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Volume 24 No. 156

Media

NBC yesterday afternoon drew a 2.7 overnight rating for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series finale from Homestead-Miami Speedway, which saw Martin Truex Jr. take home his first Cup title. The race also was the Cup Series finale for Dale Earnhardt Jr. The 2.7 is the lowest figure for a Cup finale since '13, when ESPN also drew a 2.7. The '12 race also drew a 2.7 overnight. The 2.7 rating is down 16% from a 3.2 overnight for the same race last year, which saw Jimmie Johnson secure his seventh Cup title. The race two years ago on NBC drew a 4.2 overnight for Kyle Busch's first-ever win, but that telecast was delayed by 90 minutes. It ended up taking the primetime spot on NBC normally reserved for "Football Night in America" (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

GOING BEHIND THE MIC? USA TODAY's A.J. Perez cites sources as saying that Danica Patrick and NBC have talked about her "joining the network in some role" next season. Patrick on Friday while announcing her plans to drive the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 in '18 before retiring said that she "had no immediate plans for a broadcast career." Patrick: "We heard I could [do] TV, but right now, no. Never say 'never.'" Perez noted Patrick is "hardly a novice in front of the camera," as she appeared in "several TV spots for Go Daddy earlier in her career." She also served as a pit reporter for FS1 "during an Xfinity Series race broadcast in June, one of several current NASCAR drivers to be part of the broadcast" (USATODAY.com, 11/17).

The Cowboys' first appearance on "SNF" since Week 1 helped NBC improve its Week 11 ratings, while CBS was down for its windows with a slate of non-competitive games. NBC last night drew a 13.5 overnight for the Eagles' 37-9 win over the Cowboys, up 13% from Packers-Redskins last year in Week 11. That figure also is up from an 11.7 for Bengals-Cardinals in '15. Eagles-Cowboys delivered a primetime win for NBC, peaking at a 14.4 rating from 9:30-10:00pm ET. Philadelphia led all markets with a 35.3 local rating, followed by a 30.0 in Dallas-Ft. Worth. Rounding out the top five markets were San Antonio (25.6), Austin (21.9) and Richmond (21.7). Meanwhile, CBS drew its lowest Week 11 national window in a number of years, as the Patriots won 33-8 over the Raiders in Mexico City. That game drew a 12.6 overnight, down 18% from a 15.4 last year for a window highlighted by Eagles-Seahawks. CBS also drew a 7.3 overnight for its regional window at 1:00pm, down 39% from last year. Fox drew a 10.3 overnight for its singleheader yesterday, up 8% (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

NFL WEEK 11 SUNDAY OVERNIGHT RATINGS
NET
'17 GAME
RAT.
'16 GAME
RAT.
% +/-
Fox
(single)
10.3
(single)
9.5
8.4%
CBS
(regional)
7.3
(regional)
11.9
-38.7%
CBS
Patriots-Raiders (86%)
12.6
Eagles-Seahawks (78%)
15.4
-18.2%
NBC
Cowboys-Eagles
13.5
Packers-Redskins
11.9
13.4%

THE REVIEWS ARE IN: Panthers TE Greg Olsen served as an analyst yesterday for Fox' telecast of Rams-Vikings, and USA TODAY's Lindsay Jones wrote broadcast nets "will line up to hire him" when he retires from playing. Olsen earned "rave reviews on social media for his astute analysis" (USATODAY.com, 11/19). In St. Paul, Charley Walters noted Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph "had some fun" with Fox' decision to allow Olsen in the booth despite the home team's protests. Rudolph joked, "I’m going to try to get the Jets-Carolina game (next Sunday), so we’re going to see how that works out." Rudolph said that Olsen working the game did not "bother him." He also did not think Olsen's presence in the booth "will be beneficial" for the Panthers when they play the Vikings on Dec. 10 (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 11/19). The L.A. Times' Sam Farmer tweeted, "Olsen sounds like a natural." SI's Jonathan Jones: "Olsen has been fantastic in the FOX booth, and credit to Charles Davis for giving him breathing room to make his points." ESPN's Cian Fahey: "Broadcasters should always grab a current player from one of the teams on a bye to go in the booth. Greg Olsen has been great."

VIEW FROM ABOVE: THE MMQB's Peter King writes he "loved the SkyCam" used by NBC during Titans-Steelers on "TNF." King: "I love to see what a quarterback sees when he takes the snap, and this was the perfect way to put yourself in the quarterback’s shoes" (SI.com, 11/20). USA TODAY's Jones wrote after watching "TNF," it was "almost disappointing" to watch yesterday's games with the "traditional camera angle." Jones: "Note to networks: More SkyCam, please" (USATODAY.com, 11/19). In San Diego, Nick Canepa wrote, "I like NBC’s behind-the-quarterback-Madden-look SkyCam. Not for all 60 minutes, but it can be fascinating" (SANDIEGOUNIONTRIBUNE.com, 11/18). NBC does not plan to use SkyCam for Giants-Redskins on Thanksgiving (THE DAILY).

