NESN - Is That All There Is?

MakeMineMoxie

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I thought I would start a catch-all thread for all things NESN. My only exposure is Red Sox games via MLB Extra Innings so I can't comment on the rest of their programming but based on clips of their other shows, the rest of the network seems pretty weak. Charlie Moore appears to be especially annoying.

Is my impression correct? If so, why? They have a 6-state market & 4 good to great teams to report on so I would think their ratings would justify spending money to make it a strong product.

I've gotten the impression from other posters that NESN is notoriously cheap with salaries & maybe this extends to their programming budgets, too.
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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The schedule is available online: https://nesn.com/tv-schedule/2018/9/14/

I don't see the incentive for them to create a strong product, really. Regional sports networks have a built-in audience. I'd love to hear from someone in sports marketing or TV programming, but i can't imagine that Yankeeography or Red Sox Stories are effective in building the brand, building the myth, and creating/retaining new fans as things like:

  • The team winning/having memorable players
  • The games being available
  • Going to a game with friends and family
  • Talking about sports with friends and family
NESN is particularly lucky because Red Sox fans are a special breed of die hard. I would subscribe to NESN if they showed nothing but Sox games, with the occassional pre-and-postgame coverage, and went dark for the rest of the year. (I'm not a Bs fan).

I never got the appeal of SportsDesk (I guess they're calling it NESN Sports Update now?) "SportsCenter with a regional focus" wasn't enough for me when Dan Patrick and Stuart Scott where such compelling personalities on the national scene. Nowadays SportsCenter is unwatchable (also: inefficient compared to the internet, and non-compelling compared to SoSH).

My dad watches hours of programming on Comcast Sports Network, but I can't stand it. After hearing Fred Smerlas or Tom Curran talk about the matchup against Jacksonville endlessly and rather superficially, I barely have the patience to watch it.

There's a market for good sports coverage -- ITP, The Athletic, take your pick --- but I haven't seen anyone translate good sports coverage and analysis to TV -- with the notable exception of Slappy talking hitting on Fox.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Chad Finn tweeted about this a few weeks ago, but basically NESN has no money to make "interesting" shows. I know that YES does Yankeeographies and other Yankee-centric shows, that NESN doesn't. It would be cool if they did stuff like that for the Sox and the Bruins or if they revisited older important games, but they don't because those shows are expensive. When they do do special shows (like Sox Prospects), it's usually pretty good.

So we're stuck with dreck like Charlie Moore (who sucks), Dinning Playbook (which is a pale imitation of Phantom Gourmet) and Dirty Water TV (which is dull, dumb and cheesy).

Unlike SCGS, for the most part I like NESN SportsDesk. I think that their hosts are pretty good, but some of their experts are weak as hell -- I'm looking you Jermaine Wiggins. But, if he comes on, I switch it over to MLB Network and it's fine.

I would bet that NESN has a goldmine of content that its sitting on, but they either don't have the manpower, money or imagination to make it work. Or maybe they don't care, IDK. I mean, I watch NESN practically every night, so why do they need to suck me in more?
 

joe dokes

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The answer to the thread title is "yes," that's pretty much all there is. I watch the Sox. I watch the Bruins. The only other thing I watch is Behind the B. It's not terribly insightful, but its less than 30 minutes every few weeks and sometimes gives a glimpse of interesting or amusing stuff. I would absolutely watch something similar about the Sox.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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The VP Programming job has been open as NESN for a while -- I applied because I'm an experienced and successful TV programmer and am knowledgeable and passionate about all the local laundry. [Well, except BC... screw those guys.]. That said I knew my application was a long shot because I don't have any formal live sports production experience to speak of, and understandably that's very high on the list of must-haves. Had a nice conversation with HR, but that's as far as it got.

I'm shocked the job remains open -- it's been at least 4-5 months -- as you'd think it was one of the most desirable sports programming jobs there could be.

