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Volume 24 No. 114

Media

DirecTV subscribers in L.A. Friday night will be able to watch the Lakers on Time Warner Cable SportsNet -- and for the rest of the season -- after the satellite operator on Thursday signed a long-term carriage deal for TWCSN and the Spanish-language TWC Deportes. The deal leaves Dish Network as the biggest remaining holdout. Sources said that DirecTV originally had resisted doing any deal that would include the Spanish-language TWC Deportes (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

CITY OF ANGELS: In L.A., Joe Flint notes the agreement ended a "long standoff." Many "bars and restaurants with DirecTV have seen their businesses take a hit without having Lakers games on the big screen." For TWC, "getting the DirectTV deal done removes its biggest headache." With 1.7 million subscribers in Southern California, having DirecTV "on board is crucial to the long-term success" of TWCSN. TWC was "seeking as much as $3.95 per subscriber, per month, for the two channels." With DirecTV "out of the way, the last hurdle" for TWC is Dish Network, the satellite broadcaster that "has about 850,000 subscribers in the region." Now that "everyone else is on board, Dish may think it needs the channel to avoid being at a competitive disadvantage in the market" (L.A. TIMES, 11/16). Santa Monica-based Desser Sports Media President Ed Desser, who helped negotiate the Lakers' deal with TWC, when asked what could have spurred the TWC-DirecTV deal, said, "I don't think it was really about the coaching change, because the die was cast over the summer when the team got Dwight Howard and Steve Nash -- this isn't a knee-jerk reaction." Desser added, "The coaching news may have reminded everyone just how high-profile this team is. It's an indication of the power and importance this team has in this market" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 11/16). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Ben Block noted TWC had "demanded that the two channels be carried on the most basic tier of service" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 11/15). In California, Jim Carlisle notes the agreement covers "only the 1.3 million subscribers DirecTV has in California from Fresno to the Mexican border, along with those in Las Vegas and Hawaii" (VENTURA COUNTY STAR, 11/16).

POWER TO THE PEOPLE! In L.A., Chris Erskine writes, "If you're still among the 850,000 customers missing out on Lakers games, there are deals to be had in the standoff." Before DirecTV reached its agreement Thursday, it was "doing handsprings to keep customers." These "showdowns with regional sports providers are here to stay." Erskine: "So don't just sit back and mutter over these stupid disputes. Exploit them" (L.A. TIMES, 11/16).

IN OTHER RSN NEWS: In Houston, David Barron noted there is "nothing new ... in the ongoing carriage contretemps" for Comcast SportsNet Houston. The new RSN is "negotiating with DirecTV, Dish, AT&T U-verse and other area cable systems, and Rockets fans who subscribe to those services continue to be left in the cold" (CHRON.com, 11/15). The L.A. TIMES' Flint in a separate piece noted a "potential battle for the Dodgers was no doubt a motivating factor" in News Corp.'s efforts to secure a minority stake in YES Network. The "last thing Fox Sports wants to see is Time Warner Cable get a piece of YES." Also, should Fox "lose the TV rights to the Dodgers on top of the Lakers, having a stake in YES is not a bad consolation prize" (LATIMES.com, 11/15).

NFL broadcast partners are seeing a dip in their audience numbers through Week 10 this season compared to the same point last year. However, NFL games still remain the most-watched programs on TV, with game telecasts ranking as the 16 most-viewed shows on all of TV since Labor Day.

PRIMETIME: Both NBC and ESPN’s primetime telecasts are down slightly, dipping 1% from last year. Despite NBC's dip, "SNF" remains the No. 1 show on all of primetime TV with a 12.8 rating and 21.2 million viewers. The show is also tops among viewers and all key adult and male demos. The program also ranks strong among kids 2-11 and teens 12-17. “SNF” ranks No. 4 among women 18-34 and No. 6 among women 18-49. Last season, “SNF” became the first sports program to rank No. 1 in primetime. While “SNF” is down year-over-year, the strong audience has helped NBC to a lead among all nets in adults 18-49, marking the first time the net has ranked No. 1 outright in the demo at this point in the TV season since ’02. Meanwhile, ESPN’s “MNF” package is averaging an 8.4 rating and 13.1 million viewers. The program remains the No. 1 program on all of cable and has ranked No. 1 each week since the season began. NFL Network is in the first season of its extended schedule (13 games in ‘12 vs. eight games from ’06-11). The net is averaging a 4.1 rating and 6.4 million viewers, putting it on pace for its best season of games yet.

