Sports Media Digest- September 17, 2013

ESPN Reports Viewership Gains Over the Last Month

ESPN today reported that over the last month viewership is up 13 percent over the same period last year.

The average viewership on the network was 1.21 million viewers while primetime viewers was up 20% over 2012 at 2.89 million.

Per ESPN PR, here are some other viewership highlights from the last month:

On September 7, ESPN registered its most-viewed regular-season college football Saturday in ESPN history, an average of 5.5 million fans across 15 hours of programming, highlighted by a 5.3 rating for Notre Dame vs. Michigan, the night’s most-viewed program across all cable and broadcast networks among total viewers and key male and adult demographics (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54).

·         The September 9 Philadelphia Eagles – Washington Redskins game was the highest-ratedMonday Night Football opener since ESPN took over the iconic franchise in 2006 (10.1).

·         The August 18 edition of Sunday Night Baseball – the New York Yankees vs. the Boston Red Sox, earned a 2.1 rating, the highest on the season.

·         The soccer game on September 10 between the U.S. Men’s National Team and Mexico tied the ESPN record for a World Cup Qualifying telecast (1.4).

·         The football season brings with it a number of popular studio shows.  The weekday NFL Live is up 10 percent from a year ago (688,000 viewers vs. 624,000), the new weekday NFL Insiders is posting viewership 27 percent larger than the time slot did in 2012 (516,000 vs. 405,000), and the expandedSaturday morning College GameDay is averaging 20 percent more audience for 9 a.m. – Noon ETthan those three hours averaged last year (1,956,000 vs. 1,631,000).

Sunday Night Football Ratings Continue Strong for NBC

NBC Sports today reported that the rating for Sunday’s 49’ers/Seahawks Sunday Night Football contest drew an average of 20.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched primetime NFL matchup between West Coast teams in nearly two decades.

Here are other details as presented by NBC PR:

  • Sunday Night Football (12.2/21 national household rating) led NBC to a decisive Sunday win in all key measures, taking the night among ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox by an 89 percent margin in adults 18-49 (6.6 vs. 3.5 for #2 CBS).
  • Through three NFL telecasts, NBC is averaging 23.9 million viewers — the fourth consecutive year with a 23+ million average at this point in the season.
  • In competing team markets, Sunday’s game posted the best-ever NBC SNF rating in Seattle (44.8/66), and matched the best NBC SNF rating in San Francisco (26.8/48), which was previously set by 49ers-Patriots on Dec. 16, 2012.

Johnny Football, Manning Bowl Lead to Big Viewership for CBS

CBS aired two of the most-anticipated football games of the early season and the result was impressive viewership numbers.

Saturday’s SEC blockbuster between Alabama and Texas A&M had an overnight rating of 9.0, the highest-rated college football game on the network in 23 years.

Yesterday’s NFL late national game, primarily the Broncos and Giants featuring Peyton and Eli Manning, gave CBS a rating of 17.8, the highest in 15 years and 24% above a year ago.

Sports Media Weekly No. 163- Mike McCarthy, Ad Age & Tracy Wolfson, CBS Sports

We have a full agenda for this weeks Sports Media Weekly  program.

Joining Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and me for our news segment is sports business reporter Mike McCarthy of Ad Age.

We begin the show with news from the NFL, which saw a total of 108 million viewers watch action from week one, the largest combined audience to watch the first week of the regular season ever.

We follow by looking at some of the new NFL Sunday pre-game shows and how, despite the rising number of these programs, viewers never seem to get enough of the NFL.

Next we bring up the news that Peter King of SI and Bill Simmons of ESPN will no longer refer to the Washington NFL football team as the Redskins, joining those who feel the name is offensive to the Native American community.  We discuss how, and who, could tip the scales in forcing the NFL and Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to change the team’s name.

With Time Warner and CBS resolving their issues over carriage fees just before the beginning of the NFL season, we hypothesize whether the NFL will be a factor as ESPN and the Dish Network head toward their contract expiring on September 30th.

We move to baseball and the impact the Yankees, and the suspension-appealing Alex Rodriquez, will have on the buzz around this post-season if they are able to secure one of the two American league Wild Card spots.

We conclude the news segment looking at the investigative report by Sports Illustrated on the Oklahoma State football program and whether these pieces ever have legs in exposing broader problems in the college ranks.

In the second half of the show Ken talks with CBS Sports reporter Tracy Wolfson.  Tracy will be working perhaps the two top football games of the week; the SEC match-up between Alabama and Texas A&M and the Manning Bowl featuring Peyton and Eli Sunday in New York.

