SBD/Issue 29/Sports Media

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  • Fox Earns 9.2 Overnight For Phils-Rays World Series Game Two

    Fox Earns 9.2 Overnight
    For Phils-Rays Game Two
    Fox earned a 9.2/15 overnight Nielsen rating for Thursday night's Phillies-Rays World Series Game Two, which the Rays won 4-2, marking a 26.4% decrease from a 12.5/20 for the comparable Rockies-Red Sox Game Two last year. Thursday's game was also down 26.4% from a 12.5/19 for Cardinals-Tigers Game Two in '06, which aired on a Sunday night following the NFL late-window game on Fox (Redskins-Colts). Last night's game and pregame on Fox combined to average an 8.6/14 in primetime, ranking right behind CBS' 8.7/14. Tampa-St. Petersburg topped all markets with a 31.3/47, while Philadelphia posted a 30.7/44 (THE DAILY).

    GAME ONE: Fox earned a 9.2/15 final Nielsen rating and 14.6 million viewers for Game One of the Phillies-Rays World Series Wednesday night from 8:30pm-12:00am ET, down 12.4% and 13.4%, respectively, from a 10.5/18 rating and 16.9 million viewers for Rockies-Red Sox Game One last year, which also aired on a Wednesday. Phillies-Rays Game One is also up 15.0% and 14.0%, respectively, from an 8.0/15 and 12.8 million viewers for the Saturday night Cardinals-Tigers Game One (THE DAILY). Phillies-Rays "gave Fox its highest-rated Wednesday since the 'American Idol' finale in May" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 10/24). DAILY VARIETY's Rick Kissell writes perhaps helping Fox' ratings Wednesday was the "fact that the game was tight throughout and didn't oppose any blockbuster entertainment programming on rival networks" (DAILY VARIETY, 10/24).

    SELIG HAPPY WITH RATINGS: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, meeting Thursday night with reporters prior to Game Two, said he was more than satisfied with the Game One TV ratings. "I'm very happy about this. A 10.3 (overnight) -- that's a great first game rating," Selig said. "The key, again, is getting Games 5, 6 and 7. But this is very encouraging. I was working out (Thursday morning) and my phone rang, saw it was Tim (Brosnan, MLB Exec VP/Business), and my heart started pounding. I told him, 'Please don't ruin my day.' He said he wasn't going to do that and that he was happy ... Fox won the night and we're off to a good start" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Fox VP/Communications Dan Bell: "We're off to a very solid start. This is a good number for a first night. No show gets the same ratings now that we saw in 1995. What advertisers pay for is a Series that dominates all other TV, and we're doing that" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/24). But in Dallas, Barry Horn writes of Fox' 9.2 final Game One rating, "I say that's not good enough if the network hopes to beat the all-time low of 10.1" (DALLASNEWS.com, 10/23). Chicago Tribune reporter John Mullin said, “I can see ... how an average fan or a non-baseball fan would say, ‘I don’t care.’ This is probably going to be the lowest-rated World Series ever.” Chicago Tribune reporter Dave Van Dyck: "I think the ratings are probably going to be low again this year, but that’s the way it is" ("Chicago Tribune Live," CSN, 10/23). In L.A., Steve Springer writes, "Imagine how much more appealing it would have been Wednesday night to have [Dodgers LF] Manny Ramirez coming to bat in Fenway Park. Talk about monster ratings. That would have produced Green Monster ratings" (L.A. TIMES, 10/24).

    THE LATE SHOW: Selig said he is "concerned" about the late start times for postseason games, but said facts "don't substantiate" the rationale that the ratings decrease is in part due to the game times. Selig: "We had some day games during the LCS's as you know and ... the ratings were terrible. And more importantly, even in the Red Sox games, Red Sox-Rays in the (ALCS), the best ratings were from 11 to 12 o'clock at night. ... The rating (Wednesday) night and the rating every night gets much better as time goes on" ("Mad Dog Unleashed," Sirius XM Radio, 10/23).

