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Pro Football HOFer Dan Dierdorf on Thursday was named color analyst for Univ. of Michigan football radio broadcasts, while longtime analyst Jim Brandstatter will move to the play-by-play role, according to Angelique Chengelis of the DETROIT NEWS. Brandstatter takes over for Frank Beckmann, who "retired last season after more than 30 years." Dierdorf announced he was leaving CBS' NFL coverage before last Thanksgiving, and he said that he "received a call the next day" from UM AD Dave Brandon to gauge his "interest in working Michigan radio games." Dierdorf said, "Dave Brandon was relentless. When Brandon and I talked, he asked if I'd be willing to commit to do this for a while, and I did. I've committed for at least three years" (DETROIT NEWS, 4/18). Dierdorf had indicated that he was leaving CBS because the "travel was becoming too difficult for him physically." However, he said that he has a "summer home in northern Michigan, about a three-hour drive from the campus in Ann Arbor, and he'll stay there for much of the football season." In St. Louis, Dan Caesar noted all but one UM game in '14 is "within driving distance for him, either from Michigan or St. Louis, and he already has made arrangements to be on the team plane for the other contest" at Rutgers. Dierdorf: "This is the only job that I would have taken. I thought I was going to do some local radio -- which I will do -- but I never thought I'd commit to do something like this. But I can't resist, it's my alma mater" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 4/18). In Detroit, Mark Snyder writes there are several reasons a Brandstatter-Dierdorf booth is an "interesting choice," including both being in their mid-60s and Brandstatter "having little play-by-play experience." Brandstatter said that he does not expect the new position "to affect his role as the Detroit Lions' radio analyst." Snyder notes IMG College "refused to discuss the seelction process and what other candidates were considered" for the UM role (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 4/18).
All eight of San Diego State's Mountain West Conference football games in '14 have "officially been picked up for national broadcast," according to Stefanie Loh of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. The school "previously had three conference games moved to Friday nights for national broadcast on either the ESPN family of networks or the CBS Sports Network." As expected, SDSU's five remaining conference games will be "played on Saturdays and broadcast nationally." The school will have "three conference games on broadcast on the ESPN Networks but it's not immediately clear which of these will be eligible for the league's bonus incentive scheme." The MWC "awards incentives of $300,000 to teams for each weekday conference game aired on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, NBC or Fox, and $500,000 for each Saturday conference game that's aired on those networks." But only "two of SDSU's three ESPN Networks games are still in the running for a bonus." Its Friday, Oct. 10 game against New Mexico does not "count because it will be broadcast on ESPNU" (UTSANDIEGO.com, 4/17). Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Taylor Bern reported UNLV will have "four conference games on ESPN networks to go along with a home game against Northern Illinois on CBSSN." Games on CBSSN do not "net a bonus." Neither do "appearances on ESPNU or ESPN3.com, which are both possible landing spots" for UNLV games. Boise State "led the way" with $1.6M last season, and they are "guaranteed to pull in at least" another $1.4M this season. BSU has "at least 11 national appearances on tap this season" (LASVEGASSUN.com, 4/17).
NBC Sports Group got off to a strong start to the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday night. NBCSN and CNBC averaged 472,000 viewers for three games, up 53% from the nets’ three opening games last year, which aired on a Tuesday night. NBCSN averaged 486,000 for its two games (Blue Jackets-Penguins, Stars-Ducks), up 22% from coverage of Blackhawks-Wild and Red Wings-Ducks last year. CNBC, which is in its third year of NHL postseason coverage, posted its best opening-night audience yet with 450,000 viewers for Canadiens-Lightning, up 153% from Kings-Blues last year (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
KING’S COURT: Golf Channel on Sunday averaged 471,000 viewers from 10:00-11:00pm ET for the first installment of its “Arnie” documentary on Arnold Palmer. It was the most-watched original film in network history, beating out the 241,000 viewers for “War By The Shore” in ’12, which looked at the ’91 Ryder Cup. The second night of “Arnie” on Monday drew 341,000 viewers, while the final installment on Tuesday drew 320,000 viewers (Golf Channel).
LEADING OFF: MLB Net averaged 487,000 viewers in primetime on April 10, marking the net’s second-highest Q2 primetime audience on record. The audience was fueled by 498,000 viewers for Red Sox-Yankees, which was broadcast by Bob Costas and John Smoltz. Meanwhile, Wednesday’s edition of MLB Net's “The Rundown” drew its largest audience (164,000 viewers) since ’11, contributing to the net’s most-watched regular season week ever (THE DAILY).
NOTES: ESPN averaged 717,000 viewers for Saturday’s Union College-Minnesota NCAA men's hockey championship game, up 33% from last year’s Yale-Quinnipiac matchup. The net averaged 471,000 viewers for the NCAA men’s Frozen Four doubleheader April 10, up 56% from last year’s telecast (ESPN)....ESPN2 averaged 413,000 viewers for Monday’s WNBA Draft coverage, up 9% from last year’s audience of 379,000. The figure is the second-most watched WNBA Draft ever on ESPN/ESPN2, trailing ESPN’s record coverage of the ’04 draft at 601,000 viewers (ESPN)….The Mavericks-Grizzlies NBA regular-season finale led all sports telecasts in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market on Wednesday. The game drew a 3.6 local rating on KTXA-CBS. Meanwhile, FS Southwest drew a 2.9 rating for Mariners-Rangers in the afternoon, while the RSN drew a 1.0 rating for Stars-Ducks Game 1 in the evening (STAR-TELEGRAM.com, 4/17).
