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TBS earned a 4.6 overnight rating for the Orioles' extra-inning win over the Yankees in Game 4 of the ALDS, topping the 4.4 overnight earned by NFL Network for the Steelers-Titans "Thursday Night Football" telecast. Orioles-Yankees earned a 4.1 rating from 7:30-9:00pm ET, then dipped slightly to a 4.0 rating during the Vice Presidential debate from 9:00-10:30pm. Once the debate ended, the rating jumped up to a 5.4 rating from 10:30pm until the game's conclusion at 12:15am (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
FOR THE BIRDS? In St. Louis, Dan Caesar writes MLB Network's Cardinals-Nationals NLDS Game 3 experienced "a ratings thud in St. Louis and a bevy of unhappy fans who don't purchase MLB Network -- or don't even have access to buying it because it's not carried by their programming provider." The 11.7 local rating in St. Louis "not only was significantly lower than what the Redbirds have been doing on TBS ... but didn't even rival some regular-season viewership levels." Caesar: "To put things in perspective, 14 regular-season Cards telecasts this season had a rating equal to or higher than what MLB Network generated" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/12). In DC, Dan Steinberg notes the game earned a 2.8 local rating (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/11).
WORTHY OF PRAISE: In Baltimore, David Zurawik writes Wednesday's Orioles-Yankees ALDS Game 3 was "another great playoff game ... and once again, TBS delivered a telecast worthy of it in almost every way." TBS' Cal Ripken Jr. is "doing a very good job as an analyst," and he is "doing it with the same kind of integrity and inquisitiveness that he brought to the game when he played." Ripken, Ernie Johnson and John Smoltz are "taking us inside some truths not only of this great series, but also the game of baseball" (Baltimore SUN, 10/12). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes of Thursday's Orioles-Yankees ALDS Game 4, "For the second consecutive night, the suits got a nerve-wracking, extra-inning affair that will probably produce some healthy ratings." The "close nature of each tilt has made for exciting telecasts." As was the case in the first three games, Smoltz "was the dominant voice." That means "plenty of pitching talk. He was not at a loss for insight." For the second straight night, "and probably much to the disdain of the Yankees, Ripken commented on how quiet the crowd is at the new Stadium" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/12).
JEER ME, BOYS: Meanwhile, in N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes, TBS, "throughout these MLB playoffs, has been unable to perform the simplest task: Providing an instantly discernible, right-now score, inning-and-count box in the corner of the screen." The crew of Johnson, Smoltz and Ripken "quickly established itself as another non-stop baseball lecture series when we only signed up to watch a game" (N.Y. POST, 10/12).
FIELD OF DREAMS: YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Passan writes under the header, "Postseason Of Bud Selig's Dreams As Every Division Playoff Series Goes The Distance." MLB is "having one of its finest weeks ever, one in which every grand moment seems to tie into another." This is "no hyperbole, no exaggeration." Passan: "The facts bear it out. Take the most important one first: For the first time ever, teams will play all 20 of the possible division series games" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/12). In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes, "For a second day in row, it was hooky heaven, baseball's revamped wild-card schedule stocking our televisions with the heaviest yet brightest postseason baseball we've seen in years" (L.A. TIMES, 10/12). In a special to USA TODAY, the paper's Founder Al Neuharth writes MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "gets a home run for adding two additional wild card teams this year." However, the "only problem is that if there is a seven-game World Series this year, it won't end until Nov. 1." If MLB is to "continue as America's pastime, a season running from April through October is its best bet." Fewer days off "will make that possible" (USA TODAY, 10/12).
N.Y. STATE OF MIND: On Long Island, Anthony Rieber writes Yankees radio play-by-play announcer John Sterling "has not gone through the process of trademarking his signature game and home run calls," and neither has Yankees TV play-by-play announcer Michael Kay with his "See Ya!" home run call. Kay said that he "once looked into it," but "decided against it." Kay: "It was actually a very long process and it was going to be somewhat expensive." Sterling said, "I'm so stupid that I haven't! Stupid! Lazy and stupid. Really" (NEWSDAY, 10/12).
F1 is close to signing a multiyear U.S. rights deal with NBC Sports, according to several sources. The deal could be signed as early as this afternoon. NBC is expected to make a formal announcement early next week. Terms of the deal are not yet known, but sources said NBC outbid Fox. Sources valued Fox' previous deal in the low seven figures annually. The move ends a 16-year relationship between Fox and F1, as the racing circuit first sold its U.S. rights to Fox in '96. In the ensuing years, Fox showed a handful of races every year on its broadcast network, but the majority were on Speed. Fox Sports VP/Communications Lou D'Ermilio said, "It's disappointing to learn that F1 has elected to move forward with a different media partner. Speed has been the U.S. voice of F1 since the mid '90s, and it is a passion for many people at the network. Fox Sports Media Group made what we believed to be a fiscally responsible bid based on the sport's current viewership levels, but F1 has elected to go in another direction. We wish them well." NBC and F1 have agreed to a similar deal to what the racing circuit had with Fox, with the broadcast net carrying a small number of races each year and NBC Sports Network carrying the bulk of the schedule. The move helps NBC as it looks to build up the programming lineup on NBCSN with more live sports. The move also fits Fox Sports' strategy, as it is in the process of switching its Speed cable channel into an all-sports channel called Fox Sports 1. That channel would carry programming like MLB, college football and UFC. There is less of a need for racing programming like F1.