TAKING THE HIGH ROAD: OUTSPORTS.com's Cyd Zeigler reported CBS used "crowd noise to mask the chanting of a gay slur" during Patriots kicks in their game yesterday in Mexico City against the Raiders. The slur "may have been identifiable on one of the kicks, [and] CBS did a really good job" of masking it throughout the game. CBS "just set the new industry standard that every other network broadcasting sporting events from Mexico will need to follow" (OUTSPORTS.com, 11/19).

TWO THUMBS UP
: In Baltimore, David Zurawik wrote CBS' team of Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon and sideline reporter Jenny Dell "did solid work" for the Ravens' 23-0 win over the Packers. Gannon was "especially strong." Zurawik: "He didn’t take me inside any chess matches going on between opposing coaches or the trench warfare between two linemen the way Tony Romo has been doing all season, but he went deeper than I can remember him ever going." Harlan was "solid as well, and he never let up even when the game was out of reach" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 11/19). 

SCOUTING REPORT: NBC's Al Michaels said of Romo, "I knew he'd be damned good. ... I could tell how totally into it he was. He's not just another ex-jock getting into the business for awhile. He is totally immersed for the long run. Tim McCarver was the same way when we did baseball together." Meanwhile, Michaels said of AT&T Stadium, where "SNF" broadcast from last night, "To me it is the best stadium there has ever been and I'm including all the games and events I've done around the world. The stadium is nine years old and it still is the best" (DALLASNEWS.com, 11/17).

Verizon is "close" to a new deal with the NFL for digital streaming rights that would give the company the "ability to deliver game broadcasts to internet-connected TVs, tablets and phones," according to sources cited by Moritz & Soshnick of BLOOMBERG NEWS. The deal "expands on Verizon's previous contract, which limited the carrier to streaming on screens 7 inches or smaller." The sources said that the new agreement will allow Verizon to "give subscribers access to games on all devices, including big-screen TVs." The sources added that Verizon "will lose exclusive rights to air games on mobile devices." SportsBusiness Journal first reported that news last month. Financial terms of the new deal are unavailable, but sources said that Verizon's rights "will include the NFL's Thursday night games, among others." Customers of Verizon's FiOS TV service "already have access to the games on their screens at home because their channel lineups include networks like ESPN and NBC." The agreement gives the NFL "another big outlet for games as ratings slump on traditional television." The league and Yahoo the past couple years have "been experimenting with streaming ... with enough success that Verizon pushed ahead with a wider deal" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 11/17).

ESPN Radio will see its weekday lineup change effective Jan. 2. The altered schedule will see "Golic & Wingo," which debuts Nov. 27, in the 6:00-10:00am ET slot, with a simulcast on ESPN2. "Russillo & Cain" will be in the 3:00-6:00pm window (simulcast on ESPNews), while "Spain & Fitz" will go from 6:00-9:00pm. ESPN also will launch a new podcast hosted by Bomani Jones, with new episodes available two or three times a week. Jones' current ESPN Radio show will conclude in December. The new "Jalen & Jacoby" podcast will also debut Jan. 2, with new episodes available four or five times a week. Katie Nolan is getting a weekly podcast that will debut Jan. 10 (ESPN).

NEW ESPN RADIO WEEKDAY LINEUP
SHOW
TIME (ET)
"Golic & Wingo"*
6:00-10:00am
"The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz"
10:00am-1:00pm
"The Stephen A. Smith Show"
1:00-3:00pm
"Russillo & Cain"*
3:00-6:00pm
"Spain & Fitz"*
6:00-9:00pm
"Freddie & Fitzsimmons"
9:00pm-1:00am
"SportsCenter All Night"
1:00-4:00am
"First & Last"
4:00-6:00am
CHART NOTE: * = New program.

TIME ON MY SIDE: SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote what the schedule "makes clear is that ESPN management valued" Stephen A. Smith over Ryen Russillo in terms of "giving him the higher-profile slot." When it comes to a national sports talk show, potential affiliates are "much more likely to take a late morning or early afternoon national show than drive time, where most major cities employ local people given the huge interest in local sports." ESPN management has "obviously been trying" to get Will Cain "more reps across the brand given he is a conservative political voice." This slot will "give him volume in addition to his appearances on First Take" (SI.com, 11/19).

