Thursday, January 25, 2001
Steamboat Springs Television and Steamboat Springs' Nordic Combined World Cup have always been inseparable the fact is, the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. wouldn't be able to justify hosting the event if it didn't come with television exposure.
This year, ski corp. officials say they expect to reach between 750,000 and 1 million people during the Feb. 2 cablecast on ESPN.
"It really needs to carry TV for it to makes sense for us," Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Vice President of Marketing Andy Wirth said.
"But an event of this magnitude, a World Cup, is going to carry TV. It's significant. ESPN reaches 70 million households. A favorable rating for us would be between a .5 and 1.5."
Wirth said every ratings point represents 1 percent of the total number of viewers a broadcast or cable network reaches.
Based upon industry estimates that there are between 1.6 and 2.3 people in every household, Wirth said it's not unreasonable to think the show will reach as many as 1 million people during the Friday afternoon cable cast.
The show airs at 3 p.m. EST 1 p.m. in Steamboat. In addition to the race coverage, the Steamboat Ski Area will run three commercial spots during the cablecast.
A 1.5 rating pales in comparison to the kinds of ratings a show such as "Friends" pulls down say a 25 to 30 share. But in some European countries, the Steamboat World Cup might approach that audience share, albeit from a smaller overall audience.
"Nordic combined is a real important event for folks on the (European) continent," Wirth said. "It gets 'Friends'-like ratings in Scandinavia."
Consequently, Windfall Productions, which is taping the World Cup here, has a business arrangement with a company called Halva, for distribution rights of the show in Europe.
If the physical presence of the television crews in Steamboat for the World Cup this month appears to be different, that's because last year's show, which aired on NBC, was a "truck shoot."
This year's television program is being handled as an "ENG," or electronic news gathering production.
The term "truck shoot" implies that cameras all over Howelsen Hill are hard-wired to a production truck on site. That allows a director sitting in the truck to call shots from each camera as if it were a live show.
In the case of an ENG shoot, six to eight cameras cover all of the action, but they are not wired into a production truck. Instead, the cameras are synchronized, Wirth said, allowing a producer to edit the show at a later date, but still work as if he were seeing action from the different cameras simultaneously in the truck.
This week's World Cup program will feature on-site announcers as well as some voice-overs added later in post production, Wirth said. It will also feature actual crowd noise from the cowbell-ringing faithful at Howelsen Hill.
The last sports programming that originated from Steamboat was the Papa John's Bumps and Jumps freestyle competition in December 2000.
The show was carried by NBC, which means it automatically received wider distribution NBC reaches between 110 and 120 million households.
The freestyle broadcast earned a 2.8 rating on NBC, meaning it reached about 3.3 million households and as many as 4.5 million people, Wirth said.