SBD/Issue 37/Sports Media

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  • Fox Draws 10.6 Overnight For Giants-Rangers World Series Clincher

    Giants' World Series Clincher Down From
    The Previous Two Game Five Overnights

    Fox earned a 10.6 overnight Nielsen rating last night for the World Series-clinching Giants-Rangers Game Five. The 10.6 overnight is down 17% from a 12.8 overnight for Yankees-Phillies Game Five last year's and off 5% from Phillies-Rays Game Five in '08, which began on a Monday and finished on a Wednesday following a weather delay. Fox' broadcast last night beat out ESPN's Texans-Colts "MNF" matchup last night, which drew an 8.6 overnight. Giants-Rangers drew a 37.9 local rating in S.F.-Oakland-San Jose and a 31.3 rating in Dallas-Ft. Worth. Through five games, the Giants-Rangers World Series on Fox is down around 25% in overnight ratings from last year, but up around 3% from Phillies-Rays in '08 (THE DAILY).

    FOUR SQUARE: Fox earned a 9.0 fast-national Nielsen rating and 15.5 million viewers for Sunday night's Giants-Rangers Game Four, marking the fourth time in as many games that Fox ended up winning the night among all nets. Giants-Rangers is also expected to be Fox' best Sunday night viewership since last January's NFC Championship game telecast. Through four World Series telecasts, Fox is averaging an 8.3 rating (14.1 million viewers), down 28% from Yankees-Phillies at the same point last year, but up 2% from Phillies-Rays in '08 (Fox) .SportsCorp President Marc Ganis asked, "What is going on with ratings? Why are television ratings for playoff games so difficult to move up? Why can they not get that needle up?" (Bloomberg TV, 11/2). 

    EARLY START HAS BENEFITS: Giants President & COO Larry Baer said yesterday the early start time for Game Three of the World Series Saturday was worth the experiment, despite the 6.7 national rating for the game standing as the second-worst mark in World Series history. Baer, who has a professional background in broadcasting, said of the 6:57pm ET start, "You can't have it both ways and you have to try new things. To have a game over by 10pm on the East Coast, I think is a great thing. Out on the West Coast, we have a strong fan base among kids, and we think it's in part because they're able to see a lot of the games. Sampling is very important." But Fox Sports execs, according to industry sources, were disappointed with the results of the game, which was the earliest start time for a World Series contest since '87. Quarter-hour ratings for viewers under 18 showed far better results later in the game, highly consistent with total audience marks for the event, as well as years of prior sports television research. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig Sunday was noncommittal on the notion of repeating the plan next year (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

    FOX REVIEW: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Tim Goodman writes Fox' World Series coverage was "visually satisfying," as the "camera work, replays and isolation coverage has been spot-on." Goodman: "Unfortutely, the announcing has been as grating as expected. There are not a lot of die-hard baseball fans who want to hear Tim McCarver talk about anything." He adds play-by-play announcer Joe Buck "does a better job but nothing on par with, say, local announcers or someone like Jon Miller" (, 11/2).

    SLICE OF TEXAS: In Ft. Worth, Bud Kennedy wrote "longhorn cattle and rodeo bull riding at Billy Bob's Texas dominated the pregame scenes" of Fox' broadcast of Saturday's Game Three. But with "no stunning scenery to show besides another stadium, Fox's cameras focused mostly inside the retro Rangers Ballpark in Arlington." Viewers during Game Three, "instead of boats in McCovey Cove or tourists at Ghirardelli Square, ... saw angles of the stadium and nearby youth ballpark, plus a longhorn steer scratching on a tree." Fox Sports director Bill Webb before the game said that he "wanted to showcase 'this beautiful stadium'" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/31).

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  • ESPN's "MNF" Overnight Up From '09, But Below World Series Clincher

    Texans-Colts "MNF" Up Slightly From
    Falcons-Saints In Week Eight Last Year

    ESPN earned an 8.6 overnight Nielsen rating for last night's Texans-Colts "MNF" telecast from 8:30-11:45pm ET, up slightly from an 8.5 overnight for Falcons-Saints on "MNF" in Week Eight last year. The game aired up against the World Series Game Four last night, which earned a 10.6 overnight on Fox for the Giants clincher against the Rangers. In Houston, "MNF" earned a 15.7 local rating on ESPN and a 6.4 rating on KIAH-CW, while in Indianapolis, the game earned a 25.5 rating on ESPN and an 18.1 rating on WNDY-MYT (THE DAILY).

