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Packers Pervasive

The Green Bay-Appleton, Wis., DMA ranks first in watching sports on TV, according to Lifestyle Market Analyst. Not surprisingly, the local stations package a ton of programs around the storied Green Bay Packers football franchise.

"I think it is safe to say that Packer broadcasts get the highest shares of any NFL team in the country," says Perry Kidder, VP/GM of CBS's WFRV-TV, which offers more than three hours a week of Packers-related programming as well as prime time specials and high school football. "The Packers are a good part of our identity. We have a contract with the Packers that is way above and beyond preseason football. They are our partners in [the programming]."

Emmis's Fox affil WLUK-TV has the majority of regular-season Packers' games. "It is truly a phenomenon. Businesses even close down when the Packers play," says GM Jay Zollar, noting a 54 average household rating last year and shares probably around 80.

The Packers produce "huge ratings" for Young Broadcasting's WBAY-TV, too, according to GM Don Carmichael. The ABC affiliate produces an hour program prior to Monday Night Football
hosted by a Packers fullback. "I believe it's the No. 1- rated show in the time period," he says.

As for TV life in general, he says, "We are having a good year. The sluggish market is getting better slowly but surely." WBAY-TV's top ad categories are auto, telecom and medical.

WFRV-TV's sales strategy revolves around "non-agency billing." With six commercial stations, Kidder says, "it has paid back handsomely because we are in a business with a limited supply. You have to create your own demand."

Geographically, the market ranges from northeast Wisconsin to upper Michigan. It is "a collection of medium-sized cities," such as Appleton and Oshkosh, says Carmichael. "Green Bay is only about 100,000 people."