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Volume 25 No. 26

Media

The Warriors' sweep of the Cavs averaged a TAD of 17.65 million viewers on ABC and ESPN digital outlets
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

Despite a 14% viewership drop for the Warriors-Cavaliers Finals, the NBA Playoffs (81 games) averaged a total audience delivery of 5.28 million viewers, up 5% from 5.05 million last postseason, when there were 78 games. There were four Game 7s this year, with two in the first round and both conference finals going the distance. Last season, there was one first round series that went to a Game 7 and one conference semifinal series with a Game 7. The Warriors' four-game sweep of the Cavs averaged a TAD of 17.65 million viewers on ABC and ESPN digital outlets. That is the lowest figure for any of the Warriors-Cavs Finals, but still above the 15.52 million viewers for the five-game Spurs-Heat series in '14 and just below the 17.67 million viewers for the seven-game Heat-Spurs series in '13. The last NBA Finals sweep -- Spurs-Cavs in '07 -- averaged 9.29 million viewers.

NBA FINALS AUDIENCE TREND ON ABC
YEAR
GAMES
VIEWERS (000)
MATCHUP
'18
4
17,648
Warriors-Cavaliers
'17
5
20,406
Warriors-Cavaliers
'16
7
20,215
Cavaliers-Warriors
'15
6
19,939
Warriors-Cavaliers
'14
5
15,524
Spurs-Heat
'13
7
17,667
Heat-Spurs
'12
5
16,855
Heat-Thunder
'11
6
17,280
Mavericks-Heat
'10
7
18,144
Lakers-Celtics
'09
5
14,347
Lakers-Magic
Download the
NBA Finals Audience Trend

RISE OF THE MACHINES: Data from measurement firm Conviva shows that there was a total of 29.7 million streams of NBA Finals games. On average, that is up 17% compared to last year. Across all four games, there were 10 million unique devices/apps streaming games -- five times higher than last year's five-game total. There also was a sharp uptick in streaming via virtual MVPD services (i.e. Sling TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Sony PlayStation Vue, Hulu Live, etc.). Those services accounted for 20% of total streams during the Finals. Meanwhile, the Cleveland-Akron market accounted for 13-21% of Internet-connected streaming homes during the '18 Finals, up from a range of 7-11% last year. The Bay Area held steady in the 17-18% range.

In the autumn period last year, Francesa beat Kay before leaving the station on Dec. 15
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Mike Francesa "ranked first" among males 25-54 for his first month back on WFAN-AM in the 3:00-6:30pm ET window, during which he is "head-to-head" with ESPN Radio N.Y.'s Michael Kay, according to Neil Best of NEWSDAY. Kay "ranked fourth" during April 26-May 23. Those figures are "similar to what they were when the two last went head-to-head." In the autumn period last year, Francesa beat Kay before "leaving the station" on Dec. 15. Radio ratings traditionally are "judged on a quarterly basis, so monthly figures are an incomplete snapshot." But in this case, they "illustrate Francesa’s return to his earlier ratings status in his first full month back on the air" (NEWSDAY, 6/12). Meanwhile in N.Y., Andrew Marchand notes the radio show in the 1:00-3:00pm window made up of WFAN's Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott, who Francesa replaced when he returned, rated "higher than it had performed" in the 2:00-6:30pm window (N.Y. POST, 6/12).

Cowboys Senior Social Media Manager Shannon Gross (@DallasCowboys) has been with the organization for 15 years. After starting as a manager in one of the franchise’s pro shops, Gross worked as an e-commerce manager before recognizing the potential opportunities available in the developing social media market. Gross: “We had accounts, but it was just basically an RSS news feed and we weren’t putting any content around it or anything. I saw that and saw the direction social media was going. To me, it was the re-invention of the internet.” Gross also oversees accounts for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, AT&T Stadium, The Star in Frisco and Cowboys Fit, the gym at The Star.

