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FS1 "appears to be the stiffest competition for ESPN" in recent memory, but the net has a "long way to go to match an empire that is nearly 35 years in the making," according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. FS1 debuts Saturday and it "does not have nearly as many events, nor does it have an empire as large or revenue as immense as ESPN’s." But Fox execs are looking "less at the impossible task of knocking out ESPN than at establishing a competitive niche." They "look for inspiration within its own history of industry-altering start-ups: Fox News Channel in 1996." Fox Senior Exec VP David Hill: "The question now is the same you would have asked Roger Ailes when he started Fox News: how do you deal with the 800-pound CNN elephant in the room, and with MSNBC? You don’t worry about anybody else apart from yourself or whether you’re going to fail." Fox Sports co-President & co-COO Eric Shanks said, "We’re going to spend a lot of time in marketing on fun." He added while it is "not Saturday night laughs at the Chuckle Hut ... we feel there’s a place in the sports landscape for a positive, fun, enthusiastic fan perspective on sports." Sandomir notes FS1 "cannot divert too far from doing what is necessary to be a successful network: producing games and studio shows intelligently, and hiring people for the studio shows and game broadcasts who are enlightening, good company and maybe a lot of fun" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/16). Meanwhile, in California, Jim Carlisle writes FS1's "ability to make deals with every carrier before its first telecast is nothing short of remarkable." Those deals "should easily make it the most successful network launch in cable TV history" (VENTURA COUNTY STAR, 8/16).
LONG-TERM PLAY FOR FOX: Sports media blogger Ed Sherman wrote observers need to look "through a big picture when you evaluate" FS1, as the "larger view ... is more about 2023" rather than '13. Sherman: "Despite all the programming that is launching now, the new sports network is a long-term play for Fox" (SHERMANREPORT.com, 8/15). UFC President Dana White believes FS1 "has what it takes to reach its long-term aspirations." White: "Here's what, if you're ESPN, scares you about Fox: First of all, they've got money to go toe-to-toe for content, to pull in all the big sports and they're smart guys -- young and aggressive. Are they going to dive in and do this thing overnight? No, but they've got the staying power and game plan to grow and build" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 8/16). In Minneapolis, Neal Justin writes of the major networks, "Most believe there’s enough interest -- and enough sports -- to keep everybody in the game, especially since Fox’s soccer and UFC coverage will skew to a younger crowd" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/16).
GAMES WILL DRAW VIEWERS: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley writes live sports programming "is the magnet that attracts big numbers of viewers to ESPN, not shows with Chris Berman or Skip Bayless or Keith Olbermann." Those figures "have more to do with defining the network’s personality than with delivering earth-moving ratings numbers." Wolfley notes, "You can’t be a major all-sports network without some major sports broadcast properties." FS1 "does have major properties, including college football and basketball, including the new Big East telecasts" (JSONLINE.com, 8/15). Fox Sports Exec VP & Exec Producer Scott Ackerson said the net will be a success "if people watch." Ackerson: "People are going to watch big events, and we've got some pretty good events on Fox Sports 1. In terms of our studio shows, we succeed if we become a viable alternative and people say, you know, I want to watch this show" (CHRON.com, 8/15).
