"We're in the summer, it's Friday night, people aren't staying home often on Friday nights, but for ABC it's not much of a gamble," says Alan Pergament of stilltalkintv.com. "Friday is a weak night on network television. That's why ABC probably put this on a Friday night to try and get a larger audience than usual, but yes there are plenty of diversions and other opportunities."
Buffalo's audience could be bigger. "I imagine it will be on all the local stations, since no one has the local rights," notes Pergament.
Pergament agrees with ABC's insistence on a tether for Wallenda's walk. "It takes a lot of the suspense out of it, but if I were with ABC I would have forced him to do it too. The last thing you want to do is publicize a disastrous fall," explains Pergament.
For Niagara University's Deborah Curtis, it's all about the TV coverage.....
Curtis, director of the school's Hospitality Training and Research Inst. says the long term benefit of having Wallenda walk the Horseshoe Falls, will be in the three hours of television coverage that ABC has pledged to the event.
For her, the event will certainly draw people to the region and is worth doing, but that is far eclipsed by the amount of attention that will be brought to the Falls by the ABC prime time event.
"I don't think there's any one event that's going to be the silver bullet, but I think the publicity through ABC is going to be phenomenal, something that would be out of our reach to purchase." she says.
While the actual costs vary wildly, a typical 30 second spot on ABC averages about $340,000, according to unoffficial estimates from Advertising Age magazine. Curtis says three hours of programming come at a price that the region's tourism interests could never afford.
Curtis adds that critics who worry about whether more spectators will be on our side of the border or view the event from the Canadian side. "there's a lot of people that are going to be watching it on both sides, and that's what's important," she adds.
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