A star-studded leaderboard and two hours worth of primetime exposure helped CBS earns its best overnight rating for the final round of the PGA Championship in five years. The net earned a 6.0 rating yesterday from 3:00-9:00pm ET, which saw Rory McIlroy hold off Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. That figure is the best for a Sunday round at the PGA Championship since ’09, when CBS drew a 7.5 overnight for Y.E. Yang’s three-shot win over Tiger Woods. Yesterday’s final round also is up 36% from last year, which saw Jason Dufner win by two strokes over Jim Furyk. The 6.0 rating is up 54% from ’12, when McIlroy won the event for the first time by eight strokes. Yesterday’s telecast peaked at a 9.2 rating from 8:00-8:30pm. CBS earned a 3.2 overnight for Saturday’s coverage from 2:00-7:15pm, which also marks the best third-round rating in five years. That figure is up 7% from last year (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). Newsday's Neil Best wrote of the 9.2 figure for the penultimate half-hour, "That's a big number for non-Tiger golf" (TWITTER.com, 8/11).
BEGINNING OF A NEW ERA? GOLF.com's weekly roundtable discussed the event, with Golf magazine's Josh Sens saying this was "by far the most entertaining Tiger-era major I’ve watched that didn’t feature Tiger. But none of those guys is ever going to move the needle like Tiger." Golf.com's Eamon Lynch added, "It postpones the 'sky is falling' chatter, but only until everyone remembers that Woods may not tee it up again this year. The only outcome that would have altered that narrative was a Fowler victory. I think he's the only potential game-changer out there in terms of boosting the profile of the sport among otherwise disinterested kids." Golf magazine's Cameron Morfit: "This PGA gave us proof positive that golf can thrive and keep us glued to our seats in a post-Tiger world." SI's Jeff Ritter added, "It proved that the game still has magnetic stars and the capacity to produce dramatic finishes. ... But did it translate to greater TV ratings and mainstream interest? That's the source of all the hand-wringing" (GOLF.com, 8/11).
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes CBS and TNT’s coverage several times "replaced live (and plausibly live) coverage with full-screen, computerized graphics displaying scores of blue dots showing where all players’ drives or approach shots finished." Mushnick: "Even given time to study such graphics, so what? How does this help or enlighten us? ... Actually, it tells us this: 'Look what we can do with our computer!' Very nice. Now show the golf" (N.Y. POST, 8/11).
CODE BREAKER: GOLF WEEK's Nick Masuda wrote McIlroy during the 100-minute rain delay "was nice enough to give CBS some face time in the lunch room," but he also accidentally "gave the world a look at his cell-phone passcode." Twitter started "buzzing with the code, which led the World No. 1 to quickly change it, taking to his Twitter account." He wrote, "Passcode changed... Now time to play some golf!" (GOLFWEEK.com, 8/10).
The "Men in Blazers" show is "leaving ESPN for NBC Sports, becoming the latest in a series of recent bets on soccer's rising popularity in the U.S.," according to Will Connors of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Hosts Michael Davies and Roger Bennett "began making television appearances on ESPN during the World Cup in Brazil." Starting shortly after the '14-15 EPL season begins this weekend, the pair will have a "weekly Monday night show" on NBCSN and will "contribute radio, TV and written pieces for the network's various outlets." The terms of their contract were not disclosed, and the show "doesn't yet have a name." The "Men in Blazers" now have "more than 78,000 Twitter followers and are regularly recognized on the street by fans." NBC Sports Group VP/Original Programming Ron Wechsler said. "We saw how they showcased their talent in Rio at a very significant event, and that's how we plan to showcase their talent. We want to be true to the brand that they've established." NBC Sports Group President of Programming Jon Miller said Davies and Bennett "are not going to stop talking about Major League Soccer, but the focus of their relationship with us will be the Premier League." Connors notes at NBC, the pair will be looking to "maintain their chemistry and unique brand of humor." That includes "building a replica set of the closet from which they broadcast while in Brazil" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/11).
