Sports Media Weekly No. 168- Paulsen, Sports Media Watch

Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I have an abbreviated version of Sports Media Weekly this week.

Ken an I are joined this week by Paulsen of Sports Media Watch.

We begin the show by tapping into Paulsen’s vast knowledge of ratings numbers as we dissect the reported success to date of Fox and TBS during their coverage of Major League Baseball’s playoffs.

We do the same with the NFL, which, although still king of the hill in ratings, is seeing decreases in viewership on some networks thus far over 2012.  In our discussion we also bring up the report in the Wall Street Journal that the NFL may be looking at adding an additional Thursday Night game to the schedule.

We move on to the changes ESPN has been making to the NBA Countdown crew, led by the departure last week of Magic Johnson.

We wrap the show by looking at how ESPN and Turner have been trying to get out of telecasting NASCAR in 2014, the last year of its contract before NBC and Fox take over the rights exclusively in 2015.


Sports Media Digest- October 16, 2013

SEC Football Fairing Well on CBS

CBS Sports reports today that through five games its series of SEC football games is averaging a 4.6 rating and 7.3 million viewers, the highest rated and most watched games since CBS began its SEC-only schedule in 2001.

The 4.6 rating and 7.3 million viewers are 48% and 49% above 2012’s numbers.

Fox Still Seeing Strong Numbers for ALCS

Fox Sports announced today that through three games of the American League Championship Series, the network is averaging a 4.4 rating and 6.9 million viewers, a 26% increase over the network’s coverage of the NLCS in 2012.  The rating is also the highest for the ALCS on Fox since the 2009 series between the Yankees and Angels.

Tuesday’s game three had a rating of 3.7 and an audience of  5.6 million viewers, up 37% from the NLCS of 2012.

TBS Seeing Viewership Gains for NLCS

Turner Sports reports that TBS’ coverage of the National League Championship Series is seeing viewership gains over the last time the network covered the NLCS in 2011.

Through four games TBS  is averaging a 3.2 rating and five million total viewers, up 23% and 22% compared with a 2.6  rating and 4.1 million total viewers for the same number of games in 2011.

NFL Action Still Ruling the Roost

The NFL is still the top draw in the television ratings world.  For the past week NFL games were the number one rated program in 28 of the 30 NFL markets:

Week of 10/7-10/13  





Market Game





New Orleans Saints at Patriots 10/13/2013 52.8 73


Kansas City Raiders at Chiefs 10/13/2013 42.1 72


Milwaukee Packers at Ravens 10/13/2013 40.9 75


Denver Jaguars at Broncos 10/13/2013 40.3 75


Pittsburgh Steelers at Jets 10/13/2013 35.7 65


Dallas Redskins at Cowboys 10/13/2013 35.3 52


Boston Saints at Patriots 10/13/2013 35.1 62


Seattle Titans at Seahawks 10/13/2013 34.4 66


Washington, DC Redskins at Cowboys 10/13/2013 33.3 52


Cincinnati Bengals at Bills 10/13/2013 32.4 57


Buffalo Bengals at Bills 10/13/2013 32.1 62


Cleveland Lions at Browns 10/13/2013 30.8 59


Baltimore Packers at Ravens 10/13/2013 28.6 52


Minneapolis Panthers at Vikings 10/13/2013 27.5 63


Chicago Giants at Bears** 10/10/2013 27.3 42


Nashville Titans at Seahawks 10/13/2013 26.8 43


Houston Rams at Texans 10/13/2013 24.6 50


Philadelphia Eagles at Buccaneers 10/13/2013 24.5 51


Charlotte Panthers at Vikings 10/13/2013 24.1 48


Phoenix Cardinals at 49ers 10/13/2013 23.1 46


Atlanta Jets at Falcons* 10/07/2013 21.6 33


San Fran-Oakland Cardinals at 49ers 10/13/2013 21.3 56


Tampa Eagles at Buccaneers 10/13/2013 19.9 42


Jacksonville Jaguars at Broncos 10/13/2013 19.8 34


San Diego Saints at Patriots 10/13/2013 17.8 41


Indianapolis Packers at Ravens 10/13/2013 16.3 33


New York Steelers at Jets 10/13/2013 13.6 33


Miami Saints at Patriots 10/13/2013 13.4 25


SI Cover this Week

Sports Illustrated has an exclusive interview with Kobe Bryant.  Bryant graces the cover of this week’s issue:

SI 10-21-13

Sports Media Digest- October 15, 2013

TBS Seeing Ratings and Viewership Increases for NLCS

Turner sports reported today that through three games of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) the network is averaging a 3.1 rating and 4.7 million viewers, up 35% and 34% repectively over TBS’ coverage of the NLCS in 2011.

