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Volume 25 No. 27

Media

CBS and NFL Network combined for a 9.9 overnight rating on "TNF," which saw the Raiders beat the Chiefs on the last play of the game. The overnight is up 5% from a 9.4 last year in Week 7, which featured Bears-Packers. Chiefs-Raiders is down 14% from an 11.5 overnight for "TNF" in Week 7 two years ago, which featured Seahawks-49ers. That game was not streamed online (Chiefs-Raiders was available on Amazon Prime, while Bears-Packers last year was on Twitter). Thursday night's game peaked with an 11.3 rating from 11:30pm-midnight ET, giving CBS a win in primetime for the night. The game's rating was 154% higher than a 3.9 for NLCS Game 5 on TBS, which saw the Dodgers blow out the Cubs to clinch their first World Series berth in 29 years. 

MLB is involved in "developing a limited TV series" about Babe Ruth, and the project is part of an overall push by the league to "get exposure in entertainment genres and platforms that reach younger viewers, who are not watching as much baseball on TV," according to Stephen Battaglio of the L.A. TIMES. The series is "envisioned as an unrestricted, candid look at Ruth’s raucous times off the field, often driven by his prodigious appetite for booze and women." Director-producer Allen Coulter, whose credits include HBO's "The Sopranos" and "Boardwalk Empire," has been "hired by MLB to oversee the project." Presenting a "realistic, flaws-and-all portrait of baseball’s historic icon may seem like a risk" for the league. MLB Senior Dir of Media Programming & Licensing Nick Trotta said, "The goal is to get on as many different screens as possible." Trotta added that MLB is "more open than ever to providing its trademarked logos, ballparks and archival footage to non-sports content that caters to contemporary tastes," such as allowing use of Fenway Park in the recently-released Boston Marathon bombing-related film "Stronger." MLB also "cooperated fully in the recently released Netflix short 'Long Shot,'" which tells the story of wrongly-convicted Juan Catalan. Catalan’s alibi was that he was "attending a game with his daughter at Dodger Stadium," eventually proven by an outtake of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which "filmed on location there the same night." MLB was also "involved in the production" of a documentary film about Pearl Jam’s concerts at Wrigley Field in '16 and last year partnered with AwesomenessTV on a scripted digital series called "Out of My League" that was "set in Dodger Stadium" and included a cameo by Dodgers CF Joc Pederson. Meanwhile, MLB is "creating original content for Mitú, a digital network that targets young Latinos" (LATIMES.com, 10/19).

Washington State President Kirk Schulz said the Pac-12 Networks is "not providing the sort of dollars the other schools in the SEC and Big Ten get from their conference networks," and the subject is a "concern of the Pac-12 presidents," according to Stefanie Loh of the SEATTLE TIMES. Schulz said, "The original projections made way before I was here was that there was going to be substantial revenue coming in to the different members of the Pac-12." He said the Pac-12 has only "exceeded some lower level expectations." Schulz: "It’s a large discussion point with meetings with [Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott] at every single meeting. Because everybody needs these revenues to be competitive, not just within the Pac-12." Schulz said the Pac-12 is "falling behind" the other Power Five conferences (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/18). In San Jose, Jon Wilner reported Pac-12 Nets "churned out" approximately $2.5M per school in FY '17. By comparison, Big Ten Net and SEC Net are "sending three and four times that amount to their members." The larger revenue picture also is "stark." The SEC and Big Ten have "lapped the Pac-12 in overall annual distributions, which include all media rights, plus postseason football and NCAA tournament dollars." That is a $19M difference per school between the Big Ten and Pac-12. The future of Pac-12 Nets will "play out over the next six years, as consumer behavior changes, technology evolves and the conference positions itself for the Tier 1 negotiations." But Schulz' comments are nonetheless "significant for what they represent: A break from the eternally-rosy view of the networks expressed at the highest levels of power" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 10/18).

On Long Island, Neil Best writes under the header, "Chris Simms Not Holding Back As NBC's Notre Dame Football Analyst." Simms was "surprised to be invited to join the Notre Dame coverage, given that most of his focus is on the NFL." He said, "At first I was like: ‘What? They want me to do Notre Dame? Don’t they know all I do is talk about the NFL?’" Meanwhile, Simms said that his NBC work "does not rule out a larger role" at WFAN-AM. He has been a "frequent fill-in and over the summer had a test run as the station seeks a new afternoon show to replace the departing Mike Francesa." WFAN is "expected to announce new afternoon hosts -- as well as a new morning co-host for Boomer Esiason -- in the next several weeks" (NEWSDAY, 10/20).

GRADING SCALE: In Albany, Pete Dougherty compared FS1 and TBS' MLB postseason broadcasts. FS1's John Smoltz is "this generation's Tim McCarver." He is "insightful, authoritative and well-prepared." TBS' Ron Darling's broadcasting tenure is "much like his playing career." He is a "solid No. 2 but not the staff ace." He "offers a lot and has a confident delivery, but sometimes he stays on a point too long." FS1's Tom Verducci and Ken Rosenthal are "used judiciously" and "offer substantive information when called upon." TBS' Sam Ryan is an "excellent interviewer but has a tough task trying to top the Fox duo." Meanwhile, FS1 has its scorebox in the "lower right, TBS at top left." FS1's is "not only cleaner (TBS uses team logos rather than names), it also is larger" (Albany TIMES UNION, 10/20).

