ESPN May Give Greenberg His Own Show Dick's Renews USOC Sponsorship NHL Hires Pandora's Heidi Browning New TeeSpring Combines NFL, Music Infiniti Partners With Braves Plank's Port Covington Development Approved Lynx Open WNBA Semifinals At Xcel Energy Center Gretzky To Play Role In NHL Centennial Plans Dr. J Sells Rights To Name, Image NFL Viewership Continues Rocky Start To '16
SBD/October 14, 2011/MediaPrint All
TBS earned a 4.2 overnight rating for Brewers-Cardinals NLCS Game Four last night from 8:00-11:45pm ET, down 45% from Rangers-Yankees ALCS Game Four last year, which aired on a Tuesday night, and down 5% from Phillies-Dodgers Game Four in ’09, which aired on a Monday night. Last night’s game earned a 31.1 local rating in St. Louis and a 28.8 rating in Milwaukee. Earlier in the day, Fox earned a 4.2 overnight for Rangers-Tigers ALCS Game Five. Last year's Giants-Phillies NLCS Game Five aired in primetime, earning a 7.9 overnight. Detroit earned a 23.8 local rating and 17.9 rating in Dallas-Ft. Worth (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In Albany, Pete Dougherty writes TBS "can't seem to catch a break." Its Division Series ratings "were down despite three of four matchups going the distance," and the net's primetime audience for NLCS Game Three Wednesday "was slashed by a rain-delayed, extra inning" ALCS Game Five on Fox (Albany TIMES UNION, 10/14). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand notes with the "much smaller ratings for MLB's postseason, team market size can be a big factor and is this year." That is especially true for TBS' coverage of the NLCS. With the "smallest average team market size for any LCS" since the '90 Reds-Pirates matchup, the Cardinals and Brewers together "don't even constitute a big TV market." If both cities were combined, their total HHs "wouldn't be big enough to constitute a top-10 TV market" (USA TODAY, 10/14). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Tim Goodman wrote, "This isn't pleasing to Fox and TBS. ... Maybe the baseball gods didn't like all the network and media bitching last year when the San Francisco Giants played the Texas Rangers in the World Series. After all, it was the fifth- vs. sixth-largest U.S. market" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 10/13).
WEATHER ADVISORY: Fox’ Rangers-Tigers ALCS has averaged a 4.5 final Nielsen rating and 7.2 million viewers over four telecasts, three of which were impacted by adverse weather. Those figures are down 4% in both metrics from last year’s Giants-Phillies NLCS, which featured no rain delays. The net did benefit from a rain delay in Game Four of the series, averaging a 5.2 rating and 8.4 million viewers as the a rain delay pushed the game from the a scheduled afternoon window to one that bled into primetime (6:26-10:30pm). The telecast was down 9% from a 5.7 rating (9.3 million viewers) for Giants-Phillies Game Four last year, which aired completely in a primetime window (Fox).
PINCH HITTERS: USA TODAY's Hiestand notes MLB's postseason has given "air time to fresh faces who've shown lots of potential for TV work, led by" White Sox C A.J. Pierzynski on Fox' pregame shows, former Red Sox manager Terry Francona on Games One and Two of the ALCS, and Padres 2B Orlando Hudson and former MLBer Mike Lowell as MLB Network guest analysts (USA TODAY, 10/14). Lowell said of his new broadcasting gig, "I would always think it would be a hard thing for me to just stop playing and be totally disconnected from a sport that I started when I was 6 years old, and I still feel like I have the same passion for. The scheduling is great. This is something I don't have to do 9 to 5. I can come in and out and kind of stay involved and stay in the loop of the game" (MLB.com, 10/13).
YELLING & STREAMING: The HUFFINGTON POST's Amanda Terkel reported Americans United for Change is "launching a campaign against Major League Baseball, pressuring the group to cut its ties to right-wing pundit Glenn Beck due to his history of controversial statements." Beck recently launched his own online network, GBTV, and MLBAM this spring "teamed up with Beck and agreed to provide him with a streaming video platform." Americans United for Change Thursday launched the website Strike Out Beck, where people can "go and sign a petition pressuring the MLB to drop the right-wing host." It will be "accompanied by a Facebook ad campaign in big baseball towns" -- St. Louis, Detroit, Dallas, S.F., L.A., Oakland, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, DC, Baltimore and Milwaukee -- that "will encourage people to check out the site and join in" (HUFFINGTONPOST.com, 10/12).
