SBD/Issue 144/Sports Media

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  • NBA’s Regular-Season Ratings Down, With One Caveat

    The NBA begins its postseason this weekend, and the league’s games on ABC this season averaged a 2.0 Nielsen rating, down from a 2.2 last year. But ABC had only one Christmas Day game this year, compared to two last year, and if Christmas Day games are not included, ABC’s ratings are even with last year, averaging a 1.9 rating for 18 telecasts. TNT earned a 1.2 cable rating this season, down 7.69% from a 1.3 last season. On ESPN, ratings were down slightly from last season, but the network saw gains in households, up 1.53%. The following presents NBA regular-season ratings for ’06-07. View game-by-game ratings for ABC telecasts (THE DAILY).

    FINAL NBA REGULAR-SEASON RATINGS
    ——'06-07——
    ——'05-06——
    NET
    GMS.
    RAT/ (000s)
    GMS.
    RAT/ (000s)
    % +/-
    ABC
    19
    2.0/ (2,251)
    20
    2.2/ (2,430)
    -9.09%
    TNT
    52
    1.2/ (1,061)
    52
    1.3/ (1,189)
    -7.69%
    ESPN
    71
    1.147/ (1,061)
    64
    1.156/ (1,045)
    -0.77%
    ESPN2
    0
    -----
    6
    0.8/ (722)
    -----

    NOTE: Ratings for cable networks are coverage area ratings. ABC ratings and HHs listed above are live + same day viewing.

    Barkley Feels TNT Covered
    Too Many Kings Games

    TNT: Ratings in the men 18-49 demo were down 22%. ABC was down 12% in the demo. The NBA is ahead of MLB in the men 18-34 demo, 1.5 to 1.4, but trails in the men 25-54 demo, 1.5 to 1.6 (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 4/20). TNT’s Charles Barkley, on the net’s viewership being down, “For some reason TNT felt like we had an obligation to show the Sacramento Kings every two weeks. Everybody wants to say all these teams are great. That’s not true. A lot of these teams stink” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/20).

    CHUCK’S WAGON: USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand reports TNT for the playoffs will have “in-car webcams” in the vehicles of Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson as they drive to work; the content will be available on NBA.com. TNT also created a MySpace page where the TNT crew will “describe what’s off-camera.” Highlights supervisor John O’Connor wrote, “One of the biggest topics of conversation is what our second meal is going to be.” Meanwhile, on ABC, analyst Mark Jackson will call his first NBA Finals, replacing Hubie Brown, who still calls games. Analyst Jon Barry, who was initially “hired to work a few games,” now is scheduled to work ABC’s on-site studio shows Saturday and Sunday, and serve as a game analyst for Saturday’s Heat-Bulls Game One (USA TODAY, 4/20). TNT has again added former NBA coach Mike Fratello to its broadcast team for the postseason (MIAMI HERALD, 4/20).

    GONE TO MARKETS: In L.A., Tom Hoffarth notes ABC selected Games One and Four of Lakers-Suns for its exclusive Sunday afternoon windows and will likely have Game Seven if necessary. TNT will air Games Two and Three, but does not have exclusivity until the second round, meaning KCAL-Ind in L.A. can air Games Two and Five, and FSN West can air Games Three and Six (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 4/20)....Raptors analyst Jack Armstrong believes that the NBA “gave basketball fans short shrift” by scheduling Nets-Raptors Game One for 12:30 ET Saturday. He added that the storyline of the Raptors against former player Vince Carter “deserved prime time.” Armstrong: “The Raptors are one of the great stories in the NBA, but you couldn’t tell that by the 12:30 start time. ... Toronto’s a big market, but unfortunately it doesn’t register on the U.S. ratings.” In Toronto, William Houston reports TSN averaged 154,000 viewers for its 20 Raptors games this season, up 29% from ’05-06, while The Score averaged 111,000 viewers for 30 games, up 44%. The eight national telecasts on Rogers Sportsnet averaged 130,000 viewers, up 12% (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 4/20).

