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Fox averaged an 8.9 overnight Nielsen rating over the four games of the ’12 World Series, putting this year’s Fall Classic on pace to be the lowest-rated of all time. Through four games last year, Fox was averaging a 9.3 overnight. Last night’s series-clinching Giants-Tigers Game 4 earned a 10.6 overnight, leading Fox a win in primetime when combined with the net’s NFL national window overrun. The Game 4 telecast peaked at a 13.0 rating in the 11:45pm-12:00am ET window when the game was in extra innings. The game marked Fox' best primetime program since the “American Idol” finale in May and marked the net's best night of primetime since the NFC Championship last January. Game 4 earned a 38.7 local rating in the S.F.-Oakland-San Jos market, which is the market’s best figure for any MLB telecast since a 41.5 rating for Game 7 of the Angels-Giants World Series in ’02. In Detroit, the game earned a 37.9 local rating, which is the best for any MLB game since Cardinals-Tigers World Series Game 2 in ’06 (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE? USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes the World Series “looks on track to be the lowest-rated ever,” and there "aren’t any obvious explanations." That “has to be troubling for Fox," which earlier this month signed an eight-year extension for MLB TV rights that includes the World Series. The '12 World Series “didn't have an obvious TV star" such as the Yankees, Red Sox or Cubs. However, the series “seemed pretty mediagenic,” as S.F. is the nation's sixth-largest TV market, and the Tigers boast Triple Crown winner 3B Miguel Cabrera and came in "as a giant-killer after sweeping the Yankees” (USA TODAY, 10/29). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Tim Goodman writes the World Series may end up mattering "only to those people in a beautiful, picture-postcard little city tucked between an ocean and a bay." Fox is probably "happy this World Series is over." Goodman: "Unless it's the Yankees vs. Dodgers, there's not much hope in the ratings. We are no longer a baseball country" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 10/29). FORBES.com's Wayne McDonnell Jr. wrote MLB "must come to terms with the fact that viewership for World Series games will no longer approach a 30.0 rating and must readjust their expectations to reflect modesty and the current consumption patterns of consumers" (FORBES.com, 10/27).
NO GIMMICKS NEEDED: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote under the header, “Hey, Fox: Lay Off The Regular-Season Gimmicks And Give Us The World Series.” Fox “decides to distract from baseball’s biggest event, the World Series, with elongated, in-game, dugout interviews.” Raissman: “This is the World Series, not a Saturday afternoon game in July when crap like this is expected” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/28). Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of P Sergio Romo doing an interview during Game 2, “Am I OK with it? Not really. It’s where the game has changed” (CBSSPORTS.com, 10/27). In S.F., David Wiegand wrote under the header, “Fox Sports Needs To Stick To Ballgame.” Wiegand: “If someone asked me Friday if I'd seen the game the previous night, I would have given them an earful: Yeah, I saw the game -- some of it anyway, when Fox Sports wasn't apparently bored with other things and actually covered it.” Fox “strayed too far in its coverage of the second game of the series” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/27). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes of Fox’ coverage, “Everything’s a con, an ugly sell.” Fox promos on Saturday “couldn’t have made it any clearer to an unsuspecting national audience that Game 3 began at 7:30 ET.” But the game “began, as scheduled, at 8:07.” The net “told a 37-minute lie” (N.Y. POST, 10/29). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes, “Watching the World Series on Fox has been a dud.” The series “just hasn't been that interesting.” Jones: “But how cool is that X-Mo ultra slow-motion stuff?” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 10/29).
INSIDE INFORMATION: USA TODAY's Hiestand writes White Sox C A.J. Pierzynski in his second postseason as a Fox pregame analyst “seems perfectly rational and shows plenty of on-air potential for a TV career.” Pierzynski was "insightful on how to pitch the Tigers" (USA TODAY, 10/29).
NBC Sports Group yesterday announced that it has acquired exclusive U.S. EPL media rights through a multiyear agreement that begins with the '13-14 season. Specifics will be announced at a later date, but NBC, NBC Sports Network and NBCSports.com all will provide coverage. NBC Sports Group also will produce comprehensive shoulder programming (NBC). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir reports NBC will "pay the league $80 million to $85 million annually," and will televise "up to 380 games a season on the NBC broadcast network, the NBC Sports Network and at least two other cable networks." About 200 games "will be available on the NBC networks in six time periods on Saturday, Sunday and Monday during the league’s 10-month season." Remaining EPL games will be "available online or in some other packages, one of them probably pay-per-view." NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus said, "There will be live, exclusive games, and we’re not going to tape delay any of them. Multiple games go on at once, and we can’t carry every one on our networks. But we won’t regionalize games." Sandomir reports NBC "has no plans to resell any of the games to another network, as Fox Soccer now does, sublicensing about a fifth of its games to ESPN." Lazarus: "We think this is a terrific property that we can do a lot with, and the leadership of the Premier League is interested in doing new things in the United States. ... The price we're paying for the Premier League is a terrific value for us" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/29). Lazarus said the games draw a "couple hundred thousand" viewers in the U.S. He added that that he "expects to increase that number over time." Lazarus: "Did we pay more than the others before, yes. But we think the value is there" (WSJ.com, 10/28).