    REGIONAL RATINGS: Horn noted "no market with a [MLB] team is more disinterested in postseason baseball than Dallas-Fort Worth," as Game One earned a 5.0 rating on KDFW-Fox, ranking 55th among 56 metered markets (DALLASNEWS.com, 10/23). WITI-Fox earned a 12.5 rating in the Milwaukee market, marking the "highest-rated Game 1 of a World Series" in the market since '93 (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/24). Meanwhile, Rogers Sportsnet drew 436,000 viewers for Game One, down 5% from 459,000 viewers for Red Sox-Rockies Game One last year (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/24).

    Writer Wants McCarver
    To Provide More Analysis
    BREAKING DOWN THE BROADCAST: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes, "Who's producing the opening show for Fox, Ken Burns? Bad enough that we had to sit through that syrupy 'baseball unites us' drivel with voice-overs from John McCain and Barack Obama before Game 1, we had to sit through it again before Game 2. Now we're starting to dread that Fox is going to do this before every game. Even worse, they downgraded from Michael Douglas helping to narrate to Kiefer Sutherland" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/24). But in Orlando, Dave Darling writes, "I loved Fox's preamble to Game 1 Wednesday blending our national pastime with history and politics. Come to think of it, it's the only time I haven't felt ill after hearing John McCain or Barack Obama speak" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/24). Meanwhile, the GLOBE & MAIL's William Houston writes Fox analyst Tim McCarver's work in Game One was "no more than adequate." On the first play of the game that "really required analysis -- a fielding mix-up by [Phillies P] Cole Hamels and [1B] Ryan Howard -- McCarver provided nothing, aside from a rehash of what happened" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/24).

    VALUABLE INFORMATION: In L.A., Tom Hoffarth profiles Fox on-field reporter Ken Rosenthal and notes the net's use of him "isn't so much a necessary evil as it is keeping viewers ahead of the curve with more-than-credible information gathered by someone who does the heavy lifting." Rosenthal worked at the Baltimore Sun and Sporting News before joining Fox in '05, and Fox Producer Pete Macheska said, "He really does get me focused each game, finding information in places we wouldn't normally go" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 10/24).

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  • Fans Could Drop Raptors NBA TV After Most Team Games Go To TSN

    Raptors NBA TV Limited To Two Raptors
    Games In '08-09 Due To TSN Deal
    With 25 Raptors games moving to TSN2 during the '08-09 NBA season, club-owned Raptors NBA TV will air "just two regular-season games", and NBA fans are "already talking on the blogosphere about dropping the Raptors channel," according to William Houston of the GLOBE & MAIL. But Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Exec VP & COO Tom Anselmi "doesn't believe the channel will lose subscribers." Anselmi: "Raptors NBA TV still airs 150 to 200 U.S. games. We're getting great new programming from Turner (Broadcasting) in the United States. We're in 1.5 million homes. We'll be just fine" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/24).

    NEED SOME MAGIC: In Orlando, Dave Darling reports progress in the negotiations between Bright House Networks and FSN Florida "can best be described as ... nonexistent," as both sides "have dug in their heels and still are far from reaching an agreement." The net will air 35 Magic games this season though it is available to "fewer than 20[%] of the households in the Central Florida market." There "still might be hope" of a deal being reached, as Sun Sports and FSN Florida, who split Magic TV rights, "loaded up the first couple of months of the season with Sun Sports broadcasts." FSN Florida is "not optimistic a deal will be worked out any time soon but still is hopeful something will get done by year's end." But fans "will miss a lot of games in the second half of the season" if a deal is not reached (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/24).

    BAD DECISION: In N.Y., Peter Vecsey writes of Comcast SportsNet New England removing Basketball HOFer Bob Cousy as a Celtics analyst, "How many New Englanders think Celtics' telecasts will be better off this season without Bob Cousy expressing his expert opinion for 10 games ... as he's done for the past nine seasons of his 34-year broadcasting career? None with the slightest sense of franchise history, I can assure you." The net will work with a two-man booth, and Vecsey writes, "Would the genius at Comcast who decided three on-air talents was one too many please resign gracelessly?" (N.Y. POST, 10/24).

