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Volume 25 No. 155

Media

Last night's game peaked at an 8.3 overnight from 11:00-11:15pm ET during the Giants' go-ahead drive
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

ESPN earned a 7.4 overnight rating for the Giants' 27-23 win over the 49ers on "MNF" last night, up 19% from a 6.2 for Dolphins-Panthers in Week 10 last season. Two years ago, a close Bengals-Giants matchup in Week 10 drew a 7.9 overnight. Last night's game peaked at an 8.3 overnight from 11:00-11:15pm ET during the Giants' go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter. The game drew an 18.6 local rating in the S.F.-San Jose-Oakland market (6.7 on ESPN, 11.9 on KGO-ABC). The N.Y. market drew an 11.6 local rating (6.8 on ESPN, 4.8 on WPIX-CW) (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

KEEPING IT AWKWARD: In Philadelphia, Rob Tornoe noted "MNF" analyst Jason Witten last night once again "dominated much of the discussion about the game" on social media. Witten was "mocked" over comments he made about 49ers QB Nick Mullens. During the first quarter, ESPN's Joe Tessitore revealed that Mullens actually attended Giants QB Eli Manning's passing academy in '16 during his senior year at Southern Miss. Witten awkwardly responded, "Some dreams never come true, but if you keep dreaming, you never know." Witten then had a "couple more minor missteps" during last night's broadcast (PHILLY.com, 11/13).

LACES OUT: In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal notes Bears K Cody Parkey missed four field goals on Sunday, and Bears radio announcer Jeff Joniak's reactions "seemed a bit detached, protective, maybe a tad too deferential to the team." When Parkey missed his fourth field goal, Joniak hammered the word, “AGAIN,” and it sounded as though his co-analyst Tom Thayer "groaned." Joniak later noted that Parkey had missed just three kicks in '18 coming into the Lions game and "never had more than five misses in an entire season" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/13).

THAT'S GONNA LEAVE A MARK: USA TODAY's Andy Nesbitt notes ESPN's Ryan Clark had to leave “NFL Live” in the middle of yesterday’s show due to an injury that he "suffered by walking into a camera during a commercial break." His ESPN co-workers THEN had "some fun with it." Adam Schefter tweeted, "Injury update: @Realrclark25 is now at a local CT hospital, receiving 2-3 stitches on his forehead, after accidentally walking into a camera during a commercial break of NFL Live, per sources. Clark is probable for NFL Live next week" (USATODAY.com, 11/12).

Albert's current contract with Turner takes him through the '20-21 NBA season
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

Turner officials have "discussed replacing" TNT's Marv Albert as their "No. 1 play-by-player" after this NBA season, according to sources cited by Andrew Marchand of the N.Y. POST. Albert’s contract "gives Turner the right to decide yearly whether to keep Albert on its top NBA events, the conference finals and the All-Star Game." While Turner execs have begun "developing a plan forward, they want to be respectful to Albert’s place in sports broadcasting history." All sides "stressed that no final decisions have been made." If Albert were "no longer Turner’s No. 1," he still would be "able to broadcast games in the final two years of his contract," which runs through the '20-21 season. Sources said that Brian Anderson is "considered the current front-runner to replace Albert" for '19-20. Anderson is the net’s "lead play-by-player on the MLB playoffs," but he is "not closely associated with the NBA, having never been a team’s regular play-by-player and having only worked a limited number of national games." If Turner were to "anoint Anderson, it would be bypassing Kevin Harlan, who has been the network’s longtime No. 2" play-by-play broadcaster (NYPOST.com, 11/13).

Pac-12 Networks is in approximately 20 million homes, while ESPN and FS1 are in over 80 million each
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

There have been an "inordinate number" of football games broadcast on Pac-12 Networks this month, which is "certainly less-than-ideal from an exposure standpoint" for the conference, according to Jon Wilner of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. In the "middle of the stretch run, the peak time for college football viewing and drama, a greater percentage of Pac-12 games are being seen by a smaller number of fans" thanks to a "decrease in exposures on ESPN and Fox." Pac-12 Networks is in "approximately 20 million homes," while ESPN and FS1 are in over 80 million each. Pac-12 Networks broadcasts this month took up 11 out of 24 total broadcast windows, meaning 46% of games were on the conference-owned channel. That number was up from 33% in both '16 and '17. Those numbers do not include the conference championship game. Wilner noted the November increase "seems to be the result of circumstances, of the schedule of games -- not only in the Pac-12 but the other Power Fives." That is "better than a permanent reduction in Pac-12 November telecasts on the exposure behemoths" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 11/13).

