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Volume 25 No. 196

Media

TBS' series-clinching Red Sox-Yankees Game 4 on Monday night averaged 7.15 million viewers
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

While Red Sox-Yankees was a boon for TBS’ numbers, MLB overall saw League Divisional Series viewership this year at its lowest level since ’14 (both '18 and '14 had no Game 5s). The 14 games between the NLDS and ALDS, which included two series sweeps, averaged 3.18 million viewers across TBS, FS1 and MLB Net this year, down 13% from 17 games last year (3.64 million viewers), which featured two LDS Game 5s. The mark in ’14 was 3.15 million viewers, which also included two series sweeps. TBS on its own averaged 4.32 million viewers for the ALDS, which is the net’s best LDS average since ’15, when it carried a pair of five-game ALDS matchups. TBS this year was up 15% from its NLDS coverage in ’17. The net's series-clinching Red Sox-Yankees Game 4 on Tuesday night averaged 7.15 million viewers, which is the most-viewed LDS Game 4 on any net since Indians-Yankees drew 9.23 million viewers on TBS in '07 (also a Monday night). Meanwhile, FS1 had its lowest LDS viewership since it began airing playoff games in ’14. The net averaged 2.3 million viewers, down from 3.82 million last year, which included a Yankees-Indians Game 5. This year was the first time one of FS1's LDS matchups did not go to five games. MLB Net also had its lowest LDS average since ’15. Its two games averaged 2.06 million viewers, down from 2.72 million last year. For the MLB Postseason to date, including Wild Cards, TBS, FS1, ESPN and MLB Net are averaging 3.69 million viewers, down from 3.86 million at the same point last year, but up from 3.55 million two years ago (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

MLB LEAGUE DIVISIONAL SERIES VIEWERSHIP
YEAR
GAMES
OVERALL (000)
TBS (000)
FS1 (000)
MLB NET (000)
'18
14
3,183
4,315
2,303
2,063
'17
17
3,639
3,743
3,817
2,716
'16
15
3,277
2,893
3,694
2,840
'15
19
3,861
5,452
2,795
1,608
'14
14
3,151
3,572
3,120
1,798
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MLB LDS Viewership Trend

NOT TOP DOGS YET: Astros 3B Alex Bregman, after the defending World Series champions swept the Indians in the ALDS, was unhappy about his team's lack of primetime TV games during the series, and NBC Sports Bay Area's Dave Feldman said it is because MLB wants the "most eyes on the most popular thing, and they don't believe it's Houston, so that's the way it is." Feldman: "The fact that they're the defending champs didn't mean anything." NBC Sports Bay Area's Ray Ratto: "(Bregman) can complain that nobody respects them even though they're the world champs, but nobody is paying attention to that anymore" ("The Happy Hour," NBC Sports Bay Area, 10/9). ESPN's Sarah Spain said the question about primetime TV spots is "not whether or not (the Astros are) the best team, it's the team that gets the most eyes." Spain: "While I agree they deserve more eyeballs, it's going to be the Dodgers, the Red Sox and the Yankees." The Washington Post's Kevin Blackistone said the Astros "deserve to be the primetime team" because "they're fun to watch." The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan said it is "not fair" to the Astros and they "deserve to be there." Ryan: "But it has nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with TV ratings" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 10/9).

PROS & CONS: In N.Y., Andrew Marchand wrote the TBS broadcast for the first three games of Red Sox-Yankees "lacked a big-game feel that is usually felt on Fox's playoff games." Play-by-play man Brian Anderson is "solid, but very dry," while analyst Ron Darling's "best skill is observation, not delivery, which is straightforward." Marchand: "There isn't much pizzazz" (N.Y. POST, 10/10). Marchard adds that TBS is doing a "good job of having fun with MLB pre- and postgame." The net is putting its studio analysts "in a position to laugh and feel free" (NYPOST.com, 10/11). Meanwhile, MLB Net's Chris Russo said to give TBS' Lauren Shehadi a "tremendous amount of credit" for her ALDS coverage. Russo: "Her questions have been tremendous, short and sweet and that's not easy during the game" ("High Heat," MLBN, 10/9).

KREF contacted the Browns once Mayfield, a former Sooner, was named the team's starter
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The city of Norman, Okla. has become one of the "cities with radio affiliates" for the Browns, thanks to QB Baker Mayfield and some "out-of-the-box thinking," according to Jenni Carlson of the OKLAHOMAN. Norman-based KREF-AM Owner Randy Laffoon said of the former Oklahoma QB, "Once it became reality that Baker would start ... we thought it was about time to become an affiliate of the Browns." Carlson notes when Mayfield became the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft this April, Laffoon "floated the idea" of affiliating with the Browns to his team at KREF. The station was an affiliate of the Rams "for a few years" after they took former Sooner QB Sam Bradford first in the '10 NFL Draft. When Mayfield was "officially named the Browns starter" after his "TNF" win over the Jets, KREF knew it was "time to contact the Browns." The Browns "loved the idea" of having an affiliate in the Norman market, where Mayfield's star "really rose." Ravens-Browns on Sunday was KREF's "first Browns game, complete with 30 minutes of pregame and the complete postgame show" (OKLAHOMAN, 10/11).

PGA Tour viewership rebounded big time during the ’17-18 season, as Tiger Woods played a regular Tour schedule for the first time since ’13. NBC, CBS and Golf Channel all posted big gains for their coverage. NBC averaged 3.66 million viewers for its weekend rounds, which is the net’s best figure since the Tour introduced the FedExCup system in ’07. That is also up 60% from 2.3 million viewers last season, which was NBC’s lowest point under the current FedExCup system. NBC also averaged 3.3 million viewers for its three playoff events this season, up 51% from ’17. That figure goes to 3.33 million viewers when streaming is included. Meanwhile, CBS averaged 2.46 million viewers for its Tour coverage, which is the net’s best figure since ’14-15. CBS was up 12% from last season as well. Over on Golf Channel, the cable net averaged 663,000 viewers for its live Tour coverage this season, up 31% from ’17. Golf Channel also averaged 792,000 viewers for early round coverage of the four playoff events, up 30% from last year.

PGA TOUR VIEWERSHIP TREND
SEASON
NBC (000)
CBS (000)
'17-18
3,664
2,461
'16-17
2,297
2,196
'15-16
2,580
2,188
'14-15
2,451
2,675
'13-14
2,361
2,098
'13
2,815
2,439
'12
3,425
2,745
'11
2,360
2,283

NOTES: Figures exclude majors and non-points events.

Download the
PGA Tour viewership trend

AT&T plans to release a digital video service featuring WarnerMedia’s films and television shows by the end of next year, "moving it into direct competition with rivals like Netflix, Disney and Amazon," according to Lee & Barnes of the N.Y. TIMES. Appearing at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in L.A. yesterday, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey "did not offer details about how much the service will cost, what its name will be or the date it will become available." Stankey described the new service as a "collection of boutiques," with HBO as its "anchor tenant" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/11). In L.A., Faughnder & Lee note WarnerMedia’s streaming efforts until now have "mostly been limited to offerings tailored for specific audiences." The company has Bleacher Report Live, "launched for coverage of UEFA Champions League soccer" (L.A. TIMES, 10/11). When asked how many streaming services the average person wants, Stankey said, "I can probably guess the number isn't ten. I can guess the number probably isn't two. What I do know, is that we better be at the table" (ADEMCETINKAYA.com, 10/10).