Last night’s game three in Los Angeles averaged a 3.1 rating and 4.8 million viewers, up 11% and 12% over 2011.

Sunday Night Football Again Bests MLB Playoffs

NBC’s Sunday Night Football telecast this week drew an average of 22.1 million viewers, winning the night in prime time for NBC.

The  22.1 million viewers is the highest for a prime time NFL game against an MLB League Championship Series game in 17 years (49ers-Packers on ABC, 10/14/96) and is up 11% from last year’s Week 6 SNF game (19.9 million for Packers-Texans).

Storm, Anderson to Lead NYC Marathon on ESPN

ESPN has announced that SportsCenter anchors Hannah Storm and John Anderson will host the network’s coverage of the ING New York City Marathon.

The marathon will take place November 3rd and air live on ESPN2.

Anderson and Storm will be joined by reporter Jeremy Schaap and analysts Tim Hutchings and Carrie Tollefson. Lewis Johnson will also be part of race day coverage as a reporter, providing updates from the start and finish lines. Other reporters include ABC7’s Laura Behnke and Rob Powers, as well as Jim Dolan and Kemberly Richardson.

Additionally, Editor-in-Chief of Runner’s World David Willey will serve as a reporter while running the course. Juli Benson and Toni Reavis will serve as lead women’s reporter and lead men’s reporter, respectively.

“The beauty of the marathon is that any runner can share the same unbridled joy in finishing as a world class runner can in winning,” said Anderson. “The accomplishment is the thing! And New York makes people feel better about that accomplishment than anywhere else. The course and the spectators give the race unmatched energy. It’s why ’83 champion Rod Dixon was spot on when he said, ‘New York is the one you have to win.’”

Storm added: “There is perhaps, no sporting event in America more closely attached to its neighborhoods and city – while at the same time being an instantly recognizable international event – than the New York City Marathon. It’s an integral part of the fabric of this city and I’m thrilled to be involved in the broadcast, which we hope showcases the resilience of all New Yorkers and those who attend this great event.”

Sports Media Weekly No. 167- Steve Lepore, Awful Announcing & Adam Schein, CBS Sports

The MLB Playoffs are in full gear and so is another edition of Sports Media Weekly.

Joining Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and me to discuss the news of the week is Steve Lepore, newly-hired writer for Awful Announcing.

We begin the program looking at the successes thus far of TBS on its coverage of Major League Baseball’s postseason.  The numbers for the network are higher than 2012, even without an appearance by the New York Yankees.

Next we look at the emergence of the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) as the leader when it comes to televising the NHL.  Since the time NBCSN was known as OLN and Versus the network has found its niche in being the United States home for hockey.

We wrap up the segment by looking at the impact of how Peyton Manning’s hot start has been reflected in the early-season NFL ratings.

Ken takes over the second half of the show speaking with CBS Sports host Adam Schein. Ken talks with Adam about his work on That Other Postgame Show, NFL Monday QB, and SiriusXM Radio.

Sports Media Digest- October 8, 2013

TBS Continues to See Viewership Increases in MLB Playoffs

Turner Sports announced today that Monday’s triple header of MLB Playoff action on TBS scored an average of 3,803,000 total viewers, an increase of 11% over the comparable Monday telecasts last year.  The 2.5 rating is up 9% compared with 2012.

Boston had the highest local market rating at 20.9 Monday, followed by Tampa at 17.0 and Los Angeles at 12.0.

Collins Joins ESPN as NBA Analyst

ESPN has announced today that it has signed former NBA guard and head coach Doug Collins to serve as a NBA analyst.

Collins will serve as an analyst on NBA Countdown –  with Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons. In addition, he will serve as a game analyst for select telecasts on ESPN.

Collins will also make regular appearances across ESPN entities, including SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and additional news and information programming.

Collins will be taking over the regular spot on NBA Countdown  currently held by Michael Wilbon.  Wilbon will continue to have a significant presence on ESPN’s NBA coverage across platforms. He will contribute to ESPN news and information programming, including SportsCenter, where he will provide reports, analysis and offer essays on pertinent NBA topics. Wilbon will also be on site for the NBA Conference Finals and NBA Finals.

“ESPN’s NBA coverage plays a leadership role in the way fans experience the sport, so I’m eager to share my basketball insights with our viewers,” said Collins. “Working with Magic, Jalen, Bill and the rest of my new ESPN colleagues will be a lot of fun.”