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  • Eye Of The Tigers: Rivals.com Airing Show On Memphis Basketball

    Rivals.com Airing 10-Part Online Series 
    Chronicling Univ. Of Memphis' Season
    Rivals.com has launched its first online reality programming, beginning a 10-part video series this week chronicling the beginning of the Univ. of Memphis men’s basketball season. The series, entitled “Full Court Press” and presented by the U.S. Army, will extend to mid-December, with each weekly episode and the finale running about 9-15 minutes each. Veering away from the company’s traditional base in college news and inside recruiting information, the Rivals series explores more behind-the-scenes elements such as players getting in shape, competing for playing time, and moving from last season’s crushing overtime loss in the national title game.

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  • "NHL On The Fly" A Fast-Paced, Action-Packed Studio Show

     
    The NHL Network’s signature show, “NHL On the Fly,” is a prime example that if you want hockey coverage done right, let the Canadians do it. The show, which airs live 9:00-11:00pm ET seven days a week, is produced at the network’s Toronto studios and is a slickly presented production that will entertain and satisfy even the most die-hard hockey fan. There is a reason that this program is called “NHL On the Fly”-- it really does move. Dan Pollard is the host of the program and his partner is analyst Craig Button. Neither are household names in the U.S., but they obviously know their hockey. Pollard has over 20 years of broadcast experience, mostly with Canada’s TSN. His partner Button, with a resume that includes 20 years as a player, NHL executive and broadcaster, is part of the program’s deep bench of hockey experts. Together they provide a multi-faceted, rapid-fire program with live action look-ins at games, extensive highlights, between period interviews, postgame press conferences and game wrap-ups.

     
    RAPID FIRE: A great example of the pace of “NHL On the Fly” was illustrated last Friday. Just 45 seconds into the show, Pollard and Button quickly went to a live look-in of the Sabres blasting the Canucks 4-1 in the 3rd period. Next, it was off to Madison Square Garden for a look at the Maple Leafs-Rangers game. Then it was back to the studio where Button broke down each of the games just seen. After that, it was off to Ottawa for yet another live game look-in, as the Senators were battling the Coyotes. The show uses long-form highlights with good analysis, not the 90-seconds-or-less highlight packages viewers are used to seeing on other networks. Three games, three cities, with extended highlights as well as analysis and the show was only 12 minutes old. Now that is really moving.

    CONTROL TOWER: Pollard and Button control this chaos calmly. In between the mayhem of the live games, they offer viewers a variety of other interesting options such as between period interviews and postgame press conferences. But some of the best segments of the show happen when Pollard and Button go live to games that have gone into overtime or are in a shootout. Using only a brief lead-in, the two hosts are able to condense a three-hour game for their viewers down to the tense and dramatic final five minutes where victory or defeat hangs in the balance. Also unique to the show is that viewers during the live look-ins are able to hear the voices of the local game announcers in both Canada and the U.S.,  a treat for the U.S. audience, who rarely get a chance to hear such a variety of broadcast styles and distinctive goal calls.

    FLY ON THE WALL: In the end, the success of this program is the NHL Network’s desire to showcase all aspects of hockey in it own local settings -- the pre- and post-game shows, period breaks, live action and broadcasters. Pollard and Button have the freedom to choose what is interesting and what is hot, making sure the viewer gets the best coverage of all the games offered. It truly is what keeps “NHL On the Fly,” in a word, flying.

    Jim Williams is a seven-time Sports Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer who lives in Baltimore. He will be reviewing sports programming occasionally for SportsBusiness Daily and SportsBusiness Journal. He can be reached at jameswilliams360@comcast.net.

