SBD/December 29, 2011/Media

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  • ESPN's "MNF" Season Audience Down From '10; NFL Net Sees Best Figures Yet

    ESPN averaged an 8.4 U.S. Nielsen rating and 13.3 million viewers for its 17 “MNF” telecasts this season, down 8% and 10%, respectively, from last year’s record-setting 9.1 rating and 14.7 million viewers. However, “MNF” remained the most-viewed series on cable TV for the sixth straight year, and drew 13 of cable TV’s 20 largest audiences. “MNF” also delivered ESPN a win during each of its nights among males 18-34 and 18-49. The net’s most-viewed game this season was Redskins-Cowboys on Sept. 26. That game averaged a 10.6 rating and 17.1 million viewers, marking ESPN’s ninth-largest “MNF” audience among its 102 games to date. But the ’11 season also featured two of ESPN’s 10 smallest “MNF” audiences since it acquired the package before the ’06 season. Both games featured the Jaguars, with the team’s Oct. 24 matchup against the Ravens averaging 9.3 million viewers and the Dec. 5 matchup against the Chargers averaging 9.5 million viewers. 
     

    ESPN "MNF" AUDIENCE TREND
    YEAR
    U.S. RATING
    VIEWERS (000)
    '11
    8.4
    13,252
    '10
    9.1
    14,657
    '09
    9.0
    14,382
    '08
    7.6
    11,962
    '07
    7.3
    11,230
    '06
    8.2
    12,325
         
    MOST-VIEWED "MNF" GAMES DURING '11 SEASON
    WEEK
    DATE
    MATCHUP
    RAT.
    VIEWERS (000)
    3
    9/26
    Redskins-Cowboys
    10.6
    17,104
    9
    11/7
    Bears-Eagles
    10.7
    16,847
    15
    12/19
    Steelers-49ers
    10.1
    16,677
    5
    10/10
    Bears-Lions
    10.3
    16,378
    16
    12/26
    Falcons-Saints
    9.2
    15,638
             
    LEAST-VIEWED "MNF" GAMES DURING '11 SEASON
    WEEK
    DATE
    MATCHUP
    RAT.
    VIEWERS (000)
    7
    10/24
    Ravens-Jaguars
    6.1
    9,275
    13
    12/5
    Chargers-Jaguars
    6.1
    9,466
    14
    12/12
    Rams-Seahawks
    6.2
    9,880
    4
    10/3
    Colts-Buccaneers
    7.0
    10,837
    1
    9/12
    Raiders-Broncos
    7.1
    11,109
             

    CRAZY EIGHTS: NFL Network averaged a record-setting 3.6 U.S. rating and 6.188 million viewers for its eight regular-season games this season, up 13% and 9%, respectively, from last year’s previous records of a 3.2 rating and 5.7 million viewers. The net was buoyed the Thanksgiving night 49ers-Ravens game, which averaged 10.7 million viewers, marking the net’s most-viewed telecast to date. This season’s slate of games on NFL Net featured three of its top 10 most-viewed games ever and five of the top 15. As with ESPN’s “MNF,” a Jaguars’ game marked the smallest audience among NFL Net’s slate this season, with the Dec. 15 matchup against the Falcons averaging 4.0 million viewers (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

    NFL NETWORK GAME AUDIENCE TREND
    YEAR
    U.S. RATING
    VIEWERS (000)
    '11
    3.6
    6,188
    '10
    3.2
    5,705
    '09
    3.1
    5,548
    '08
    2.3
    3,738
    '07
    2.7
    4,650
    '06
    n/a
    3,100
         
    RATINGS TRENDING DOWN AS A WHOLE: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand reported it "looks like regular-season ratings will finish down from 2010." The NFL entering Week 16 "was averaging 10.6% of U.S. households per game broadcast, down 1% from 2010, when the league set modern-era TV records with its best season since 1996." Last weekend's ratings were down "partly from low overall TV viewing Saturday," and this coming weekend's schedule "has weaknesses; Fox's late-afternoon slot consists of two underwhelming games" in Seahawks-Cardinals and Buccaneers-Falcons (USA TODAY, 12/28).