BEAUTIFULLY DRAWN UP: SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote acquiring EPL rights "gives NBC the most significant soccer portfolio among American broadcasters." NBC is "counting on the EPL to bring eyeballs (and affluent ones at that) to NBC Sports Network, which could use an infusion of high-caliber programming with the NHL on lockout and depressed MLS ratings." Lazarus said, "It will not be unlike the Olympics where you saw programming on CNBC, Bravo, USA or MSNBC." He added that EPL fans "can expect a number of games to be broadcast on over-the-air NBC." Deitsch noted those matches will "likely air Saturdays and be shown live" (SI.com, 10/28). The AP's Rob Harris noted NBC Sports Group in '11 acquired MLS TV rights, and had "success with its soccer broadcasts during the London Olympics." NBCSN's "biggest property is the NHL, whose season runs concurrently with English soccer." Lazarus said that the EPL "will be a good complement to the network's hockey coverage." Lazarus: "It's a younger skewing sport than some others out there, like some that are in a championship series right now" (AP, 10/28).
MAJOR BLOW: SI.com's Deitsch in a separate piece wrote the loss of EPL rights is "significant for Fox, even though it owns the World Cup for rights beginning with the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada." EPL has been "the jewel in Fox Soccer Channel's programming, and much of the network's programming centers around commentary and news of the league." NBC "sees opportunity in international soccer, which has been trending upward as a television property" (SI.com, 10/26). In N.Y., Belson & Sandomir wrote the deal is "the latest blow to a channel that once dominated the soccer scene on American television." Fox has broadcast the EPL in the U.S. for "nearly two decades." But a source said that NBC will pay "just under four times more than Fox currently pays for the rights" (NYTIMES.com, 10/26).
Fox got an 18.8 overnight rating for the NFL national window yesterday, which featured the Giants’ win over the Cowboys in 98% of markets. That figure is up 16% from a 16.2 overnight for CBS’ national window in Week 8 last year, which featured Patriots-Steelers in 85% of markets. Fox also saw a 4% jump for its regional coverage in the Week 8 early window. Meanwhile, NBC earned an 11.4 overnight for the Saints-Broncos “SNF” telecast, which aired up against World Series Game 4. “SNF” is down 22.4% compared to Cowboys-Eagles in Week 8 last year, which did not have to air up against a World Series telecast and was one of the net’s best NFL game ratings last season. NBC also peaked early with the score getting out of hand. The net peaked with a 12.3 rating in the 9:30pm window before finishing with a 9.7 rating in the 11:00pm window (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).NFL WEEK EIGHT: SUNDAY OVERNIGHT NIELSEN RATINGSNET'12 TELECASTRAT.NET'11 TELECASTRAT.% +/-CBS(single)10.2Fox(single)11.3-9.7%Fox(regional)11.1CBS(regional)10.73.7%FoxGiants-Cowboys (98%)18.8CBSPatriots-Steelers (85%)16.216.0%NBCSaints-Broncos11.4NBCCowboys-Eagles14.7-22.4%
PLAYING THE HAND THEY'RE DEALT: In Atlanta, Michael Cunningham wrote yesterday's Falcons-Eagles game was "so boring Fox NFL color analyst John Lynch actually did everyone a favor by trying to drum up some excitement when the Eagles held the Falcons to a field goal in the third quarter." Lynch and play-by-play announcer Dick Stockton "had little to work with after halftime." Dead air "doesn't work on television so the duo tried to ... create some drama whenever they could" (AJC.com, 10/28).
MINOR LIFT: In N.Y., Bob Raissman noted when the Jets traded for QB Tim Tebow during the offseason, one of the main questions was whether the move "would juice" the team's ratings. The Jets through seven games this year are averaging a 15.1 local rating compared to a 14.6 through the same period in '11. Since Tebow "hasn't seen much action, his contribution to the ratings is negligible" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/28).
ABC earned a 5.9 overnight Nielsen rating for the Notre Dame-Oklahoma on Saturday night, marking the best overnight for any college football telecast this season to date. That figure was ahead of CBS’ Florida-Georgia game on Saturday afternoon, which drew a 4.6 overnight in the 3:30pm ET window. That 4.6 rating, however, was CBS' best for the matchup since a 4.8 overnight in '09, and up 21% from last year's overnight. ESPN’s top-rated college game of the weekend was Tennessee-South Carolina in the 12:00pm window, which drew a 2.8 overnight, ahead of the net’s 2.5 rating for Ohio State-Penn State in the 3:30pm window (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht wrote the second half of ABC’s Notre Dame-Oklahoma broadcast “turned into a Notre Dame lovefest,” as Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit “piled superlatives on the Fighting Irish.” Musburger “spent a lot of time campaigning” for Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o as a Heisman Trophy candidate. After Te’o intercepted OU QB Landry Jones in the fourth quarter, Musburger said, “This could be a Heisman moment for the young man” (OKLAHOMAN, 10/28). Meanwhile, in Tampa, Tom Jones writes CBS “was superb” for the Florida-Georgia game, and analyst Gary Danielson “had his best day of the season.” Danielson’s analysis was “spot-on all day, and he was excellent in his anticipation” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 10/29).