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Volume 25 No. 61
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ESPN Earns 7.5 Overnight For Buccaneers-Panthers “MNF”

ESPN Earns 7.5 Overnight For
Buccaneers-Panthers “MNF” Game

ESPN’s “MNF” earned a 7.5 overnight Nielsen rating for Buccaneers-Panthers last night, up 13% from a 6.9 for the comparable Browns-Steelers Sunday night game on ESPN last year. Last night’s game drew an 11.5 on ESPN and a 13.6 on WFTS-ABC in Tampa Bay, and an 18.6 on ESPN and a 12.5 on WSOC-ABC in Charlotte (THE DAILY). NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon appeared in the broadcast booth during the game, where ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser gave him a Belgian waffle maker “in honor of your new marriage (to Belgian actress/model Ingrid Vandebosch).” Kornheiser: “We called the Belgian Embassy in Washington, DC, today and they said that is not politically incorrect. You can give somebody a Belgian waffle maker.” Gordon responded, “As long as you don’t make (waffles) for breakfast in the morning then it’s appropriate, because in Belgium it’s more of a dessert.” The broadcast also included footage of ESPN’s Joe Theismann and Suzy Kolber at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, which Theismann called “one of the most exhilarating things I‘ve ever done” (ESPN, 11/13).

THIRD & LONG: NBC won primetime in both viewers and adults 18-49 for the third straight Sunday with Bears-Giants “Sunday Night Football.” The game averaged 19.4 million viewers, up 5% from the comparable Cowboys-Eagles “MNF” game last season. Through ten games, “SNF” is averaging 18 million viewers, up 9% from 16.5 million for “MNF” at the same time last season (NBC).

SUNDAY BEST: DirecTV is offering a discount on its “NFL Sunday Ticket” package and is also offering the Super Fan add-on package for free. DirecTV customers who sign up for Sunday Ticket by December 3 will pay a total of $174 split into three payments and will receive the $99 Super Fan package for free (SATELLITE BUSINESS NEWS, 11/13).

FIGURE EIGHT: NFL.com unveiled a free fantasy football game in which fans pick one player from each of the eight Thursday/Saturday games airing on NFL Network. Traditional fantasy rules apply, and the fan with the most points over eight games wins a grand prize trip for two to Super Bowl XLI. Other prizes includes NFLShop.com gift certificates (NFL Network). The game follows the August debut of Sunday Night Fantasy Football, a partnership between NBC and Rotoworld.com (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/13 issue).