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Worried about the picture freezing during the Super Bowl? WUTV says it won't happen

Alan Pergament

WUTV General Manager Nick Magnini has borrowed a page from Hall of Fame New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath and made a Super Bowl guarantee.

Under prodding, Magnini guaranteed there won’t be a picture problem during Fox’s telecast of Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers with Joe Buck on play-by-play and Troy Aikman as the analyst.

“There hasn’t been one in two weeks,” said Magnini. “As far as I am concerned, the signal will be 100% perfect.”

Namath famously made good on his guarantee of a Jets victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in what is considered one of the greatest upsets in the history of the title game.

Of course, the Jets quarterback had more control of the situation than Magnini does Sunday.

During this NFL season, Spectrum cable subscribers saw their pictures freeze or go to black during some key moments of NFL games. The most aggravating time came when the picture on WUTV froze when the Minnesota Vikings ran a first-down play from inside the New Orleans Saints' five yard line during a NFC playoff game in January.

The picture at my home was back in time to see the winning touchdown pass from Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins to Kyle Rudolph in Minnesota’s 26-20 upset victory.

If a picture freeze happens on Super Bowl Sunday, you may hear the expletives from Buffalo as far as Kansas City or San Francisco.

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The Super Bowl is annually the highest-rated program of the year by far and provides Fox and its affiliates like WUTV its biggest payday.

Magnini confirmed the station has sold all 15- and 30-second spots it gets in the game but declined to say how much advertisers are paying. He did say most of the advertisers are local.

An industry source speculated that advertisers are paying about $30,000 per spot on WUTV, which means those alone will give the Fox affiliate $450,000 in revenue. The same source said that’s about 15 times the normal rate for a 30-second spot in prime time locally – between $1,800 and $2,000.

WUTV is guaranteeing advertisers a rating around 50, which is a conservative estimate compared to what the game has received in Buffalo over the last few  years.

The New England Patriots’ 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in last year’s Super Bowl had a preliminary rating of 52.4 on WIVB-TV (Channel 4), the local CBS affiliate. Buffalo was the No. 3 market for the game, behind only Boston (57.1) and Richmond (52.6).

The Buffalo rating was about a 7% drop from the 56.4 rating for the Philadelphia Eagles’ 41-33 victory over the Patriots on WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) in the 2018 Super Bowl when the Buffalo market was the highest-rated in the country.

The 2018 Super Bowl rating was in a tie for the second-highest ever in Buffalo, behind only the 57.2 rating for the Patriots victory against Atlanta in 2017 carried by Fox affiliate WUTV.

At a time only a few prime-time shows get live double-digit ratings for 30 or 60 minutes, the Super Bowl rating over more than three hours is even more impressive.

“It’s a good matchup,” added Magnini of Sunday’s game.

The station also has sold out ads in the seven-and-a-half hour pregame show that starts at 11 a.m., the postgame show and the popular Fox entertainment program, “The Masked Singer,” that will run after postgame coverage ends.

One Super Bowl commercial getting a lot of attention that has a Buffalo angle is the Planters Peanut Man Funeral that will run in the third quarter.

According to Toni Silveri, who has a talent agency called All Coast Talent, actor Peter Palmisano lives in Hamburg and his voice is featured in the ad. She wrote that Palmisano has been the voice of the Kool-Aid Man for three years and is in the ad where other brands are at a funeral for Mr. Peanut. Silveri added that Palmisano recorded his voice-over at Chameleon Communications in Buffalo.


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