The Green Bay Packers, Green Bay's WFRV-TV (NewsChannel 5), the CBS station that is part of the Viacom Television Stations Group, have reached agreement on a new and comprehensive three-year broadcasting partnership that will bring year-round Packers programming in addition to preseason games, to fans throughout Wisconsin and the upper Midwest, it was announced today by Craig Benzel, the Packers' director of corporate sponsorships, and R. Perry Kidder, vice president and general manager of WFRV-TV.
Under terms of the far-reaching agreement, which includes a major alliance with WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee, the Packers will present the most comprehensive and varied team programming in the club's 74-year broadcasting history, Benzel said.
WFRV-TV and WTMJ-TV will create a television studio in the Lambeau Field Atrium for the origination of regular on-site programming, including news, sports and/or weather, throughout the year.
The new broadcasting package will include:
... Televising, by CBS Sports and WFRV-TV in conjunction with Milwaukee's WTMJ-TV, Packers preseason games over an expanded, eight-station network throughout the state of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, with CBS network production, personnel and the latest network quality technology;
... An informative half-hour show prior to each preseason game;
... A half-hour preview show during training camp;
... A new Packers "Fifth Quarter" show Sunday nights during the regular season, originating from the Lambeau Field Atrium, that will include player guests;
... A half-hour Holiday special highlighting the Packers' extensive and ongoing community relations efforts;
... The involvement and expertise of Larry McCarren, WFRV-TV sports director and Packers Radio Network analyst, as well as WTMJ-TV personnel, in the telecasts.
In addition to WFRV-TV and WTMJ-TV, the games will be televised over WKOW/ABC, Madison, Wis.; WAOW/ABC, Wausau/Rhinelander, Wis.; WXOW/ABC, La Crosse, Wis.; WQOW/ABC, Eau Claire; WYOW/ABC, Eagle River, Wis.; and WJMN/CBS, Marquette, Mich.
Packers President Bob Harlan, hailing the scope and potential of the history-making agreement, observed, "Our business is going through a dramatic change and this partnership gives us extremely strong programming at a key time,
"And with it, we feel that we will be able to present a telecast of superior quality and, with an expanded network, be able to reach many more Packers fans than we have in the past."
"We are very gratified to be part of this unprecedented alliance that combines the strengths of WFRV, CBS Sports, Viacom and The Journal Company," Kidder said. "Our goal is to advance Packers programming to a new level that offers fans a greater variety of reporting with unprecedented access and more in-depth, behind-the-scenes coverage."
At the network level, the excitement was equally strong. "With the great relationship that we at CBS Sports have with the National Football League it makes perfect sense to now have WFRV-TV partnering with the Green Bay Packers," said Sean McManus, President of CBS Sports and Executive Producer of The NFL on CBS. "We look forward to working directly with WFRV to guarantee the highest quality production on the Green Bay Packer broadcasts."
"CBS Sports, combined with WFRV-TV, is excited to provide the football fans of Green Bay with the same high-level standards that they are accustomed to seeing from their team on the field," added Tony Petitti, Executive Producer of CBS Sports.
Jim Prather, Journal Broadcast Group President-TV, said, "We are proud to join WFRV-TV and produce network quality preseason game broadcasts for Green Bay Packers fans across the state of Wisconsin.
"We're honored to expand Journal Broadcast Group's great relationship with the NFL's most popular franchise. This will be a very special year as Wisconsin celebrates the Grand Opening of the renovated Lambeau Field. We look forward to capturing and sharing those magic moments with our viewers."
Journal Broadcast Group owns WTMJ-TV along with four other television stations and 36 radio stations, including WTMJ-AM. The company's involvement in the televising of Packers preseason games expands upon a long-standing partnership dating back to 1929, when WTMJ-AM began broadcasting the team's games over radio.
An ancillary benefit afforded by the agreement, Benzel noted, will be "the creation of special programs about Lambeau Field Atrium and the Packers Hall of Fame, plus the ability to promote Lambeau Field and Brown County tourism on a regional basis through CBS/Viacom owned TV stations in Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis, in addition to Green Bay."
The partnership, he added, "will provide the Packers an opportunity to salute Wisconsin's high school athletes, through supporting messages during broadcasts of the WIAA basketball tournaments and other prep events."
The Viacom Television Stations Group consists of 39 stations, including 20 CBS, 18 UPN and one independent station. The Group has duopolies in eight markets.