PROGRAMMING FOR FIRST DAY OF FOX SPORTS 1TIME SLOT (ET)
PROGRAM/EVENT6:00-7:00am "Fox College Football Kickoff"7:00-7:30am "Fantastic Finishes"7:30-8:00am "Fantastic Finishes"8:00-8:30am "NASCAR Live"9:00-9:30am NASCAR Sprint Cup Practice9:30-11:00am NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Qualifying11:00am-12:00pm NASCAR Sprint Cup Final Practice12:00-12:30pm NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Setup12:30-2:30pm NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Racing2:30-3:00pm "Fox Sports 1-on-1: Strahan-Brady"3:00-3:30pm "Fantastic Finishes"3:30-4:30pm "Fox College Football Kickoff"4:30-5:00pm "UFC Ultimate Insider"5:00-6:00pm UFC Fight Night Prefight: Shogun-Sonnen6:00-8:00pm UFC Fight Night Prelims: Shogun-Sonnen8:00-11:00pm UFC Fight Night: Shogun-Sonnen11:00pm-2:00am "Fox Sports Live"
LATE-NIGHT BATTLES: In Miami, Barry Jackson wrote the "most intriguing subplot" of FS1's launch is that "late-night sports television is about to become far more competitive." "SportsCenter's" only "serious competition at 11 p.m. were similar niche shows on NFL Network, MLB Network and NBA TV." Olbermann "likely will lure some viewers from SportsCenter with his new ESPN2 studio show," and FS1 "hopes to do the same with Fox Sports Live." In some ways, "Fox Sports Live" sounds "suspiciously like the late, not-so-great Best Damn Sports Show Period." However, Fox is "gambling that people will care" what retired athletes like Andy Roddick, Donovan McNabb and Gary Payton "have to say about all sports, not just those they played." Fox "realistically needs to do something different" than "SportsCenter" to have "any chance of attracting an audience." Whether this is the "right approach -- or the right cast -- remains to be seen" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 8/15). In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis writes the key for FS1 is the "chemistry" between "Fox Sports Live" co-hosts Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/16). In L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes what FS1 likely will have to endure "for a time is that in trying to tickle viewers’ funny bones every which way, it runs the risk of having other people making fun of it" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/16).
DIFFERENTIATING FROM "SPORTSCENTER": Ackerson said "Fox Sports Live" likely will be viewed as FS1's flagship show because it is "going to be a large part of our programming schedule." Ackerson: "We're going to have a great number of events, and that's going to be good, but a big chunk of it is going to be 'Fox Sports Live.'" He said the panelists on "Fox Sports Live" will help differentiate the show from "SportsCenter" because they can "talk about multiple sports and multiple topics." Ackerson: "The insight they can bring, not only about their particular sport, they also can talk intelligently about whether it's basketball or baseball or hockey. ... "SportsCenter" does a great job in terms of teaching America about how to play sports. You can learn a lot with that. In a different way, you will be able to get that with our show. It's just not going to be handled in an X's-and-O's type of fashion. I want to make it a little more inclusive" (Albany TIMES UNION, 8/16). "Fox Sports Live" co-host Ryan Field, who will work the show on Fridays and Saturdays, said, "We’re talking about that night’s events as they happen with our panel. That puts us one step ahead and the viewers are getting everything they need to know right there in the moment as opposed to having to wait to see (ESPN’s) 'Pardon the Interruption' or 'Around the Horn' the next day and hear them talk about what’s happening the night before" (DETROIT NEWS, 8/16).
AN ADJUSTMENT FOR RACE FANS: In Michigan, Steve Kaminski wrote FS1 officials are "confident that the transition" from SpeedTV to the new channel "will be a smooth one for race fans." Fox broadcaster Rick Allen said that a "number of the popular NASCAR programs will find a new home" on FS1. Allen: "Everyone says that Speed is going away, but really, we are changing our name. Speed always has been a Fox Sports entity. Our coverage is going to stay the same, and in some areas, it will increase." FS1 spokesperson David Harris said that the net will have "plenty of motorsports coverage in addition to NASCAR." He added that it will "include Monster Energy Supercross, select ARCA Series races, the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, Lucas Oil Motorsports, the Rolex Sports Car Series and the MotoGP World Championship" (MLIVE.com, 8/15).
The frenzied rush that saw several of the country’s biggest distributors agree to carry FS1 at launch occurred only after Fox surprisingly backed off its asking price of $0.80 per subscriber per month, according to multiple high-level sources. Cablevision, Cox, DirecTV, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable agreed to carry the new, heavily promoted all-sports channel, but only at the same rate they were paying for the previous channel, Speed, which was $0.23 per subscriber per month. Fox told the distributors that it would convert Speed into FS1 and allow distributors with existing Speed deals to carry it at Speed’s rate, or at least close to it, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the talks. None of the distributors would comment beyond official statements. Importantly, none of the statements from these distributors referenced any new “deals” for FS1 signifying a change of contract. For example, Cox spokesman Todd Smith e-mailed: “On August 17, Speed will automatically convert to the new national 24/7 channel, Fox Sports 1, and Fox is rebranding Fuel Network to Fox Sports 2.” A statement from TWC simply read, “Time Warner Cable will carry FS1 when it launches on August 17.” All these statements came as Fox put out a statement that declared its new network would launch “with every major distributor on board.” Fox declined to comment any further.
