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The Tigers-Giants World Series opener last night earned the second-lowest Game 1 overnight on record. Fox earned an 8.8 overnight from 8:00-11:30pm ET, down 8% from a 9.6 for Cardinals-Rangers Game 1 last year. It marks the second-lowest World Series opener ever, behind only the Cardinals-Tigers opener in ’06, which aired on a Saturday night. Last night’s game peaked during the 9:00pm and 9:30pm half-hours with a 9.7 rating. The telecast started with a 7.5 rating in the 8:00pm half-hour and was only down 3% heading into the 10:00pm hour, when a lopsided score led the net to finish with a 7.5 rating in the 11:00pm half-hour. Despite the lower overall number, Fox did win the night among all nets, averaging a 9.0 rating in primetime. Fox also earned its best night in primetime since the "American Idol" finale in May. The game earned a 32.3 local rating in the S.F.-Oakland-San Jose market and a 33.2 rating in Detroit. The game also earned a 25.4 rating in the Sacramento market (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
SOCIAL STUDIES: Game 1 generated 813,000 social media comments, making it the second-most discussed game on social media in MLB postseason history, trailing only last year's World Series Game 6. The game last night also generated more than five times as many public Facebook and Twitter comments as the next highest-ranking show on TV (+412%), and +79% more comments than the next nine most talked about shows on TV last night, according to data from Bluefin Labs. The three home runs from Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval sparked the biggest social media buzz, as 163,881 comments featured the words "Pablo," "Sandoval" or "Panda," representing 20.2% of all conversations around the game. On Twitter, #WorldSeries was the most widely-used hashtag of the night, featured in 15% of all comments (Karp).MCCARVER IS A FAN-ILOW: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Tim Goodman wrote Fox' Joe Buck and Tim McCarver "are often a lightning rod for critics," and last night "they had one doozy." As AT&T Park's "noisy, sell-out crowd chanted 'Bar-ry! Bar-ry! Bar-ry!'" to Giants P Barry Zito, McCarver "accurately noted that such a chant was a real rarity for the formerly maligned pitcher." Buck said, “They used to say it for somebody else around here.” Goodman noted the reference "was clearly" to former MLBer Barry Bonds. However, McCarver followed up by saying, “When Barry Manilow was playing -- in a concert” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 10/24). Comcast SportsNet Washington's Mark Zuckerman wrote on his Twitter account, "When you think they chanted 'Barry' in San Fran for Manilow, not Bonds ... you probably shouldn't be announcing the World Series anymore." Blogger Ed Sherman wrote, "At least Barry Manilow wasn't on steroids."
NO AVERAGE JOE: SI's Michael Rosenberg profiles Buck and notes he has "one of the most familiar voices in America -- it's the sound track to many of the biggest football games and the World Series." To a generation of fans, Buck is "the voice of fall." McCarver "marvels at his partner's ability to manage a game, to describe the action as it happens and to be witty without acting as if the game is just a backdrop for his comedy act." Buck "prepares like an A student." He "reads every story he can find on the teams in question, and quizzes managers and coaches about their plans." But when the light goes on, Buck "is not a prisoner of his research" (SI, 10/29 issue). Buck, when asked if the Giants are a tough sell to casual baseball fans, said, "I think the casual baseball fan latches onto a series … I think if there’s one thing we've learned doing this 17 years now, you need games and storylines to develop and you need to get to game six and seven. Then it doesn't matter who is playing, people really want to see the outcome. It has to build." Buck added, "I don’t worry about ratings at all, personally. But I’m a fan of my network, and the executives at my network being happy, and ratings has a part in that. I get both sides of it" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 10/24). During an acknowledgement last night at AT&T Park for Stand Up 2 Cancer, Buck and McCarver were shown on-air holding up signs for MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner, who is fighting a brain tumor, and Mets Senior Media Relations Dir Shannon Forde, who is battling breast cancer (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
SWEET NEW TOYS: BROADCASTENGINEERING.com's Michael Grotticelli reported Fox during its World Series coverage is "using a special high-frame rate SloMo camera rig put together by a specialty production company in Jacksonville, Vermont called Inertia Unlimited." The rig is called the “X-Mo” ultra slow-motion Phantom camera system. A "total of five" X-Mo systems will be used at both AT&T Park and Comerica Park. The X-Mo system will "provide the most compelling slow motion ever seen" (BROADCASTENGINEERING.com, 10/24). BLOOMBERG NEWS' Ira Boudway wrote baseball as a viewing spectacle "is more fragile than basketball or football," but both Fox and TBS "seem to understand this." There are "small variations in the approach between the two networks." Fox "goes for lots of super close-ups of the pitcher’s face, which can make the game feel like a Kevin Costner movie." TBS "tends toward wider angles that feel more like watching from the stands." Generally both "let the game fill the frame." Even when they "do get in the way, they’re trying to help." Fox is "a little too pleased with its new replay camera that captures 5,000 frames per second and slows the action down to an underwater crawl." TBS, for its part, "could probably do without the graphic in the lower left corner of the screen that shows the location of every pitch as it crosses the plate" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 10/24).
