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Understanding PBR broadcast coverage

PBR recently announced the 2012 television package that includes extensive coverage of the Built Ford Tough Series with two leading network television groups, CBS and NBC.  There are 55 original broadcasts between CBS, CBS Sports Network, NBC and NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus).  Thirteen of those broadcasts will air on network television and reach more than 110 million households in the U.S  CBS Sports Network is also creating a special highlight program that airs a minimum of four times each week in between events for those who miss the action on the weekends.  Built Ford Tough Series rounds that are not covered on television are being broadcast on PBR’s Live Center and through our partnership with YouTube.  For the first time in PBR’s history, fans have access to every round of Built Ford Tough Series competition.  Altogether there are more hours of coverage available to PBR fans than ever before, and all of that coverage is scheduled in consistent and convenient timeslots.

Below are a few answers to frequently asked questions regarding the 2012 television schedule.

•    How do I find the PBR broadcasts on TV?

On PBR.com. Click the link below.  Click on “Check local listings.”  Enter your zip code in the channel finder and you will see a list of channels in your cable system that broadcast the PBR.

/en/bfts/tv-schedule.aspx#/bfts_original_broadcasts

Search for “PBR,” “Professional Bull Riders” or “Built Ford Tough Series” on your cable guide.

•    Why did PBR make the network change from Versus?

PBR did not have a choice.  Versus no longer exists as a channel.  When Versus was acquired by NBC and renamed NBC Sports Network on Jan. 2, they also launched a new programming strategy focused on the NHL, Olympics and other sports programming.

•    Why can’t PBR move the broadcasts back to Versus?

The Versus network no longer exists.

•    Why didn’t PBR put more events on NBC Sports Network?

PBR scheduled every timeslot that NBC Sports Network made available for PBR programming.

•    Why didn’t PBR put all Built Ford Tough Series coverage on one network like it was on Versus?

That option wasn’t available to PBR with a network that is readily available to all PBR fans.  We selected the timeslots available to PBR on the networks with the broadest distribution.  While other networks were interested in PBR programming, none of the other options were available to as many PBR fans as the split package between CBS & CBS Sports Network and NBC & NBC Sports Network.

•    Does PBR make the exclusive decision about which channels carry PBR programming?

No.  While PBR does have the final say with respect to what networks are allowed to air PBR programming, it is up to each network to determine what content they want to deliver to their viewers.  TV networks have different programming strategies to appeal to the largest group of viewers with similar interests (sports, entertainment, etc.).  While PBR is a highly successful television property, the unique nature of the sport, and the fans that follow PBR, don’t fit into all network programming strategies.  Let your favorite cable networks know that you would like to see PBR in their line-up.

•    Does PBR have any control over cable system channel offerings or pricing?

No.  PBR has no control over any cable system offering and it is out of the hands of the television networks in most cases.  Your local cable system makes the decisions about the channels and programming you receive as well as the price of those services.  They need to hear from you, their customer, that you want PBR programming and the channels that deliver it.

•    Why doesn’t PBR have as much programming on as it used to?

PBR is televising 55 original broadcasts in 2012, only seven fewer than in 2010 and 2011, and more than any year prior to 2010.  PBR is one of the most prolific sports on television and has more national broadcasts than most other sports.  PBR fans are fortunate to have as much coverage as they do when you look at sports of a comparable size.  PBR scheduled as many broadcasts as we could based on the timeslots available to us.  With the addition of PBR Live Center and YouTube coverage, PBR fans have access to every performance of the Built Ford Tough Series for the first time in our history.

•    Why aren’t there as many two-day broadcasts compared to last year?

PBR scheduled every broadcast that it could given the timeslots available.  PBR selected the most important rounds of competition to deliver to our fans.

•    Did PBR decide on the television networks for money at the expense of our fans?

Absolutely not.  PBR made every decision based on the best possible programming outcome for our fans.  PBR invests more than $10 million a year to deliver world-class television programming to our fans.

•    Why did PBR choose CBS Sports Network as the new lead television partner?

CBS Sports Network is a fast-growing cable sports network that is owned and operated by CBS, the No. 1 sports and entertainment broadcast network in the world. They have made the best timeslots available for PBR programming and are committed to airing more PBR coverage than any network partner in our history.  Most importantly, they have a deep appreciation for the PBR and our television viewers.  They recognize you as an important sports consumer and will reward your loyalty with more programming – when, how and where you want it.

•    How does CBS Sports Network view the PBR?

PBR is a major priority for CBS Sports Network.  They are excited to have us as a partner and are dedicating more total hours to PBR programming than any network has provided in the past.  We have commitments throughout the CBS organization to continue the growth of PBR as a television sports property.  In a short period of time, CBS Sports Network has proven to be a true partner and not just a network that happens to broadcast the PBR.  They are extremely interested in the opinions of our viewers and committed to providing the best coverage the sport of bull riding has ever received.

•    Will PBR be available on CBS Sports Network beyond 2012?

Yes.  PBR has entered into a multi-year agreement with CBS Sports Network.

•    CBS Sports Network isn’t available in my cable system.

CBS Sports Network is available to 98 million households.  More than 9 out of 10 homes in the U.S. can receive the channel.  Sometimes the network is carried on a sports tier and may not be included in your current package.  If your cable company doesn’t carry CBS Sports Network at all, DIRECTV and DISH Network are available in every city in America.

•    How can I get CBS Sports Network added to my cable system?

