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Volume 25 No. 239

Media

Last night's game peaked at a 10.6 rating, as the Chiefs rallied from a 10-point deficit in the last seven minutes
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

ESPN drew a 9.1 rating for the Chiefs' come-from-behind win over the Broncos on "MNF," marking the best overnight rating for the series since Cowboys-Cardinals drew a 9.3 in Week 3 last year. Last night's game is also up 8% from an 8.4 figure for the comparable Redskins-Chiefs game in Week 4 last year. The figure last year was the lowest "MNF" rating in Week 4 since Colts-Buccaneers drew an 8.0 overnight in '11. Two years ago, ESPN drew a 9.1 overnight in Week 4 for Giants-Vikings. Last night's game peaked at a 10.6 rating between 11:00-11:15pm ET, as the Chiefs rallied from a 10-point deficit in the game's final 7 minutes. Chiefs-Broncos drew a 45.8 local rating in K.C. (15.5 on ESPN, 30.3 on KMBC-ABC) and a 36.5 rating in Denver (15.8 on ESPN, 20.7 on KTVD-Ind). New Orleans (14.7), Albuquerque-Santa Fe (14.0) and DC (12.5) rounded out the top 5 markets (Josh Carpenter, THE DAILY).

COMING ATTRACTIONS: NBC Sports’ Peter King wonders how excited ESPN is that it was "somehow, some way ... able to get Chiefs-Rams" as the Nov. 19 "MNF" game. That is the game "everybody wants to see." King: "I rail against the 52-48 games, but I don’t think I would mind seeing a 52-48 game that night with (Chiefs QB Patrick) Mahomes dueling against (Rams QB) Jared Goff. That would really be fun” (“PFT,” NBCSN, 10/2).

LETTER OF THE LAW: In Cleveland, Joey Morona writes the "most inexplicable thing" from the sports weekend was an ESPN "NFL Countdown" segment in which former former Browns QB Johnny Manziel "offers advice" to new starter Baker Mayfield. The premise -- that people "compare Manziel and Mayfield all the time -- is lazy and outdated at best." Even stranger is the "segment's over-the-top documentary style -- you know, the kind of unnecessarily melodramatic schtick normally reserved for ESPN's 'Outside the Lines'" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 10/2). 

MISSED CALL: SI.com's Jimmy Traina wrote Browns-Raiders had "horrible performances" from a number of groups, including the referees. The "only thing more ridiculous than the referees actually collecting a paycheck for their awful work in this game was that near the end of the Raiders' 45-42 win, play-by-play man Kenny Albert and analyst Ronde Barber went out [of] their to way praise the refs for a job well done." Traina: "They literally said, 'Walt Coleman and his crew had a terrific game.'" For both broadcasters to "make it a point to actually lie and deceive people about what they just saw is not only disingenuous, but also inexcusable" (SI.com, 10/1).

Tennis Channel has "acquired the U.S. rights to 46 overseas WTA tournaments" in a five-year deal that is "scheduled to start in January," according to Daniel Kaplan of SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Amazon made a "push to acquire those rights but ultimately decided against submitting a bid." The 46 overseas events have been "held by beIN Sports, which has struggled to show all of them when they conflicted with the channel’s high-profile soccer offerings." BeIN acquired the rights in '17 from Perform, which had "acquired WTA overseas media rights" in a 10-year, $500M deal. Perform "sold the U.S. rights to the WTA’s non-U.S. events to beIN, which resulted in some high-profile WTA matches ... not being shown on TV because the Qatar-based broadcaster chose to air soccer and other sports instead" (SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/1 issue). In N.Y., Ben Rothenberg notes tennis fans "often paid the price" for the beIN Sports deal, as they were frustrated by the net's "often intermittent and inattentive coverage of women's tennis." WTA officials eventually "grew frustrated, too." BeIN Sports is available in "less than half as many American homes as Tennis Channel" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/2). TENNIS.com's Ed McGrogan noted the new deal "brings WTA coverage back to the network it called home from its launch" in '03 to '16. The partnership "includes WTA Premier and WTA International tournaments as well as the WTA Finals, which amounts to more than 2,000 matches across all platforms" (TENNIS.com, 10/1).

The broadcast team on MLB Network's "MLB Central" has done "particularly well this baseball season to bring a different vibe to morning sports TV," and the net's "lineup in particular," according to Mike Oz of YAHOO SPORTS. Show hosts Lauren Shehadi, Robert Flores and Mark DeRosa are "not screaming at fans" or "talking down to them." Instead, they are "trying to be friends with them" and hopefully "having fun with them." This is the trio’s first year doing "MLB Central" together, and they "seem to have a rapport together that fans are responding to," as show ratings are up 12% over last year. This season, they have also "taken the show on the road, doing their first live broadcast from Yankee Stadium." The show gives "deeper breakdowns of players and moments, but also fun interviews, games with MLB players and things like trying to hit a paper airplane with a baseball bat." In the age of Twitter and Instagram, the "straight-ahead highlight show is starting to get extinct," so the "challenge for a morning TV show is different." Flores said, "If we can give them our take or our spin on them -- maybe make them laugh or point out something they haven’t noticed -- that’s when we’re effective" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/1).