DREAM JOB(S): Fox' Erin Andrews said that her dual role that includes her serving as a dugout reporter during the World Series and hosting the net's Saturday college football show "has been a bit of a juggling act." Andrews: "This has been amazing, are you kidding? I was running around today and feeling like I wasn't getting enough stuff done, with this series and then for college football. I just thought to myself, 'I'm working Game 1 of the World Series.' I started skipping down the street. I was like, 'This is so exciting'" (MLB.com, 10/24).
YOU CAN'T SEE ME: In Connecticut, Greg Seigle notes Cablevision subscribers in the state are "shutout from watching the World Series." About 50,000 homes "couldn't watch the game at home due to the ongoing dispute between Cablevision and the Tribune Company, which has left Fox CT in the dark since Aug. 24." In a "last minute appeal Tuesday, Cablevision asked Tribune to lift the veil on Fox and let viewers see the games, but Tribune refused" (Litchfield County REGISTER CITIZEN, 10/25).
Cox Cable yesterday said that its offer to carry Time Warner Cable SportsNet and the Spanish-language TWC Deportes "on a specialty tier along with other sports channels was rebuffed," according to Joe Flint of the L.A. TIMES. Cox in a statement said, "We are committed to meeting the needs of all Cox customers, not just sports fans." The company added, "The price for the Lakers is one of the highest wholesale prices that we have seen." Flint notes Cox "has 1.2 million subscribers in Southern California," and TWC is "seeking as much as $3.95 per-month, per-subscriber for the two channels." Cox Senior VP/California Operations Dave Bialis said, "I think it is extremely expensive for basically a one-team channel." Flint writes although Cox "offered to make the two channels available on an a la carte basis," TWC has "consistently said that it wants the channels available to as many homes as possible and not sold separately." If TWC "doesn't get deals done soon, millions of Lakers fans will be missing a lot of basketball" (L.A. TIMES, 10/25). TWC in a statement responded, "Any assertion that we are the highest priced regional sports outlet in the country is simply untrue; as a significant buyer of regional sports across the country, we know that there are higher priced regional sports networks, including Root Sports that we buy from DirecTV. Cox and DirecTV know that there is no regional sports network anywhere in the country that is offered on an optional tier -- that would be unprecedented" (THE DAILY).
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? In L.A., Tom Hoffarth notes Basketball HOFer and Dodgers investor Magic Johnson "offered his reassurance that he believes something will get done with deals involving DirecTV, Dish, Charter, Cox, Verizon FiOS and AT&T Uverse leading up to the Lakers' regular-season opener next week." Johnson said, "I believe they're working on it for all the fans. I hope it happens soon because the hype for this team and the anticipation is so off the charts" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 10/25).
The Bears and CBS Radio Chicago yesterday announced an exclusive multiyear deal to keep the team’s radio broadcast rights on WBBM-AM and WCKG-FM while extending the Bears coverage across CBS Radio’s five other Chicago stations. WBBM has been the radio home of the Bears since ’00. The deal will see all CBS Radio Chicago stations feature a segment with a Bears player every Monday morning during the season. Additionally, WSCR-AM’s “Bears All-Access” will become a year-round weekly program and a short Bears vignette will be broadcast Saturday evenings on WSCR and replayed on WBBM and WCKG through Sunday morning (Bears). In Chicago, Danny Ecker reported the Bears will have the “ability to launch a team radio station” on WCKG’s HD3 channel. HD3 is a “separate broadcasting channel for those with HD radio receivers.” The White Sox have a “similar option in their broadcast deal with CBS Radio, which could one day serve as a new source of revenue.” However, like most other pro teams, the White Sox are “waiting for broader HD radio adoption to make a team station financially viable” (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 10/24).
ESPN’s Trevor Matich noted that Univ. of Texas football coach Mack Brown is “not down on the Longhorn Network” despite his comments earlier this week, as Brown also mentioned the “good things that it provides.” Matich said, "They're in the second year now of a 20-year run, so they've made some adjustments as they've seen how it's affected the program." The net this year "restricted a little bit of the access of the cameras to meeting rooms so that they can just focus on football sometimes in certain sensitive meetings and it doesn't feel like a TV show so much." Matich noted Brown sees LHN "as a very positive long-term thing for the program," but the net and the football program "will need over the next couple of years to shake out the logistics” ("College Football Live," ESPN, 10/24).
HELP WANTED: THE BIG LEAD's Jason McIntyre cites sources as saying that ESPN "tried to hire Yahoo NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski to beef up its basketball reporting" after NBA writer Ric Bucher took a new position last month. A source said that Wojnarowski "decided to stay at Yahoo." Bucher also has a "new gig" as a radio host with KGMZ-FM in S.F. He said that "there's a chance he could return to ESPN as an independent contractor beginning January 1" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 10/24).
RE-RUN SEASON: ESPN.com's Dan Rafael noted HBO's "24/7" reality series will "yet again" feature boxers Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez "as they prepare for their fourth fight against each other" on Dec. 8. This year's show will be a "four-part series," and debuts Nov. 17 (ESPN.com, 10/24).
GAME BOY: USA TODAY's Brett Molina wrote 2K Sports' recent "NBA 2K13" release "continues to cement the series as one of the best sports video games available." The pace of the game "has picked up ... so expect more opportunities to push the fast break." Also, for the first time, voice controls "have been enabled for Kinect owners, allowing them to bark out plays to virtual teammates" (USA TODAY, 10/24).