Verizon FiOS To Carry SEC Network Rock Cats Pay Bill To Keep Lease Valid The Whistle Signs Deal With MLS, KickTV IMG Re-Signs Soler To Head Up Tennis FedExCup Playoffs Begin With The Barclays Comcast Expanding Xfinity On Campus Service Manfred Makes Appearance At LLWS CFL's Cohon Will Not Seek Third Term NHL Altering Draft Lottery System
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Fox led all NFL telecasts yesterday with an 18.5 overnight for its national window, which featured the Packers last-second win over the Giants in 77% of markets. That rating marks the NFL’s third-highest overnight of the ’11 season, behind only Fox’ national window broadcasts in Week Six (19.1) and Week Nine (18.6). The rating is also up 2.8% from the net’s window featuring Cowboys-Colts in Week 13 last year. Fox also earned an 11.0 overnight for regional coverage in the early window, flat compared to last year. NBC earned an 11.9 overnight for the Lions-Saints “SNF” telecast last night, down 18.5% from Steelers-Ravens last year. Although “SNF” was the top-rated show for the night, NBC tied with Fox for top-rated network, as Fox was boosted by Giants-Packers bleeding into primetime. New Orleans topped all markets for the “SNF” telecast with a 56.3 local rating, followed by Detroit with a 26.5 rating. CBS earned a 12.3 for its singleheader yesterday, which featured Bengals-Steelers. That rating is up 26.8% from a 9.7 overnight last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).NFL WEEK 13 OVERNIGHT NIELSEN RATINGSNET
'11 GAMERAT. '10 GAMERAT.% +/-CBS (single)12.3 (single)9.726.8%Fox (regional)11.0 (regional)11.00.0%Fox Packers-Giants (77%)18.5 Cowboys-Colts (76%)18.02.8%NBC Lions-Saints11.9 Steelers-Ravens14.6-18.5%
MEDIA MUSINGS: In Baltimore, David Zurawik writes CBS' Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker, who called yesterday's Ravens-Browns game, brought some "intensity" to the broadcast, which was "nice for a change." But it was "still another sloppy, lazy telecast with little co-ordination between the team in the broadcast booth and the crew in the production truck." Zurawik: "The more I watch the Ravens on CBS Sports, the more I wonder why no one in management is kicking these NFL producers and broadcast teams in the butt and telling them mediocre is not good enough." It is a "privilege to cover the NFL ... so why aren’t the folks at CBS Sports motivated enough to try and be as good as NBC on Sunday nights or the NFL Network on Thursdays?" What is "really maddening is the lack of enterprise and original research from these broadcasters." Just like CBS' Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, the "only kind of backstage or inside information that Macatee and Tasker shared with viewers Sunday came from the coaches or the players" (Baltimore SUN, 12/5). In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes Fox NFL insider Jay Glazer "doesn't get much air time on 'Fox NFL Sunday,' but he makes the most of it." His "every second is jam-packed with information and insight." Jones adds, "Given a choice, I'd rather listen to" Fox' Joe Buck and Troy Aikman than CBS' Jim Nantz and Phil Simms (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/5).
MISSING THE ENDING: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick notes "with a minute left in regulation, and the score tied, Fox had to drop" Broncos-Vikings locally for the start of Packers-Giants. Mushnick asks, "Why not send the rest of Broncs-Vikes to FX or even Fox News Channel? Ten more minutes, at most" (N.Y. POST, 12/5). ESPN's Bob Ley wrote on Twitter, "aw, come on Fox, you're jerking me around from game to game, and away from Tebow....what a mess."
PICK ONE: In DC, Tracee Hamilton writes Fox "needs to decide what kind of network it wants to be." Hamilton asked, "Is it a serious NFL network that’s going to give us the good with the bad and show us what’s really going on, or is it going to whitewash the game for its NFL overlords?" During the Packers-Lions Thanksgiving Day game, the net "had no trouble showing [Lions DT] Ndamukong Suh’s stomping of Green Bay’s [OL] Evan Dietrich-Smith repeatedly." During the Nov. 27 Redskins-Seahawks game, the teams "began exchanging words and shoves during the pregame coin toss, and the jawing and shoving continued throughout the entire first half." Hamilton: "Yet Fox’s cameras were often elsewhere. Viewers could see players on the sideline reacting to what was happening on the field -- but not what was happening on the field." Once during a "skirmish, Fox sent us to the studio for a really important 'game break' to show a touchdown from another game." At the end of the half, Fox "finally gave in and showed us a montage of what we'd missed" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/5).
