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WHAT YOU SEC IS WHAT YOU GET: SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said that it is "essential that the news -- both good and bad -- is reported on the SEC Network." Slive: "We are developing a national network, and it's very important to us that it has credibility, not only with the media but with fans everywhere. Fans need to know they can rely on getting information they need to get on the SEC Network." In Nashville, David Climer writes as a means toward that end, SEC Network's "very first hire wasn't exactly a pretty face -- longtime sports radio host Paul Finebaum." Televising a talk show like Finebaum's is a contrast to BTN's approach, as when it "comes to its member schools, the Big Ten Network is all kittens and rainbows." If you "depended on the Big Ten Network for all your college football news, you would have known almost nothing about the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State," as the topic "was largely off-limits"(Nashville TENNESSEAN, 7/17).
CBS President & CEO Les Moonves on Thursday made a "rare appearance at the Television Critics Association summer press tour to help hype" the net's new eight-game Thursday night NFL package, something CBS is "trying to parlay ... into a long-term deal," according to Michael O'Connell of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The current deal is only for the '14 season, but Moonves said, "It's our job to show the NFL what we do and how great this can be. We're confident that after this year, they'll sit down and give us a longer deal." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell noted, "We have not made a determination beyond the one-year. We made a short-term decision in what we think is a long-term strategy." O'Connell noted an oversaturation of the NFL product "seems to remain a nonconcern," though its "increasing footprint in primetime does prompt the question." Moonves: "When everybody talks about overexposure, there clearly isn't. The NFL gets incredible advertising rates" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 7/17). Moonves added, "This is a sure thing. ... There is a tremendous demand for more football on Thursday night." CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus seemed "enthused about the production plans for the Thursday broadcasts, which will be driven by super high-definition 4K cameras, including one with a special position dangling over the goal line." One player per game "will be outfitted with a microphone for in-the-moment coverage." Moonves "promised that CBS talent would be enlisted to promote the Thursday package," and NFL storylines "will be woven into some of the Eye’s scripted series" (VARIETY.com, 7/17). Meanwhile, BROADCASTING & CABLE's Daniel Holloway reported Goodell on Thursday "left the door open to the possibility of streaming games live in the near future." He pointed out the NFL "has retained its digital rights separate from its broadcast contracts" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 7/17).
SHATTERED GLASS: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’s Marc Snetiker noted TV nets have “been dabbling in using 3-D camera technology to cover sporting events, but that’s likely an approach that CBS won’t be taking moving forward, thanks to previously failed experiments like the Masters tournament or the final weekend of NCAA basketball this year.” McManus said, “All the networks looked really seriously at 3-D. ... It looked brilliant for about 15 minutes. What we found out was, it’s really not a very good way to watch a sporting event, with the camera moving back and forth quickly." With CBS and ESPN deciding not to pursue the technology, McManus said, "I don’t think you’ll see anybody in the near future or perhaps the distant future really pursuing 3-D coverage.” He added, “What we’re all pursuing now is 4K, which is super high-definition" (EW.com, 7/17).
Fox Sports' Erin Andrews, who hosted FS1's "college football pregame show last year after high-profile college football assignments at ESPN, will no longer have a broadcasting role in the sport," according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com. The move comes after Andrews was "elevated to the No. 1 sideline spot" for Fox' NFL team. Andrews was a "major part of college football coverage at ESPN," and she moved to Fox two years ago with the net "looking for college football talent, a transaction that came with Fox heavily investing" in the sport. However, Fox "oversold the idea that Andrews would siphon college football viewers from ESPN." Andrews last year hosted FS1's "Fox College Saturday," but the NFL is "something that has been on her mind for a couple of years" (SI.com, 7/18). Meanwhile, in Albany, Pete Dougherty writes Fox "opted for flash over substance" in using Andrews to replace Pam Oliver on its No. 1 NFL team. Oliver was "solid in the role and meshed well with announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman." Meanwhile, Andrews has been a "popular target of critics since her move to Fox," and her "work at Tuesday night's baseball All-Star Game didn't help ease the complaints" (Albany TIMES UNION, 7/18).
