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Fox finished with an 8.9 rating and 14.9 million viewers for the six-game Red Sox-Cardinals World Series, up significantly from last year’s four-game sweep, the least-viewed Fall Classic on record. This year’s audience is up 17% and 18%, respectively, from a 7.6 rating and 12.7 million viewers for the Giants’ sweep of the Tigers. The Red Sox-Cardinals series is the fourth World Series over the last decade not to crack a double-digit rating. This year’s six-game set did see strong gains among male and adult demos compared to ’12. Fox also saw the average age of viewers for this year's series at an all-time high of 54.2, up from 53.4 last year. Fox had a small viewership decline among kids 2-11 (-3%), but an 8% gain among kids 12-17. The series-clinching Game 6 on Wednesday night finished with an 11.3 rating and 19.2 million viewers, giving Fox a win in primetime and the net’s best Wednesday night audience since May ’12. The last Game 6 -- an extra-inning Cardinals-Rangers contest in ’11 -- drew a 12.7 rating and 21.1 million viewers. Yankees-Phillies Game 6 in ’09 drew a 13.4 rating and 22.3 million viewers. For this year’s six-game set, the Boston market averaged a 39.6 local rating, which was topped by St. Louis’ 40.6 local rating. Fox Deportes also carried Red Sox-Cardinals Game 6 this year, delivering the Spanish-language net its best MLB game audience since Yankees-Phillies Game 2 in ’09. For Fox' entire 12-game MLB postseason coverage (World Series + ALCS), the net averaged a 6.8 rating and 11.2 million viewers, up 26% and 27%, respectively, from coverage last season (11 games) (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).WORLD SERIES AUDIENCE TREND ON FOXYEARMATCHUPGAMESRATINGVIEWERS (000)MEDIAN AGE'13Red Sox-Cardinals68.914,90054.2'12Giants-Tigers47.612,66053.4'11Cardinals-Rangers710.016,64552.5'10Giants-Rangers58.414,26852.6'09Yankees-Phillies611.719,38749.9'08*Phillies-Rays58.413,63550.5'07Red Sox-Rockies410.617,12349.7'06Cardinals-Tigers510.115,81251.5'05White Sox-Astros411.117,16249.8'04Red Sox-Cardinals415.825,39048.4
A NICE RUN FOR MLB: NBCSPORTS.com’s D.J. Short noted last year’s World Series “didn’t have much drama to it, so it didn’t take much for this one to be a marked improvement by comparison.” Red Sox-Cardinals will "go down as the lowest-rated for a matchup that went at least six games.” However, it is "perfectly logical to see this as a sign of the times with television viewership on the whole as opposed to ‘sky is falling’ evidence of baseball’s downfall.” Short: “All in all, a pretty good month for MLB” (NBCSPORTS.com, 10/31). SB NATION's Rob Neyer wrote a nearly 20% bump in "overall postseason ratings is impressive, especially considering -- according to the conventional wisdom, anyway -- the absence of a New York (or Philadelphia) team in the festivities." Neyer: "Obviously, there are a lot of Red Sox fans and Cardinals fans, which had to help, generally. You'd really want to see a breakdown including every major market, to figure where that 20 percent is coming from. Wherever it comes from, though, 20 percent ain't small beer. Seems like maybe the old game's still got some life in 'er yet" (SBNATION.com, 10/31). Horizon Media Research Dir Brad Adgate noted, "According to TiVo the most watched moment of #WorldSeries was obstruction call to end Game 3 the play happened at 12:04AM (ET)" (TWITTER.com, 11/1).
THE SOCIAL NETWORK: Data from Facebook shows that over 11 million people had over 32 million interactions related to the '13 World Series. Nearly 62% of World Series chatter was about the Red Sox, compared to 38% for the Cardinals. Males ages 25-34 were the top demo for World Series buzz. Red Sox DH David Ortiz had the most buzz among all players, with Red Sox players taking eight of the top 10 spots (THE DAILY).