    Print | Tags: ABC, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Miami Heat, MLB, NBA, Brooklyn Nets, News Corp./Fox, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Media, TBS/TNT, Toronto Raptors, Walt Disney
  • National NHL Ratings Down For NBC, But N.Y. Provides A Boost

    NBC’s Ratings Down For Game
    Two Of Flames-Red Wings Series
    NBC earned a 1.0/2 final Nielsen rating for its national coverage of Flames-Red Wings Game Two last Sunday, down 28.6% from a 1.4/4 for regional coverage during the opening Sunday of last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. The net’s regional coverage last Saturday earned a 1.0/3, down 9.1% from a 1.1/3 last year (THE DAILY).

    APPLE DUMPLINGS: The NHL Rangers averaged a 1.51 cable rating for their three first-round playoff games against the Thrashers that aired on MSG Network, a 12% increase over the two Devils-Rangers games on MSG in the first round last year. Game One of the Rangers’ four-game sweep aired on NBC last Saturday. In addition, the Rangers’ ratings grew game-to-game, with the 1.72 cable rating for Wednesday night’s Game Four marking the highest rating for a Rangers game on the net since the lockout. Meanwhile, the Devils, who are tied 2-2 with the Lightning, are averaging a 0.68 cable rating for the first four games of the playoffs on Fox Sports New York, up 37% over the 0.50 for the two Devils-Rangers playoff games on FSNY last year. The Islanders, down 3-1 to the Sabres, are averaging a 0.71 cable rating in the playoffs on FSNY and MSG, which have split the games (THE DAILY). With seven N.Y. teams in action Wednesday night, the Yankees game on YES Network drew a 4.1 cable rating, followed by the Mets on SNY with a 2.1. The Rangers’ 1.7 on MSG topped the Islanders’ 0.8 on FSNY and the Devils’ 0.4 on an FSNY spillover channel Bulls-Nets earned a 1.0 on WWOR-MYT and a 1.1 on ESPN, “a combined audience more than 10 times as large” as the Knicks’ 0.2 on an MSG spillover channel (NEWSDAY, 4/20).

    NORTHERN LIGHTS: TSN drew 554,000 viewers Wednesday night for Sabres-Islanders Game Four and 557,000 for Predators-Sharks, increasing its average for the playoffs to 411,000, up 26% from last season. The CBC on Tuesday averaged 1.75 million viewers for Senators-Penguins Game Four, followed by 1.375 million for Flames-Red Wings Game Three (TORONTO SUN, 4/20).

    DUCK AND COVER: The Ducks averaged a 0.63 cable rating in L.A. through the first four games of their series against the Wild. Game One aired on FSN West and Game Three aired on FSN Prime Ticket, while Games Two and Four aired on KDOC-Ind, which posted a 0.8 for Game Four, marking its highest rating ever for a Ducks game. The Ducks’ seven-game first-round series against the Flames last season averaged a 0.58 in the market (L.A. TIMES, 4/20).

    Writer Feels NHL Needs
    Rangers In Finals

    NEW YORK STATE OF MIND: In THE HOCKEY NEWS, Larry Brooks writes the NHL needs the Stanley Cup Finals “to go six or seven games in order to build momentum and storylines on NBC.” The league also “needs the Rangers and the Red Wings to play for the Stanley Cup. ... Having New York in the final trumps even [Penguins C Sidney Crosby, whose team was eliminated on Thursday]” (THE HOCKEY NEWS, 4/17 issue). In N.Y., Bob Raissman cites one theory that says “the deeper the Rangers, perceived as having national marquee value, go in the playoffs, the more fans, most of them casual NHL viewers, will hop on the bandwagon” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/20). Also in N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes, “As long as all three New York-area hockey teams made the playoffs, might not the TV-ratings starved NHL scheduled one of them to play on a different night than the other two? On two occasions they all had to play their first-round weeknight games head-to-head-to-head” (N.Y. POST, 4/20).

