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Volume 24 No. 115

Media

NFL Network drew a 6.1 overnight rating for the Rams' 41-39 win over the 49ers on "TNF." Last season's Week 3 "TNF" game, which featured the Patriots' 27-0 blowout of the Texans, aired on both CBS and NFL Network and drew a combined 12.5 overnight. That game also was streamed on Twitter. Two years ago, CBS and NFL Net combined for an 11.9 overnight for the Week 3 "TNF" matchup, which featured Redskins-Giants. Through two weeks, "TNF" on NFL Net is averaging a 6.55 overnight rating. This marks the first time since '13 that NFL Net has had the exclusive broadcast rights to the first two "TNF" games (Josh Carpenter, Assistant Editor).

DREAM SCENARIO: PFT's Mike Florio said the matchup on Thursday "made for an exciting game." Florio: "I don't need 80 total points. ... (But) it was a memorable game and I'm glad I watched." Florio: "Kudos to both teams for showing me; it was like a playoff level intensity, like a Thanksgiving game" ("PFT," NBCSN, 9/22). L.A.-based KTTV-Fox' Liz Habib wrote on Twitter, "Had this dream last night that the @RamsNFL had an exciting offense, played a fun #TNF game." The Dallas Morning News' Tim Cowlishaw: "Ok I take it back. Thursday Night Football is the greatest football ever." NFL Network's Rich Eisen: "My friends at @espn should start the @30for30 on this game right now." Fox Sports' Peter Schrager: "Amazing how all the people who complain about Thursday Night Football spend their Thursday nights tweeting about Thursday Night Football."

BAR EXAM: AD AGE's Anthony Crupi noted the NFL's "much-ballyhooed" '16 ratings crisis "appears to have been largely offset by a Nielsen initiative to measure audiences in bars, restaurants, gyms and other out-of-home venues." When the ancillary data is "blended with the traditional TV panel, NFL broadcast partners last season came close" to matching '15's deliveries. Magna's annual U.S. Sports Report indicates that out-of-home (OOH) coverage on average "added 911,072 adults 18 to 49 to each NFL broadcast window" over the course of the '16-17 season, a 13% "improvement over the baseline in-home deliveries." The only major NFL window "not represented in Magna's analysis" was NBC's inaugural five-game "TNF" package. Magna's analysis on last season's NFL ratings "may somewhat alleviate the agita the networks felt in the first half of last season, when overall deliveries were down" 12%. The Sunday afternoon CBS and Fox games were "particularly successful in clawing back a good deal of the shrinking at-home audience by way of the sports bar and taproom." The primetime NFL packages saw "less pronounced OOH lifts, but bar and restaurant patrons still helped pad out the final stats." ESPN is "ahead of the pack on OOH." Fox Sports began "laying the groundwork with advertisers about the potential of OOH lifts" during its June upfronts. CBS on Thursday also "climbed aboard." NBC has yet to "make an announcement regarding its own emerging OOH strategy" (ADAGE.com, 9/21). In Dallas, Tim Cowlishaw gives five reasons why the NFL's ratings "aren't nearly as bad as they look," including bad games, bad big markets, bad headlines, red zone rules and weather (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/22).

WEEK 2 RECAP: Fox led NFL Week 2 telecasts with the national window on Sunday, highlighted by Cowboys-Broncos. That 4:30pm ET telecast averaged around 26 million viewers on Fox -- and that does not include the hour-long weather delay that forced the telecast well into primetime. The game also drew an average minute streaming audience of 114,108 viewers, marking Fox Sports Go’s third-best NFL game on record. Packers-Falcons on NBC’s “SNF” finished with 20.2 million viewers, down from 22.8 million for Packers-Vikings in Week 2 last season, but enough to give NBC a primetime win and a comfortable win over the Primetime Emmys on the same night. “SNF” had an average minute audience of 216,000 viewers on NBC Sports Digital platforms. On Monday night, ESPN averaged 12.3 million viewers for Lions-Giants, up from 12.1 million for Eagles-Bears in Week 2 last year. For the opening “TNF” game in Week 2, which featured Texans-Bengals, NFL Net averaged, averaging 8.1 million viewers. The “TNF” opener had been on CBS the past three seasons, with NFL Net only doing a simulcast. NFL Net last had the “TNF” opener in ’13, drawing 8.8 million viewers for Jets-Patriots (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

NOT THAT BAD? In St. Louis, Dan Caesar noted the Rams "made a brief appearance" on St. Louis TV last weekend, and they "drew a better rating in the market they jilted two years ago than they did in their new hometown." Fox showed the Cowboys-Broncos game in St. Louis in the late-afternoon slot Sunday, but that matchup was "delayed for about and hour because of lightning." So from approximately 5:00-6:00pm ET, Fox "switched its affiliates carrying that contest" -- KTVI locally -- to Redskins-Rams. For that hour, the average rating in St. Louis was a 9.2. The figure in L.A. for that "portion of the telecast was 7.3." That follows a trend last season in which the Rams "did poorly in the ratings" in L.A. (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/21).

It was a close race in Week 3 for the most-viewed college football game. CBS’ Tennessee-Florida nail-biter took the top spot with 5.13 million viewers. That was just ahead of 5.06 million viewers for ABC’s Clemson-Louisville matchup in primetime, and ahead of 4.91 million viewers for Fox’ Texas-USC overtime game in primetime.

THE ULTIMATE DRIVERS: NBC drew 1.87 million viewers for the final round of the PGA Tour BMW Championship last Sunday, as Marc Leishman won by five strokes. Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Matt Kuchar and Jordan Spieth all finished in the top 10 as well. That figure is up from 1.16 million viewers for Dustin Johnson’s three-stroke win over Paul Casey, and up from 1.8 million viewers in ’15, when Day won by six strokes.