The on-field World Series celebration Wednesday night "required someone on the postgame stage with more gravitas than Erin Andrews, and someone more renowned for baseball than for college football," according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. Fox execs "wrongly figured that she deserved a prominent place on baseball’s biggest stage." Andrews seemed "awkward at times," and Fox "should have looked more deeply into its stable of announcers for a true baseball personality." There is a "certain sterility to these modern celebrations, a stage-managed lack of spontaneity." Something "primal is lost when the boozy, sweaty chaos of a clubhouse has been replaced by a planned postgame event with players and team personnel milling on the field." Meanwhile, the net's video tribute to Tim McCarver at the end of Game 6 had its "looking-back charms, but it still felt stilted." Fox "could have sprinkled 30-second 'McCarver Moments' throughout the Series and given him a great platform to end the broadcast" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/1). In Boston, Chad Finn writes Fox "needs to start hitting Erin Andrews lower in its batting order." During a Game 6 interview with The Souvenir Store co-Founder Arthur D’Angelo, she "referenced the lucrative and locally iconic baseball merchandise shop as a 'convenience store.'" Andrews during the postgame trophy presentation also appeared "uncertain as to who" Red Sox Chair Tom Werner and President & CEO Larry Lucchino were (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/1).
TWITTERSPHERE NOT IMPRESSED: Andrews' postgame appearance also drew some criticism on Twitter. SiriusXM Radio's Chris Russo wrote, "Erin Andrews is a nice kid but you can't throw her out there to do post game when she hasn't seen a baseball game all year." SB Nation's Rob Neyer wrote, "I'm glad somebody said this: Erin Andrews was a horrible choice to host postgame stuff." The N.Y. Daily News' Kevin Armstrong wrote, "Erin Andrews batting Bud Selig for the microphone in WS post-game ceremony. Quite the showdown there." Awful Announcing: "Erin Andrews v Bud Selig over a microphone was a highlight of this year's World Series." A's P Brett Anderson: "This isn't about you Erin Andrews."
THE TIME IS NOW: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes it was time for McCarver to retire, but not because he had "lost his fearless approach or his uncanny ability to first-guess better than any TV analyst in any sport" or because he had "lost his enthusiasm for preparation." It was "getting harder for Tim McCarver to be Tim McCarver." It "wasn't just about the modern-day voice having to play puppet for a network, league or team." The media world "had changed around him too." McCarver at age 72 "isn't about tweeting, being liked on Facebook, participating in web chats or placating web critics" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/1). The GLOBE's Finn looks at McCarver's possible replacements and writes MLB Network's Harold Reynolds "wouldn't be the worst choice." Finn: "I suppose they could go after someone like Rex Hudler or Ken Harrelson or another shrieking homer and really botch it. At least Reynolds is pleasant and his appreciation of the game comes through." Fox to be "bold and fun-loving" could hire TBS' Pedro Martinez or NESN's Dennis Eckersley (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/1).
SELLING THE DRAMA TOO WELL: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes under the header, "Fox Misses Point -- And The Game -- With Series Coverage." Since Fox began to televise the World Series in '96 its "shot-callers have had it in their heads the games, while important, are no more so than live shots of people doing what we tuned in to do -- watch the game." Fox has "always figured endless crowd shots ... add to the drama" (N.Y. POST, 11/1).
A majority of NFL TV partners are seeing audience gains for game coverage through the halfway point of the season. NBC’s games have averaged a 13.1 rating and 22.1 million viewers, marking the best average for an NFL primetime package through eight weeks in 17 years -- dating back to 23.9 million viewers in ’96 for ABC’s “MNF” coverage. “SNF” continues to be the most-watched primetime show on all of TV. The net was able to benefit from having one less day of MLB competition this year. Week 7’s Broncos-Colts game had no MLB game up against it, while last year’s Week 7 game (Steelers-Bengals) had NLCS Game 6. “SNF” also has now topped World Series Game 4s three times in four years. Meanwhile, ESPN is the only NFL TV partner seeing a decline this season to date. “MNF” games are averaging an 8.3 rating and 13.1 million viewers, off 1% for both metrics from ’12. NFL Network is maintaining its record-breaking audience figures through the first half of the season (excludes the special Sunday night game on Oct. 6). The net’s 4.6 rating and 7.3 million viewers is on pace to supplant last season’s record-setting averages.
