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Rogers Media Thursday announced it will not pursue a bid for the Canadian broadcast rights to the '14 and '16 Olympic Games as part of Canada's Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium. Under the current agreement, Rogers is a 20% stakeholder within the Consortium, with the remaining 80% interest controlled by CTV. The decision will not affect Rogers' commitment to the '12 London Games (Rogers). The GLOBE & MAIL's Susan Krashinsky notes Rogers' decision "eliminates the country's No. 2 cable sports broadcaster from contention for one of the sporting world's biggest events, and also signals the end of the partnership between Rogers and BCE Inc.'s BCE-T Bell Media unit, which joined forces to broadcast last year's Winter games and next year's Summer Olympics." CTV's former owner, CTVglobemedia Inc., and Rogers bid "a record $153-million (U.S.) for the rights to the Vancouver and London 2012 Summer Games." Krashinsky notes the larger part of that bid -- $90M -- was for the '10 Vancouver Games, "since the prospect of an Olympics on home soil was so valuable for broadcasters" in Canada. But Rogers and CTV "actually lost money on the Games, and expect to lose money on the London broadcast as well." Rogers Media President Keith Pelley said, "The business model was a factor going forward." This marks a "change of strategy for Rogers, which had previously planned to bid alongside CTV for the next two Games." Electing not to invest in the Games "frees up Rogers' budget to spend on TV rights to other sports events in an environment where the price of those rights is mounting." Krashinsky notes there was "another concern at play as well: With Rogers' status as minority partner in the consortium, its brand was not front-and-centre as the Olympic broadcaster the way CTV's was" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/9). Pelley said that he "crunched the numbers associated with bidding on and broadcasting" the '14 and '16 Games, and "decided it didn't add up to smart business, even with the consortium to help defray the costs" (TORONTO STAR, 9/9).
INT'L INTRIGUE: The FINANCIAL POST's Jamie Sturgeon noted Rogers partnered with the CBC to broadcast the '11 FIFA Women's World Cup, and is "pushing now to obtain more overseas professional sports content such as soccer and cricket." Pelley is "launching this fall a Sportsnet offshoot channel expressly committed to those sports." He said, "We'll have more announcements in the coming weeks with a couple of big properties we've secured" (FINANCIALPOST.com, 9/8). Rogers said that its channels are "full of Blue Jays and tennis coverage at the time the Summer Olympics are staged and hockey when the Winter Games are on." Until Rogers "can get more channel space, it will stay out of the competition" (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/9).
WOMEN’S WEAR DAILY’s John Koblin wrote for the last three years, ESPN's Pam Shriver “has been the mischievous, batty and, by far and away, the most delightful component to the two weeks of hundreds of hours of televised tennis.” Shriver said of the U.S. Open, “This tournament means the world to the athletes and it’s one of the four majors, but it’s still a sport. We just survived a hurricane. Sometimes there needs to be a lightness to what this is. It’s entertainment and two people trying to win a tennis match.” Koblin noted there are “plenty of tennis and beat reporters who roll their eyes when” Shriver’s name comes up, but this is “precisely why Shriver has become the best thing about ESPN’s coverage.” She has become the net’s “courtside jester and is quickly becoming this generation’s answer to Bud Collins.” Koblin: “Not only does she seem to be the only member of the tennis crew who isn’t compromised in some way -- she has no other job apart from the 60 or so days a year that she broadcasts tennis for ESPN -- she also blurts out whatever she wants whenever she wants” (WWD.com, 9/7).
FANTASY GURU: In L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes NFL Network "Total Access" co-host Lindsay Soto is “a fantasy football geek” who “cringed when she said she's an owner in six fantasy leagues.” By “knowing all there is to know about the NFL, she's much more entrenched in her role and can talk off the top of her head easier about stats, injuries, roster moves and past performances.” Soto: "You find yourself up on players who aren't so much the bigger names, but you need to know about. It's become a fun way to do your normal research. Honestly, by doing it my depth of knowledge is a byproduct” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 9/9).
