SBD/September 6, 2013/NFL Season Preview

NBC Gets 16.2 Overnight For Ravens-Broncos, Down From Recent NFL Kickoff Games

NBC earned a 16.2 overnight for the Broncos’ 49-27 win over the Ravens in the NFL Kickoff game Thursday night, down 2% from a 16.5 overnight for Cowboys-Giants last year, which aired on a Wednesday night due to a conflict with the Democratic National Convention. The game is down 6% from a 17.2 overnight for Saints-Packers in ’11, which aired on a Thursday. The Kickoff game peaked at a 17.7 overnight in '10 for Vikings-Saints. Despite the drop, NBC easily won primetime last night. The Ravens-Broncos game marked the best Thursday primetime overnight for any program on any net since the '12 London Games. The game earned a 43.9 local rating in Denver and a 37.6 rating in Baltimore (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

NFL KICKOFF OVERNIGHT RATINGS TREND
YEAR
MATCHUP
NET
OVERNIGHT
'13
Ravens-Broncos
NBC
16.2
'12
Cowboys-Giants*
NBC
16.5
'11
Saints-Packers
NBC
17.2
'10
Vikings-Saints
NBC
17.7
'09
Titans-Steelers
NBC
13.8
'08
Redskins-Giants**
NBC
10.1
'07
Saints-Colts
NBC
13.0
'06
Dolphins-Steelers
NBC
13.5
'05
Raiders-Patriots
ABC
13.1
'04
Colts-Patriots
ABC
12.6
'03
Jets-Redskins
ABC
14.5
'02
49ers-Giants
ESPN
12.7
       

CHART NOTES: * = Game aired on a Wednesday night due to Democratic National Convention. ** = Game aired on a Thursday, but began at 7:00pm ET to accommodate Republican National Convention.

HE'S NO AMERICAN IDOL: In Baltimore, David Zurawik writes NBC turned the "Football Night in America" pregame show, as well as the "opening of the game itself, into a pimp machine for Ryan Seacrest and his new NBC show, 'The Million Second Quiz.'" Zurawik: "You don’t take someone like that and shove him down the throats of serious sports fans on opening night as NBC did Thursday. Nor, do you take someone as singularly talented as Bob Costas and make him party to the con game by having him interview Seacrest." By the time NBC had Seacrest "on the field to lead a faux countdown to what was supposed to be the start of the game, any hope for treating the game of football with respect was gone." Beyond the Seacrest scenario, it "was a mixed performance by the usually stellar" NBC "SNF" crew. Costas "was a little ragged," but NBC and the NFL did "a superb job of staging and telecasting" the Keith Urban concert from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Sideline reporter Michele Tafoya was "all over the weather front that blew up the best laid plans for a carefully choreographed opening and delayed the start of the game by 33 minutes." She reported "every injury as well," and did a "strong post-game interview" with Broncos QB Peyton Manning (Baltimore SUN, 9/6). USATODAY.com's Chris Chase wrote of Seacrest's appearance, "Even if you respect his work ethic and talent ... it's still Ryan Seacrest at a football game. You don't have Cris Collinsworth hosting the People's Choice Awards" (USATODAY.com, 9/5). ABC's Jimmy Kimmel sarcastically said, "Nothing screams football like Ryan Seacrest" ("Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC, 9/5). When Seacrest "was announced to the crowd ... the boo-birds came out in droves" (FOXNEWS.com, 9/6).

THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS: On Long Island, Neil Best reports starting with Sunday's Giants-Cowboys game at AT&T Stadium, "every NBC game at the Cowboys' building will feature 'FreeD' TV." The plan, "fashioned by a company called Replay Technologies, is to mount a total of 24 high-speed cameras -- 12 on each end -- covering every angle in both red zones to provide a seamless 360-degree arc of replay possibilities." The array of cameras will "start at each 20-yard line and wrap around the backs of the end zones." Rather than replays "having to be pieced together from various angles, the entire area in effect becomes one continuous angle." NBC "SNF" Exec Producer Fred Gaudelli said that each camera "can record with eight times the resolution of a regular HD camera." He added, "You can zoom in without any pixel loss or picture degradation" (NEWSDAY, 9/6). Meanwhile, NBC this season will feature an expanded collection of digital and social media extensions, including a revamped "SNF" experience online that includes "SNF All-Access," NBCSports.com and the new NBCSports.com/FollowSNF section, designed for fans who want to interact with and track "SNF" and the "SNF Bus." In addition, NBC Sports Group will offer news, exclusive content and social engagement opportunities for football fans through a collection of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (NBC).

OPENING ACT: USA TODAY's Brian Mansfield notes Carrie Underwood has "recorded a new version" of the "SNF" theme song, "Waiting All Day for Sunday Night." She takes over the intro from Faith Hill. Underwood said, "Obviously we wanted to make it sound like me, but we definitely wanted to bring a fun edge to it." She added, "It's wonderful to be in front of an audience that might be a little different for me and to be a part of a football season" (USA TODAY, 9/6). Underwood noted Hill made the song "hers for so many years, so it was like if we're going to do this, we need to make sure (to) switch some stuff up and just make it feel a lot different so it's my thing." Thirteen NFL players will appear in the intro, and Underwood said, "They had the players coming in over a period of a couple days and doing their thing, being all awesome for the camera" ("The Crossover," NBCSN, 9/5).

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