Amazin’ Makeover Marks SNY’s 10th Anniversary

The 2015 Major League Baseball season will mark the 10th for SportsNet New York (SNY) covering New York Mets games — making this a good time to freshen up the on-air graphics, including the telecast opening, a new scorebox treatment and a ticker.

The new opening starts with the SNY flag waving and concludes with the Mets logo atop Citi Field, the team’s ballpark in Queens, N.Y. (SNY had made its most recent graphics tweak when the new park opened in 2009.) In between are images of the ballpark and its rotunda, top players affixed to light stanchions and great moments in team history. It ends with the team logo atop the ballpark.

“We felt our broadcast is an extension of Citi Field and we wanted to introduce those elements of experiencing a ballgame there,” SNY art director Rich Amsinger told The Wire. “That includes sounds, textures, dirt, grass, steel, brick and mortar and finally images of current and former players, along with video and sound of great moments in Mets history.” It ends with the 7 train rolling to the ballpark, topped by the team logo.

Amsinger said he did a ton of research and worked with senior vice president of production and executive producer Curt Gowdy Jr., producer Gregg Picker and SNY president Steve Raab in coming up with ideas for the package that would speak to the fan base. Team owner Fred Wilpon also weighed in with notes, Gowdy said.

Ten openings have been created — five each for SNY and WPIX telecasts — for each team milestones, Amsinger said.

What viewers have already noticed on SNY spring training telecasts is a new streamlined score box. “Instead of teams positioned side to side, we use the stack approach which is easier to read,” added Gowdy.

Graphical changes are also afoot for First Pitch, Pepsi Pre-Game and WB Mason Post Game Live. Opening Day against the Washington Nationals on April 6 will see the debut of what Amsinger said is the most important on-air branding element: “This new ticker, similar to the score bug, is easy to read and very contemporary. It is easy on the eye with minimal colors,” he said, and “the animations within the ticker are smooth with no jarring transitions.”

Gowdy also mentioned the expectations of an improved product on the field, led by the return of top pitcher Matt Harvey. “It’s an opportune time to make changes with the graphics. They are coincidental with the optimism surrounding the Mets.”

Look for enhancements to come on other SNY programs later, including New York Jets and college basketball coverage.

Walk Less, See More at INTX

 By now, everyone in the cable industry should know that the annual convention that had been called The Cable Show has morphed into INTX: The Internet & Television Expo, convening May 5-7 in Chicago.

There will be “non-traditional” exhibitors, including satellite-TV equipment maker EchoStar, and a different approach to general sessions, Barbara York, the convention’s longtime overseer as senior vice president of industry affairs at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, told The Wire last week.

For example, the perennial Cable Show “CTO session” that featured top technology officers from several cable operators will this time include CTOs from a range of companies, including a programmer and a vendor.

Fun new things include a happy hour in the exhibit area during the last hour the floor is open each day.

Best of all, the McCormick Place convention center — where past shows were vastly spread out — has a relatively new (2007) West Building, where INTX will be held.

Buses and taxis will drop attendees where they need to be. And everything (other than the new “INTX talks” sessions upstairs) is on the same floor, on level three.

The exhibits, the general sessions, the boardroom for events such as the Women in Cable Telecommunications luncheon — all on level three.

“For those people who suffered through all the other shows in different buildings, on different floors, [walking] corridors on corridors on corridors and never seeming to get where they needed to be, everything is together on one floor, and all you have to do is just walk around the corner and there you are,” York said. “It truly is amazing. I never thought in my lifetime I would see a building designed like that, where everything is together.”

Attendance and exhibitor numbers are tracking on par with recent Cable Shows, she said, meaning around 300 companies and 10,000 attendees.
— Kent Gibbons

Title II: Does it Make the Grade?

Capitol Hill has been alive with the sound of Republican and Democratic crossfire over Title II classification of Internet service, but few were as creative as this variation on a bill markup.

After Title II foe Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote an op-ed critical of the Federal Communications Commission’s move to reclassify Internet provision as a telecommunications service, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), who supports the FCC’s action, took out his red pen to mark up a copy of the editorial, with copious margin notes.

Takano did the same thing in 2013 to a letter about immigration reform. (He is a former high-school Engli sh teacher.)

The graded copy was posted to Facebook — where it quickly drew more than one million views, according to the senator’s office. By late last week it had more than 15,000 “likes.”

Takano had given Rubio an “F” grade, with the note, “Please do more research.” Ouch!

There is a postscript. The Takano press releases crowing about the corrections had a headline that touted the “Rep. Mark Takano Rep Pen Markup.”

“Rep” pen markup?

Sure enough, eventually a new version of the press release was issued with the headline corrected to read: “Rep. Mark Takano Red Pen Markup,” with the “Red” a prominent red color and this note from Takano’s press aide: “I got a B- for this press release.”

Given that it was a press release whose entire purpose was to correct, with plenty of dismissive attitude, someone else’s writing and contained an error in the headline (for clarity we would hyphenate “red pen,” as an adjectival phrase, but that is a matter of choice), The Wire would have to give it a C-minus, at best.
— John Eggerton