The Cowboys-Cardinals "MNF" game on ESPN last night helped push overall NFL Week 3 overnight ratings into positive territory compared to the same week last season (+3%). The Cowboys' 28-17 win last night drew a 9.3 overnight rating, marking the best Week 3 "MNF" telecast since '13, when Raiders-Broncos drew a 10.3 overnight. Last year in Week 3, ESPN drew its least-watched "MNF" game on record, as Falcons-Saints drew a 5.7 overnight up against the first Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton Presidential debate. Two years ago, when there was little competition, Packers-Chiefs drew an 8.9 overnight in Week 3. Last night's game once again peaked early, with the 9:15-9:45pm ET window drawing a 10.3 rating. Dallas-Ft. Worth led all markets with a 29.0 local rating (9.2 on ESPN, 19.8 on WFAA-ABC). Phoenix ranked No. 2 with a 22.2 local rating (13.6 on ESPN, 8.6 on KUTP-Ind). Rounding out the top five markets were San Antonio (20.9), Austin (20.3) and Norfolk (15.1) (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Robinson & Beaton write the increase for Week 3 for CBS could "easily be a reflection of the competitiveness of the games and interest in the teams each network aired as opposed to viewers tuning in or away because of the national anthem protest controversy." CBS "benefited from having a double-header of close games" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/26).
TOP OF THE MORNING: In Baltimore, Chris Kaltenbach reports WJZ-CBS averaged 425,000 viewers in the local market for Ravens-Jaguars on Sunday morning from London -- "about 6,000 more fans than watched the season opener against the Bengals, but some 21,000 fewer than watched last year’s Week 3 game," which aired in a normal afternoon slot (Baltimore SUN, 9/26).
The Oct. 2 issue of SI features 10 figures front and center in the national discourse following President Trump's comments last weekend in Alabama, and SI Exec Editor Stephen Cannella said the magazine with the cover wanted to capture both the "news of the weekend" and the "enduring message of what we saw." Cannella noted this was a "historic weekend for both sports and the country," and the lasting image from the NFL action on Sunday was a "sense of unity." The cover includes figures like NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Cavaliers F LeBron James, Warriors G Stephen Curry, Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan and A's C Bruce Maxwell and carries the headline, "A Nation Divided, Sports United." Cannella said, "We’re not pretending everything is solved, we’re not pretending that sports has it licked. But what we saw in various ways ... is the way the sports world is coming together, and the sports world is acknowledging they’re not perfect." He said Goodell was put on the cover in part because he "represents The Shield." Cannella: "There was a lot of debate over how strong his statement was ... but I thought he came out fairly stronger than I expected.” Meanwhile, conspicuous by his absence is Colin Kaepernick. Cannella said, "In some ways, even though his picture’s not there, Kaepernick is there. I think we all know that. Colin Kaepernick -- for lack of a better word -- is looming over everything that happened this past weekend and looms over many issues in society right now.” Cannella added, “What we were trying to capture with this cover was the way new voices emerged this weekend and the way this ... protest movement has evolved even beyond Colin Kaepernick" ("SI Now," FACEBOOK.com, 9/26).
SOMEONE'S MISSING: SB NATION's James Dator writes the SI cover "aims to present sports as a unified force amid a country in turmoil," but it fails to "depict why protests began in the first place." SI's may have gone with "more prominent, current figures" instead of Kaepernick, but he is "still more qualified to have a spot" than Goodell, Khan or Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (SBNATION.com, 9/26). THE DAILY BEAST's Hayley Jones writes the cover "has the world asking, 'Where's Kap?'" Kaepernick "began the movement of players kneeling during the national anthem, and yet, he is missing" (THEDAILYBEAST.com, 9/26). Meanwhile, VOX.com's German Lopez notes the cover "could show the evolution of the protests." However, as the "demonstrations have grown in response to Kaepernick taking a knee ... his original message about police and systemic racism has gotten lost" (VOX.com, 9/26).