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  • Final Nielsen Ratings From Recent Sports Events

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

    SHOW
    DATE
    NET
    TIME
    RAT/SHR
    "College Football Countdown"
    10/18
    ABC
    3:00-3:30pm
    0.9/2
    NCAA Football: (regional)
    10/18
    ABC
    3:30-7:09pm
    3.8/9
    NCAA Football: Missouri-Texas
    10/18
    ABC
    8:07-11:24pm
    3.1/6
    Rockstar Energy U.S. Open of Supercross (taped)
    10/18
    CBS
    1:30-3:00pm
    0.5/1
    NCAA Football: Mississippi-Alabama
    10/18
    CBS
    3:30-6:51pm
    2.0/5
    AST Dew Tour: PlayStation Pro
    10/18
    NBC
    4:00-6:00pm
    0.5/1
    "NASCAR Countdown"
    10/19
    ABC
    1:00-1:30pm
    1.5/-
    NASCAR Sprint Cup: Tums QuikPak 500
    10/19
    ABC
    1:30-5:26pm
    3.3/7
    "NASCAR Postrace"
    10/19
    ABC
    5:26-6:00pm
    2.3/-
    "The NFL on CBS": (regional)
    10/19
    CBS
    1:03-3:30pm
    6.4/15
    "The NFL on CBS": Colts-Packers (48%)
    10/19
    CBS
    4:15-7:26pm
    14.2/29
    "The NFL on Fox": (regional)
    10/19
    Fox
    1:03-4:10pm
    10.1/23
    PBR: Mohegan Sun Invitational (taped)
    10/19
    Fox
    4:38-6:08pm
    1.3/3
    American Le Mans Series:
    Monterrey Sports Car Championships (taped)
    10/19
    NBC
    2:00-4:00pm
    0.3/1
    AST Dew Tour: PlayStation Pro
    10/19
    NBC
    4:00-6:00pm
    0.5/1
    "Football Night in America"
    10/19
    NBC
    7:30-8:15pm
    3.2/-
    "Sunday Night Football": Seahawks-Buccaneers
    10/19
    NBC
    8:23-11:00pm
    6.3/10
    SHOW
    DATE
    NET
    TIME
    U.S. AREA
    COV. AREA
    VIEWERS (000)
    "Monday Night Football":
    Giants-Browns
    10/13
    ESPN
    8:30-11:40pm
    7.2
    8.4
    11,422
    ALCS: Rays-Red Sox: Game Three
    10/13
    TBS
    4:30-8:11pm
    3.0
    3.5
    4,499
    ALCS: Rays-Red Sox: Game Four
    10/14
    TBS
    8:00-11:20pm
    3.8
    4.4
    5,732
    NCAA Football:
    Florida State-N.C. State
    10/16
    ESPN
    7:30-10:57pm
    1.8
    2.1
    2,483
    ALCS: Rays-Red Sox: Game Five
    10/16
    TBS
    8:00pm-12:25am
    4.7
    5.5
    7,211
    NCAA Football:
    Michigan-Penn State
    10/18
    ESPN
    4:25-7:46pm
    2.8
    3.3
    4,291
    NCAA Football:
    LSU-South Carolina
    10/18
    ESPN
    8:00-11:31pm
    2.2
    2.6
    3,620
    ALCS: Red Sox-Rays: Game Six
    10/18
    TBS
    8:28pm-12:04am
    5.4
    6.2
    8,928
    "Sunday NFL Countdown"
    10/19
    ESPN
    11:00am-1:00pm
    1.7
    2.0
    2,402
    ALCS: Red Sox-Rays: Game Seven
    10/19
    TBS
    8:00-11:51pm
    7.9
    9.2
    13,357

    THE PUCK DROPS HERE: The CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" last Saturday, which included a national broadcast of Maple Leafs-Penguins and regional broadcasts of Bruins-Senators and Coyotes-Canadiens in the 7:00pm ET game window, drew a combined 1.31 million viewers, flat with the season average for the first game of the doubleheader. The second game of the "HNIC" doubleheader, Flames-Oilers, drew 696,000 viewers, down from the season average of 835,000 (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/21)....The first four regular-season Capitals games on CSN Mid-Atlantic this season averaged a 1.3 rating with 30,000 HHs in the DC market. The HH number represents a 100% uptick from the first four games of the '07-08 season (Comcast).