    CELEB BLOGS: Christie Brinkley’s Stanley Cup Playoffs blog on NHL.com has generated more than 160,903 page impressions since its April 9 debut, while rapper Lil’ Jon’s blog ranks second with 102,129 (THE DAILY).

    Print | Tags: Buffalo Sabres, Cablevision, Calgary Flames, Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Chicago Bulls, Detroit Red Wings, ESPN, Madison Square Garden, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, NBC, New Jersey Devils, Brooklyn Nets, New York Islanders, New York Knicks, New York Mets, New York Rangers, New York Yankees, News Corp./Fox, NHL, Nielsen, Ottawa Senators, Palace Sports & Entertainment, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, SNY, Southwest Sports Group, Media, Tampa Bay Lightning, Texas Rangers, Walt Disney, YankeeNets
  • Final Nielsen Ratings For Weekend Sports Events

    The following lists final Nielsen ratings for recent sports events (THE DAILY).

    SHOW
    DATE
    NET
    TIME
    RAT/SHR
    Marshall's U.S. Figure Skating
    Showcase (taped)
    4/14
    ABC
    4:00-6:00pm
    1.2/3
    Golf: LPGA Tour: Ginn Open: Third Round
    4/14
    CBS
    1:30-3:00pm
    0.8/2
    Golf: PGA Tour: Verizon Heritage:
    Third Round
    4/14
    CBS
    3:00-6:00pm
    1.9/5
    MLB: (regional)
    4/14
    Fox
    3:30-7:00pm
    2.4/6
    NHL playoff special (taped)
    4/14
    NBC
    2:30-2:58pm
    0.6/2
    NHL: Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: (regional)
    4/14
    NBC
    2:58-6:00pm
    1.0/3
    "NBA Countdown"
    4/15
    ABC
    12:30-1:00pm
    1.0/-
    NBA: Bulls-Wizards
    4/15
    ABC
    12:57-3:30pm
    1.4/3
    NBA: Spurs-Mavericks
    4/15
    ABC
    3:30-6:02pm
    2.2/5
    Monster Jam World Finals (taped)
    4/15
    CBS
    12:00-1:00pm
    1.0/3
    Golf: LPGA Tour: Ginn Open: Final Round
    4/15
    CBS
    1:00-3:00pm
    1.3/3
    Golf: PGA Tour: Verizon Heritage:
    Final Round^
    4/15
    CBS
    3:00-6:00pm
    1.4/3
    NASCAR Nextel Cup: Samsung 500
    4/15
    Fox
    2:19-5:55pm
    5.6/12
    National Heads-Up Poker Tournament (taped)
    4/15
    NBC
    12:00-1:00pm
    1.2/3
    NHL: Western Conference Quarterfinals: Flames-Red Wings: Game Two
    4/15
    NBC
    1:00-4:00pm
    1.0/2
    Champ Car World Series: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
    4/15
    NBC
    4:00-6:00pm
    0.6/1

    SHOW
    DATE
    NET
    U.S. AREA
    COV. AREA
    000s
    MLB: Red Sox-Royals
    4/2
    ESPN
    0.9
    1.1
    1,010
    NCAA: Women's Basketball Championship: Tennessee-Rutgers
    4/3
    ESPN
    1.9
    2.3
    2,129
    NBA: Kings-Nuggets
    4/4
    ESPN
    0.9
    1.0
    954
    Golf: The Masters: First Round
    4/5
    USA
    1.6
    1.9
    1,760
    NBA: Suns-Spurs
    4/5
    TNT
    1.1
    1.3
    1,203
    Golf: The Masters: Second Round
    4/6
    USA
    2.1
    2.5
    2,337
    NBA: Mavericks-Nuggets
    4/6
    ESPN
    0.9
    1.1
    1,024
    NASCAR Busch Series: Pepsi 300
    4/7
    ESPN2
    0.9
    1.1
    1,032
    MLB: Sunday Night Baseball: Red Sox-Rangers
    4/8
    ESPN
    1.8
    2.2
    2,057
    MLB: Mets-Braves
    4/8
    TBS
    0.8
    1.0
    918

    NOTE: ^ Rainout coverage. Final round aired Monday morning on Golf Channel.