AFTERNOON DELIGHT: Fox is averaging a 12.5 rating and 20.9 million viewers for its Sunday afternoon telecasts, putting the net on pace for its best NFL season on record. The net’s audience is up 23% from five years ago, up 26% from 10 years ago and up 29% from 15 years ago. CBS also is seeing gains for NFL coverage. The 10.7 rating and 17.6 million viewers mark CBS' second-best audience through eight weeks since the NFL returned to the net in '98 (behind only '10).NFL GAME VIEWERSHIP THROUGH WEEK 8NET'13 (000)'12 (000)'11 (000)'10 (000)'09 (000)'08 (000)NBC*22,09721,16521,26221,52719,11715,881Fox20,90019,20019,80019,00019,45216,728CBS17,64816,70017,26518,03415,86415,296ESPN13,07513,14512,77114,62614,42112,194NFLN**7,3326,827n/an/an/an/a
CSN Houston is offering a “free view” opportunity to cable, telco and satellite carriers, according to David Barron of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Rockets attorney Alan Gover said that the partners had "agreed to provide the channel free of charge to non-subscribing carriers for 45 days," which Barron noted will "provide access to 22 Rockets games." The audience for Wednesday's Bobcats-Rockets game was the "largest in the network’s history," surpassing a 2.2 local rating for Game 6 of last season’s Thunder-Rockets First Round and a "regular-season high" of 2.2 for a March 6 game against the Mavericks. Rockets games last year averaged 1.2 local rating on CSN Houston, but their win over the Bobcats produced a 2.5 rating. It was "not immediately clear if the newest free view offer would have to be accepted by carriers for the entire five-state area or for the Greater Houston area" (CHRON.com, 10/31).
IMG execs say that added security in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings will have no effect on IMG Media's production of the ING N.Y. Marathon this Sunday. IMG Media Senior VP & Exec Producer Steve Mayer said, "As much as I want to tell a story of woe, no; it's business as usual. The tone of the broadcasts potentially has changed a bit, where we're telling stories of what's happened over the past year and connecting them to what's going to happen on Sunday." That does not mean there will not be changes to the telecast of the race, which was cancelled last year because of damage from Hurricane Sandy. This year marks ESPN's first in carrying the event. It also marks the first time it will be produced in high-definition. "We're probably the last of the major events to come over to HD," Mayer joked. IMG will have a crew of close to 300 people on hand to produce the events, using 43 cameras, seven production trucks and multiple helicopters. It is producing the start of the race locally for WABC from 7:00-9:00am ET; a live show for ESPN from 9:00-12:30pm; then more local coverage on WABC from 12:30-2:00pm. IMG will turn around a highlights show for ABC from 4:00-6:00pm, not to mention coverage on ESPN Deportes, ESPN3 and nearly 400 million TV homes in 160 countries. IMG Media Senior VP & Head of North America Distribution, Acquisitions & Sales Hillary Mandel said, "That's been really important to the New York City Marathon to get to a place where we can blow out the local coverage because it is a local story. But it is a world marathon, seen by the world, too. It's the first time that it's been seen on this level of national television in the last eight years." The presentation will focus a lot on Sandy victims, of course, including several that plan to run the race. It also will highlight some runners that were affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. Mayer: "The coming together of Boston and New York is a theme that we'll talk about. We want to tell stories of inspiration. But at the same time, we're covering a sporting event. With ESPN, we've had much more focus on the race as a sporting event" (John Ourand, Staff Writer).
RETURN TO THE SPOTLIGHT: On Long Island, Neil Best notes the marathon Sunday will be on national TV "for the first time in 20 years." ESPN2's programming plan is to "focus on the unusual circumstances, especially in the early phases as elite runners mostly jockey uneventfully for position." Mayer said that the telecast during the first 90 minutes or so of the race "will feature stories of runners who were affected by Sandy and the Boston bombings." But the actual race for many viewers "is difficult to sit through" (NEWSDAY, 11/1).
Boxer Gennady Golovkin will make his fourth appearance on HBO in the last 14 months when he fights Curtis Stevens on Saturday night at the Theater at MSG, and he is "almost certainly the most important fighter HBO has," according to Steve Kim of SPORTS ON EARTH. HBO "needs ring stars to rebuild its brand, which has taken a hit over the last few years." This year "has not been a particularly good one for HBO" and its top fighters. The net "ended its partnership with Golden Boy," and while Andre Ward "has been seen on HBO," his "prickly personality hasn't earned him many new fans." Meanwhile, Manny Pacquiao was "last seen face-down on the canvas after getting knocked out cold by Juan Manuel Marquez." So HBO has "clearly made a priority of Golovkin, who has a professional mark of 27-0 with 24 knockouts." Not only has the net "given him valuable slots on its airwaves with increasing license fees, but it also erected a billboard" in Times Square "that bears his likeness." Golovkin has "quickly become a fighter with a cult following." His frequent fights have "paid off with increasing audiences on HBO." His first HBO appearance in September '12 against Grzegorz Proksa drew 685,000 live viewers. His January fight against Gabriel Rosado had 813,000 viewers and the telecast of a June bout against Matthew Macklin drew 1.1 million (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 10/30).