Record Viewership for Week 1 NFL Games

The NFL reports that the first week audience for NFL games topped out at 108.4 million viewers, making last week the most-watched week one of the NFL ever.

Here are some details from NFL PR:

  • With 28.5 million average viewers, the FOX national telecast (mostly Packers-49ers) posted its best Kickoff Sunday ever, surpassing 28.0 million for Packers-Eagles in 2010.
  • ESPN’s  Monday Night Football opener (Eagles-Redskins) was the most-watched Week 1 game ever on ESPN with 16.54 million viewers and posted the highest rating ever for a season opener on ESPN (11.8).
  • On Sunday afternoon, an average of 19.8 million viewers watched NFL games on CBS and FOX, making it the highest Kickoff Sunday audience for the networks, surpassing the previous record average of 19.0 million in 2010.

Once again NFL action was the top-ranked television program in the 30 NFL markets:

Week of 9/2 – 9/8  





Market Game





Milwaukee Packers at 49ers 09/08/2013 50.8 75 1
New Orleans Falcons at Saints 09/08/2013 49.0 75 1
Denver Ravens at Broncos 09/05/2013 43.7 70 1
Indianapolis Raiders at Colts 09/08/2013 38.3 63 1
Baltimore Ravens at Broncos 09/05/2013 36.9 61 1
Pittsburgh Titans at Steelers 09/08/2013 36.3 65 1
Dallas Giants at Cowboys 09/08/2013 36.2 54 1
Minneapolis Vikings at Lions 09/08/2013 35.5 68 1
Buffalo Patriots at Bills 09/08/2013 34.7 64 1
Kansas City Chiefs at Jaguars 09/08/2013 32.4 57 1
Seattle Seahawks at Panthers 09/08/2013 31.4 65 1
Chicago Bengals at Bears 09/08/2013 31.0 60 1
Boston Patriots at Bills 09/08/2013 30.8 63 1
Cincinnati Bengals at Bears 09/08/2013 29.7 52 1
Cleveland Dolphins at Browns 09/08/2013 27.3 53 1
Nashville Titans at Steelers 09/08/2013 25.6 45 1
Atlanta Falcons at Saints 09/08/2013 25.4 48 1
Detroit Vikings at Lions 09/08/2013 25.4 52 1
Phoenix Cardinals at Rams 09/08/2013 24.6 44 1
St. Louis Cardinals at Rams 09/08/2013 24.1 41 1
Charlotte Seahawks at Panthers 09/08/2013 23.0 43 1
San Fran-Oakland Packers at 49ers 09/08/2013 22.0 50 1
Washington, DC Giants at Cowboys 09/08/2013 20.9 36 1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jets 09/08/2013 20.5 39 1
New York Giants at Cowboys 09/08/2013 19.5 32 1
San Diego Giants at Cowboys 09/08/2013 19.2 33 1
Houston Giants at Cowboys 09/08/2013 18.4 30 1
Miami Dolphins at Browns 09/08/2013 18.1 35 1
Philadelphia Giants at Cowboys 09/08/2013 17.9 28 1
Jacksonville Chiefs at Jaguars 09/08/2013 17.9 35 1

CBS, Fox & NBC See Huge Opening Week NFL Ratings

Just when you thought the popularity of the NFL could not get bigger comes ratings for the first week of the NFL on CBS, Fox and NBC.

Last night’s Sunday Night Football game on NBC featuring the Giants and Cowboys registered an overnight 16.6 rating. It’s the fourth year in a row that the season opener rated 16-plus. It was also third-best for NBC Sunday Night Football opener since 2006.

Fox’ s late-afternoon national game, mainly boosted by the Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers, got an overnight 17.8 rating, making it Fox’s best Week 1 national game overnight ever.

CBS’ regional coverage at 1 p.m., earned an overnight rating of 11.2, up 8 percent from last year. That number is the highest-rated single-header game debut for CBS in 14 years.

ESPN’s Covers the NFL 2013

We have been receiving news from the networks on their plans to cover the NFL this season.  Instead of boiling down each release, we will be posting portions directly from the network.

Here is some of the NFL programming information from ESPN

ESPN’s Extensive Coverage of the 2013 NFL Season

Monday Night Football, NFL Studio Shows,’s NFL Nation and More

ESPN kicks off the 44th season of Monday Night Football on September 9 with a doubleheader. Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins host Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC East clash at 6:55 p.m. ET followed by Matt Schaub and the defending AFC South champion Houston Texans against Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers at 10:15 p.m. Both games will be televised on ESPN and available via WatchESPN for fans who have video subscriptions from affiliated providers.