“Doug Collins is a one of the most respected NBA voices and we’re thrilled to have him join NBA Countdown. Collins brings a contemporary coaching perspective, which will enhance the diverse discussion on Countdown.” said John Wildhack, ESPN Executive Vice President, Production.Additionally, Michael Wilbon will remain a leading authority for the NBA on ESPN while maintaining the flexibility to increase his in-studio appearances on our important Pardon The Interruption franchise.”

NBC Sports and Hockey East Reach Multi-Year Contract Extension

NBC Sports and the Hockey East Conference have announced that they have reached an extension to their existing contract that will keep the leagues games on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) through the 2014-2015 season.

NBCSN will annually televise a minimum of five Hockey East games, and up to 12 regular-season games over the next two years.

“We are pleased to continue our relationship with Hockey East and deliver live coverage of five Hockey East regular season games.” said Jon Miller, President, Programming NBC Sports and NBCSN. “With this renewal, Hockey East will continue to provide quality content for NBCSN across the next two college hockey seasons.”

“We are delighted to renew our relationship with NBCSN, whose commitment to showcase both amateur and professional hockey is unparalleled,” said Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna. “Hockey East embraces and values this partnership at a time when college hockey is experiencing seismic changes across the country.”

Dave Strader and Dave Goucher, will split play-by-play duties for NBCSN’s coverage of Hockey East. Ken Hodge will serve as an analyst for all Hockey East games on NBCSN. Here is the schedule of this season’s Hockey East games on NBCSN:


Friday, October 25 Massachusetts – Maine 8 p.m.
Friday, November 1 Northeastern – Boston College 8 p.m.
Friday, November 22 North Dakota – Boston University 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 31 Boston University – Massachusetts 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 14 Boston University – New Hampshire 7 p.m.

Sports Media Digest- October 7, 2013

Denver/Dallas Wild Finish Brings CBS Ratings Gold

CBS Sports reported today that yesterday’s NFL national game between the Broncos and Cowboys scored the network an average rating of 18.6, the highest rated NFL game this season to date.

The rating was 18% above CBS’s national game from a year ago (Denver-New England; Buffalo-San Francisco; Tennessee-Minnesota).

CBS’s regional coverage of the NFL earlier Sunday averaged a 9.7 rating, up 4% from 2012.

MLB Playoff Ratings on TBS Up over 2012

Through the first five days of the 2013 MLB postseason, TBS reports ratings of playoff action is averaging a rating of 2.3, up 5% over last year’s 2.2 rating over the same time period.  The network’s average of 3,482,000 total viewers is up 2% over last year.

Sunday’s NLDS series (St. Louis/ Pittsburgh and Atlanta/Los Angeles)  averaged 3,174,000 total viewers and a 2.0 rating, up 19% and 18% over the comparable Sunday telecasts last year.

CBS Sports Announces SEC Doubleheader for October 19th

CBS Sports today announced that it will telecast an SEC football doubleheader on October 19th.

Georgia will take on Vanderbilt at 12 NOON.  Tim Brando, Aaron Taylor and Allie LaForce call the contest from Vanderbilt Stadium.

At 3:30 PM, Auburn visits Texas A&M. Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tracy Wolfson will call the game.

NBC Sports’ Coverage of the U.S. Olympic Winter Trials

NBC Sports plans to produce 34.5 hours of live coverage of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Trials in advance of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.  Coverage will feature six sports – speed skating, short track, hockey, ski jumping, Nordic combined and curling.

Here is the schedule, set for NBC and the NBC Sports Network:


Date Sport Coverage Network Time**
Fri., November 15 Curling Men’s & Women’s Trials – Match 1 NBCSN 3:30 p.m.
Sat., November 16 Curling Men’s Trials – Match 2 NBCSN 3:30 p.m.
Curling Women’s Trials – Match 2 NBCSN 8 p.m.
Sun., November 17 Curling Men’s & Women’s Trials– Match 3* NBCSN Noon
Fri., December 20 Women’s Ice Hockey Team USA vs. Team Canada NBCSN 8 p.m.
Fri., December 27 Speed Skating Men’s 5000m & Women’s 3000m NBCSN 8 p.m.
Sat., December 28 Speed Skating Men’s & Women’s 500m NBC 3 p.m.
Women’s Ice Hockey Team USA vs. Team Canada NBCSN 4 p.m.
Sun., December 29 Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Men’s & Women’s Trials NBC 1:30 p.m.
Speed Skating Men’s & Women’s 1000m NBC 3 p.m.
Tue., December 31 Speed Skating Men’s & Women’s 1500m NBCSN 6 p.m.
Wed., January 1 Speed Skating Men’s 10,000m & Women’s 5000m NBCSN 5 p.m.
Fri., January 3 Short Track Men’s & Women’s 1500m NBCSN 8 p.m.
Sat., January 4 Short Track Men’s & Women’s 500m NBCSN 4 p.m.
Sun., January 5 Short Track Men’s & Women’s 1000m NBC 4 p.m.



