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Volume 24 No. 156

Media

ESPN earned a 7.8 overnight Nielsen ratings for the Panthers’ 30-22 win over the Eagles last night, which marked Panthers QB Cam Newton’s first appearance on “MNF.” That figure is down 22% from a 10.0 overnight for the Saints’ blowout win over the Giants in Week 12 last year. In Charlotte, the game earned an 11.8 local rating on ESPN and a 10.5 rating on WCNC-NBC. In Philadelphia, the game earned a 12.2 rating on ESPN and an 11.9 rating on WPHL-Ind. (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

BIGGER IS BETTER
: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand writes it is a "big plus for the NFL and its TV carriers to have a strong 49ers team in the USA's No. 6 market." And while the Bears' 28-10 victory over the Vikings "wasn't suspenseful, but the big-market Bears making the playoffs would help ratings." Despite the Giants' 38-10 blowout of the Packers, the two "brand-name teams managed to draw a solid rating" (USA TODAY, 11/27). The Patriots set a new Thanksgiving Day franchise record with a 35.2 local rating for Thursday night's game against the Jets, beating out the previous high of a 25.2 for the Patriots-Lions matchup in '10 (Patriots).

FUTURE IS BRIGHT: SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote ESPN NFL analyst Eric Mangini "brings intellect and thoughtfulness to his analysis." He is "much more open on television than the tight-lipped coach we saw all too often in Cleveland and New York with the Jets." ESPN NFL Senior Coordinating Producer Seth Markman said, "I think Eric Mangini has been one of the biggest surprises in my 20 years at ESPN. When we hired him, it was a project. ... But I think he has been great on TV and I have had many viewers come to me and say, 'I didn't really want to like him but I do.'" Deitsch noted Mangini has a "multiple-year contract with ESPN, so if he stays out of coaching in 2013, he'll be back with the network." But he is a "young man in the coaching profession (he's just 41) and it's reasonable to assume he'll one day want to get back on the sidelines." Mangini said that he is "unsure how long he wants to remain in broadcasting." But he added that it has "given him an opportunity to do things with his children that he could never do as a coach." If he "stays in broadcasting, Mangini has a chance to be good" (SI.com, 11/26).

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season posted its lowest viewership since the current TV deals with Fox, TNT and ESPN/ABC began in ’07. The four networks combined to average a 3.6 rating and 5.8 million viewers for 36 points races, down 5% and 11%, respectively, from last season (33 races with Sunday rainouts excluded). The 3.6 rating is tied with the ’10 season for the lowest rating under the current TV deals. The Sprint Cup Series gave up the gains it made last season, during which it had its first audience increase since ’05. Ratings among 18-34 year olds also fell 25% this season. The season got off to a tough start with the Daytona 500, which was postponed for the first time in 54 years and run on a Monday night. That telecast then saw long delays due to a jet drier crash. Only eight races this season saw year-over-year audience gains.

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES U.S. RATING/VIEWERSHIP TREND
SEASON
NETWORKS
RATING
VIEWERS (000)
'12
Fox+TNT+ESPN+ABC
3.6
5,760
'11
Fox+TNT+ESPN+ABC
3.8
6,451
'10
Fox+TNT+ESPN+ABC
3.6
5,992
'09
Fox+TNT+ESPN+ABC
4.0
6,440
'08
Fox+TNT+ESPN+ABC
4.3
6,917
'07
Fox+TNT+ESPN+ABC
4.4
7,116
'06
Fox+TNT+FX+NBC
4.9
7,855


CHASE
: For the 10 Chase for the Sprint Cup races this season, ESPN and ABC averaged a 2.7 rating and 4.2 million viewers, down 13% and 16%, respectively, from last season’s nine races (Chicagoland in '11 excluded due to rainout). Each Chase race this season saw viewership decline from ’11, including five with a double-digit percentage decline. ESPN earned a 3.0 U.S. rating and 4.7 million viewers for the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400, down 25% and 30%, respectively, from last year’s finale, which remains the net’s most-viewed NASCAR telecast (6.8 million viewers). Last year’s finale also was aided by a close race for the title and weather delays pushing the telecast into primetime.

LOCAL: The Greensboro-Winston-Salem market once again led all local markets for Sprint Cup telecasts this season. The market averaged a 9.9 local rating for points races, down 5% from a 10.4 last year. Southern markets also dominated the top 10 list again, taking eight spots. Charlotte ranked second again in ’12 with a 9.2 local rating, up 1%. L.A. led all markets in number of homes watching per race with 128,000, up 11% from last season. During the Chase, Greensboro also led the way with an 8.4 rating, down 3% from ’11.