COULD CAUSE RIPPLES IN SPORTS MEDIA: The move by Fox could cause major ripples in sports media, as the company chose to give on pricing instead of waging high-profile carriage battles with many of the top distributors at the same time. This marks a sharp change in strategy for the programmer, which had been seeking around $0.80 per subscriber per month for the new channel. Because that rate is more than three times higher than Speed’s, distributors strongly balked. Already frustrated by the high cost of sports rights, distributors forcefully resisted tearing up existing deals to pay more for FS1. In fact, just a week before its launch on Saturday, FS1 lacked significant distribution, which posed a major problem for the programmer. Rather than having these carriage fights with multiple distributors at launch, Fox execs, led by Fox Networks Distribution President Mike Hopkins, decided to establish the channel on cable and satellite systems first. Then, as Speed’s affiliate deals expire, Fox will try to negotiate increases. While those negotiations will occur in an environment where distributors have become more emboldened in their disputes with sports networks, Fox is banking that systems find that it is more disruptive to drop existing channels that have a built-in audience.
DEALS ARE STAGGERED: Fox’ deals with TWC, DirecTV, Dish Network, Cox and Cablevision are staggered over the next couple of years. Some of those deals could be worked out before the Speed deals expire. TWC’s contract with YES Network ends after this season, and it is likely that Fox will try to tie a new FS1 deal in with any YES deal. Similarly, Cox has contracts with several Fox RSNs ending soon. Those negotiations could lead to a new FS1 deal with Cox. A major distributor not involved with the deadline pressure was Comcast, which signed a deal with Fox earlier this year that included FS1, but it is believed to contain “most favored nation” provisions that guarantee the distributor pays the lowest rate available. In addition, because Charter’s deal with Fox on Speed was expiring later this year, it was able to work out a new deal, sources said. But sources did not know the rate that Charter agreed to pay for FS1.
NECESSARY MOVE FOR FOX: The move was vital for Fox, as the flurry of activity just days before FS1 goes live allows it to launch Saturday to around 90 million homes. That number is important for FS1, as its contracts with some college conferences, like the Big Ten, and leagues, like MLB, stipulate the channel has to reach a certain number of subscribers to carry its programming, sources said. In recent months, as Fox was seeking new deals for FS1, it told distributors they would be provided with a watered-down version of Speed if they did not agree to a new FS1 deal. Just a couple of weeks ago, Fox gave a programming lineup for such a channel to the Tribune listings service. The schedule was filled with reruns and infomercials. It is not known if that channel still will be available. The distributors had to give the OK for Fox to switch Speed over to FS1. Because Fox was changing the channel’s content from a motorsports channel to an all-sports channel -- thereby changing their contracts -- the distributors had the right to drop it. On the other hand, Fox was able to rebrand Fuel into FS2 without needing distributors’ agreements, sources said. That is because the channel’s affiliate contracts allow for the type of content that will be on FS2.
NBC Sports Group’s comedic EPL ad featuring actor Jason Sudeikis has gone viral since it debuted two weeks ago, and the men behind the creative are confident it will attract new viewers to the sport. The ad, which was broken into two 30-second spots and a five-minute piece, was crafted by Brooklyn Brothers, N.Y., and now has well over 4 million YouTube views. It launched online Aug. 2. before debuting on NBC during its broadcast of the Dolphins-Cowboys Pro Football HOF game the next day and will run at least through the end of the month. Brooklyn Brothers Founder & Creative Dir Guy Barnett said that the idea to utilize Sudeikis came about after he saw an "SNL" sketch. Barnett thought the tongue-in-cheek concept of Sudeikis playing an American football coach named Ted Lasso would be a good fit for NBC as it prepared for its first year broadcasting the league. When NBC approached Sudeikis about being in the ad, he was into the idea from the start. Barnett: "We knew he had played a similar character on 'Saturday Night Live' that was similar to Ted, so we knew he would be perfect for it." However, NBC Sports Senior VP/Marketing Bill Bergofin said the network and agency treaded carefully with just how light-hearted the ad became because they wanted hardcore fans of the EPL to embrace it as well. "We wanted to be authentic to the sport, and while this was geared to (new fans), it had to be relatable to the core fan and work for everybody," Bergofin said. "One of the real things for me was that the core fan embraced it as much as people who we were trying to bring in from the periphery."
