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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday said there are "several clubs that are interested" in partaking in this season's edition of HBO's "Hard Knocks," but he does not currently "have an update" on which one will ultimately do so, according to Adam Jahns of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Goodell, speaking during the AP Sports Editors meetings in N.Y., said he does not know "whether it’s going to be a volunteer or if it’s somebody who is going to have to fulfill the obligation. But I’m sure that decision will be made pretty soon." Jahns notes eight teams are eligible for the series this season including the Bears, Bills, Cardinals, Giants, Jaguars, Raiders, Rams and Steelers. Of those teams, the Bears "are definitely the most exciting." Goodell admitted that he "has felt resistance from teams" over participating in the series. Goodell: "To be fair yes, sure. That’s one of the reasons why we passed the policy that we did is to get every team the opportunity to do this. We understand ... that it’s an additional thing to film out around your (training) camp and some clubs prefer not to have it. But it's important for all clubs to contribute to it in some fashion" (SUNTIMES.com, 4/24).
Former NFLer Bernie Kosar on Thursday said that he has been "told by friends" that the Browns and WKYC-NBC replaced him as color analyst for preseason games because they were "concerned about his slurred speech," according to a front-page piece by Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. But WKYC President & GM Brooke Spectorsky "stressed the decision had nothing to do with his speech and that his performance was not a factor." He also said that it had "nothing to do with Kosar's harsh criticism of the Rams last preseason." Kosar said that he was "blindsided" when the Browns replaced him and he will "miss being in the booth." Kosar: "God gave me a gift for analyzing the game of football, for predicting plays and diagramming plays. I enjoy it and I'm proud of it. I'm proud of what I know about football. I just am.'' Kosar said that he was "called down to WKYC for a meeting on Wednesday night" and was told he was being "replaced in the booth" by CBS' Solomon Wilcots. Kosar: "It came out of left field. ... I'm not upset. I just wasn't expecting it and it's really unfortunate." Spectorsky said that he "wants Kosar to be more involved with the team's programming throughout the season," including "appearances on the pre-game shows, radio spots and opportunities" on the team's website. Spectorsky added that the "decision is in Kosar's hands now." However, Kosar said, "I left it in their court." He added, "Right now, I really, truly don't know what the next steps are" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 4/25). ESPN.com's Pat McManamon wrote in "sacking Kosar and bringing in Solomon Wilcots, the team did not really recognize the local audience." Instead of "adding an ex-Brown who connects to the community, the team went the 'national' route when another ex-player might have eased the sting" (ESPN.com, 4/24).
NBC on Wednesday said that slightly more than half of the people who watched the Sochi Games on the net "also used a computer, tablet or smartphone to get information about the games while the TV was on," according to David Bauder of the AP. NBC "closely studies how Americans follow the action partly because the Olympics are a huge investment, but also to get a peek at how media habits are changing." NBC's takeaway this year is that the multiscreen experience is "rapidly taking hold and is doing so across all age groups." NBC and its cable networks "televised 541 hours of Sochi action," and the "flood of material only increased the appetite." NBC said that 49% of viewers claimed that they "watched more Olympics action simply because it was more available, and that number shot to nearly two-thirds among viewers aged 18 to 34." Although Olympic fans of all ages "used these devices to follow the games, it was dramatically more so among the young, many of whom followed the Olympics more on their phones than they did on TV." That is a "concern for NBC." Television networks "still have no reliable way of measuring -- and monetizing -- viewing of video on smartphones, and that represents a lot of potentially lost revenue if smartphones become the viewing habit of choice for many in a new generation." Meanwhile, NBCUniversal President of Research & Media Development Alan Wurtzel said that he was "surprised that social media use surrounding the Olympics was not more widespread." An estimated 3 million people said that they "sent at least one Olympic-related message on Twitter during the 17-day event, a relatively small number considering NBC averaged more than 21 million viewers each night in prime time" (AP, 4/23).
