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CBS led all NFL game telecasts yesterday with a 14.2 overnight Nielsen rating for its national window, which featured Chargers-Bears in 79% of markets. However, that rating is down 15% from a 16.7 rating last year for a national window which featured Colts-Patriots in 96% of markets. CBS also saw a sharp drop for its regional coverage in the early window. NBC earned a 14.0 overnight for its Eagles-Giants "SNF" telecast, down 11.9% from the same matchup last year. The game was the No. 1 broadcsat in primetime and led NBC to another win for the night. Fox NFL singleheader was the only window to see a ratings gain yesterday (+2.4%) (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).NFL WEEK 11: SUNDAY OVERNIGHT NIELSEN RATINGSNET'11 GAMERAT.'10 GAMERAT.% +/-Fox(single)12.7(single)12.42.4%CBS(regional)8.4(regional)11.1-24.3%CBSChargers-Bears (79%)14.2Colts-Patriots (96%)16.7-15.0%NBCEagles-Giants14.0Giants-Eagles15.9-11.9%
TEBOW TIME: NFL Network averaged a 4.3 U.S. rating and 7.1 million viewers for the Jets-Broncos "Thursday Night Football" game last week, up 23% and 31%, respectively, from a 3.5 rating and 5.4 million viewers for the comparable Bears-Dolphins game last year. Jets-Broncos marks the fifth-largest audience in NFL Net's history. The game also delivered over 620,000 viewers via the NFL Mobile app and coverage online at NFL.com (Karp).
TIME FOR A CHANGE: In Baltimore, David Zurawik writes after "too many Sundays spent with" CBS announcers Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, he watched yesterday's Bengals-Ravens game on CBS and "listened to the play-by-play and analysis on WBAL radio from Gerry Sandusky, Stan White and Qadry Ismail." Zurawik: "The enthusiasm and authority of Gerry Sandusky's play-by-play announcing are as impressive as anything this side of an Al Michaels' broadcast on NBC's 'Sunday Night Football.'" Zurawik continues, "I had listened to Ismail doing analysis in the past, and wasn't that impressed. But either he has improved exponentially -- or my standards have sunk." Zurawik writes he will "keep the TV sound on Thursday for the NFL Network broadcast of the Ravens game," but the "guys in the NFL Network booth are going to have to be very good to top what I heard Sunday on WBAL radio" (Baltimore SUN, 11/21).
BONUS FOOTBALL: In N.Y., Jack Bell noted Fox for the third time this year showed a tape-delayed EPL soccer match following its NFL coverage yesterday. Fox Sports Media Group co-President & co-COO Eric Shanks said, "We looked at the EPL schedule layered against NFL singleheaders and said: ‘Holy mackerel! Chelsea-Manchester United, Arsenal-Tottenham, another one in November and then Super Bowl Sunday.’ It has really blown our socks off." Fox affiliates around the country chose to "show the soccer match in the early slot (2 p.m. Eastern) or later (4:30 p.m.), depending on the starting time of the NFL game chosen by the local stations." The EPL match was "shown live at 11 a.m. Eastern on the Fox Soccer cable channel, which has experienced impressive growth in viewership" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/20).
STAYING FLEXIBLE: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Friday said that the "next wave of broadcast contracts, starting in 2014, could entail an earlier flexible scheduling option." Goodell: "As we look toward extending our television agreements, there’s an idea that we would have some more flexibility between our partners to allow our games to be put into different time slots, and maybe start flex scheduling earlier in the year" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 11/19).
ESPN earned a 3.7 overnight Nielsen rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale yesterday, which saw Tony Stewart win the Ford 400 to claim the title over Carl Edwards, who finished second in the race. The 3.7 rating, which excludes the hour-plus rain delay, is up 12.1% from a 3.3 overnight for last year's finale, which saw Jimmie Johnson claim his fifth consecutive title (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). The DALY PLANET blog noted with slightly less than 40 laps to go, ESPN “got the job done with coverage as the race narrowed down to the top two cars.” The action on the track “for the first time in a long time pushed any concern about the TV coverage aside,” as ESPN “simply had to follow the unfolding reality.” The network “made good pictures, great sound and once again delivered a telecast free of technical problems.” The finish line coverage “focused on the championship after a solid final lap call from the TV booth.” The top three cars were shown crossing the line and “sound from both contenders was used.” One of the “hardest thing in sports broadcasting is knowing when not to talk” and ESPN’s Allen Bestwick “did a superb job in the moments after the race” (DALYPLANET.BLOGSPOT.com, 11/20).
ESPN earned a 0.8 overnight Nielsen rating for the Galaxy's 1-0 win over the Dynamo in the MLS Cup last night from 9:00-11:45pm ET, up from a 0.5 overnight for last year's Rapids-FC Dallas matchup, which began at 8:30pm (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In DC, Steven Goff noted coverage of MLS Cup for the third straight season began at 9:00pm with kickoff coming around 9:25pm, as TV "dictates the starting time." Those times, though, "shouldn't be accepted in MLS, a league that has grown by leaps and bounds over 16 seasons but is still struggling to win over casual sports fans." The late kickoff "on a school night also deters younger fans," who "have grown up with MLS and are ripe for life-long commitment to clubs and the league as a whole." The "problem for MLS is starting the game so late on a Sunday" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 11/19).