MLBAM "believes its work in augmented reality with Apple could open a new level of fan engagement and understanding of baseball’s statistical nuances, and perhaps make going to a live game never quite the same again," according to Eric Fisher of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. MLBAM was "part of Apple’s special event this month unveiling the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X." That event "outlined work developers such as MLBAM are doing with ARKit, a new Apple developer capability within the iOS 11 platform enabling augmented reality experiences on the iPhone and iPad." Though still "very much in prototype mode, MLBAM is developing an advance to its MLB.com At Bat mobile application in which pointing the iPhone or iPad at a particular player would automatically generate statistics and biographical information." Making this "work for the fan will also rely on ballpark wireless networks, which have been a keen focus of MLBAM in recent years and upgraded throughout the league." But the "amount of wireless data required to make the augmented reality offering work at scale is less than what is needed for some existing content such as mobile video highlights." MLBAM’s augmented reality offering is being developed with a "goal of a public rollout" for the '18 season (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/25 issue). In San Jose, Seung Lee notes MLB "demonstrated its prototype" at a Giants game last week in front of reporters (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 9/26).
SEEING IS BELIEVING: USA TODAY's Jorge Ortiz writes interest may "continue to rise if the technology lives up to the promise displayed during its first public unveiling." It "certainly caught the attention of baseball and tech writers alike." There is "no lack of information available, with Statcast providing every nugget imaginable to the data-hungry fan." Besides "getting the word out through the media, last week’s demonstration served as a trial for what works in a real game setting, where 40,000 fans may be sucking up every bit of WiFi available at the ballpark." MLBAM Senior VP/Mobile Product Development Chad Evans and VP/Baseball Data Greg Cain were "displaying the technology on tablets, but they acknowledge most fans will use smartphones, and the difference in screen size may require some adjustments" (USA TODAY, 9/26). Evans said, "We want this to be fun for fans in the stands, to tell them something new about the game they can't see on the scoreboard or have to search hard for. Everything is in play" (CNET.com, 9/25).
ESPN today announced that Doris Burke will become the "first woman at the national level to be assigned a full season rotation of games as an NBA game analyst," according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com. She will "serve as an analyst for ESPN regular-season NBA telecasts as well as the NBA playoffs." Over the last couple of years, Burke has "worked selected NBA games as a color commentator but now gets cemented as a regular." Burke said that she will "keep her role as lead ESPN NBA sideline reporter" for the Conference Finals and Finals. Burke said, "When Doug Collins made the decision to leave the network and join the Chicago Bulls' organization, it opened up an opportunity to be more involved in our coverage as a game analyst." The news "comes at a time where we are seeing other women morphing into the analyst's seat on NBA broadcasts." Stephanie Ready in '15 became the "first full time NBA game analyst" as a member of FS Southeast's Hornets coverage. In a broadcasting first, YES Network last week announced that Sarah Kustok would "serve as the Nets' full-time color commentator, making her the only woman handling the analyst duties solo for an NBA team." Burke said, "Full credit there goes to the NBA and to ESPN. They are willing to put people like me in a position to do this" (SI.com, 9/25).
The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Marisa Guthrie cited sources as saying that Michelle Beadle and Jalen Rose will "join Mike Greenberg on ESPN’s upcoming morning show." Beadle and Rose will relocate from L.A. for the N.Y.-based show and both will "continue as full-time hosts" of "NBA Countdown" for now. Rose will also "continue to co-host" the "Jalen & Jacoby" on ESPN Radio (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 9/25).
DOG GOES HOME? In N.Y., Bob Raissman noted there is a "new wrinkle in the search" for Craig Carton's replacement on WFAN's morning show. A source said that "talks have taken place" between Chris Russo (or his agent Sandy Montag) and CBS Radio execs "fishing about any interest" in a return to WFAN, partnering Russo with Boomer Esiason (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/24).
ONE STEP CLOSER: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Jeff Baumgartner noted BAMTech "quietly launched a corporate web site last week as the company pushes toward a bigger deal" with Disney. BAMTech now also has "its own logo, as well as presences on a set of social media channels" -- Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (MULTICHANNEL.com, 9/25).