CLOSE TO A SURE THING: CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus yesterday said that Colts QB Peyton Manning is an "off-the-charts TV prospect." McManus: "There are no sure things in broadcasting. But if Peyton wanted to pursue it as a career, he's as close to that as anyone I've ever seen." McManus added that CBS "isn't looking to add analysts, saying CBS also hasn't had contact with Brett Favre, also once seen as a can't-miss TV prospect" (USA TODAY, 12/5).
The NFL is "close to renewing TV deals with all of its broadcast partners that will result in massive rights fee increases of more than 60 percent across the board, underscoring the unrivaled strength of NFL programming," according to Kaplan & Ourand of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Each of the broadcast nets for the first time "will pay an annual average of at least $1 billion for the rights to carry NFL games." The "expected windfall from CBS, Fox and NBC will be worth more than a combined $24 billion over the next eight years." Sources said that they "expect the deals extending through the 2021 season to be finalized this month, though a formal announcement may come later." The broadcasters’ current deals "end after the 2013 season." The league and its broadcast partners "have agreed to general deal terms that are similar to the NFL’s deal with ESPN, which was announced in September at a 63 percent increase." The nets "will obtain the rights to show games on tablets as part of the media industry’s TV Everywhere initiative." Broadcasters "expect to be able to offer games on tablets as soon as next season," but sources said that the two sides "have not reached agreement on that point yet." Broadcasters also have "pushed for the rights to stream games to mobile phones, but the league sold those rights exclusively to Verizon last year." All deals "have been negotiated on the basis of a 16-game schedule," and sources said that "none of the deal terms contemplate expanding to an 18-game schedule." The agreements are "expected to close by the end of the month and could be ready for a vote as soon as next week’s owners meeting in Dallas." Meanwhile, Spanish-language rights also "are being negotiated." None of the NFL’s Sunday afternoon games are currently available on Spanish-language nets in the U.S. (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/5 issue).
CBS led all college football telecasts over the weekend with a 7.4 overnight for the LSU-Georgia SEC Championship on Saturday afternoon, up 17% from a 6.3 overnight for Auburn-South Carolina last year. That number, however, remains down from the record-setting 11.8 overnight for Alabama-Florida in ’09 and down from a 10.4 rating in ’08. The inaugural Big Ten Championship, which featured Wisconsin-Michigan State, earned a 4.3 overnight on Fox Saturday night. Milwaukee topped all markets for the game with a 28.3 local rating. On Friday night, Fox earned a 3.2 overnight for the inaugural Pac-12 Championship. Portland led markets with a 20.1 local rating for the game. ABC’s best college football number for the weekend was the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game on Saturday night (3.7 overnight), which served as the de facto Big 12 title game. That rating was down 30% from last year’s Oklahoma-Nebraska Big 12 Championship. ESPN’s broadcast of the Clemson-Virginia Tech ACC Championship on Saturday night earned a 1.7 overnight, down 15% from a 2.0 rating for Virginia Tech-Florida State last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
GAME MATCHUPDATENETTIME (ET)RAT. SEC Championship LSU-Georgia12/3CBS4:00-8:15pm7.4 Big Ten Championship Wisconsin-Michigan State12/3Fox8:15pm-12:00am4.3 Pac-12 Championship Oregon-UCLA12/2Fox8:15-11:45pm3.2 Conference USA
Southern Miss-Houston12/3ABC12:00-4:00pm3.1 ACC Championship Clemson-Virginia Tech12/3ESPN8:00-11:30pm1.7 MAC Championship Northern Illinois-Ohio12/2ESPN27:00-10:30pm0.6
ENOUGH, GUS: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes Fox' Gus Johnson, who called the Big Ten Championship game, once again "took a big event and made it about himself." He spent Saturday night, "as always, blasting out screams and grunts and groans." Jones: "Maybe his style is sincere, but I'm not so sure. It feels like schtick" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 12/5). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes, "Based on the screaming throughout the Michigan State-Wisconsin Big Ten championship game on Saturday, someone kept sneaking in to stick Gus Johnson with a cattle prod" (N.Y. POST, 12/5). ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee's Jason Wilde wrote on his Twitter feed, "I think this is a perfect game for Gus Johnson to be doing. I just wish he had saved all the yelling/theatrics for the many plays deserving." But the Miami Herald's Israel Guttierez wrote, "Seriously, Gus Johnson just needs to do every game in every sport. Every game would be AWESOME!!!" Meanwhile, GolfChannel.com's Jason Sobel wrote, "Gus Johnson could make a two-foot putt in a Wednesday pro-am sound like somebody just won the Masters."
