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Volume 26 No. 207

Media

TBS and CBS averaged a 7.2 overnight rating for the four regional final games on Saturday and Sunday, marking the best Elite Eight since ’15 (8.0 rating), and second-best figure since the media entities linked up for coverage prior to the ’11 tournament. CBS’ telecast of Michigan State-Duke yesterday drew a 10.5 overnight, marking the best figure for a late Sunday regional final since ’05, when Michigan State beat Kentucky in double OT (10.8 rating). Yesterday’s game also is the second-best late Sunday regional final in 29 years, dating back to a 12.4 for UNLV-Loyola Marymount in ’90. Each of the other three regional final windows also saw year-over-year upticks. Through the regional finals, CBS/TNT/TBS/truTV are averaging a 6.7 overnight, marking the tourney’s best figure since a 7.2 in ’15 and tied for the third-best figure in 26 years. The 6.7 overnight is up 8% from a 6.2 last year. NCAA March Madness Live also is seeing all-time records for the complete tourney in live streams and live hours (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

NCAA TOURNAMENT ELITE EIGHT OVERNIGHTS
YEAR
DAY
NET
START (ET)
MATCHUP
RATING
'19
Sun.
CBS
5:00pm
Michigan State-Duke
10.5
'19
Sun.
CBS
2:15pm
Auburn-Kentucky
7.1
'19
Sat.
TBS
8:45pm
Virginia-Purdue
6.6
'19
Sat.
TBS
6:00pm
Texas Tech-Gonzaga
5.0
YEAR
DAY
NET
START (ET)
MATCHUP
RATING
'18
Sun.
CBS
5:00pm
Duke-Kansas
10.1
'18
Sun.
CBS
2:15pm
Villanova-Texas Tech
6.2
'18
Sat.
TBS
8:45pm
Michigan-Florida State
5.8
'18
Sat.
TBS
6:00pm
Loyola Chicago-Kansas State
4.9
Download the
Elite Eight Ratings Chart

FOUR SQUARE: In Phoenix, Bill Goodykoontz wrote this year's Final Four purely as a TV show is "not that thrilling." It is "difficult to imagine" Virginia, Auburn, Michigan State and Texas Tech "attracting a lot of casual fans." Other than "students and alumni of schools involved and the serious college-basketball junkie, who's going to watch?" On the other side, listening to CBS' Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery and Grant Hill fawn over Zion Williamson "got a little old," and that "won't be missed" (AZCENTRAL.com, 3/31).

SPLIT-SECOND MISTAKE: THE ATHLETIC's Richard Deitsch wrote the team of Brian Anderson and Chris Webber was "terrific" during the tournament. Anderson has a "great sense for the pace of play in college basketball and when to go big on his call," and often "lets Webber dominate many of the possessions." However, in the closing seconds of Virginia-Purdue, Anderson told viewers that Virginia F Mamadi Diakite "was shooting for the win," when it actually was for a tie. Anderson said of the call, "I can't make that mistake. There is no excuse. I did not serve the viewers well on that play. It's embarrassing. I deserve the criticism" (THEATHLETIC.com, 4/1).

NO MISSOURI COMPROMISE: YAHOO SPORTS' Nick Bromberg noted residents in the middle of Missouri "weren't able to watch" Elite Eight games yesterday on their local CBS affiliate "because of a technical issue." KRCG-CBS was "off the air," and fans "couldn't watch the all-SEC Elite Eight matchup between Auburn and Kentucky and the other Elite Eight game between Duke and Michigan State on their local affiliate." KRCG "came back on the air" at about 6:30pm CT, right after Michigan State's win over Duke (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/31).