SITTING IN AN ENGLISH GARDEN: ADWEEK's Tim Nudd reviewed a sequel to a spot for NBC's EPL coverage. The spot, via Brooklyn Brothers, N.Y., brings back American football coach Ted Lasso (played by Jason Sudeikis), who has lost his job coaching EPL club Tottenham Hotspur (he lasted just six and a half hours) and has "given soccer broadcasting a try." That "goes wretchedly too, though, as Lasso can't get a grasp on the concepts of relegation, the offside rule or really anything requiring a modicum of basic thought." So, he "returns to America, where he creates a 'Teeny Tiny England' in his own home, gets drunk with friends in the morning while watching the EPL and finds his next great coaching gig." Nudd: "The original film was great, but this one might be even better" (ADWEEK.com, 8/8). Meanwhile, NBC Sports has teamed up with Topps to create custom trading cards for the net's EPL commentators and personalities. Leading up to the '14-15 season, bars in select markets across the U.S. will receive “Season Starter Kits,” including Topps trading cards for lead EPL play-by-play announcer Arlo White, "Premier League Live" host Rebecca Lowe, analysts Robbie Earle, Kyle Martino and Robbie Mustoe. Sudeikis' coach Ted Lasso character also has a card (THE DAILY).
The Nationals sought local TV rights fees from MASN of at least an average of $118M, nearly triple their current yearly take, according to recently unsealed documents in the team's ongoing legal battle with the Orioles-controlled RSN. The figure is in line with previously reported estimates, but provides further clarity on the significant divide between the two clubs. The figure was listed as part of Nats' documents submitted to MLB as part of its internal arbitration matter and is signed by Proskauer attorney Joe Leccese, who serves as club counsel. The document states, “Whether MASN claims it can afford it or not is irrelevant. The market values -- confirmed by MLB’s own data and the record in the Dodgers’ bankruptcy -- demonstrate the fair market value of the Nationals’ rights is at least an average of $118 million/year from 2012-2016. That fair market value is neither negated nor constrained by MASN’s economics.” MASN last week obtained a temporary restraining order preventing an MLB arbitration award favoring the Nats. Sources said that award would reset its annual rights number at about $60M. Even with last week’s significant document release in the matter, many financial portions of the written record are redacted.
NO REAL PRECEDENT: Meanwhile, a longtime MLB media consultant submitted an affidavit in the case saying there are “no real 'comparables'" for assessing the Nats’ and Orioles’ rights fees. This is because both clubs operate under a unique set of circumstances. Colorado-based Bortz Media & Sports Group Managing Dir Mark Wyche, whose firm helped create and administer a formula used for nearly two decades by MLB in helping set media rights fees for revenue-sharing purposes with clubs that own interests in their own RSNs, in the affidavit stated MLB’s internal Revenue Sharing Definitions Committee “departed from the established methodology and historical precedent as well as MASN’s financial data, in attempt to justify those inflated rights fees.” Wyche’s affidavit, as well as other MASN filings, said the award for the Nats would force the RSN to accept a 5% operating margin from its baseball programming, far lower than industry norms that typically exceed 20%.
CBS Sports Network in September will debut an "all-female sports talk show" that will feature "not only feature an all-female cast, but will also be produced and directed by women," according to Jason McIntyre of THE BIG LEAD. CBS Sports President David Berson said, "We have been discussing and developing the show for well over a year. Internally and externally, there's been universal enthusiasm and across-the-board support." Berson did not confirm anyone associated with the show, but sources said that Lesley Visser, Dana Jacobson, Amy Trask, Allie LaForce, Tracy Wolfson and Jenny Dell "are expected to be regulars." Sources added that the show "will be something akin" to "The View" meets "PTI." Berson indicated that the show "would include 'personalities from other media companies' as well as current and former athletes and team executives" (THEBIGLEAD.com, 8/8).