SiriusXM Radio Thursday announced the creation of new soccer channel, SiriusXM FC. The channel will launch Monday and feature soccer content around the clock, including live match broadcsats (Sirius). In N.Y., Jack Bell reported the channel “will also be available to subscribers using a smartphone app and online.” It “joins a satellite sports lineup that includes SiriusXM NFL Radio, MLB Network Radio and SiriusXM Nascar Radio.” SiriusXM President & Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein said, “We’ve built successful sports channels without the benefit of play-by-play. No one else has succeeded in doing that.” Sirius “first dipped its toes into the soccer waters when ‘The Football Show,’ with Charlie Stillitano and Giorgio Chinaglia, who died earlier this year, went live in 2006.” That show “now includes” Stillitano along with John Harkes, Ray Hudson and Neil Barnett on weekdays at 7:00am ET. The channel in '06 also “began carrying live commentary from the UEFA Champions League.” Now it has added games from the EPL, England’s FA Cup and "just signed a deal to carry live broadcasts of playoff games" for MLS, which begin in three weeks. The channel will also carry “MLS Extra Time” on Mondays and Thursdays at 7:00pm, “Men in Blazers” with Roger Bennett and Michael Davies, “Fox Soccer News” daily at 10:00pm, and programming from U.K.-based TalkSport (NYTIMES.com, 10/11).
ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WAHL: Fox Soccer on Thursday announced the addition of SI’s Grant Wahl as a weekly contributor beginning Tuesday to the net’s shows, including “Goals On Sunday” and “Fox Soccer News." Wahl will report from N.Y. and his analysis will complement commentary and discussions from studio host Rob Stone and analysts Warren Barton, Eric Wynalda and Brian McBride (Fox Soccer).
ESPN Radio is "about to get blitzed," as Cumulus Media in January "will drop its programming from 47 stations and pick up rival CBS Sports Radio," according to Claire Atkinson of the N.Y. POST. Cumulus plans to "syndicate CBS to other independent stations and work to woo Madison Avenue." The moves come as "part of the partnership Cumulus struck with CBS over the summer to help get the fledgling sports radio network off the ground." As a result, CBS Sports Radio "will air on around 100 stations, reaching about 10 million households, when it officially launches on Jan. 2." However, ESPN will "continue to beat [CBS] in total audience by a long shot," as the outlet "boasts 350 station affiliates and reaches an estimated 30 million households." CBS Radio President & CEO Dan Mason said, "ESPN affiliates are in small markets. Maybe you find that adds up to a lot of audience." ESPN Senior VP/Production & Business Divisions Traug Keller said, "This has no material effect on us. There's only three or four (Cumulus) stations in the top 50." He added that ESPN Radio "has already found new affiliates in Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala." (N.Y. POST, 10/12).
Primetime football dominated the TV schedule last Saturday night, with three games on broadcast TV, as well as games on ESPN and ESPN2. ABC’s Nebraska-Ohio State led the way with a 3.1 rating and 5.2 million viewers, winning the night among all programs. Fox’ West Virginia-Texas matchup ranked second with a 2.9 rating/4.6 million viewers. ESPN’s Georgia-South Carolina earned a 2.3 rating/4.0 million viewers, topping NBC’s Miami-Notre Dame matchup, which drew a 2.2 rating/3.7 million viewers. However, NBC's Notre Dame audience through three games is up 45% from last year (4.2 million viewers vs. 2.9 million). ESPN2’s Florida State-NC State telecast earned a 0.8 rating/1.3 million viewers (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
SEASON'S GREETINGS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Stewart & Jannarone note Nielsen data shows TV viewing of “both cable and broadcast networks among adults under age 50 fell for the first two weeks of the new fall season, … a much weaker start than the industry experienced last year.” The major broadcast nets “lost an average of 15% of their viewers” in the 18-49 demo compared with the first two weeks of last season. In that same group, “viewership of ad-supported cable channels dropped 1%.” The early results are “promising for at least one network: NBC.” Its 18-49 audience is up 11%, “hinting at a nascent comeback for the network after years in the prime-time doldrums.” NBC has been “elevated by ‘Sunday Night Football,’ the highest-rated show on television.” The “worst hit” have been Fox and CBS, “each down around 25% in the 18-49 demographic that is most important to advertisers” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/12).
EYEBALL BATTLE IN THE ATL: In Atlanta, Tim Tucker noted the Falcons’ TV ratings are “keeping pace with the team’s record.” The team has averaged a 23.7 local rating in Atlanta for their first five games, up from a 19.2 last year. Last Sunday’s Redskins-Falcons game on Fox averaged a 25.4 local rating, compared to a 16.8 rating for ESPN’s Georgia-South Carolina football game on Saturday night. TBS’ Cardinals-Braves NL Wild Card earned a 9.1 local rating last Friday and ESPN’s Georgia Tech-Clemson game on Saturday afternoon drew a 5.3 rating (AJC.com, 10/9).