WEIGHING HER OPTIONS
: In DC, Dan Steinberg notes Lindsay Czarniak's ESPN contract expired over the summer, and while she had an offer to return, she and the net "could not settle upon a time slot and a role that both sides found appealing." Czarniak "wants to get back into broadcasting" and "thinks her future is in sports." But she is also "interested in reporting on broader topics." She "doesn’t even rule out a return to ESPN one day, speaking fondly of her time there" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/20).

END OF THE LINE: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar reports longtime Univ. of Missouri radio basketball analyst Gary Link has been "fired after 21 seasons." Mizzou did "not give a reason for the removal." Link's replacement is "expected to be hired" before the start of the regular season on Nov. 10 when Mizzou faces Iowa State. Chris Gervino, the sideline reporter on football broadcasts who also has done basketball, will "be the analyst" for Sunday's Kansas-Missouri men's basketball exhibition at Sprint Center alongside play-by-play announcer Mike Kelly (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/20).

CBS is averaging 3.71 million viewers for its SEC football package through Week 7 of the ’17 season, down 30% from 5.31 million viewers through Week 7 last season. CBS has only carried one Alabama game this season to date (the net has Alabama-Tennessee on Saturday), whereas it had two Alabama games last season at this point. CBS also did not have a Week 1 game this season after carrying UCLA-Texas A&M to start the ’16 season. CBS is down 21% from 4.72 million viewers through Week 7 two years ago.

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

TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RAT.
VIEWERS
(000)
NFL national window:
Steelers-Chiefs (86%)
10/15
CBS
4:25-7:30pm
12.0
20,593
NFL: (singleheader)
10/15
Fox
1:00-4:00pm
9.4
16,197
"SNF": Giants-Broncos
10/15
NBC
8:31-11:10pm
9.4
16,158
"TNF": Eagles-Panthers
10/12
CBS/NFL Net
8:27-11:46pm
8.9
14,585
NFL: (regional)
10/15
CBS
1:00-4:00pm
6.6
10,943
"MNF": Vikings-Bears
10/9
ESPN
8:15-11:44pm
6.1
10,356
"Football Night in America"
10/15
NBC
7:30-8:15pm
4.7
7,966
ALDS: Yankees-Indians: Game 5
10/11
FS1
8:02-11:52pm
4.4
7,274
NLDS: Cubs-Nationals: Game 5
10/12
TBS
8:00pm-12:52am
4.1
7,038
NLCS: Doders-Cubs: Game 2
10/15
TBS
7:30-11:11pm
3.7
6,759
NLCS: Doders-Cubs: Game 1
10/14
TBS
8:00-11:42pm
3.5
6,326
ALCS: Yankees-Astros: Game 2
10/14
Fox
4:03-7:15pm
3.8
6,222
ALCS: Astros-Yankees: Game 1
10/13
FS1
8:00-11:31pm
3.6
6,158
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Series: Alabama 500 (Talladega)
10/15
NBC
2:30-6:45pm
2.8
4,725
"Fox NFL Sunday"
10/15
Fox
12:00-1:00pm
3.0
4,556
ALDS: Yankees-Indians: Game 4
10/9
FS1
7:01-10:58pm
2.7
4,505
College football:
Michigan-Indiana
10/14
ABC
12:01-4:02pm
2.7
4,122
NLDS: Cubs-Nationals: Game 4
10/11
TBS
4:00-8:14pm
2.6
4,118
College football:
Arkansas-Alabama
10/14
ESPN
7:25-10:33pm
2.2
3,866
College football:
Oklahoma-Texas Tech
10/14
ESPN
3:30-7:25pm
2.1
3,619
College football: Auburn-LSU
10/14
CBS
3:30-7:00pm
2.3
3,595
College football:
Georgia Tech-Miami
10/14
ABC
4:02-7:12pm
2.1
3,380
College football: Utah-USC
10/14
ABC
8:07-11:49pm
2.0
3,192
"The NFL Today"
10/15
CBS
12:00-1:00pm
2.1
3,066
FIFA World Cup qualifier:
Mexico-Honduras
10/10
Telemundo
7:30-10:11pm
1.1
2,202
Premier Boxing Champions
10/14
Fox
7:30-10:00pm
1.0
1,483
"Fox NFL Kickoff"
10/15
Fox
11:00am-12:00pm
0.8
1,271
Liga MX: Chivas-Monarcas
10/14
Univision
10:01pm-12:00am
0.6
1,081
NASCAR Camping World Truck
Series: Fred's 250 (Talladega)
10/14
Fox
1:06-3:30pm
0.7
1,072
EPL: Arsenal-Watford
10/14
NBC
12:30-2:30pm
0.5
668
"World of X Games:
UTV World Championships"
10/15
ABC
3:00-4:00pm
0.3
307