Sorry about the long hed, but there’s an intriguing story on the New York Mets, the Mets network SNY, and the ugly scandal involving Mets GM Omar Minaya and NY Daily News beat writer Adam Rubin in today’s NY Times. In case you don’t watch SportsCenter every night, Minaya held a press conference Monday during which he announced that embattled front officer staffer Tony Bernazard was dismissed. But Minaya, who’s otherwise been very media savvy, also called out Rubin, who broke the Bernazard story in the News, for having an ulterior motive because he’d asked Minaya about how he might break into baseball front office work. (Apparently newspaper jobs aren’t all that hot these days.)
As Timesman Richard Sandomir notes, it’s an interesting case study involving a major league ballclub that’s a majority owner in a local sports channel, and a newspaper that’s involved in a marketing partnership with the channel, but is nontheless required to be critical of the ballclub.
Sandomir gives SNY credit for giving their announcers free reign to lambast the team when the Mets deserve it, but wonders why the Daily News Live program that aired the day after the press conference did not mention the flap involving the News’ own reporter. (The program did cover the story at length the day before.)
“The reality is that regional sports networks need content and a talk show like ‘Daily News Live’ is relatively inexpensive and compelling,” said Lee Berke, a television consultant and expert on networks like SNY. He said it was unlikely that the News paid SNY any sponsorship fee. Other sports networks run by Comcast, as SNY is, have nearly identical relationships for shows like “Daily News Live” with The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Daily News, The Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post.
“If you’re a newspaper scrambling to retain readership in a tough situation, you can promote yourself and your reporters,” Berke said. “And after what happened on Monday, a lot of people might have picked up the News that normally wouldn’t have.”