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A new Big East primary TV rights deal "might be worth only $60 million-$80 million per year," according to sources cited by Dennis Dodd of CBSSPORTS.com. It is believed that the league "went into negotiations estimating its rights' worth as significantly higher than $100 million per year," and it is "no secret that the league's existence might hinge on that value of that TV deal." The Univ. of Houston "has a provision in its pending deal with the Big East that it [can] get out of its agreement without penalty if certain revenue projections aren't achieved." Additionally, sources said that each incoming Big East member "has negotiated its own deal" regarding conference withdrawal. Under its current deal, Big East schools are "earning $4 million per year in primary rights fees." By comparison, the Pac-12 is "splitting approximately $250 million per year among its 12 institutions." Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco on Thursday said there are "six media companies" that want to deal with the Big East. Some of those are "easily identifiable," including the likes of ESPN, Fox and Turner. However, a source said that an "emerging technology company like Google could also be involved" (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/6). Aresco at the '12 IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum said of the media rights deal, “The Big East brand is still extremely valuable. We’ve got to take advantage of the brand with 30 years of equity.” He added, "We reinvented ourselves to a large extent. ... I support this model that the basketball and football will cross-promote each other” (THE DAILY).
JUMPING THROUGH HOOPS: On Long Island, Greg Logan wonders if basketball-only schools like St. John's and Seton Hall "can expect a boost in revenue now that their TV rights are being packaged together with football to add value." Aresco said, "I can't say how we're going to divide revenue at this point. ... I've spent time talking to the basketball schools and making sure our basketball brand remains really strong." Aresco "admitted the Big East might have to negotiate contracts with multiple media entities to maximize revenue and denied the possibility of a move by the basketball schools to form their own league." He said, "Our basketball schools have been committed to this model. There are a lot of reasons to be with the football schools. We think, ultimately, it produces more revenue for everyone." Aresco said that the league is "considering a scheduling model where 'brand name' teams such as St. John's, Georgetown, Villanova, Marquette and Connecticut might play more home-and-home series." Aresco: "The media companies really like that idea, and so do our basketball schools" (NEWSDAY, 12/7).
Watching how UFC has “handled its Fox cards since signing with the network last year resembles spying on a chemist tinkering with a variety of substances in a lab,” and this Saturday’s UFC on Fox 5 “sure seems like UFC President Dana White has concocted the perfect mix of elements,” according to Case Keefer of the LAS VEGAS SUN. The UFC started “aggressively on network television, staging a heavyweight championship bout between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos in its inaugural event on Fox.” But UFC “can’t regularly give away its biggest fights on free television.” So it adjusted for UFC on Fox 2, which “featured important fights, with mainstays like eventual winners Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen, but none of the championship variety.” The UFC for the next two Fox cards “booked a handful of slugfests that promised the back-and-forth swings that made the sport popular in the first place.” The fights “drew rave reviews, but the ratings plummeted.” This Saturday there is a “title fight in the main event -- between Benson Henderson and Nate Diaz for the lightweight belt -- which would headline a lesser pay-per-view card.” The two other top matchups -- a light heavyweight showdown with Shogun Rua-Alexander Gustafsson and a welterweight match with B.J. Penn-Rory MacDonald -- would “make for strong co-main events on any pay-per-view.” White last week said, “It’s a strategic idea to put the best fights we can possibly put on Fox.” Keefer writes Saturday night's telecast should see a “bounce back in viewership.” It took a “few failed experiments, but UFC on Fox 5 looks like a prototype worth following for the network television cards in the future” (LAS VEGAS SUN, 12/7).