    NOTES: An estimated 78,765 HHs in the Milwaukee market watched all or part of the Red Sox-Rays ALCS Game Seven on TBS, earning an 8.7 HH rating. WTMJ-NBC's coverage of the "SNF" Seahawks-Buccaneers game, up against Red Sox-Rays Game Seven, earned a 7.7 HH rating and 69,711 HHs. Meanwhile, Sunday's Colts-Packers game on WDJT-CBS in Milwaukee attracted 304,197 HHs, or a 33.6 HH rating (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/22)....Sunday's Titans-Chiefs game produced a season-low 20.8 rating in the K.C. market on KCTV-CBS. The rating was the lowest since a 20.7 for Chiefs-Jets on November 11, '01 (K.C. STAR, 10/21).

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  • Blog Hound: Bloggers Discuss Beckham's Short-Term Italian Loan

    Bloggers discuss MLS Galaxy MF David Beckham's temporary loan to Italian Serie A club AC Milan, and the implications of the move for MLS.

    Champions League Talk
    Bonnie
    The perception, at least in the US, might be that if a player from MLS can fit into a giant club like AC Milan than the overall quality of the league is higher than most are giving it credit for.
    The Offside
    Laurie
    The Beckham-to-Milan loan is at heart a recognition that MLS can’t cut it yet. Bringing Beckham to MLS has been a bit like bringing a Ferrari to a city that only has unpaved, potholed roads. How can you take advantage of the power it offers when the infrastructure isn’t there?
    MOUTHPIECE blog
    Eamonn Brennan
    The Beckham experiment isn’t serving any immediate good. If it was, would they be so willing to send him to Europe for a year? If they were making any headway at all, would they disrupt it? If jersey sales were so strong, would they allow Becks to sport Milan’s black and red?
    Going to the Mat
    Matt Johnston
    Beckham, when he came to America, said he wanted to grow the game in America. Size is not our problem, advancement is. Beckham needs to focus on that, more than anything else.
    LIVE From Law School
    Zak Kurtz
    Having Beckham participate in two leagues simultaneously could also persuade other great international players to do the same, bringing more talent to the MLS, thus making American soccer and the MLS more competitive with other countries and leagues Internationally.

    SportsMedia Challenge's Buzz Manager analyzed online discussion surrounding L.A. Galaxy MF David Beckham playing for AC Milan on loan during the MLS off-season. Visit www.SportsBusinessDaily.com for more info on this topic. See more info on this topic.

    • The Buzz ranked 3 out of 10, a topic of a low level of interest among sports bloggers.
    • Bloggers in the positive category thought it was a good move by Beckham. The benefits for Beckham and AC Milan were discussed more highly than any benefits for MLS. Some thought that Beckham playing in Italy in the off-season would be beneficial for MLS in that Beckham would be maintaining a high profile in soccer and could continue to increase buzz when he returns to L.A. for the MLS season.
    • Bloggers in the negative category wondered why MLS would risk losing Beckham, arguably its most valuable asset, to Milan permanently given how much MLS has invested in him. Some also pointed out that it reflects poorly on the L.A. Galaxy that some perceived the team to be out of the loop of any negotiations.
    • Bloggers in the neutral category understood Beckham's desire to stay fit and compete at a high level during the off-season to try to secure his spot on the England team. However, they were unsure if this move would accomplish that or how it would affect his relationship with the Galaxy.

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  • What's The Frequency?

