SBD/March 7, 2011/Media

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  • Well Heeled: CBS Earns 3.2 Overnight For Carolina's Primetime Win Over Duke

    CBS' Duke-UNC 3.2 overnight is best for college basketball this season

    CBS earned a 3.2 overnight Nielsen rating Saturday night for North Carolina's 81-67 win over Duke in the net's first primetime regular-season college basketball broadcast. The rating is up 88% from the comparable North Carolina-Duke game in '10, which aired on a Saturday night on ESPN. The game earned the highest overnight rating for a regular-season game on any network since CBS' broadcast of Duke-North Carolina in '09, which brought in a 3.4 overnight. Dating back to the start of '11, CBS has averaged a 3.3 final Nielsen rating during the 8:00-10:00pm ET window on Saturday nights, which has consisted primarily of hour-long episodes of "Crimetime Saturday" (THE DAILY). In St. Petersburg, Rodney Page notes Duke-North Carolina brought CBS' "A-team of Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg," who "work well together." They "don't talk over each other, and they go with the flow of the game." The game "was all North Carolina, but the duo provided enough information to keep fans on both sides of this bitter rivalry satisfied." Meanwhile, CBS this weekend aired college basketball tripleheaders both Saturday and Sunday, which was "good preparation for the NCAA Tournament" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 3/7).

    A POTENTIAL "HEIDI" MOMENT: In K.C., Mike DeArmond reported with less than four minutes remaining in CBS' broadcast of Kansas-Missouri Saturday, viewers in K.C., Columbia and Springfield "were switched to the start of the Michigan-Michigan State game." Viewers in St. Louis, Wichita and Topeka -- "after a brief interruption -- saw the end" of Kansas-Missouri. CBS Exec Dir of Communications Jerry Caraccioli said the problem was a "combination of sunspots and a satellite transponder issue." K.C.'s KCTV after the game "ran an onscreen crawl that said the decision was made by CBS Sports at a national level." An apology was later posted on the station's website that noted CBS Sports "experienced technical difficulties out of our control." KCTV VP & GM Bobby Totsch said that there was a "sunspot blackout of the satellite feed but that instead of receiving a backup Kansas-Missouri feed, KCTV got another game instead." Totsch: "Over the next several minutes, many stations did get their feed back. We tried to compensate, but were unable to get the correct feed back in time." DeArmond noted KCTV "re-aired the second half of the game after its 10 pm Saturday newscast" (K.C. STAR, 3/6). Totsch yesterday said, "CBS Sports screwed up. This started and ended with the network. ... If we're to blame, I would say it. I'm still looking for information to answer some basic questions." He said that CBS "sent the incorrect coordinates to its affiliates in the Kansas and Missouri viewing areas." Those stations got a "different feed than the static feed, which would've remained on the KU-MU game no matter what" (K.C. STAR, 3/7).

    FOWL LANGUAGE: In N.Y., Nina Mandell noted ESPN's Bob Knight during the net's "College GameDay" program Saturday was "doing an on-court defensive drill with the Baylor men's team against fellow on-air analyst Digger Phelps, when he dropped the phrase 'chicken (expletive) defense' live on air." ESPN's Rece Davis "was left apologizing to viewers -- as the rest of the crew exploded into laughter" (, 3/5). ESPN VP/PR Josh Krulewitz did not say Sunday "whether further action was being considered" for Knight. Krulewitz: "We apologized on air shortly after it happened for the inappropriate language" (USA TODAY, 3/7). But in Austin, Kirk Bohls writes, "Shouldn't Knight have been the one to say he was sorry? Knight always, always held his players accountable. Shouldn't he have the same standard for himself?" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 3/7).

    Print | Tags: Media, CBS, Basketball
  • Golf Channel, NBC See PGA Tour Ratings Boosts In Wake Of Merger

    "Golf Channel on NBC" branding will be featured on all 10 NBC PGA Tour events

    NBC earned a 1.8 overnight Nielsen rating for the final round of the PGA Tour Honda Classic yesterday, which saw Rory Sabbatini hold off Y.E. Yang for the victory. That overnight is flat compared with the final round from the last two years. Saturday's coverage of the third round earned NBC a 1.5 overnight, up slightly from a 1.4 rating last year (THE DAILY). In N.Y., John Paul Newport noted that Golf Channel and NBC's PGA Tour ratings are up this season and execs "credit the uptick to cross-promotion." Golf Channel's combined ratings for live and replay coverage of  "mostly early-round PGA Tour coverage" are up 59%, and NBC's live ratings were up 71% for the WGC- Accenture Match Play Championship last month. Golf Channel is now called "Golf Channel Powered by NBC Sports." The net is a "kind of demonstration project, hinting at how the newly created sports juggernaut under" NBC Sports Group Chair Dick Ebersol "may aggressively cross-pollinate and colonize Comcast's other properties." New Golf Channel President Mike McCarley said that his "mandate was to incorporate more of the NBC 'sports sensibility' into Golf Channel's programming." McCarley: "There's a lot of nuance to it, a lot of storytelling. ... We want viewers on their couch to feel as if they're right there at the event, in the front row." McCarley also "wants to limit more commercial breaks to two minutes or less." He said, "We've got lots of ideas, but they're not yet ready to be released into the wild" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/5).

