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SBD/Issue 244/Sports Media
Alabama-Virginia Tech Earns 4.2 Overnight Rating On ABC
Published September 9, 2009
ABC earned a 4.2 overnight Nielsen rating for the Alabama-Virginia Tech Chick-Fil-A College Kickoff Saturday night, marking the highest-rated game during college football's '09 opening weekend. The rating is up 5.0% from a 4.0 for regional coverage last year that was highlighted by Alabama-Clemson. ABC's Saturday afternoon regional coverage, which featured Georgia-Oklahoma State in 78% of markets, earned a 3.4 overnight, up 6.3% from a 3.2 for regional coverage last year. Notre Dame's 35-0 defeat of Nevada earned NBC a 1.3 overnight rating, down 51.9% from Notre Dame's first NBC telecast last year against San Diego State, and down 45.8% from '07, when the team opened against Georgia Tech. ESPN's highest-rated game of the weekend was BYU-Oklahoma on Saturday night, which earned a 3.3 cable rating and 4.562 million viewers, up from a 1.9 cable rating and 2.585 million viewers for Illinois-Missouri, which was the net's first Saturday night telecast in '08 (THE DAILY).
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LOSING SIGHT OF THE FIELD: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick dubbed the Alabama-Virginia Tech broadcast as the "Worst ESPN-like Telecast." The dominant theme of the game, which was "brought to you as 'The Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game presented by Southwest Airlines as part of Dick's Sports Kickoff Week, followed by the Ford Wrap-Up Show,'" was that ESPN "had a NASCAR race the next day" (N.Y. POST, 9/8).
STATING THEIR CASE: POYNTER ONLINE's Al Tompkins reported six of the "most important journalism groups" sent a letter Friday morning to the Big Ten Conference "protesting new restrictions on the media's coverage of college football." The organizations, which included the Radio-Television News Directors Association, the Online News Association and the American Society of News Editors, "argued that the new restrictions would prevent journalists from giving viewers and readers the sports coverage they have come to expect from news organizations" (POYNTER.org, 9/4).