The chart below lists final ratings from recent sports telecasts.
The Masters: Final Round4/13CBS3:00-7:12pm6.810,970 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:
Bojangles' Southern 500 (Darlington)4/12Fox6:48-10:44pm3.66,039
The Masters: Third Round4/12CBS3:30-7:06pm3.95,853 NBA: Thunder-Pacers4/13ABC12:56-3:30pm1.92,828 World Figure Skating Championships4/13NBC4:00-6:00pm0.81,313 "Jim Nantz Remembers Augusta: Nick Faldo at The Masters"4/13CBS1:00-2:00pm0.91,123 "The Big Three at The Masters"4/12CBS2:00-3:00pm0.71,099 "NBA Countdown"4/13ABC12:30-12:56pm0.81,046 NHL: Red Wings-Blues4/13NBC12:30-3:00pm0.71,012 Liga MX: Chivas de Guadalajara-Monarcas Morelia4/13UniMas5:48-8:00pm0.5974 PBR: Stanley Performance in Action Invitational4/12CBS12:30-1:30pm0.5822 "Supercross: Behind The Dream"4/13CBS12:00-1:00pm0.6809 Figure Skating: 2014 Stars on Ice4/13NBC3:00-4:00pm0.5803 "The Road to Augusta: Rickie Fowler"4/12CBS1:30-2:00pm0.5713 NHL: Flyers-Penguins4/12NBC3:00-6:00pm0.5700 Liga MX: Cruz Azul-Pachuca4/12Univision5:55-8:00pm0.4686 "ESPN Sports Saturday"4/12ABC4:00-6:00pm0.5656 Red Bull Signature Series: Double Pipe4/12NBC2:00-3:00pm0.3308 TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RATINGVIEWERS
NCAA women's basketball championship: UConn-Notre Dame4/8ESPN8:30-10:38pm2.84,271 MLB: Red Sox-Yankees4/13ESPN8:00-11:16pm1.82,765 The Masters: Second Round4/11ESPN3:00-7:30pm1.82,465 The Masters: First Round4/10ESPN3:00-7:30pm1.52,006 NBA: Heat-Grizzlies4/9ESPN8:04-10:43pm1.31,957 NBA: Thunder-Clippers4/9ESPN10:43pm-1:27am1.31,938 NASCAR Nationwide Series:
VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 (Darlington)4/11ESPN28:0-10:11pm1.01,440
NBA: Nets-Heat4/8TNT8:15-10:47pm1.11,789 NBA: Spurs-Mavericks4/10TNT8:15-10:50pm1.11,598 NBA: Nuggets-Warriors4/10TNT10:50pm-1:18am0.91,305
SPORTING NEWS' Troy Machir noted FS1 will not discipline "Fox Sports Live" panelist Donovan McNabb for a DUI arrest in Maricopa (Ariz.) County this past January. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Department on Thursday "released McNabb's mug shot." He spent "one day in jail and agreed to a plea deal." FS1 Thursday in a statement said, "We have discussed this situation with Donovan at length, and we’re convinced that he understands the gravity of his offense and is sufficiently contrite. The legal process has been concluded and we plan no further disciplinary action at this time" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/17).
HOUSTON, WE HAVE CONTACT: In Houston, David Barron noted regular-season Rockets games on Comcast SportsNet Houston "drew an average audience of just 27,000 households" due to various carriage issues. However, those numbers are "certain to improve" during the team's first-round playoff series against the Trail Blazers, as the first four games will air on TNT or ESPN. A Rockets-Heat game earlier this year on KTRK-ABC drew "just under 150,000 households." Meanwhile, nine games on ESPN "drew about 57,000 households per game, doubling the CSN Houston audience." First-round games "will still air on CSN Houston, but each game also will air on TNT, ESPN, ABC or NBA TV." TNT and ESPN games will "air in Houston on those networks." Rockets-Blazers games on NBA TV "will be blacked out on that channel in Houston" (CHRON.com, 4/17).
STROLL DOWN MAGNOLIA LANE: CBSSports.com generated 111 million minutes for its Masters Live streaming coverage of The Masters, a 28% increase from last year. The site did see an undisclosed reduction in unique visitors from last year, mirroring viewership drops on TV, but still grew consumption, due in part to an increase in programming that grew total digital coverage of the tournament to 125 hours and the addition of a fifth distinct online video channel. The Masters Live streaming was supported by MLBAM (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
HOLD THAT THOUGHT: In S.F., Bruce Jenkins writes the Warriors "made a very smart move this week" when they arranged for broadcaster Jim Barnett to "work a certain number of televised games next season." It was reported during the season that Barnett and the club "had reached a 'mutual' decision for him to retire." The team is "in the process of finding a full-time replacement for Barnett, but in the wake of countless e-mails from fans praising his work, club executives found it best to keep him in the loop." A source said Barnett will work "a good, healthy number" of games. Barnett, who has called Warriors games for 29 years, said, "I'm not ready to hang it up just yet" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/18).