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ESPN and the Mountain West Conference are "finalizing a seven-year media rights deal for the network to televise up to 22 football games and 25 men's basketball games annually," according to sources cited by Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com. Sources said that when combined with the MWC's current media deal with CBS Sports Network, this "brings the total value" of the conference's rights deals to about $116M, or $18M annually. Boise State Univ.'s six home games "will be included" in the 22 football games (ESPN.com, 3/7). In San Diego, Mark Zeigler reports the per-school payout is "not as simple as dividing $18 million by 11 (basketball members) or 12 (football members)." A large amount "will be calved off in individual game bonuses that are part of Boise State's agreement to stay in the Mountain West." Schools will get a $300,000 bonus "each time they play a football game on ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, NBC or Fox, plus another $200,000 if it's on a Saturday." With ESPN airing all Boise State home games, that means "as much as $6 million ... could go to bonuses for the Broncos and the visiting team." The new deal adds the "cachet of ESPN telecasts," but primary rights holders CBS and CBSSN "retain first pick of the best games." ESPN can "move some inventory to ESPNU" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/8). In Reno, Dan Hinxman reports the MWC still is in "negotiations for the media rights for the conference championship football game," which will debut this season. That will "add to the media-right coffers" (RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL, 3/8).
Bleacher Report has produced a series of online videos designed to show the sports media outlet's editorial processes and stem continued industry criticism the company is based around search-engine optimization as opposed to high-quality content. The first video, posted on the company's blog and its YouTube channel, debuted this week and will be followed by two more later this month and likely further installments after that. The clips were developed by Bleacher Report Chief Content & Product Officer Dave Finocchio and King Kaufman, manager of the company's writer program. They were produced with the aid of video personnel from corporate parent Turner Sports. "We're trying to be more transparent about who we are and what we do," Kaufman said. "We've become a bit of a black box in terms of our approach and we felt it was time we did more to explain ourselves. We've reached a point where we're able to lift our heads up and explain what we do." Kaufman wrote on the company's blog, "Isn't Bleacher Report just a bunch of jokers writing SEO headlines to game Google search? That's like asking if the world is flat." Kaufman said the videos also were aimed as a tool to help recruit new writers. "We're proud of the machine we've built here. We think we're at the forefront of the new generation of telling stories digitally, and this should help in terms of recruiting good talent." The first clip focuses broadly on Bleacher Report's overall process, while the second to be released next week is devoted to writer development and a third slated for March 20 will discuss the company's various online, mobile and social media channels. The videos feature extensive testimonials from Bleacher Report writers including NFL columnist Matt Miller and college football writer Michael Felder.
Yahoo Sports again earned the top spot of comScore's monthly reach rankings of U.S. online sports destinations, pulling in an audience of 44.63 million unique visitors in February. Largely mirroring rankings from January, the top three slots were unchanged, and the list still does not include a combined listing for Yahoo and NBC Sports that will soon begin as a result of their broad digital content and marketing partnership. The February comScore report, however, also will be among the last to feature just online traffic rankings and exclude mobile traffic. The measurement agency is about to bring its Media Metrix Multi-Platform, a unified metric that combines online and mobile traffic, out of beta and into broad release. During beta measurement in January, ESPN led the new blended comScore rankings with a total of 62.6 million unique visitors and also led the sports category in average minute audience and total consumption. The beta data also showed 39% of ESPN's digital audience in January exclusively accessed its content via smartphones and tablets. A unified metric has been long sought in the digital media industry, particularly among sports publishers that often post disproportionately large traffic spikes from mobile devices.RANK
SITEUNIQUES (000)1) Yahoo Sports*44,6302) FoxSports.com on MSN34,0083) ESPN29,9374) Bleacher Report-Turner Sports Network**22,2335) USA Today Sports Media Group***20,9186) CBS Sports17,5827) NFL Internet Group13,9208) NBC Sports^12,5649) SB Nation11,98710) Sporting News on AOL11,25411) Sports Illustrated Sites11,03512) MLB8,42113) Active.com sites6,24014) Stack Media4,94415) JumpTV/NeuLion3,785