CROSSING THE LINE: In Boston, Chad Finn writes WEEI-FM co-host Kirk Minihane is "genuinely talented, which is why it was so foolish" to make his remarks on Andrews on Wednesday. His rant was "beyond over-the-top and easily interpreted as misogynistic, and Minihane seemed to realize his mistake almost instantly when he said: 'I’m going to get in trouble for this.'" Somewhat "surprisingly, he did not get in trouble beyond having to write an apology on the station website." He had a "couple of days off scheduled already, so he is out for the remainder of the week." That is "for the best for everyone" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/18).
Showtime Sports Exec VP & GM Stephen Espinoza said that the network "plans on withholding upcoming PPV numbers to avoid the type of controversy that engulfed Floyd Mayweather’s last bout with Marcos Maidana on May 3," according to Mitch Abramson of BOXING SCENE. Espinoza indicated that the number of PPV buys for Mayweather-Maidana "seemed to overwhelm the actual bout itself." He added that the numbers "will only be released if the event sets a PPV record." Espinoza: "There seems to be an almost obsession with the pay-per-view numbers. And it seems to have gotten to the point where it’s even overshadowing the talk of the event itself. And we just came to the conclusion that we’re not going to feed into it anymore. ... I don't think it's particularly healthy." Abramson noted the crux of the problem comes from reports stating Mayweather-Maidana "did roughly 900,000 buys, an impressive figure by most standards but not Mayweather, who routinely boasts of being able to do a million plus buys." While Espinoza "has disputed that 900,000 figure, he also says that even if Mayweather were to produce that amount, it shouldn’t be viewed as a failure" (BOXINGSCENE.com, 7/16).
Sinclair Broadcast Group announced it has launched the American Sports Network, a collegiate sports initiative to be aired on a number of Sinclair's broadcast TV stations. The company has entered into rights agreements with several NCAA conferences, including Conference USA, the Colonial Athletic Association, Big South, Southern Conference and Patriot League. Beginning with the start of college football season, Sinclair will premiere a slate of live, local sporting events, including football, basketball, soccer, and other sports. ASN's initial launch will include over 50 colleges and will be broadcast in different regions of the country. Stations will carry the games and original content either as part of the primary program line-up or as part of second channels, complimented by access and distribution on digital platforms (Sinclair). In Baltimore, Ryan Sharrow noted Sinclair's move comes as programmers "search for more ways to air more live sporting events, which can command high advertising prices and help drive ratings." ASN "will be led" by Sinclair VP & COO Doron Gorshein, who joined the company in January. Sinclair is the "largest owner of TV stations in the country," and its networks will "reach roughly" 39% of U.S. TV households (BIZJOURNALS.com, 7/17).
OrlandoPredators.com for years was the online home of the AFL Orlando Predators, but the website now "redirects visitors to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's archive of sexual offenders and predators," according to Alicia DelGallo of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The domain change is "part of the recent ownership change of the team -- and neither the Predators nor the league [are] happy about it." The owner of OrlandoPredators.com is "listed as private, but Pearsall Holdings, LP, a company owned by former Preds managing partner David Pearsall, is listed as the reseller." This means he "has permission to redirect site visitors to any page on the web or sell the domain name to third-party hosts." New Predators President Jared Saft said, "Our initial reaction was to reach out to the league. We're really disappointed. [Pearsall]'s potentially harming fans and children who are trying to get information on the team. When you register a domain, you represent that you're not infringing on a trademark. Well, he's infringing on a trademark." Saft added that a complaint has "been filed with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a nonprofit organization responsible for regulating domain names, among other things." Saft: "We think that domain belongs with the team; It's pretty clear." DelGallo notes the team "launched a new website called MyOrlandoPredators.com" while it works to "regain control of its former domain" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 7/18).