I did have a list of programming ideas that I brought to the table, and in some cases had creative partnership ideas to bring down costs. Interview shows, stand-up shows, historical documentaries, movie reviews (current and historical), fantasy sports shows (across a variety of sports), gambling shows, game shows -- all done from perspective of a Boston sports fan so they'd fit with the flow and advertiser demand. Plus some unique broadcasting ideas that would probably be more appropriate for a PawSox broadcast than a major league one. But was not to be...

[I'm saving my idea of Eck and Pedro as a buddy-cop show.]
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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The shame of NESN is they have all sorts of archives of both Sox and Bruins games...going back 30 years. You'd think they could fill 2-4 hours a day just replaying old games, even if they just gave them the old "Sox/Bruins in 2" treatment. Guess the informercials pay better.
 

cmac24

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The shame of NESN is they have all sorts of archives of both Sox and Bruins games...going back 30 years. You'd think they could fill 2-4 hours a day just replaying old games, even if they just gave them the old "Sox/Bruins in 2" treatment. Guess the informercials pay better.
Would there be rights issues showing the games? Infomercials might pay better if they have to pony up to MLB for express written consent. Would they have to pay broadcasters for the rights to use their voices?
 

timlinin8th

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The answer to the thread title is "yes," that's pretty much all there is. I watch the Sox. I watch the Bruins. The only other thing I watch is Behind the B. It's not terribly insightful, but its less than 30 minutes every few weeks and sometimes gives a glimpse of interesting or amusing stuff. I would absolutely watch something similar about the Sox.
The one thing I have never understood is why during hockey season NESN doesn't broadcast any Providence games. With baseball the big club plays every night, not so in hockey - LeafsTV broadcasts a bunch of Marlies games so I don't think it would necessarily conflict with the AHL's streaming option (which is kind of expensive).
 

MakeMineMoxie

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NESN really wouldn't have to make too many changes to really improving the broadcast of the Red Sox games. They finally figured out how to keep the score bug on the screen no matter which camera they are using and I do like the pitch zone with all the pitches in the AB on the screen where you can see them.

But merciful God in Heaven, do we have to be subjected to the Johnny Gomes Experience? And does DOB (and Orsillo before him) have to bombard us with promos? Sometimes I'll watch other feeds & no one I've seen crams promos down your throat like NESN does.

The best thing they have going are Remy & Eck, either singularly or together and I hesitate to criticize DOB too much because I don't know how much of his commentary is scripted by NESN and how much is his own.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Would there be rights issues showing the games? Infomercials might pay better if they have to pony up to MLB for express written consent. Would they have to pay broadcasters for the rights to use their voices?
NESN and the Red Sox own the broadcasts. They paid the announcers already. I don't think it would cost them anything to re-broadcast the games. Where they'd lose money is taking up broadcast time that could be filled with a pre-paid asset (infomercials or stuff like Charlie Moore and Dining Playbook). I imagine the going rate for 6 minutes worth of ads airing between 10am and 10:30 on a Tuesday is a fraction of what they get from Worx RX or the H2O SteamFX Pro to air for the full half-hour.
 

jtn46

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I worked for YES for a few years and the truth is the ratings for most things that weren't a Yankee game (or pre/postgame) weren't great. The Mike and the Mad Dog simulcast basically broke even as far as what it cost versus what it made and that's why it was always sort of tenuous whether it would stay around. Even the Nets didn't get good ratings when I was there (maybe they're better now) and given the size of the team needed to do a live sporting event the Nets in some years probably lost YES money. Point is for a RSN that is doing very well because of the teams they have, pouring money into any other programming is probably not going to actually make any extra money. A major reason RSN's bother to make shows at all is because they have some full-time staff with many hours to kill.

For NESN in particular, they pay dirt, and they're located in Boston which is not a place most in TV production or operations target for a lucrative career. If they wanted to produce high-quality shows like Yankeeography they would need to really pony up because they would probably be asking NYC or LA professionals to move to Boston specifically to make these shows (or they would produce them in NY or LA). We in this industry mostly understand how volatile it is and the most important thing is to be ready to get another good job quickly, and that means staying anchored to NY or LA.
 