The MNF team of play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico, analyst Jon Gruden and sideline reporter Lisa Salters will call the first game and serve as commentators throughout the season (2013 MNF schedule). Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman and analyst Trent Dilfer will call the Texans-Chargers game along with sideline reporter Sal Paolantonio.

Leading into the doubleheader, Suzy Kolber will host Monday Night Countdown (5 p.m., ESPN) with NFL analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson. Stuart Scott, new ESPN analystRay Lewis, contributor Rick Reilly and NFL analyst Steve Young will join the show from FedEx Field.

What’s New on Monday Night Football

§  MNF Open: ESPN and acclaimed filmmaker/director Peter Berg collaborated on a new MNF open, which highlights the television series’ storied history and pop culture moments of the past four-and-a-half decades. It will debut September 9 at 6:58 p.m.

§  MNF Music: A variety of musicians — Amadeus (Hip Hop Producer/Music Director Trey Songz), Tobin Esperance (Papa Roach), Los Lonely Boys, Brad Paisley, Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy), Gretchen Wilson and Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne) — have written music specifically for MNF, which will be used throughout the games in highlights, graphics, bumps and more this season.

§  State-of-the-art mobile units: The largest mobile units in the nation, these trailer bodies were designed using computerized stress analysis tools from the aviation industry. They are more fuel efficient, stronger and made of lighter materials than the MNF trucks used in previous years. With 3,392 square feet of usable workspace and 86 operating workstations, the mobile units also house one of the largest routers – if not the largest – on a mobile production unit. This enables the game, studio and ESPN Deportes crews to share all content.

ESPN NFL Sundays

In addition to MNF, ESPN devotes more than 27 hours of television programming per week to NFL studio coverage during the regular season. Sunday mornings begin with Sal Paolantonio, Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge dissecting the X’s and O’s of the game in Snickers NFL Matchup, followed by:

§  Colin’s New Football Show (9-10 a.m., ESPN2): ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd will discuss pro and college football in his new pre-game show. Regular guests include senior fantasy sports analystMatthew Berry, ESPN The Magazine’s editor-in-chief Chad Millman and former Chicago Bears wide receiver Tom Waddle, who also appears on Football Sunday on ESPN Radio and as co-host of the Waddle & Silvy Show on ESPN Radio Chicago.

§  Sunday NFL Countdown Presented by IBM (10 a.m.-1 p.m., ESPN): In his 29th year as host, Chris Berman anchors the three-hour pre-game show with new ESPN NFL analyst Ray Lewis, Pro Football Hall of Famers Cris Carter and Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson and NFL insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. New in 2013, Suzy Kolber will join the show from the marquee 1 p.m. NFL game with Jaworski or Hoge. Reporters Josina Anderson, Bob Holtzman, Paolantonio and Ed Werder will also provide updates from other NFL game sites throughout the show.

§  Fantasy Football Now (11 a.m.-1 p.m., ESPN2) The Fantasy Football Now cast includes host Robert Flores, analysts Berry and Tim Hasselbeck and injury expert Stephania Bell. Sara Walsh, Mortensenand a collection of NFL reporters (who will be live from game sites) will also contribute to the weekly show. A special season preview edition airs on Thursday, September 5, at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

§  SportsCenter (7-8 p.m., ESPN): Berman, Trent Dilfer, Jackson, Lewis and John Saunders review the highlights and recap all the Sunday afternoon games each week on the 7 p.m. edition of SportsCenter.

§  SportsCenter’s “NFL Blitz” (11 p.m.-12 a.m., ESPN): Berman and Jackson co-host the “NFL Blitz” highlight segments on the Sunday night SportsCenter, reminiscent of the years they spent as co-hosts of ESPN’s popular NFL Primetime from 1987-2005.

Studio Shows in the Spotlight

§  NFL Insiders (weekdays, 3-4 p.m., ESPN): ESPN’s newest NFL show calls upon industry insiders, NFL reporters and former league executives to deliver news and information and to delve into how and why decisions are made. Hosted by Suzy Kolber, the show features senior NFL insider Chris Mortensen, NFL analyst and six-time NFL Executive of the Year Bill Polian, insider Adam Schefter and a cast of NFL expert contributors.

§  NFL Saturdays: New in 2013, NFL Live (6:30-7:30 a.m.), NFL Kickoff (7:30-8:30 a.m.) and Snickers NFL Matchup (8:30-9 a.m.) will have a home on ESPN2 most Saturdays throughout the NFL season.

