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Fox is averaging an 8.5 fast-national rating and 14.1 million viewers for the Red Sox-Cardinals World Series heading into tonight's Game 6, marking the best figures for the Fall Classic since the Yankees-Phillies matchup in '09. This year's matchup is up from a 7.6 rating and 12.7 million viewers for the Giants' sweep of the Tigers last year. Monday night's Game 5 finished with an 8.9 rating and 14.4 million viewers, up slightly from an 8.8 rating and 14.3 million viewers for Cardinals-Rangers Game 5 in '11. The series-clinching Giants-Rangers Game 5 in '10 drew an 8.8 rating and 15.0 million viewers. Monday's game peaked at an 11.7 rating from 11:00-11:30pm ET. It had competition from ESPN's Seahawks-Rams "MNF" telecast, which finished with a 6.7 rating and 10.8 million viewers. That game peaked from 11:30-11:45pm with an 8.2 rating (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). SI's Tom Verducci notes the drama-filled tension has been "good for ratings, especially as it lasted deep into the night." The first pitch of Game 3 at 8:07pm on Saturday night drew 9.3 million viewers, but "14.1 million viewers watched the last pitch and that bizarre (but correct) obstruction call at 12:01am." That ended up being the "highest-rated, most-watched Game 3 since 2009 and gave Fox its best Saturday-night viewership since January" (SI, 11/4 issue).
STILL GOT JUICE: In L.A., Scott Collins writes this year's World Series is "generating actual excitement among viewers and has even given NFL games a run for their money in the ratings," proving that interest in baseball "hasn't totally waned." NBC's Packers-Vikings "SNF" matchup "pulled out the win" when it went against Game 4 of the World Series, but it "was close." It is a "little too early to declare that baseball is back as America's pastime," but the ratings "show the game hasn't lost its TV cred" (L.A. TIMES, 10/30). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes MLB "might take solace in knowing that Game 4 was probably largely responsible for 'Sunday Night Football' having about five million fewer viewers than its season average" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/30). In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck writes this year's World Series "should be a big television draw" by any measure. The two teams are "historic franchises with terrific national followings, and they're attractive teams with great pitching and plenty of interesting storylines." So why is the series "getting a relative ho-hum reaction from baseball fans, who are delivering another series of mediocre overnight TV ratings?" The series "is on pace to post the third-worst average audience" since MLB's postseason moved to prime time (Baltimore SUN, 10/30).
NOSTALGIC MCCARVER: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar writes Fox' Tim McCarver "maintained a matter-of-fact approach all season, his final one, in the Fox baseball broadcast booth," but now, with the end "near, he is much more reflective publicly." McCarver on Monday said, "This whole year, it’s been much more vivid, things are a lot clearer to me. I appreciate the game, I wouldn’t say more than ever, but as much as ever." Fox' Joe Buck said of McCarver, "He said to me before Game 3, 'I’m relishing this more than I ever have, more than I ever thought I would'" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/30). In N.Y., Andy Martino wrote, "I don’t know about you, but I’ll miss Tim McCarver." His voice is the "sound of baseball in October, the lone constant." As this series has "shown, his eye for the game remains sharp, and his insights educational." Martino wrote after watching Pedro Martinez "bring his sharp insight and goofy humor to TBS this month, we’d love to hear more of him, too" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 10/29). CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman wrote on his Twitter feed, "i know everyone likes to kill broadcasters these days on twitter. but tim mccarver has been a very good one" (TWITTER.com, 10/30).
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Marvin Isgur yesterday “authorized the Astros to negotiate with third parties on a new business plan for Houston Regional Sports Network, the troubled Astros-Rockets-Comcast partnership” that owns CSN Houston, according to David Barron of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Isgur signed what he “described as ‘a pretty extraordinary’ three-page order that was accepted in a rare show of unanimity among the fractious network partners.” Isgur’s order “has no apparent immediate effect on efforts to line up carriage agreements with DirecTV, Suddenlink or AT&T U-verse.” However, it frees Astros Owner Jim Crane to “negotiate with parties such as Fox and DirecTV across a wide range of services and scenarios that could impact the future of the Astros and Rockets on TV.” Any agreements "into which the Astros enter on the network’s behalf, such as carriage deals or the sale of a portion of the partnership to a third party, are subject to the court’s approval.” Isgur’s order “places on hold the Astros’ motion to dismiss the involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy case filed Sept. 27 by four Comcast affiliates and Comcast’s motion to name an interim trustee.” The order also “leaves in place the network’s carriage agreement with Comcast, the largest cable carrier in Houston, which will be a critical asset to bidders” (CHRON.com, 10/29).
