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Volume 24 No. 155
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ESPN Sees Raiders-Broncos Overnight Down From Recent Week 3 "MNF" Matchups

ESPN earned a 10.3 overnight rating for the Broncos' 37-21 win over the Raiders on "MNF" last night, down 10% from an 11.5 rating for Packers-Seahawks in Week 3 last year. Raiders-Broncos is also down 13% from an 11.9 overnight for Redskins-Cowboys in '11. The game delivered ESPN a win in primetime among all nets. In Denver, the game earned a 15.7 local rating on ESPN and 28.7 rating on KTVD-Ind. In S.F.-Oakland-San Jose, the game earned a 10.9 local rating on ESPN and a 3.6 rating on KBCW-CW (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT: In Indianapolis, Anthony Schoettle reported local TV ratings for Colts games this season are "considerably higher than they were last year and as momentum builds could even eclipse ratings seen during Peyton Manning’s heyday here." The team’s Sept. 8 opener against the Raiders earned 38.3 local rating in the Indianapolis market, compared to a a 32.3 rating for last season's opening game against the Bears. Dolphins-Colts in Week 2 saw a 35.4 rating, "up considerably" from a 32.8 for last year’s Week 2 game against the Vikings. Colts-49ers during Week 3 earned a 39.0 rating. Next Sunday’s game at the Jaguars "could see a slight decline from ratings earned earlier this year." But the next four Colts games after that "could be blockbusters" (, 9/23).

PAST IMPERFECT: ESPN Ombudsman Robert Lipsyte in his most recent column noted ESPN analyst Ray Lewis "attracted mostly negative mailbag comments despite making an almost seamless segue from his second Super Bowl championship to the lineup" on "Sunday NFL Countdown." Lewis since his Sept. 8 debut has been "a smooth, insightful TV team player." However, commenters "referred to a 2000 incident in which Lewis and two companions were indicted for the murders of two men outside an Atlanta nightclub." ESPN Exec VP/Production John Wildhack said he had "conversations with senior members of the Ravens and the NFL who enthusiastically recommended we pursue Ray." ESPN NFL Senior Coordinating Producer Seth Markman and ESPN Senior VP & Exec Producer Mark Gross said that they "understood the seriousness of Lewis' past legal issues and had discussed them before the hire." Markman said, "Ray worked extremely hard to rebuild his reputation. In fact, he became a real role model who has positively impacted the lives of many people. Ray is off to a great start" (, 9/23).

PLEASE STAND BY: DirecTV said that it is "trying to pinpoint technical problems with the Web-based video steaming component of its $300 NFL Sunday Ticket that have been a source of customer complaints during the first three weeks of the regular season." DirecTV Exec VP & CIO Mike Benson in a statement said, "Both our online and live streaming service experienced technical difficulties intermittently throughout the day. We apologize to fans for the inconvenience this has caused them and are currently investigating the root cause to ensure this does not happen again" (, 9/23).

: Disney Chair & CEO Bob Iger appeared on CNBC's "Mad Money" last night and host Jim Cramer asked whether ESPN is "on the defensive" with new offerings from FS1 and NBCSN. Iger: "I think ESPN's best days are ahead of it. That said, there is more competition in the marketplace and ESPN is the No. 1 brand. They aim to remain the No. 1 brand in that space and in order to maintain the No. 1 position in the face of more competition you don't get complacent. You turn the heat up." Iger noted that since FS1 launched, ESPN's ratings "were actually higher" than before. Iger: "What they've also done is they've made sure their programming is higher in quality. ... The network is not going to take anything for granted" ("Mad Money," CNBC, 9/23).