§  Audibles: Special editions of Audibles, the pro football discussion show without a formal host, will air in select prime time windows beginning Oct.16 from 7-8 p.m. on ESPN. NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Herm Edwards, Keyshawn Johnson and Steve Young are frequent contributors.

New NFL Studio Commentators

§  Ray Lewis: The two-time Super Bowl champion and NFL Defensive Player of the Year joins ESPN this season, debuting Sept. 8. Lewis will appear on Sunday NFL CountdownMonday Night Countdown andSportsCenter. He will also have a weekly appearance on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike.

§  Jeff Saturday: The Super Bowl champion center joined ESPN in July and appears on NFL LiveSportsCenter and other ESPN platforms.

§  Jerome Bettis and Mark Brunell: The future Hall of Fame running back and three-time Pro Bowl quarterback, respectively, join ESPN this fall. Both will appear on multiple ESPN platforms, including NFL Live and SportsCenter.

§  Ryan Clark: The current Pittsburgh Steelers safety will bring an active player’s perspective to NFL Live in special guest appearances throughout the season. As his schedule allows during the Steelers’ bye week and in the postseason, Clark will join the show in studio.

ESPN’s Weekly NFL Programming:

Date Time (ET) Show Network
Sundays 3:30-4 a.m. or 4-4:30 a.m. Snickers NFL Matchup ESPN
  9-10 a.m. Colin’s New Football Show ESPN2
  10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday NFL Countdown Presented by IBM ESPN
  11 a.m.-1 p.m. Fantasy Football Now ESPN2
Mondays 2-3 p.m. NFL Primetime Presented by Bud Light ESPN
3-4 p.m. NFL Insiders ESPN
  4-5 p.m. NFL Live ESPN
  6:30-8:25 p.m. Monday Night Countdown Served by Applebee’s ESPN
  8:25 p.m. Monday Night Football ESPN
Tuesdays 3-3:30 p.m. NFL Insiders ESPN
  3:30-4 p.m. Mike and Mike’s Best of the NFL ESPN
  4-5 p.m. NFL Live ESPN
Wednesdays 3-4 p.m. NFL Insiders ESPN
  4-5 p.m. NFL Live ESPN
Thursdays 3-4 p.m. NFL Insiders ESPN
  4-5 p.m. NFL Live ESPN
Fridays 3-4 p.m. NFL Insiders ESPN
  4-5 p.m. NFL Live ESPN
  7-8 p.m. NFL Kickoff ESPN2
Saturdays 6:30-7:30 a.m. NFL Live (re-air) ESPN2
  7:30-8:30 a.m. NFL Kickoff (re-air) ESPN2
  8:30-9 a.m. Snickers NFL Matchup ESPN2


CBS NFL Announcer Pairings Unchanged

At it’s NFL Media Day in New York today, CBS announced its announcer pairings for the upcoming season.

CBS’ game day announcer and analyst assignments are unchanged from 2012:

Jim Nantz//Phil Simms
Greg Gumbel//Dan Dierdorf
Ian Eagle//Dan Fouts
Marv Albert//Rich Gannon
Kevin Harlan//Solomon Wilcots
Bill Macatee//Steve Tasker
Spero Dedes//Steve Beuerlein

Also unchanged is the NFL Today pregame show line-up of Jim Brown, Boomer Esiason, Shannon Sharpe, Dan Marino, and Bill Cowher.  Jason La Confora will return as the “NFL Insider” while Lesley Visser returns as a contributor to the show

Fox Sports Unveils 2013 NFL Announcer Pairings

Fox Sports today released the list of announcer pairings that will broadcast NFL games this upcoming season.

Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver will once again comprise the network’s number one broadcast team.  The trio will be the team calling Super Bowl XLVIII next February in New York.

Kevin Burkhardt will make his debut calling NFL games this season.  He will be joined in the booth by John Lynch and on the sidelines by Erin Andrews.  Former NFL defensive back Ronde Barber joins Fox Sports as a game analyst along side Dick Stockton.

Here is the 2013 NFL announcing teams for Fox Sports:

Joe Buck, Troy Aikman & Pam Oliver
Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick & Laura Okmin
Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch & Erin Andrews
Chris Myers, Tim Ryan & Jennifer Hale
Dick Stockton, Ronde Barber & Kris Budden
Sam Rosen, Heath Evans & Molly McGrath

ESPN Radio Unveils Early NFL Broadcast Schedule

Earlier this year ESPN Radio announced it will broadcast a single NFL game each week during the regular season.  The network today announced its early slate of games..