Showtime Sports Exec VP & GM Ken Hershman has been named HBO Sports President effective Jan. 9. Hershman will report directly to HBO Programming President Michael Lombardo and will be responsible for the strategic direction and overseeing the HBO Sports division. Hershman replaces Ross Greenburg, who announced in July that he was stepping down after 33 years with the cable outlet. Broadcasting & Cable first reported the story (THE DAILY). ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael noted Hershman was “often credited with keeping Showtime competitive with industry leader HBO even though it had far fewer marquee fighters and virtually no pay-per-view business.” Now Hershman will “take over the biggest budget in boxing, making him the de facto most powerful person in the sport.” He will be the “kingmaker, deciding which fights, fighters and promoters to invest the network's roughly $35 million annual boxing budget in.” Hershman created Showtime's “ground-breaking Super Six World Boxing Classic,” but the “six-man, round-robin super middleweight tournament has been troubled by numerous injuries, delays and drop outs, meaning Hershman has left Showtime before he could see it finish on his watch.” Hershman in his role at Showtime was also “responsible for making mixed martial arts a significant part of the network's sports menu beginning in 2007, something Greenburg was strongly opposed to at HBO” (ESPN.com, 10/13). Showtime in a statement said, “We have no announcement about a successor at this time” (THEWRAP.com, 10/13). Boxing promoter Lou DiBella called the move "a good hire." DiBella: "Kenny has done a great job and done very well at Showtime Sports, and I think that it's important to have someone in place who can immediately run with the ball. I think that it's a relationship business. To learn a new industry and to not have those relationships is a huge disadvantage to somebody. Kenny has those relationships and he has the experience" (RINGTV.com, 10/13).
PATHWAY TO SUCCESS: YAHOO SPORTS’ Kevin Iole wrote the HBO Sports “dogma during the Hershman regime needs to be simple: Fight your way onto the network and fight to remain on the network.” There should be “no appearances because you’ve signed with a powerful manager or an influential promoter.” The standard by which a potential fight should be judged is “whether it will make a compelling match on television.” If Hershman “pursues that philosophy and doesn’t grant most favored nation status to any promoter or manager like the previous regime did, then this hire will be a smash hit.” Iole: “Putting on competitive, evenly matched fights is the most important thing Hershman can do, but he needs to do more to help boxing regain its significance at the network and in the minds of its viewers” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/13).
The NFL and Time Warner Cable ended their negotiations last week without an NFL Network or NFL RedZone deal, and several sources familiar with the negotiations say it is unlikely the two will reach an agreement this year. The companies' execs held contentious meeting in TWC’s N.Y. offices last Friday, where senior execs from both sides were unable to bridge several differences. The two sides left the meeting with no plans to meet again. NFL Network's first live game this season is Nov. 10, when the Raiders play the Chargers. Several sources said TWC and NFL Network had made considerable progress this year to resolve differences that started soon after the channel launched in ‘03. Ironically, the two found agreement on most of the big issues that had been separating them, according to sources close to the negotiations. The two sides essentially were close on price. It is not known what rate TWC had negotiated, but SNL Kagan puts NFL Network's price at $0.81 per subscriber per month. NFL RedZone is being sold to sports tiers for about $0.25-0.30 per subscriber per month, sources say. Sources also say that the NFL agreed to most of the "TV Everywhere" provisions that TWC was requesting. It is not known what issues the two sides were unable to resolve. There was optimism this summer that the two would cut a deal after the league broke a years-long logjam to sign deals with cable operators Charter and Mediacom -- deals that gave NFL Network seven of the top eight distributors. TWC subscribers still will see all local NFL games -- all NFL Network games are available in via broadcast in the teams' home markets. Plus, TWC subscribers have access to games on the broadcast networks and ESPN. A deal with NFL Network's other big holdout, Cablevision, also is not likely. The two sides have had no talks recently.
Rogers Communications Inc. announced Friday that it will make Maple Leafs games “available on the Web to its digital cable subscribers, who can get access to the Rogers on Demand Online platform,” according to Susan Krashinsky of the GLOBE & MAIL. It marks another step for the cable, Internet and mobile provider “in a larger strategy to push its sports content and offer viewing options on more devices to keep customers within its system.” Rogers last summer began offering Blue Jays games online. The company last March began “offering a handful of Leafs games from the team’s own cable channel, Leafs TV, on the Web,” but now regular-season games “that Rogers broadcasts on its Sportsnet cable channel will be streamed live online for a broader range of subscribers.” Rogers “had to negotiate with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE) for extra digital rights, and is now attempting to do the same with competing networks, such as TSN, which have the rights to the remaining Leafs games, and other sports content.” For now, the Maple Leafs content “does not include mobile.” Rogers VP/Video Products David Purdy said, “The reason we bought the Jays was that we felt that in the digital world there was going to be increased migration … to on-demand viewing. With sports, it’s one of the few things you have to watch live for it to have real value.” MLSE does “its own streaming of Leafs games on its Leafs TV website -- including those that are also broadcast on Sportsnet -- and on mobile phones.” MLSE “has been experimenting with pricing schemes for digital viewing” (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/14).
