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Fox earned an 8.0 overnight rating for the MLB All-Star Game yesterday from 8:15-11:30pm ET, giving the net a primetime win among all nets. The 8.0 rating is down slightly from an 8.1 rating the net earned the past two years. Coverage began with a 7.6 rating at 8:15pm and peaked during the 8:30pm quarter-hour with an 8.7 rating while retiring Yankees SS Derek Jeter was still in the game. The game finished with a 6.1 rating in the 11:15pm quarter-hour. Host market Minneapolis-St. Paul led the way with a 16.6 local rating, followed by Detroit (15.1) and St. Louis (14.3). Pittsburgh ranked fourth with a 12.4 local rating, which was the market’s best All-Star Game figure since it hosted the event in ’06. N.Y. ranked sixth with an 11.9 local rating, up from an 11.3 when Citi Field hosted the event last year (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
CAPTAIN OF THE SHIP: On Long Island, Neil Best writes Jeter "consumed almost the entirety of its pregame coverage before player introductions." The highlight of the "Jeter-fest was video from the clubhouse in which he addressed his teammates." However, Jeter declined Fox' invitation to "wear a microphone during the game" (NEWSDAY, 7/16). In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes for Jeter, a man who has "kept his clubhouse interaction with teammates private, it was a highlight seeing him address the AL All-Stars in the clubhouse." The "introspective highlight ... was a one-of-a-kind thing." It was as if Jeter "wanted to chronicle the moment, have a video souvenir to remember it by." Meanwhile, when Idina Menzel sang Bob Dylan’s "Forever Young" prior to the game, Fox "resisted the temptation of having its camera linger on Jeter" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/16). In Minneapolis, Neal Justin writes Fox' coverage of the game "was far from perfect," as the net "opened with a clumsy comedy piece in which Jeter kicked" Joe Buck out of the locker room. Still, Target Field "looked terrific" on the broadcast. Camera work "was tight -- sometimes too tight." Fox "was blessed with a dramatic game and picturesque weather." Give it credit for "keeping errors to a minimum" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/16).
ADDRESSING CONTROVERSY: The N.Y. DAILY NEWS' Raissman notes Fox' Ken Rosenthal during the game reported that Cardinals P Adam Wainwright had indicated he "threw Jeter a couple of first-inning pitches 'he could handle.'" Jeter doubled in that at-bat, and Wainwright's comments "first started making the rounds on social media around the fourth inning, leading him to an explanatory in-game interview with Erin Andrews." Wainwright: "Sometimes my humor gets taken the wrong way." Andrews asked, "Don't you love social media?" Wainwright: "No. I don't love social media" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/16).
A GLARING OMISSION: YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Kaduk writes the broadcast was "notable for one glaring omission: Last month's death of Tony Gwynn at age 54 went unmentioned, reflecting poorly" on both MLB and Fox. Kaduk: "Not even a simple mention on Fox's broadcast or a highlight reel heading into the break." While a Gwynn tribute "did appear on the pregame show" on FS1, there was "nothing on the pregame broadcast on the main network or during the game" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 7/16). In San Diego, Matthew Hall notes Gwynn fans "took to Twitter in increasing intensity and outrage in the waning moments of the game -- and in its immediate aftermath -- to voice their objections" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/16). NBCSPORTS.com's Matthew Pouliot writes why MLB "did nothing at all is a question that needs to be asked" of Commissioner Bud Selig the "next time he’s interviewed" (NBCSPORTS.com, 7/16).
THE NAME GAME: In N.Y., John DeMarzo notes CBS News' official Twitter account "mistakenly identified Derek Jeter as the late actor Michael Jeter when tweeting an article about him being given a standing ovation Tuesday night, saying, 'Michael Jeter takes bow at his final All-Star Game.'" Michael Jeter died in '03 (N.Y. POST, 7/16). Within a matter of minutes of the mistake, social media sites "were flooded with messages and pictures of Michael Jeter, leading the actor's name to trend worldwide" (L.A. TIMES, 7/16).
A MODERN DAY CARNAC: MLB Network's Greg Amsinger yesterday proved to be something of a seer when he accurately predicted what would happen in Angels CF Mike Trout's first at-bat last night. Trout appeared on MLB Net's set during the "All-Star Red Carpet Show” prior to the game, and Amsinger said, "That is going to be awesome when you drive in Derek Jeter in his final All-Star Game. That’s going to be so cool. He’s going to be at second base, you’re going to hit a rope down the line, you’ll end up at third. He’ll tip his cap to you” (“MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show,” MLB Network, 7/15). Trout tripled during the first inning to right field, scoring Jeter, who had doubled to lead off the inning (THE DAILY).
RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY: ESPN finished with a 3.4 final rating and 5.4 million viewers for the rain-delayed Home Run Derby on Monday night, marking the lowest viewership for the event since ’03. The hour-long delay led to a 19% viewership drop compared to ’13. Despite the drop, the Derby was still ESPN's best primetime telecast since Heat-Pacers NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 6 got 6.9 million viewers. Meanwhile, ESPN Deportes saw its best rating and second-best viewership for the Derby on record for the Spanish-language net (Karp).MLB HOME RUN DERBY AUDIENCE TREND ON ESPNYEARRATINGVIEWERS (000)'14*3.45,400'134.16,651'124.16,882'114.06,686'104.06,418'095.18,250'085.59,116'074.36,778'064.46,787'054.16,330'044.77,713'033.55,200
NOTE: * = '14 event was delayed by an hour due to rain.
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig yesterday expressed confidence the long-running MASN media rights dispute between the Nationals and Orioles could be solved before he retires, saying there is a “good chance” of a resolution in the next several months. Selig said, “We’ve spent an enormous amount of time on this. We’re working through a lot of really tough detail. When you have two clubs that have differences in opinions, they’re very complex subjects. My objective is to keep away from what used to go on in this sport, where you had owners fighting owners publicly. So we’re working through a lot of difficulty. I’m satisfied we’re at least moving in the right direction." (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). In DC, Adam Kilgore noted Selig in recent years has "shied from timetables and specifics," stating only that the issue had "dragged on longer than he thought, never suggesting the end may be in sight." The Orioles and Owner Peter Angelos have "fought to protect the contractual promises made when the Nationals moved from Montreal" in '05. The Lerner family, which owns the Nationals, has "sought to increase" its share of "profits from rights fees, which would allow the billionaires to increase payroll" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/15).
L.A. STORY: Selig was more downbeat on the status of the Dodgers’ ongoing carriage issues following their record-setting rights deal to create Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA, and said he has been in contact with the involved stakeholders. Selig: “I have great concerns about it. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to be helpful" (Fisher). In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, John Ourand reports the Dodgers this season are "posting their lowest RSN ratings ever" with a 0.74 average local rating, down 70% from last year on FS Prime Ticket. The numbers also are "well below" those of the cross-town rival Angels. Ourand: "The reason for the ratings drop-off comes down to one word: distribution" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/14 issue). In L.A., Bill Plaschke notes the feud between carriers "reached another ridiculous level Sunday when SportsNet LA took out a full-page ad" in the L.A. Times "to rip DirecTV." But fans "just want their Dodgers on TV, and they are going to ultimately hold the Dodgers responsible for an unnecessary and unworkable money grab from reckless SportsNet LA, which now has to charge untenable prices to DirecTV and other pay-TV operators to make this work." This is a "mess of historic proportions," and there "might be only a slim chance at a solution before the end of the season" (L.A. TIMES, 7/16).
MLB and RSNs "remain far apart in their talks over rights to stream local games," according to sources cited by Josh Kosman of the N.Y. POST. Sources said that RSNs are offering "roughly 13 cents per subscriber per month -- while MLB is asking for about double that amount." With about 70 million RSN homes, the "gulf" is about $109M a year. MLB sells about 1.5 million streaming subscriptions a year -- for "as much as $130 a shot," but all local games "are blacked out." RSNs have been "aching to get their hands on the rights" as streaming has "become more commonplace," Talks between the RSNs "have been held -- on and off -- since before the season began." There was "some hope in the spring that a deal would be hammered out by the All-Star Game -- but that has not happened." Without offering in-market games on tablets or cellular phones, it makes it "harder for baseball and RSNs -- which are predominantly owned by Fox and Comcast --to build their audiences" (N.Y. POST, 7/16).
DC led all markets across ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 during coverage of the ’14 FIFA World Cup, averaging a 4.9 local rating for 64 matches. The nation’s capital ranked No. 3 in ’10, averaging a 3.6 local rating. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale led all markets in ’10 with a 3.9 local rating, but dropped to No. 7 in ’14 with a 3.8 rating. N.Y. remained the No. 2 market with a 4.6 rating this year, up from a 3.6 in ’10. S.F.-Oakland-San Jose moved up from No. 5 in ’10 to No. 3 this year. Cleveland-Akron ranked last for World Cup matches in ’14 with a 1.7 local rating. The MLS market with the lowest rating was Dallas-Ft. Worth with a 2.1 local rating. Meanwhile, Univision outdrew ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 coverage during the tournament in major markets such as L.A., Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Houston and Dallas-Ft. Worth. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale led Univision's coverage with a 6.7 local rating, followed by L.A. with a 5.6 local rating (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
TOP MARKETS FOR '14 FIFA WORLD CUP COVERAGE ON ABC/ESPN/ESPN2RANKMARKETLOCAL RATING1DC4.92N.Y.4.63S.F.-Oakland-San Jose4.44tL.A.4.04tSan Diego4.06Hartford-New Haven3.97tMiami-Ft. Lauderdale3.87tOrlando-Daytona Beach3.89tWest Palm Beach3.69tRichmond3.69tBaltimore3.69tBoston3.6TOP MARKETS FOR '14 FIFA WORLD CUP COVERAGE ON UNIVISIONRANK
MARKETLOCAL RATING1 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale6.72 L.A.5.63 Houston3.54t Dallas-Ft. Worth2.84t N.Y.2.86 Phoenix2.17 S.F.-Oakland-San Jose1.98 Chicago*1.89 Sacramento1.7
CHART NOTE: * = Chicago market excludes games from June 30-July 1 due to weather disruption.