Sean McDonough, Bill Rosinski, Marc Kestecher and Ryan Ruocco will provide play by play. Herm Edwards, Bill Polian, Damien Woody and Shaun O’Hara will serve as analysts.

Here is the early season schedule, beginning with one pre-season broadcast:

Date Time (ET) Game
Sat, Aug 24 6 p.m. New York Jets at New York Giants
Sun, Sept 8 1 p.m. Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Sun, Sept 15 1 p.m. Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Sun, Sept 22 1 p.m. New York Giants at Carolina Panthers
Sun, Sept 29 1 p.m. Pittsburgh Steelers at Minnesota Vikings
Sun, Oct 6 1 p.m. Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

The remaining schedule will be released at a later date. ESPN announced earlier this year that it had signed individual multi-year agreements with the New York Giants, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins for out-of-market Sunday afternoon syndication rights.

ESPN Unveils Weekday Football Programming Beginning in August

As the NFL and College Football seasons get closer to kick-off, ESPN has announced its plans for football-related programming on ESPN and ESPN2 beginning August 5th.

Here are the details from ESPN PR:

New Weekday Lineup on ESPN and ESPN2 Set for Football Season

Adjusted Sunday ESPN2 Schedule Also Coming

Beginning Monday, Aug. 5 and continuing throughout the football season, ESPN and ESPN2 will offer new weekday afternoon programing lineups, resulting from a combination of new shows, expansion of existing programs and different time slots for select series (some of which have already taken place). Additionally for the football season, ESPN2’sSunday schedule will also have a different look (beginning September 8).

Among the networks’ weekday highlights that take effect in August are the addition of the daily, hour-long NFL Insiders, featuring Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter (ESPN, 3-4 p.m. ET) and the introduction of a daily soccer studio show,ESPN FC  (ESPN2, Monday-Friday 5:30-6 p.m. and Sundays at midnight, beginning Sunday, Aug. 11).

On Sundays from September 8 throughout the football season, the revamped ESPN2 schedule will include Cowherd on Football (9-10 a.m.), a new hour-long program focusing on both college and pro football discussion and commentary with host Colin Cowherd. In addition, the ESPN2 Sunday schedule will feature the weekly Outside the Lines at 8 a.m. followed on ESPN2 by The Sports Reporters (8:30 a.m.). Then, Cowherd on Football will lead into SportsCenter (10-11 a.m.) followed by the network’s two-hour Fantasy Football Now (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Over on ESPN, the football Sunday morning schedule will continue to consist of SportsCenter through 10 a.m. followed by NFL Countdown from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Outside the Lines (ESPN2, 4:30-5 p.m.) and College Football Live (ESPN2, 5-5:30 p.m.) are also part of the planned August weekday schedule modifications, joining the recently changed new time slots for SportsNation (ESPN2, 3-4 p.m.) and Highly Questionable (ESPN2, 4-4:30 p.m.), as well last month’s expansion of Numbers Never Lie from 30 to 60 minutes (ESPN2, 2-3 p.m.).

“The brand-new lineup is designed to reinforce our commitment to football during the most active time of year,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, programming. “Fans will gain insight from some of ESPN’s leading voices in new settings, while continuing to enjoy a strong mix of emerging shows and valuable, long-established series.”

Below is a snapshot of the weekday lineup as of Monday, Aug. 5 as well as the new Sunday lineup (as of September 8).


2-2:30 p.m. SportsCenter Numbers Never Lie
2:30-3 p.m.    
3-3:30 p.m. NFL Insiders SportsNation
3:30-4 p.m.    
4-4:30 p.m. NFL Live Highly Questionable
4:30-5 p.m.   Outside the Lines
5-5:30 p.m. Around the Horn College Football Live
5:30-6 p.m. Pardon the Interruption ESPN FC (*starts Aug. 11)

NOTE: *ESPN FC will also be presented Sundays at midnight in addition to M-F at 5:30 p.m. (as of Aug. 11).


8-8:30 a.m. SportsCenter Outside the Lines
8:30-9 a.m.   The Sports Reporters
9-9:30 a.m.   Cowherd on Football
9:30-10 a.m.    
10-10:30 a.m. NFL Countdown SportsCenter
10:30-11 a.m.    
11-11:30 a.m.   Fantasy Football Now
11:30 a.m.-12 p.m.    
12-12:30 p.m.    
12:30-1 p.m.