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DC continues to have a strong lead over all U.S. markets, drawing a 4.6 average local rating for 23 FIFA World Cup matches across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. That figure is up from DC’s 3.6 rating during the ’10 World Cup (all matches), which ranked third overall. The N.Y. and S.F.-Oakland-San Jose markets are tied for second to date with a 3.9 local rating. Rounding out the top five to date are Hartford-New Haven and L.A. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, which led all markets for ’10 coverage, currently ranks seventh. Meanwhile, the Uruguay-England match led ESPN’s coverage Thursday with a 2.7 overnight rating (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).TOP MARKETS THROUGH 23 WORLD CUP TELECASTS ON ABC/ESPN/ESPN2RANK
MARKETLOCAL RATING1 DC4.62t S.F.-Oakland-San Jose3.92t N.Y.3.94t Hartford-New Haven3.54t L.A.3.56 Orlando-Daytona Beach3.47t Miami-Ft. Lauderdale3.37t Boston3.37t Atlanta3.310 Richmond3.2
SOCIAL SEMAPHORE: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Geoff Foster notes Twitter before the start of the World Cup "brought back hashflags." If you hashtagged the FIFA three-letter code "for one of the 32 World Cup countries, a little flag would magically appear in your tweet." But there is "one catch: You have to get the country code right," and this "has proved harder than one might expect." Tweets about Cameroon "have proved trickiest: 13.8% of people attempting to use the #CMR flag have erroneously typed #CAM instead." #CAM "is the country code for Cambodia." Likewise, #NIG is the "country code for Niger not Nigeria, but 7.2% of people tweeting about Nigeria got this wrong too" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/20).PUT YOUR FLAGS AWAY: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley writes he does not expect ESPN's World Cup commentators and analysts, who are "speaking to a U.S. audience, to divorce all sense of connection with their home country." However, an on-air personality that keeps their feelings unknown "would be vastly preferable to some ... kind of grandstanding, cheerleading stooge." ESPN's Alexi Lalas was among those that were "marinating in the goodwill of victory, basking in the echoing chants of USA! USA!" following the U.S.-Ghana match Monday. Wolfley: "A broadcaster momentarily getting wrapped up in the wrong way in an international competition happens in the Olympics as well. But the best anaysts stay away from that rail as much as possible and realize they were hired to talk about soccer ... and not get giddy about getting past a nemesis in one match" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 6/20).
GETTING THEIR KICKS: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes anyone who has "watched a few minutes of the World Cup might recognize the international TV feed directors are no different from U.S. directors assigned to NFL games." World Cup directors "have been assigned or self-assigned to show every face-painted, down-in-front! high-hatted, feathered freak and World Cup-guzzler in every house." The World Cup "grants favored status to lunatics who would attend to be seen rather than to watch" (N.Y. POST, 6/20).
NEW TO THE SPORT? In Albany, Pete Dougherty writes the U.S.' victory over Ghana on Monday has "shown how ignorant some media personalities are about soccer." NBC's "Today" show co-host Savannah Guthrie "tried to compare it" to the '80 U.S. hockey team's "Miracle on Ice." WFAN-AM's Mike Francesa, "reluctantly giving air time to the sport" on his show, asked St. John's soccer coach Dave Masur "whether there are players who kick the ball with both legs" (Albany TIMES UNION, 6/20). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes since Francesa "has portrayed himself as the expert's expert," he "deserves to be praised, not excoriated or lambasted" for admitting his lack of knowledge about soccer. Soccer fans ridiculed Francesa "for asking naive questions they could easily answer." Raissman writes Francesa's interview with Masur "was designed" for people "who know practically nothing about soccer" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/20).
