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Volume 25 No. 177

Media

Pittsburgh led all markets for Patriots-Steelers with a 47.1 rating, followed by Boston with a 41.9
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The longtime Patriots-Steelers rivalry continues to deliver strong TV numbers for the NFL, as yesterday’s matchup in the national window on CBS was the highest-rated game of the season for any network. The 16.5 overnight is actually down 3% from a 17.0 for last year’s Pats-Steelers matchup in the same window. That game was also the NFL’s highest-rated of the season to that point. Yesterday’s number is up from a 15.8 rating in ’16 for Patriots-Broncos in Week 15. Pittsburgh led all markets yesterday with a 47.1 local rating, followed by Boston with a 41.9. Meanwhile, CBS drew an 8.3 overnight for its regional window yesterday, up 24% from a 6.7 last year. Season to date, NFL ratings on CBS are up 6% (10.9 vs. 10.3) from last year. Fox also saw an increase yesterday for its singleheader coverage with a 12.4 overnight, up 7% from an 11.6 last year. Yesterday’s rating was the best for a singleheader window this season on any network. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ close win over the Rams on “SNF” helped NBC to a slight increase last night, as the 12.5 rating for the game was up from a 12.3 for Cowboys-Raiders in Week 15 last year. “SNF” won the night in primetime and peaked at a 13.1 overnight from 10:30-10:45pm ET (Josh Carpenter, THE DAILY).

NFL WEEK 15 SUNDAY OVERNIGHT RATINGS
NET
18 TELECAST
RAT.
17 TELECAST
RAT.
% +/-
Fox
(single)
12.4
(single)
11.6
6.9%
CBS
(regional)
8.3
(regional)
6.7
23.9%
CBS
Patriots-Steelers (98%)
16.5
Patriots-Steelers (91%)
17.0
-2.9%
NBC
Eagles-Rams
12.5
Cowboys-Raiders
12.3
1.6%

CREAM OF THE CROP: USA TODAY's Nate Davis wonders if any former player has made a "better transition to media" than Nate Burleson? The NFL Network personality, who also appears on CBS, is "Pro Bowl caliber at multiple positions -- game analyst, studio analyst, haberdashery trendsetter." His comparison of rookie QB Sam Darnold to Tony Romo on Saturday's NFL Network Texans-Jets telecast was "on point" (USA TODAY, 12/17). NBCSPORTS.com's Peter King gave a "hearty congratulations to Hannah Storm and Andrea Kremer, who just finished a series of 11 games as the first all-woman broadcast team in NFL history." Storm and Kremer "teamed up for the Thursday night Amazon Prime telecasts, concluding their season" with last week's Chargers-Chiefs game (NBCSPORTS.com, 12/17).

EVERYBODY LOVES CRIS: Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth called Eagles-Rams on NBC's "SNF," and Collinsworth's entry slide into the camera view at the beginning of the broadcast was again a light-hearted moment for viewers. Collinsworth this week entered the frame from the left after a viral entrance from the right last week. NFL Net's Mike Garafolo: "Collinsworth slides left to right this week. That’ll wake you up." SI's Jimmy Traina: "Collinsworth f***ing with everyone by sliding in from the other side is A+ material." The Athletic's David Ubben: "Legitimately gasped when Collinsworth slid in from the left." The N.Y. Daily News' Pat Leonard: "Did Collinsworth just slide in from the opposite side? Is he trolling us???" (TWITTER.com, 12/16).

CASE OF THE MONDAYS: In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel writes ESPN's "MNF" has "never been held in such low esteem." What "once was appointment viewing has become can-miss television." First-year analyst Jason Witten "offers little insight, few stories and no personality, all in a package like he's running from a fire." But Witten "hasn't diminished Monday Night Football." He is the "result of a diminished Monday Night Football." Sideline reporter Lisa Salters is "by far the best thing about the current Monday night crew" (OKLAHOMAN, 12/17).

SI.com's Jacob Feldman handed out grades for various networks' sports coverage in '18, "breaking down the pluses and minuses for each." 

ESPN: B

The net's "sports hegemony over the next two to four years feels a lot less like a sure thing." As for its '19 homework, Feldman asked, "Who is ESPN’s rising star?" With veteran faces "across the brand’s top properties, ESPN needs a fresh voice to keep the Barstools of the world at bay."

Fox: B+

"Thursday Night Football" this season "finally feels worth watching," and it has "gotten strong ratings" to boot. The net also got a "bit of good soccer news" with the North American bid winning the rights for the '26 FIFA World Cup. Next year's homework: "Consider this a makeup assignment. Fox has a chance to get back into the soccer community’s good graces when it covers next summer’s Women’s World Cup from France." 

WarnerMedia: C+

Unburdened by "merger minutiae, WarnerMedia needs to prove its various properties can cooperate without appearing too corporate." Turning the Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson match into a "sustainable franchise would go a long way." 

CBS: A- 

The "SEC on CBS" continues to "dominate the college football landscape," and the PGA Championship’s move from August to May "should make it more valuable for CBS." '19 homework: Tony Romo's first Super Bowl in February "provides a chance for him to cement his standing among sports analysts." 

NBC: B-

"Sunday Night Football" remains the sport’s "best telecast, and maybe the best production in all of sports." But whether it is "shrinking game times or incorporating advanced stats and gambling information, the leader has a responsibility to continue innovating on the future of broadcast sports" (SI.com, 12/14).

Recruiting popular boxers like Jacobs (l) is critical to DAZN's game plan moving forward
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Canelo Alvarez opened his 11-fight, $365M deal with DAZN on Saturday night at MSG, and free agent Daniel Jacobs has made his case to "join Alvarez while fighting for the new streaming service," according to Lance Pugmire of the L.A. TIMES. Jacobs said of a possible fight against Alvarez, "If we can get a big fight with DAZN ... I'm the perfect candidate." Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya, who represents Alvarez, "didn't offer any insight" into his fighter's next matchup at Saturday's postfight news conference. He said, "As a team, collectively, we will decide. There are plenty of challenges. I will have an answer for you after the holidays. The pool has gotten bigger." Meanwhile, DAZN execs "won't divulge how much their $9.99 subscription numbers grew with Alvarez's launch." But the company "needs to bring its base to at least 650,000 just to pay for two Alvarez fights per year," so recruiting the likes of Gennady Golovkin and Jacobs "is crucial." De La Hoya said that he sat next to a DAZN exec on Saturday who "was 'so motivated' by the Alvarez fight that he'll 'devote even more money into boxing." De La Hoya: "Boxing is more alive and well than it's ever been" (L.A. TIMES, 12/17).