Both ESPN's "SportsCenter" and FS1's "Fox Sports Live" dedicated the start of last night's 11:00pm ET broadcasts to the opening of the NBA season, but the shows varied in what they covered. ESPN spent the entire opening segment concentrating on the Bulls-Heat game, which featured the Heat being presented their '12-13 championship rings and the return of Bulls G Derrick Rose. Conversely, FS1 spent its first segment on several NBA-related topics, including Magic-Pacers highlights and chances that the Heat win their third straight title this season. "SportsCenter" next went into an NFL report, but "Fox Sports Live" went to highlights of NHL games. The only NHL highlights that aired on "SportsCenter" were in "The Miller Time Moment" segment, which aired in the back half of the broadcast, highlighting a hat trick scored by Blackhawks C Jonathan Toews. Two more hockey plays made the "Top Ten" highlight package. The first report on World Series Game 6 aired about 20 minutes into the broadcast for "Fox Sports Live," while "SportsCenter" made its first mention at about the 35-minute mark. As in previous comparisons, "Fox Sports Live" utilized their large stable of analysts to discuss various topics and issues between highlight packages, while ESPN brought on Tim Legler for its NBA coverage and several MLB analysts to discuss tonight's game at Fenway Park.
ESPN FS1 Bulls-Heat Bulls-Heat Injury update on Seahawks WR Sidney Rice Magic-Pacers Clippers-Lakers Panel discussion on the return of Bulls G Derrick Rose Magic-Pacers Panel discussion on chances Heat three-peat as champions ESPN's Tim Legler analyzing the NBA's opening night Clippers-Lakers Preview of Miami-Florida State (football) Ducks-Flyers Recap of Bulls-Heat Lightning-Devils Bulls G Derrick Rose postgame interview Senators-Blackhawks Pittsburg St.-Kansas (basketball) Preview of World Series Game 6 NBA teams wanting to lose and get
in NBA Draft Lottery
NFL trade deadline Preview of World Series Game 6 NFL injury updates/news and notes The Miller Time Moment Panel discussion on whether Deion Sanders could cover Calvin Johnson "PTI" interview with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Preview of UFC 169 Report on Heat F LeBron James' first 10 years in the NBA Recap of Bulls-Heat/Magic-Pacers SportsCenter Top 10 Pittsburg St.-Kansas (basketball) Panel discussion on debut of Kansas F Andrew Wiggins Interview with Cardinals P Michael Wacha Preview of World Series Game 6 MLB analysts Gabe Kapler on Wacha The 1 In Case You Missed It #Buzzer Great moments from World Series Game 6 in MLB history
Bears President & CEO Ted Phillips said that the team "will explore the possibility of launching its own station via HD Radio," and that the move "could happen next season, but more likely" in '15, according to Ed Sherman of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. In its deal with WBBM-AM and WBBM-FM, the team "has the rights to use 105.9 HD3 as its own exclusive radio outlet." Phillips said, "I can't say we will do it next year, but the brainstorming will begin next year. In my mind, we're probably looking at 2015." Currently, the Penguins, Phillies and Cowboys have HD Radio stations, but more pro franchises "are looking at the option as HD Radio is expected to have greater distribution with manufacturers now making them available in new cars." The technology "also allows access via smart [phone] apps and through the Internet." Sherman notes the Bears' new multimedia facility at Halas Hall "includes fully operational TV and radio studios." The Bears "already produce several shows for television," and an HD station "is a natural next step." Phillips: "The HD penetration still is not that high. It's very labor intensive. We have to make sure it is worth it." iBiquity Senior VP/Broadcast Programs & Advanced Services Joe D'Angelo, whose company develops HD Radio, said that there are "currently 14 million HD Radio units in the marketplace." He added that 33 auto companies "have announced plans to incorporate HD Radios in 170 models by year's end." The White Sox also have "discussed HD Radio, although it appears to be further down the road for them" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/30).
