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Volume 25 No. 199
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CBS Predicts Super Bowl Revenue Should Be Around $500M

CBS is preparing for "what is expected to be a $500 million revenue day" on Feb. 3 when the net hosts Super Bowl LIII, according to Stephen Battaglio of the L.A. TIMES. CBS acting CEO Joe Ianniello believes the net will be "in the ballpark" of the $500M NBC claims it took in last year when it aired the game. Ianniello said that ad sales have been "strong for the game, with more than 90% of the commercials sold." CBS is "not making a projection on the audience for Super Bowl LIII." However, Ianniello said that he is "'quite confident' it will be more than 100 million viewers." Super Bowl LII had an "average audience of 103.4 million viewers on NBC." That was the lowest figure for the game since '09, but there is a "reasonable expectation that the audience number should rebound this year as overall viewing of NFL games was up 6% during the regular season after two straight years of declines" (L.A. TIMES, 1/11).

STREAMING STILL ON THE RISE: CBS said that the live stream of Super Bowl LIII is poised to post another double-digit percentage increase in audience size and once again set a new record for digital viewership of the event. Last year's game on NBC generated an average minute audience of 2.02 million viewers and a peak of 3.1 million concurrent streams, continuing a steady pattern of growth since live Super Bowl digital streams began in '12. Super Bowl LIII extends a significantly widened digital distribution that began last year in which the game will be made available to all connected devices through NFL, Verizon Media Group and CBS platforms, including the CBS All Access OTT service. CBS’ live stream of the game also will be joined by a wide range of ancillary programming on its CBS Sports HQ streaming network. CBS Sports Digital Exec VP & GM Jeff Gerttula said the net has undertaken a wide range of internal preparations to minimize latency in the digital feed from real time play, annually one of the most frequent complaints surrounding the Super Bowl stream (Eric Fisher, THE DAILY).

NO WORD ON TRUMP YET: CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus said that the net has had "talks with the White House about interviewing President Trump during the Super Bowl LIII pregame show ... but that there will be 'no announcement on that right now." In DC, Matt Bonesteel notes Trump "did not do an interview with NBC" last year, though he did sit with Bill O’Reilly for a "prerecorded interview" that aired during Fox' pregame coverage of Super Bowl LI. Super Bowl pregame interviews with U.S. presidents have been a "semi-regular affair ever since George W. Bush sat down with CBS’ Jim Nantz ahead of Super Bowl XXXV" in '01. President Obama did one in "every year of his presidency" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/11). CNN's Brian Lowry writes this "tradition" of presidential interviews should have been "dispensed with some time ago." It has "awkwardly become a venue to discuss serious topics and try to make actual news, which feels out of sorts with the beer-ad-soaked environment in which it airs" (RELIABLE SOURCES, 1/10). Meanwhile, CBS will have "seven hours of pregame shows" leading up to kickoff. A four-hour "Super Bowl Today" will originate "live from a set in The Home Depot Backyard outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium and two sets inside the stadium" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 1/11).

ODDS AGAINST BETTING REFERENCS: On Long Island, Neil Best notes CBS will "maintain its season-long policy of not having announcers discuss" sports gambling on the air during the Super Bowl broadcast. McManus said, "We just had made the decision that it’s not the right thing to do now. We’re very flexible, and we’re talking to all the different gaming companies out there. We may change. But right now, we’ve decided not to do it." Nantz, who will call the game, added, "I'm totally comfortable with what Sean has mandated. I’ve never really gotten into that, ever. I don’t even think about it" (NEWSDAY, 1/11).

LET'S GET DIGITAL: McManus said that the telecast will "feature several new technological advancements, including multiple 8K cameras for the first time on any U.S. network, as well as 16 cameras with 4K capabilities for 'even more dramatic close-ups of the action.'" CBS, which will deploy 115 cameras in total during Super Bowl LIII, will also "showcase four cameras with live augmented reality graphics." McManus: "The broadcast will look as innovative as any broadcast in history" (, 1/11).