Finding the Next Level in Viewer Engagement
John Entz, executive VP, production and executive producer, Fox Sports Media Group
By Tim Baysinger -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/25/2012 12:01:00 AM
Since returning to Fox Sports from MLB Network—which he helped launch in 2008—Entz has tirelessly worked to keep viewers engaged in today’s 140-character world, noting that Twitter and Facebook have made sports viewing a much more interactive experience.
Entz oversees all studio and event production for the networks and entities within the Fox Sports Media Group. He is only the fifth executive producer in Fox Sports’ 18-year history.
Using his connections from his three years at MLB Network, Entz revamped Fox’s Saturday MLB pregame show into a collaboration between the two networks that broadcasts live from MLB Network’s state-of-theart studio in Secaucus, N.J.
Entz says that helping Fox with its pregame show seemed a win-win from day one. “One of the things that came up a lot was that MLB Network would love to help out and give Fox broadcast the vehicle to give them a pregame show,” he says.
MLB Network was the second network Entz helped get off the ground; in 1996, he was a member of the team that launched Fox Sports Network. Not that the experience made him such a veteran the second time around. “It was incredibly exciting, but everybody was a nervous wreck,” says Entz about those early days at MLB Network.
Among other things, Fox will help drive viewer engagement next month during the MLB All-Star Game. For the first time, the players will be “socially active” with fans before the big game and even after they come out of the lineup. “It’s become fairly ubiquitous to put up a player’s Twitter handle and tweet questions and answer them on the air,” says Entz, who adds that this practice, which was done during last year’s Home Run Derby, was a huge success, boosting players’ follower accounts by 17%.
“People want to engage and want to have a conversation as they’re watching an event,” says Entz. “You don’t want to wait and talk at the watercooler the next day—that’s in the past.”
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