Sports Media Digest- October 3, 2013

ESPN Drops Commitment to Overseas X Games

ESPN announced today that it will no longer be producing X Games competitions outside of the United States.  Here is their official statement:

“ESPN today announced it will not continue with X Games events in Barcelona, Munich, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil and Tignes, France.  We are proud to have run world-class competitions for both the athletes and spectators; however the overall economics of these events do not provide a sustainable future path.  The company remains fully committed to the X Games brand and its full-scale competitions in Aspen, Colorado and Austin, Texas – its newest host city – and we will continue to distribute these premier events around the world.”

NFL Flexes One Game For Week Seven

The NFL announced today that the October 20th game between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs will be moved to 4:25p.m ET from its original 1:00p.m. ET kick-off. The move was made to accommodate regional broadcast patterns.

The game will still be telecast on CBS.

Westwood One to Broadcast a NFL Quadruple Header on Sunday

After the NFL announced the move of the Chargers/Raiders game to 11:35p.m. ET this Sunday, Westwood One saw this as an opportunity to expand its game broadcast offering to four games this Sunday.

Here is the Westwood One schedule this Sunday, with announcer assignments:

12:30pm ET, Seattle Seahawks @ Indianapolis Colts…Dave Sims/Mark Malone
3:45pm ET, Denver Broncos @ Dallas Cowboys… Chuck Cooperstein/Trent Green
7:30pm ET, Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49ers…Kevin Kugler/James Lofton
11:15pm ET, San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders…Tom McCarthy/Rod Woodson

MLB Wild Card Games on TBS See Modest Viewership Games

The two MLD Wild Card games on TBS earned an average audience of 4.7 million viewers, up 2% over 2012. This year’s 3.0 U.S. rating is even with last year.

Both Wild Card telecasts allowed TBS to rank first among all cable networks in primetime both nights.


Sports Media Weekly No. 166- Neil Best, Newsday & Don Orsillo, NESN

This week’s Sports Media Weekly  program features guests from the Northeast.

Joining Ken Fang of Fangs Bites and me for our news segment this week is Neil Best of Newsday.

We begin the show by previewing the coverage of Major League Baseball’s post season.  We all agree that even though many of the announcing assignments are unchanged this year, the one game wild card playoff aspect of the post season does bring with it an added level of excitement.

We switch to the NFL and CBS’s announcement that NFL Today analysts Boomer Esiason, Bill Cowher, and Shannon Sharpe will move from the studio to the booth for one week during next Sunday’s action.  If it were another sport other than the NFL then these moves may have more significance than they do.

We next ask Neil to bring us up to date with the state of sports coverage in New York, now that the Yankees and Mets are finished for the season; the Giants and Jets don’t seem to be going in any positive direction; and the winter sports season hasn’t really gotten started in any meaningful way.

Our second guest this week is Red Sox television play-by-play voice Don Orsillo.  Ken speaks with Don about his work with the Sox on NESN, his upcoming playoff stint with TBS; and even culinary arts.

Sports Media Digest- October 2, 2013

NL Wild Card Ratings Up 15% over 2012

Turner Sports reports that last night National League Wild Card game between the Reds and Pirates averaged a 3.0 rating and 4.6 million total viewers, up 15% over last year’s NL Wild Card game between the Cardinals and Braves.

The game also  won the night across all cable networks among total viewers.

ESPN Sees 14% Increase in Ratings for MLB

With the Major League Baseball regular season complete ESPN reports that its ratings numbers for the 2013 season are up 14% over 2012.

ESPN finished with a 0.8 U.S. household rating in 2013, up from a 0.7 in 2012, according to Nielsen.

Avery Johnson Joins ESPN as NBA Analyst

ESPN announced today that former NBA player and coach Avery Johnson has joined the network as a NBA analyst.

Johnson will provide analysis for NBA Coast 2 Coast and NBA Tonight, while also making regular appearances on SportsCenter and additional ESPN news and information programming.  Johnson will make his in-studio debut on Monday, October 21.

“I have a wealth of knowledge that I’ve accumulated in my 23 years in the NBA as a head coach and point guard and I’m excited to share my insights with NBA fans,” said Johnson. “I’m thrilled to re-join ESPN and work with their talented team.”

New Features for NBA League Pass as it Enters its 20th Season

NBA Digital announced today that there will be some added features to its NBA League Pass is this, its 20th season.

