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January 2, 2015 11:43 AM
ESPN’s first-ever College Football Playoff semifinal telecasts drew overnight ratings comparable with recent BCS National Championship on the cable net. ESPN began with Oregon’s 59-20 rout of Florida State, drawing a 15.5 overnight for the Rose Bowl telecast. That figure tops the 15.3 overnight for FSU’s win over Auburn in the BCS title game last year and is just below the Alabama-Notre Dame title game from ’13 (15.7 overnight). Each BCS title game on ESPN aired on a Monday night.
CLOSING OUT THE NIGHT: Meanwhile, Ohio State’s 42-35 upset win over Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl drew a 15.3 overnight. Both CFP semifinal telecasts finished higher than the Alabama-LSU BCS title game in ’12 (13.8 overnight). The final BCS title game on broadcast TV -- ABC’s telecast of Alabama-Texas in ’10 -- drew an 18.2 overnight for a Thursday night telecast.
RISING UP: When final figures are announced this afternoon, the Oregon-FSU game will likely rank among the top three most-viewed cable TV broadcasts of all time. FSU-Auburn last year remains the third-best audience ever on cable, behind the BCS title games from ’11 (Auburn-Oregon) and ’13.
IN THE STANDS: The Rose Bowl drew 91,322 fans to Pasadena this year, down from 95,173 last year for the Michigan State-Stanford matchup, which was the event’s best figure since ’98. Meanwhile, the Sugar Bowl drew 74,682 fans to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, marking the game’s best attendance since LSU-Notre Dame drew 77,781 fans in ’07.
CFP SEMIFINALS HAVE WINNERS ON THE FIELD, BUT SOME LOSERS OFF IT
* USA TODAY’s Nancy Armour writes the CFP “proved its worth on its very first try,” and “all but the most disgruntled TCU fan has to admit after Thursday’s games that both Oregon and Ohio State are worthy of the opportunity.”
* The FLORIDA TIMES-UNION’s Garry Smith wrote Florida State playing in the Rose Bowl for the second straight season “has strained the pocketbooks of even the most well-heeled Seminole Boosters and made the trip to Pasadena … a financial impossibility for the families of most FSU players.”
Winter Classic Overnights Down; 40,000-Plus Jam Into Nationals ParkEarlier on New Year’s Day, NBC drew a 2.3 overnight for the Capitals’ 3-2 win over the Blackhawks at Nationals Park, marking a record-low figure for an NHL Winter Classic, dating back to the event’s inception in ’08. The previous low was a 2.4 for Rangers-Flyers in ’12. There was no game in ’13 due to the lockout. Blackhawks-Capitals also is down 21% from a 2.9 overnight for Maple Leafs-Red Wings last year. Chicago drew an 11.4 local rating for the game, while DC ranked third with a 5.7 rating. Buffalo was the No. 2 market with a 6.4 local rating. While ratings were down, the Winter Classic drew 60,500 unique visitors on the NBC Sports Live Extra app, up 17% from last year.
NO CHILLY RECEPTION: MLB.com’s Quinn Roberts wrote the game “drew 42,832 to Nationals Park, validating D.C. as a hockey town.” Players during the national anthem “stood on a sheet of blue ice meant to represent the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.” THE HOCKEY NEWS’ Jared Clinton wrote though the first outdoor game in ’08 will “always be the most memorable … 2015’s Winter Classic will certainly be remembered as one of the outdoor games that stand the test of time.” The “pageantry was given a healthy bump thanks to the team entrances, and the game itself was one of the better outdoor contests the league has seen.”
December 15, 2014 09:00 AM
Among the comments:
■ "There's a big sigh of relief from the NFL that they have their new personal conduct policy out. … The onus now shifts in part to the NFLPA, which has criticized the policy and their lack of involvement in creating the policy."
■ "The owners continued to rally around Goodell. There's no hint of any insurrection at all. It's business as usual that way."
■ "The whole player health and safety issue has really taken a back seat to the domestic violence issue."
December 9, 2014 09:37 AM
December 8, 2014 04:14 PM
We’ve been tracking for many years how college football bowl sponsors activate with their respective games. Outback, for example, will again this year host an annual welcome dinner in Tampa before its namesake game, with Auburn and Wisconsin players being this year’s guests. At last year’s Outback Bowl, the teams from LSU and Iowa combined to eat 5,000 pounds of food at the welcome dinner — including 750 pounds of steak, 750 pounds of chicken, 900 pounds of ribs, 1,600 coconut shrimp and 160 Bloomin’ Onions.In Detroit this month, a sponsor of the inaugural Quick Lane Bowl (Dec. 26, 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN) will contribute to the player experience in two unique ways. First, Detroit-based Fathead will create, as part of the gift package provided to each Rutgers and North Carolina participant, a custom-made Fathead decal for each player with his likeness. (We’re curious to see if there will be an entrepreneurial player or two who tries to sell his custom Fathead and make money off his own likeness.) The company also, however, will provide a $25,000 custom renovation to the winning team. The winning school can renovate the athletic facility of its choice on its campus, and Fathead will handle the process from start to finish, including site inspections, design choices and ultimately the installation work.
