WOODTV8 Is Selling Rampage

January 31, 2003
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RAND RAPIDS — DP Fox Sports, owner of the Grand Rapids Rampage, isn’t the only business looking forward to seeing the Arena Football League franchise on NBC this month. The LIN TV Corp., owner of local NBC affiliate WOOD-TV8, is equally as excited.

NBC has seven Rampage games as part of the network’s 70-game regular season regional coverage of the AFL. Four of those broadcasts will originate from Van Andel Arena. TV8 will air all Rampage games on Sunday afternoons, and all but one will have a 3 p.m. start.

On top of that, TV8 sister station WXSP will televise at least two Rampage home games not in the NBC lineup. WXSP is a low-power station on UHF channel 15 and on AT&T cable channel 18 in Grand Rapids, and it will air the Feb. 28 and March 29 games.

WOOD-TV8 General Sales Manager Scott Campbell said the station has a dozen avails to sell for each NBC game and is having success selling sponsorships consisting of 30-second spots, packages that give advertisers multiple commercials in each game.

“Frankly, it has gone better than I expected,” said Campbell of the sales effort. “For a while we had that XFL sour taste in everyone’s mouth, viewers and advertisers alike, and I thought there might be some residual effect from that. But there really has not been.

“Part of the reason for that is we’ve got a local team and a lot of the local advertisers are familiar with the difference between the two (leagues),” he added. “Sales have been brisk, primarily sponsorships.”

Individual spots for just the Rampage games will only be sold if commercials from the packages don’t fill all the avails. Although last year’s NBA Sunday broadcasts on NBC gave the sales team at TV8 more avails to sell, the AFL spots have been easier to sell due to the local connection.

“Absolutely, yes,” said Campbell. “While we’re equidistant between Detroit and Chicago, and the Pistons and the Bulls over any given year either might have had a hot season, we have not had a local professional football team on network television.”

The Rampage makes its premiere on WOOD-TV8 on Feb.16 at 3 p.m. when the local franchise hosts New York at the arena.  

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