EARLY RISERS: ESPN and ESPN2 are averaging 224,00 viewers for WNBA Playoff games heading into the start of the Finals on Sunday, up 6% from last year. The nets also have seen gains in the adults 18-49 demo (+8%). ESPN and ESPN2 are coming off the their least-viewed WNBA regular season on record.

The chart below lists final audience figures from select recent sports telecasts.

TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RAT.
VIEWERS
(000)
NFL: Cowboys-Broncos (81%)
9/17
Fox
4:00-7:00pm
14.3
25,969
"SNF": Packers-Falcons
9/17
NBC
8:36-11:28pm
11.3
20,237
NFL: (single)
9/17
CBS
1:00-4:00pm
8.4
14,515
NFL: (regional)
9/17
Fox
1:00-4:00pm
7.9
13,515
"MNF": Saints-Vikings
9/11
ESPN
6:55-10:12pm
6.8
11,401
"MNF": Chargers-Broncos
9/11
ESPN
10:12pm-1:21am
6.0
9,948
"TNF": Texans-Bengals
9/14
NFL Net
8:26-11:28pm
4.9
8,095
"Fox NFL Sunday"
9/17
Fox
12:00-1:00pm
3.3
5,201
College football: Tennessee-Florida
9/16
CBS
3:30-7:15pm
3.2
5,133
College football: Clemson-Louisville
9/16
ABC
8:07-11:51pm
3.0
5,064
College football: Texas-USC
9/16
Fox
8:41pm-12:44am
2.9
4,912
"Football Night in America"
9/17
NBC
7:30-8:26pm
2.9
4,798
"NFL Total Access Postgame"
9/14
NFL Net
11:30pm-12:00am
2.1
3,320
College football: UCLA-Memphis
9/16
ABC
12:01-4:05pm
2.2
3,238
"The NFL Today"
9/17
CBS
12:00-1:00pm
2.0
3,045
College football: Army-Ohio State
9/16
Fox
4:45-7:30pm
1.5
2,506
College football:
LSU-Mississippi State
9/16
ESPN
7:04-10:18pm
1.5
2,498
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series:
Tales of the Turtles 400 (Chicagoland)
9/17
NBCSN
3:16-5:59pm
1.4
2,311
College football: Wisconsin-BYU
9/16
ABC
4:05-6:41pm
1.5
2,274
PBR: Wrangler Long Live Cowboys
9/17
CBS
5:00-6:00pm
1.2
1,926
PGA Tour: BMW Championship:
Final Round
9/17
NBC
2:00-6:00pm
1.3
1,870
"College GameDay"
9/16
ESPN
9:00am-12:01pm
n/a
1,727
PGA Tour: BMW Championship:
Third Round
9/16
NBC
3:00-6:00pm
1.1
1,698
College football:
Colorado State-Alabama
9/16
ESPN2
7:02-10:17pm
1.0
1,613
College football:
Oklahoma State-Pitt
9/16
ESPN
12:01-3:19pm
1.0
1,566
College football: Illinois-USF
9/15
ESPN
7:00-11:08pm
n/a
1,369
"Fox NFL Kickoff"
9/17
Fox
11:00am-12:00pm
0.8
1,211
MLB: (regional)
9/16
Fox
1:00-4:00pm
0.7
1,050
Liga MX: Chivas-UNAM Pumas
9/16
Univision
10:04pm-12:09am
0.6
686
EPL: Tottenham-Swansea City
9/16
NBC
12:30-2:30pm
0.5
621
Liga MX: Leon-Pachuca
9/16
Univision
8:00-10:04pm
0.3
575
LPGA: Evian Championship:
Final Round (taped)
9/17
NBC
12:00-1:30pm
0.4
551
Lucas Oil Off Road Racing (taped)
9/16
CBS
2:00-3:00pm
0.3
467
"World of X Games: Real Wake"
9/17
ABC
4:00-5:00pm
0.3
373

CABLEFAX DAILY notes the Rio Games makes it a "bit hard for year-over-year ad spend comparisons for broadcast, but it's a different story for cable." According to Standard Media Index figures, cable "lost only 1 percentage point" compared to August '16, compared to broadcast's 54% YOY loss. SMI reports 92% of all Olympic spend "went to broadcast." The firm said that cable's August '17 stats were helped by a 27% YOY "spending boost" at ESPN attributed to preseason NFL games, more U.S. Open taking place in August than in '16 and higher unit rates around MLB games (CABLEFAX DAILY, 9/22).

BRONZE MEDAL
: In San Jose, Jon Wilner reported on Pac-12 Networks' Olympic sports ratings, noting during the Saturdays covered in the ratings window reviewed, there were "four broadcasts of Olympic sports events" on the net's national feed. The four Olympic sports events in question had a "total of 22 measured segments," and of those, 21 registered a 0.0 rating. That means that "so few people are watching, it doesn’t register with the rating service." This is the "first hard evidence of the lack of viewership for Pac-12 Olympic sports, and that is an issue worthy of discussion for this reason" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 9/22).

TECHNICAL ISSUES: POSTMEDIA NETWORK's John Kryk noted DAZN is "refunding Canadian NFL subscribers $20 -- the cost of one month of service -- for 'problems that have impacted' the company’s launch." Through the first two weeks of the NFL regular season, DAZN’s streaming has been "rife with a range of technical snafus" (POSTMEDIA NETWORK, 9/21).