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Fox earned a 13.8 overnight Nielsen rating Thursday night for the Cardinals' dramatic 10-9 11-inning win over the Rangers in Game Six of the World Series. The rating is the highest for a World Series game not featuring either the Yankees or the Red Sox since the final game of the '05 White Sox-Astros series. Cardinals-Rangers through six games is averaging a 10.2 rating, up 4% over last year's Giants-Rangers matchup, which only went five games. St. Louis led all markets with a 49.4 local rating, while Dallas/Ft. Worth drew a series-high 47.1 rating. Fox easily won the night with a 12.6 overnight, far outdistancing second-place CBS (8.0). If the ratings hold, it will be Fox's biggest Thursday night rating since an episode of "American Idol" that aired last March (THE DAILY).
SOME QUALITY FATHER/SON TIME: Fox' Joe Buck echoed his late father with his call on Cardinals' 3B David Freese's game-winning home run in Game Six. Recalling Jack Buck's memorable call of Kirby Puckett's game-winning homer 20 years ago in Game Six of the Twins-Braves World Series, Joe Buck said, "We will see you tomorrow night." NFL Network’s Rich Eisen: “Love Joe Buck. What a dream to be able to pay tribute to your dad like that. He nailed it.” NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner: “Joe Buck can retire now, after reprising his pop's call of Puckett's HR to win G6 of '91 WS. Anyone else=ripoff. Him=tribute to old man." Newsday's Neil Best: "Cool touch by Joe Buck to use his father's Game 6 line from '91." SI.com’s Jimmy Traina: “Knock Joe Buck (and me) all you want. I thought that call was a very cool thing.” NBCSports.com's Craig Calcaterra: "Really thought this was great from Joe Buck." The Orange County Register's Mark Whicker prior to Freese's home run wrote, "think Joe Buck will say, 'We'll see you tomorrow night!' if the Cards pull it out? No one would begrudge him." The Ventura County Star's Jim Carlisle: "You have to think Joe Buck had had the idea of saying his dad's line long before Game 6 ever started..." Meanwhile, Broadcasting & Cable's Ben Grossman wrote, "I know you all hate Joe Buck for whatever reason, but his 9th inning is clinical: totally laying out and letting nat sound work. Perfect."
GIVING THE SIGNAL: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes Fox' Tim McCarver is "an anomaly" because for a generation of MLB fans, he "is World Series TV analysis." The Rangers-Cardinals series marks his 22nd World Series TV assignment, and while McCarver in the past "sometimes overanalyzed action," he and Buck have "an eye for interesting detail on the Series." McCarver noted that Cardinals manager Tony La Russa "taking off his glasses means he'll make a pitching change." Buck during Game Five noticed that Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols "called his own hit-and-run that cost the Cardinals a potentially big inning" (USA TODAY, 10/28). In St. Louis, Dan Caesar notes Pujols' hit-and-run call "probably wouldn't have come to light had it not been for some detective work" by Buck, who "deduced what happened while looking at replays during a commercial break," and brought it up on-air. McCarver said, "In the 16 years we've worked together, Joe's said a lot of things and that was No. 1. It was definitely the best. If he doesn't say it, it goes away. It was one of (the most timely) comments ever" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/28).
CALL TO THE BULLPEN: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes Buck publicly has "gone out of his way" to defend La Russa following the mishandling of his relief pitchers during the eighth inning of Game Five. Buck Wednesday said, "The Cardinal hitters lost Game 5 -- period. There is no way you can tell me that years from now when somebody looks back, the story will be who came out of the bullpen in the eighth inning." Raissman: "Just in case anyone interested in such matters was not aware of the extent to which Buck provided cover for the Cardinals manager, the Foxies emailed their play-by-play man’s statement from sea to shining sea." Raissman also writes the "way Buck and Tim McCarver handled that inning of Game 5 was curious" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/28).
RATINGS DETAILS: AD AGE's Brian Steinberg noted the "fact is that TV viewership for the World Series has been in decline for years." When both teams "hail from smaller markets, smaller ratings are the inevitable result." Fox has "beaten some other networks in the coveted 18-to-49 demographic on many fronts, and the World Series has helped in that laudable effort." But it is "hard to crow about being the tallest entity when the ground underneath you and your rivals continues to be soft and permeable." TV nets would "usually love to have 10 million to 15 million viewers on any given night, but when sports rights fees cost so much, and when the Series gets in the way of launching fall series that Fox hopes will last much longer than even a seven-game series, one can see how the numbers might be disappointing" (ADAGE.com, 10/27). Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley noted ratings for the World Series "are up big time in the Milwaukee market." WITI-Fox Research Dir Eric Steele reported that through Monday, World Series games "averaged almost 10.4 or 94,208 households, a 53% jump compared to the five-game World Series in 2010 between Texas and San Francisco (6.8 average)" (JSONLINE.com, 10/25).