EVERYTHING'S BIGGER IN TEXAS: In Houston, David Barron noted Sunday’s Germany-Argentina final recorded a 9.5 local rating on KTRK-ABC and an 8.6 on KXLN-Univision for an 18.1 total. That is "about 414,000 households in Houston on average, and it approximates what Texans games were doing locally before their two-year playoff run." The combined World Cup rating in Houston was 6.1, which is "better than a lot of prime time entertainment shows get these days, and it beats everything in the sports realm during the regular season save the NFL" (CHRON.com, 7/15).
SECOND-SCREEN SUCCESS: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Natalie Jarvey noted Univision Deportes' streaming service had "more than 10 million unique viewers during the World Cup, four times as many viewers" as in '10. The Univision Deportes app "had 3.4 million downloads during the tournament." Univision Communications Senior VP & GM Mehul Nagrani said, "Audiences leapfrogged onto mobile consumption. Almost 87 percent of total consumption for World Cup was on mobile devices. We recognize this mobile-first nature of our audience." Nagrani added that Univision's stream "had no issues and no outages despite the record audience" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 7/15).
The SEC Network launches on Aug. 14, and how the channel covers its namesake conference "could be telling in what's highlighted and what's not," according to Jon Solomon of CBSSPORTS.com. ESPN and conference officials stress the net "will report on unflattering news, but won't be investigating topics." ESPN Senior VP/Programming Justin Connolly said, "Our focus is going to be on reporting news, making sure it gets covered. But we are not an investigative journalism network and we're not necessarily out there with the same news infrastructure as ESPN to break stories or go deep into layers of stories. Yet at the same time when stories break, we're going to report on it and make sure fans know about it." ESPN Senior VP/Programming Acquisitions Burke Magnus said the SEC understands "in order for this network to have credibility and authenticity, if it's not reporting a story about a player or a team or a circumstance that's important, that's a huge hit to what the promise of this network should be. We're not going to shy away from reporting the news, good or bad." Mississippi State President Mark Keenum, who is part of a "content committee" that meets regularly, said, "The network has to have latitude to cover all issues, the good and bad, and do it in a fair, objective manner. I think the presidents and chancellors understand that and are willing to accept that." Solomon noted the SEC "won't be the first major sports entity with a TV channel to navigate this tricky road." When the child sex abuse scandal hit Penn State in '11 "as a national story, the Big Ten Network ... was heavily criticized for its lack of initial coverage" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/15).
DOUBLE DUTY: SI.com's Richard Deitsch reported the TV simulcast of Paul Finebaum's radio show, which will air on SEC Net when the channel launches, will begin a "slow rollout this month" with an hour-long version on ESPNU at 4:00pm ET and a half-hour version on ESPN at 5:30pm. Finebaum said of his show's appeal beyond SEC cities, "Part of it is because of the conflict. ... If you are sitting in Ann Arbor or Palo Alto, you are interested because the SEC is a very big, national brand and we don’t limit it to the SEC. We are based in the South and that is our gravitational pull but I think we are doing a disservice if we don’t include the rest of the country on it." Finebaum this fall also will be part of "SEC Nation," which ESPN "hopes will be the SEC Network’s GameDay equivalent." Finebaum will join host Joe Tessitore and analysts Marcus Spears and Tim Tebow travelling "around SEC football sites throughout the fall." Finebaum: "If GameDay is at Oregon and we are at Alabama-Florida and if you are a fan of the SEC, you may flip around. I’m not saying viewers will do it all the time but there will be a lot on SEC Nation that is appealing" (SI.com, 7/14). Finebaum said that his radio show "will move back" to its previous time slot of 3:00-7:00pm on Aug. 11. In Birmingham, Bob Carlton noted the four-hour show "began airing an hour earlier when he moved to Charlotte to join ESPN Radio last August, and it went off the air at 5 p.m. in Alabama and other markets in the Central time zone." Finebaum said, "It was a little frustrating going off the air at 5 o'clock. Obviously, in Birmingham and other cities, people were just getting off work. I felt we were starting an hour early and ending an hour early" (AL.com, 7/15).
THE MORE THE MERRIER: In Birmingham, Creg Stephenson noted the SEC and ESPN yesterday announced plans for "SEC Network +," which "promises live and on-demand coverage of more than 550 digital exclusive sporting events." Among those are "volleyball and soccer, a partial schedule of which the league announced" yesterday. SEC Network + -- accessible through SECNetwork.com or via the WatchESPN app -- also will "feature replays of events first aired live on the SEC Network television or the SECNetwork.com live stream." In addition, "video clips from games and studio programs and other video projects will be available." Meanwhile, the new SECSports.com launched yesterday, with "video and other news from SEC Football Media Days" (AL.com, 7/15).