A NEW FAN: Incoming N.Y.-based WFAN radio host Maggie Gray said of getting called about the position, "I was shocked. I asked [WFAN VP/Programming Mark Chernoff]: ‘Is this real? How interested are you?’ And they said, ‘We’re very interested,’ and then things started to move very, very quickly." On Long Island, Neil Best noted Gray will be the "first woman on WFAN's daytime schedule" since '01. Gray: "I don’t know if it matters, male, female, or what race you are. If the chemistry is good, people are going to like it" (NEWSDAY, 11/18). In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote WFAN execs were "holding out hope they could land their number one target -- Max Kellerman." If Kellerman "agreed to take the gig, FAN likely would’ve gone with a two-man team," featuring Kellerman and Chris Carlin. Sources said that Kellerman was "looking for around" $3M per year. The three hosts WFAN "eventually hired make roughly -- COMBINED -- about one-third of what Kellerman was asking for" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/19).

ESPN in October posted its second-highest comScore digital reach figure and the category’s third-best total ever with a mark of 102.2 million unique visitors as it continued to see strong coverage for football coverage and fantasy content. The figure is the best for any entity this calendar year and just shy of ESPN’s company record of 104.6 million uniques posted in September ’16. It was also just the fourth time the 100 million uniques mark has been broken in the sports category, with ESPN doing it three times. ESPN also led all sports entities last month in consumption, and it led the category in reach for the 14th straight month and the 43rd time in the last 44 months. Monthly multiplatform data showed the sports category overall dipping slightly from September to a total audience of 184.2 million. However, the average sports consumption of 146.2 minutes per user was up 12% from September, and the highest such figure since November ’16. CBS Sports-owned 247Sports.com continued its own growth run in October, posting a company record 29.9 million unique users.

RANK
SITE
UNIQUES (000)
1
ESPN
102,173
2
CBS Sports*
71,716
3
NFL Internet Group
59,474
4
Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network**
55,731
5
Fox Sports-SI Group-Perform Media***
53,154
6
Bleacher Report-Turner Sports Network^
52,761
7
SB Nation
52,617
8
USA Today Sports Media Group^^
51,834
9
MLB
32,165
10
Minute Media#
28,396
11
MSN Sports
19,548
12
Deadspin.com
12,913
13
NHL Network
12,309
14
NESN
9,400
15
Complex Sports
8,994
RANK
SITE
TOTAL TIME SPENT (MINUTES)
1
ESPN
9.44 billion
2
Yahoo Sports-NBC Sports Network**
5.18 billion
3
NFL Internet Group
2.27 billion
4
CBS Sports*
1.58 billion
5
MLB
1.26 billion
6
Bleacher Report-Turner Sports Network^
1.13 billion
7
Fox Sports-SI Group-Perform Media***
794 million
8
USA Today Sports Media Group^^
585 million
9
SB Nation
338 million
10
Minute Media#
188 million

NOTES: * = Includes 247Sports.com, MaxPreps, and Scout Media. ** = Includes Rivals.com, The Vertical, The PostGame.com, Rotoworld and FanDuel. *** = Includes National Football Post, The FanSided Network, and Sporting News. ^ = Includes NBA.com, NCAA.com and WNBA.com. ^^ = Includes 81 local Gannett-owned newspaper sites, 23 Gannett-owned broadcast TV sites, USA Today High School Sports, The Big Lead and For The Win.  # = Includes The Spun

Barstool Sports continues to offer its readers "escapism," something that "retains a lot of power among sports fans who still see games as a nightly release from their responsibilities," according to Jay Caspian Kang of N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE. Chernin Digital President Mike Kerns, whose firm last year bought a majority stake in Barstool, said of the site, "When I got access to Barstool’s Google analytics, I knew this was something different. They had something like 20 percent of their visitors coming back about 20 times a day. I’ve been in this business for two decades, and all their numbers bucked the usual trends." Kang notes Barstool Founder & President Dave Portnoy "kept full editorial control," but under Chernin's guidance, the brand would be "scaled up into something that could be sold to advertisers, big media partners and even sports leagues." Kerns said, "Time is on our side. The younger folks within agencies and brands get Barstool and recognize the world is increasingly taking itself less seriously." Kang notes Dunkin’ Donuts had "long been wary of dealing with Portnoy, but this year, Barstool dedicated an entire month to promoting the chain’s new energy drink." Wendy’s also "expressed hesitation to partner with Barstool, but this summer the company sponsored 'Barstool 5th Year,' a Snapchat channel specifically targeted at college students" (N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE, 11/19 issue).