'12 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE-BY-RACE AUDIENCE
DATE
NET
RACE
RAT.
% +/-
VIEWERS (000)
% +/-
2/27
Fox
Daytona*
8.0
-8.0%
13,669
-12.4%
3/4
Fox
Phoenix
5.6
-5.1%
9,230
-10.8%
3/11
Fox
Las Vegas
5.2
-11.9%
8,528
-15.4%
3/18
Fox
Bristol
4.4
2.3%
7,307
0.9%
3/25
Fox
Auto Club**
3.8
-17.4%
6,153
-23.8%
4/1
Fox
Martinsville
4.3
-2.3%
6,835
-5.5%
4/14
Fox
Texas
4.0
0.0%
6,766
-3.8%
4/22
Fox
Kansas
4.3
10.3%
6,830
8.7%
4/28
Fox
Richmond
3.6
-2.7%
5,914
-3.6%
5/6
Fox
Talladega
5.1
-1.9%
8,300
-8.2%
5/12
Fox
Darlington
3.8
-7.3%
6,393
-8.4%
5/27
Fox
Charlotte
4.4
-2.2%
7,405
-8.9%
6/3
Fox
Dover
3.7
-15.9%
5,700
-22.9%
6/10
TNT
Pocono
3.4
6.2%
5,257
1.6%
6/17
TNT
Michigan
3.2
10.3%
5,284
8.1%
6/24
TNT
Infineon
3.3
3.1%
5,200
0.2%
6/30
TNT
Kentucky
2.5
-16.7%
3,879
-21.9%
7/7
TNT
Daytona***
3.3
-2.9%
5,449
-9.6%
7/15
TNT
New Hampshire
3.1
6.9%
4,775
4.7%
7/29
ESPN
Indianapolis^
3.3
-17.5%
5,055
-20.7%
8/5
ESPN
Pocono^
2.9
-14.7%
4,449
-18.9%
8/12
ESPN
Watkins Glen^
2.8
n/a
4,473
n/a
8/19
ESPN
Michigan
3.3
3.1%
5,200
3.4%
8/25
ABC
Bristol
3.7
27.6%
5,905
16.5%
9/2
ESPN
Atlanta
3.4
n/a
5,558
n/a
9/8
ABC
Richmond^^
3.3
-10.8%
5,079
-17.6%
9/16
ESPN
Chicagoland
2.6
n/a
3,949
n/a
9/23
ESPN
New Hampshire
2.2
-18.5%
3,517
-17.0%
9/30
ESPN
Dover
2.2
-15.4%
3,581
-12.5%
10/7
ESPN
Talladega
3.2
-3.0%
5,113
-5.8%
10/13
ABC
Charlotte
3.2
0.0%
5,095
-5.6%
10/21
ESPN
Kansas
2.5
-3.8%
3,897
-6.6%
10/28
ESPN
Martinsville
2.4
-22.6%
3,617
-26.5%
11/4
ESPN
Texas
2.5
-13.8%
3,943
-16.6%
11/11
ESPN
Phoenix
2.8
-3.4%
4,423
-7.2%
11/18
ESPN
Homestead-Miami
3.0
-25.0%
4,769
-29.9%


NOTES
: Figures for Watkins Glen, Atlanta and Chicagoland excluded from last season due to rainouts. * = Daytona 500 rained out on traditional Sunday and run on a Monday night, which experienced long delays. ** = Race was shortened by rain. *** = Simulcast on truTV, which averaged 735,000 viewers. ^ = Went head-to-head with London Olympics. ^^ = Race had two rain delays and finished just after 1:30am ET.

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has lined up the series' "biggest TV partner to date in NBC, encouraged team sponsors to use drivers to promote the brand Stateside and will turn to its deep-pocketed celebrity fanbase to rev up interest in the sport,” according to Marc Graser of DAILY VARIETY. Ecclestone “sees NBC doing more for the sport than even a high-profile film playing at the megaplex." Success in the U.S. would “pump considerable coin into F1's coffers and provide its sponsors with significant exposure to new fans with disposable income.” However, Ecclestone is “clear that the circuit is doing just fine without a rabid U.S. fanbase.” NBC has plans for a "marketing blitz" as the '13 F1 season begins in March (VARIETY.com, 11/23). NBC Sports Group President of Programming Jon Miller said that the company “wants to treat the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, which will air on its broadcast network next year, with the same ‘big event’ approach it uses for the Kentucky Derby.” SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Tripp Mickle reports Miller at the conclusion of this year's U.S. Grand Prix was “so impressed with the event he already had decided to increase the programming window for the U.S. Grand Prix to four hours so that NBC could offer an hour of pre-race, two hours of race and an hour of post-race coverage.” Miller also met with Ecclestone about “getting more access for celebrities at the event because NBC wants to cover the lifestyle aspect of the sport the same way it does at the Derby.” Miller said that the net will “rely on the world feed that F1 provides for most of the races but will use its own broadcast team of Leigh Diffey on play-by-play and David Hobbs and Steve Matchett as race analysts” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/26 issue).

TSN had “an average audience of 5.5 million viewers” for Sunday’s CFL Grey Cup between the Toronto Argonauts and the Calgary Stampeders, “making the game the most-watched Cup recorded on English-language television,” according to Terry Koshan of the TORONTO SUN. Including viewership on French-language net RDS, there was “an average audience of 5.8 million viewers, a 28% increase compared to last year.” More than 13 million Canadians, or “more than one in three, tuned in at some point" on TSN and RDS to watch the game. For the halftime show that featured rock band Marianas Trench and singers Gordon Lightfoot, Carly Rae Jepsen and Justin Bieber, there was “an average audience of 6.1 million” (TORONTO SUN, 11/27). The CP noted a new ratings measurement system in '09 "caused sports TV ratings to skyrocket." The '12 Grey Cup's overall average “falls short of the 6.1 million total viewers who watched Montreal beat Saskatchewan shortly after the new system was introduced” (CP, 11/26).