FS1 averaged 493,000 viewers for its five college football games during the opening week, led by Saturday’s Boise State-Washington game in the 10:00pm ET window with 710,000 viewers. FS1 had one game on Thursday night, one Friday night and three games on Saturday. Last season, FX aired two games on the first Saturday of the season. Those two games -- Marshall-West Virginia in the 12:00pm window and Colorado-Colorado State in the 4:00pm window -- averaged 707,000 and 422,000 viewers, respectively. By comparison, ESPNU averaged 418,000 viewers for its six games during the first week of games. The net was led by 922,000 viewers for Washington State-Auburn on Saturday night. ESPNU is in 75.6 million U.S. homes in September, while FS1 is in 89.2 million homes. Meanwhile, ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 each saw increases for their opening week of games. Among ESPN’s games during the first week, Birmingham, Ala., led all markets with a 14.5 local rating. New Orleans ranked second with a 7.7, followed by Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C., with a 6.5 rating (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
FS1 COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES (OPENING WEEK)
North Dakota State-Kansas State
William & Mary-WVU
ESPNU COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAMES (OPENING WEEK)
LIVIN' ON A PRAYER: YAHOO SPORTS' Nick Bromberg reported several signs seen in Athens, Ga., this week that reference South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney were "part of a promotional campaign" for ESPN's coverage of the South Carolina-Georgia game Saturday. The signs were seen on the Georgia Theater marquee and outside Athens' First Presbyterian Church. The sign at the church read, "Dear God, How do you stop Clowney? September 7. Worship service 4:30pm." The church said that it does not "have a Saturday service scheduled for that time," which is when the game begins, and ESPN "requested the church include the time in the message." The signs are "fun," but it will "also make you think twice about the authenticity next time you see signage emanating from the site of GameDay's next show" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/4).
In Miami, Dan Le Batard writes he is "about to start doing a little more work for ESPN, and a little less work" for the Miami Herald. He will be "housed in a radio and TV studio in South Beach." Le Batard notes he will continue write for the newspaper, "but I'm going to be working on more communal projects with my family and friends." He adds, "I've told ESPN that I'm going to continue to write and talk about the things that matter to me and Miami, and that's what ESPN wants" (MIAMI HERALD, 9/6). Le Batard said that when his Miami-based WAXY-AM program "The Dan Le Batard Show" begins airing nationally on ESPN Radio on Oct. 1, "neither the content nor the on-air talent will change." In Miami, Barry Jackson noted ESPN "will carry the final three hours of the show," from 4:00-7:00pm ET weekdays. Le Batard and radio co-host Jon Weiner will work the 3:00-4:00pm hour "only on" WAXY-AM and WAXY-FM (MIAMIHERALD.com, 9/5).
GET WELL SOON: LSU on Thursday announced that longtime football radio analyst Doug Moreau "will take a temporary leave of absence from the LSU Sports Radio Network for medical reasons." In Baton Rouge, Scott Rabalais notes Moreau has "called games on the network for 35 seasons" but missed Saturday's opener against TCU. LSU SID Michael Bonnette said that the "condition is not life-threatening" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 9/6).
NOTES: SPORTS ON EARTH's Pat Borzi reported Minnesota-based Canterbury Park handicapper Angela Hermann "will be the first woman to call a full thoroughbred race card in North America" on Saturday (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 9/4)....The New Orleans Times-Picayune on Thursday announced that 28-year Memphis Commercial-Appeal writer Ron Higgins "will return to his hometown of Baton Rouge this month" to write about LSU and the SEC. Higgins will provide "commentary and special features about LSU sports," and will continue to "appear on regional and national television and radio talking about the Tigers and SEC sports" (NOLA.com, 9/5).
MLB Network averaged 221,000 viewers in primetime during the month of August, marking the net’s third-best audience ever. The net also saw two of its top 10 best game audiences this season during that period, with the Aug. 1 Cardinals-Pirates game and Aug. 9 Tigers-Yankees matchup each averaging 355,000 viewers (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor)….Comcast SportsNet Houston drew a 0.1 local rating for the Twins-Astros game on Wednesday afternoon, the same rating the RSN earned for the MLS Dynamo-Crew match later that night (CHRON.com, 9/5)…. FS Ohio earned a 13.5 local rating in Cincinnati for the 16-inning Cardinals-Reds game on Wednesday night, marking "an all-time record for non-Opening Day viewership." The previous high was a 13.2 rating for a game against the Cardinals on Sept. 3, 2010 (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/5).
NOTES: Oklahoma City-based KOCO-ABC earned a 21.8 local rating last Saturday for Oklahoma State-Mississippi State, which “blew away” the 5.5 rating on FS Southwest for OSU’s first game last season again Louisiana-Lafayette. Only two OSU games last season were higher than the 21.8 rating (NEWSOK.com, 9/3)…. Houston-based KTRK-ABC averaged 634,000 viewers for the Cowboys-Texans preseason game on Aug. 29, marking the "most-watched show in prime time during the week" in the market. However, in Dallas-Ft. Worth, the No.1 show of the week was A&E’s "Duck Dynasty" with 406,000 viewers. The Cowboys game was second at 363,000 viewers (CHRON.com, 9/4).
The chart below lists final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts. Figures for broadcast TV were delayed due to the Labor Day holiday.
In Buffalo, Alan Pergament reported Entercom Communications on Thursday "changed the format" of WWKB-AM to ESPN Buffalo. While WGR-AM emphasizes local talk and carries Bills and Sabres games, ESPN Buffalo will "focus on national sports talk, as well as carrying national and local" events. It becomes the "third sports station" in Buffalo (BUFFALONEWS.com, 9/5).
BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE: In N.Y., Bob Raissman cited sources as saying that "Boomer & Carton" hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton "could be on the verge of leaving the Madison Square Garden Network" for YES Network. The move would bring WFAN-AM's simulcast to YES. Esiason and Carton's contract with MSG "expires in the middle of this month." MSG "now has the right to match YES' offer if it wants to keep" the show (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/5).
DOUBLE FAULT? In L.A., Meg James reported Tennis Channel "lost its bid for a review of a pivotal court decision in its marathon legal match against cable giant Comcast." The DC Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday denied Tennis Channel's petition "that asked the full panel of judges to hear its case accusing Comcast of anti-competitive behavior" (L.A. TIMES, 9/5).