Leskanic's_Thread

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The one thing I have never understood is why during hockey season NESN doesn't broadcast any Providence games. With baseball the big club plays every night, not so in hockey - LeafsTV broadcasts a bunch of Marlies games so I don't think it would necessarily conflict with the AHL's streaming option (which is kind of expensive).
This is a good point. Similarly, I know that (at least in the past) NESN sometimes will show Pawtucket or Portland games on MLB off nights. But why can't they show more of those during the day? Or some off-season stuff from fall league teams that have prominent Sox prospects on them? I would assume that broadcasts are happening anyway...are the rights really that expensive? Wouldn't people who subscribe to NESN be more likely to tune in for actual baseball and hockey games than for the braying fisherman or restaurant reviews?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Thing is, they don't need people tuning in for the fisherman or restaurant reviews since those shows are paying to be there. They're selling their own ad time to finance the show, then buying the air time from NESN. Probably buying cheap but it still means NESN is coming out ahead on that timeslot without much of an effort. Whereas airing games means they have to sell the ad time themselves.

Also, I don't think the minor league games are broadcast if they're not on NESN. At least, I don't believe that's the case for Portland. They have cameras and they certainly film the games, but the "broadcast" doesn't really leave the park. They do it for the benefit of the screens on the concourses, with the radio broadcast simulcast on it. It doesn't air on local cable or anything. So when the game does end up on NESN, they tap into those camera feeds but they still have to pay all associated costs to get it on the air (satellite being the biggest).
 

MuzzyField

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NESN’s revenue stream is more than just commercial sales, it is heavily subsidized with monthly subscription fees... from (just like ESPN) mostly non-sports fans. NESN remains a cash grab, but it will be interesting to see if the Yankees were right to get out of the YES ownership business.

What a treat to pay a premium for a channel that features a significant amount of paid programming beyond the usual, and more appropriate, overnight hours.

Most affiliates above AA, and a bunch of lower-level teams as well, are streaming on MiLB.TV.
 

Dan Murfman

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NESN’s revenue stream is more than just commercial sales, it is heavily subsidized with monthly subscription fees... from (just like ESPN) mostly non-sports fans. NESN remains a cash grab, but it will be interesting to see if the Yankees were right to get out of the YES ownership business.
They might be getting back in YES ownership.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/barrymbloom/2018/08/28/yankees-intend-to-buy-back-yes-network-after-fox-sale-to-disney/#1a2669ae161d
 

bosox79

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Thing is, they don't need people tuning in for the fisherman or restaurant reviews since those shows are paying to be there. They're selling their own ad time to finance the show, then buying the air time from NESN. Probably buying cheap but it still means NESN is coming out ahead on that timeslot without much of an effort. Whereas airing games means they have to sell the ad time themselves.

Also, I don't think the minor league games are broadcast if they're not on NESN. At least, I don't believe that's the case for Portland. They have cameras and they certainly film the games, but the "broadcast" doesn't really leave the park. They do it for the benefit of the screens on the concourses, with the radio broadcast simulcast on it. It doesn't air on local cable or anything. So when the game does end up on NESN, they tap into those camera feeds but they still have to pay all associated costs to get it on the air (satellite being the biggest).
Back when the Seadogs first moved into Portland, they were airing all those games on a local ABC/NBC/CBS affiliate (can't remember which network). This was a long time ago, though.
 

Archer1979

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I would love it if they did something along the lines of YES's Yankeeography. Go after the colorful ones from the past. Pedro is obvious, but how about an hour on Rick Burleson? Eck's story would be interesting too especially if they went over the Cleveland years. Great history with the Sox and a gold mine of content.
 

timlinin8th

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What would it cost NESN to air them?

I'd watch.
This is what I come back to. I get that the Charlie Moore et al stuff is one lump sum, paid timeslot where no effort is put in by NESN, but you can’t convince me the revenue they could pull in from airing games wouldn’t be exponentially higher. Isn’t the effort/associated costs worth it if the overall profit on that slot ends up being factors higher?

