SBD/February 1, 2011/Media

Media Notes

Celtics-Lakers tied for ABC's highest-rated regular-season game not on Christmas
USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand reports LeBron James' decision to join the Heat "started a buzz that's still surging through NBA national TV ratings, which are up on ABC (+45%), TNT (+29%) and ESPN (+23%)." Sunday's Celtics-Lakers game earned a 5.0 overnight rating on ABC, tying a Lakers-Cavaliers game from '09 as the network's highest-rated regular-season NBA game not played on Christmas Day (USA TODAY, 2/1).

HOT ICE: The NHL All-Star Game on Versus averaged 1.481 million viewers this past Sunday, up 36.2% from 1.087 million viewers in '09 and the net's best audience ever for the event. The NHL did not hold the event last season because of the Vancouver Games. Versus also saw increases for the game across all key male demos. Saturday's Honda NHL SuperSkills Competition averaged 1.183 million viewers, making it the most-viewed skills competition on cable since '03. Friday night's NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft averaged 624,000 viewers. The All-Star Game also marked the first "cross-channel priority" for NBC Universal under Comcast's ownership, whereby the game received broad promotion across 20 channels and 40 websites (Versus). The CBC yesterday announced that an "average audience of 2.389 million viewers tuned in" for the net's coverage of the All-Star Game. The viewership for Sunday's game was the "network's best" since '99, when it drew 1.67 million viewers. The CBC drew an average of 1.527 million viewers for the '09 All-Star Game (CP, 1/31).

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: The BBC switched Sunday's Australian Open men's final from BBC2 to BBC1 after Andy Murray advanced to play Novak Djokovic, and an "average of 3.5 million viewers" tuned in to watch Djokovic win in straight sets. BBC1's coverage of the match "dominated Sunday morning viewing" in the U.K. The viewership, however, was "down on a year ago, when Murray lost in straight sets in the Melbourne final to Roger Federer" and BBC1's coverage averaged 4.1 million viewers (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 1/31).

IF YOU HAVE NOTHING NICE TO SAY... YAHOO SPORTS' Jonathan Wall wonders why Golf Channel continues to "push this mic'd up coverage," because if the "first two weeks are an indication of the quality we can expect this season, then maybe we'd be better off watching the players from afar." Davis Love III during Thursday's telecast of the PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open "took it to a new low, giving us 30 words, at most, during the first round." Love's "topics of conversation included the distance to the hole, his new snowboard, and shaping a shot to the hole," and Golf Channel's coverage "also included a mic'd moment that didn't include any commentary!" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/31).
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