FIRST IMPRESSION: In Miami, Barry Jackson wrote if former CNN reporter Rick Sanchez’s debut as FIU’s radio analyst “was designed to be a parody of Rick Sanchez and awful announcing, it would have been dead-on -- so unspeakably bad and unintentionally amusing that it sounded, at times, like a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit.” Sanchez “seemed determined to sabotage play-by-play man Tony Calatayud’s call of last week’s opener by interrupting him repeatedly or shouting childbirth-type sounds over him.” Sanchez’s call “was a carnival of clichés,” and his commentary was “master-of-the-obvious stuff” (MIAMIHERALD.com, 9/8).
NOTES: The Coyotes named Matt McConnell the club’s play-by-play announcer. McConnell for the past two seasons has been the Thrashers' TV voice (Coyotes)….In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes Steve Cangialosi -- Doc Emrick’s backup on MSG’s Devils telecasts -- "will soon be named the Devils’ full-timer" (N.Y. POST, 9/9)….Rogers Sportsnet announced Scott Morrison will appear as an insider for the network’s “Hockeycentral” on the company’s AM radio stations, as a feature writer for Sportsnet magazine and as a contributor to sportsnet.ca (Rogers Sportsnet)….ESPN has hired Jamison Hensley as an AFC North blogger for its NFL Blog Network. Hensley most recently was the Ravens beat reporter for the Baltimore Sun (ESPN).
ABC's LSU-Oregon matchup last Saturday night led all sports telecasts for the week ending Sept. 4 with 7.8 million viewers. The game was the sixth most-viewed primetime telecast on all of TV for the week. Compared to LSU-North Carolina in the same time slot last year, the LSU-Oregon viewership was up 80%. ESPN's Boise State-Georgia matchup on Saturday topped all sports telecasts on cable TV last week with 3.7 million viewers, up 2% from the comparable TCU-Oregon State game last year. NBC finished with 3.2 million viewers for its live coverage of the South Florida-Notre Dame game, which featured multiple rain delays. That figure is down slightly from 3.3 million viewers for Purdue-Notre Dame last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
DRIVING RATINGS: Versus averaged 591,000 viewers for Sunday’s inaugural Izod IndyCar Series Baltimore Grand Prix from 2:44-5:01pm ET. The audience marks the second-highest IndyCar viewership on Versus in the net’s three season of carrying races. Only the July 24 race from Edmonton has averaged more viewers (642,000) (Karp). In Baltimore, David Zurawik noted the audience was a “far cry from the 3.5 million viewers mentioned” in the city’s press release from May ’10 when the Grand Prix deal was signed (BALTIMORESUN.com, 9/7).
BEASTS OF THE EAST: MLB Network averaged 273,000 viewers in primetime from Aug. 30 through Sept. 5, marking the net’s most-viewed seven-day primetime period ever. The net averaged 106,000 viewers among adults 18-49. The Yankees-Red Sox matchup on Aug. 30 delivered 573,000 viewers, marking the net’s top audience this season and second-best game audience ever behind Nationals P Stephen Strasburg’s debut last year. The Yankees-Red Sox game gave MLB Net its best primetime audience ever with an average of 626,000 viewers. The same matchup on Sept. 1 also helped deliver the net’s third-best primetime audience yet with 573,000 viewers (THE DAILY)….The Sept. 1 Yankees-Red Sox game on YES Network averaged a 7.7 local rating and 733,000 viewers in N.Y., marking the net’s highest-rated and most-viewed Yankees game since the same matchup delivered a 10.0 rating and 1.085 million viewers on April 4 last season (YES Network).
NOTES: FS Midwest is averaging a 9.0 local rating in St. Louis for Cardinals games to date, down 5% from the same point last season. However, the rating remains the “second-highest for local telecasts in the major leagues, trailing only” the Phillies. The Cardinals are also “on pace for the third-best rating in the 16 seasons they’ve had a significant number of games on cable/satellite TV” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/9)….WEEI-AM in Boston has seen a “steep decline from its perch ever since upstart rival 98.5 The Sports Hub debuted two years ago.” In October ’09, WEEI-AM averaged an 8.4 rating among male listeners 25-54, tops in the market, compared to a 5.9 rating for The Sports Hub. In August ’11, The Sports Hub was on top with an 8.4 rating, compared to a 5.0 rating for WEEI-AM, which ranked fifth in the market (BOSTON HERALD, 9/8).