ISLAND TIME: The HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER reports Oceanic Cable viewers "lost TV coverage of Game 6 of the World Series for about 20 minutes” due to a “power supply problem.” Video of the game “was lost” at approximately 4:05pm local time. The game came back on at 4:28pm, “but via a lower resolution, slightly jerky Internet video.” The regular TV signal, “including high definition, returned at 4:50.” Oceanic VP/Operations Norman Santos said that one of the company’s hubs was carrying the KHON-Fox signal “when it lost power a little after 4.” Santos added that the “generator for the hub didn’t immediately turn on” (HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER, 10/28).
DirecTV has “taken its fight with News Corp. to the federal government,” according to Joe Flint of the L.A. TIMES. The satellite broadcaster in a letter to the FCC “took issue with some of the advertisements News Corp.'s Fox has run to alert people to the dispute.” DirecTV specifically “accused the company of misleading consumers.” DirecTV Exec VP/Content Strategy & Development Derek Chang in the letter wrote, "Fox is clearly abusing the public trust by its deliberate attempt to confuse and alarm consumers." Chang said that “although the contract dispute concerns FX, 19 regional sports networks and a handful of smaller channels (but not Fox News), News Corp. is leading people to think that its Fox broadcast network would also be dropped” on Tuesday (LATIMES.com, 10/27). Chang in the letter also “charges that Fox hasn't made a ‘separate’ offer to keep the broadcast property on the air.” DAILY VARIETY’s Andrew Wallenstein noted News Corp. has “sought to combine both the broadcast and cable agreements into one dispute -- and may want to also include other cable channels covered under separate agreements, including Fox News Channel” (VARIETY.com, 10/27). CABLEFAX DAILY notes the letter “pointed to ads in the L.A. Times, Sun and TV spots that showed clips of Fox broadcast’s ‘Glee’ and NFL games” (CABLEFAX DAILY, 10/28). News Corp. has “taken out newspaper ads warning DirecTV subscribers that many of their favorite teams and sports programs are in jeopardy of disappearing from their dish” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 10/28).
The SEC appeared "poised and ready to welcome Missouri to the league this coming (or past) Monday -- as an introductory statement dated Oct. 22 leaked on the conference's own website made clear late Thursday night," according to Jerry Hinnen of CBSSPORTS.com. The statement includes "references to an announcement yet-to-be made" by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, links to "related introductory Missouri content, and July 1, 2012 specified as the date in which the Tigers would officially join the league." The page as of 11:40pm ET Thursday night "appeared on the official 'SEC Digital Network.'" However, that and "all associated content had been removed by 11:55 ET" (CBSSPORTS.com, 10/28). In St. Louis, Vahe Gregorian notes while it is "conceivable it was fraudulent and the SEC could not be reached for clarification, the level of detail went deep under the heading, 'Tiger Tracks: Missouri Joins The SEC.'" The release referred to Slive "announcing Mizzou's membership on Monday, presumably meaning Oct. 24 but possibly meaning Oct. 31, and extols the virtues of Mizzou." That included "highlights of its football and men's basketball history, mentions of its distinguished alumni and the fact it would be the SEC's fourth member of the distinguished American Association of Universities." It also "outlined historical ties between MU and the SEC" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/28). SEC Associate Commissioner for Media Relations Charles Bloom addressed this issue Friday morning, writing on his Twitter feed, "Web vendor made mistake. No agreement between #SEC and Missouri."
Electronic Arts Inc., reporting earnings for its fiscal second quarter last Thursday, said it has sold more than 8 million units of "FIFA 12," and more than 3 million units of "Madden NFL 12." Sales of both games, each released within the last two months, are tracking strongly ahead of last year's paces. For "FIFA 12" in particular, the sell-through rate is up by 25%, the company said. EA's total revenue for the quarter rose 17% to $1.03B, ahead of analyst projections. But the company also posted a net loss of $340M, compared to $201M for the same quarter a year ago, as costs of marketing, and research and development each grew by double-digit percentages.