DAYTIME: Sunday afternoon game telecasts also are down through Week 10. Fox is averaging an 11.6 rating and 19.1 million viewers, down 3% and 4%, respectively. The net's five national windows have averaged a 14.7 rating and 24.6 million viewers, down 6% in both metrics. Meanwhile, CBS is averaging a 10.4 rating and 16.9 million viewers for its game telecasts, down 1% and 2%, respectively, from the same point last year. The net's national windows are averaging a 14.0 rating and 23.1 million viewers.

NFL GAME VIEWERSHIP THROUGH WEEK 10
NET
'12 (000)
'11 (000)
NBC*
21,191
21,315
Fox
19,100
19,900
CBS
16,949
13,265
ESPN
13,091
13,265
NFLN
6,441
n/a

CHART NOTE: * = NBC figures include the annual NFL Kickoff, which aired on a Wednesday night this year to accommodate the Democratic National Convention.

PREGAME: NBC’s “Football Night in America” leads all pregame/highlight shows to date with a 4.7 rating and 7.6 million viewers from 7:30-8:15pm ET. However, those figures are down 13% and 15%, respectively, from record-setting numbers last year. The show has been negatively affected with many NFL Sunday afternoon national windows running later than in recent years, often finishing closer to 8:00pm. NFL Network has good numbers for its 30-minute “Pre-Kick” on Thursday nights. The show has consistently ranked among the top 40 shows on cable each week. Meanwhile, "Fox NFL Sunday" is averaging a 3.0 rating and 4.5 million viewers, down 14% and 15%, respectively. CBS' "The NFL Today" is flat through Week 10 at a 2.3 rating. On ESPN, the net's "Sunday NFL Countdown" is averaging 2.1 million viewers, down from 2.3 million at the same point last year. The net's "Monday Night Countdown" is averaging 2.6 million viewers, flat compared to '11.

It has been more than five years since ESPN signed Rick Reilly to a $17M contract and “needless to say, the deal has been a disaster for both sides,” according to Will Leitch of SPORTS ON EARTH. Reilly’s “ballplayer contract turned into [Angels LF] Vernon Wells’ right quick.” ESPN “simply had nothing for him to do.” And you can “track Reilly’s demise, frankly, to the rise of [writer and analyst] Bill Simmons.” Simmons “demolished Reilly, not just in page views but in television presence and power at the company.” Simmons has “become one of the signature faces of the network’s NBA coverage.” It is “difficult to pinpoint where Reilly would go next" because it has become “abundantly clear that ESPN’s not going to renew that crazy contract when it expires” in June ’13. Leitch: “I think he’s done. I think ESPN killed him. That is to say: I think he did this to himself" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 11/15).

HOLDING STEADY: An ESPN spokesperson said that the ESPN.com’s ombudsman pieces analyzing the network’s practices average about 100,000 views per column, a number that has been roughly the same over the history of the feature. The Poynter Review Project’s recent contributions had more total views than previous contributors’ columns because Poynter filed more pieces (THE DAILY).

NBA TV averaged 739,000 viewers for Tuesday night’s Lakers-Spurs matchup, marking the net’s best audience ever for an “NBA Fan Night” game, where fans vote to select the game to be shown. The audience also marks NBA TV’s second-best regular-season game ever, behind only the season-opening Lakers-Trail Blazers telecast this season (868,000) (NBA)….ESPN averaged an 8.2 local rating in Memphis for the Thunder-Grizzlies game on Wednesday night, marking the net’s highest-rated NBA regular-season game ever in that market (THE DAILY).

TEE BOX: Golf Channel’s average viewership per round for LPGA telecasts this season -- which conclude this weekend -- was up 19% from ’11 and 74% from ’10. Four of the top 11 tourney viewership averages and seven of the top 17 individual broadcast averages among the net’s LPGA broadcasts over the past five years occurred this season, including the Kraft Nabisco Championship, which saw early-round coverage get its best audience in nearly 20 years (LPGA).

NOTES: In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht noted the West Virginia-Oklahoma State game (12.8 rating) beat out the Baylor-Oklahoma game (11.7 rating) “going head to head Saturday afternoon.” The 11.7 marked OU’s “lowest rating this season” in the market (NEWSOK.com, 11/13).

The charts below list final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts. Select ratings for ABC and Fox were unavailable at presstime.

TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RAT.
VIEWERS (000)
"Sunday Night Football": Texans-Bears
11/11
NBC
8:31-11:30pm
12.4
20,860
"NFL on CBS": (single)
11/11
CBS
1:00-4:05pm
9.2
n/a
NCAA Football:
Texas A&M-Alabama
11/10
CBS
3:45-7:15pm
6.1
n/a
NCAA Football:
Notre Dame-Boston College
11/10
ABC
8:07-11:40pm
3.6
5,755
"Football Night in America"
11/11
NBC
7:30-8:15pm
3.4
5,451
"The NFL Today"
11/11
CBS
12:00-1:00pm
2.3
n/a
NCAA Football: (regional)
11/10
ABC
3:30-7:15pm
2.2
3,477
NCAA Football: Kansas State-TCU
11/10
Fox
7:06-10:13pm
1.9
2,998
NCAA Football:
Arkansas-South Carolina
11/10
CBS
12:00-3:45pm
1.8
n/a
Courage in Sports Awards (taped)
11/11
CBS
4:00-5:00pm
1.1
n/a
Figure Skating: ISU Grand Prix (taped)
11/11
NBC
4:00-6:00pm
0.8
n/a
Notre Dame special
11/10
NBC
5:00-6:00pm
0.5
n/a
Ironman (encore)
11/10
NBC
3:30-5:00pm
0.4
n/a
Red Bull Signature Series
11/10
NBC
2:30-3:30pm
0.3
n/a
TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RAT.
VIEWERS (000)
"Monday Night Football":
Eagles-Saints
11/5
ESPN
8:30-11:41pm
8.2
12,857
"Thursday Night Football":
Colts-Jaguars
11/8
NFLN
8:30-11:34pm
3.3
5,194
NASCAR Sprint Cup: Phoenix
11/11
ESPN
3:00-6:41pm
2.8
4,423
NCAA Football: Oregon-Cal
11/10
ESPN
10:30pm-1:55am
2.3
3,657
"Thursday Night Football Pre-Kick"
11/8
NFLN
8:00-8:30pm
2.0
2,923
NCAA Football:
Florida State-Virginia Tech
11/8
ESPN
7:26-11:03pm
1.7
2,684
"Monday Night Countdown"
11/5
ESPN
6:30-8:30pm
1.8
2,643
NCAA Football:
Northwestern-Michigan
11/10
ESPN
12:01-3:31pm
1.8
2,591
NCAA Football:
Mississippi State-LSU
11/10
ESPN
7:00-10:19pm
1.6
2,555
"Sunday NFL Countdown"
11/11
ESPN
10:00am-1:00pm
1.5
2,245

 

USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand cites data from The Marketing Arm’s Davie-Brown Index showing that Fox' Erin Andrews is the “biggest trend-setter” among prominent on-air NFL TV types, while the “best-known” is Fox' Terry Bradshaw. The “least-known” is ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit and the “most-trusted” is NBC's Tony Dungy.  About 83.3% of those surveyed “can identify Bradshaw, compared to 20.6% for Herbstreit.” Respondents who can identify the celebs “are then asked if they would trust them, would be influenced by them or aspire to live their lives.” In that category Dungy “leads across the board” (USA TODAY, 11/16).

TOUCHY FEELY: In Milwaukee, Duane Dudek noted Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has "complained that CBS unfairly edited his remarks regarding dirty play and the bounty scandal in his recent profile on '60 Minutes.'" In a statement, CBS News Chair and "60 Minutes" Exec Producer Jeff Fager said the net "obviously got it right when we reported that [Rodgers] tends to be overly sensitive." Dudek added in response to Rodgers' complaints, CBS has "released what it says is an unedited transcript of Scott Pelley's Q&A with Rodgers on the topics of dirty play and bounties" (JSONLINE.com, 11/15).

FILM STUDY: YAHOO SPORTS’ Doug Farrar examined NFL Films and asked if its “creed of ‘Story First’ [is] still relevant in an age where media is so much more prevalent and disposable,” and does the NFL “realize the value in the longer narrative?” NFL Films execs “believe that there's still a realistic and robust future for true storytelling in the middle of the media churn.” NFL Films Senior Producer Todd Schmidt said, "This place is fueled by people who have a tremendous passion for the game. Not necessarily for the numbers, but for the mythology and what the game means in our hearts.” But Farrar still wondered in an NFL that has become a “for-profit enterprise above all, how feasible and realistic is it to assume that those dramas, as compelling as they may be, will be seen as worthwhile by the NFL?” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/15).

MAKING WAVES: TOM TAYLOR NOW reports CBS Radio in Seattle "will ditch progressive talk" on KPTK-AM and make it part of its new CBS Sports Radio Network chain. The switch will give the greater Seattle market four sports talk radio stations (TOM TAYLOR NOW, 11/16 issue).