FS Prime Ticket's Clippers CourtVision streaming option on Fox Sports Go this season has "felt smooth, information-rich and -- at this moment in time, at least -- slightly superfluous," according to Mirjam Swanson of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. One can wonder whether viewers streaming the game "really need an animated overlay announcing 'Buckets!' when Clippers’ shots fall." The alternate viewing experience "felt a little like watching someone play a video game, and a lot like an ambitious use of the augmented reality technology" used in various sports broadcasts. However, the most interesting of CourtVision's features is its "probability function, in which an ever-changing display illustrates the percentage each offensive player shoots depending on where he is on the court." That function is "part of 'Player Mode,' which also features in-game stats, such as scoring and rebounding, with updates appearing over players as their totals increase." Everything about that mode is "great except for the top-of-the-backboard baseline video feed, which often is jagged as it pans in and out while trying to keep pace with the action on the other end of the court." During recent viewing experiences, CourtVision "synced nicely" with the broadcast team's commentary, but fans tweeting about the game "stayed about two minutes ahead of the action on the app, and therefore served up spoilers whenever something exciting was about to happen." That is "something that is expected to change as CourtVision improves and adds features" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 11/13).

NFL Jets Senior VP/Communications & Content Eric Gelfand (@NYJets) is in his third season with the team, and just over a year ago began overseeing content related to social media, digital and broadcasting. In that time, the Jets have placed a greater emphasis on video -- particularly on Instagram -- where the club increased video posting by 25%. As a result, they have seen a 70% year-over-year increase in average use on the platform. Another feather in their cap has been the launch of the One Jets Drive video series. Initially intended as a preseason series reflective of “Hard Knocks," it has now been extended into the regular season and has seven million total views. Gelfand said, “It was so clear that it was resonating with our fans and it was performing so well on our Facebook Watch page. It was a success. The second piece is we had the access to the team that we just said we would double down, we would go through training camp and see how that goes. We had a lot of momentum. It continued to do well so we said, 'Why stop here?' We built a really nice brand. Our fans are yearning for this content and we plan on doing it next season as well.”

SOCIAL SNAPSHOT
Must-follows: BR Football on Instagram. I’m a big soccer fan and what they do is fun.
Favorite apps: Waze
Average time per day on social media: Way too much.

Evolution of Jets social media:
Ownership saw the benefit of social media and pushed us to engage and it really spring-boarded us from the initial phases to where we are now. Since I have been here, we really took a fine-tooth comb to each one of the platforms and how we should activate and engage our fans. After this past season, we did a deep dive and looked at everything we did from a content standpoint and how it impacted our engagement on social platforms. We looked at our top 30 and bottom 30 pieces of content and it gave us a broad vision of what we should be doing going forward. The things at the bottom we either got rid of or re-imagined them. The things at the top -- we decided to lean into them more.

Working with players:
They understand what we are looking to get and sometimes we capture moments that are opportunistic. We had a moment with Jamal Adams on report day when we were capturing people on the first day of work. Jamal tried to get in the building and his code wasn’t working. It was funny. In that instance, we held it and posted it a week or two later on a Monday -- tying it into the beginning of the work week. The players engage with us and we also provide them content for their own social media. We made the decision a few years ago to hire a full-time photographer. What we do is provide the players with photos and they use them for their platforms. What it does is create a deeper relationship with the team so when we need them to do some things, it makes things a lot easier.

New for ’18:
We knew that music was a really big part of our videos. We felt we had an opportunity to take things to another level, so we created a partnership with Def Jam Recordings. The idea was we would have access to their library to license some songs that we would use for our amp-up videos. We decided to use them just for home games -- so eight videos, eight songs. We’ve seen those songs and videos -- compared to the ones that have generic license music -- do 40% better from an engagement standpoint.

Broadening reach:
An example of what we have been doing the last two years is we have what we call influencer dates. We do two a year and invite social media influencers from across different spectrums like food, travel and parenting. We have them come out and experience a game day from start to finish. We take them around the stadium, put them on the field and in the tunnel and have a food tasting. What we do is encourage them to post throughout the game. What we’ve seen is a crazy amount of engagement. Impressions for the previous five were 20 million impressions to an audience we don’t normally talk to.

Balancing games, news, off-field and sponsor-related content:
Twitter is the main source of news and on game day it is our main traffic platform. We work closely with our partners and found in the last few years their desire to be represented on social and digital platforms has increased. We try be as collaborative as we possibly can and present content worthy of not just the sponsor, but our fans.

Concern over team’s social media rankings:
We definitely pay attention to it, but it doesn’t impact our day-to-day work because we have a straightforward vision for what we think works for us and our fans. That really drives us.

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