SBD/Issue 241/Sports Media

Media Notes

ESPN earned a 6.0 cable rating and 7.918 million viewers for the Vikings-Texans "MNF" preseason telecast this week, marking the net's most-viewed NFL preseason game ever and its highest-rated since a 6.6 rating for Patriots-Cowboys in August '96 (ESPN). Meanwhile, DAILY VARIETY's Rick Kissell reports CBS, NBC and Fox last week "all benefited from football," as they "picked up steam thanks to a larger serving" of preseason games. ABC beginning this week "will get a lift of its own" from "Saturday Night Football" (DAILY VARIETY, 9/2).

YES BLUE CAN: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Reynolds reported Pennsylvania-based Blue Ridge Communications and YES Network have reached a deal in which Blue Ridge "renewed its linear distribution agreement" with YES and secured VOD and local streaming rights to Yankees games on the network. Also Blue Ridge beginning next year will offer YES' national package of content "for its subscribers that fall outside the RSN's telecast territory." Reynolds noted Blue Ridge is the "first distributor to finalize an agreement for all four of the YES properties simultaneously," and the company follows Cablevision and Verizon FiOS as the "third distributor to sign local market broadband streaming deals" with YES, the Yankees and MLBAM (MULTICHANNEL.com, 9/1).

PRIVACY POLICY: YAHOO SPORTS' Matthew Darnell wrote he wonders how much of the NFL's motivation for its amended social media policy "is aimed at protecting traditional media sources." Darnell: "Players can't break any injury news or anything in the moments leading up to the game, so those tidbits still have to come from Yahoo Sports, ESPN, Fox, CBS, or whoever. Juicy postgame quotes can't go directly to Twitter. ... They want as much news and exposure as possible on the television networks, and that's good business for them." Darnell wrote the new policy is "great news" for national NFL reporters, but does it "benefit them at the cost of the players?" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/1).

JOINING THE SCRUM: Spike TV picked up the rights to Australia's '09 National Rugby League (NRL) playoffs and championship. The channel will telecast all games in HD on same-day tape delay, starting September 11 with weekly playoff games and running through the October 4 championship. This marks the first time the NRL will appear on national TV in the U.S. Nine Network Australia will produce the games, with Peter Sterling, Ray Warren, Andrew Johns and Phil Gould announcing (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

NRL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE ON SPIKE TV
PLAYOFF ROUND
DATE
TIME (ET/PT)
Qualifying Round
9/11
11:00pm
Semi Finals
9/18
11:00pm
Preliminary Finals
9/25
11:00pm
Grand Final
10/4
11:00am
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