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ABC earned a 10.3 overnight rating for Spurs-Heat NBA Finals Game 3 last night from 9:00pm-12:00am, up 3% from a 10.0 overnight for the same matchup last year, which saw the Spurs win in a blowout, 113-77. The broadcast peaked at a 12.6 rating from 11:30-11:45pm. Compared to Heat-Thunder Game 3 in ’12, which aired on a Sunday night, last night’s telecast was down slightly from a 10.4 overnight. The broadcast last night marked the 40th consecutive time an NBA Finals game delivered ABC a win in primetime across all of TV. Game 3 earned a 40.5 local rating in San Antonio, while Miami-Ft. Lauderdale earned a 30.9 rating. Rounding out the top five were West Palm Beach (18.2), Austin (17.9) and Memphis (14.8) (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
BACK OFF, BOOGALOO: Heat F LeBron James has taken a lot of criticism on social media since missing the end of Game 1 after cramping, but ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy said, "We give too much credit to the 'Twitterazzi.' ... That he was much criticized by a bunch of knuckleheads out there in the Twitter universe -- who cares? It's absurd." Van Gundy: "We're supposed to validate the supposed criticism, and it makes no sense to me" ("NBA Finals Game 3," ABC, 6/10). ESPN's Jalen Rose said, "In this 24-hour news cycle ... fans that never had a voice are now on Twitter and on Facebook and on Instagram. That is what happened." He added, "The guy's too perfect. He's great on his commercials, you see him with his family, he's always saying the right thing. ... All of sudden he does 'The Decision,' and you want to hold that against him" ("NBA Countdown," ABC, 6/10).
Jenny Dell, who became a "popular TV presence" in Boston during her two years as NESN's Red Sox reporter, has "landed with CBS Sports, where she'll serve as a sideline reporter during its NFL coverage this season," according to Chad Finn of the BOSTON GLOBE. Dell is "one of three sideline reporters" the network will use this season. Tracy Wolfson will "join the No. 1 broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in the chief sideline role." Dell and Evan Washburn will "work with other announcer pairings, presumably including new No. 2 team Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts." While Dell's relationship with Red Sox 3B Will Middlebrooks was "presumed to be a reason for her departure" it was "not the entire reason." Sources said that NESN management "was frustrated" that Dell, who "improved greatly during her time at NESN, drew interest from Turner Sports and Fox Sports 1 and was considering breaking her contract" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/11). Meanwhile, in Albany, Pete Dougherty notes CBS Sports Network's Andrew Catalon "was appointed as one of this season's NFL play-by-play announcers by CBS" and will "work a full season of weekly games with analysts Steve Tasker and Steve Beuerlein." Catalon said, "It's the only three-man booth on the roster. It will bring a different, unique dynamic to it each week. I've had experience working in a three-man booth with Steve Lappas and Doug Gottlieb during (college) basketball, so I enjoy it." Catalon has "spent the past year as lead college football and basketball voice" for CBSSN. He "reworked his contract last week to reflect his new CBS assignments, which will include college basketball for CBS and CBSSN, Masters and PGA Championship golf coverage for DirecTV and online channels, and U.S. Open tennis for CBSSN" (Albany TIMES UNION, 6/11).
CBS NFL ANNOUNCER PAIRINGS FOR '14Jim Nantz/Phil Simms/Tracy WolfsonIan Eagle/Dan FoutsGreg Gumbel/Trent GreenKevin Harlan/Rich GannonSpero Dedes/Solomon WilcotsAndrew Catalon/Steve Beuerlein/Steve Tasker
NOTE: NFL coverage also will include play-by-play announcers Brian Anderson and Tom McCarthy, as well as analysts Adam Archuleta and Chris Simms (CBS).
Fox Sports has partnered with digital consultancy Omnigon Communications to create a new second-screen experience for the '14 FIFA World Cup, called Match Trax. The offering, designed for both mobile and desktop platforms, includes live-match commentary, statistics, social media integration, and game visualizations. The effort is also designed in part as a runup toward the '18 and '22 World Cups in which Fox will have exclusive U.S. media rights. “This is a good start for us as we prepare to superserve soccer fans for the next eight years,” said Pete Vlastelica, Fox Sports Exec VP/Digital (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
BRISTOL'S BIG BUY-IN: CNET.com’s Joan Solsman noted ESPN’s relaunch of its ESPN FC properties last week “beefed up the digital side” to its World Cup coverage while “integrating it more deeply with its televised coverage than ever before.” ESPN FC will feature a “new website, app, advertising strategy, and aggressive” content plan, “underscoring how media giants are embracing the idea that giving away the goods online only helps.” The app will “feel familiar to anyone who uses ESPN's SportsCenter app, with the ESPN FC version sharing the same base code.” The new ESPN FC website is “responsive across desktop, smartphone and tablet devices and is laid out like a feed of story cells where ESPN can plug in any kind of media.” ESPN FC relaunched "with a global audience in mind” as the new site and app have a “slew of ‘editions’ that let you choose the language and the country that you're most interested in” (CNET.com, 6/8).
SKY IS THE LIMIT: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Roxborough & Kemp reported Sky Sports will launch Sky Sports 5, a dedicated European soccer channel “billed as the first ever network solely devoted to continental soccer.” Sky Sports 5 will “carry up to 600 live European soccer matches” starting next season, including games from La Liga, the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Champions League. Sky is “launching its marketing campaign this week to take advantage of the hype” surrounding the World Cup. David Beckham is the “face of a Brit-wide marketing campaign launched by Sky to promote the new channel” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 6/10).
NOT LOST IN TRANSLATION: BROADCASTING & CABLE’s George Winslow notes Spanish-speaking soccer fans will “see a number of improvements” with Univision’s World Cup coverage this year, thanks to the net’s “close partnership with FIFA’s Host Broadcast Services (HBS) and a variety of vendors.” These include a “record amount of content -- close to 300 hours -- as well as new sets with improved data, graphics, touchscreen technologies and virtual reality systems.” To “ensure no interruptions in coverage, Univision has three separate fiber paths back to the U.S. for its TV channels.” The net has been “working closely with digital partner NeuLion to ensure that its digital offerings can withstand the heavy traffic” (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 6/9 issue).
CANDID CAMERA: In DC, Marissa Payne noted GoPro has created a "whole series based on the World Cup," and the first of the three episodes is set to be released next week. GoPro "decided to wet the Web’s whistle by releasing the series’ kickoff video on Monday." The first episode of the series, which "will come out on June 18, is called 'Roots' and will take on the topic of why Brazilians tend to dominate soccer on the world stage" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 6/10).