SBD/December 16, 2013/Media

ESPN Sees Ratings Drop For Heisman Trophy Ceremony Lacking Last Year's Suspense

ESPN earned a 2.7 overnight rating for the Heisman Trophy presentation on Saturday night, down 13% from a 3.1 for last year’s event, which saw Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel beat out Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o to become the first freshman to win the award. The rating from last year also was second-best overnight for a Heisman ceremony since ’94. Saturday’s telecast, which saw Florida State QB Jameis Winston take home the trophy, was also down from a 2.9 overnight for Robert Griffin III’s win in ’11 (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

HEISMAN TROPHY CEREMONY OVERNIGHT RATING TREND ON ESPN
YEAR
WINNER
OVERNIGHT
'13
Jameis Winston
2.7
'12
Johnny Manziel
3.1
'11
Robert Griffin III
2.9
'10
Cam Newton
2.4
09
Mark Ingram
3.6
     

JOB WELL DONE: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes ESPN's Tom Rinaldi deserves credit for alluding to the "sexual allegations and controversy" surrounding Winston "in an interview ... before the award was announced." ESPN does a "decent job introducing all the finalists and looking back at other great Heisman moments, but ultimately, it's a 59-minute pregame show for a one-minute game." Jones suggests ESPN should "consider making the announcement earlier in the broadcast, perhaps even halfway through." That would "leave more time for reaction, and perhaps, add a little interest to the show" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 12/16).

SAYING NO TO RESTRICTIONS: "CBS This Morning" Exec Producer Chris Licht on his Twitter feed wrote that Winston would not appear on the morning show today because FSU "put restrictions on topics" that could be discussed during his appearance. CBS' Jeff Glor tweeted that he was "scheduled to interview" Winston yesterday, but FSU "tried to put restrictions on interview topics at last minute." Glor: "We said no" (TWITTER.com, 12/15). Winston did appear on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" today, but the closest the hosts came to referencing the sexual assault claim was when Mike Golic said there were "no charges brought against you" ("Mike & Mike, ESPN Radio, 12/16). PR firm Sitrick & Co. Senior Exec Terry Fahn wrote, "I disagree with Jameis Winston's current media strategy. Putting restrictions on interviews raises more questions. Winston will be giving up major opportunities if he insists on restrictions. If he doesn't his tell story someone will tell it for him" (TWITTER.com, 12/16).

STANDING YOUR GROUND
: In Jacksonville, Paris Moulden noted Winston's attorney Tim Jansen on Twitter last week accused ESPN's Heather Cox of "ambushing a young man" during her interview with Winston following the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 7. Jansen also accused Cox of "violating terms she agreed to with FSU officials and calling her 'classless and unprofessional.'" Moulden wrote asking a "star college athlete who is headed to the national championship game and a lock for the sport's most coveted award about something that everyone is talking about is not unprofessional." Moulden: "It would be remiss of her to do otherwise." While Jansen asked Cox for an apology, she "thankfully said she won't be giving" one (JACKSONVILLE.com, 12/15).

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