The use of anonymous sources was debated by GRANTLAND.com's Jonah Keri and Chris Jones after Wednesday's Boston Globe story on the Red Sox' late-season collapse relied heavily on quotes from people who did not disclose their name. Keri wrote it is "the sourcing of this story above all else that's punching me in the face." While acknowledging that the Globe's article is "hardly alone in using anonymous sources to gather key material," he wrote, "Here’s where I stand on anonymous sources: I’d love to see journalists use them only in extreme cases, or when the subject is trivial." Keri added, "It might be that every single fact reported in the Globe story is 100 percent true. But the burden is on the reporter to prove it. Going to the accused is a decent start. But it’s not nearly enough. If it were up to me, I’d want to see hard evidence that the accusations made are in fact true, and all sources being named, before running a story, especially one this inflammatory and potentially damaging to reputations." Jones wrote "important stories might not get written without" anonymous sources, and "whether you like it or not, in Boston this is an important story." Jones: "I imagine this will be one of the Globe's most-read stories this year. Eyes win. ... I can’t imagine any writer enjoys using anonymous sources. There’s something about their use that automatically makes a story look shady, and that’s partly because they’re almost exclusively used in negative stories." Globe Sports Editor Joe Sullivan said Wednesday, "Our goal is to never use unnamed sources. Unfortunately it is sometimes the only way to make important information public. ... Our sources are always people who have knowledge of or are directly involved in the story" (GRANTLAND.com, 10/12). Meanwhile, ESPN’s J.A. Adande said the media has “become so self-obsessed and self-absorbed and the blogosphere is so obsessed with the media that we spend more time analyzing the sourcing of a story rather than the content of the story” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 10/13).
ALL RED SOX, ALL THE TIME: A Boston Globe spokesperson said that "traffic or pageviews for the sports section on Boston.com were three times the daily year-to-date average" on Wednesday (THE DAILY). In N.Y., Peter May notes the top three most e-mailed articles on the Globe's website Thursday morning "were about the Red Sox, just ahead of one on the rise in fuel oil prices for the coming winter." ESPN Radio 1400 Boston's Adam Jones said, "It’s pretty much been nonstop Red Sox since the collapse." Jones estimated that "more than 90 percent of his callers wanted to talk about the team" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/14).
ESPN.com college football and basketball writer Pat Forde "is leaving ESPN for rival Yahoo Sports” when his current contract expires Nov. 1, according to sources cited by Jason McIntyre of THE BIG LEAD. Forde’s departure, which is “apparently amicable," has been rumored "for months.” Sources said that Forde “has long been unhappy with what he couldn’t report on or look into because of ESPN’s many conflicts of interest.” Sources added that he also “wasn’t thrilled with the way” former ESPN reporter Bruce Feldman’s “saga unfolded.” ESPN VP/Editorial, Digital & Print Media Rob King declined to comment (THEBIGLEAD.com, 10/13). In Louisville, Eric Crawford wrote the move should allow Forde "more freedom to do more of the investigative and reportorial work for which he’s so gifted." Crawford: "Forde, it seemed to me, was held in check at times by ESPN, kept from jumping into big stories for whatever reason the network had. There should be no such problem at Yahoo! ... It’s a big loss for ESPN, but a net gain for sports readers, who are likely to see Forde get to show off his range a bit more" (COURIER-JOURNAL, 10/13). SI.com’s Richard Deitsch wrote, “Landing Pat Forde is a bold, smart move for Y! Sports” (TWITTER.com, 10/13).
Matt Winer is serving as host of TBS' coverage of the Cardinals-Brewers NLCS after having worked at ESPN from '01-10. Winer joined Turner's NBA TV last year and said, "Turner is such a different operation than ESPN, it's relatively smaller so you're working with the same people over and over and I think there's value in that. My role is a lot more specific. At ESPN, by necessity, you pretty much have to be a jack of all trades. You're going to wind up doing the NASCAR show eventually even if you don't do NASCAR year round. ... And obviously during 'SportsCenter' you're going to touch on virtually anything.'' In St. Louis, Dan Caesar notes Winer “has had a mixture of assignments at Turner, too.” Last fall he “began anchoring postseason baseball shows and this spring he hosted NCAA Tournament coverage" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/14).
