KCTV5, the CBS affiliate in Kansas City, plans to cease producing a sports report as part of its 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. nightly newscasts and rely upon MetroSports, a cable sports provider in the greater metropolitan area, for sports cut-ins from its studios about 10 miles away.
The move, scheduled for Feb. 9, is believed to be the first time nationally that a broadcaster has outsourced sports production for its nightly newscast.
“Typical of a TV station in this size market, they (KCTV) have three people assigned to sports. They must compete for camera crews and time in editing suites with the rest of the news department,” said MetroSports vice president of public affairs and production Carol Rothwell.
MetroSports, which is owned by Time Warner, started as a community public access channel. Seven years ago as an outgrowth of its local access coverage, sports began to dominate and the cable channel made the transition to local sports coverage. Since then, it has grown into a multi-million dollar business, generating revenue from commercial sales, production of Kansas City Royals baseball games and leasing its fleet of sports production vehicles to broadcasters covering events in the region.
The finishing touches are being completed on the studio that will be used for the nightly sports cut-away from KCTV5. As with the rest of its facility, the MetroSports studio used for the KCTV sportscast will be digital. The MetroSports sportscast will be sent via fiber optic cable to KCTV, but to the viewer, the shot will look no different than when the anchors throw it to Weather Central, said Rothwell.
The deal, according to Rothwell, will ensure that the local broadcaster’s sportscast “is more about sports and less about talking heads.”