    FAMILIAR COMPLAINT: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes viewers "could have watched an hour straight of NBC's Honda Classic PGA coverage yesterday and not known that it was on tape, that it was long over, that Rory Sabbatini was the winner." By the "time 'recorded earlier' finally and briefly appeared, Sabbatini could've been home asleep" (N.Y. POST, 3/7).

    Print | Tags: Comcast, Golf Channel, NBC, Golf, Media
  • Irish Eyes Are Smiling, Again: Versus To Air Classic Notre Dame Games On St. Patty's Day

    Versus' coverage will include an interview with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly

    NBC is putting its programming on Versus for the first time next week, when the cable channel re-runs three Notre Dame football games on St. Patrick's Day, from 5:00-11:00pm ET. The channel also plans to carry Notre Dame's spring football game, marking the first time the game will be televised nationally. Liam McHugh will host the three games, which will include interviews with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and former players like Jerome Bettis, under the banner "Celebrate the Irish." The three games will be the '92 win against Penn State at 5:00pm, the '05 loss to USC at 7:00pm and the '93 win against top-ranked Florida State at 9:00pm. is hosting a poll -- complete with game clips -- to determine the 10 "Greatest Notre Dame on NBC Moments." Versus will telecast the results during the St. Patrick's Day marathon (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

    NHL A BIG TEST FOR NBC, VERSUS: In Philadelphia, Bob Fernandez noted with an NFL lockout still a possibility, a "big winner could be professional hockey," as the NHL's television rights gain "cachet with ESPN and other networks fearful of a football-barren channel lineup." That may be the "first big test for NBC Sports," which now owns and controls Versus. Keeping the NHL on Versus "seems central to the corporate plan for Comcast-controlled NBC Universal Inc. to transform Versus into more of a mainstream sports outlet." NHL games allow NBC to promote Versus "on its NBC cable and TV channels and websites as it is doing with the Golf Channel." Editor-in-Chief Kevin Greenstein said, "If you look at the Versus website, what do you see? It's pretty safe to say that the NHL is an important property for Versus" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/6).

    AMATEUR HOUR? In N.Y., Larry Brooks wrote it is reasonable to "assume the production people at Versus care about and are proficient at their craft." Brooks: "So then why do Versus' NHL telecasts remain amateurish and essentially unwatchable in the network's sixth year on the job?" (N.Y. POST, 3/6).

    Print | Tags: Media, NBC
  • ESPN's Communications Department Launching Sports Media Blog

    ESPN's communications department is "launching a sports media blog that will focus on issues and stories related to the Disney-owned company," according to John Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. will launch March 30 with Sheldon Spencer, a former ESPN NFL editor and Seattle Post-Intelligencer writer, "as its primary writer and editor." Spencer will report to two execs in the ESPN communications department: Rob Tobias and Laurel Daggett. Ourand notes the blog will "serve two purposes." It will offer "a behind-the-scenes look at how ESPN operates and it will address controversies that involve ESPN." Consumers will be able to "access the site from a link at the bottom of’s home page; posts on the site also will be distributed via social media outlets like Twitter." ESPN VP/Communications Mike Soltys: "This is a way for us to speak directly with consumers." Noting the issues surrounding Erin Andrews' sponsorship with Reebok and her reporting during the Rose Bowl, Soltys said, "This will give us a platform to explain our position on ESPN’s endorsement policy." ESPN hired Voce Communications to design the site (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 3/7 issue).

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Media
  • Media Notes

    Fox inks McCarver, Waltrip to two-year contract extensions

    USA TODAY's Michael McCarthy reports Fox "is signing two-year contract extensions" for MLB analyst Tim McCarver and NASCAR analyst Darrell Waltrip. The extensions, which are "expected to be announced this week," will keep McCarver with the net "through the end of Fox's seven-year MLB deal" in '13. Waltrip's extension takes him "through the end of Fox's nine-year NASCAR deal" in '14. Fox Sports VP/Communications Dan Bell said that "each had about a year left on their deals" (USA TODAY, 3/7).

    THE REAL DEAL? The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin wonders, "What's to be done about Twitter?" Several Twitter accounts falsely linked to hockey reporters conducted "bogus business" during the NHL trade deadline last week, and the "lords of disinformation were at it again" concerning Oilers LW Taylor Hall's season-ending injury. An unofficial Oilers site "prematurely announced that Hall was out for the rest of the season as a result of his fight-induced ankle injury." Dowbiggin: "While the report eventually proved to be true, TSN's Bob McKenzie, one of the best purveyors of Twitter, bit on the early report (then quickly rescinded it)." Dowbiggin: "McKenzie is hardly the only professional journalist caught in the snare of Twitter. Most of us have spent time validating -- and erroneously accepting -- fake stories on the social media" (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/7).

    THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: In N.Y., Frank Isola cited a source as saying that ABC was looking to add the Pacers-Knicks game next Sunday to its broadcast schedule. The game "is currently scheduled for 6 pm and ABC wanted to switch it to earlier in the afternoon, presumably at 1 pm." However, MSG officials "took a pass because it has already booked the building for the PSAL championships that afternoon" (, 3/4).

    Print | Tags: Media
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