ESPN "MNF" analyst Jon Gruden is profiled by PLAYBOY's Karl Taro Greenfeld, who notes it has been three years since John Madden retired from "SNF," leaving a "void in the national psyche for everyone's big, cool, zany football pal." Gruden is the "only broadcaster with the personality, swagger and natural sense of humor -- and Super Bowl-winning credibility -- who can fill that gap." ESPN's Mike Tirico, Gruden's "MNF" boothmate, said, "He has the qualities of a preacher, coach, motivational speaker and guy sitting at the bar next to you all rolled into one, and he plays those characters while dispensing deep football knowledge. It's unique football packaging." Greenfeld notes Gruden made his on-air debut for NFL Network leading up to the '09 NFL Draft, and his "honest evaluations of talent were immediately noticed -- by NFL Network's competitors over at ESPN." "MNF" Senior Coordinating Producer Jay Rothman said, "Oh, I wanted him badly." Gruden: "He told me, 'Look, you called plays for 15 years in this league. Don't hold back.' ... The main thing was they told me I would get to study film, all the film I wanted. I can study the Bengals and the Ravens all day if I want. I can look at tapes all day." Gruden's wife, Cindy, was asked if her husband is happier broadcasting than he was coaching. She said, "Sometimes I think Jon has two monsters on his shoulder. One is go back to coaching, and the other is stay with this, have a nice life with his family. He'll always have those two monsters" (PLAYBOY, 12/ '12 issue).
WAITING FOR THE RIGHT OFFER? Gruden in recent days has been mentioned as a candidate to replace Dennis Allen as Raiders coach, but SI's Peter King said "it would be hard to imagine" Gruden returning to the team he coached from '98-'01. King said he could "see Gruden going back" to the NFL as a coach, but "probably not for a couple of years." King: "I think ESPN would go bat dung if Jon Gruden left a year after they gave him a two-man booth. He basically runs the 'Monday Night' telecast. He runs the meetings. He's the big guru with the team and to me, if you're Jon Gruden you leave for a great job" ("PTI," ESPN, 12/5). SI's Jim Trotter said Gruden's agent "should get the biggest commission of any agent in the business because his name has been associated with every job out there trying to create leverage" ("Rome," CBS Sports Network, 12/5). Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said the job for Gruden's agent is "to create the most possible sizzle for Jon Gruden. You want him to be the hot candidate, you want him to be the guy who can write his own ticket, who can say, 'This is who I want to work for, this is how much money I want, this is how much power I want'" ("Pro Football Talk," NBC Sports Network, 12/5).
CBS’ Alabama-Georgia SEC Championship led all conference championship games last weekend with a 9.8 rating and 16.2 million viewers, up 34% and 35%, respectively, from a 7.3 rating and 12.0 million viewers for the LSU-Georgia matchup last year. Meanwhile, Fox finished with a 3.0 rating and 4.9 million viewers for the Stanford-UCLA Pac-12 Championship on Friday night, up 3% and 9%, respectively, from a 2.9 rating and 4.5 million viewers for the inaugural game last year, which featured Oregon-UCLA. Fox also earned a 2.9 rating and 5.1 million viewers for the Wisconsin-Nebraska Big Ten Championship, down 37% and 34%, respectively, from a 4.6 and 7.8 million viewers for last year's inaugural Big Ten title game, which featured Wisconsin against Michigan State. Both the Big Ten and Pac-12 title games were beat out by ABC’s Texas-Kansas State matchup on Saturday night, which drew a 3.3 rating and 5.2 million viewers. ESPN finished with a 1.2 rating and 2.0 million viewers for the Florida State-Georgia Tech ACC Championship, down 25% and 29%, respectively, from a 1.6 rating and 2.8 million viewers for the Clemson-Virginia Tech game last year.
GALAXY QUEST: The Galaxy-Dynamo MLS Cup averaged a 0.5 rating and 797,000 viewers last Saturday afternoon, down from a 0.6 rating and 1.039 million viewers for the same matchup last year, which aired late on a Sunday night. The league's finale had aired on a Sunday night since moving from ABC to ESPN in '09. Meanwhile, Telefutura averaged 485,000 viewers for the Spanish-language telecast of the game, up 58% from last year’s telecast on Galavision. The combined audience was down 5% from last year.MLS CUP AUDIENCE SINCE MOVING TO CABLE TVYEARMATCHUPNETRATINGVIEWERS (000)'12Galaxy-DynamoESPN0.5797'11Galaxy-DynamoESPN0.61,039'10Rapids-FC DallasESPN0.4748'09Real Salt Lake-GalaxyESPN0.71,141
NOTES: ESPN's Giants-Redskins “MNF” telecast drew a 10.2 rating and 16.2 million viewers, marking the second-best viewership for a “MNF” telecast this season and third-best rating. The top “MNF” audience in ’12 remains the Oct. 1 Bears-Cowboys telecast, which drew a 10.5 rating and 16.6 million viewers….Showtime averaged 1.047 million viewers for the Miguel Cotto-Austin Trout boxing match last Saturday night from 9:00-11:44pm ET. The telecast peaked from 10:37-11:30pm for the main fight with 1.365 million viewers….MSG Network is averaging a 3.22 local rating in N.Y. for Knicks games through 13 telecasts, up 68% compared to the same period last year (1.92 rating). The Knicks' postgame show rating is also up 105%.