TRACK TV: SCENE DAILY’s Erik Spanberg reported Speed’s weekend news and highlight show, “SpeedCenter,” will include analysis from former NASCAR team owner Ray Evernham “for the rest of the current NASCAR season and perhaps into 2012.” Evernham will be “featured on the Sunday night version, a 1-hour edition wrapping up the major racing events.” Evernham said, “It puts me in a position to be back on television, which I enjoy.” Appearing on a news show “shouldn’t cause conflicts of interest with his role as consultant” to team owner Rick Hendrick. Evernham, who left ESPN in January after three years, was “quick to say the move had nothing to do with happiness or unhappiness at ESPN” (SCENEDAILY.com, 10/13).
BITING THE HAND THAT FED YOU? In N.Y., Bob Raismann writes former NFLers “now paid for their opinions by a TV network or radio station, are verbally pounding their former teams.” Since Antonio Pierce joined ESPN, he has “showed his mouth runs in multiple directions,” and the Giants are “very much on his radar.” Raismann notes traditionally, players and coaches “fresh off the field, came into TV and radio self-programmed.” But ESPN analyst and former Jets OT Damien Woody took a shot at the team after he “emphasized that he wanted the Jets offense to start running the ball more often.” SportsNet N.Y.’s Kris Jenkins also “presented what amounted to a laundry list of what ails” the Jets (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/14).
FIVE TIMES OUT OF SIX: In Toronto, Joseph Hall notes CBC’s Ron MacLean’s “on-air job is largely to rein in” partner Don Cherry’s “volatility and invective.” But MacLean said that he is “only successful about five times out of six.” MacLean: “We both have a really good chemistry and we can almost tell with or without the words whether we’ve gotten so far off track that somehow we’ve got to get this under control. And it doesn’t always happen as this past (episode) exhibits.” MacLean said that he “might have tried to ‘straighten out a couple of things’" during the segment where Cherry accused former NHL enforcers of being “pukes” and “hypocrites” for suggesting that hockey fighting might contribute to substance abuse. But MacLean indicated that he “ran out of time.” Meanwhile, he said that Cherry “is responsible for much of his television success.” MacLean: “He carried me for two or three years as I got my feet under me” (TORONTO STAR, 10/14).
ESPN2’s new show “Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable” has averaged 143,000 viewers in the 4:00pm ET slot since its debut on Sept. 12, though numbers over the last two weeks have been down from the initial two-week period. The show’s top audience was 197,000 viewers set on both Sept. 19 and 20. The net’s other new show this fall, “Numbers Never Lie,” has averaged 132,000 viewers in the 3:30pm slot during the same timeframe. The show has seen a similar decline over the last two weeks. The top audience for the show came on Friday, Sept. 16 with 235,000 viewers, but the program has not had a Friday episode since due to NASCAR programming. Meanwhile, Versus’ four new shows this fall have been led by "NFL Turning Point" on Thursdays in the 10:00pm slot with 83,000 average viewers since its debut on Sept. 15. The show, however, has not topped 100,000 viewers since its debut. “CNBC Sports Biz: Game On!” featuring Darren Rovell has averaged 26,000 viewers in its 7:00pm time slot on Fridays, while “College Football Talk” has averaged 25,000 viewers in its Monday 5:00pm slot. “NBC Sports Talk," which Versus airs daily in the 6:00pm window, has averaged only 24,000 viewers since its debut on Sept. 8.
PRIME NUMBERS: NBC’s Packers-Falcons “SNF” matchup in Week Five averaged a 13.4 final rating and 22.0 million viewers, marking the top primetime program on all of TV for the week ending Oct. 9. The game was also up 30% in both metrics compared to a 10.3 rating and 16.9 million viewers for Eagles-49ers in Week Five last year. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Bears-Lions “MNF” matchup averaged a 10.3 U.S. rating and 16.4 million viewers, down 4% and 5%, respectively, from a 10.7 rating and 17.3 million viewers last year for Vikings-Jets (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
NOTES: Golf Channel's coverage of last week's PGA Tour Frys.com Open averaged 727,000 viewers, marking the net's most-viewed Fall Series tournament ever. The previous record was 354,000 average viewers for the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open two weeks ago (Golf Channel)....The three-game Lynx-Dream WNBA Finals averaged 515,000 viewers across ESPN/ESPN2, up 4% from last year’s Storm-Dream series, which aired on ABC and ESPN2 (ESPN)….Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia earned a 5.1 local rating for the Flyers’ home opener against the Canucks on Wednesday night, marking the net’s best Flyers regular-season rating ever (CSN Philadelphia)….Rogers Sportsnet averaged 490,000 viewers for the MLB LDS games, marking a record LDS audience for the net. That figure passes the previous record of 434,000 average viewers set in ’09 and is up 21% from last season (Rogers Sportsnet).
