Where football is king


Signals from the Shreveport, La., DMA stretch into four states—Louisiana, Texas, one county in Oklahoma, and Arkansas—and local sales executives try to bring in advertising money from all four. Like most, the market is recovering from a rough 2001, with a drop of more than 12% and $6 million in revenue from a strong 2000, according to BIA. But general managers there say signs look good for the future.

Good enough for KTBS-TV General Manager George Sirven to feel upbeat about his station's investment last year in a million-watt Doppler radar system—the most powerful in the country, he says.

Having been a test market for satellite TV, Shreveport has an especially high ADS penetration: 26%, among the highest in the country. Combining that with 61% cable penetration, the market is nearly 90% multichannel.

"Football is king in the South," says KTBS-TV GM/Sales Manager/ Program Manager George Sirven. "We're 180 miles from Dallas, 320 miles from New Orleans. Add in college football—Louisiana Tech, LSU—within driving distance." Sirven and KLSA-TV GM Ed Bradley agree high school football and other local sports are big; local sports reports pay considerable attention to high schools and show local high school football in season.

Bradley and Sirven say Shreveport has come back from some tough times in the 1990s. Legalized gambling in the area, local executives agree, has helped the economy. "Gaming is huge in this town," says Bradley. "We've got luxury hotels, lots of service-industry jobs. Unemployment is low, and the crime level has dropped."

And, while the major ad sectors are standard for a local market, local tourism from gambling strengthens the restaurant and hotel sectors.

More good news for the local economy: General Motors will begin building its new "Colorado" truck at its Shreveport plant late next year.