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Fox Soccer Crafts Show for Bass Ale

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NEW YORK Fox Soccer Channel is trying its hand at branded entertainment, creating Super Sunday Plus, a 90-minute highlights show covering global soccer -- with a twist. The program is set against the backdrop of a British pub, with hosts Christian Miles, Keith Costigan and Gary Richards seated around a table rehashing plays and performances.

The concept was crafted specifically for Bass Ale, which began sponsoring the cable channel last year. The advertiser was seeking a unique integration opportunity, said Mike Petruzzi, vp, national advertising sales at FSC. The integrated approach was launched mid-month and runs through the fourth quarter, with the possibility of an extension for one additional year.

"This is the direction that the nature of the [branded entertainment] business is going. You can't just sell 30-second spots. You have to sell platforms and concepts to bring a brand to life," said Petruzzi.

The network's programming group developed the idea, and executives from Bass and agency partner Busch Media Group -- the media buying arm of Anheuser-Busch -- worked to refine the approach.

In addition to being referenced as the presenting sponsor, the Bass logo appears on the beer tap handles of the pub and is displayed on the mirror behind the bar.

FSC is in talks with other advertisers regarding similar branded entertainment opportunities, though Petruzzi declined to elaborate further. Bass and Busch Media representatives could not be reached for comment.