    ALL-SAINTS DAY: NBC earned a 10.7 rating and 18.1 million viewers for the Steelers-Saints "SNF" matchup from 8:31-11:21pm ET, ranking as Sunday's most-watched primetime program for the eighth straight week. "SNF" went head-to-head with Fox' coverage of Giants-Rangers World Series Game Four, which drew 15.5 million viewers. There is no year-over-year comparison for Steelers-Saints, as the previous four years of "SNF" had no game scheduled up against the World Series. Through eight weeks, NBC is averaging a 13.0 rating and 21.527 million viewers, up 12.1% and 12.6%, respectively, from a 11.6 rating and 19.117 million viewers through seven weeks last season (THE DAILY). In St. Louis, Dan Caesar notes Fox won in just 12 of the 56 Nielsen metered markets (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 11/2). YAHOO SPORTS' Chris Chase wrote the "easy explanation for the numbers is that which has been clear for the better part of a quarter-century: Football is much more popular than baseball" (, 11/1). In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones wrote the numbers were "close, but a slight victory for the NFL, which sort of puts things in perspective." Jones: "Think about it: a regular-season NFL game outdrew a World Series game" (, 11/1).

    START (ET)
    VIEWERS (000)
    "SNF": Steelers-Saints
    World Series: Giants-Rangers: Game Four
    "Desperate Housewives"
    "60 Minutes"
    "Undercover Boss"

    I LOVE COLLEGE: In Jacksonville, Jeff Elliott reports WTEV-CBS earned a "season-best" 31.5 local rating for Saturday's Florida-Georgia football game, which was played at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. The rating is the "highest local rating for a Georgia-Florida game dating to 2003." The mark equates to 235,000 HHs in the Jacksonville market. Comparatively, Sunday's Jaguars-Cowboys game on WTEV drew just a 23.7 local rating, the "second-lowest rating for a Jaguars game this year" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 11/2).

    NO HOLDS BARRED: In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes NBC's "Football Night in America" Sunday focused on Jets P Steve Weatherford's decision to "fake a punt on fourth-and-18 from the Jets' 20" during their game against the Packers. NBC studio analyst Tony Dungy "not only questioned the decision, he accused" Jets coach Rex Ryan, "a player's coach, of scapegoating Weatherford." NBC host Dan Patrick said, "I don't know if Rex Ryan threw his punter under the bus completely -- maybe an arm or leg or two." Dungy: "Well, he did. And he should have gone under the bus with him because that's the coach's fault and the punter's fault. You got to punt the ball on fourth-and-18." Raissman notes Dungy "has a history with Ryan, having criticized the coach for daring to cuss" on HBO's "Hard Knocks." But this "probably was more about Dungy's evolution as a TV personality" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/2).

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  • Playing To Win: Les Moonves Discusses The Future Of Sports On CBS

    Moonves Says CBS Sports
    Is Now A Profitable Division

    CBS Corp. President & CEO Les Moonves is "evolving his business constantly, citing specific examples like the need to remake the news business and an unwillingness to take losses on sports-rights packages like NCAA basketball," according to a Q&A with Melissa Grego of BROADCASTING & CABLE. Excerpts of the interview are below:

    Q: Let’s talk about sports, speaking of Turner and Time Warner. Certainly it’s OK to have a loss leader in business, and sports in a lot of ways is that, and you made this terrific deal with them on NCAA.

    Moonves: It’s not a loss leader anymore. When we had the NCAA tournament, it was. But right now the CBS Sports department is a profitable division because of that deal.

    Q: Can you continue to get the big games, the big franchises with the escalating rights fees? Can you do it on your own, do you have to do these partnerships?

