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Despite Germany scoring five goals in the first 29 minutes on its way to a 7-1 rout of Brazil yesterday, ESPN drew a record overnight Nielsen rating for a FIFA World Cup semifinal match. The net earned a 4.1 overnight from 4:00-6:00pm ET. No men's World Cup semifinal has ever aired on ABC. The Germany-Brazil telecast peaked at a 5.8 overnight from 5:45-6:00pm ET. N.Y. led all markets with a 7.5 local rating, followed by Hartford-New Haven (6.4) (THE DAILY). SI's Richard Deitsch wrote on his Twitter feed, "Thought Ian Darke and Steve McManaman did really well today expressing how inconceivable this game has been." USA Today's Dan Shanoff wrote, "This is Ian Darke and Steve M’s finest performance of the tournament. Brilliant broadcasting under 'appalling' conditions." NFL Network's Rich Eisen: "Steve McManaman now in his second consecutive hour of showing complete and utter disdain for Brazil on @ESPN coverage."
CHARACTER DRIVEN: Yesterday's match generated a total of 35.6 million tweets, Twitter said, the highest total ever for any single sports event. Germany's fifth goal, scored by Sami Khedira, generated an activity volume of 580,166 tweets per minute, also a new Twitter record. February's Super Bowl XLVIII, by comparison, generated 24.9 million tweets and a peak volume of 381,605 tweets per minute (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). NBC's Craig Melvin said the "reaction on Twitter" to the match "was immediate, everything from Oprah handing out goals to new takes on Brazil's flag to depressed versions of Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue." NBC's Tamron Hall said, "Incredible numbers on social media" ("Today," NBC, 7/9). ABC's Bob Woodruff said social media "was on it’s 'A' game" during and after the match ("Nightline," ABC, 7/9).
CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE: SPORTSJOURNALISM.org's Michael Bradley wrote ESPN's World Cup coverage "deserves praise," as network execs have covered the event "just about perfectly." Host Bob Ley "is the consummate pro, and it’s great to wade through the various accents of the analysts sitting with him." Its game coverage "has been outstanding, and it has captured the World Cup ethos quite well." Even though the net "has shied away from any kind of controversy ... there is a sense of the party that surrounds the World Cup in just about every broadcast ESPN stages." The announcers "have been tremendous, creating a sense of the importance of the games while still providing enough technical analysis to make hard-core fans happy." ESPN "deserves credit for its World Cup Tonight wrap-up show that summarizes the day’s events, provides a look ahead and continues to put the whole thing into context" (SPORTSJOURNALISM.org, 7/8). Meanwhile, ESPN's Alexi Lalas said of how he and his colleagues covered the U.S.' loss to Belgium, "I am confident we did a good job. Because I think we gave some context immediately, which is not easy to do. Having said that, I think that we are at a point where we shouldn’t be satisfied that we are in a World Cup, and we shouldn’t be satisfied with getting out of our group. That’s OK to say. There should be critical analysis of our players and our team, and that’s OK. And I think that we will continue to do so." He added, "This team is a better version of itself under Jurgen Klinsmann, but I certainly think there are things this team could have done better. And in the immediate aftermath, I think my colleagues at ESPN had some perspective on that" (USATODAY.com, 7/8).
Iowa State Univ. AD Jamie Pollard's "desire to air additional football games on athletic program specific TV channels led to the Oct. 18 Iowa State at Texas game to air on the Longhorn Network and Cyclones.tv," according to Bobby La Gesse of the AMES TRIBUNE. The contest will "air on the networks because both ISU and Texas were seeking to get an additional football game on its own TV channel." Pollard: “We want to be able to give those people that bought into Cyclones.tv more bang for their buck. We thought this was a really good way to do that.” La Gesse notes Big 12 TV contracts "allow ISU to control the distribution rights to one football game each season," which airs on Cyclones.tv and is shown on Mediacom, a cable provider that "delivers the channel primarily in Iowa." The Toledo game on Oct. 11 was "already designated as that contest." If a Big 12 team is to play a conference game on the Longhorn Network, it must "give prior approval." Pollard said that the "stipulation was created for the Texas channel, but can be used by any two conference members who want to air a Big 12 contest on a third-tier network." But moving a second contest to Cyclones.tv means fans without Mediacom or who do not pay $9.95 for a monthly online subscription to the channel "won’t be able to see" 16.7 % of ISU's football season. Pollard said, “That is part of growing the brand. I want them to do that. If watching the game isn’t worth $10 do they really want to watch it?” Big 12 TV contracts "restrict anyone outside the state of Iowa from watching the contest online" (AMES TRIBUNE, 7/9). Pollard: "The exposure we're getting on Cyclones.tv is helping increase season-ticket sales and donations to our athletic programs." He added, "We get to show a quality Big 12 football game. That's a big deal for us" (DES MOINES REGISTER, 7/9).
Astros Owner Jim Crane this week said that U.S. Bankruptcy judge Marvin Isgur "isn’t going to give" CSN Houston a "third strike when it comes to reorganization delays." In Houston, David Barron noted Isgur last week "granted attorneys for the Astros-Rockets-Comcast partnership a second extension, through Aug. 7, to prepare a plan of reorganization for the financially troubled network." Crane: "Hopefully when we go back there’ll be some activity because he’s (Isgur) not going to give us any more extensions" (CHRON.com, 7/8).
OIL MONEY: The Oilers have reached a multiyear extension with Corus Entertainment that will keep the company as the exclusive radio-rights holder of the team. The deal also will keep CHED-AM as the flagship station of all Oilers radio broadcasts and the home to "Oilers Now" with Bob Stauffer through '20. CHED-AM has been the home of Oilers radio broadcasts since '95. The broadcast team of Stauffer and Jack Michaels will return (Oilers).
OFFSEASON IS THE ONSEASON: GRANTLAND's Bryan Curtis wrote the last five offseasons in the NBA have made league insiders "indispensable." League insiders in recent years have reported on Heat F LeBron James’s free agency; Rockets G James Harden's trade; the "Dwight Howard sweepstakes;" and now, moves for James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, and Jason Kidd. Combine that with an "uptick in interest in the league and it’s safe to say the NBA writer is a bigger star vis-à-vis his peers than he has ever been in the history of sportswriting." Everyone "is a national basketball writer" in this era. The "old penalty for getting beat on a story was that your editor called." The "new penalty is that your Twitter followers remind" you that Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN's Marc Stein, USA Today's Sam Amick, and the "rest are outhustling you" (GRANTLAND.com, 7/7).
TIGERS' LAIR: In Baton Rouge, Ross Dellenger notes Cox Sports Television is starting "LSU Gameday Live," which will precede all 12 of LSU's football games and will air each Saturday at 11:00am CT. CST Marketing & Promotions Manager Chris Jackson: "That’s the feel we want -- ESPN GameDay but an LSU version. A lot of Xs and Os. A lot of behind the scenes access you don’t ever see. Pretty much all access" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 7/9).