The charts below list final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts. Figures for select telecasts on ABC were unavailable at presstime.
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) "NFL on CBS":
"NFL on Fox": (single)12/2Fox1:00-4:05pm12.620,900 "Sunday Night Football":
SEC Championship: Alabama-Georgia12/1CBS4:00-8:00pm9.816,200 "NFL on CBS": (regional)12/2CBS1:00-4:15pm7.8n/a "Football Night in America"12/2NBC7:30-8:15pm5.28,495 NCAA Football: Texas-Kansas State12/1ABC8:07-11:34pm3.35,219 Big Ten Championship:
"Fox NFL Sunday"12/2Fox12:00-1:00pm3.24,800 "College Football Today"12/1CBS3:30-4:00pm2.6n/a "The NFL Today"12/2CBS12:00-1:00pm2.4n/a NCAA Basketball: Baylor-Kentucky12/1CBS12:30-3:00pm1.1n/a "CFB Championship Preview"12/1CBS3:00-3:30pm1.1n/a Golf: World Challenge: Third Round12/1NBC3:00-6:00pm0.9n/a Golf: World Challenge: Final Round12/2NBC3:00-6:00pm0.9n/a Skiing: Birds of Prey12/2NBC1:00-2:00pm0.4n/a Swimming: Winter Nat'l Championships12/2NBC2:00-3:00pm0.4n/a "Global Golf"12/1NBC2:30-3:00pm0.2n/a TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) "Monday Night Football':
"Thursday Night Football":
"Thursday Night Football Pre-Kick"11/29NFLN8:00-8:30pm2.23,501 NCAA Football: Oklahoma-TCU12/1ESPN12:01-3:24pm2.33,277 NCAA Basketball:
NCAA Basketball: Ohio State-Duke11/28ESPN9:31-11:47pm1.52,279 "Monday Night Countdown"11/26ESPN6:30-8:30pm1.62,272 "Sunday NFL Countdown"12/2ESPN10:00am-1:00pm1.52,071 ACC Championship:
Florida State-Georgia Tech12/1ESPN7:55-11:14pm1.21,966
Former NFLer Bernie Kosar said that "he's surprised by the strong reaction" to his Wednesday interview with WKNR-AM. He said that he "was neither inebriated nor medicated as he gave a rambling and, at times, incoherent five-minute interview." In Cleveland, Tom Reed noted Kosar also "became emotional" while discussing his appearance on Travel Channel's "NFL Road Tested." Kosar said that he "was in a car in Florida with his 21-year-old daughter as he conducted the interview with host Bruce Hooley" (CLEVELAND.com, 12/6).
MOVES ON THE MOTHERSHIP: ESPN2's "SportsNation" announced that ESPN NFL analyst Marcellus Wiley will replace Colin Cowherd as the show's co-host alongside Charissa Thompson. Cowherd will focus on his nationally-syndicated ESPN Radio show, "The Herd." Meanwhile, "SportsNation" will relocate from ESPN's Bristol, Conn., campus to the company's L.A. studios (ESPN).
MAN OVERBOARD: In Minneapolis, Paul Walsh reports former NFLer Mike Morris is "off the air at KFAN Radio amid reported layoffs by the station's parent company," Clear Channel. Morris was the host of "The Power Trip," which aired weekdays from 6:00-9:00am CT. He also "co-hosted post-game shows after Vikings broadcasts on the station" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/7).