    RULES OF THE TRADE: FOXSPORTS.com's Mike Pereira wrote he is "not a fan" of ESPN "MNF" analyst Jon Gruden, not "when I worked for the NFL and not when I was working on the field as a side judge." Gruden was a "loudmouth as a coach who constantly disrespected officials and he is a blowhard in the broadcast booth who spouts off when he doesn't know what he is talking about." During Monday's Falcons-Saints game, Gruden during the second quarter "butchered two plays regarding hits on defenseless receivers." Pereira: "To me, the second you agree to step into the broadcast booth, you agree to learn the rules. It goes with the job. You, as an announcer, have an obligation to know the rules." However, Gruden "didn't know the difference" between the two hits. Pereira wrote, "Gruden said he doesn't understand how games are being officiated? Correctly and consistently in this case. But that's OK, Jon. Just throw the officials under the bus when you don't know the rules. Officials are often criticized and sometimes, deservedly so. Not in this case, however. It is Gruden who deserves the criticism" (FOXSPORTS.com, 12/28).

    Print | Tags: Media, NFL, ESPN
  • Flyers Coach Peter Laviolette Steals The Show In Latest Installment Of "24/7"

    Laviolette was the star of the third installment of HBO's "24/7" series

    Flyers coach Peter Laviolette "stole the show" in the third installment of HBO's "24/7: Flyers-Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic," according to Matt Mullin of PHILLY.com. From the "opening scene, this was Laviolette's coming out party." With a "flurry of obscenities, he bashed his team for sloppy and lazy play between periods of their game against" the Avalanche. He told his team, "I want you to go out and rip someone’s heart out of their (bleep)ing chest. And if you don’t, you’re probably not going to like your ice time." Although the Flyers went on to lose in a shootout, they "did just what their coach directed." Mullin noted the "language of the show has been much discussed, but there is no question that the team responds to the brash way in which Laviolette conducts himself in the locker room." He "doesn't seem to care that cameras are on him," and he "doesn't hold back." His "locker room vocabulary can almost exclusively be found in George Carlin's famous 'Seven Dirty Words' routine." Perhaps the "most memorable moment from this episode were the three words Laviolette had for Stars winger Steve Ott after the two bumped into each other in the tunnel between periods." Ott "took offense to Laviolette heading up the tunnel first, which is usually reserved for the home team." But Laviolette "didn't offer an apology." He said, "Go (bleep) yourself" (PHILLY.com, 12/28).

    LEAVING YOU WANTING MORE: ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun wrote the episode "didn't disappoint Wednesday night, packing a show chock full of terrific scenes, leaving you hungry for the final installment centered around Monday's Winter Classic." Some of LeBrun's favorite moments from the third episode included Rangers C Brad Richards hosting a holiday party at his place in N.Y., and Rangers RW Marion Gaborik "buying a Christmas tree at a neighborhood store and carrying it over his shoulder back home." LeBrun also noted, "I must give HBO credit for getting Laviolette on camera after that Dallas game and trying desperately to get him to talk about it. Laviolette didn't bite" (ESPN.com, 12/28). YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski writes, "Overall, this was another strong episode, highlighted by holiday absurdity, the resolution of storylines, some nasty little moments during games and the ongoing exploration of a Cosmonaut [Flyers G Ilya Bryzgalov] and his dog." The sweater worn by Rangers D Michael Del Zotto during the team's holiday party "may be the greatest non-Bryzgalov moment" of the season (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/29).