AD DRAWS EYES IN ENGLAND: The spot features Lasso thinking he is being sent across the pond to coach an American football team, only to learn he has been placed in charge of EPL club Tottenham Hotspur. The buzz over Lasso has been so considerable -- particularly in the U.K. -- that the BBC jokingly asked the fictional character to predict the weekend's games on one of its regular online segments. When asked whether the spot was meant to highlight NBC’s entrance into the soccer realm, Barnett said, "It’s more about the fan’s journey than it is NBC’s journey. I think what we we’re trying to demonstrate was coming to the sport and showing the nuances and differences between the two kinds of football." Bergofin said of the rationale behind the ad, "We can’t just make people watch sports; we have to make people love the sport and love the game. So it’s a broader challenge, and to see the palpable buzz for the Premier League, and to see (the ad) continue have that kind of impact, is really rewarding.” However, both men acknowledged that, despite the ad's seemingly successful run thus far, the ultimate proof of whether it served its purpose or not will be borne out in the form of ratings. "You go into these things with high hopes of ... growing the sport. I think we achieved that," Barnett said.
Columnist Jason Whitlock earlier this week announced he is leaving FoxSports.com for ESPN and said ESPN President John Skipper "carved out a vision for me, what he would like to have me do," that was "everything I wanted to hear." Whitlock on ESPN.com's "The BS Report" said, "For lack of a better description, and I hope this isn't offensive, but I'm going to get to do something along the lines of a black Grantland. Man, that was like music to my ears." He said he would "love to work with some young people and to really have a chance to influence sports culture and the sports world with some young people that ... are going to try to be original thinkers." ESPN's Bill Simmons said, "The last time I checked until a couple of weeks ago, you were a big part of this Fox Sports re-launch. ... You were supposed to be on that three-hour show at 11:00pm every night. They were carving out something for you." Whitlock said the report of him being involved with "Fox Sports Live" was a "bit premature and not completely accurate with the situation of me and Fox Sports." Whitlock: "I am, at the end of the day, a writer. ... I had been trying to get Fox Sports to understand me more as a writer and what my goals there were as a writer, and then I'm more than happy to do television and more than happy to do radio. I think I'm good at those things, but what makes me happiest every day is being a sports columnist." He continued, "I struggled, I think, in trying to get them to understand that about me and to get them to understand that perhaps that what I did in written form didn't match up with their vision of how they wanted their web site to go" ("The BS Report," ESPN.com, 8/15).
CBSSN since rebranding from CBS College Sports in '11 has remained "on sports tiers, airs niche sports like Arena Football, Professional Bull Riding and MLL Lacrosse, and is seen in less than 50 million homes," according to Ken Fang of AWFUL ANNOUNCING. There also is a "perception of CBS sitting on the sidelines while ESPN, Fox and NBC battle it out for major sports properties." But CBS Sports President David Berson said execs are "very pleased" with the progress this year for CBSSN. Berson noted since changing the name, the channel's distribution has "increased by 20-25%." Berson said, "We haven't gone and spent a billion dollars on any one property or anything like that, but we are making significant strides to grow the network. We know it's not an overnight fix. We have a little different approach than some of the other guys and we're doing it methodically and strategically for certain properties that add a lot more live events with a lot more personality on the air and gaining a lot more distribution and it works well for our strategy and our business model." Berson: "We're going to continue to look and find properties that make sense for us, but again, we're not going to spend foolishly. We want it to make smart business sense for our company and we picked our spots to date and we feel good about it and we'll continue to be smart and strategic and selective in wherever we invest." With FS1 launching Saturday, Berson said, "I give them credit. They're coming quite aggressively now and they have a nice portfolio of rights. It's not so easy going from random events to 24/7 and they're in the throes of that right now, piecing it together and good luck to them" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 8/14).