NBC Sports Network finished with 813,000 viewers last Sunday night for Canadiens-Bruins, marking the net’s fifth-best NHL regular-season audience yet. The telecast also was the net’s best Sunday night regular-season audience on record and best for a telecast involving a team from Canada on cable TV in 13 years. Meanwhile, the net averaged 720,000 viewers for Avalanche-Blackhawks on Wednesday night, marking the net’s ninth-best NHL regular-season telecast. The net has now seen six of its top 10 most-viewed NHL regular-season telecasts air this season. The game, which extended the Blackhawks’ record-setting point streak to start a season, earned a 7.0 local rating in Chicago, marking the net’s best rating ever in the market for an NHL regular-season game. Meanwhile, NBC drew 1.9 million viewers for Blackhawks-Red Wings last Sunday, marking the net’s best audience ever for a non-regionalized, non-Winter Classic NHL regular-season game.MOST-VIEWED NHL REGULAR-SEASON
TELECASTS ON NBC SPORTS NETDATE
GAMEVIEWERS (000)1/23/13 Bruins-Rangers9562/20/13 Flyers-Penguins90110/6/11 Flyers-Bruins8741/30/13 Blackhawks-Wild8273/3/13 Canadiens-Bruins813
FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT: “UFC on Fuel TV 8” averaged 485,000 viewers from 10:00pm-1:12am ET last Saturday for a fight card featuring Wanderlei Silva-Brian Stann, marking the net’s most-viewed telecast. The audience was up 90% from the net’s previous record, set during prelims for “UFC on FX 7” on Jan. 19. The previous “UFC on Fuel TV” record was 217,000 viewers for the first iteration on February 15, 2012. Last Saturday’s telecast also delivered Fuel TV its best total-day and primetime average. The net’s pre-fight and post-fight shows saw record audiences as well."UFC ON FUEL TV" AUDIENCE TRENDTELECASTDAYDATESTARTVIEWERS (000)1Wed.2/15/128:00pm2172Sat.4/14/123:00pm1973Tues.5/15/128:00pm1734Wed.7/11/128:00pm2115Sat.9/29/1210:00pm1406Sat.11/10/127:00pm1437Sat.2/16/133:00pm1958Sat.3/2/1310:00pm485
NOTES: Fox finished with a 5.6 rating and 9.1 million viewers for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series telecast from Phoenix last Sunday. While the rating was flat, viewership was down from 9.2 million viewers for the same race last season….ESPN earned 780,000 viewers for the UConn-Notre Dame women’s basketball telecast on Monday, marking the net’s second-best women’s game this season, behind only Baylor-UConn with 982,000 viewers on Feb. 18….Fox Soccer averaged 520,000 viewers for the second leg of the Real Madrid-Manchester United UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match on Tuesday, marking the net’s most-viewed Champions League match and most-viewed weekday telecast of any kind. The game was the third-best audience all-time for the net. Another 582,000 viewers tuned in for the game on Fox Deportes.
The charts below list final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts.
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) NASCAR Sprint Cup: Phoenix3/3Fox3:30-6:30pm5.69,100 NBA: Heat-Knicks3/3ABC12:56-3:37pm2.84,086 NBA: Thunder-Clippers3/3ABC3:37-6:30pm2.84,228 PGA Tour: Honda Classic:
PGA Tour: Honda Classic:
NHL: Blackhawks-Red Wings3/3NBC12:30-3:15pm1.31,900 NCAA Basketball:
"NBA Countdown"3/3ABC12:30-12:56pm1.0n/a PBR: Dickies Iron Cowboy IV3/3CBS1:00-2:00pm0.9n/a Gymnastics: AT&T American Cup3/2NBC1:00-3:00pm0.81,140 NCAA Basketball:
Liga MX: Club America-Cruz Azul3/2Univ.5:55-8:00pm0.71,282 AMA Supercross3/3CBS12:00-1:00pm0.7n/a "ESPN Sports Saturday"3/2ABC4:00-6:00pm0.5n/a TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) NCAA Basketball: Miami-Duke3/2ESPN6:10-8:18pm2.23,416 NCAA Basketball: Indiana-Minnesota2/26ESPN7:00-9:23pm1.52,221 NASCAR Nationwide Series:
NBA: Mavericks-Nets3/1ESPN8:05-10:47pm1.42,002 NBA: Thunder-Nuggets3/1ESPN10:47pm-1:17am1.41,988 "College GameDay"3/2ESPN8:18-9:00pm1.21,978 NCAA Basketball:
NCAA Basketball: Duke-Virginia2/28ESPN9:03-11:06pm1.21,754 NBA: T'Wolves-Lakers2/28TNT10:43pm-1:14am1.21,681 NBA: Bulls-Pacers3/3ESPN8:00-10:37pm1.11,665
Outdoor Channel Holdings on Thursday indicated that its BOD "has decided a bid from Kroenke Sports & Entertainment was superior to an existing pact with InterMedia." The decision comes after KSE "said it had delivered a definitive counterproposal to buy Outdoor for $8.75 per share in cash." InterMedia "had offered $8 per share." If Outdoor Channel accepts KSE's offer, it "would have to pay InterMedia, which also operates the Sportsman Channel, a breakup fee" of $6.5M (REUTERS, 3/8).
VOICES DON'T CARRY: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar reports Grand Slam Sports, which owns sports-talk stations KFNS-AM and KXFN-AM, "plans to switch their formats." May 1 is the target date for the change, "although it might take longer because of existing contracts." The switch will leave WXOS-FM, which has been the "market leader for most of its four years in the format, as the only all-sports station in a market that as recently as three years ago had five" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/8).
BRONX BOMB? In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes with the Yankees already battling injuries and far from a lock for the postseason, the '13 season "will make for must-see TV" on YES Network. The Yankees last year averaged a 3.92 local rating per game, down 8.3% from '11 and YES' "lowest Yankees household rating since 2003." If the team has to "run baseball's equivalent of an obstacle course, if the script is flipped, if legitimate concerns metastasize into a train wreck, eyeballs galore will tune into YES" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/8).