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KRNV taps male viewers with sports show

John Seelmeyer

Male viewers are a notoriously tough demographic for television advertisers to crack, but KRNV News 4 in Reno has found early success with a double-barreled approach: Thirty minutes about Nevada Wolf Pack football scheduled right after NBC’s broadcast of “Sunday Night Football.”

The Nevada athletics program, dubbed “Wolf Pack All Access,” sold out its inventory of commercials for the first few shows within days after the station’s sales team hit the street, says General Sales Manager Mark Murakami.

“We’re tying up loose ends now to sell out the remainder of the football and basketball season commercial inventory,” Murakami says.

Wolf Pack Sports Properties, the partnership between Learfield Sports and Seismic Events that holds media and marketing rights for Nevada sports, partners with Channel 4 on the program and sells half of the advertising inventory.

Champion Chevrolet is the title sponsor.

The content is simplicity itself: During football season, Nevada coach Chris Ault visits with sportscaster Bryan Samudio about the previous Wolf Pack game and provides a preview of the team’s next opponent.

Matt McConico, news director of KRNV News 4, says the program provides Ault’s first thoughts about the previous day’s game after he’s had a chance to review game film. Ault’s comments during post-game press conferences don’t have that perspective.

The scheduling of the show immediately following “Sunday Night Football” provides a strong lead-in for the male audiences that Champion Chevrolet and other audiences want to reach, McConico says. With the end of the NFL season, the show will move to 6:30 p.m. on Sundays again, a schedule that is likely to be strong with male viewers.

While Nevada football and basketball will drive much of the program’s content, McConico said other campus sports such as soccer will be featured as well.

“We’re not going to be a football and basketball show,” he says.

Long talked-about, “Wolf Pack All Access” came together in a hurry just days before the start of Nevada’s football season. In fact, some of the graphics for the show weren’t ready in time for its initial showing.

“Initially I was concerned about giving our sales department enough time to sell ads in the show,” says Murakami.

But he says the combination of a strong male viewership with the deep emotional tie that many advertisers in the region feel with the university and its athletics program helped open doors.

“Jack Stanko, the owner of Champion Chevrolet, understands this and has been a supporter of Wolf Pack Athletics for years,” says Murakami.

The tight timing to launch the show also kept the station’s news team scrambling to develop the feature material that accompanies the interviews with Ault.

They’ve now got their footing sufficiently to have a schedule of features in place through December, McConico says.