ESPN earned a 2.7 U.S. rating and 4.235 million viewers for last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which was the second race in the Chase. Those figures are up 12.5% and 6.8%, respectively, from a 2.4 rating and 3.966 million viewers for last year's second Chase race, which was held at Dover Int'l Speedway (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Busbee noted the "combination of competitive racing and (sorry, 48 fans) the possibility of a new champion in the mix could keep ratings trending upward for the rest of the Chase" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/27).
LOOKING IN: SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said that the conference's "15-year TV contract with ESPN has a look-in clause, meaning there are times during the contract that all concerned parties can look-in for possible changes to the contract if things happen like conference landscape or technology concerns." Slive added that the league is "in the process of scheduling a negotiation with CBS sometime this fall" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 9/28).
MORE ICE TIME: ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose will "be blogging for NHL.com throughout the 2011-2012 season." Melrose will also be appearing "as an analyst for NHL Network during every League-wide NHL event," starting with Monday's '12 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic announcement in Philadelphia. His video blog, "Melrose Monday," will appear on NHL.com and will feature a "look ahead at the biggest days on the NHL calendar that week" (NHL.com, 9/26).
WOMEN'S IMPACT IN SPORTS: ABC's Robin Roberts will host the new series, "In the Game with Robin Roberts," on espnW.com, ABC News Digital and ESPN.com. ESPN/ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer said that the series is the first ever dual network, cross platform effort for ABC News Digital and ESPN.com. The series is set to debut later this fall and will feature Roberts interviewing top female athletes who have had an impact on the world of women's sports, including WNBA Lynx F Maya Moore, former WNBAer Lisa Leslie, former U.S. softball pitcher Jennie Finch, former boxer Laila Ali, U.S. women's soccer G Hope Solo and Univ. of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt (THE DAILY).