Landon Donovan's contract big story in LA local news

Victor Decolongon

The LA Galaxy aren't always the center of attention on the local news broadcasts, but Landon Donovan's new contract made the rounds on CBS, NBC, and ABC.

As a fringe media member that loves to media watch, the one branch of the media I haven't looked too closely at is local broadcast news. Between KCBS/KCAL, KNBC, and KABC, LA's owned and operated broadcast TV stations represent significant outreach into the local community. Beyond the billboards along the freeway and the ads on TV, radio, and in print, there's value in getting the local news to cover your team.

Those who watch local news know that the sports segment is brief, and typically placed in the second half of the broadcast (even with the existence of cable sports news, the sports report keeps people watching). Often during the year the sports report will be given live from Dodger Stadium or the Staples Center, but getting local news coverage of soccer and hockey in this town can be more difficult.

Landon Donovan and his contract renewal was treated as a huge story on the local news programs, with CBS' Jim Hill on site, NBC leading with the Donovan renewal, and ABC running with the story on both the morning and afternoon broadcasts. It's always obvious that it's not their forte, the ABC broadcast awkwardly used the word pitch and called the national team "team USA". The NBC broadcast awkward calls Donovan's shot at the goal record "leading the all-time scoring column" like he's Magic Johnson and not a footballer.

TVEyes is a Media Monitoring company that breaks down things like local market viewership and publicity value when it comes to the local broadcasts. I don't fully understand the breakdowns, and I didn't have the KCBS broadcast, but it does look like the KABC 6pm news broadcast is the best deal out there. TVEyes has local viewership at 248,646, more than triple that of the same broadcast on NBC.

They also place a publicity value of $16,406.81 per 30 seconds. It'd be interesting to see that compared to the cost of a billboard or an ad in the paper.

Of course, the point of publicity is to get people in the stadium, so it'll be interesting to see if the Donovan news plus the rivalry match leads to an uptick in attendance. The Galaxy have continued to have solid attendance since David Beckham left, but is down slightly year to year.

It's also worth noting how local news skews very much toward an older audience. Men and women over 65 are the largest audience for local news broadcasts. The attention given this week by cable outlets ESPN, NBC Sports, and Fox Sports to the Galaxy might have more value for a younger skewing league like MLS.

Ultimately, I'm not at all an expert in this arena, but I did want to dip my toe in and stir it around.

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