Thursday, July 31, 2008

Broadcast of some Oregon games up in the air!

It's only one month till the University of Oregon's first football game of the season and it's up in the air as to who will broadcast the games of the OSN (Oregon Sports Network). These are the broadcasts of games that are not on cable or broadcast networks such as ABC of Fox Sports Northwest. In the past, these games have been on the three Oregon TV stations owned by Chambers Communications in Eugene, Bend and Medford. These stations also show same day replays of Oregon football games. In addition, they have produced and broadcast the "Coaches Shows," pre game programs and special programing on the Oregon Duck in football, basketball and track. Living in Medford, I am now concerned we may not get these broadcasts in Medford ! How did this come about......

The University of Oregon this summer signed a new media deal:
The University of Oregon extended an agreement for its for multi-media marketing rights with Oregon Sports Network and IMG College in a ten-year, $67.14 million deal.
The multi-media rights agreement will include management of TV and radio rights and programming, advertising, licensing video boards and signage.

Under the deal, IMG-OSN will provide $4 million upfront for capital investment in video boards and signage in a proposed new basketball arena, Autzen Stadium and the new baseball park. They will also guarantee the UO $56.22 million in cash over ten years, $2.5 million for the right to market the naming opportunity for the new baseball field, and $8.42 million for production services and infrastructure for video board and game day presentations, programs, ticket purchase and other trade.
UO Athletic Director, Pat Kilkenny, said: “The partnership between OSN and IMG College provides the university with the service and existing partnerships of a long-time local partner, combined with the strength of a national and international sales and management leader. "As we move forward with the proposed arena and baseball stadium facilities, as well as the enhancement of our football program to maintain self-sufficiency, marketing efforts are crucial for the revenue success we are committed to delivering”.

The new rights fees are more than double the existing contract.

BUT, as a result Chambers Communications released this press release today:

(Eugene, OR – 7/31/08) Chambers Communications announced today that new contract language just received from IMG Communications for Oregon Sports Network programming has caused Chambers to not renew its affiliation with OSN for locally produced coverage, live games and special interest shows highlighting University of Oregon athletics on Chambers’ television stations KEZI-Eugene, KOHD-Bend, and KDRV-Medford.

“Chambers Communications has a long history of providing viewers throughout Oregon with unprecedented coverage of University of Oregon athletics,” said Scott Chambers, President. “It is clear from the contract language that the University of Oregon, through its partnership with IMG, now has a business model for rights and programming that no longer has room for the local and statewide broadcast television partnership, viewers or advertisers offered by Chambers’ three ABC affiliates throughout the state.”

Recently, Chambers Communications finished its second successful five-year Agreement with OSN. Under the terms, the company’s three ABC Network broadcast stations produced and/or distributed more than 100 hours of University of Oregon athletic programs per year, including live football and basketball games, pre and post game programs, special coaches’ shows and pre and post season specials.

On January 7, 2008, after lengthy negotiations, Chambers Communications received a signed letter of intent from OSN for a new five-year agreement under similar terms of the previous agreements. In February 2008, the University of Oregon negotiated an exclusive sports representation arrangement with IMG, giving the company exclusive rights over University or Oregon sports inventory, including games, television programs, signage, and stadium game programs. Through numerous discussions between Chambers and the University, there was no indication that terms of the signed letter of intent would be significantly changed.

This past Friday, July 25, 2008, approximately four weeks before Oregon’s first football game, Chambers Communications received a contract offer from IMG outlining new terms. Included in the contract were substantially increased rights fees, restrictions on sponsors, significantly reduced company and sponsor benefits and the elimination of Chambers-produced programs featuring University of Oregon Athletics or coaches, except for live games.

“In the best interest of the company and its advertisers, Chambers Communications has no option but to reject the terms of the IMG contract,” said Dana Siebert, Chambers Chief Operating Officer. “Chambers Sports and our three ABC broadcast affiliates throughout Oregon will cease affiliation with the Oregon Sports Network effective July 31, 2008, the expiration date of the current five-year contract.”

Chambers Communications, headquartered in Eugene, Oregon, is the parent company of Oregon ABC affiliates KEZI 9 in Eugene, KDRV 12 in Medford, KDKF 31 in Klamath Falls and KOHD 51.1 in Bend, with newsrooms in Roseburg, Corvallis and Coos Bay; Chambers Sports, an Oregon-based regional sports company; Chambers Cable of Sunriver, Oregon; Chambers Productions, a full service film and video production company based in Eugene, Oregon; and CMC.NET, an Oregon-based internet service provider. Chambers Communications is based in the Chambers Media Center, the most technologically advanced soundstage and production facility between Hollywood and Vancouver, BC.

UPDATE: (Friday AM) Click on the title for a link to the Register-Guard front page story. For me, and other Duck fans in southern Oregon, the big question is if KDRV channnel 12 in Medford is not going to do these broadcast who will? We do not have Comcast Cable in Medford and are limited to Charter Cable. A 67 million dollar deal for the Athletic Department is great but not if Oregon fans in Medford, Bend , Eugene and other cities and towns in Oregon can not get the games or other shows about the Ducks. We no longer have a DAF (Duck Athletic Fund) office in Medford..... will we now lose some of our Oregon Duck TV programing? I have confidence that the folks that run the Athletic Department will find a viable solution. If not, there will be some might mad Ducks in southern Oregon!