Sports Media Digest- March 7, 2012

ESPN Reports Most Watched College Men’s Hoops Season Ever-  ESPN reports that the 2011-2012 men’s college basketball season was the most watched ever.  After 130 regular-season games in 2011-12, ESPN posted a 1.1 rating, up 10 percent from last season’s 1.0.  Also, ESPN ended the season averaging 1,061,000 households for a one percent increase from 2010-11.  College hoops on ESPN2 was also up by 33%.  Online viewing of college basketball on ESPN3 and WatchESPN was up 56% over the 2010-2011 season.

Strong Viewership for Combine on NFL Network-  The NFL Network today announced that for the second year in a row, over 6.5 million viewers combined tuned in for coverage of the NFL Scouting Combine.  2012 saw 6.51 million viewers tune in while 6.55 million were connected in 2011.  Sunday’s session with quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers was the most watched single day ever for the combine, with 450,000 viewers tuning in.  Online viewership of the combine across multiple platforms was up 37% over last year.

Hockey Action on NBC Sports-  NBC Sports has a wide schedule of hockey coverage, both college and the NHL, over the next week. Coverage begins this Friday as UMASS is at #1 Boston College (John Walton and Ken Hodge on the call) beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).  On Sunday at 12:30p.m. ET NBC has coverage of the Bruins at the Penguins (Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire ).  That night at 8:00p.m. ET the Kings travel to the Blackhawks (Dave Strader and Brian Engblom) on NBCSN.  Monday at 9:00p.m. ET NBCSN has the Ducks at the Avalanche (John Ahlers and McGuire).  Tuesday has the Hurricanes at the Rangers (Strader and Engblom) at 7:30p.m. ET on NBCSN while that same network will carry the Avalanche at Sabres (Emrick, Olczyk, McGuire) Wednesday at 7:30p.m. ET.

Simmons Takes The B.S. Podcast to TV-  ESPN announced today that Grantland Editor in Chief Bill Simmons will be producing an episode of his B.S. Podcast for television, with guest Magic Johnson.  The B.S. Report Special: Magic Johnson  will air on Sunday, March 11th at 10:30 p.m. ET, immediately following the 9:00 p.m. premiere of The Announcement, an ESPN Films and NBA Entertainment production looking back at Johnson’s announcement of his HIV infection.

CBS Sports Network Expands Coverage of Lacrosse-  The CBS Sports Network today announced it will boost its coverage of lacrosse with the addition of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) and Major League Lacrosse (MLL), as well as an extensive slate of college games.  The network will air 39 games this season beginning on March 30th.  Bremt Stover will handle play-by with Casey and Mike Powell as analysts.

NBC Sports Moving Eight Hours of Live Tour de France Coverage from NBCSN to NBC-  The NBC Sports Group has announced that eight hours of live coverage of the Tour de France on July 7th and 8th will move from the NBC Sports Network to NBC.  Coverage of those two mountain stages will begin each day at 8:00a.m. ET.  This marks the first time that the Tour de France will be broadcast live on network television.  NBC will have tape delayed coverage of the Tour on July 1st and July 22nd.

Soccer Journalist Steve Davis Joins NBC Sports Digital-  The NBC Sports Group today announced that respected soccer journalist Steve Davis will be joining the NBC Sports Digital team and be the featured writer for ProSoccerTalk on NBCSports.com, which officially launched today. Davis will contribute regular posts and provide video reports to NBCSports.com, and is expected to be an occasional guest onNBC SportsTalk, the daily hour-long news and information show the new NBC Sports Network.

Robles Joins ESPN and NCAA Wrestling Analyst-  ESPN today announced that it has hired three-time All-American and the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Champion Anthony Robles to serve as a wrestling analyst.  ESPN3 and ESPNU will provide coverage of the NCAA Wrestling Championships beginning March 15th.