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Volume 24 No. 156


Fox and NASCAR have "finalized an eight-year extension of their TV rights agreement, ensuring that Fox will continue to air the Daytona 500 and first half of the NASCAR season" through '22, according to Ourand & Mickle of the SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources valued the deal at more than $2.4B, a "sizable increase" from Fox’ current eight-year, $1.76B agreement. The net’s extension "will see it retain the broadcast rights for 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and the entire Camping World Truck Series." The deal also "includes TV Everywhere rights, which will allow Fox to stream its races to a Fox Sports-affiliated website." The streaming rights have "become a standard part of media deals." This marks "the first increase Fox has paid in more than a decade for NASCAR rights." Beginning in '15, its average rights fee to NASCAR "will jump" from the $220M it has paid annually since '01 to more than $300M. The deal marks a "healthy annual increase for NASCAR and continues to prove the value of live sports programming." NASCAR "won’t begin negotiations on rights for the second half of its season until next summer." But NASCAR will now "use its increase with Fox as a benchmark in its negotiations with ESPN and Turner, setting itself up for significant increases" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/15 issue).

Fox and Turner have combined to average a 4.6 overnight Nielsen rating through the first three games of the League Championship Series, up 48% from the same period last year. Fox averaged a 4.7 overnight for the Cardinals-Giants NLCS Game 1 last night, which aired head-to-head with NBC’s Packers-Texans “SNF” telecast. The 4.7 overnight is up 21% from a 3.9 rating for the Rangers-Tigers ALCS Game 1 last year, which aired on a Saturday. Cardinals-Giants Game 1 earned a 41.5 rating in St. Louis and a 20.8 rating in S.F./Oakland/San Jose. Meanwhile, TBS is averaging a 4.5 overnight through two games of the Tigers-Yankees ALCS, up 96% compared to the same point of the net’s Cardinals-Brewers NLCS last year. Yesterday’s Tigers-Yankees Game 2 drew a 3.7 overnight from 4:00-7:31pm ET, up 61% from Cardinals-Brewers Game 2 last year, which aired on a Monday (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

STEP UP: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote" judging by his performance" during last year's LDS, TBS' analyst Ron Darling "better step it up" with colleague John Smoltz for the Tigers-Yankees ALCS. And during the series' Game 1 on Saturday night, "he and Smoltz did." The pair "rode the emotions of the Tigers' roller-coaster win from a variety of angles." They put "an emphasis on pitching analysis and did more first-guessing than they did throughout the " '11 ALDS (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/14). In a separate piece, Raissman also writes he has Smoltz "figured out." He is "easy to take in small doses," but after watching him over seven playoff games "it’s clear he can’t shut his mouth." When he "gets technical about pitching, an interpreter is needed." TBS also "needs to tighten up its graphics" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/15). USA TODAY's Adi Joseph wrote under the header, "Willie Who? TBS Botches Another Hall Of Famer's Name." Joseph: "Meet Willie Mayes, one of the few players to play in the postseason in his teens and 40s. We wonder if he's related to baseball icon Willie Mays" (, 10/14). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes TBS' Cal Ripken Jr. and Smoltz "were superb together." Jones: "I like Smoltz with normal partner Ron Darling, and they are working the AL Championship Series. But I miss Ripken in the booth" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 10/15).

: In Boston, Nick Cafardo wrote TBS' Don Orsillo and Buck Martinez "were superb calling the Detroit-Oakland series" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/14). The N.Y. DAILY NEWS' Raissman wrote TBS' final night of the Ernie Johnson, Smoltz and Ripken trio sounded "flat." The broadcast "often sounded like Johnson was conducting a Q&A with his boothmates about their playing days" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/13). Raissman in a separate piece wrote ESPN's decision to put Chris Berman in the radio booth for the Giants-Reds NLDS was "sheer madness, a disgrace." Berman "did not provide a radio call" and "did not paint the word picture" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/14).

MOVE IT ALONG: In Detroit, Gene Myers writes, "Give us Fox or give us death. We just want something different. Anything different." TBS does a "fine technical job broadcasting the games" and its broadcasters "seem to neither detract nor add to the telecasts." Myers: "With all the annoying things that TV networks do during sports telecasts, why are we tired of TBS? All the repetition." Myers' next "pet peeve" is the "incessant TBS promos for its shows." At the "top of the list is 'Cougar Town'" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 10/15). 

THE DRIVING FORCE: The N.Y. DAILY NEWS' Raissman wrote the Yankees' "marquee presence, and national team status, all but guarantee healthy ratings." While not the "national draw the Yankees are, the Tigers have three players casual fans, who ultimately drive ratings, are at least familiar with" in 1B Prince Fielder, P Justin Verlander and 3B Miguel Cabrera. The Yankees "come in with a new postseason angle -- uncharacteristic dysfunction." TBS will get a "bounce" from the Yankees (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/13).

Fox led all NFL telecasts yesterday with a 16.1 overnight Nielsen rating for its NFL national window yesterday, which featured the Giants’ 26-3 win over the 49ers in 77% of markets. That figure is down 16% from a 19.1 rating for the national window in Week 6 last year, which featured Cowboys-Patriots in 88% of markets. The net also saw a 7% drop for its regional coverage in the early window. Meanwhile, NBC earned a 12.6 overnight for the Packers’ 42-24 win over the Texans in the net’s “SNF” telecast, up 12.5% from an 11.2 overnight for Vikings-Bears in Week 6 last year. The telecast peaked at a 13.1 rating in the 9:30pm ET window. The game earned a 51.9 local rating in Milwaukee and a 32.6 rating in Houston. The telecast also led NBC to a win among all nets in primetime (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

'12 GAME
'11 GAME
% +/-
Giants-49ers (77%)
Cowboys-Patriots (88%)

DOUBLE DIP: noted Fox' Joe Buck made it to AT&T Park "around 10 minutes before the start" of Cardinals-Giants NLCS Game 1, "ready to take on the second part of his unusual Sunday doubleheader." Buck yesterday called Fox' Giants-49ers telecast, which ended around 4:30pm PT, and "made the seven-mile trek in around 35 minutes on a police-escorted motorized cable-car trolley in order to be in the broadcast booth in time" (, 10/14).