    NASCAR NUMBERS: In L.A., Ed Hinton reports TV ratings are down about 11% for live NASCAR Nextel Cup races through the first seven races, compared to last year. ISC Exec VP & COO John Saunders: “Certainly the TV ratings have been off this year. But the events continue to be ratings winners, compared to other professional sports” (L.A. TIMES, 4/20). However, A.G. Edwards analyst Tim Conder said that the ratings trend “could carry significant risk for Nextel Cup teams recruiting sponsors.” Conder: “A sponsor has a pretty good point in negotiations of saying, ‘My exposure’s not going up, why should I pay more?’” (USA TODAY, 4/20).

    GOLF LOOKING GOOD: CBS has averaged a 3.0/7 for its coverage of the PGA Tour, up 11% from a 2.7/6 and up 7% from a 2.8/7 in ’06 and ’05, respectively (CBS).

    Print | Tags: CBS, Int'l Speedway Corp., NASCAR, Nextel, Nielsen, PGA Tour, Media, Viacom
  • Blog Hound: Bloggers Taking NFL To Task Over Urlacher Fine

    With the NFL fining Bears LB Brian Urlacher $100,000 for wearing a hat for Glaceau’s vitaminwater during Super Bowl Media Day, bloggers are criticizing the league for being overly-protective of its sponsors, while at the same time acknowledging the exposure the story has meant for vitaminwater.

    Newsday's What about Bob?
    Posted By: Bob Glauber
    “Pretty expensive ad, although we suspect Vitaminwater is only too happy about having Urlacher wear the hat. And getting fined, as well. After all, do you think we would ever think of mentioning the product unless Urlacher got slapped with the fine?”
    Odds and Sods
    “The NFL cracked down on Urlacher because he committed the ultimate crime. He tried to make money without big brother having its well greased hand in the pot. The result is a fine that is nearly 3 times as much as Terrell Owens was fined for spitting in someone’s face.”
    Kurt Nose Best
    Posted By: Kurt Nose Best
    “It’s times like these when you just shake your head at what the NFL does. Uniform police aside (different rant for another day), this dictating of appropriate corporate attire has to border on unconstitutional. Isn’t Urlacher simply exercising his right to freedom of expression?”
    Bangers and Mishmash
    Posted By: kilted domer
    “This makes me laugh until you think about how un-American it is. If we are a country that stands up for the freedom of choice, then what business is it of the NFL or its sponsors which beverage Brian Urlacher or any other player chooses to drink, no matter where he is?”
    The Sports Frog
    Posted By: edwzipper
    “Vitaminwater. Let’s say that again Vitaminwater. This is great for the Vitaminwater company. Over two months after the Big Game (we won’t mention the actual name, no idea who Petty Goodell will fine next) the Vitaminwater company is in the news. Not only are they in the news but they couldn’t buy publicity like this.”


    BUILDING THE BUZZ:
    Sports Media Challenge’s Sports Blog Index measured exposure as it relates to vitaminwater's brand. Click for more analysis.

    • In general, the blogosphere responded positively towards vitaminwater, resulting in what could be considered a successful ambush marketing tactic.
    • Several blogs are reminded of Jim McMahon's incident with his adidas headband in ‘85.

    Do you have a blog post that our readers would find interesting? Please forward your submission to bloghound@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bears, NFL, Media
  • What's The Frequency?

    THE DAILY presents "What's The Frequency?," which highlights the subjects being discussed this week during afternoon drive shows on sports talk radio across the U.S. The following chart lists some of those topics. Local stations are listed in order of market size.