ESPN in March returned to the top spot in monthly comScore rankings of the the most trafficked U.S. digital sports destinations after the NBC Sports-Yahoo Sports partnership grabbed a Sochi Games-fueled win in February. ESPN’s March total of 68.5 million unique users marked the second-highest figure in the history of the sports category, trailing only its own benchmark of 72.7 million uniques set last September. ESPN’s 49 million unique users on mobile platforms last month did set a new category record. Bleacher Report-Turner Sports Network, meanwhile, rose to second place, in part because of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and record-setting traffic for Turner’s March Madness Live. That bumped NBC Sports-Yahoo Sports down to third place. Bleacher Report-Turner's rise to second marks the first time anybody besides ESPN or Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports occupied one of the top two spots in the monthly rankings since comScore took its multi-platform digital measurement out of beta early last year. ESPN in March also returned to the top of consumption metrics it typically leads with a total of 5.9 billion minutes in time spent during the month after NBC Sports-Yahoo Sports also won that category in February.
SITEUNIQUES (000)1 ESPN68,5232 Bleacher Report-Turner Sports Network*60,6633 Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network**59,7434 FoxSports.com on MSN42,4515 USA Today Sports Media Group***41,9276 CBS Sports35,2827 SB Nation30,1208 Sporting News Media/Perform Sports28,9589 NFL Internet Group25,34410 MLB22,80311 Sports Illustrated sites^19,56412 NHL Network10,03913 Active.com sites9,69914 Deadspin.com9,54815 Stack Media7,511
NOTES: * = Includes NBA.com, PGA.com, NCAA.com and WNBA.com. ** = Includes Rivals.com, ThePostGame.com and Rotoworld. *** = 81 local Gannett newspaper sites, 23 Gannett-owned broadcast TV station sites, USA Today High School Sports, BNQT Media Group, The Big Lead and For The Win. ^ = Includes National Football Post and the Fansided Network.
ESPN averaged 1.83 million viewers for the premiere of “Bad Boys” on April 17, marking the 11th-best audience for the premiere of a documentary on the net since the “30 for 30” series began in late ’09. The net’s top “30 for 30” film remains “You Don’t Know Bo,” which drew 3.6 million viewers in December ’12. “Bad Boys” fell below the audience for other basketball-related docs like “The Fab Five” (2.75 million), “Winning Time: Reggie Miller Vs. The New York Knicks” (2.05 million) and “The Announcement” (2.05 million). However, it beat “Survive & Advance” (1.6 million), “Benji” (1.49 million) and “Requiem for the Big East” (1.46 million). Meanwhile, ESPN drew 527,000 viewers for the premiere of “Hillsborough” on April 15, which was the first in its series of “30 for 30: Soccer Stories” ahead of the ’14 FIFA World Cup. That audience is on par with ESPN docs such as “Runner” (548,000) and “Renee” (508,000) (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
PLAYOFF PAYOFFS: Sun Sports drew a 6.7 local rating in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale for Wednesday’s Bobcats-Heat Eastern Conference First Round Game 2, while TNT drew a 7.4 rating in the market for the same telecast. During the regular season, there were 13 instances where the RSN and a national network aired the same Heat game, and 12 of those times, “more local viewers watched Sun Sports,” with the other instance a tie. During the competing games on cable TV, Sun Sports averaged a 5.8 local rating, while ESPN drew a 4.2 and TNT drew a 3.5 (MIAMIHERALD.com, 4/24)….FS Southwest drew a 16.7 local rating in San Antonio for Mavericks-Spurs Western Conference First Round Game 2 on Wednesday, marking the best figure for a Spurs game on the RSN in nearly three years, as well as the ninth-best rating all-time (FS Southwest)….FS Midwest has drawn the RSN’s three highest-rated Blues games in the last decade during the team’s Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Blackhawks. FS Midwest drew an 11.9 local rating in St. Louis on Monday for Game 3, marking the top-rated game in the series to date on the RSN. Through four games, FS Midwest is averaging an 11.2 local rating. By comparison, the ’13 Cardinals-Pirates NLDS averaged a 19.8 local rating for five games on MLB Network and TBS, while the Rams averaged a 17.7 local rating during the ’13 regular season (STLTODAY.com, 4/24)…NESN on Tuesday drew a 12.7 local rating in Boston for Game 3 of the Bruins-Red Wings Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series, marking the best Bruins Game 3 rating in NESN history and second-best rating for a game that was not in a series clinching scenario (NESN).
The charts below list final ratings from recent sports telecasts.