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

    NATIONAL SHOWS
    Sirius XM Mad Dog Radio (2-7pm ET) “Mad Dog Unleashed”
    Live broadcasts from Tropicana Field before World Series Games One and Two
    Sirius NFL Radio (3-7pm ET) “Movin’ The Chains”
    49ers fire head coach Mike Nolan; Saints TE Jeremy Shockey critical of how team handled his injury; Browns TE Kellen Winslow suspended one game for ripping organization; Week Eight preview
    MARKET – STATION SHOW
    Boston – WWZN “The Young Guns”
    Patriots may be without RB LaMont Jordan and RB Sammy Morris against Rams; Pats lose SS Rodney Harrison; Red Sox' season over, free agency ahead; Bruins try to bounce back from loss with a home game against Maple Leafs
    Detroit – WXYT “Valenti & Foster”
    Lions' local TV blackout for Redskins game; Michigan-Michigan State football rivalry week; Michigan State football crushed by Ohio State
    Phoenix – KDUS “Calling All Sports With Roc & Manuch”
    Amare Stoudemire's return to the court; Lute Olsen situation at Univ. of Arizona; D'Backs bringing back their whole coaching staff; Preview of NFL Cardinals-Panthers
    Seattle – KJR “The Gas Man”
    Mariners hire new GM Jack Zduriencik; Who should be the Mariners' new manager?; Is Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren interested in 49ers job?; Local star Gallant Son to run in Breeders Cup Juvi
    Minneapolis – KFAN “The Chad Hartman Show”
    Vikings score 41 points against Bears and lose; Brett Favre/Jay Glazer controversy; Wild RW Marian Gaborik on the trading block; Interest in T'Wolves lacking; Gophers football; Gophers basketball; World Series
    Miami – WAXY “The Dan Le Batard Show”
    Dolphins 2-4 after loss to Ravens; Miami Hurricanes QB controversy; World Series; Brett Favre advising Lions
    Charlotte – WFNZ “Prime Time With The Packman”
    Panthers impressive against Saints and at home in '08; ACC football mediocrity; BCS Standings; World Series preview; NASCAR’s postseason a bust; Bobcats' ineptitude in preseason
    Indianapolis – WFNI "Kravitz & Eddie "
    MMA/UFC coverage with Chris Lytle; Merril Hoge on Colts' struggles;resurrection of the Pacers; Tony Kornheiser talks about baldness

    Want to add your own Frequency? Contact Preston Bounds at pbounds@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

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  • Media Notes

    SI.com One Of The Top 15 Revenue-
    Producing Units At Time Inc.
    In N.Y., Keith Kelly reported "most Time Inc. titles are tumbling from the recession." Overall ad revenue is "down 9[%] in the first half of this year, and some of the company's most prestigious titles ... are taking it on the chin." But Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes "has to be pleased that Time Inc., which had about $5.5[B] in revenue and $907[M] in profit last year, is now getting about 15[%] of its revenue from digital operations." The Web sites for Sports Illustrated and People are "among the top 15 revenue-producing units at Time, which has 120 magazines and 40 Web sites worldwide" (N.Y. POST, 10/22).

    LEADER IN THE CLUBHOUSE: On Long Island, Neil Best reports current WFAN-AM midday host Joe Benigno is the "favorite in a sweepstakes" to become Mike Francesa's new on-air partner. The search "likely will conclude within a week or so," as no guest co-hosts are scheduled for future shows. A Newsday.com poll regarding Francesa's future partner had attracted 5,500 votes as of Thursday, and the top four included WFAN's Evan Roberts (23.3%), Benigno (19.1%), WFAN's Ed Coleman (17.8%) and the team of SportsNet N.Y.'s Chris Carlin and YES Network's Kim Jones (13.8%) (NEWSDAY, 10/24).

    SAVING GRACE? In Chicago, Paul Sullivan reports D'Backs TV analyst Mark Grace is "likely to be on the short list of candidates to replace Bob Brenly in the Cubs broadcast booth if Brenly gets the managerial job in Milwaukee." But Grace "might be a little too candid for his own good" -- he has said the Cubs "laid down" in their NLDS loss to the Dodgers. The Cubs "won't talk about a replacement for Brenly unless he gets a manager's job" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/24).

    MARCH OF THE PENGUINS: FSN Pittsburgh Assistant GM & Exec Producer Shawn McClintock said that Penguins games on the net "attract 41[%] more than the national average for viewers 18 to 34 years old." And with men 18-34 a "coveted advertising demographic," Penguins games are 113% "above the average." McClintock added that the "top five rated hockey games on any FSN regional network last season involved the Penguins, who are 'well above the average' in every adult male category" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 10/24).

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