SOCIAL SNAPSHOT
Must-follows: I enjoy following a lot of the things that the WWE does. I really enjoy strategy-wise and big picture the way that they do their stuff.
Favorite app: I always thought if Instagram could figure out filters that they would start muscling Snapchat out of the conversation, and that kind of seems to be the case. 
Average time per day on social media: In the office, it’s pretty much non-stop. Out of the office, probably an hour or less a day.

Promoting the Draft on more than one account:
We were able to get more content and everything, and we were able to put that stuff on Cowboys accounts, cheerleaders’ accounts and cover it from a Cowboys angle. We didn’t do a lot different than what we do when it wasn’t in Dallas or Arlington. The biggest difference was all the events leading up to the Draft. There was a lot of stuff in the community in the weeks leading up to the Draft. There were a lot of former players involved, ownership -- Charlotte Jones Anderson was very involved in all the community stuff around the Draft. So there was a lot of buzz in the community and a lot of extra content we were able to create because of the things that were going on leading up to it.

How hosting the Draft influenced social media plans:
We were camped out, kind of had our command center out here at The Star. So, it was basically business as usual, but we were able to provide some coverage on-site and do a little more than we normally would.

Lessons learned from the Draft:
I don’t think we would change anything. We didn’t realize the opportunities that we would have with the community stuff and, really, we were able to take advantage of a lot of that stuff around the community. When you think about, "Oh, your city’s getting the Draft," you think about the event itself, the in-stadium part, all that coverage, but you don’t think about all of the things leading up to the Draft to promote it.

Creating content that introduces your new players to the fanbase:
We try not to promote them on our Cowboys channels until we actually talk to them in person, even if they’re verified. We just have this phobia that we’re going to promote the wrong account, they’re going to gain a ton of followers and it’s not going to be them. We go see what their personality is -- are they savvy on social media, what kind of things do they like to do. Then our social team meets, and we talk about different opportunities with different guys and some possible content that we could create around them. This year, we were able to create a video series called "Earn the Star" that, basically, we were able to sit down with all but one guy. He got lost in the building somehow and we couldn’t find him. We sat them down and did a three-part series of a short video, about a minute and a half, and just asked them some questions to get to know them as a person.

Saying goodbye to players like Dez Bryant or Jason Witten:
That’s a very interesting dynamic because they leave the organization in different ways, and on the social side of things, you have to understand what your fans are feeling and how that effects them as a fan. You basically have to become a fan and say, "Okay, this player’s leaving the organization. These are the terms they’re leaving on. As a fan, how do I want to receive that information?" Most of the time, we try to focus on the good times. We try to pick the right picture -- you always remember Tony Romo smiling, or he had the hat on backwards, or something like that. So, you have to create the right mood around what you’re doing. The Witten thing was interesting because our whole social and digital team, we were on a retreat in N.Y. They scheduled the press conference literally the day we were leaving. So we had to leave a couple of people back to cover it.


 

First day on the job. #EarnTheStar

A post shared by Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) on

If you know anyone who should be featured for their use of social media, send their name to us at jperez@sportsbusinessdaily.com.

Former Marlins commentator Tommy Hutton is back with the club as a pre and post-game analyst on FS Florida, and in Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis notes Hutton "made it clear that he will continue to offer honest analysis of the Marlins and players." He said, "Critical and honesty is a fine line. I think I’ll be honest. I still plan on doing that. Nobody told me to do otherwise." Hutton, who left the team after his contract expired in '15, "will work 45 games." Hutton debuted yesterday (South Florida SUN SENTINEL, 6/12).

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY: NBC Sports Philadelphia said that Phillies TV ratings "were up" 5% from last year while streaming numbers "multiplied by more than" 100%. In Philadelphia, Jeff Blumenthal noted the Phillies are "averaging a 3.32 household rating." At the All-Star break last year, ratings were down 16% from '16. In its second season of streaming via its app or website for NBC Sports Philadelphia subscribers, the Phillies stream is "averaging 7,700 total unique visitors per game and 426,000 total minutes streamed per game," up 169% and 156%, respectively, from last season (BIZJOURNALS.com, 6/11).