READY TO RUMBLE: USA TODAY's Bob Velin writes Golovkin has "become one of America's best, most popular and fun-to-watch boxers." He has been "criticized at times for not fighting the top competition." But K2 Promotions Managing Dir Tom Loeffler, who promotes Golovkin, said that it is "not for lack of trying." Loeffler: "If somebody has a choice to fight somebody else, they will always take a different option (and) try to avoid Gennady." Loeffler added that as Golovkin "gains in popularity, there will be more and more calls for a fight against" the likes of Ward, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or Sergio Martinez (USA TODAY, 11/1).
The programming slate last Sunday was heavy with key sports programming, which drew more viewers than any other programming across TV. NFL game windows took four of the top five spots. Fox' NFL national window was the most-viewed program across all of TV for the week. Packers-Vikings "SNF" topped World Series Game 4, but finished third for the week among all primetime shows behind a Tuesday episode of CBS' "NCIS" (18.99 million viewers) and a Thursday episode of CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" (16.99 million viewers) (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).VIEWERSHIP COMPARISONS FOR SELECT PROGRAMMING ON SUNDAY, OCT. 26
PROGRAMNETSTART (ET)VIEWERS (000) "NFL on Fox": Redskins-Broncos (88%)Fox4:25pm25,500 "Sunday Night Football": Packers-VikingsNBC8:31pm16,893 World Series: Red Sox-Cardinals: Game 4Fox8:13pm15,975 "NFL on Fox": (regional)Fox1:00pm15,500 "NFL on CBS": (single)CBS1:00pm15,207 "The Walking Dead"AMC9:00pm12,924 "60 Minutes"CBS7:00pm10,081 "The Good Wife"CBS9:00pm9,350 "The Mentalist"CBS10:00pm8,825 "The Amazing RaceCBS8:00pm8,106 "Once Upon A Time"ABC8:00pm7,231 "Football Night in America"NBC7:30pm6,913
NOTES: Golf Channel averaged 84,000 total-day viewers in October, marking the net’s best October audience on record and the seventh time in 10 months that the net has set a monthly record. Meanwhile, NBCSN benefitted from the return of the NHL. The net’s October primetime viewership jumped 183%, as the net lacked any NHL games last October due to the lockout (NBC Sports Group)….TNT finished with a 3.3 rating and 5.4 million viewers for Bulls-Heat on Tuesday, marking the net’s best viewership on record for an opening night game. The rating is second-best all-time for TNT NBA opening night (TNT)….Oklahoma City-based KOKH-Fox drew a 28.4 local rating for last Saturday’s Texas Tech-Oklahoma game. That topped an 8.8 rating on FS Oklahoma for the Oklahoma State-Iowa State game, which marked the “second-lowest rating of the season” for OSU (NEWSOK.com, 10/29)….Univision Deportes averaged 83,000 viewers during primetime in Q3, outdrawing Fox Deportes (55,000) and ESPN Deportes (54,000) (Univision).
The charts below list final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts.
TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) "NFL on Fox": Redskins-Broncos (88%)10/27Fox4:15-7:30pm15.325,500 "Sunday Night Football": Packers-Vikings10/27NBC8:31-11:06pm*9.816,893 World Series: Red Sox-Cardinals: Game 410/27Fox8:13pm-12:00am9.415,975 "NFL on Fox": (regional)10/27Fox1:00-4:15pm9.715,500 "NFL on CBS": (single)10/27CBS1:00-4:05pm9.315,207 World Series: Red Sox-Cardinals: Game 110/23Fox8:06-11:26pm8.614,400 World Series: Red Sox-Cardinals: Game 210/24Fox8:04-11:22pm8.313,429 World Series: Red Sox-Cardinals: Game 310/26Fox8:02pm-12:12am7.412,473 "Football Night in America"10/27NBC7:30-8:15pm4.16,913 "Fox NFL Sunday"10/27Fox12:00-1:00pm3.14,700 College Football: Penn State-Ohio State10/26ABC8:06-11:41pm2.54,059 College Football: Tennessee-Alabama10/26CBS3:30-6:52pmpm2.64,028 College Football: Texas Tech-Oklahoma10/26Fox4:45-7:30pm*2.43,800 College Football: (regional)10/26ABC3:30-6:51pm2.23,330 "The NFL Today"10/27CBS12:00-1:00pm2.12,974 "Golf's Best Of 2013"10/27CBS5:00-6:00pm1.01,384 "College Football Today"10/26CBS3:00-3:30pm0.81,172 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating10/27NBC4:00-6:00pm0.81,135 Liga MX: Club America-Puebla10/26Univ.5:55-8:00pm0.61,005 "College Football Countdown"10/26ABC3:00-3:30pm0.7979 "World of X Games: Skiing Preview"10/27Fox5:00-6:00pm0.5732 Red Bull Signature Series: King of the Peak10/26NBC5:00-6:00pm0.5588 "College Football Open Season"10/26CBS2:00-3:00pm0.4507 Red Bull Signature Series: Vans U.S. Open of Snowboarding10/26NBC4:00-5:00pm0.4448 Dew Tour recap10/26NBC3:00-4:00pm0.3430 World of Adventure Sports10/26NBC2:00-3:00pm0.3357 Liga MX: Tijuana-Tigres UANL10/25Aza.10:30pm-12:33am0.2338 Liga MX: Leon-Toluca10/26Telem.9:00-11:05pm0.2324 MLS: DC United-Dynamo10/27NBC1:30-4:00pm0.2294 TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS (000) "Monday Night Football": Vikings-Giants10/21ESPN8:28-11:51pm8.413,243 "Thursday Night Football": Panthers-Buccaneers10/24NFLN8:30-11:28pm2.94,602 NASCAR Sprint Cup: Martinsville10/27ESPN1:31-5:45pm2.74,316 College Football: UCLA-Oregon10/26ESPN7:15-10:09pm2.33,674 College Football: Nebraska-Minnesota10/26ESPN12:00-3:32pm2.03,128 College Football: South Carolina-Missouri10/26ESPN27:00-11:02pm1.83,051 "Monday Night Countdown"10/21ESPN6:30-8:28pm1.92,370 College Football: Clemson-Maryland10/26ESPN3:32-7:15pm1.72,325 College Football: Stanford-Oregon State10/26ESPN10:30pm-1:47am1.82,228 "NASCAR Countdown"10/27ESPN1:00-1:31pm1.42,090
The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Miriam Gottfried notes Disney's Q4 results are due Nov. 7, but "fears" related to the launch of FS1, combined with "concerns about investment in its parks and a relatively low rate of capital return have curbed investor enthusiasm." However, the "moat around crown-jewel ESPN is deeper than it seems." ESPN has recently signed "long-term renewal agreements with eight of its 10 largest distributors." Fox "could cut into advertising sales," but it is mainly "using the new channel to consolidate programming from a handful of networks." Fox will "have to wait to outbid ESPN for big content deals." Most of ESPN's sports rights "are locked in through the next decade." The "only wild card" is the NBA, up for grabs in '16 (WSJ.com, 11/1).
TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY: In Denver, John Henderson notes the impasse between DirecTV and the Pac-12 Networks "is not ending anytime soon." Viewers are either "angry at DirecTV for lowballing the Pac-12 or angry at the Pac-12 for chasing every dollar at the expense of the fans." Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott: "We have a responsibility to our 50 distributors that have signed on for a price and to our universities. We are not going to compromise with those values." DirecTV PR Dir Robert Mercer: "To the majority of customers it's a tax for which they're receiving zero benefits because they don't care about Pac-12 sports" (DENVER POST, 11/1).
UNDER PRESSURE: In L.A., Tom Hoffarth asks why Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee decided he "needed to offer an on-air apology to Tiger Woods based on a column he wrote for Golf.com." Hoffarth: "Sadly, pressure put upon the network by Woods and his agent for something that wasn’t even TV-related obviously led to this bizarre conclusion and took it to a point where Chamblee’s credibility as an outspoken observer of the game has been unfairly compromised" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 11/1).
YOUR SECRET'S SAFE WITH ME: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley reviews longtime WTMJ-NBC Packers beat reporter Jessie Garcia's book "My Life with the Green & Gold: Tales from 20 Years of Sportscasting." Wolfley noted Garcia "chose discretion over full disclosure in some cases, and that may disappoint some readers." Garcia said, "I was determined not to make this a tell-all, rake-anyone-through-the-mud book. I believe the story can be told without naming names" (JSONLINE.com, 10/31).