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ESPN earned a 10.3 overnight for last night’s Steelers-Bengals “MNF” telecast, down 9% from an 11.3 rating for the Broncos-Falcons matchup in Week 2 last year. The 10.3 rating is up from an 8.8 overnight for Rams-Giants in ’11, but down from a 10.6 for Saints-49ers in ’10. In Pittsburgh, the game earned an 11.9 local rating on ESPN and a 27.9 rating on WTAE-ABC. In Cincinnati, the game earned a 14.4 local rating on ESPN and a 23.9 rating on WLWT-NBC. Dayton, Baltimore and Richmond rounded out the top five highest-rated markets (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
HIGHS & LOWS: In Houston, David Barron reported the Texans' OT win over the Titans on Sunday recorded a 24.8 local rating on KHOU-CBS. That compares to a 22.2 rating for the Week 1 home opener against the Dolphins last year and 22.5 for the Week 2 game at the Jaguars. Meanwhile, Comcast SportsNet Houston earned a 0.04 local rating for the Angels-Astros game on Saturday, marking a "record low audience" for an Astros game on an RSN in the Houston market. The previous low was a 0.05 rating on FS Houston for Astros-Reds on Sept. 9, 2012 (CHRON.com, 9/16).
TOPICS OF CONVERSATION: In S.F., Scott Ostler wrote CBSSN's Amy Trask is the "gutsiest person in pro football." Trask is taking "a strong stand for dumping the ugly nickname" of the Redskins. She is "not the only person taking this position, but Trask has the most to lose." The "old-schoolers will be all over Trask, calling her a lightweight softie sellout to new-age political over-correctness" (SFGATE.com, 9/16). Meanwhile, in Akron, George Thomas writes during all of the NFL pregame shows Sunday morning, "two topics dominated discussion." One was Lions DT Ndamukong Suh and the other was Patriots QB Tom Brady (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 9/17).
Orlando-based WKMG-CBS GM Skip Valet has issued a statement that the station "did NOT apologize for broadcasting the Jaguars' game on Sunday," according to a Facebook post by Nikki Kimbleton of WJXT-CBS. Valet implored viewers not to "believe the fictitious nonsense you read on the lazy blogs." Valet: "We didn't apologize for carrying the Jaguars. The CBS Broadcast team on the Dolphins' game repeatedly promoted the NY-Denver game. Our viewers were confused and angry. We clarified why we were broadcasting the Jaguars' game and apologized to viewers who may have been confused by the constant 'Manning Bowl,' promotion" (FACEBOOK.com, 9/17). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio writes the message that was seen on the screen Sunday "didn’t make clear whether folks were upset because they possibly wouldn’t see the Jaguars game, or because they were being led to believe they possibly wouldn’t have to see the Jaguars game." It did not seem "like an effort to make folks who feared they’d have to watch Broncos-Giants realize that they’d get to watch the Jaguars," but instead an "effort to make folks who wanted to watch Broncos-Giants understand why they couldn’t" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 9/17). In Orlando, Roger Simmons reports WKMG, with Orlando-Daytona Beach serving as the Jaguars' secondary market, is mandated by the NFL to show "all of CBS' Jaguars away games -- regardless of what other marquee matchup the rest of the nation may watch.” The Jaguars have seven more road games this season. Sunday's Jaguars-Raiders game drew an “estimated 115,500 viewers in Central Florida,” while WKMG’s 1:00pm ET broadcast of Dolphins-Colts had “more than double that audience with 244,000 viewers” (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 9/16).
NOT A GOOD LOOK: ESPN's Bomani Jones said it is "never a good look when the TV station ... has to put on the screen, 'We're showing this Jaguars game because they're making us'" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 9/16). CBSSN's Allie LaForce noted Broncos-Giants, the game "everybody wanted to see," aired the same time Jaguars-Raiders did and added "no one in Orlando is a Jags fan.” CBSSN’s Doug Gottlieb added, “If you have a team and they're playing, regardless of whatever other game is on in that conference, that’s the only game you get. Poor people in Oakland, they have to watch Raider games. Same thing in Jacksonville. This is a league policy.” LaForce: “Just get the 'Sunday Ticket' and then you won’t have to ever complain again” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 9/16).
HAIL MARY PLAY? In Jacksonville, Vito Stellino notes a "small group of Tim Tebow fans held a tailgate party at EverBank Field Monday imploring the Jaguars” to sign the free agent QB. The gathering, which organizers hope will “become a weekly event," started at 3:16pm ET “in honor of the John 3:16 biblical verse that Tebow used to paint in his eyeblack” when he played in college (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 9/17). ESPN's Dan Le Batard said of the Jaguars signing Tebow, "What would you rather do: Lose and not have any people there or lose and have Tim Tebow as your quarterback and have people there? Because they're going to lose either way. So why not sell some tickets?" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 9/16). ESPN's Max Kellerman said the Jaguars "don't hit rock bottom" until they sign Tebow and "make him their quarterback." Kellerman said even if Tebow went .500 as a starter, "you're selling tickets, everyone's happy and you're better than you were." ESPN's Marcellus Wiley: "How about just become relevant again" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 9/16). In Jacksonville, Paris Moulden writes, “The Jaguars should bring him in (provided he even wants to come) and let the chips fall where they may. Then they can send this message to fans who vow to buy tickets if he's here: ‘Put up or shut up’” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 9/17).
The NBA Kings and KXTV-ABC "came up with a unique format" for the team's '13-14 home opener, deciding to air a "commercial-free telecast" for the Oct. 30 game against the Nuggets at Sleep Train Arena, according to Ailene Voisin of the SACRAMENTO BEE. The opener is the "first of 11 games" KXTV will telecast this season. Kings President Chris Granger said, "Opening night is going to be such a celebration, a new chapter in the journey. It's going to be a sellout, so we have been thinking about ways to include more people. This (commercial-free telecast) seemed like a way to do that, and fortunately, News10 was more than willing to partner with us." Granger also confirmed that Kayte Christensen "is returning as a sideline reporter, reuniting with Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds after a three-year absence" (SACBEE.com, 9/17). YAHOO SPORTS' Eric Freeman wrote it "appears as though the breaks in game action will feature various peeks into the live game experience." That suggests that the "point of this broadcast is to get fans interested in attending games" at the arena. It figures to "be a game typified by excitement over the return (or continual presence) of the Kings, and there's no problem with responding to the fans' passion by showing them a potential outlet for it" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/16).