VARIETY's Brian Steinberg noted more than two months after ESPN announced it would "start counting linear and streaming audiences in a single group for live broadcasts," the net said that it has "seen significant increases in viewing" among adults 18-34. Using seven weeks of viewing, ESPN said that it "noticed a 23% increase in viewing" in that demo across its total schedule and a "13% increase in that viewership in primetime." While many TV execs "complain about the ability of Nielsen," ESPN Senior VP/Fan & Media Intelligence Cary Meyers "urged others to work more closely with the company" (VARIETY.com, 12/7).
PLACING HIS BETS: WFAN's Mike Francesa appeared on this week's SI Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch and offered some news regarding working with The Ringer's Bill Simmons. Francesa said, "It is no secret that Bill and I like to work together. A lot of people want to know where I will go to finish my football picks, which are very popular. A couple of people have asked me to sell them. I said no. Bill has offered me a home to pick them on his podcast, which I am thinking about." He added, "The NFL Network has offered me the opportunity to do it. So I will do it somewhere. I don’t know where. But I would say the likeliest place is Simmons’s podcast because of my relationship with him" (SI.com, 12/7).
STILL ON TOP: In Dallas, Barry Horn notes Dallas-based KTCK-AM/FM once again has "topped all sports talk competition" in Dallas-Ft. Worth, as well as "all of the other market's stations in sports' target demographic" of males 25-54. This makes 19 consecutive months for KTCK leading the male 25-54 demo (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/8).