    Moonves: Our big sports events are obviously the NFL number one, the NCAA basketball tournament number two. We obviously carry more golf than anybody else, we have the U.S. Open tennis tournament and we have college football. College football, we just signed a new deal for 14 years -- very lucrative. The NFL has been very smart I think in negotiating. By the same token, we are profitable with the NFL. We hope to continue that deal for a long, long time to come. The NCAA deal was a long-term deal where the rights escalated drastically going into this year. So we were looking at sizeable loss, which is why we reached out. We were able to make a terrific deal that is mutually beneficial with Turner, which sort of saves our bacon with the NCAA. So right now, all of our sports are in good shape. Look, we wish Tiger Woods will come back, we’ll make more money in golf. And I mean come back as a contender. That’s very helpful to us. We wish the U.S. Open wouldn’t rain out every year.

    Q: Do you want the Olympics?

    Moonves: Not at the prices that they seem to be going for. We are no longer going to bid for loss leaders. We don’t need to do that. We’re leading the world in a lot of different ways. We don’t need to invest in something that we’re going to lose money on just to help … the prestige of this network. I think we’re already there.

    Q: But if you could do like what you did with NCAA, with Turner, would you?

    Moonves: Certainly. It’s a great event (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 11/1 issue).

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  • ESPN Sees Best Opening Week Game Since LeBron's Cavs Debut In '03

    The Heat’s home opener against the Magic Friday night was ESPN’s most-viewed opening week game ever with 3.8 million viewers, and it ranks as the net’s third most-viewed NBA regular-season game ever. The broadcast earned a 2.3 U.S. rating and was ESPN’s highest-rated NBA opening week telecast since LeBron James’ NBA debut in '03 in a Cavaliers-Kings game, which garnered a 2.8 U.S. rating. ESPN’s four opening week telecasts averaged a 1.7 U.S. rating and 2.620 million viewers, an increase of 54.5% and 60%, respectively, from a 1.1 rating and 1.634 million viewers for the first four games last year (THE DAILY). USA TODAY’s Michael McCarthy notes Magic-Heat "popped ESPN’s best regular-season rating since the first meeting” of the Pistons and Pacers “after their 2004 brawl” (USA TODAY, 11/2).

    START (ET)
    VIEWERS (000)

    : Comcast SportsNet Chicago earned a 3.22 local rating for the Bulls home opener last Saturday, marking the net's second-highest season-opening telecast for the Bulls, behind only the Bulls-Nets game from Oct. '07, which earned a 3.47 local rating. Saturday's game is also up 46% from a 2.21 rating for Bulls-Heat on Nov. 1 last year, which was the net's first Bulls telecast of the season (CSN Chicago).

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  • Media Notes

    ESPN's "GameDay" Broadcasting At TCU-
    Utah, Game Airing On CBS College Sports

    YAHOO SPORTS’ Matt Hinton noted Saturday's TCU-Utah game will “get the full GameDay treatment from ESPN," but the actual kickoff in Salt Lake City “will be relegated to CBS College Sports.” That is a “shame, because the collision between the Horned Frogs and Utes has implications well beyond the Mountain West championship.” Both teams are undefeated, and the winner of the game is “almost assured a spot in a big-money BCS game in January, remains a strong candidate for the Rose Bowl and at least nominally hangs in the thick of the BCS championship discussion” (, 11/1).

    THE VOICE OF A KING: In Sacramento, Joe Davidson writes “in a profession known for constant turnover,” NBA Kings play-by-play announcer Gary Gerould is “still holding steady at age 70.” He has been “the only Kings radio voice since the franchise relocated from Kansas City” in ’85. Gerould “worked his 26th Kings home opener” last night and “will broadcast his 2,000th Kings game next month.” He is “fifth among active NBA radio announcers in years of tenure” and has “no plans to retire” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 11/2).

    TWEEDIA DAY: SLAM magazine’s Kyle Stack noted the Warriors held a “Tweedia Day” for their social media journalists in September, and the effort was “one way the Warriors have become one of the most innovative professional sports teams to market itself on social media platforms.” Warriors Exec Dir of PR Raymond Ridder and PR Dir Dan Martinez came up with the idea. Tweedia Day was “intended to provide full media access to bloggers, podcasters and others who cover the Warriors from a social media perspective.” Over 150 “social media journalists applied for Tweedia Day with 10 lucky ones gaining admittance” (, 11/1).

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  • Media rights: We really know our stuff

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