TNT averaged a 3.6 overnight rating for its NBA season-opening doubleheader last night, which featured Bulls-Heat in the early window and Clippers-Lakers in the late window. Last year's opening doubleheader -- Celtics-Heat and Mavericks-Lakers -- drew a 3.8 overnight. The Bulls-Heat game drew a 4.2 overnight, marking the net's best opening game since '09, despite the Heat having a large lead for most of the game. The game peaked at a 4.5 rating from 10:30-10:45pm ET. Last year's Celtics-Heat drew a 3.9 overnight. The Clippers-Lakers matchup saw a dropoff as Lakers G Kobe Bryant was not playing in the game, as the game rating peaked during the first 15 minutes. The 3.6 overnight for the doubleheader still paces well ahead of last season's final average (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
DORIS' DAY: In Newark, Dave D'Alessandro wrote ESPN's "NBA Countdown," with the addition of Doris Burke, is "about to get infinitely smarter." Burke said, "This is a completely new position for me, and I have to learn the mechanics of hosting and being a commentator. So I’m not quite sure yet what my approach will be. The one thing I will say is, I’m comfortable in my ability to talk about the game, and comfortable in my ability to ask good questions to solicit good responses." D'Alessandro: "Perhaps her greatest achievement is that she’s made gender irrelevant" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 10/29).
STEELE RESOLVE: ESPN's Sage Steele today talked about her role as a host for "NBA Countdown" and said she was "shocked when they offered me" the role, but she "jumped at it." Steele: "It's a no-brainer." She noted she and analysts Doug Collins, Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons got together for a mock show last week, the first time she had worked with all of them at once. Steele: "The cool thing is the chemistry was there. ... I was pleasantly surprised." She downplayed the significance of hosting the show as an African-American woman, saying, "There have been so many women who've come before me. ... I just need to keep it more simple for my head. I can't make it that deep" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 10/30).
WEATHER PATTERN: In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht noted the Thunder's viewership reach is growing by 65% this season, adding "more than 1.5 million homes with the telecasts expanding into western Missouri, Nebraska and more of Kansas." Thunder VP/Corporate Communications & Community Relations Dan Mahoney said that telecasts last season reached "about 2.3 million homes, which included Little Rock and Fort Smith, Ark." The team's new "five-state TV region of Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Nebraska will reach about 3.8 million homes." Mahoney said that K.C., which will "air 61 telecasts, will account for almost half of the new homes with more than 700,000 homes." The number of Thunder telecasts on FS K.C. and FS Midwest will "range from 52 to 70, depending on the market" (NEWSOK.com, 10/29).
TIME TO PLAY THE GAME: The NBA GameTime App and League Pass on an authenticated basis are available on the PS3 and PS Vita for the start of the season. PlayStation already carries the NHL Gamecenter and MLB.TV apps on PS3 (John Ourand, Staff Writer).
NBC Sports Senior VP/Original Production & Creative Mark Levy when asked if the net would continue to push the NHL hard said, "It’s part of our hope. We want to provide the destination for the hockey fan to be able to come and stay and enjoy the hockey programming, be it watching a live game, or a show we’ve worked on, or Bob Costas sitting down with [Penguins C] Sidney Crosby." Levy, when asked if Costas would help NBC's hockey push, said, "Most definitely. This is something Bob wants to do. This isn’t an assignment on a monthly schedule. This is something he loves" (TRIBLIVE.com, 10/29).
EVERYTHING ON YOUR PHONE: VARIETY's Todd Spangler reported, "Comcast has inked deals to let subscribers tune in to 35 live cable channels through its updated video-player app for mobile devices over any Wi-Fi connection -- including outside the home -- aiming to give customers a new reason to keep paying for cable TV." The new Xfinity TV Player App will let Xfinity TV customers watch channels including ESPN, CNN, CNBC and Fox News "over any Wi-Fi connection on Apple and Android mobile devices, with availability depending on subscription level" (VARIETY.com, 10/29).
BASKETBALL IS THE NEW HOCKEY: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Etan Vlessing reported TSN "plans to feature" every Univ. of Kansas men's basketball game this season, as Toronto-born Andrew Wiggins "makes his U.S. college hoops debut." TSN VP/Programming Shawn Redmond said, "As the top prospect in basketball and now a Sports Illustrated cover star, the excitement surrounding Andrew Wiggins is soaring." Meanwhile, Sportsnet "launched 'Wiggins Watch' during Connected, the cable sport channel's nightly news program, and online at sportsnet.ca" ahead of Wiggins' debut last night (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 10/29).
DRIVE TIME: In Dallas, Barry Horn reported Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw on Monday joined Matt Mosley "as co-hosts on the afternoon drive show" on ESPN Radio 103.3 Dallas. The show, called "The Afternoon Show," will air from 3:00-6:00pm CT. Cowlishaw "plans to remain a panelist" on ESPN's "Around the Horn" (DALLASNEWS.com, 10/25).