NOTES: CBS’ telecast of Bills-49ers last Sunday began with a 33.4 local rating in Buffalo “when the game started around” 4:30pm ET. By “the time the game ended around” 7:15pm, the rating was down to 22.5 (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 10/9)….YES Network’s postgame show after Wednesday night's Orioles-Yankees ALDS Game 3 averaged a 1.73 local rating, making it the highest-rated first-round playoff postgame show on the net since October '04 (YES)….Fox Deportes’ live sports news and information program “Central Fox” finished August and September as the most-viewed Spanish-language sports news program on cable TV (Fox).
The charts below list final Nielsen ratings from recent telecasts. All ratings listed are U.S. ratings. Select figures for Fox were unavailable at presstime.
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) "NFL on CBS":
"Sunday Night Football":
"NFL on CBS": (regional)10/7CBS1:00-4:15pm7.6n/a "Football Night in America"10/7NBC7:30-8:15pm5.38,700 NCAA Football: Florida-LSU10/6CBS3:30-7:00pm4.6n/a NCAA Football: Nebraska-Ohio State10/6ABC8:06-11:53pm3.15,161 NCAA Football: West Virginia-Texas10/6Fox7:03-10:41pm2.94,555 NCAA Football: Miami-Notre Dame10/6NBC7:30-11:00pm2.23,680 "The NFL Today"10/7CBS12:00-1:00pm2.2n/a NCAA Football: (regional)10/6ABC3:30-7:00pm2.0n/a "College Football Today"10/6CBS3:00-3:30pm1.3n/a NCAA Football: Navy-Air Force10/6CBS11:30am-3:00pm1.1n/a PBR: Philadelphia Invitational (taped)10/7NBC2:00-3:30pm0.6n/a America's Cup World Series (taped)10/7NBC4:30-6:00pm0.6n/a "College Football Countdown"10/6ABC3:00-3:30pm0.5n/a Red Bull Signature Series:
Joy Ride (taped)10/6NBC1:30-3:30pm0.4n/a
MLS: Fire-Red Bulls10/6NBC3:30-6:00pm0.4n/a WNBA Western Conference Finals:
Lynx-Sparks: Game 210/7ABC3:30-5:30pm0.4n/a
UCI Road Cycling World
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) "Monday Night Football":
"Thursday Night Football":
MLB AL Wild Card: Orioles-Rangers10/5TBS8:49pm-12:08am3.45,304 NASCAR Sprint Cup: Good Sam
Roadside Assistance 500 (Talladega)10/7ESPN2:00-5:35pm3.25,113
MLB NL Wild Card: Cardinals-Braves10/5TBS5:00-8:44pm2.63,990 MLB ALDS:
Yankees-Orioles: Game 110/7TBS8:31pm-12:22am2.43,903
"Thursday Night Football Pre-Kick"10/4NFLN8:00-8:30pm2.33,351 MLB NLDS: Reds-Giants: Game 110/6TBS9:30pm-1:13am1.93,119 MLB ALDS: A's-Tigers: Game 110/6TBS6:00-9:16pm1.93,091
In Boston, Steve Bulpett writes "ESPN and the NBA are out of their quest-for-world-domination minds if they don’t do whatever it takes to get [Stan] Van Gundy on the air, despite his latest outburst." Putting someone on your air who is "well-spoken, knowledgeable and fearless is the clearest path to ratings glory." If the NBA "didn’t like something he said, we’re certain ESPN would afford David Stern or one of his surrogates ample time for rebuttal." It would be "great television and exposure for the business partners and a must-see forum for followers of the game" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/12).
LIKE A PACK OF CRAZED DOGS: DAILY VARIETY's A.J. Marechal reported Showtime Sports and CBS Sports are teaming for a feature-length documentary titled "LT: The Life and Times." Slated "for next year," the film "centers on the life" of Pro Football HOFer Lawrence Taylor. The collaboration between Showtime and CBS "will be in association with NFL Films" (VARIETY.com, 10/11). In N.Y., Lynn Zinser reported the doc "aims to shed as much light on Taylor's off-field life as his on-field dominance." Filming "began a few weeks ago," and CBS Sports Creative Dir Pete Radovich said that "it has gone well so far." (NYTIMES.com, 10/11).
MICROPHONE CHECK: In Boston, Chad Finn cites sources as saying that Jon Meterparel, who has handled the “Sports Flash’’ updates on WEEI’s "Dennis and Callahan" morning show since ‘00, is "expected to depart the station soon.” Meterparel did not comment (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/12).
IF IT'S IN THE GAME: Data from research firm NPD Group shows that EA Sports' "Madden NFL '13" in September sold 11% more units than last year's release, "the most ever for a 'Madden' game in a single month" (L.A. TIMES, 10/12).