Regional Sports Networks, as highlighted yesterday in Pete Toms' weekly column, and as we're seeing in the leaked financial documents have become vital sources of revenue for many professional baseball clubs. Among the pioneering RSNs is NESN, the joint venture of the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins and one of the most successful regional cable networks on the dial. NESN has gained a reputation for innovation in reaching audience through programming that is sports-related, but not sports-centric. And wouldn't you know, they are at it again.
NESN announced yesterday they are launching a lifestyle program modeled after MTV's successful "Cribs" program, but that focuses solely on prominent New England athletes and sports figures. The NESN series takes an important lesson from current economic conditions by also examining the philanthropic efforts of the figures profiled. The series is slated to premier on September 3rd, 2010.
Part of NESNâ€™s new Made in New England programming lineup, â€śAfter The Gameâ€ť is produced by Linda Pizzuti Henry and Kelly Boullet of Nacho Mama Productions. Pizzuti Henry and Boullet bring a combination of Hollywood production experience and insider Boston sports knowledge to get fans the rare access they crave to their favorite athletes. Each athlete shares his/her favorite non-profit and why it deserves their as well as viewers' attention.
The first episode features Tim Wakefield walking viewers through his Florida home, explaining how he became the famous Red Sox knuckle-baller, and sharing why he takes time to support Space Coast Early Intervention Center and Pitching in for Kids-- his primary philanthropic commitments. Wakefield has been nominated by the Red Sox seven times for the Roberto Clemente which is presented annually to a player who demonstrates the values Clemente displayed in his commitment to community and understanding the value of helping others.
Future episodes will center on the Bruins' Patrice Bergeron, The Patriots' Matt Light, David Ortiz, skier Bode Miller, Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner, Boston Breakers forward Kristine Lilly, former Boston College star Doug Flutie among other sports figures. The show aims to help highlight both the lifestyle of these local celebrities who have worked hard but also the good they do by giving back. Show sponsor Hess Corporation has pledged to grant $5,000 to each athleteâ€™s featured charity.
Red Sox fans will famously tune into to just about anything related to the club. Past NESN efforts at building an audience included Sox Appeal, which lasted two seasons as a Red Sox fan focused dating reality show where a fan went spent two innings with three different "dates" before deciding during the seventh inning stretch with whom he or she would want to continue the evening.
Joe Tetreault is Managing Editor of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball
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