In N.Y., Steel & Sandomir cite analysts and industry execs as saying that “among the top reasons” that News Corp. Chair & CEO Ruper Murdoch covets Time Warner “is the opportunity to acquire more sports rights and bolster” FS1. Horizon Media Dir of Research Brad Adgate cited Nielsen data showing that over the last 11 months, FS1 has averaged 88,000 viewers among males 18-49 during primetime and 122,000 viewers among all adults 18-49 in primetime. That compares to ESPN’s 762,000 viewers among males 18-49 and 1.07 million viewers among adults 18-49 during the same period (N.Y. TIMES, 7/18).
CORN POPS: NBCSN averaged 444,000 viewers for the Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn Indy 300 on Saturday night, which had its start time moved up 30 minutes to avoid storms. However, showers still forced the series into its first rain-induced red flag since ’11. Last year’s Iowa race aired on ABC on Sunday afternoon in late June, averaging 928,000 viewers. The race aired on NBCSN in ’12, averaging 254,000 viewers in late June on a Saturday night (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
NOTES: TNT earned a 2.7 U.S. rating and 4.285 million viewers for its final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series telecast last Sunday afternoon from New Hampshire Motor Speedway. NBC and Fox Sports become the official NSCS TV partners beginning in ’15. The audience for the Camping World RV Sales 301 was down 16% and 13%, respectively, from a 3.2 rating and 4.907 million viewers for the race last year. This year’s race went head-to-head with the Germany-Argentina FIFA World Cup final on ABC....ESPN2 drew 426,000 viewers for Timbers-Sounders on Sunday night, a match that received heavy promotion during ABC’s Germany-Argentina telecast earlier in the day (Karp).
The charts below list final ratings from recent sports telecasts.
FIFA World Cup final: Germany-Argentina7/13ABC3:00-5:44pm9.117,324 MLB: (regional)7/12Fox7:15-11:00pm1.42,079 PGA Tour: John Deere Classic: Final Round7/13CBS3:00-6:00pm1.11,533 PGA Tour: John Deere Classic: Third Round7/12CBS3:00-6:00pm0.91,261 Golf: U.S. Senior Open: Final Round7/13NBC2:30-6:00pm0.71,000 Tour de France: Stage 87/12NBC8:00-11:30am0.7959 European Tour: Aberdeen Asset Management
Scottish Open: Final Round7/13NBC12:00-2:30pm0.7954
"World of X Games: Billabong XXL Awards"7/12ABC3:00-4:00pm0.5818 "ESPN Sports Saturday"7/12ABC5:00-6:00pm0.5721 Golf: U.S. Senior Open: Third Round7/12NBC2:15-6:45pm0.5707 European Tour: Aberdeen Asset Management
Scottish Open: Third Round7/12NBC12:00-2:15pm0.5695
Ricoh Women's British Open: Third Round highlights7/12ABC4:00-5:00pm0.3537 "PGA Tour Special: Changing The Face of The Game"7/13CBS2:00-3:00pm0.3457 TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS
FIFA World Cup: Semifinal: Argentina-Netherlands7/9ESPN4:00-6:51pm4.36,823 FIFA World Cup: Semifinal: Germany-Brazil7/8ESPN4:00-6:06pm4.26,643 FIFA World Cup: Third-Place Game: Netherlands-Brazil7/12ESPN4:00-6:03pm2.84,747 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:
Camping World RV Sales 301 (New Hampshire)7/13TNT1:00-4:36pm2.74,285
MLB: Yankees-Orioles7/13ESPN8:00-9:49pm1.42,013 NASCAR Nationwide Series: Sta-Green 200 (New Hampshire)7/12ESPN23:30-6:00pm0.91,347 MLB: Pirates-Cardinals7/9ESPN8:00-11:42pm0.71,023 MLB: Yankees-Indians7/7ESPN7:00-10:12pm0.6742 General Tire World Cup of Softball: Canada-U.S.7/13ESPN1:00-3:25pm0.5670 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: American Ethanol 200 (Iowa)7/11FS18:30-10:20pm0.4663