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Volume 25 No. 61
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Week 14 "MNF" Down From '16, But ESPN Gets Third-Highest Overnight Of '17

ESPN last night drew an 8.5 overnight rating for the Dolphins' 27-20 win over the Patriots on "MNF," down 7% from a 9.1 in Week 14 last year for Ravens-Patriots. That number last year was tied for the best "MNF" rating of the season to that point. Two years ago, ESPN drew an 8.7 overnight in Week 14 for Giants-Dolphins. While down from '16, last night's game is the third-highest-rated "MNF" telecast of the season for ESPN. Last night's game peaked at a 9.5 rating between 10:30-10:45pm ET. Boston led all local markets with a 31.8 rating (10.1 on ESPN, 18.9 on WCVB-ABC), while Miami-Ft. Lauderdale drew a 14.3 (5.9 on ESPN, 8.4 on WPLG-ABC) (Josh Carpenter, Assistant Editor).

WINTER WONDERLAND: SI.com's Richard Deitsch reviewed how CBS Sports covered Sunday's snowy Colts-Bills game in Buffalo, noting director Jim Cornell had a "distinct view." Cornell: "It was worse than what you saw on television. I directed another snow game, but nothing like this where you could not see a yard marker." Deitsch wrote Cornell, producer Sellers Shy, on-air announcers Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta and Steve Tasker -- and "particularly the camera operators working the game at New Era Field -- did a tremendous job providing viewers with terrific images given the lake-effect snow that hit Buffalo before game time." Cornell said that the overriding challenge for the entire day was whether the production group "would be able to see the field given the conditions." He said that at one point early in the game he "thought they might have to use the cart camera as the primary game camera." Tasker worked a snowy Bills-Browns game a few years ago in Cleveland and said that it was "very bad." However, he said that Sunday’s conditions were "much worse because it snowed throughout the entire game." Cornell said that Dedes and Archuleta "called most of the game off the monitors in the broadcast booth because looking down at the field was little help" (SI.com, 12/11).

THROWING ON THE RUN: In N.Y., Kevin Draper notes like previous agreements with Amazon, Twitter and Yahoo, the NFL's new Verizon agreement illustrates the league’s "proclivity to push the envelope to broaden its reach, especially among younger viewers, who may not have a pay television subscription, even if it means potentially angering its television partners as they approach the start of negotiations for new deals." NFL Exec VP/Media Hans Schroeder said, "This is a very complementary way of growing, engaging and reaching younger fans that will ultimately become longer term viewers" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/12). In L.A., Stephen Battaglio writes Verizon's deal is a "taste of the kind of competition" the TV nets and ESPN will have when their current deals with the NFL are up for renewal in '22 (L.A. TIMES, 12/12).

BEAR MARKET: In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal notes the Bears have generated "improved year-to-year local TV ratings" so far this season. The team has a better than 7% increase in its ratings locally "compared to the same point last season, with three games remaining" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/12). Meanwhile, Rosenthal notes Fathom Evens is presenting the Bears documentary "'85: The Greatest Team In Football History" on Jan. 29, the night after the Pro Bowl, at "more than 200 movie theaters nationwide." The one-night showing is "just the latest attempt to capitalize on the continued fascination" with former Bears coach Buddy Ryan, former NFLer William "The Fridge" Perry, Pro Football HOFers Mike Ditka and Walter Payton and the "rest of the one-time, one-title juggernaut" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/12).