Just like any business, cable companies respond to the pressure of their paying customers.  You must demand PBR and CBS Sports Network.  You are a paying customer and you deserve to be heard. Let them know you want PBR and the channels that carry it.

•    Is CBS Sports Network a pay-per-view channel?

No.  CBS Sports Network is a national cable sports channel that is similar to any other channel you currently receive in your cable package.  If it is not available through your cable provider, or only included in a higher-priced package, your cable company made that decision.  It would only cost your cable company about one cent per day to make it available to you as a subscriber.  If you let them know you want PBR on CBS Sports Network, it is a nominal commitment for them to provide it to you in a lower-priced package.

•    What can I do if my cable system doesn’t respond to my requests to include CBS Sports Network, or offer it in a lower priced package?

Call and let your cable company know you are looking at other options.  Regardless of where you live, there is more than one service for you to choose from.   In many markets there are competitive regional distribution services that would be happy to have you reward them for offering PBR programming.  If your terrestrial cable options don’t offer the network, DirecTV and DISH Network satellite services are available in nearly every corner of the United States and have CBS Sports Network in modestly priced packages.

•    Why should I consider switching to a satellite service?

Longtime fans know that PBR coverage was interrupted by disputes between Versus, DISH Network and DirecTV.  CBS Sports Network has long-term agreements in place with the satellite providers and they have the support of their parent CBS, the No. 1 broadcast network.  While PBR has no control over such matters and they could occur again, it is highly unlikely that CBS or CBS Sports Network will encounter similar problems.  Both DirecTV and DISH Network offer CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Network in reasonably priced packages.

•    I have satellite TV (DirecTV or DISH Network) and it isn’t available in my package.

If you have DirecTV or DISH Network and received PBR coverage on Versus, then you have PBR coverage on CBS Sports Network.  Both DirecTV and DISH Network offer CBS Sports Network in the same (or better) package that included Versus (now NBC Sports Network).

•    Why did PBR replace TV broadcasts with Internet broadcasts?

We didn’t.  There are 55 television broadcasts in 2012, only seven fewer than 2011.  PBR’s scheduling has always included rounds of competition that were not covered on television.  PBR has made every round of Built Ford Tough competition available to our fans for the first time in our history.  The Internet broadcasts on PBR Live Center and YouTube augment a comprehensive schedule of television coverage to provide PBR fans with access to all rounds of competition.

•    Will PBR programming still be subject to preemption (delayed from the scheduled start time)?

The 2012 television schedule is considerably more structured than in years past.  There is still a possibility that live programming scheduled before PBR could run long and delay the regularly scheduled start of PBR programming by a few minutes, but that risk has been minimized.  PBR has ensured that coverage will be delivered in its entirety should a preemption occur.

•    Why aren’t all broadcasts live?

Only specific timeslots were made available to PBR and we have to work within those timeslots to balance live events and consistent television coverage.  PBR’s live events are held across all time zones and on a mix of Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays that are often determined by the dates available in the arenas in different cities.  In order to offer as consistent a schedule as possible – for both live events and television coverage – some performances are delayed based on the available television timeslots.

•    Why aren’t all rides from an event shown on television?

PBR live events vary in length from two to three hours due to bulls not cooperating, injuries and other uncertainties.  The unique nature of the sport creates too big a variable in event length to be accommodated by rigid television schedules.  Unfortunately, the timeslots available to PBR do not allow for the coverage of all 55-plus rides from a single performance.  PBR focuses the coverage time available on the most meaningful and essential rides pertinent to the event and the ongoing race for the world title.

•    Why did PBR and CBS Sports Network change the scheduled air times on Sunday?

Those were the timeslots available that provided the minimum amount of delay between the live event and the television coverage.  CBS Sports Network will air both an “East Coast Prime” and “West Coast Prime” broadcast in the same day, providing multiple viewing options in early evening timeslots for all fans in all time zones.  In prior years, nearly half of PBR’s schedule included broadcasts that were delayed by a full day; in 2012 the vast majority of the schedule is live or on short delay.

•    How many events will be broadcast on network TV?

Thirteen.  Eight events will be broadcast on CBS and five events will be broadcast on NBC.  That network schedule puts PBR on par with other major sports properties for network coverage.

•    Why does PBR put events on network TV?

CBS and NBC reach in excess of 110 million households, which is nearly every television household in the United States and Canada.  PBR has fans in every corner of North America, and network TV allows us to provide some programming to all PBR fans, unlike cable.

•    Why are the network TV shows shorter than cable broadcasts?

Those are the timeslots available to PBR.

•    Will the network TV shows just be a shortened version of coverage?

No.  The PBR Competition Committee has created a new format that matches the Top 15 bull riders in the world against the Top 15 bulls at special events.  That format will allow us to cover all rides of these special rounds.

•    Who created the new formats?

44 PBR cowboys, PBR management and Spire Capital own the PBR.  However, all decisions related to competition are made by the PBR Competition Committee, which includes former PBR founders and current bull riders.

•    What is the new PBR Top 15 Bucking Battle Format?

This competition is a matchup between the 15 top-ranked riders in the world standings against the 15 top-ranked bulls at special events.  The points from these special rounds do not count toward the event standings but will count toward the World Standings.

•    Does PBR management listen to PBR fans?

Yes.  The PBR senior management team reads comments from our fans and receives detailed reports regarding the most common questions and issues.

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