Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ravens wired to their fans

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 28, 2006 5:00 AM (6 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 3 of 6,414 articles

BALTIMORE - The Baltimore Ravens are not just in the football business. They are also in the broadcasting business, and that is very good news for their fans.

The Ravens have been producing their own TV shows for years, and now, with their relationship with the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, they have been able to expand their reach.

Ravens-produced shows include “Ravens Report,” “Ravens Wired” and “The Brian Billick Show.” They work with MASN on “Game Plan,” and their new offering is “Ravens Xtra,” a postgame show after all home games.

I first met Kevin Byrne, the Ravens’ senior vice president of public/community relations, about 20 years ago in Cleveland when he was working for the Browns. He has been part of the franchise for more than 26 years.

I spoke with Byrne recently about a number of different topics.

Byrne on the Ravens’ broadcasting history, starting with former majority owner Art Modell: “Mr. Modell was the first owner to produce his team’s preseason games in the early ’80s and to produce team-owned shows. So, fast- forward to the Ravens, and we are very proud of the network-quality preseason broadcasts. As for the locally produced regular-season shows, we put a great deal of effort and thought into each program. Our goal is to give the fans unlimited access to our players and coaches through these shows. We have a wonderful team of bright, talented people who work closely with the coaches and players to capture the real behind-the-scenes stories that you simply won’t find anywhere else. We have been able to offer clips from these shows, plus other video on our Web site, as well.”

Byrne on the relationship with MASN: “We felt that we needed an outlet for our programs. We enjoy a good relationship with Comcast SportsNet, but when MASN came along, they gave us a very good chance to expand our brand. We have Ravens fans all over the mid-Atlantic region, and we felt that the relationship with MASN would allow us to produce more programs for our fans and to also keep them in the loop on all things Ravens, 12 months out of the year.”

Byrne on the Ravens and their fans: “When we first got to Baltimore, I really envied the Orioles and how you would see their fans wearing their caps and shirts. They really had the kind of relationship that I wanted to see the Ravens have with this city. Now, I can say without fear of contradiction we have the best fans in the NFL. You can’t go anywhere in this town without seeing Ravens caps, jerseys and fans having fun. This team and this city have a real love for each other. The coaches feel it, the players feel it, our owner, Stephen Bisciotti, feels it, and we know our fans feel it. So you can count on us never taking that love for granted and for always doing our best to keep them in the loop via TV and on the Web.”

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. E-mail him at

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