You Will Watch And You Will Like It, Dammit!

As you probably know, few cable TV networks are independently owned and operated. Most networks are siblings in a larger corporate family — think of ABC, Disney Channel and all the ESPNs as Mickey Mouse’s minions, and NBC, Bravo, USA Network, SCI FI Channel, MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo and God knows what else all in the NBC Universal posse. It provides lots of opportunities for “multi-platforming,” “cross promoting,” “synergy” and such and such, but it’s becoming a bigger nuisance, especially when it comes to sports. Here are two of the latest examples of what they’re calling “Roadblocks”:

From NBC on Tuesday (complete release after the jump):

An unprecedented 11 NBC Universal platforms, seven networks (NBC, USA Network, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, SciFi and Universal HD) and four websites (NBC.com, NBCSports.com, MSNBC.com and CNBC.com), will join NBC News’ “TODAY” in progress on Thursday, June 14 and simulcast the 2007 U.S. Open opening round tee shot for the traditional “champions pairing,” which this year consists of Tiger Woods (2006 British Open champion), Geoff Oglivy (2006 U.S. Open champion) and Richie Ramsey (2006 U.S. Amateur Champion). Live coverage of the unprecedented “NBC U.S. Open Roadblock presented by Lexus” begins at 8 a.m. ET (8 a.m. CT/MT/PT for TODAY) and will be hosted by TODAY co-host Matt Lauer with on site coverage from NBC golf host Dan Hicks and lead analyst Johnny Miller from the famed Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa.

And this from ESPN today:

On Thursday, June 7th, nine ESPN platforms will simulcast ABC’s coverage of the first few minutes of Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Simulcast coverage will begin on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, ESPN360, ESPN.com and Mobile at 8:58pm ET with the NBA Finals Opening Tease. Simulcast coverage will end on the ESPN platforms at the first commercial break in game action. The Spelling Bee re-air has been made into two segments to accommodate these changes.

Now I don’t know about you, but when I want to sit down and watch S.S. Doomtrooper on SCI FI Channel, I sure as hell don’t want to get interrupted with LeBron James playing the basketball and whatnot. Chances are if you’re interested in the game, you’re going to watch it anyway. It’s mostly a ploy so the networks can say, “Look! A billion people watched Tiger Woods tee off!,” when in fact viewers were just waiting for Battlestar Galactica to resume.

I’m shocked that they couldn’t come up with a better name than “Roadblock,” with it’s negative implication (who enjoys roadblocks?). Maybe they should call them “Super Happy Fun TV Excursions” or something.

Seven Networks and Four Websites to Simulcast Tiger Woods’ Opening Round Tee Shot Via “NBC U.S. Open Roadblock” Presented by Lexus

NEW YORK – June 4, 2007 – An unprecedented 11 NBC Universal platforms, seven networks (NBC, USA Network, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, SciFi and Universal HD) and four websites (NBC.com, NBCSports.com, MSNBC.com and CNBC.com), will join NBC News’ “TODAY” in progress on Thursday, June 14 and simulcast the 2007 U.S. Open opening round tee shot for the traditional “champions pairing,” which this year consists of Tiger Woods (2006 British Open champion), Geoff Oglivy (2006 U.S. Open champion) and Richie Ramsey (2006 U.S. Amateur Champion). Live coverage of the unprecedented “NBC U.S. Open Roadblock presented by Lexus” begins at 8 a.m. ET (8 a.m. CT/MT/PT for TODAY) and will be hosted by TODAY co-host Matt Lauer with on site coverage from NBC golf host Dan Hicks and lead analyst Johnny Miller from the famed Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa.

The “U.S. Open Roadblock” will receive significant promotion across all 11 platforms beginning today. It is the first association for an advertiser with an NBC Universal “roadblock” and the first cross-platform simulcast for NBC Sports. Previous “roadblocks” were movie trailer world premieres, notably King Kong in June 2005.

The “NBC U.S. Open Roadblock presented by Lexus” launches NBC Sports’ 16 hours of live U.S. Open coverage, which starts that Thursday afternoon, from 3-5 p.m. ET, continues Friday from 3-5 p.m. ET and concludes Saturday and Sunday, 1-7 p.m. ET.

“This is a truly unprecedented way to kick off our coverage of America’s premier golf championship,” said NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer. “In cooperation with our partners the USGA and Lexus, we are thrilled to bring the first tee drama and excitement from the world’s greatest player, Tiger Woods and the defending champion, Geoff Oglivy.”

Deborah Wahl Meyer, Lexus Vice President of Marketing, said: “This unique approach demonstrates Lexus’ commitment to elevating the experience for the benefit of golf fans. We understand how passionate our customers are about this sport and want to continuously enhance every touchpoint in innovative ways.”

Miller, who won at Oakmont in 1973, said: “The Open is the hardest major to win. The fact that it’s our national championship adds tremendous pressure. It’s the hardest test of golf and probably the most prestigious prize. If you asked a player to trade a U.S. Open championship for another one, I don’t think he would. Every player wants to win the U.S. Open.”

1 Comment

  1. You’re looking at this the wrong way.

    The upside is, we’ll all have an easier time catching the new Meredith Baxter-Birney After School Special disguised as a TV movie. Word around the campfire is that it will premiere on WE, Oxygen, Showtime Women, Home Shopping Network, Food Network, pink iPods and Razr phones, and the Action Max channel.

    Ok, maybe not so much that last one.

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About Ryan Berenz 1999 Articles
Devotee of Star Wars. Builder of LEGO. Observer of televised sports. Member of the Television Critics Association. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Connoisseur of beer. Consumer of cheese. Father of two. Husband of one. Scourge of the Alaskan Bush People. Font of Simpsons knowledge. Son of a Stonecutter.