MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Reynolds & Baysinger write MLB Network is "finishing up a strong ratings season." The net's regular-season game viewership through early August was "up 10% over 2012 with an average of 242,000 viewers per contest." Meanwhile, "MLB Tonight" has seen a "26% increase in viewership over the 2012 regular season," with Sunday editions up 44% (MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 8/19 issue).
CIRCLING THE WAGONS: In Buffalo, James Fink noted U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) is asking that FCC Chair Mignon Clyburn "work with the NFL on another round of revisions to the league's blackout policy." Higgins said, "Football hasn’t even entered the regular season and yet Western New Yorkers are already facing blackouts of Buffalo Bills football games. A determination by the FCC of whether this policy is in the public interest is worthy of a serious and long-overdue consideration.” Only the regular-season opener against the Patriots is sold out (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/19).
FOOTBALL IS KING: NASCAR fans in seven markets will have to watch Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race from Bristol Motor Speedway on alternate channels, as ABC affiliates in those markets are airing NFL preseason games rather than the race. Fans in Dayton, Nashville, Philadelphia, Phoenix, St. Joseph, Mo., Columbus, Ohio and Weslaco, Texas, will be impacted. ABC affiliates in the Buffalo, Charlotte and Rochester markets will join the race in progress following the 4:30pm ET Bills-Redskins game (ESPN).