Boston-based WEEI-FM morning show co-hosts John Dennis and Gerry Callahan on Thursday said that they have been "assured that station suits want them to be 'part of the solution' to the once-dominant sports station’s ratings woes," according to a front-page piece by Gayle Fee of the BOSTON HERALD. That comes one day after WEEI Programming Dir Jason Wolfe was fired by parent company Entercom. Dennis said that Entercom VP, GM & Market Manager Jeff Brown "called him after Wolfe got the ax to reiterate that the morning show was not in any danger." Dennis said, "I take him at his word." Fee notes Wolfe was the "victim of spiraling ratings and competition" from WBZ-FM, the "upstart that stole much of the longtime sports-talker’s audience." In the most recent ratings period, WBZ morning show "Toucher & Rich" "dominated with a 13.4 share." WEEI's "Dennis & Callahan" finished "fifth with a 6.0." Both Dennis and Callahan "have a year remaining on their contracts and the station’s move last February to dump longtime afternoon drive host Glenn Ordway didn’t do anything to improve numbers" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/16). In Boston, Chad Finn notes Wolfe "learned last Thursday of his professional fate." But that apparent "inevitability of it to outsiders didn’t lessen the shock to him." Wolfe when asked if he suspected it was coming, said, “Let me just say this. Over the last several weeks, I had been actively working on several projects that I had hoped I would be able to execute, that I thought would really help us. I think it would be fair to say I was surprised to have that meeting on Thursday." For all of Wolfe's success at WEEI, he was "also complicit in its recent struggles and the attitude that got it there" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/16). MLB Network's Peter Gammons wrote on his Twitter feed, "From 6 am to the web, Jason Wolfe built WEEI into a Boston media power. Few in his role can match his accomplishments" (TWITTER.com, 8/16).
NEXT IN LINE? BOSTON SPORTS MEDIA WATCH's Bruce Allen cites a source as saying that Salt Lake City's KFAN-AM Program Dir Kevin Graham "is likely" to replace Wolfe at WEEI. Graham "cohosts the Gunther & Graham radio show each day on afternoon drive" (BOSTONSPORTSMEDIAWATCH.com, 8/16).
USA TODAY's Rem Rieder examines Keith Olbermann's return to ESPN and writes Olbermann is "simply one of the most riveting figures on television, albeit not always in a good way." Rieder: "He is preternaturally smart, and erudite. He has a gift for TV. He's funny. He has strong opinions, and he's not afraid to express them." When he is "on his game, he's formidable. Which is why ESPN is putting him back in the lineup." Rieder: "Which Keith will show up, the good Keith or the bad Keith? I'm betting good. I'm sure that after nearly a year and a half on the sidelines, he's eager to get back in the game. And the return to sports may be a tonic for the baseball-loving broadcaster" (USA TODAY, 8/16).
KOSAR SPEAKS: Browns preseason TV analyst Bernie Kosar during Thursday's Browns-Lions game addressed the controversy over comments he made last week and said, "I love the game so much, there's no way I'd want to disrespect or hurt, or make fun of, any players or coaches." Kosar: "That being said, the way I look at the game and the way I like to analyze it from a football perspective, it is what it is. And again, I don't want to disrespect and hurt any of the players and coaches in the league. I do like the way I look at the game and I have strong feelings about the way the game's played" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/16).
SLATEN NOT OUT FOR LONG: Former WGNU-AM host Kevin Slaten, who was fired last week amid on-air allegations that Angels 1B Albert Pujols used PEDs, said that he is "about to return to broadcasting via an internet operation." He hopes Jack Clark, who also was fired for the comments, "comes along." In St. Louis, Dan Caesar reports Slaten will host an afternoon show beginning Monday on TalkSTL.com. He said that the "plan is for him and Clark to be together for a couple weeks, then for each to have individual programs." Clark on Thursday said that he "hasn’t finalized a deal and needs to confer with his attorney." Slaten "vows he's done with conventional St. Louis radio" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 8/16).
POOR COMPARISON? In Las Vegas, Adam Hill wrote ESPN's Bob Ley "might have gone over the top" in comparing the U.S. men's national soccer team's 2-0 halftime deficit to Bosnia & Herzegovina on Wednesday to Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination in 1914. Hill: "Relax. ... The U.S. merely was trailing in a exhibition match against a strong European side. A loss wouldn’t set off an international incident" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 8/16).
