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CBS this week aired TV ads in three major U.S. markets "urging fans to switch television providers before the start" of the NFL and college football seasons in order to pressure Time Warner Cable to "end a month-long blackout over fee increases" that has persisted since Aug. 2, according to Grover & Baker of REUTERS. The spots, airing in N.Y., L.A. and Dallas, focus on the Sept. 15 Broncos-Giants game, which features a "much-anticipated matchup between star sibling NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning." The ad includes the audio, "It's Peyton versus Eli in what could be their last match up ever." It also shows clips of Alabama football, which is set to play Texas A&M on CBS on Sept. 14, in a rematch of the reigning national champion's lone loss from last season. The campaign is "designed to highlight what Time Warner subscribers would miss should the blackout in those major markets extends into the rabidly followed football season" (REUTERS, 8/29).
ESPN's "College GameDay" will air for a full three hours on ESPN this year, after its first hour previously was telecast on ESPNU. Saturday's debut episode will be four hours long, airing from Clemson ahead of the school's primetime game against Georgia on ABC. "GameDay" Senior Coordinating Producer Lee Fitting said, "Ratings research tells us there's never too much SEC." He noted ESPN research indicates that 38% of the show's audience is from the states that make up the SEC, with no other region in the U.S. accounting for more than 11% of the audience. Fitting: "The more SEC you can do, the better." First hitting the air in '87, "GameDay" enters its 27th season on ESPN, and its 21st broadcasting on-location. Fitting said the show operates on a "no formula, no rules" basis, aiming to push the envelope with its format. Chris Fowler, the show's anchor, offered a light-hearted take on this week's four-hour edition. Fowler: "No one needs a four-hour college football pregame show, but there are reasons why we're doing it, and I'm sure they're sound. We'll keep the energy up for four hours, and I hope the crowd does behind us. We'll have plenty to talk about, we'll fill that four hours." Fowler added, "I don't think it will feel like drudgery. We hope it won't, if we're doing our jobs. But it will be a challenge. We're still trying to figure it out" (Adam Harris, Assistant Editor).
ALL ABOUT THE CHEMISTRY: In Albany, Pete Dougherty writes of the show, "After more than a quarter-century, the formula still works." ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit said, "(It's) our chemistry, not just between the four of us, but the producers, the directors, all the people who work so hard on our show, we're not just saying that to make it sound good. I'm sure if you talk to Charles (Barkley) and the guys at 'Inside the NBA' with TNT, they'd probably tell you the same thing. If you're lucky enough to really like one another, the camera picks up on that" (Albany TIMES UNION, 8/30).
Cumulus Media is "close to acquiring" Dial Global in a deal that is "likely to shake up the industry's competitive landscape," according to sources cited by Hannah Karp of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Sources said that the deal would be for $260M in cash, "part of which would be used to pay off Dial's debt." A Cumulus-Dial combination "would create a meaningful, albeit smaller, competitor" to Clear Channel and ESPN Radio. N.Y.-based Dial "produces exclusive nationwide radio coverage" for the NFL and the Olympics, and also "produces coverage of NCAA sports" and the PGA Championship (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/30).
ESPN's "Nine for IX" documentary series averaged 446,000 viewers for the films that aired on Tuesday nights from July 2-Aug. 27. The high was 633,000 viewers for the finale, “Branded,” while the low was 311,000 viewers for “Pat XO” on Tennessee women’s basketball head coach emeritus Pat Summit. Listed below is viewership for each "Nine for IX" film, along with the least-viewed ESPN documentaries since the 30 for 30 project began (excludes "Nine for IX").VIEWERSHIP FOR ESPN'S "NINE FOR IX" FILMS (BY BEST AUDIENCE)DATEFILMRATINGVIEWERS (000)Tuesday, August 27, 2013"Branded"0.5633Tuesday, August 13, 2013"Runner"0.4548Tuesday, August 20, 2013"The '99ers"0.3491Tuesday, July 02, 2013"Venus Vs."0.4460Tuesday, August 06, 2013"The Diplomat"0.3437Tuesday, July 23, 2013"Let Them Wear Towels"0.3400Tuesday, July 30, 2013"Swoopes"0.3397Tuesday, July 16, 2013"No Limits"0.3335Tuesday, July 09, 2013"Pat XO"0.2311LEAST-VIEWED ESPN DOCUMENTARIES SINCE 30 FOR 30 PROJECT BEGANDATEFILMRATINGVIEWERS (000)Tuesday, April 20, 2010"Silly Little Game"0.3356Saturday, April 03, 2010"Guru of Go"*0.3394Tuesday, May 04, 2010"The 16th Man"0.4463Tuesday, October 04, 2011"Renee"0.4508Tuesday, October 06, 2009"King's Ransom"0.5645
NOTE: * = Rating, viewership listed is for the ESPN premiere for the film. The hour-long film originally aired on ABC on April 3, 2010, as part of a two-hour "ESPN Sports Saturday" telecast which earned a 0.4 rating and 560,000 viewers.
