV moved their
transmitter to San Bruno Mountain a while back, so from an over-the-air standpoint they should cover much the same ground. On cable they're on channel 3 instead of 2. And it looks like KNTV will help produce some additional magazine-style promotional content.

The move's much more interesting for KTVU. KTVU has been riding high on FOX's numerous hits such as 24, House, M.D., and American Idol. All three of those shows air on Monday and Tuesday nights, which are primetime conflict areas for KTVU vis-a-vis the Giants. Even though KTVU has KICU as a fall back when that type of conflict occurs, I'm certain they were contractually obligated not to preempt Giants games for anything else. Those hit shows may also have been better lead-ins for KTVU's 10 p.m. newscast than Giants broadcasts. That's saying a lot since Giants broadcasts trump every other non-NFL Bay Area sports franchise. So if you're wondering if the A's could somehow slide into Oakland-based KTVU's schedule - fuhgetaboutit.

This move is even more telling for KNTV, whose parent network, NBC, has struggled since stalwarts such as Seinfeld, Friends, and Frazier retired. Obviously, NBC-owned KNTV needs a better lead-in to its newscasts than much of its lackluster programming. A look at last week's Nielsens shows not a single NBC primetime telecast in the Top 20 list - which was somewhat skewed by the inclusion of all four World Series broadcasts. Bringing the Giants into the fold has to be a steadying influence, even if an even greater majority of Giants broadcasts will end up on FSN Bay Area. Note to NBC: Please don't mess with the Thursday lineup. I'm tired of you guys killing Scrubs.

From a regional standpoint, I suppose this kind of move should give the Giants better ties to the South Bay, but ever since the ownership change KNTV has been working hard to remake their image as a Bay Area-first station, not a Silicon Valley station. However, both parties might get more Valley advertisers in the process, the same way various Valley companies advertise on Sharks radio broadcasts. The NBC-Telemundo partnership may become an integral part of the broadcasts, though I can't yet say for certain how.

In the long run, the length of the contract allows the Giants to test out a new flagship while exploring other ventures. If the Giants wanted to launch a new regional cable network, they could easily do it starting in 2011. Many teams are moving a greater number of broadcasts to cable, and by the middle of the next decade viewers could face a situation in which no A's or Giants games were delivered over-the-air. It's a day late for Halloween, but it doesn't make the future any less spooky.


Anonymous said...

I disgree. I could see a schedule where the A's over the air games are split between KTVU and KICU (in Chicago that happens with WGN and WCIU). Games on poor Fox viwership nights (Friday and Saturday, some weeknights during the summer) could end up on channel 2. The other games, on 36. And, in the short run, might this help to bridge the gap on those games that should be televised, but aren't, by merely opening one more outlet up for a select number of games?

Marine Layer said...

That kind of split could work if the ratings dictated it. FOX summer reruns on Fridays and Saturdays routinely pull a 2.5. Can the A's beat that locally? I'm not so sure, especially when factoring in the rights fees KTVU would have to pay.

Anonymous said...

... and this relates to the fremont ballpark plan because of .... ???

must be slow pickens in terms of any ballpark progress.

Marine Layer said...

I've been writing about other Bay Area teams since the beginning. That's not going to change.

anthony dominguez said...

The Giants need better ties to the South Bay? Anyhow, I think its irrelevant what Bay Area station the G's broadcast from. Heck, while NBC 11 is physically located in San Jose, it might as well be broadcasting out of San Francisco. All of their TV cams now offer vistas of the Bay and "The City." Gone are the cam shots of Plaza de Cesar Chavez and the Shark Tank. Heck, they even refer to SF City Hall as simply "City Hall," while other city centers get the full blown name: "down at San Jose City hall today..." RIP "The South Bays News Station."

Transic said...

Well maybe they should do the unthinkable and have a merger between the cities of the Bay Area and have the two teams share that new names, just like Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn merged back in the 19th Century and formed New York City.

What do you think this new city's name be called? How about Fremontia?