SBD/October 16, 2013/Media

CBS On Pace For Best SEC Football Audience Since '01, But Is Net Avoiding Missouri?

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CBS has averaged a 4.6 rating and 7.3 million viewers for its five SEC football games to date, marking the net's best audience through this point in the college football season since it began airing the SEC-only schedule in '01. This year's five-game audience figures are up 48% and 49%, respectively, from a 3.1 rating and 4.9 million viewers through the same point in '12 (CBS).

GAME
RATING
Alabama-Texas A&M
8.6
Florida-Tennessee
2.8
Georgia-LSU
4.6
Georgia-Tennessee
3.5
Florida-LSU
3.1


NEED TO EARN THEIR STRIPES
: In Birmingham, Jon Solomon noted the undefeated Univ. of Missouri football team is ranked 14th in the AP poll this week and leads the SEC East, but CBS "won't be showing" either this week's game against No. 22 Florida or next week's game against 11th ranked South Carolina. CBS has the "first pick of SEC games," and cited several factors for its selection choices, including "national rankings, standings, star power, injuries, rivalries, tradition, and past ratings." Prior to Missouri's win at Georgia last week, CBS "selected Georgia-Vanderbilt and Auburn-Texas A&M as its doubleheader for this Saturday." But the net picked Alabama-Tennessee on Oct. 26 after Missouri upset Georgia. The team's game against Florida will be "shown on SEC Network syndicated affiliates" at 12:21pm ET, while South Carolina-Missouri next week will be on ESPN or ESPN2 at 7:00pm. Airing South Carolina-Missouri next week "would have carried a risk CBS usually doesn't take." Of the past 50 SEC regular-season games on CBS, 47 "involved at least one of the SEC's traditional powers" -- Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee. Missouri was on CBS "twice last year, drawing a 2.1 in its 32-point loss to Alabama and a 2.5 in its 21-point loss to South Carolina." CBS Senior VP/Programming Dan Weinberg said the ratings for Missouri's games were discussed "no more than any other factor we talked about." Solomon noted CBS "often picks the highest-ranked available team, particularly if that school is ranked No. 1." Alabama has "been No. 1 all year, but has so far appeared only once on CBS" (AL.com, 10/15).

EAST COAST BIAS? Pac-12 Deputy Commissioner & COO Kevin Weiberg indicated that the conference's late games on Saturday nights (10:30pm ET starts) "have been successful." Weiberg: "Two of ESPN's games -- Wisconsin-Arizona State and Washington-Stanford -- were the highest-rated games on the network that day. The night window has held up." In Portland, Kerry Eggers notes the majority of the fan base in most Pac-12 markets is "more than an hour away," which leads to "late-hour drives." Having games that start so late is a "travesty," as there is "no reason to start a game" after 6:00pm PT (PORTLAND TRIBUNE, 10/16).
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