IT KEEPS GOING, AND GOING, AND GOING...: In Salt Lake City, Scott Pierce writes during ESPN2's broadcast of the BYU-Hawaii game Saturday, announcers Carter Blackburn and Brock Huard mentioned "about 863 times" that Hawaii "had to win in order to go to a bowl." It was "impossible to keep track of how many times the subject came up because they talked about it over and over and over again." Pierce: "Blackburn's constant repetition of the same phrases ... was excessive and annoying. And the one thing you don't want your announcers to do is aggravate viewers" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 12/5).
Sports Illustrated has named Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt as its Sportsmen of the Year for '11, marking the first winner of the prestigious annual award to come from college sports since former North Carolina men's basketball coach Dean Smith in '97. The pair, the two winningest basketball coaches in NCAA Division I history, will be formally presented with the honor tomorrow night at an invitation-only ceremony in N.Y. "The voices of those who have been inspired by Pat Summitt and Mike Krzyzewski echo from everywhere and will continue for decades," said Time Inc. Sports Group Editor Terry McDonell. "What they have achieved through their coaching and, more importantly, their teaching, places them among history's transcendent figures." Similar to last year, tomorrow night's ceremony will also feature appearances by several former SI Sportsmen of the Year, including Chris Evert ('76), Sugar Ray Leonard ('81), Wayne Gretzky ('82), David Robinson ('03) and David Ortiz ('04) as part of an ongoing effort by the magazine to showcase prior winners and the exclusivity of the group. Krzyzewski and Summitt also join a rare group of Sportsmen of the Year who were coaches, joining Smith, Don Shula ('93), Joe Paterno ('86) and John Wooden ('72).
CBSSports.com has hired veteran baseball writer Jon Heyman, who has worked for SI.com since '06. He will begin Dec. 12, following this week's Winter Meetings. Heyman will continue to appear on MLB Network and WFAN-AM. "Jon's hiring is the latest in a string of significant moves CBSSports.com has made which signal our dedication to produce high quality, premium sports content," said CBSSports.com Senior VP & GM Jason Kint (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). THE BIG LEAD's Jason McIntyre wrote if fans "value breaking news in the internet era ... this has been a wildly successful year for CBS Sports," which earlier in '11 hired college football reporter Brett McMurphy from the Tampa Tribune and college basketball reporter Jeff Goodman from FoxSports.com (THEBIGLEAD.com, 12/3).
The charts below list final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts. All ratings listed are U.S. ratings (THE DAILY).
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) NFL Thanksgiving:
NFL Thanksgiving: Packers-Lions11/24Fox12:36-3:48pm14.830,171 "NFL on CBS":
"Sunday Night Football":
"NFL on Fox": (single)11/27Fox1:03-4:21pm10.417,245 "NFL on CBS": (regional)11/27CBS1:03-4:11pm9.915,568 NCAA Football: Arkansas-LSU11/25CBS2:30-6:05pm6.310,444 National Dog Show (taped)11/24NBC12:00-2:00pm4.48,243 NCAA Football:
"The NFL Today"11/24CBS3:30-4:00pm5.0n/a NCAA Football: Alabama-Auburn11/26CBS3:30-6:56pm4.57,508 "Football Night in America"11/27NBC7:30-8:15pm4.57,165 "Fox NFL Special"11/24Fox11:30am-12:36pm4.2n/a NCAA Football: Notre Dame-Stanford11/26ABC8:06-11:43pm3.96,158 "The NFL Today"11/27CBS12:00-1:00pm3.1n/a NCAA Football: (regional)11/26ABC3:37-7:02pm2.84,539 NCAA Football: Iowa-Nebraska11/25ABC12:00-3:21pm2.74,259 "Fox NFL Sunday"11/27Fox12:00-1:00pm2.5n/a Figure Skating: Kaleidoscope
on Ice (taped)11/24Fox4:11-5:11pm2.23,952
Figure Skating: Unforgettable
Holiday Moments on Ice (taped)11/27NBC4:00-6:00pm1.31,806
"Best of College Football 2011"11/25CBS1:30-2:30pm1.3n/a Mexico soccer:
NHL: Red Wings-Bruins11/25NBC1:00-4:00pm0.91,333 Figure Skating:
ISU Grand Prix (taped)11/27NBC2:00-4:00pm0.81,162
"College Football Today"11/26CBS3:00-3:30pm0.8n/a Mexico soccer:
Skiing: Aspen Winternational (taped)11/27NBC1:00-2:00pm0.5845 NCAA Football: Bayou Classic:
"CBS College Football 2011"11/26CBS2:30-3:00pm0.4n/a Lucas Oil Off Road Racing (taped)11/26CBS1:30-2:30pm0.3n/a TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) "Monday Night Football":
"Thursday Night Football":
"Thursday Night Football Pre-Kick"11/24NFLN8:00-8:30pm3.47,327 NCAA Football:
"Monday Night Countdown"11/21ESPN7:00-8:30pm2.12,983 NCAA Football:
TUNING OUT: The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin noted for the CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" there is a "considerable drop in viewers the instant game action ends and the theme music for Coach’s Corner begins." Ratings during the first period of the Nov. 26 "HNIC" "peaked at about 2.2 million viewers at 7:45 p.m. ET." But "by 7:58, that figure had plummeted by almost 800,000 to about 1.4 million during the first intermission of the show, precisely when [Don] Cherry is in mid-jeremiad." The week before, first-period numbers "peaked around 2.5 million viewers." By the time Cherry was on, "almost a million people had found something else to do, as the number dipped to around 1.5 million." But Dowbiggin noted "Coach’s Corner is still good business at CBC." Cherry’s advertising spots "still sell out and garner significant revenue." Dowbiggin: "The conclusion is that Cherry remains a strong brand, but claims that he brings viewers to 'HNIC' or that his segment powers the ratings are not borne out by this season's numbers." The game itself "remains the biggest selling point" (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/2).