Again, going with the Providence Bruins example, Provy plays Friday nights pretty much every week. Boston traditionally only plays a few Fridays in their whole schedule (more typically their games fall on Thu then Sat or Sat/Sun back-to-backs). A weekly Provy game on a Friday night in the dead of winter can’t pull in enough eyeballs to sell significantly more ad time than a show literally nobody watches is getting (again, understanding that Charlie Moore et al is doing the legwork in that instance)?

I’d watch.

*edited to add - I think there is a distinction to be made between hockey where Providence can be broadcast on a regularly scheduled basis vs. the “one-off” nature of how PawSox games have been randomly crammed into one or two Mondays a season. More regularly scheduled I would imagine equals more viewership which is why I am using the hockey example specifically*
 
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TheBoomah

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Who among us wouldn't watch something like Red Sox Classics? Clemens' 20K game against Seattle, pennant clinchers and the like.

I would prefer that it would a bit different than Yankee Classics. Meaning, I don't define a classic as a Yankee win three days earlier by destroying Baltimore or KC.

Also, please spare us Infomercials such as Larry King Update -- is Your Credit in Crisis or if I'd like to prepare healthier fried food with the Nuwave Brio.
 

budcrew08

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Living in NY, I have YES and they play those Yankee Classics; they love to trot out Righetti’s Independence Day no-hitter from 1983. But as a baseball fan, not just a Sox fan, I think it’s interesting, the old graphics, stars from the past.. NESN could make good money showing those famous games.
 

geoflin

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The Diamondbacks have just hired Jonny Gomes as their outfield/baserunning coordinator which means we won't have to listen to him on NESN any more.
 

Hank Scorpio

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They should experiment with a different side of sports and fill some gaps with educational fitness/nutrition/lifestyle programs.

Teach people to cook new/healthy/delicious things. Teach them how to stretch. How to work out their quads while taking a shit or whatever. New ways to be active. Etc.

Or just a constant marathon of Charlie Moore on the ground getting kicked in the face by whoever passes by.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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The Diamondbacks have just hired Jonny Gomes as their outfield/baserunning coordinator which means we won't have to listen to him on NESN any more.
I know that I'm in the minority on this, but I sorta liked Gomes. He was a doofus, but you can tell that he loves baseball and he seemed engaged with the game. There's nothing worse than a baseball announcer who is passive, disinterested or worst of all, antagonistic towards the game.

Or just a constant marathon of Charlie Moore on the ground getting kicked in the face by whoever passes by.
I would watch that show every day. BTW, the Charlie Moore Christmas Special looked like the sixth circle of hell. A bunch of loud mouthed, kinda drunk, overly mugging idiots being lead around by Charlie Moore.
 

shaggydog2000

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I know that I'm in the minority on this, but I sorta liked Gomes. He was a doofus, but you can tell that he loves baseball and he seemed engaged with the game. There's nothing worse than a baseball announcer who is passive, disinterested or worst of all, antagonistic towards the game.



I would watch that show every day. BTW, the Charlie Moore Christmas Special looked like the sixth circle of hell. A bunch of loud mouthed, kinda drunk, overly mugging idiots being lead around by Charlie Moore.
When they start making "Ouch my balls" for real (and we all know they will), I so want Charlie Moore on it.
 

moretsyndrome

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Who among us wouldn't watch something like Red Sox Classics? Clemens' 20K game against Seattle, pennant clinchers and the like.

I would prefer that it would a bit different than Yankee Classics. Meaning, I don't define a classic as a Yankee win three days earlier by destroying Baltimore or KC.

Also, please spare us Infomercials such as Larry King Update -- is Your Credit in Crisis or if I'd like to prepare healthier fried food with the Nuwave Brio.
They’re finally coming around, if only on NESN Plus, if you have it. 9:00 tonight is Pedro v Mussina from May 2001.