SBD/September 21, 2010/Media

Media Notes

Augusta National To Allow ESPN To Air An Extra Hour Of First, Second Round Coverage

Augusta National Chair Billy Payne announced today that ESPN next year will air an extra hour of The Masters during its Thursday and Friday coverage. The net's live broadcasts are scheduled for 3:00-7:30pm ET during those two days. Meanwhile, Payne also announced that Sky Sports will join the BBC as a live broadcaster in the U.K. for the ’11 tournament (Augusta National Golf Club).

RANGER DANGER: In Ft. Worth, Jeff Wilson reports Saturday's Rangers-A's game is the "only game on the Rangers' 162-game schedule this year that won't be televised" despite the fact that the Rangers "might actually be able to clinch the American League West on Saturday." The team is "working to make TV happen in some capacity, and have been working for about a month." The Rangers "lobbied Oakland to change the game time outside of Fox's exclusive rights window, but the A's passed." The Rangers are "attempting to get the game on live air, but have also discussed showing the game on tape-delay." The team hopes to "know something" by tomorrow (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 9/21).

SPUTTERING OFF THE LINE: ESPN averaged a 2.3 U.S. rating and 3.677 million viewers for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Sylvania 300, marking the lowest-rated and least-viewed Sprint Cup race this season -- excluding rained-out races run on a Monday. Those figures are also both down from the same race last year, which aired on ABC (THE DAILY). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand notes that this was the first race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and the rating is "not a rousing start to NASCAR's de facto playoff." But it is "still good to have a playoff so NASCAR has a chance to get some attention beyond its hard-core fans" (USA TODAY, 9/21).

STORM FRONT: ESPN2 averaged 516,000 viewers for Games Two and Three of the Storm-Dream WNBA Finals, up 20% over 430,000 average viewers for Games Two and Three of last year's Mercury-Fever WNBA Finals on ESPN2. The 516,000 average also was up 73% over 299,000 average viewers for ESPN2's coverage of Games Two and Three of the '08 Shock-Silver Stars WNBA Finals. Meanwhile, video usage on during the '10 WNBA Finals climbed 50% over the first three games of last year's finals (five-game series), while visits increased over 15% (WNBA).

BIG PLANS: Managing Editor Steve Miller said that columnist Jason Whitlock "will write multiple columns weekly and do chats and podcasts." Fox hired Whitlock full-time earlier this year, and the site "had been in serious discussions to bring Whitlock on board since June." Miller: "My impression of him has evolved over time. How would I describe him? Thought-provoking. Interesting. You might not agree with him -- and early on I did not -- but after reading him I would learn something and was compelled to think about an issue in a different way" (, 9/17).

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