SBD/Issue 1/Sports Media

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  • "MNF" Final Ratings Down From '06

    Week One NFL Nielsen ratings continue to trend downward with results from ESPN's "MNF" doubleheader now in.   The chart below presents ratings and viewers for Ravens-Bengals, which aired in the 7:00-10:30pm ET window, and Cardinals-49ers (10:30pm-1:45am), with comparisons to last year.

    ---------- '07 ------------
    ---------- '06 ------------
    VIEWERS (000)
    VIEWERS (000)
    RAT. % +/-
    VIEWERS % +/-

    NOTES: In the usual “MNF” broadcast window, 8:30-11:45pm, ESPN earned a 9.7 rating, down 14.2% from a 11.3 last year.   The net averaged a 9.9 rating from 8:00-11:00pm, which translates into an 8.4 national rating, the highest of any net, broadcast or cable, for the night in primetime.  The two games delivered the net’s two highest ratings of the year, as well as the second- and third-largest household audiences on cable this year, behind only Disney Channel’s “High School Musical 2”, which averaged 17.2 million viewers on August 17.  From the start of ESPN’s NFL studio programming at 2:00pm through the conclusion of the doubleheader game, ESPN delivered a gross 19.2 rating.  Also, NFL content on generated more than 66 million page views from Monday through Tuesday at 12:00pm, up 27% over the same period last year (ESPN). Cardinals-49ers earned a combined Bay Area household rating of 22.1 -- 14.2 on ESPN and 7.9 on KPIX-CBS. That’s the highest local rating since an ABC “MNF” broadcast of Steelers-49ers did a 27.4 in November ’03 (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/12).

    TALENT REVIEWS: In Baltimore, Ray Frager writes of the “MNF” announcing crew, “It was obvious how much better a rapport Tony Kornheiser has with Ron Jaworski than he did with Joe Theismann. Yes, they yukked it up, but it didn’t get in the way of Jaworski’s points about the game" (Baltimore SUN, 9/12). In San Jose, John Ryan writes, “How great was it with Ron Jaworski? He even makes Tony Kornheiser sound less obnoxious.” Ryan also graded the Cardinals-49ers crew of the three Mikes – Greenberg, Golic and Ditka.  Ryan, on Greenberg: “For a guy who had never done play-by play before last March (arena football), I’d give him a C-minus. Seemed to take the radio tack of describing everything he was seeing.” On Golic: “Solid pro. I’d give him a B. Relies too much on the replay instead of having seen the real-time action. … But he set the table OK.” On Ditka: “Awful. Just not prepared. D-minus” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 9/12).

    PACKERS: In Milwaukee Bob Wolfley notes the WITI-Fox Eagles-Packers telecast on Sunday drew 271,964 local HHs, down 21% from last year’s opener against the Bears, but still enough to out-rate a concurrent Brewers-Reds game on FSN Wisconsin, which drew 30,222 HHs. Even Packers preseason games in August out-rated the Brewers, who are still in the NL Central pennant race. Sunday’s final round of the PGA Tour BMW Championship also had more local households than Brewers-Reds, but baseball beat golf in the 1:00-3:00pm CT time slot (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL, 9/12).

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  • Blog Hound: ESPN's "MNF" Booth Crew

    Yesterday, Blog Hound explored the reaction to Keith Olbermann joining NBC's NFL coverage. Today, we offer blogger opinions of ESPN's Mike Tirico-Ron Jaworski-Tony Kornheiser announce team for "MNF" and the inclusion of a halftime version of ESPN's "PTI" featuring Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.

    Posted by: Eric Fingerhut
    Someone actually realized that doing PTI at halftime might be a pretty good idea--especially considering both Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon are actually in the stadium anyway.
    Posted by: Sandy
    “I've always wondered why ESPN gave this job to Kornheiser instead of Wilbon. Wilbon was a football writer and knows the game better than Tony.”
    Orange Power
    Posted by: OStateMan
    “I like Mike Tirico just fine. Jaws is not my idea of the "ex-athlete expert," but not as irritating as Kornheiser.”
    Armchair GM
    Posted by: Seanlahman
    “When Kornheiser tries to be funny, he usually is. His hit to miss ratio is pretty high, and part of that's because he's not trying to crack a joke every thirty seconds.”
    Lone Star Ball
    Posted by: Chase Irwin
    “Jaws is a breath of fresh air for the MNF booth. He's been good with breaking down plays and strategy. Best technical analyst in recent memory anyway, judging by tonight's game.”

    BUILDING THE BUZZ: Sports Media Challenge's Sports Blog Index analyzed the buzz surrounding the'07 "MNF" crew. Bloggers for the most part share a positive sentiment towards the new crew in the booth, citing a better chemistry among the announcers than last season. Click here for more information. Visit for more info.

    • The topic measured 6 out of 10 on The Buzz, indicating a medium level of interest.
    • Positive sentiment/exposure stems from bloggers who feel that the addition of Jaworski to the "MNF" crew allows Kornheiser to be more relaxed. Others feel the crew is better simply because Joe Theismann is no longer on it.  Other bloggers feel this is the best booth in football right now.
    • Negative sentiment/exposure stems from some bloggers who feel that Kornheiser isn’t suited for "MNF" and that his style is more suited to his talk shows. Other bloggers feel there is a lack of chemistry between the three announcers.

    Do you have a blog post that our readers would find interesting? Please forward your submission to

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  • MLBAM Strikes Licensing Deal With Gregg Winik's Group

    MLB Advanced Media and CineSport, an online video syndication outfit formed by former NBA exec Gregg Winik, have struck a licensing agreement in which CineSport will gain access to MLB highlight videos for the rest of the calendar year. CineSport will use the material to build out its existing two- to three-minute daily multi-sport highlight packages that it syndicates out to other online destinations, such as newspaper, TV and radio station Web sites.  The MLBAM deal adds to current content use agreements CineSport holds with the NBA, NHL, NASCAR and Collegiate Images. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Winik indicated MLBAM "would be compensated."  The short-term agreement is designed as a trial run toward a potential longer-term pact.  CineSport videos, closely resembling sports segments on local TV newscasts, are free to users and are ad-supported.  "[MLBAM] obviously has done a great job building up their destination and they have a lock on the diehard fan," Winik said. "This is an opportunity for baseball to reach out additionally to the more casual fan. They've seen what we certainly feel is a great opportunity, it's a huge plus for us in terms of our content offering."

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  • Mark Cuban Enters MMA Ring With HDNet Deal

    Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban’s HDNet will begin airing MMA bouts in a series entitled, “HDNet Fights" (HDNet).  The first event in the series will be held October 13 at the American Airlines Center, where the Mavericks play.  Cuban: “I was a casual fan, but over the last 18 months, I’ve really gotten into MMA. HDNet was the reason I started watching. I … got hooked.”  In addition to hiring MMA "talent guru" Guy Metzger, an MMA fighter, Cuban "has visions of owning a stable of fighters” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/12).

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