Former NFLer Geoff Schwartz (@GeoffSchwartz) began using Twitter while still in the league, but it was not until his retirement following the ’15 season that he began utilizing the platform for his work with several media outlets. Contributing to SiriusXM’s Pac-12 Radio, The Action Network, ESPN Radio and SB Nation, Schwartz said he “would not be where I was without Twitter.” As for his approach to social media, he said, “If I think my work will get a lot of play on social media, I’ll tweet about it. I’m not going to tweet every night I’m on Pac-12 Radio because over time people will get tired hearing about that. If I write an article or post gambling picks, I’ll tweet about them.” Schwartz regularly breaks down game film and brings a unique perspective -- that of an offensive lineman. Schwartz, who is repped by Debbie Spander at Wasserman, said, “I can’t show a major network what I’m doing any better than by posting a football video on Twitter and explaining how exactly something goes down.”

SOCIAL SNAPSHOT
Must-follows: PFT Commenter is just incredible. I know Barstool is going through some drama, but I favorite more of his tweets than anyone else. He’s so clever.
Favorite apps: The MLB app is the best one.
Average time per day on social media: A lot. I do three hours of radio and Tweetdeck is open the whole time. It’s probably too much a part of my life.

Getting direction from employers or on his own:
It’s on my own. I do as I please. I never had one employer tell me to stop tweeting or don’t do that. I’ve never had that problem.

What works and does not work:
Football videos work. When I post a video breaking down a play, people really appreciate smart analysis, and not in a way that’s too football heavy. It’s describing it in a way that people can really digest it. It’s also moderation. I can post a lot more, but I don’t.

Different point of view:
CBS has the kicking analyst, we have officials on all of the telecasts and my agent tried pitching around having offensive line experts in the studio and people just aren’t as interested in that as social media. There’s a need for a smart mind talking about offensive line play. It hurts us getting big analyst roles. Joe Thomas, for example, would be great on "Monday Night Football," but he is still learning and so am I. We are only viewed as knowing what happens in the box, but our position requires us to know more than that.

Engaging with fans:
It’s important to let people know you aren’t going to stand for stupidity. If you want to come at me and present a different take than mine, sure, go ahead. If you want to come at me, I’m coming back at you. I’ve watched the film, I’ve done my research and I have my opinion. I make it a point to not take it from everyone. If someone is thinking that and willing to tweet it, other people are probably thinking that, too. It’s a way to answer all those questions at once.

Using other platforms:
I have a Facebook professional account. I post offensive line videos purely on that account. Instagram is for my family. I have 9,000 followers and I post kid pictures and food.

Athletes who use Twitter well:
Matt Bowen, who is now at ESPN doing the NFL Matchup show. He does a fabulous job of breaking things down. Also, what Ross Tucker has done with his career.

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

In Boston, Chad Finn notes former NESN Red Sox announcer Don Orsillo "will call" the Indians-Astros ALDS on TBS alongside current NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley and former NESN reporter Hazel Mae. That trio "doesn’t sound like a broadcast booth as much as it does a reunion party among Boston favorites." The Red Sox' series against either the A’s or Yankees on TBS "will be called by Brian Anderson, with Ron Darling as the color analyst and Lauren Shehadi the reporter." Orsillo "wasn’t expected to be part of TBS’s postseason broadcast team this year." But since Ernie Johnson is "dealing with blood clots in his legs and will not be part of the network’s playoff coverage this year," Orsillo was "tabbed to fill in" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/2).

ONE MORE YEAR OF MARTY BALL? In Cincinnati, Dave Clark notes Reds radio broadcaster Marty Brennaman during Saturday's game "made it sound like" he will be back as the voice of the team for a 46th season. Brennaman, 76, has "said on many occasions that if he decides to retire, he won't announce it until the conclusion of a season because he doesn't want a farewell tour." He has also said that he has been "working on one-year contracts for some time" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/2).

STAYING QUIET: In DC, Chelsea Janes noted MASN's Ray Knight, who co-hosts the RSN's pregame and postgame Nationals coverage, was "not on the broadcasts for the final homestand of the season, nor for this weekend’s trip to Colorado" for the season-ending series against the Rockies. MASN did "not announce a reason for his absence." A source said that the net is "holding Knight off broadcasts due to an in-house issue" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/1).