    NATIONAL SHOWS
    Sirius NFL Radio (3-7pm ET) “The Afternoon Blitz”
    NFL Draft preview; JaMarcus Russell vs. Brady Quinn; Dolphins’ QB situation; Michael Turner trade rumors; Will Lions not pick a WR in draft?
    MARKET -- STATION
    SHOW
    Detroit -- WXYT “The Sports Inferno”
    Lions trading down in NFL Draft?; NHL playoffs; NBA playoff preview; Virginia Tech tragedy
    Miami -- WAXY “The Dan Le Batard Show”
    Virginia Tech tragedy; Marlins put Jorge Julio on disabled list; Heat playoff preview; Dolphins draft preview
    Miami --WQAM “Power Hour”
    Dolphins to acquire Trent Green?; Who should Dolphins draft?; Heat-Bulls playoff preview
    Seattle -- KJR “The Gas Man”
    Felix Hernandez injures elbow; Sonics could leave city after arena vote falls through; Canucks starting hot in NHL playoffs; Emerald Downs opens season Friday night
    Phoenix -- KDUS “Calling All Sports With Roc & Manuch”
    Can Cardinals handle Matt Leinart’s troubles with the law; NASCAR in Phoenix; Randy Johnson nearing return; Suns-Lakers
    Minneapolis -- KFAN “The Chad Hartman Show”
    Two Vikings players arrested in last week; Vikings draft preview; Twins; Wild in playoffs; Kevin McHale returning to T’Wolves; Text messaging with college recruits
    Charlotte -- WFNZ “Prime Time With The Packman”
    Virginia Tech tragedy; Spring football reports; NBC hires Keith Olbermann for NFL telecasts; Bobcats’ future; Steve Spurrier and Confederate flag controversy

    Want to add your own Frequency? Contact Josh Rosen at jrosen@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

    Print | Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Lions, Miami Marlins, Miami Dolphins, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Wild, NASCAR, NBA, NBC, NFL, NHL, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Phoenix Suns, Media, St. Louis Cardinals, Vancouver Canucks
  • Media Notes

    Credit Suisse Securities LLC has been retained as the Wicks Group’s financial advisor to aide in seeking strategic alternatives for the Daily Racing Form, including a possible sale (Wicks Group).

    PEOPLE & PERSONALITIES: NBC Sports’ Andrea Kremer is joining HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” next month as a correspondent. Kremer will continue to report for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” (HBO)....KFAN-AM and the Vikings have hired Pete Bercich as an analyst on team broadcasts next year. Bercich played for the team from ’95-98 (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/20)....YES Network analyst Bobby Murcer “plans to return to the broadcast booth next month” after having surgery on a brain tumor in December (N.Y. POST, 4/20)....NESN has added former A’s manager Ken Macha and Naoko Funayama. Macha will be part of the pre-and postgame shows and will debut May 4. Funayama, a freelance reporter, will cover Red Sox P Daisuke Matsuzaka, among other subjects (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/20).

    VIDEOGAME REVIEW: In Pittsburgh, Chuck Finder wrote 2K Sports’ “Major League Baseball 2K7” is a “good-looking game and an easier one to play” than Sony’s “MLB ‘07 The Show.” In the former, PNC Park “looks especially crisp and clean, with a lovely skyline in the background, even though the ad space behind home plate shills only for this video game’s sponsors.” The players’ faces “aren’t so sharp,” but ESPN’s Jon Miller and Joe Morgan “provide their fine brand of broadcasting.” Sony’s game “doesn’t do considerable justice” to PNC Park. It is a “mite slow to load and confounding in its game play” (PITT. POST-GAZETTE, 4/19).

    Print | Tags: Boston Red Sox, HBO, Minnesota Vikings, MLB, NBC, Oakland Athletics, Sony, Media, Time Warner
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