As the Cubs “sort out what to do" with the WGN-CW portion of their 70-75 TV games in ‘15, the team is “considering an option that is highly unconventional, if not a bit out there: Launching a version of a Cubs network on a multicast station,” according to sources cited by Ed Sherman of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. A multicast outlet is a “sub-channel for local over-the-air broadcast stations” that it is not "considered cable." This would provide the Cubs the “opportunity to start some sort of a team-branded channel” and they would “produce the telecasts and sell and keep all the advertising revenue.” The Cubs reportedly are “eager to start their own network,” but they “can't do it on cable because of terms of their deal with Comcast SportsNet,” which runs through ‘19. A team source said that the team is still “considering many options and isn't close to making a final decision.” Sources said that Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney “isn't eager to sign a deal that would give the Cubs considerably less in guaranteed money, especially at a time when the Dodgers are doing a multi-billion dollar local TV contract.” The Cubs in the multicast arrangement would “incur production costs to air the games; probably in the $25,000-35,000 range per game plus studio shows.” They also would have to “pay a fee for time on a multicast outlet.” Sources said that it seems “highly unlikely the Cubs would earn much in the way of subscriber fees for a multicast station.” The team also would “lose viewers because a multicast station doesn't have the reach of WGN.” The Cubs in addition would have to “negotiate deals one-by-one with providers outside of Chicago in Downstate Illinois, Iowa and Indiana, areas that are considered their local territory” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/20).
NBA TV saw its primetime viewership rise 63% during the ’14 NBA Playoffs compared to last year, while total-day viewership was up 30%. NBA TV was fueled by its seven playoff telecasts, including the net’s most-viewed telecast on record -- Game 6 of the opening round Pacers-Hawks series. NBA TV’s postgame coverage during the playoffs also saw a 14% increase from ’13. Following the title-clinching Spurs-Heat NBA Finals Game 5 last Sunday, NBA TV drew 515,000 viewers, marking the most-viewed postgame show in the net’s history. Game 5 also was the most-tweeted game of the ’13-14 NBA season with more than 6.4 million tweets, according to data from Nielsen Social. The previous record was 3.2 million tweets during Game 1. Overall, the NBA Finals this year had 16.6 million tweets and accounted for 61% of all TV conversation on Twitter on days that the games aired. NBA Digital, which encompasses NBA.com, NBA Mobile and the NBA Game Time app, set all-time records throughout the postseason. Page visits increased 16% from ’13 and page views were up 15%. There also were a record 1.9 million NBA Game Time App downloads during the playoffs.
NBC earned a 3.0 final rating and 4.6 million viewers for the final round of the U.S. Open last Sunday, which saw Martin Kaymer go wire-to-wire and win by eight strokes. That marks the lowest audience for the final round on record. The previous low for a final round at the U.S. Open was in ’11, when Rory McIlroy won by eight strokes. This year’s rating was down 33% from that ’11 round and viewership was 38% lower. With no drama or marquee players in contention on Sunday, the viewership for the final round was the same as ABC’s Sunday broadcast of France-Honduras from the FIFA World Cup. Sunday’s final round also was down 45% from last year, when Justin Rose held off Phil Mickelson and Jason Day. Meanwhile, ESPN finished with a 0.9 rating and 1.1 million viewers for second round coverage on Friday from 9:00am-3:00pm ET, down compared to similar coverage from Merion last year (1.3 rating, 1.7 million viewers). ESPN’s Thursday coverage drew a 0.9 rating and 1.1 million viewers as well, but there are no comparisons to last year as rain affected the cable net’s coverage.U.S. OPEN FINAL ROUND AUDIENCE TREND ON NBCYEAR
COURSERATINGVIEWERS (000) WINNERTIGER'14 Pinehurst3.04,600 Martin KaymerDNP'13 Merion5.48,400 Justin RoseT32'12* Olympic (SF)6.09,600 Webb SimpsonT21'11 Congressional4.57,369 Rory McIlroyDNP'10* Pebble Beach5.89,266 Graeme McDowellT4'09** Bethpage4.77,073 Lucas GloverT6'08*^ Torrey Pines7.512,080 Tiger Woods1'07 Oakmont6.49,547 Angel CabreraT2
CHART NOTES: * = Tournament held on West Coast with late primetime finish. ** = Final round began Sunday evening until play was suspended. Finished on Monday morning. ^ = Tournament finished on Monday with 18-hole playoff and one-hole sudden death.
WHAT’S UP DOC? Some one-off sports documentaries have recently aired. NBC averaged 800,000 viewers for “Payne” on June 8 from 5:00-6:00pm, which focused on the life of late golfer Payne Stewart. The film aired immediately after “Kurt Busch 36,” which drew 917,000 viewers for a 30-minute feature on the driver’s double duty at the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600. “Payne” also premiered on Golf Channel the next night, drawing another 250,000 viewers from 10:00-11:00pm. Meanwhile, NBA TV drew 236,000 viewers for the premiere of “The ’84 Draft” on June 9 from 9:00-10:30pm.