This year's games will not be exclusive to Facebook Watch, though they will be subject to blackouts
Photo: FACEBOOK
This year's games will not be exclusive to Facebook Watch, though they will be subject to blackouts
Photo: FACEBOOK
This year's games will not be exclusive to Facebook Watch, though they will be subject to blackouts
Photo: FACEBOOK

MLB and Facebook "inked a new one-year agreement" for the '19 season, in the process "cutting the number of games livestreamed on the social media platform to six, down from 26 the previous season," according to Mark Burns of MORNINGCONSULT.com. The new deal also makes the games "non-exclusive, unlike 25 of the games broadcast last year." The six games "will appear for free on Facebook Watch -- one per month" -- in the U.S. and globally, excluding select international markets. They "will be subject to blackouts in local markets." It is "too early to say if games will appear exclusively on Watch outside of the participating club markets" (MORNINGCONSULT.com, 3/29). VARIETY's Todd Spangler reported MLB "will have the opportunity to sell sponsorships against those broadcasts." Meanwhile, the schedule of games has not been determined (VARIETY.com, 3/29).

The program will be the only one of its type with a dedicated focus on Latino baseball
Photo: LA VIDA BASEBALL
The program will be the only one of its type with a dedicated focus on Latino baseball
Photo: LA VIDA BASEBALL
The program will be the only one of its type with a dedicated focus on Latino baseball
Photo: LA VIDA BASEBALL

La Vida Baseball, the Latino baseball-themed digital media company that is a partnership between TeamWorks Media and the Baseball HOF, is debuting a new four-hour daily video show that will be formatted for every major social media platform. "La Vida Baseball Live" will be based in Chicago and hosted by Andy Martinez and Henry Pacheco, with contributions from a variety of regular and recurring guests and correspondents. The program, the only one of its type with a dedicated focus on Latino baseball, will be distributed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and the company’s LaVidaBaseball.com. It is also in talks with other undisclosed media companies on potential additional distribution. “This is another big step in our goal to fill what we see as a real gap in the market and serve the Latino baseball fan in a more unique way,” said La Vida Baseball and TeamWorks Media CEO Jay Sharman. “The idea with the live show is to really pull in the fans, particularly through their comments and questions, and make them a part of the program. This is a social media-driven and social media-first show.”

ROAD TRIPS SCHEDULED: In addition to the primary studio-based programming, La Vida Baseball plans on taking the show regularly to remote events including key MLB in-season and postseason games, including the All-Star Game and scheduled games in Monterrey, Mexico, and July’s HOF induction ceremonies. During recent beta testing of the new live show, La Vida Baseball also extensively covered Minor League Baseball’s Copa de la Diversión Hispanic marketing initiative that has been significantly expanded for this year. La Vida Baseball debuted in early '17 after TeamWorks Media, a Chicago-based marketing company, struck its original deal with the HOF. It now reaches more than 6 million English-preferred U.S. Latino fans per month according to internal metrics.

On Long Island, Neil Best notes Yankees radio announcer John Sterling has "not missed" calling a game in 30 years, but the streak is in "severe jeopardy" because of the scheduled graduation of his triplets from high school on June 26. The Yankees play the Blue Jays that afternoon, and the graduation is in the early evening, but if the "logistics prove unworkable, Sterling plans to skip the game without hesitation." Rickie Ricardo, who does Spanish-language Yankees radio play-by-play, is "slated to fill in for Sterling." Sterling has called Yankees games since '89. Late that season he "missed two games to attend the funeral of his sister" (NEWSDAY, 4/1).

SILENCE UP NORTH: The Mets and radio partner Entercom "essentially have said that they don't care about their upstate fans." A Mets spokesperson said that there will be "no Mets radio network" in upstate New York for '19. The only way to hear games on traditional radio is "via the team's new flagship station," WCBS-AM in N.Y. Glen Falls-based WNML-AM was among the upstate stations that had "billed itself as a Mets affiliate," but it will "not carry the games" in '19. WROW-AM in Albany also carried games in '18, but Pamal Broadcasting Marketing Manager A.J. Bodden said that the station "would not be renewing its contract" (Albany TIMES UNION, 3/30).

NO LOVE: The White Sox already are "seeing the effects of the constant losing, including a reduction in coverage" by the Chicago Tribune. ESPN.com has a "full-time Cubs reporter," but none for the White Sox. The team's flagship radio station, WGN-AM, "sent no one to cover the season opener, while the only local TV stations that sent reporters -- besides NBC Sports Chicago, which is partially owned by the Sox" -- were WGN-TV and WFLD-Fox. The decisions "can be debated, but the truth is people generally are more interested in reading about or watching reports on teams that have a shot at contending" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/30).