The chart below lists final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts. All ratings listed are U.S. ratings. Figures for Monday coverage of the final round of the PGA Tour Deutsche Bank Championship on NBC and coverage of the U.S. Open on CBS were not available at presstime.
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) NCAA Football: LSU-Oregon9/3ABC8:06-11:45pm4.67,751 NCAA Football: (regional)9/3ABC3:30-6:49pm2.23,409 NCAA Football:
South Florida-Notre Dame*9/3NBC3:30-5:35pm, 7:08-9:00pm2.13,249
MLB: (regional)9/3Fox4:08-7:49pm1.42,095 U.S. Open: Men's Third,
Women's Fourth Round9/4CBS11:00am-6:11pm1.41,978
PGA Tour: Deutsche Bank Championship:
Soccer friendly: Mexico-Chile9/4Uni2:30-5:03pm0.91,832 U.S. Open: Men's, Women's Third Round9/3CBS11:00am-6:13pm1.21,656 World Track & Field
World Track & Field
Soccer friendly: Mexico-Poland9/2Uni2:00-4:32pm0.61,108 American Le Mans Series: Baltimore9/4ABC4:00-6:00pm0.6757
NOTES: * = Game had a 93-minute weather delay beginning at 5:35pm ET. A second weather delay forced the telecast to finish on Versus from 9:19-9:41pm.
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) NCAA Football: Boise State-Georgia9/3ESPN8:05-11:32pm2.33,735 NCAA Football: TCU-Baylor9/2ESPN8:00-11:55pm2.13,178 NCAA Football: Utah State-Auburn9/3ESPN212:00-3:29pm1.82,836 "NASCAR Countdown"9/4ESPN7:30-7:30pm1.62,449 NCAA Football: BYU-Ole Miss9/3ESPN4:40-7:57pm1.42,278 NCAA Football:
"College GameDay"9/3ESPN10:00am-12:00pm1.52,091 NCAA Football: Akron-Ohio State9/3ESPN12:01-3:16pm1.42,011 NCAA Football: UNLV-Wisconsin9/1ESPN8:00-11:13pm1.31,937 NASCAR Nationwide Series:
Great Clips 3009/3ESPN27:30-10:11pm1.21,857
The U.S. Open men's final has been pushed from Sunday to Monday for the fourth consecutive year, and in N.Y., Ken Belson notes "finishing on the weekend is critical" to CBS, which broadcasts the top matches from Flushing Meadows. Because many ads are "sold based on how many viewers are watching, advertisers are often compensated when matches are pushed to other times." The "most common way to reimburse them is to show their ads at times when similar viewers are watching." Horizon Media Senior VP & Dir of Research Brad Adgate said, "There’s an impetus from a dollar perspective to get these matches played on schedule. I don’t think anyone is happy with extending it out to next week. It’s a lose-lose situation" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/9).
BACK IN THE RING: Top Rank Chair Bob Arum said that a deal "had been agreed to between his company and HBO PPV to produce and distribute" Miguel Cotto's junior middleweight title bout against Antonio Margarito on Dec. 3 at MSG. Top Rank President Todd duBoef said that he "still had a few minor points to go over" with HBO Senior VP/Sports Operations & PPV Mark Taffet. But duBoef said completion of the agreement was "imminent." ESPN.com's Dan Rafael reported Top Rank also was "weighing an offer from Showtime, HBO's archrival, for the fight" (ESPN.com, 9/8).
HURRICANE WATCH: The Hurricanes on Thursday announced that FS Carolinas will air 67 games during the '11-12 NHL season, and "all games will be in high definition." The RSN's coverage "will include 37 of the team's 41 road games." John Forslund "again will handle the play-by-play while Tripp Tracy will provide analysis." Starting in January, 37 of the Hurricanes' "final 42 regular-season games will be televised, including all 22 of the team's road games in that span" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 9/9).