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Cox Closes in on Its 1,000th Padres Broadcast

For the last eight years, the San Diego Padres have had their games televised on Cox Communications Channel 4 San Diego.

The station, which was conceived in 1996 by Padres owner John Moores and Cox Communications Vice President and General Manager Bill Geppert, is celebrating its 1,000th televised Padres game July 16.

The viewing experience for Padres fans has changed a lot in the last eight years, said Dan Novak, the vice president of programming for the station.

“The most fundamental change is that we produce the majority of the games in HD (high definition) as of last year,” Novak said. “It is a pretty different viewing experience for the fans and it’s the most obvious difference.”

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The years have also given way to technical improvements, allowing advancements in the use of graphics and replays, Novak said.

But one of the most significant changes over the years has been the growth and popularity of the station.

The station, which debuted on March 13, 1997, had a staff of fewer than 10 when it began. That number is now more than 45 responsible for Padres-related programming , currently available year round.

“For the last eight years that we have been doing Padres baseball, we have averaged a 6 household rating,” Novak said. “Our current average in prime time, when the games are on at 7 p.m., we average a 7.5.”

A household rating is worth more than 10,000 households, with typically each household having 1.8 to two people watching the game, Novak said.

That means that during prime time games, more than 135,000 people are tuned in to Channel 4.

“The viewership is great,” Novak said. “Obviously the team is in first place. People get used to tuning in and they know where to find the games. They know it’s always on Channel 4.”

And with increased viewership, that has translated into increased ad sales for the station.

“Our ad sales continue to be very strong,” Novak said. “It is a function of viewership.”

Novak declined to release the amount of ad sales generated by the station.

The number of Padres games on Channel 4 has also increased, from 90 games in 1997 to 150 games scheduled in 2005.

The televised games have also directly impacted the increase in ticket sales at the ballpark, Novak said.

“It is very effective for them,” he said. “By putting it on TV and showing the fan experience, the excitement of being at Petco Park and creating loyal baseball fans, we absolutely know that we help drive the turnstile at Petco Park. It works in a big way.”

To celebrate the 1000th game, the station will be televising marathons of the best Padres games, clips of memorable Padres moments, such as the Padres clinching the National League West title in 1998, Padre pitcher Trevor Hoffman getting his 400th save and Tony Gwynn’s 3,000th hit.

The station will also be airing special editions of current programs, such as behind-the-scenes footage of “Prime Time Padres” with John Weisbarth and Tim Flannery and special interviews with former Padres players on “Outta Left Field” with Troy Johnson.

The celebration of the 1,000th game began June 17 and will continue throughout July.

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Other News:

Primedia Consumer Guides, the New York-based publisher and distributor of apartment, new home and auto guides throughout the nation, has landed in the San Diego market with the launch of San Diego Auto Guide.

The new publication, which launched in late June, is a free weekly color publication featuring comprehensive listings of used cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles for sale by dealerships in the greater San Diego region.

Primedia currently has four auto guides in California, including the recently launched Orange County Auto Guide. Alternative Strategies, a San Diego-based marketing agency, has hired Christian De Anda as client relations manager. San Diego-based Van Vechten Creative Communications has hired Murugi Ngige as a marketing manager. Scott Desiere has joined Cassle Communications as account coordinator and assistant to agency principal Fred Cassle, founder of the San Diego public relations, advertising and branding firm. Latino Sports Marketing, LLC, a San Diego-based, full-service Latino sports marketing, event management and consulting firm, has hired Danny Strickland as senior vice president and Daniela Solozano as business development coordinator. Veteran newscaster Andrea Naversen has rejoined KUSI-TV Channel 9/51, where she will co-anchor the KUSI News at 10 a.m. with Sandra Maas. Scribe Communications, a San Diego-based public relations firm, has hired Christie Farrell as associate account executive.


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San Diego Business Journal

via fax at (858) 571-3628 or e-mail at marionw@sdbj.com.

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