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Marc Ryan: "First impression of the @SECNetwork last night: A - incredibly impressive debut. Like Tivo, we'll be saying 'How'd we ever survive w/o it?'"
IT'S TEBOW TIME: In Jacksonville, Don Coble notes SEC Net's Joe Tessitore and Tim Tebow broadcast live from Gainesville for the channel's debut, but "consistent lightning and intermittent showers" forced them to relocate from in front of Florida Field to the school's indoor football complex. Tebow "clearly didn't possess the polish of a professional television front man," but whether "by design or coincidence, it still worked." However, Tebow "constantly said 'we' when talking about the Gators" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 8/15). In Florida, David Jones notes Tebow talked to current UF QB Jeff Driskel and "added a 'God bless you' at the end of the interview, one of his trade mark comments as a player." Tebow turned 27 on Thursday and was "presented a birthday cake by Albert, the team's mascot" live on air (FLORIDA TODAY, 8/15).
Big Ten Network, "through a series of upgrades with distributors" in the N.Y. and DC markets, "has bolstered its subscriber count by some 15% since the end" of the '13-14 academic year, according to Mike Reynolds of MULTICHANNEL NEWS. BTN President Mark Silverman said that when upgrades "are completed before the Aug. 28 kickoff of the football season the Big Ten Network will count some 60 million subscribers," up from 52 million last spring. BTN's eighth season also "will feature improved positioning on systems owned by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and RCN" in the N.Y. TV market, which includes Rutgers. Similarly, Comcast and Cox will boost BTN's availability "in and around the nation’s capital and northern Virginia, where Maryland has a significant fan base." Silverman said that BTN "has picked up better coverage on Time Warner Cable" in L.A., which "will complement carriage on DirecTV." The conference network "is putting the finishing touches on a media plan that will take form on outdoor and digital vehicles and other platforms" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 8/13).
Hockey HOFer Denis Potvin will return as the color analyst for the Panthers beginning with the '14-15 season "after five years away from the organization," according to George Richards of the MIAMI HERALD. He will re-join play-by-play announcer Steve Goldstein on FS Florida. Potvin was "let go" following the '08-09 season and called Senators games for Sportsnet the past four seasons. Potvin became "available after TSN took over broadcasting Senators games starting this season." FS Florida's Bill Lindsay, who has "teamed with Goldstein the past five years, will stay on as an analyst during intermissions as well as work on the pregame and postgame shows." Lindsay also will do "sideline work during games as well as report from between the benches on select broadcasts" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/15). In Ft. Lauderdale, Harvey Fialkov noted the Panthers' radio team "also has undergone a change in the booth." Randy Moller remains the "voice of the Panthers but Kevin Rogers has been replaced by Alex Donno as the game host" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 8/14).
JET SET: In Winnipeg, Tim Campbell notes CFRW-AM has "installed Paul Edmonds as the new full-time radio voice" of the NHL Jets. Edmonds had "been contributing periodically to Jets hockey broadcasts over the last couple of seasons." He joined CFRW's morning show this past February and continued "filling in on hockey broadcasts." Former Jets radio voice Brian Munz will "remain with the station and move to the colour/analyst chair for about half of the team's games" in '14-15. The station said that Munz will "become the station's regular Jets reporter this season" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 8/15).
The news around Tony Stewart’s incident at a dirt track race last Saturday night contributed to increased viewership around the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen Int’l on Sunday afternoon. ESPN finished with 4.94 million viewers for the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen, marking the race’s best audience figure since the net first aired the race in ’07. ESPN also drew 2.23 million viewers for “NASCAR Countdown” leading up to the race, marking the cable net’s best figure for the pre-race show since Labor Day weekend in ’12, when a Sunday night telecast leading into the Atlanta Motor Speedway race drew 2.91 million viewers. Meanwhile, ABC drew 1.93 million viewers for the Nationwide Series race on Saturday afternoon at WGI, up 12% from the same race in '13, which had to go head-to-head with the PGA Championship.
The charts below list final ratings and viewership from recent sports telecasts.
