SBD/January 11, 2017/Media

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  • ESPN's Clemson-Alabama Draws Lowest College Football Title Game Audience Since '12

    Clemson-Alabama drew 25.3 million viewers across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU on Monday night, marking the lowest audience for a college football national title game since Alabama-LSU drew 24.2 million viewers on just ESPN in '12. Clemson-Alabama is down 3% from the same matchup in the CFP Championship last year (also a three-net “megacast”), and down 25% from 33.9 million viewers for Ohio State-Oregon in '15 (four-net megacast including ESPNews). While down from recent college title games, Clemson-Alabama marks the eighth-best audience in cable TV history. ESPN now has the nine most-viewed cable TV telecasts ever, led by Ohio State-Oregon in the inaugural CFP title game (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). SHOWBUZZDAILY.com's Mitch Metcalf noted Clemson-Alabama was "exceeding long" at 4 hours, 17 minutes. This compares to 3 hours, 22 minutes for Alabama-Clemson 20 last year and a "downright speedy" 3 hours, 5 minutes for Ohio State-Oregon two years ago. As Clemson-Alabama "pushed past 12:30 am ET, fewer viewers were available with each passing minute, causing nearly double-digit declines in the available audience in the game’s time period versus prior years" (SHOWBUZZDAILY.com, 1/10).

    CFP/BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP AUDIENCE TREND
    YEAR
    CFP/BCS
    GAME
    NET(S)
    VIEWERS (000)
    '17
    CFP
    Clemson-Alabama
    ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU
    25,319
    '16
    CFP
    Alabama-Clemson
    ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU
    26,125
    '15
    CFP
    Ohio State-Oregon
    ESPN/ESPN2/
    ESPNU/ESPNews
    33,922
    '14
    BCS
    Florida State-Auburn
    ESPN
    25,572
    '13
    BCS
    Alabama-Notre Dame
    ESPN
    26,380
    '12
    BCS
    Alabama-LSU
    ESPN
    24,214
    '11
    BCS
    Auburn-Oregon
    ESPN
    27,316

    EATING CROW: FOXSPORTS.com's Aaron Torres noted FS1’s Colin Cowherd was called out by Clemson coach Dabo Swinney during his postgame press conference on Monday after Cowherd had been “relatively critical of the Tigers as a title contender.” Swinney said, “The guy that called us a fraud, ask Alabama if we’re a fraud. Was the name Colin Cowherd? I never met him, don’t know him. ... The only fraud is that guy, ’cause he didn’t do his homework. I hope y’all print that.” Cowherd “addressed the ‘controversy’” yesterday on his show “The Herd.” He "did apologize, and gave credit where it was due.” Cowherd: “All I can say to Dabo Swinney is, you’re a hell of a coach, you made college football better. You gave me … four-and-a-half hours of entertainment. And your players showed such great character in the most crucial moments” (FOXSPORTS.com, 1/10).

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  • NFL Wild Card Weekend Viewership Finishes Below '16, But Above Figures From '15

    The four games during NFL Wild Card weekend averaged 30.3 million viewers, down from 32.6 million viewers last year, but up from 29.9 million two years ago. Three of four Wild Card windows ended up with some sort of decline in viewership. Fox’ Packers-Giants was the only window to see a gain. The net drew 39.3 million viewers for Sunday’s late-afternoon telecast, up 1% from 38.9 million viewers for Packers-Redskins last year. Earlier on Sunday, CBS drew 29.9 million viewers for Steelers-Dolphins, down 16% from 35.4 million viewers for NBC’s Seahawks-Vikings in the same window last season. Saturday’s Seahawks-Lions game on NBC was the least-viewed Saturday primetime Wild Card game since ’08 with 26.9 million viewers. It also was down 14% from CBS’ Steelers-Bengals last year. Earlier on Saturday, ESPN/ABC’s 25.1 million viewers for the Texans-Raiders telecast was down slightly from Chiefs-Texans last year, which got 25.4 million viewers (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

    NFL WILD CARD WEEKEND AUDIENCE (FOUR GAMES)
    YEAR
    NETWORKS
    AVERAGE VIEWERS (000)
    '17
    ESPN/ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox
    30,274
    '16
    ESPN/ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox
    32,600
    '15
    ESPN, NBC, CBS, Fox
    29,900
    '14
    NBC (x2), CBS, Fox
    34,700
    '13
    NBC (x2), CBS, Fox
    30,300
    '12
    NBC (x2), CBS, Fox
    31,000
    '11
    NBC (x2), CBS, Fox
    32,300
    '10
    NBC (x2), CBS, Fox
    29,900
    '09
    NBC (x2), CBS, Fox
    25,800
    '08
    NBC (x2), CBS, Fox
    24,600

    CHART NOTE: * = ABC simulcast ESPN's telecast of Wild Card game.

