Head to Head

Fox Sports Net wants to beat local TV stations at their own game.

There's no telling at this point what these folks are eyeballing at present, but Rocky Mountain Sports Tonight will likely appeal both to ESPN watchers tired of sitting through highlights from across the country to get to the local stuff and area newscast viewers upset by the shrinkage of sports segments.

Les Shapiro, former sports anchor for Channel 4, decried the latter in this space last week, yet he acknowledges that station decision-makers have plenty of data to justify such a reallocation of resources. "The research shows that of the 100 percent of viewers who are watching at the top of a newscast, only between 25 and 33 percent are hardcore sports fans," he notes. "The rest are either passive sports fans or non-sports fans. And the numbers also show that there are more people interested in knowing about national and community news and the weather than there are people who want to know about the sports news."

Nevertheless, sports remains important enough that news directors at network affiliates aren't averse to leading their programs with, say, the particulars of the latest Denver Broncos victory -- much to the chagrin of those non-sports fans alluded to above. If Fox Sports's ratings build, expect more of that. But no matter how stations respond, Fox is confident about the dehubbing concept, and similar moves in other cities are on the agenda for the coming year.

Mike Gorman

"Our core business model is to bring the fan his home team," Griggs says, "and applying that concept to news is a natural extension. Before long, Rocky Mountain sports fans won't have to wait around for their sports news anymore. The waiting will be over."

Sold!: The Colorado Daily -- as it's been known since the 1970s, when it declared its independence from the University of Colorado-Boulder -- is no more. On February 15, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sidney Brooks blessed the sale of the Daily for $2.365 million to an entity dubbed the New Colorado Daily LLC. The LLC's president is Randy Miller, who in December left his position as a vice president with Lee Enterprises, a Davenport, Iowa, firm that, according to its Web site, "owns 23 daily newspapers and more than 100 weekly, classified, shopper and specialty publications, along with associated Internet services, primarily from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest."

No one knows what this will mean for the Daily, but we should all find out soon enough: The deal is expected to close within the next week or so, for better or worse.

Juxtaposition of the week: In the Denver Post's February 17 sports section, a photograph of a high school wrestler whose face, marked by bulging eyes and an agonized expression, was inches from his opponent's behind accompanied an article headlined "Adams City Star Smells Title."

Unfortunately, the title didn't smell too sweet.

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