NOTES: Golf Channel saw the net's most-viewed November in its near 17-year history, highlighted by record-breaking viewership for the Emirates Australian Open and The Presidents Cup. November was also the net's most-watched month of '11 and second-most-watched month in Golf Channel history (Golf Channel)....NESN garnered an 8.4 local rating for the Bruins' win over the Sabres on Nov. 23, marking the best regular-season Bruins game rating in the net's 28-year history. NESN also finished with a 5.3 local rating for Bruins games in November, marking the highest average monthly Bruins rating in net history. The rating is up 33% over the previous best monthly average of 4.0 recorded in March last season (NESN). The Nov. 23 Sabres-Bruins game also drew the highest TV rating so far this season on MSG, posting a 12.1 local rating (Sabres).
In Dayton, B.J. Bethel writes ESPN is “turning into the worldwide leader in conflict of interest, a term that comes to mind every time the network is beaten by Yahoo! Sports or someone else on a major investigative story.” As the Bernie Fine scandal “has shown, there are right and wrong ways to handle big-time journalism.” Bethel: “Right now, ESPN is failing” (DAYTON DAILY NEWS, 12/5). But the GLOBE & MAIL’s Bruce Dowbiggin writes separation of journalism from police “is a distinction that is often difficult for lay people to fathom.” There is “no comfortable answer to ESPN’s decision, but it’s not out of line with journalistic ethics” (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/5). Meanwhile, ESPN Senior VP & Dir of News Vince Doria yesterday appeared on CNN's "Reliable Sources" to discuss the Fine case (THE DAILY).
HANGING UP THE MIKE: In K.C., Sam Mellinger noted Frank White’s broadcasting contract with the Royals “was not renewed, a move the team and Fox Sports Kansas City announced on Friday, the final crack in a long crumbling relationship between icon and franchise.” White said, “I’m done with the Royals. In all aspects. I’m tired. I’ve worked so hard to build my reputation and prove to them that I was loyal.” White, who played his entire 18-year MLB career with the Royals, “swears he’s done doing anything on the team’s behalf, and wonders if he’ll tell the Royals to take his retired number off the Hall of Fame facade in left field” (K.C. STAR, 12/3).
THROWING A WRENCH IN THE EQUATION: In N.Y., Howard Beck looked at how Celtics G Ray Allen’s filmed appearance on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover” was an “odd casualty of the NBA lockout.” Because Celtics product and garb was featured in the show, Allen "could not be,” and while NBA execs “notified the show’s producers about the restrictions in September,” Allen said he did not learn that his scene -- shot in September -- would be cut from the show until Thursday night, in an e-mail from the producers. He was told it was “because of the lockout.” But the NBA “contacted the show’s producers on Friday to say” any future legal concerns about using players or player images “were now moot,” and ABC “subsequently posted Allen’s scenes” on ABC.com and YouTube (N.Y. TIMES, 12/3).
PROGRAMMING CHANGE: USA TODAY’s Sergio Non reports Bellator Fighting Championships “will shift its live events to Friday starting in 2012 with its sixth season.” Instead of “going head-to-head” with UFC, Bellator will “try its hand against smaller-scale events.” The MMA organization “has yet to figure out starting times for Friday’s broadcasts” on MTV2 (USA TODAY, 12/5).