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Volume 25 No. 239
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AAF Gets Good Marks For App, Televised Replay Process On TV

CBS' coverage of the AAF games Saturday night in primetime drew a 2.1 overnight rating
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

CBS on Saturday night drew a 2.1 rating for the debut of the Alliance of American Football. The telecast was regionalized with San Diego Fleet-San Antonio Commanders and Atlanta Legends-Orlando Apollos. That figure was even with Thunder-Rockets in the same window on ABC, but below ESPN’s Duke-Virginia telecast. From now through the title game (on CBS), only TNT (two games all season), CBSSN (at least one game per week) and NFL Net (two games per week) will carry games on linear TV. The AAF app will also carry games that are not airing on CBSSN, while B/R Live will also stream one game per week. Back in ’01, NBC drew a 10.3 for the inaugural XFL game, but would never again come close to that figure, with Week 2 drawing a 5.1 (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). BROADCASTING & CABLE's Jon Lafayette noted a playoff game and the championship game for the AAF will be "broadcast by CBS" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 2/11).

POTENTIAL IS THERE: In Phoenix, Bill Goodykoontz wrote he "checked into" the AAF on Saturday and Sunday, "choosing a few different viewing options -- broadcast television, streaming online and by way of an iPhone app -- and as a TV experience it was just fine." The football was "entertaining and the technological innovations, particularly watching and listening to a replay official think out loud while deciding whether to overturn a call, were interesting" (AZCENTRAL.com, 2/10). In Chicago, Phil Rosenthal writes the AAF's mobile app, which "tracks all the players on the field -- even for the coin toss -- was nifty." This "potential precursor to a future which bettors might be able to wager on what would occur next on a play-by-play basis was handicapped by the lag between real time and the TV broadcast." However, the app could eventually be "on time and then the AAF truly might have something" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/11).

UNDER THE HOOD: PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Michael David Smith wrote the first games provided "something we’ve never seen before: An inside look at the instant replay decision-making process." During Commanders-Fleet, a pass was "ruled complete by the officials on the field" but then "went to replay review." TV cameras and microphones then "showed the viewing audience the replay official discussing the play with the referee on the field." The call was "overturned, and we got to hear exactly what the replay official has to say." That kind of transparency is "great for fans, and it would be great to see the NFL adopt the same level of transparency." But "not everything has gone smoothly on the officiating front." The AAF "made a big deal about its real-time replay official, known as SkyJudge, but when the officials on the field made an obvious mistake, SkyJudge failed to correct it" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 2/9). NFL Net's Shaun O'Hara also pointed out how the league was "able to bring the fans into the huddle and let them hear the play call." O'Hara: "That transparency is great" ("Golic & Wingo," ESPN Radio, 2/11).