The chart below lists final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts. Figures for cable networks not listed as Nielsen continues to work through a coding issue for ESPN telecasts (THE DAILY).
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) "NFL on Fox": Packers-Vikings (83%)10/23Fox4:15-7:30pm14.624,267 "NFL on CBS": (single)10/23CBS1:00-4:05pm9.715,803 World Series: Cardinals-Rangers:
"NFL on Fox": (regional)10/23Fox1:00-4:15pm8.213,019 "Sunday Night Football": Colts-Saints10/23NBC8:31-11:13pm7.612,465 World Series: Cardinals-Rangers:
"Football Night in America"10/23NBC7:30-8:15pm4.36,781 College Football: Auburn-LSU10/22CBS3:30-6:52pm3.65,624 "Fox NFL Sunday"10/23Fox12:00-1:00pm3.0n/a College Football: (regional)10/22ABC3:30-6:56pm2.23,491 College Football: (regional)10/22ABC8:07-11:44pm2.13,453 College Football: USC-Notre Dame10/22NBC7:43-11:03pm2.13,225 "The NFL Today"10/23CBS12:00-1:00pm2.1n/a "College Football Today"10/22CBS3:00-3:30pm1.0n/a Mexico Primera Division:
Club America-CD Guadalajara10/23Uni4:30-7:01pm0.91,939
"Best of Golf 2011"10/23CBS5:00-6:00pm0.91,417 Figure Skating: Skate America10/22NBC3:00-6:00pm0.81,179 "College Football Countdown"10/22ABC3:00-3:30pm0.6n/a Rugby World Cup Final:
New Zealand-France (taped)10/23NBC3:00-6:00pm0.5851
College football special10/22CBS2:30-3:00pm0.5n/a
The GLOBE & MAIL’s Bruce Dowbiggin notes with CTV winning the rights to "all the major FIFA products" beginning in ’15, the company is “leveraging a valuable domestic product (the 2015 women’s WC) with a larger package of events that it can distribute across the entire spectrum of CTV’s channels. Soccer can be seen on CTV, CTV2, TSN, TSN2, RDS, RDS2, ESPN Classic, "ethnic channel partners, many websites, wireless platforms, tablets, VOD, TSN radio and, as one source says, ‘whatever else is invented in the next 11 years.'” This also “forms a template for how CTV might handle the next national NHL TV package, which becomes effective” in ’14. The CBC “currently has those rights, but it’s expected that it will not be able to compete financially with CTV or Rogers should those broadcasters make a determined push for the prestigious 'Hockey Night In Canada'/playoffs package when bidding begins” (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/28).
THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN: In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel wrote it is "cute to see ESPN play journalism and employ the nationally renowned Poynter Institute act as its journalism watchdog and ombudsman.” Considering the “financial relationships that exist between ESPN and so many sports leagues and organizations, it does a fairly decent job of reporting the bad news.” But it also “employs a bevy of mouthpieces and shills that can’t possibly be too harsh or they risk losing their source, or alienating their friends.” ESPN has “such a monopoly on the rights to carry so many different games in so many different sports that the view has little alternative but to watch, listen and read.” But from a journalism standpoint, “ESPN is not that much different than E! News” (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 10/27).
FAMILIAR VOICE: In Minneapolis, Joe Chirstensen cites sources as saying that Ryan Lefebvre "could get an offer from the Twins soon" to be the team's radio play-by-play voice. Lefebvvre "worked on Twins radio and television broadcasts from 1995 to 1998 before spending the past 13 years as a Royals broadcaster." Twins studio host Kris Atteberry, Triple-A Int'l League Rochester Red Wings broadcaster Josh Wetzel and Brewers radio broadcaster Cory Provus are also “under consideration” for the job. John Gordon announced that he would not return after the ’11 season to call games on the radio (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/28).
PEOPLE & PERSONALITIES: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand reports Ron Franklin "will broadcast his first game on TV since being fired by ESPN in January when he reunites with Mike Gottfried to call the Chattanooga vs. Samford football game." Franklin was let go by ESPN (USA TODAY, 10/28)....Former England F John Barnes will "join ESPN as a football analyst for its coverage of the Barclays Premier League and FA Cup" (ESPN.co.uk, 10/24)....Robbi Pickeral is leaving the Raleigh News & Observer to join ESPN.com (NEWSOBSERVER.com, 10/24).