The Giants' 2-0 win over the Tigers in Game 2 of the World Series Thursday night once again drew an 8.8 overnight Nielsen rating, matching the same overnight figure for Game 1. The 8.8 figure is down 12% from a 10.0 overnight for last year's Cardinals-Rangers Game 2, which also aired on a Thursday. Last night's Buccaneers-Vikings game posted the lowest overnight rating of the year for a Thursday night game. NFL Network posted a 3.9 overnight for the game. There is no comp to last year (John Ourand, THE DAILY). The AP reported Tigers-Giants Game 1 “set a record low television rating for a World Series opener,” as the game received a 7.6 final rating and was watched by 12.2 million viewers. The rating is down 13% from an 8.7 for Cardinals-Rangers Game 1 last year. That game averaged 14.2 million viewers (AP, 10/25). In L.A., Joe Flint wrote under the header, “Game 1 Blowout Means Lower World Series Ratings For Fox” (LATIMES.com, 10/25).
AT THE COPACABANA: Fox Sports VP/Communications Dan Bell said that analyst Tim McCarver “obviously was joking” by bringing up musician Barry Manilow when play-by-play announcer Joe Buck referenced chants of “Barry” from the AT&T Park crowd during the Game 1 broadcast. USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand writes, “Here's why you should believe that: For years, Buck and McCarver have an occasional schtick in which McCarver plays, well, dumb. What's different now is that if anybody doesn't get it -- and McCarver's humor can be missed -- it can go viral” (USA TODAY, 10/26). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes under the header, “McCarver Analysis Way Off Base.” Following Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval's first home run in Game 1, McCarver, “who has developed a habit of telling us that we just saw things we didn’t just see, told us, ‘That’s a situation when [Tigers P Justin] Verlander did exactly what he wanted to do -- up and in,’ adding that credit is due [to] Sandoval for hitting a good pitch.” However, the replay “showed the pitch was, in fact, ‘up,’ but it was moving back toward the center of the plate.” The “contradictory video evidence was not mentioned” (N.Y. POST, 10/26).
FREE BIRDS: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar notes the Cardinals' nine Saturday afternoon telecasts this year on KTVI-Fox “drew a 34 percent better rating than their 148 contests -- many in prime time -- on cable's Fox Sports Midwest.” The trend “continued” in the Giants-Cardinals NLCS, as KTVI “drew a 16 percent better rating than the Cards pulled” for their NLCS showdown last year with the Brewers on TBS. The “difference between Fox and TBS ratings would have been even more profound had the Cards been competitive in the final three games” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/26).
Comcast during its Q3 earnings conference call Friday "confirmed that it broke even on the Summer Games," according to the Georg Szalai of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Comcast Chair & CEO Brian Roberts on an earnings conference call said that "his team continues to expect future Olympics to turn a profit." Roberts: "We now have more confidence than ever the Olympics can be profitable." Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis said, "Overall, the London Olympics were break even when you take into account other Olympics-related revenues that are booked over multiple quarters." Roberts said he was "proud" of the London Games coverage and lauded staff for how "the whole company worked together" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 10/26). BLOOMBERG NEWS reports revenue at NBCUniversal rose 31% to $6.8B, "buoyed in particular" by the London Games. Excluding the Olympics, NBCU revenue was up 8%. The "broadcast segment saw revenue, including $1.2 billion from the Olympics, increase 83%; broadcast revenue excluding the games rose 5%" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 10/26).
L.A.-based firm AccuScore, which “describes itself as ‘a fee based sports betting system’” on its own website, had “supplied computer-generated predictions to the [NFL] in an unusual if not unique arrangement,” according to Hal Habib of the PALM BEACH POST. The NFL the "past few weeks posted detailed predictions for the outcomes of games on its official website." before The league was asked Wednesday “why it formed a business partnership with a gambling service,” and the "link to the ‘Forecast Center’ was deleted Thursday morning.” The NFL in a statement said its digital division “will not use content from this outside vendor to avoid any appearance of an association with other aspects of the company’s service.” A source said that the league was “caught off-guard by the gambling services offered by AccuScore, which also provides statistical analysis to organizations including ESPN and NASCAR.” Habib notes the Forecast Center “did not cite point spreads or accept wagers but spared few details in predictions that would have been of interest to fantasy football players and serious gamblers.” AccuScore Founder & CEO Jason Manasse said, “I don’t believe that this actually provides any gambling value. … I think they’re using it purely for information in bar chatter.” Manasse cited a “confidentiality agreement in declining to reveal whether AccuScore or the NFL initiated contact between the organizations” (PALM BEACH POST, 10/26).