NOTES: Thursday marked Red Wings play-by-play announcer Ken Kal's "baseball broadcast debut," as he called the Royals-Tigers game. Regular Tigers announcer Dan Dickerson was "given the day off to take his daughter to college" (DETROIT NEWS, 8/16). A source said that former NFLer Jake Plummer has been "hired by Pac-12 Networks as a studio analyst." Meanwhile, former NFLer Adam Archuleta has "left the Pac-12 Network to take a new role as game analyst" on CBSSN. He will work Mountain West Conference and Conference USA games (AZCENTRAL.com, 8/15). Former NFLer Kenny Moore will "be the color commentator" for the Univ. of North Carolina-Charlotte's six home games on WCCB-CW this season. Moore will join announcer Ryan Rose and sideline reporter Brandon Davidow (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/16).
The CBC averaged 386,000 viewers for the Milos Raonic-Vasek Pospisil men’s semifinal at the ATP Rogers Cup last Saturday, marking the best audience on record for a semifinal match at the event. The all-Canadian match was up 72% from the previous record, set in ’10 with a Rafael Nadal-Andy Murray match (225,000 viewers). Sunday’s final “clearly benefitted from a Raonic bump,” averaging 494,000 viewers, “by far the largest audience” for a final at the event since at least ’06. The previous high was 335,000 viewers for the Novak Djokovic-Roger Federer final in ’07 (TORONTO STAR, 8/13).
FOOTBALL IS BACK: The Cardinals-Packers preseason game on Aug. 9 on Milwaukee’s WTMJ-TV drew an audience “that was about one-third smaller” than last year’s Packers preseason opener. Many Time Warner Cable customers “did not see the game ... due to the ongoing contract dispute between the station’s owner and the cable company” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/12)….KPIX-TV drew a 12.9 local rating in S.F.-Oakland-San Jose for the Broncos-49ers preseason game on Aug. 8, delivering “more local households than watched the NCAA basketball championship last April -- or watched any of the A’s playoff baseball games last October” (MERCURYNEWS.com, 8/15).
The charts below list final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts.
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) PGA Championship: Final Round8/11CBS2:00-7:00pm3.85,480 PGA Championship: Third Round8/10CBS2:00-7:00pm2.63,700 NASCAR Nationwide Series: Watkins Glen8/10ABC2:15-5:00pm1.21,718 MLB: (regional)8/10Fox4:00-7:30pm1.1n/a World Track & Field Championships8/11NBC12:30-2:00pm0.81,172 Liga MX: Cruz Azul-Chivas de Guadalajara8/10Univ.5:50-8:00pm0.61,162 Horse Racing: Saratoga: FourStarDave Handicap8/10NBC5:00-6:00pm0.7877 World Track & Field Championships8/10NBC3:30-5:00pm0.6840 Red Bull Signature Series: Midseason highlights8/11NBC2:00-2:30pm0.6799 "College Football Preview Show"8/11CBS1:00-2:00pm0.6n/a Red Bull Oakley Pro8/11NBC2:30-4:00pm0.4641 Liga MX: Tigres UANL-Monterrey8/10UniMas7:54-10:05pm0.3581 Liga MX: Leon-Morelia8/10Telem.9:00-11:23pm0.2380 "EPL Season Countdown"8/11NBC5:00-6:00pm0.3373 "EPL Club Guide"8/11NBC4:00-5:00pm0.2304 TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) NASCAR Sprint Cup: Watkins Glen8/11ESPN1:00-4:30pm2.74,171 NFL Preseason: Bengals-Falcons8/8ESPN8:00-11:01pm2.13,116 PGA Championship: Second Round8/9TNT1:00-7:00pm1.41,954 NFL Preseason: Giants-Steelers8/10NFLN7:30-10:49pm1.11,834 NFL Preseason: Patriots-Eagles8/9NFLN7:30-10:45pm1.21,815 MLB: Rays-Dodgers8/11ESPN8:00-11:00pm1.21,727 PGA Championship: Third Round8/10TNT11:00am-2:00pm1.21,662 PGA Championship: Final Round8/11TNT11:00am-2:00pm1.21,616 NFL Preseason: Bills-Colts8/11NFLN1:30-4:52pm0.91,405 "NASCAR Countdown"8/11ESPN12:00-1:00pm1.01,382