ESPN’s Lee Corso “blurted out an expletive starting with the letter ‘F’ during the final segment of ESPN's ‘College GameDay’ late Saturday morning,” according to Steve Coogan of USA TODAY. Corso picked up a large SMU megaphone, indicating “he was leaning toward picking the Mustangs to upset an undefeated Houston team.” After about five seconds of “screaming into the megaphone, Corso clearly said ‘Ah ---- it,’ while tossing it aside before putting on the headgear for Shasta, the Houston mascot.” The incident left "GameDay" analysts Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit “laughing and making jokes.” Fowler before the segment ended said, "Shasta, shame on you. Wash that mouth out." Later, during a break in the action of ESPN's coverage of Michigan's win over Nebraska, the net “aired Corso reading a statement of apology for uttering the expletive.” Corso: "Earlier today on ‘College GameDay,’ I used an expletive I shouldn't have. I apologize and promise it won't happen again." ESPN VP/PR Josh Krulewitz on Saturday said that Corso “had apologized on air to viewers and that there would be no further action” (USATODAY.com, 11/19). Corso said, “It was live TV, and I got excited and said something I shouldn’t have. I was really embarrassed” (USA TODAY, 11/21). In Phoenix, Bob Young wrote he is “willing to forgive” Corso, as “spontaneity is one of the reasons the show works so well” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 11/20). IMG' Tim McGhee wrote on his Twitter feed, "After all that's happened in college sports, Corso's curse is not a big f'ing deal." Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel wrote, "So ESPN's ticker runs ugly details of sexual molestation for two weeks but Corso swears once and it's an issue?" The Tallahassee Democrat's Ira Schoffel: "Only Corso can get MORE love for dropping an F bomb on national tv."
ENOUGH ALREADY: In DC, Tracee Hamilton wrote of the media coverage surrounding the Penn State child sexual abuse scandal, “Last weekend, while trying to sit through ESPN’s coverage from State College, Pa., I was tempted to yell, ‘You reporters get off his damn lawn!’ at the journalists camped out at Joe Paterno’s house, where absolutely nothing happened all day long.” She noted it “took a lot for me to feel sorry for Paterno that day … but I do think he could have been left in peace on what was the first Saturday of the rest of his life.” Hamilton: “And don’t get [me] wrong, I felt sorry for the ESPN reporter, too. It can’t be fun, filling all that airtime with nothing whatsoever worthwhile to say” (WASHINGTON POST, 11/19).
Golf Channel averaged 1.5 million viewers for its live and replay coverage of Day Two of the Presidents Cup Thursday night, marking the event's most-viewed day ever on cable TV. The net had also previously set the new record with 1.3 million viewers for Day One of the tournament. Golf Channel's combined viewership for the two days was up 123% compared to the '03 event in South Africa, which was the last time the tournament was held outside of North America. With both rounds airing in the evening in the U.S. due to the 16-hour time difference, Golf Channel also earned its most-viewed and second-most viewed nights of primetime ever (Golf Channel). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick wrote Golf Channel's live coverage of the Presidents Cup "has been remarkable for its clear determination to cover the ... matches, as opposed to just Tiger Woods' matches, with a few others thrown in as filler." NBC Golf Producer Tommy Roy "seems to realize that as long as good matches are being played elsewhere on the course, there's no good reason to show golf fans Woods as he walks down a fairway and, in slow-motion, breathes in and then out" (N.Y. POST, 11/20).
BRUTAL ON THE EYES: UFC President Dana White said that while the league's "hardcore fan base" saw Saturday's Dan Henderson-Mauricio "Shogun" Rua fight as "potentially one of the best in mixed martial arts history, the mainstream viewers might have been turned off by the pure brutality of the 25-minute main event." White said, "Those of us who are in this room, and people who have been watching this for a long time, just incredibly appreciate what those two did in there, and you can understand what they went through and what's going on. The rest of the world would go, 'Oh my God. What was that?'" White said that "part of transitioning into mainstream with the network television deal is easing new viewers into the sport" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 11/20).
NEW MAN IN TOWN: New San Diego Union-Tribune Owner Doug Manchester has named John Lynch President & CEO, and Lynch said that he wants the paper "to be pro-business" and for the "sports page to be pro-Chargers stadium." Lynch said that he wants the sports page "to be an advocate for a new football stadium 'and call out those who don’t as obstructionists.' Lynch: “We’d like to be a cheerleader for all that’s good about San Diego. Our motivation, both of us, was to do something good for San Diego” (VOICEOFSANDIEGO.org, 11/17).