Washington State Univ. football coach Mike Leach on Tuesday made the decision "to ban his players" from Twitter "effective immediately," according to Christian Caple of the Spokane SPOKESMAN-REVIEW. Leach said, "Quite frankly, if after today you see anything on Twitter from our team, and I don’t care if it says, ‘I love life,’ I would like to see it because I will suspend them.” WSU AD Bill Moos on Tuesday said that "some 'vulgar' tweets written by WSU players had been brought to his attention earlier in the day, but that he didn’t address the matter with Leach." Moos: "I fully understand this is the youth of today and so forth, but we have to have our attention and focus on building a football program here, and our players need to have that as their priority." He added that WSU student-athletes "were required to attend a social media presentation last week." Moos: "(Some tweets) do not portray the image of what I want our athletes to portray." Caple noted Leach has a Twitter account "with 39,345 followers, but it’s mostly used for promotion purposes." Leach has said that he "doesn’t usually operate the account himself" (Spokane SPOKESMAN-REVIEW, 10/24).
NOT WORTH THE RISK: In Charlotte, Scott Fowler noted NFL Panthers QB Cam Newton is not on Twitter. Newton, speaking hypothetically, said, "The social media world has turned into ... they want to hear about [WR] Steve Smith or [RB] Jonathan Stewart drunk on North Tryon, rather than, 'He's on North Tryon giving away turkeys.' One wrong tweet to the wrong person could lead to so much." Newton added, "I think if you do 10 tweets -- you do nine amazing tweets they still don't outweigh the one bad tweet a person may send off. You may send an ex-girlfriend your real feelings on how you feel and she sends it to TMZ or sends it to the Charlotte Observer" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 10/25).
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith “denied dropping the N-word” while discussing Lakers G Kobe Bryant Thursday on “First Take,” according to Bob Raissman of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Smith on the show “sarcastically pooh-poohed the idea that Bryant would miss the Lakers’ opener because of a foot injury.” Listening to a replay of his commentary “provides evidence that he voiced the slur.” However, Smith came back on the show later, offering a “vehement denial that he uttered the racial slur.” He “chalked it up to being from New York and speaking ‘very, very fastly’” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/26). Smith said, "There are numerous reports out there that I uttered a word I should not have uttered. I’m going to repeat this one more time: I did not do so. I am a New Yorker and sometimes I speak very, very fastly, and sometimes my words are misconstrued, and I get that. If I wanted to say such a word -- because I work for this network, because this network would never condone such a thing -- I would instantly issue an apology because obviously it would be a huge mistake on my part if I did utter such a word. But I did not.” He added, “This is the second time I’ve had to say I did not utter that word in my career at ‘First Take.’ I hope this is not something I have to revisit in the future. Maybe I need to slow down, make sure I articulate myself clearly and precisely every single word that I utter out of my mouth. But please understand, I did not say the things that they are reporting that I said” ("First Take," ESPN2, 10/25). Despite the denial, ESPN "still cut the word from a rebroadcast of the show" (USATODAY.com, 10/25).
NO PUNISHMENT: THE BIG LEAD's Jason McIntyre reported Smith "will not be reprimanded" by ESPN after network execs "huddled for a couple hours" Thursday morning. However, McIntyre wrote it "wouldn’t surprise me if they changed their mind" and put Smith "on the bench for a few days after the public sees his non-apology" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 10/25).
ESPN Friday will formally announce that college football analyst Lee Corso "has a new two-year deal." Corso said that he has recovered from a stroke three years ago "largely because he has cut all of his ESPN duties except" appearing on "College GameDay" on Saturdays. Lee Fitting, who produces the weekly show, said Corso's picks segment at the end of each show is "one of the last must-see moments in TV sports that still exists" (USA TODAY, 10/26).
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes with ESPN declining to hire former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy, the net "hung their No. 1 NBA analyst -- Stan's brother, Jeff Van Gundy -- out to dry." Raissman: "They used him. Why were they willing to risk alienating him? It's not a reach to suggest that his relationship with the network, and the people with whom he directly works, will be altered." A source said, "They asked Jeff to be part of it, Jeff represented to Stan that these are people you can trust. They wind up deceiving Stan. That's got to hurt Jeff" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/26). Meanwhile, in Miami, Barry Jackson reported NBA Commissioner David Stern indicated he did not discourage ESPN from hiring Stan Van Gundy. Stern added that he is "supportive of coaches who want to go into broadcasting." But Jackson noted Stern "refrained from saying anything" about Van Gundy specifically (MIAMIHERALD.com, 10/25).
HOT MIC: In Chicago, Gordon Wittenmyer reports the Cubs are "wasting no time putting together a high-caliber pool of candidates" to replace Bob Brenly as the team's TV color analyst after "contacting analysts working the [World] Series for national outlets." Those include former Cubs Erik Karros and Rick Sutcliffe. Karros "looks like an early front-runner considering his strong qualifications and that -- unlike many potential candidates -- he has the freedom to pursue the job" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/26). Former Cubs P Dan Plesac also "appears interested," but like ESPN's Sutcliffe, Plesac is "already under contract." He is in the "first year of a multi-year contract with MLB Network" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/26).
TALKIN' BASEBALL: In L.A., Steve Dilbeck reported Jorge Jarrin, the son of Baseball HOF broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, "will begin a weekly one-hour show" on Dodgers flagship radio station KLAC-AM titled "Dodger Talk -- Off-Season Edition." The show will air on Wednesdays from 7:00-8:00pm PT beginning Oct. 31 and "include interviews with players, coaches and team officials" (LATIMES.com, 10/25).