Jewish World Review June 11, 2003 / 11 Sivan, 5763
How Eisner gets away with it
June has been the cruelest month so far for Michael Eisner
and the Walt Disney Company's sports properties.
Disney CEO Eisner was prominently
featured in crowd shots during ESPN-ABC's coverage of the
Stanley Cup finals as the Disney owned Anaheim Mighty Ducks
played the New Jersey Devils.
But Eisner and Disney were two
time losers as the Ducks lost to the Devils in seven games and
ABC's ratings for hockey fell.
But not only did the hockey viewersphip fall despite two
teams competing from the country's two biggest markets,
but ABC's NBA final ratings have dropped as well, that despite
having the nation's largest TV market, New York City, as part
of the series.
Eisner's bottom line would normally suffer with
bad ratings, but since ESPN paid for NHL and NBA rights
Eisner's company can simply raise cable rates to cover any
losses, which ESPN does annually at a 20 percent increase.
Network TV exposure used to be important for league's and was
crown jewel programming. That is no longer the case but there
is one exception, the Super Bowl, a fact Michael Eisner knows.
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JWR contributor Evan Weiner is a radio commentator on "The Business
of Sports" for Westwood One's Metro Networks. He is being presented with the United States Sports Academy's Distinguished Service Award for 2003. Comment on this column by clicking here.
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© 2003, Evan Weiner