December 8, 2014 03:00 PM
ESPN’s David Pollack, on the Big 12 being left out of CFP: “If I’m (Commissioner Bob Bowlsby), I don't know if I cost myself a chance to sit at the table and play for the college football final four, but you didn't do yourself any favors and he said that. You need to restructure your format. You need to look in the mirror and fix this” (“College Football Playoff Selection Show,” ESPN, 12/7).
SOCIAL STUDIES: ESPN’s Howard Bryant said of athletes speaking out on social issues, "There was a time when sports was in front of the country on social issues, whether you're talking about the unpopular Muhammad Ali or you’re talking about Jackie Robinson or Sandy Koufax or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. These guys are at a point now (where) they're more popular than they were back then. They have more power than they had back then” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN2, 12/7). FS1’s Peter Schrager, on protests of Rams players last week: “They reminded us yet again that athletes can have the strongest voice in the room, even when no words are needed at all” (“Fox NFL Kickoff,” FS1, 12/7).
CALIFORNIA DREAMING: CBSSN’s Amy Trask, on the NFL in L.A.: “I don't necessarily think two teams should be placed in this market at least at the outset. The league cannot afford to fail in Los Angeles. It's got to do it right” (“That Other Pregame Show,” CBSSN, 12/7). PFT’s Mike Florio said of the Chargers potentially moving to L.A., “Owners would be inclined to allow a team to move just a fairly short distance, more inclined to do that than have a team move across the country” (“FNIA,” NBC, 12/7).
POWER PLAY: MLB Network’s Peter Gammons said of the strength of MLB, “This time around, we are looking at a business that has gone from a $1 billion industry in 1995 when Bug Selig really started taking over the business to pretty close to $9 billion now. It tells us a lot about what Bud Selig did to grow this business, how much the owners have incredible confidence in Rob Manfred and his cabinet, as I call it. I think it is really interesting. I don’t ever remember a time when owners have been more confident in the people who are running the game” (“MLB Tonight,” MLBN, 12/7).
ROOM TO GROW: MLS Commissioner Don Garber, on league expansion: “I don't think we're still fully grown out. We're still going through that growth phase. It's why we are working with our players to try to find the right management of that growth. We're working with our owners, we're working with municipalities, our broadcast partners and long-term relationships” (“MLS Cup,” ESPN, 12/7).
December 8, 2014 12:46 PM
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November 18, 2014 03:37 PM
NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith said of the NFL’s decision to suspend Vikings RB Adrian Peterson for the rest of the season, “This is a league that can do better and when we are part of something that lacks process and when we are a part of something that lacks transparency and when our fans see the commissioner in a press conference that does not inspire the appropriate level of confidence, I know that there is a growing gap between the players and the league office, and that shouldn’t be” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 11/18). ESPN’s Adam Schefter: “The NFL is making a statement that this is a new league that is operating right now and the league is going to have very little tolerance for incidents in which it feels wrongdoing was done” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 11/18). Radio host Dan Patrick asked about the Peterson ruling, “Is that what the NFL is doing? Are they kind of cleaning up what the courts didn’t?” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 11/18).
EXCEPTION TO THE RULE? ESPN’s Bomani Jones, on the DEA raiding several NFL teams investigating painkiller distribution among team medical staffs: “Why aren’t we acting like this is a giant deal like we would if anybody else was being investigated by the DEA?” (“Highly Questionable,” ESPN2, 11/17).
GONE FISHING: San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami said of Marlins RF Giancarlo Stanton’s new contract, “Every new contract looks crazy but this is the A-Rod deal of this generation” (“Yahoo Sports Talk Live,” CSN Bay Area, 11/17). ESPN’s John Kruk: “To me it’s the most puzzling signing I’ve ever seen for an organization that doesn't spend money” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 11/18). MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal said, “It is a huge risk and at the same time, guys, you’re the Marlins. You’ve got to get credibility back. This is the only way to do it” (“MLB Now,” MLBN, 11/17). ESPN’s Curt Schilling: “Obviously, the game is in a good financial place. The bad for me is all from the team side” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 11/18). New Jersey-based Short Hills Capital Partners Founder & Managing Partner Steve Weiss said, “You could have bought the Dodgers for a seven multiple of what you paid for this guy’s contract. I’d rather own a team and the TV rights than one player” (“Fast Money Halftime Report,” CNBC, 11/17).
FEELING BLUE: SNY’s Eamon McAnaney said of the Blue Jays signing C Russell Martin, “Toronto’s been burned by this before and they’re going to get burned in the last four or five years of that deal” (“Loud Mouths,” SNY, 11/17).