    Print | Tags: Media, Hockey, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers
  • SI.com Names Mike Mayock Person Of The Year In '11 Media Awards

    Mayock was named SI.com's media person of the year for 2011

    SI.com’s Richard Deitsch yesterday announced his ’11 Media Awards and named NFL Network and NBC’s Mike Mayock his “Person of the Year,” noting that he is “a worthy pick for SI.com's highest media award.” Mayock “talks a lot during a broadcast but unlike many others, he speaks from a prepared place, a broadcaster with a qualified opinion about his subject matter.” Mayock also joined ESPN’s Jay Bilas and Doris Burke as the “Best Game Analyst.” The performance of the three "isn't about personality, and each has grinded out an impressive career through smarts and professionalism." Deitsch wrote, "When they do a game, I usually learn something. As a viewer, there is no better result.” The following are some more of Deitsch's honorees.
        * CBS’ Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts and TNT’s Marv Albert and Steve Kerr were named the “Announcing Team of the Year.” Deitsch noted he “didn't catch Eagle and Fouts often in 2011, but when I did, I loved what I heard.” Deitsch: “It's a duo that doesn't take itself seriously but still delivers a thoughtful, smart broadcast for viewers.” Meanwhile, Albert and Kerr were “sensational on the NBA and they carried that chemistry over to the NCAA tournament when they did games for CBS and Turner.”
        * ESPN’s Terry Francona was named the “Best Newcomer” for ’11 after the former Red Sox manager made his broadcasting debut filling in for Tim McCarver for Fox’ first two games of the ALCS. Francona was “insightful and genuinely funny, both valuable commodities in broadcasting.” Deitsch: “Though I imagine he'll be back in baseball sooner than later, Francona has a chance to be very good if he works at the job.”
        * NBA TV and TNT’s Chris Webber was named “Most Improved,” as he has “great depth about the league and doesn't sugarcoat his opinions.” He is a “smart guy who acts like someone who takes broadcasting as a profession rather than a hobby.”
        * ESPN2's “Fantasy Football Now” was named the “Best Studio Show.” There are “no fluff pieces, no over-the-top chuckling at everything Shannon Sharpe says, no Chris Berman kissing the butt of all things Roger Goodell.” It is “heavy on information and informed judgment,” and it “deserves notice and has carved out a nice niche among fantasy fans with zero promotion from its own company in relation to 'Sunday NFL Countdown'" (SI.com, 12/28).

    MORE YEAR-END THOUGHTS: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones named his “Ten awesome sports things on TV” this past year. The top spot went to MLB Network’s “countdown of the 20 best games of the past 50 years.” Jones awarded the second spot to ESPN’s “PTI,” which “remains the best daily sports show on TV,” with the net's “Sports Reporters” coming in third as the “best weekly sports show on TV.” Jones wrote he has "grown tired" of ESPN’s Merril Hoge, Fox’ Gus Johnson and ESPN’s Steve Young, while he wants more of ESPN’s David Pollack, Rays TV analyst Brian Anderson and ESPN’s Trent Dilfer  in '12 (TAMPABAY.com, 12/28).

    Print | Tags: Media
  • Ratings Notes

    The Thunder earned a "regular-season record" combined rating in the Oklahoma City market for their season-opening game against the Magic Sunday night -- an 8.3 on ESPN and a 3.2 on FS Oklahoma. It marked the highest-rated telecast ever on ESPN for a Thunder game. The team also earned a 7.1 rating on FS Oklahoma for Monday's game against the T'Wolves (OKLAHOMAN, 12/28)....FS Southwest earned an 8.8 local rating in San Antonio for the Spurs' season-opening game against the Grizzlies Monday. The game was the highest-rated program in the market for the night (Spurs)....YES Network drew a 0.8 local rating for Monday's Nets-Wizards game, marking the Nets' "highest opening night rating since the 2007 opener" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 12/28).

    RANGERS TIE MARK: The NHL Rangers' 3-0 win over the Islanders Monday night drew a 1.6 local rating on MSG, tying the Nov. 29 game against the Penguins as the team's highest-rated contest this season. Through 32 games, MSG is averaging a 0.85 rating, a 16% increase compared to last season (MSG).

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