The chart below lists final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts. All ratings listed are U.S. ratings.
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) "NFL on CBS": Jets-Patriots (81%)10/9CBS4:41-7:30pm13.622,598 "Sunday Night Football":
"NFL on Fox": (single)10/9Fox1:00-4:05pm9.916,006 "NFL on CBS": (regional)10/9CBS1:00-4:41pm7.111,224 "Football Night in America"10/9NBC7:30-8:15pm5.89,192 NCAA Football: Oklahoma-Texas10/8ABC12:00-3:44pm4.36,533 ALCS: Tigers-Rangers: Game One*10/8Fox8:02pm-1:04am3.55,770 NCAA Football: Ohio State-Nebraska10/8ABC8:07-11:34pm3.65,639 NCAA Football: (regional)10/8ABC3:44-7:30pm3.55,367 NCAA Football: Florida-LSU10/8CBS3:30-6:57pm3.24,912 NCAA Football:
Air Force-Notre Dame10/8NBC3:30-7:00pm1.11,587
Soccer friendly: U.S.-Honduras10/8Uni5:55-8:03pm0.5849 Diamond League Track & Field (taped)10/9NBC4:00-5:00pm0.6844 World of Adventure Sports (taped)10/9NBC5:00-6:00pm0.5763 Mexico Primera Division:
Epic Poker: Six-Max
Main Event (taped)10/8CBS1:00-2:00pm0.3492
NOTE: Game featured two rain delays. Telecast aired from 8:00-9:45pm, 10:15-11:00pm and 11:45pm-1:00am.
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) "Monday Night Football":
ALDS: Tigers-Yankees: Game Five10/6TBS8:00-11:53pm6.29,720 NLDS: Cardinals-Phillies: Game Five10/7TBS8:54-11:23pm5.18,389 ALDS: Tigers-Yankees: Game Four10/4TBS8:30-11:55pm4.67,012 ALDS: Tigers-Yankees: Game Three10/3TBS9:00pm-12:04am3.96,046 NLDS: Cardinals-Phillies: Game Three10/4TBS5:20-8:26pm3.14,617 NLDS: Brewers-D'Backs: Game Five10/7TBS5:00-8:54pm3.04,592 NLDS: Cardinals-Phillies: Game Four10/5TBS6:00-8:55pm3.04,507 NASCAR Sprint Cup:
Hollywood Casino 400 (Kansas)10/9ESPN2:00-5:30pm2.64,173
NLDS: Brewers-D'Backs: Game Four10/5TBS8:30pm-1:13am2.53,615
In Austin, Haurwitz & Bohls note the perception of the Univ. of Texas as "a greedy, powerful bully when it comes to athletic conference matters 'bothers'" UT President William Powers Jr.. However, he said that he "wouldn't have done anything differently with regard to the new Longhorn Network." Powers: "All we can do is do what we think is the right thing, both for the conference and for our students and our fans." Powers "strongly defended" the net, which has "led to acrimony within the Big 12." He said that LHN "has been a central tenet of the Big 12 -- 'in the DNA of the league' -- since the conference's inception that schools were free to broadcast lower-profile sporting events that weren't locked into the league's contracts with ESPN/ABC and Fox." Powers mentioned that Univ. of Nebraska "maximized such rights and had as many as three football games shown on pay-per-view in a single season" before leaving for the Big 10 (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 10/14).
CHANGE IN SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING: In San Antonio, Valentino Lucio reported many TV providers "planned to start offering" NBA League Pass on Tuesday, but to "avert unnecessary charges, they have postponed selling the service until the lockout is resolved." DirecTV announced that it "wouldn't auto-renew customers who previously bought the service, and if the season is salvaged, NBA League Pass customers would pay an adjusted price to compensate for the lost games." FS Southwest PR Dir Ramon Alvarez said that "without new games to show, the network potentially could broadcast classic Spurs games as a substitute" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 10/13).
DEVIL DAYS: SI.com’s Richard Deitsch reports truTV will air a documentary on Duke’s back-to-back national championship teams “next March before the NCAA tournament.” “Duke ’91 & ‘92” will be exec produced by Grant Hill and Christian Laettner, who were on those teams. Hill said that he “believed that he and Laettner could produce a balanced documentary that was not merely an infomercial for all things Duke” (SI.com, 10/14).
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: MSL, the Spanish company that supplies timing, scoring, graphics and games management software services, will be executing full service provision for a major Games event for the first time at the '11 Pan American Games, which start Saturday in Guadalajara (THE DAILY).