PGA Championship: Final Round8/10CBS2:56-9:00pm5.38,238 PGA Championship: Third Round8/9CBS2:00-7:17pm3.04,252 PGA Championship: rain delay coverage8/10CBS2:00-2:56pm1.62,365 NASCAR Nationwide Series:
Zippo 200 (Watkins Glen)8/9ABC2:15-5:00pm1.31,930
"ESPN Sports Saturday"8/9ABC5:00-6:00pm0.81,136 World of X Games: Games of Skate8/10ABC5:00-6:00pm0.6823 U.S. Swimming National Championships8/10NBC4:00-5:30pm0.5660 Major League Fishing: Summit Cup Championship8/9CBS1:00-2:00pm0.5654 U.S. Swimming National Championships8/9NBC4:00-6:00pm0.5636 Ironman World Championship8/10NBC1:30-3:00pm0.4599 AMA Motocross8/9NBC3:00-4:00pm0.3457 Liga MX: Pachuca-Chivas de Guadalajara8/9Telemundo9:00-11:04pm0.3427 MLS All-Star Game (vs. Bayern Munich)8/6UniMas9:30pm-12:00am0.2410 World of Adventure Sports8/10NBC3:00-4:00pm0.3397 TELECASTDATENETTIME (ET)RAT.VIEWERS
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:
Cheez-It 355 (Watkins Glen)8/10ESPN1:00-5:43pm3.14,939
NFL Preseason: Browns-Lions8/9NFL Net7:30-10:37pm1.82,823 "NASCAR Countdown"8/10ESPN12:00-1:00pm1.52,232 NFL Preseason: 49ers-Ravens8/7NFL Net7:30-10:22pm1.21,808 PGA Championship: Second Round8/8TNT1:00-7:51pm1.21,587 MLB: Nationals-Braves8/10ESPN8:00-11:17pm1.01,464 NFL Preseason: Cowboys-Chargers8/7NFL Net10:22pm-1:02am1.01,448 NFL Preseason: Saints-Rams8/8NFL Net8:00-11:22pm0.91,416 PGA Championship: Third Round8/9TNT11:00am-2:00pm0.91,212 PGA Championship: Final Round8/10TNT11:00am-2:00pm0.91,171
Bears WR Brandon Marshall will be part of the cast this season for Showtime's "Inside the NFL," and in Chicago, Rich Campbell notes it "remains to be seen just how extensive Marshall's obligations will be." But it "certainly will be worth monitoring as the Bears dive into the regular season." Bears coach Marc Trestman: "I trust Brandon. He asked me about it. I trust him to make decisions that are in the best interests of the team first" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/15). Marshall said of how he would approach talking about the Bears on air, "You’ve just got to be transparent and continue to give the audience what they want without crossing those boundaries of hurting the team." In Chicago, Rick Morrissey notes Marshall also "mentioned his work" with WMAQ-NBC the last two seasons as an example of how he can balance playing for the Bears and talking about them on air. Still, Morrissey writes the Bears "are so demanding of their players that this has to be an issue within the organization." There "will be people at Halas Hall who won’t like the idea of the team’s top receiver yapping on his day off rather than resting" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/15).
MISTAKEN IDENTITY: In Las Vegas, Kira Terry noted the Twitter account for ESPN's NASCAR coverage on Thursday mistakenly attached a photo of driver Tony Stewart onto a link to a story about the funeral for Kevin Ward Jr., who was killed by Stewart last weekend. The account also "tweeted the wrong name" in another tweet, identifying the deceased driver as Tony Ward Jr. The account "has since deleted both tweets and tweeted an apology." The tweet: "Deepest apologies to all for getting Kevin Ward Jr.’s name and photo wrong in an earlier tweet today" (REVIEWJOURNAL.com, 8/14).
WRITER TRANSACTIONS: The INDIANAPOLIS STAR reports columnist Bob Kravitz has left the paper after 14 years "to go work" for WTHR-NBC. Star Managing Dir of Digital & Sports Ronnie Ramos said that the paper "has begun a national search for a major sports columnist" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 8/15)....The Rams on Thursday announced that former Sporting News and Yahoo Sports writer Myles Simmons has joined the team as its primary online scribe (Rams).