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ESPN Earns 11.2 Overnight
For Jets-Patriots "MNF"
ESPN earned an 11.2 overnight Nielsen rating for last night's Jets-Patriots "MNF" telecast from 8:30-11:30pm ET, up 25.8% from an 8.9 overnight for Ravens-Packers in Week 13 last year. The telecast began with an 11.0 rating at 8:30pm, peaking at a 13.4 rating in the 9:30pm window. In N.Y., the game earned a 10.8 local rating on ESPN and a 6.5 rating on WWOR-MYT, while in Boston, the game earned a 12.7 local rating on ESPN and a 29.5 rating on WCVB-ABC (THE DAILY).
MIDWESTERN VALUE: NBC earned a 13.4 rating and 22.5 million viewers for its Steelers-Ravens "SNF" telecast, up 7% and 8%, respectively, from a 12.5 rating and 20.9 million viewers for Vikings-Cardinals in Week 13 last year. Steelers-Ravens also aired on "SNF" in Week 12 last year, with the OT game earning an 11.5 rating (19.2 million viewers). Through 13 weeks, NBC's NFL game telecasts have averaged a 12.9 rating and 21.4 million viewers, up 8% and 9%, respectively, from an 11.9 rating and 19.6 million viewers at the same point last season. NBC is also seeing the best NFL primetime viewership through 13 weeks on any net since ABC in '96 (THE DAILY). DAILY VARIETY's Rick Kissell noted among adults 18-49, NBC "won another Sunday night in convincing fashion behind its Pittsburgh-Baltimore 'Sunday Night Football' matchup, while Fox had a solid second-place showing thanks to its opening-hour NFL coverage" (VARIETY.com, 12/6).
ARCH SUPPORT: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar reports the Rams "generated their best rating in seven years" in the market with Sunday's win over the Cardinals. KTVI-Fox earned a 29.7 local rating for the game, which kept the Rams tied for first place in the NFC West. The 29.7 is the "best rating for the club since it pulled a 34.5 rating for the 2003 finale." The Rams are averaging a 25.7 local rating this season, their "best through 12 games since they were at 26.1 in 2004" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/7).
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU: In L.A., Joe Flint noted Fox stuck with Sunday's Redskins-Giants telecast in the early window "to the bitter end ... although the outcome of the game was never in doubt." Fox "had no choice" in N.Y. and DC, "but what about the rest of the country that had to see that blowout?" While the Giants were "pasting the Redskins, the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints were in a tight contest" with the Bengals. Fox "might have done viewers outside of New York and Washington a favor and switched to the more competitive game." A Fox Sports spokesperson said that the network "has to know in advance whether it might switch games due to technical reasons -- something to do with how commercials are inserted into the games" (LATIMES.com, 12/6).
IOC President Jacques Rogge "hopes the new U.S. television rights deal for the 2014-2016 Olympics will exceed the $2.2 billion paid for the previous two Games package," according to Jason Humphries of REUTERS. Rogge said yesterday, "We would hope to get more TV revenue because the TV rights are very important. We hope to have these revenues. Time will tell. The negotiations will be interesting." NBC paid $2.2B for the rights to the '10 Vancouver Games and the '12 London Games, but industry officials expect a "lower figure for the next two-Games package." Rogge "has hinted recently that negotiations could take place next year after initially saying the process could be put off until after" the London Games. NBC Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol, "who will bid again along with most, if not all, major U.S. broadcasters," in September said that the bidding "could even be in the first quarter of 2011" (REUTERS, 12/6).
Michael Wilbon Writes Final Sports
Column For Washington Post
The WASHINGTON POST today published Michael Wilbon's final column for the newspaper. Wilbon is taking a full-time role with ESPN, and he notes today's column comes "20-some years after my first one and 31 1/2 years after I walked in the door as a summer intern." Wilbon: "This is the first column I ever dreaded writing, the only time I can recall experiencing that thing known as writer's block." Wilbon added, "Everything I have now professionally I owe to The Washington Post, specifically to George Solomon, my sports editor of a quarter century, for taking a chance on a 20-year-old kid" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/7).
NEW LOOK: In N.Y., Richard Huff notes MSG Network's "two new studios have been in use for a couple of months, and the producers are still expanding." Viewers of Knicks and Rangers postgame shows "in the coming weeks should expect changes," as the hosts "will be in different parts of MSG's new studios, and there will be different looks, all part of its new space at 11 Penn Plaza" across from MSG arena (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/7).
FANS' CHOICE: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' R. Thomas Umstead reports NBA TV is averaging 450,000 viewers for its Tuesday night weekly "Fan Night" live-game franchise. An average of 90,000 fans "vote each week via NBA.com from Tuesday night to midnight Thursday, determining which game the network will air the following Tuesday." NBA Digital VP/Content Scooter Vertino said that the 90,000 votes is a "60% increase over last season's activity" (MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 12/6 issue).
BACK IN N.Y.: On Long Island, Neil Best cited a source as saying that WQAM and former WFAN-AM host Sid Rosenberg "soon will join" N.Y.'s WINS-AM "as a morning sports update man." Rosenberg "will work from south Florida, where he hosts his afternoon talk show" (NEWSDAY.com, 12/3).