NBA Eastern Conference First Round: Bobcats-Heat: Game 14/20ABC3:26-6:00pm3.35,357 NBA Western Conference First Round: Warriors-Clippers: Game 14/19ABC3:25-6:32pm2.84,362 "UFC on Fox 11"4/19Fox8:00-10:28pm1.62,529 PGA Tour: RBC Heritage: Final Round4/20CBS3:00-6:30pm1.31,959 NHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: Red Wings-Bruins: Game 24/20NBC3:00-6:00pm1.51,959 NHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: Flyers-Rangers: Game 24/20NBC12:00-3:00pm1.21,858 NHL Western Conference Quarterfinals: Blackhawks-Blues: Game 24/19NBC3:00-6:30pm1.21,855 PGA Tour: RBC Heritage: Third Round4/19CBS3:00-6:00pm1.31,770 "NBA Countdown"4/20ABC3:00-3:26pm0.71,149 Liga MX: Club America-Queretaro4/19Univision5:55-8:00pm0.5942 "NBA Countdown"4/19ABC3:00-3:25pm0.6908 EPL: Sunderland-Chelsea4/19NBC12:30-2:45pm0.5765 CONCACAF Champions League: Cruz Azul-Toluca4/15UniMas8:00-10:02pm0.4686 "World of X Games"4/20ABC2:00-3:00pm0.5671 "March Madness Moments: Final Four"4/19CBS2:00-3:00pm0.3421 TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RATINGVIEWERS
NBA Western Conference First Round: Trail Blazers-Rockets: Game 14/20TNT9:44pm-1:11am2.64,073 NBA Eastern Conference First Round: Wizards-Bulls: Game 14/20TNT7:09-9:44pm2.43,932 NBA Western Conference First Round: Grizzlies-Thunder: Game 14/19ESPN9:37pm-12:24am2.33,696 NBA Western Conference First Round: Mavericks-Spurs: Game 14/20TNT1:10-3:40pm2.33,669 NBA Eastern Conference First Round: Hawks-Pacers: Game 14/19ESPN6:59-9:37pm2.03,245 NBA Eastern Conference First Round: Nets-Raptors: Game 14/19ESPN12:29-3:30pm1.62,266 "30 for 30": "Bad Boys"4/17ESPN8:00-10:00pm1.31,830 MLB: Orioles-Red Sox4/20ESPN7:01-10:47pm1.11,749 NBA: Warriors-Nuggets4/16ESPN11:00pm-1:08am0.91,572 NBA: Knicks-Nets4/15TNT8:17-10:50pm1.01,384
CBSSPORTS.com's Dennis Dodd reported ESPN has "had discussions with the Big 12 and Pac-12 about possibly playing a football game in Mexico City," though "no dates or teams were mentioned." Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott "confirmed the talks" on Thursday. ESPN President John Skipper said, "Keep your eye on it." Univ. of Texas men's AD Steve Patterson in January said that he was "interested in more neutral-site football venues, specifically Mexico City" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/24).
MIXED SIGNALS: In West Palm Beach, Tom D'Angelo notes the signal for the Marlins' new flagship radio station, WINZ-AM, "does not reach strongly into Palm Beach County at night, when most games are played." Because of "previous contractual obligations," the club's Palm Beach County affiliate, WBZT-AM, has "not carried several games and switched away from at least one game in progress." The Marlins are "not as concerned about WBTZ not carrying day games because WINZ's signal can be heard in most of Palm Beach County before nightfall" (PALM BEACH POST, 4/25).
THREE STRIKES, YOU'RE OUT: VARIETY's Brian Lowry wrote under the header, "Time Warner Cable Risks Alienating Fans With Hardball Dodgers Negotiations." Sports TV is "putting greed ahead of practicality, and feelings of invulnerability ahead of common sense." If Comcast "wants to be seen as a true industry leader" it could "burnish those credentials and truly benefit consumers by using its formidable clout to help rein in a sports landscape gone mad" (VARIETY.com, 4/23).
MIKE CHECK ONE, TWO: In N.Y., Bernie Augustine notes CBS "flexed its corporate muscle Thursday and ordered that the @WFANAudio Twitter user remove dozens and dozens" of clips of WFAN host Mike Francesa from his "extremely popular and entertaining YouTube page." The @WFANAudio user "broke the news -- where else? -- on Twitter" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/25).