The new features will be available on NBA League Pass Broadband, which is available complimentary to NBA League Pass and as a standalone product.  Additional package options include NBA League Pass Mobile and NBA League Pass Choice, allowing fans to choose up to five teams to watch during the regular season.

NFL Action Still Tops In Ratings

For the fourth season NFL games were the top ranked program in television.  Additionally, NFL action was the top ranked program in 28 of the 30 NFL markets:

Week of 9/23–9/29  





Market Game





Denver Raiders at Broncos* 09/23/2013 44.4 65


Kansas City Giants at Chiefs 09/29/2013 39.3 72


Seattle Seahawks at Texans 09/29/2013 36.1 68


Boston Patriots at Falcons 09/29/2013 34.5 56


Indianapolis Colts at Jaguars 09/29/2013 34.0 57


Buffalo Ravens at Bills 09/29/2013 33.7 64


Minneapolis Steelers at Vikings 09/29/2013 33.2 67


Detroit Bears at Lions 09/29/2013 32.3 56


Pittsburgh Steelers at Vikings 09/29/2013 31.0 59


Baltimore Ravens at Bills 09/29/2013 30.5 58


Chicago Bears at Lions 09/29/2013 30.4 61


Cincinnati Bengals at Browns 09/29/2013 29.2 51


Washington, DC Redskins at Raiders 09/29/2013 29.0 51


Nashville Jets at Titans 09/29/2013 28.9 44


Cleveland Bengals at Browns 09/29/2013 27.6 56


San Diego Cowboys at Chargers 09/29/2013 27.5 55


Houston Seahawks at Texans 09/29/2013 27.3 55


Dallas Cowboys at Chargers 09/29/2013 26.8 48


Philadelphia Eagles at Broncos 09/29/2013 26.2 44


Atlanta Patriots at Falcons 09/29/2013 25.5 40


Tampa Cardinals at Buccaneers 09/29/2013 20.5 40


Phoenix Cardinals at Buccaneers 09/29/2013 19.3 40


San Fran-Oakland 49ers at Rams** 09/26/2013 18.7 39


St. Louis 49ers at Rams** 09/26/2013 16.6 28


Jacksonville Colts at Jaguars 09/29/2013 16.4 33


New York Giants at Chiefs 09/29/2013 15.2 35


Charlotte Patriots at Falcons 09/29/2013 15.0 26


Miami Eagles at Broncos 09/29/2013 11.1 21


MLB Playoff Preview on Cover of SI

This week’s Sports Illustrated previews the Major League Baseball playoffs.  Here is the cover:

SI 10-7-13

Turner Announces Broadcaster Assignment for Wild Card and Division Series

Turner Sports announced today the announcer assignments for TBS’ coverage of the MLB Wild Card games and Division Series.

Here is the schedule and assignments for the two Wild Card games:

Date Time (ET) Games/Commentator Teams
Tuesday, Oct. 1 7 p.m. MLB Postseason Pre-Game on TBS presented by Jeep
Keith Olbermann (host), Mark DeRosa, Dirk Hayhurst, Pedro Martinez and Tom Verducci (analysts).
  8 p.m. N.L. Wild Card Game: Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates

Ernie Johnson (play-by-play), Ron Darling and Cal Ripken (analysts) with Craig Sager (reporter)

  Postgame The Postseason Show on TBS presented by Johnnie Walker

Olbermann, DeRosa, Hayhurst, Martinez and Verducci

Wednesday, Oct. 2 7 p.m. MLB Postseason Pre-Game on TBS presented by Jeep
Olbermann, DeRosa, Hayhurst, Martinez and Verducci
  8 p.m. A.L. Wild Card Game: Tampa Bay Rays / Texas Rangers at Cleveland Indians

Brian Anderson (play-by-play), Joe Simpson and John Smoltz (analysts) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)

Postgame The Postseason Show on TBS presented by Johnnie Walker

Olbermann, DeRosa, Hayhurst, Martinez and Verducci

Here are the assignments for the Division Series:

  • Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves  Ernie Johnson (play-by-play), Ron Darling and Cal Ripken (analysts) with Craig Sager (reporter)
  • N.L. Wild Card vs. St. Louis Cardinals  Dick Stockton (play-by-play) and Bob Brenly (analyst) with Matt Winer (reporter)
  • Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics – Don Orsillo (play-by-play), Dennis Eckersley and Buck Martinez (analysts) with David Aldridge (reporter)
  • A.L. Wild Card vs. Boston Red Sox – Brian Anderson (play-by-play), Joe Simpson and John Smoltz (analysts) with Rachel Nichols (reporter)