    READY FOR RATINGS GOLD: The N.Y. Daily News’ Bob Raissman said of Sunday's Packers-Cowboys NFC Divisional Playoff game will be a “ratings bonanza.” Raissman: “It’s a glamour matchup. ... There is a lot of mystique there." SNY’s Eamon McAnaney said, “Unfortunately for Fox and the NFL, it's coming (one) week too early. I guess if the Cowboys win you’re still going to get them in the NFC Championship game. But if you’re talking about dream matchups, you’d rather have this one in two weeks than this week." The N.Y. Daily News’ John Harper added, "There's a lot of nostalgia here and it would be better if it was in Green Bay. ... (But this matchup) carries a national audience even farther than the Giants-Cowboys would" ("Daily News Live," SNY, 1/9).

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  • Joint Ampsy-McPeek Partnership Will Develop Social Media Services For Sports Industries

    Social geofencing and analytics provider Ampsy has developed a strategic partnership with Jeramie McPeek Communications to develop a variety of social media services for the sports and entertainment industries. The two Phoenix-based outfits will collaborate on various projects to aggregate, develop and analyze social media content for various teams and events, with an initial planned joint project beginning later this month for the Houston Super Bowl LI Host Committee and the Super Bowl Live fan festival. “There is a clear handoff opportunity for both companies,” said Ampsy Founder & CEO Jeremy Gocke. "We’re a technology platform, and Jeramie’s amazing at creating social content, and we can hand off clients to someone who’s deeply trusted in the industry.” McPeek spent 24 years with the Suns, most recently as VP/Digital & Brand Strategy, before forming his own consulting firm, and has developed a reputation as an industry thought leader in the creation and execution of digital and social media strategies. Financial terms were not disclosed, but depending on the client, the partnership in some cases will involve a revenue sharing of joint billings in addition to co-marketing their services. “I’ve been really impressed with what Ampsy can do,” McPeek said. “So often, you’re missing so much of a conversation around a given event because there’s a missing hashtag or something like that. But Ampsy’s geofencing capabilities really do a great job surfacing relevant content and helping to identify key influencers. There’s a lot we’re going to be able to do together.”

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  • Media Notes

    In Chicago, Mark Gonzales notes Cubs TV announcers Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies received three-year contract extensions after ratings for the team on WGN and CSN Chicago have "more than doubled in the last two seasons." WLS-ABC also averaged nearly a 5.0 local rating in its "second season of broadcasting games" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/11). Also in Chicago, Bruce Miles notes Kasper and Deshaies "found almost instant chemistry" when they teamed up in '13. Deshaies brings a "dry, understated wit that provides a nice payoff." Kasper this year will "enter his 13th season as the Cubs' TV voice" (Chicago DAILY HERALD, 1/11).

    BACK IN THE SADDLE: In San Antonio, Jeff McDonald notes former NBAer Matt Bonner last Thursday made his "debut as a member of the Spurs television broadcast team." Bonner said that he was "grateful his first post-retirement gig brought him back to San Antonio," where he played from '06-16. To prepare for his new job, Bonner "took broadcasting classes" through the NBPA. At various points during his Spurs career, Bonner also "volunteered as color analyst for a handful" of D-League games. As he "wades deeper into his TV career, Bonner hopes his quirky personality continues to shine through" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 1/11).

    MONTH-TO-MONTH: Writer Geoff Shackelford reported Golfweek will "now be published 12 times a year." The publication's new monthly issue is "available as a print and/or digital edition." Plus, they will "continue with a weekly digital issue that keeps the 'week' in Golfweek as relevant as ever" (GEOFFSHACKELFORD.com, 1/10). Golfweek Editor-in-Chief Gerry Ahern wrote the new monthly magazine will be "bigger, bolder, slicker" and "contains all the elements that have made Golfweek a must read for those who follow and appreciate golf at all levels." Ahern: "We aim to be bigger, better and more compelling than ever" (GOLFWEEK.com, 1/10).

    SHOW ME THE MONEY: Venture capital fund Courtside Ventures announced its portfolio of inaugural investments, which include $2.3M in seed financing for sports media company The Athletic. The $35M fund was formed as a strategic partnership between Bruin Sports Capital, Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert and WPP, among others (Courtside). SportsBusiness Journal's Michael Smith this week profiles Courtside

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