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ESPN earned an 11.6 overnight rating for last night's Eagles-Redskins telecast, marking the net's best "MNF" opener since it acquired NFL rights prior to the '06 season. The previous high for an opener was a 10.5 overnight for Ravens-Jets in '10. The 11.6 rating is also up from an 8.1 for Bengals-Ravens in the first window last year. In Philadelphia, the game earned an 11.0 local rating on ESPN and a 24.1 rating on WPVI-ABC. In DC, the game earned a 22.3 local rating on ESPN and a 16.5 rating on WDCA-Ind. Meanwhile, the Texans-Chargers game in the late "MNF" window earned a 7.7 overnight, down 3% from a 7.9 for Chargers-Raiders last year. In Houston, the game earned a 9.4 local rating on ESPN and a 17.9 rating on KTRK-ABC. In San Diego, the game earned a 17.8 rating on ESPN and an 18.9 rating on KUSI-Ind. (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
RAY'S WAY: Last night marked the debut of ESPN analyst Ray Lewis on “Monday Night Countdown,” and the net’s Steve Young said, “We’ve been talking about it for over a year, I think. You didn’t know that, we’ve been talking Ray’s going to be here. We predicted it.” Lewis: “I love being here, man. It’s so awesome to make the transition and go out the way I did” (“Monday Night Countdown,” ESPN, 9/9).
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? MOBILESPORTSREPORT.com's Paul Kapustka cited a Verizon technician as saying that "massive amounts of NFL Mobile users weren't able to connect" on Sunday because "so many people" were using the app. The Verizon rep also said that "'because of high call volume' Sunday there weren't enough technical reps at work to handle the NFL Mobile outage." Kapustka: "I will give the Twitter reps at NFL Mobile customer support a small bit of respect for finding my tweets and trying to respond, but really -- this just shouldn’t happen." The "biggest app for the biggest sport simply shouldn’t have network failures" (MOBILESPORTSREPORT.com, 9/8).
NEW TECHNOLOGY: In Akron, George Thomas noted WEWS-ABC yesterday debuted its "first mobilecast," which streamed from 7:00-8:30am ET "via the station’s website and mobile app." It came "across as very slick with studio-quality production, something that’s not often seen in Internet-only shows." WEWS New Media Dir Colleen Seitz said that the show "got nearly 4,000 page views." Thomas writes this "experiment will succeed based on the talent of its hosts and the analysis of its guests." WEWS "pulled together an impressive lineup of locally based talent for the premier show," including free agent WR Josh Cribbs, FS Ohio’s Zac Jackson and former Ohio State LB Matt Wilhelm (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 9/10).
YOUR LOCAL NEWS: WITI-Fox earned a 50.8 local rating in Milwaukee for Packers-49ers, up 7% for the same game in Week 1 last year (JSONLINE.com, 9/9)....KCPQ-Fox earned a 31.4 local rating in Seattle-Tacoma for Seahawks-Panthers, up from a 27.5 rating for last year's comparable Seahawks-Cardinals in Week 1 (SEATTLETIMES.com, 9/9). The 31.4 rating was the second-best rating ever in the market for an NFL regular-season game on Fox (TWITTER.com, 9/10)....In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley reported the dispute between Time Warner Cable and the Journal Broadcast Group "took a significant bite out of the local rating" for Thursday's Ravens-Broncos game on WTMJ-NBC. The station "has not been available" to TWC customers in the Milwaukee market since July 25. The game drew a 12.3 rating compared to the 21.8 Cowboys-Giants drew for last year's season opener (JSONLINE.com, 9/6)....WFOR-CBS earned an 18.1 local rating in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale for the Dolphins-Browns season opener, up 35% from a 13.5 rating for Dolphins-Texans last year. The station also saw big gains among all key demos (Dolphins).
CBS earned a 2.8 overnight rating for yesterday's U.S. Open men's final, which saw Rafael Nadal defeat Novak Djokovic in four sets for his 13th Grand Slam title. The 2.8 overnight is up 22% from last year's final, in which Andy Murray defeated Djokovic in five sets. This year's rating also is up from a 2.6 in '11 and a 2.2 in '10 -- both of which featured Nadal-Djokovic and aired on a Monday. West Palm Beach led all U.S. markets for yesterday's match with a 5.6 local rating, followed by Ft. Myers-Naples (5.1), Richmond (5.0), N.Y. (4.6) and K.C. (4.5) (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
LET'S BUILD A SMARTER TOURNAMENT: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Carl Bialik wrote tennis has "a stats problem," as the sport often "botches even its basic match data, with missing or incorrect numbers for past matches and no archived stats online for individual matches on the women’s tour." IBM, a tech partner for all four Grand Slams events, has been "collecting millions of data points on matches, including stats such as winners and unforced errors that aren’t logged at many tour stops." IBM’s touting of its keys to each match "is the latest evolution of the company’s longstanding relationship with tennis." The sport has "in the past showcased IBM’s hardware and software." The company "calls the keys 'predictive analytics,'" but they "haven’t been particularly predictive." One possible reason is that IBM has "tested so many different possible keys ... that it has overfit its model." It is "hard to know exactly what went wrong, because IBM doesn’t share the details of its model, and how it arrived at it." Nor does IBM "publish most of the raw data." So instead of "lots of statisticians tackling the big data set, and coming up with other keys and other insights ... there is only IBM." The USTA "owns the data IBM used for 'Keys to the Match' and has no plans to share it with other analysts" (WSJ.com, 9/7).
The Hurricanes will have “all 82 games televised this season, a first” for the franchise, according to Chip Alexander of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. FS Carolinas yesterday announced that it would “carry 81 of the 82 games,” with 64 shown by FS Carolinas and 17 by SportsSouth. The Hurricanes “also will have one national telecast” on NBCSN. Hurricanes President & GM Jim Rutherford said, “We’ve certainly made a lot of progress to get to this point. … It’s better for our fans.” Alexander notes this season is the “first of 10 years covered by the FSCR contract.” The RSN carried 65 games in the ’10-11 season and 67 in ’11-12. The RSN also televised all Hurricanes telecsts during the 48-game schedule in the '12-13 season. Rutherford: “Being a smaller-market team, we realize we will not get as many national games as other teams. We don’t dwell on it. It’s more about getting all our games on” (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 9/10).