The charts below list final ratings from recent sports telecasts.
NBA Finals: Spurs-Heat: Game 56/15ABC8:00-10:52pm10.317,999 NBA Finals trophy presentation6/15ABC10:52-11:17pm9.917,019 NBA Finals: Spurs-Heat: Game 46/12ABC9:00-11:43pm9.314,964 NBA Finals: Spurs-Heat: Game 36/10ABC9:00-11:55pm9.014,775 NHL Stanley Cup Final: Kings-Rangers: Game 56/13NBC8:13pm-12:47am3.76,021 Golf: U.S. Open: Final Round6/15NBC12:00-7:45pm3.04,600 FIFA World Cup: France-Honduras6/15ABC3:00-5:04pm2.74,597 "NBA Countdown"6/15ABC7:31-8:00pm2.44,221 FIFA World Cup: Switzerland-Ecuador6/15ABC12:00-2:00pm2.44,007 FIFA World Cup: Uruguay-Cost Rica6/14ABC3:00-5:04pm2.43,805 FIFA World Cup: Colombia-Greece6/14ABC12:00-2:03pm2.33,478 Golf: U.S. Open: Third Round6/14NBC12:00-7:45pm2.33,200 MLB: (regional)6/14Fox7:12-11:08pm1.42,210 "Inside: U.S. Soccer's March to Brazil"6/14ABC5:04-5:34pm1.42,110 "Inside: U.S. Soccer's March to Brazil"6/14ABC5:34-6:00pm1.11,678 TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS
FIFA World Cup: Argentina-Bosnia & Herzegovina6/15ESPN6:00-8:01pm2.64,677 FIFA World Cup: Italy-England6/14ESPN6:00-8:06pm2.64,615 FIFA World Cup: Brazil-Croatia6/12ESPN4:00-5:59pm2.84,435 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Quicken Loans 500 (Michigan)6/15TNT1:00-4:30pm2.74,254 FIFA World Cup: Ivory Coast-Japan6/14ESPN9:00-11:00pm2.23,675 NHL Stanley Cup Final: Kings-Rangers: Game 46/11NBCSN8:09-11:03pm2.03,383 FIFA World Cup: Netherlands-Spain6/13ESPN3:00-5:00pm2.03,103 NHL Stanley Cup Final: Kings-Rangers: Game 36/9NBCSN8:08-10:47pm1.72,893 FIFA World Cup: Chile-Australia6/13ESPN26:00-8:00pm1.72,779 FIFA World Cup: Mexico-Cameroon6/13ESPN212:00-2:03pm1.42,123
In L.A., Chris Erskine wrote Time Warner Cable should have shown "a little heart (and a conscience)" by replaying on Thursday Dodgers P Clayton Kershaw's no-hitter he threw on Wednesday "with access to all blacked-out TV outlets." With the Dodgers off Thursday night, such a "show of faith" would have eased "fan frustration over the season-long standoff" over carriage negotiations with cable distributors. At the "very least, it would be some positive PR for a company in need of some." The audience for Wednesday's no-hitter on TWC SportsNet LA was a "miserly" 0.6 local rating and 52,000 viewers (LATIMES.com, 6/19).
DELL COMPUTES HER NEW JOB: New CBS NFL sideline reporter Jenny Dell said that she is "more than ready to make the switch from baseball to football." In Boston, Gayle Fee notes Dell "provided gridiron grist" around "MNF" for ESPN and ESPN.com. Dell hopes that she "can set aside her loyalty to the Patriots." She said jokingly, "It’s going to be tough to become unbiased again." Dell said that she also is "trying to wrap her head around the once-a-week football schedule, as opposed to the 162-game baseball grind" that she faced when working for NESN (BOSTON HERALD, 6/20).
GOOD ON YA, JIM! Warriors broadcaster Jim Barnett on Twitter this week announced that he will "be doing 'all games' on the Warriors' telecasts next season" after the club in April announced he would only call a limited number of games. In S.F., Bruce Jenkins writes credit the Warriors "for correcting their big mistake." Over the course of recent months, Barnett's role for the '14-15 season "transitioned from 'zero' to 'a few games' to 'most of the games' to 'same as before.'" For now, this "works well for everyone, and let's hope the Sharks are listening after their inexplicable dismissal" of TV analyst Drew Remenda. Jenkins: "Never lose sight of the majority opinion" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/20).