ESPN earned a 7.7 overnight Nielsen rating for Oregon’s win over Kansas State in last night’s Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, down from a 9.0 overnight for the Oklahoma State-Stanford matchup last year, which aired following the Rose Bowl. The game earned a 21.1 local rating in K.C., which is the market’s best bowl rating on ESPN on record (dating back to ’00). Through four BCS games, ESPN is averaging a 7.5 overnight rating, up slightly from a 7.4 through the same point last year (ESPN). Bleacher Report's Dan Levy wrote on his Twitter feed, “Good on @ESPN_ReceDavis for not asking Chip Kelly about NFL while on Fiesta Bowl trophy stage. NOT the venue, despite what some media think” (TWITTER.com, 1/3).NO SURPRISE HERE: ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley wrote no one "should be shocked" that Ravens LB Ray Lewis is close to signing a deal to become an ESPN analyst, as observers would be "surprised if Lewis didn't go into television." He has been "preparing for life after football for years with his numerous commercials and has had stints as a television analyst in the offseason." Lewis will "bring insight," as with his "extensive film work, he has become the quarterback of the defense" for the Ravens (ESPN.com, 1/3). In DC, Cindy Boren wrote Lewis is "a charismatic, outspoken figure in the mold of ... Charles Barkley." But given Lewis’ "alleged involvement in a 2000 murder case, he’s not quite the quirky, amusing character that Barkley is" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/3).
MAKING POSITIVE STRIDES: YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Busbee noted ESPN during the '12 PBA Chameleon Championship last Sunday showed "what may well be the first instance of a broadcast of an openly gay male pro athlete kissing his husband while celebrating." Tournament winner Scott Norton "embraced and kissed husband Craig Woodward." ESPN throughout the broadcast had "referred to Woodward as the 'husband' or 'spouse' of Norton." The fact that ESPN can "refer to and show a gay couple acting every bit as routine in their happiness as a straight one is, in some small way, progress" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/2).
TOO MUCH? On Long Island, Neil Best writes under the header, "Too Many Sports TV And Radio Shows For The Average Fan." There now is "more than enough sports-related media content in America to keep every man, woman and child occupied for many hours more than the 24 each of us is allotted per day." Since the "turn of this millennium alone, the accumulation of sports stuff has taken a turn toward the absurd." It would be "harmless if not for the fact there is an associated cost" (NEWSDAY, 1/4).