FS1 averaged 157,000 viewers in primetime for the week of Aug. 19-25 -- its first full week on the air -- ahead of other cable sports networks like Golf Channel (132,000), NBCSN (96,000) and ESPNU (63,000) during the same period. The net's average was below those for MLB Network (196,000) and NFL Network (384,000). FS1’s most-viewed telecast last week was the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 from Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 21 with 540,000 viewers. That audience was on par with an ESPN2 Little League World Series telecast from Aug. 19. FS1’s “Crowd Goes Wild” peaked at 179,000 viewers during the net’s first week (Aug. 23). The 5:00pm ET show premiered to 74,000 viewers on Aug. 19 and had a weeklong low of 29,000 viewers on Aug. 22. Meanwhile, the net’s “Fox Sports Live” 11:00pm show had its best audience of the week on Aug. 19 with 82,000 viewers (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
HE’S BACK: The Aug. 26 premiere of “Olbermann” on ESPN2 drew 319,000 viewers, “a slight boost from what the time period averaged in August of last year when it drew roughly 239,000 viewers.” Among men 18-49 and 25-54, the show “was steady” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 8/28).
KICK START: NBCSN averaged 536,000 viewers for the EPL Manchester United-Chelsea match on Aug. 26, marking the second-best early-season (pre-December) EPL audience in the U.S. all-time, behind only ESPN2’s ManU-Tottenham Hotspur match on Aug. 22, 2011. Since the kickoff of the EPL season (10-day period), NBCSN's ratings have doubled, P18-49 rating have tripled and P25-54 ratings have quadrupled (Karp).
The charts below list final Nielsen ratings from weekend sports telecasts.
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) NFL Preseason: Vikings-49ers8/25NBC8:08-11:02pm5.28,176 NFL Preseason: Seahawks-Packers8/23CBS8:00-11:15pm4.87,684 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Bristol8/24ABC7:30-11:15pm3.96,322 NFL Preseason: Saints-Texans8/25Fox4:00-7:00pm3.7n/a PGA Tour: The Barclays: Final Round8/25CBS2:00-6:00pm3.0n/a NFL Preseason: Rams-Broncos8/24CBS8:00-11:21pm2.94,416 Little League World Series Championship: Japan-Chula Vista (CA)8/25ABC3:00-6:15pm2.53,947 Little League World Series: U.S. Championship: Chula Vista (CA)-Westport (CT)8/24ABC3:45-6:30pm2.13,147 "NASCAR Countdown"8/24ABC7:00-7:30pm2.13,064 PGA Tour: The Barclays: Third Round8/24CBS3:00-6:00pm1.8n/a MLB: (regional)8/24Fox4:00-7:30pm1.5n/a "Madden NFL 14 Pigskin Pro-Am"8/25NBC7:00-8:00pm1.52,300 Little League World Series: Int'l Championship: Japan-Mexico8/24ABC12:30-3:45pm1.42,094 Horse Racing: Saratoga: Travers and King's Bishop8/24NBC4:30-6:00pm0.6861 EPL: Aston Villa-Arsenal8/24NBC12:30-2:30pm0.6789 U.S. Open: Arthur Ashe Kids' Day8/25CBS12:00-1:30pm0.5n/a Ironman World Championships (repeat)8/25NBC1:30-3:00pm0.5630 ATP Winston-Salem Open Final: Jurgen Meltzer d. Gael Monfils8/24CBS12:30-3:00pm0.4n/a "U.S. Open preview"8/25CBS1:30-2:00pm0.4n/a World of Adventure Sports8/25NBC3:00-4:00pm0.4543 Cycling: USA Pro Challenge: Stage 68/24NBC2:30-4:30pm0.3467 Cycling: USA Pro Challenge: Stage 78/25NBC4:00-6:00pm0.4457 TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) NFL Preseason: Steelers-Redskins8/19ESPN7:59-11:07pm3.85,575 NFL Preseason: Panthers-Ravens8/22ESPN8:00-11:05pm2.73,954 Little League World Series: Chula Vista (CA)-Westport (CT)8/21ESPN8:00-11:00pm1.31,957 MLB: Red Sox-Dodgers8/25ESPN8:00-11:13pm1.31,899 NASCAR Nationwide Series: Bristol8/23ESPN7:30-9:30pm1.11,687 Little League World Series: 3rd Place: Mexico-Westport (CT)8/25ESPN11:00am-1:50pm1.01,454 Little League World Series: Sammamish (WA)-Nashville (TN)8/20ESPN28:00-10:05pm0.91,397 "Monday Night Countdown"8/19ESPN7:00-7:59pm1.01,394 NFL Preseason: Bills-Redskins8/24NFLN4:30-7:28pm0.81,198 Little League World Series: Sammamish (WA)-Urbandale (IA)8/19ESPN28:00-10:16pm0.71,106