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MLB Delivers Big Prime Time Ratings In Local Markets

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Television ratings for baseball games on regional sports networks saw ratings increase in 2015, based on information from Nielsen for the 29 domestic clubs in Major League Baseball.

To add, 25 of the 29 rated #1 on cable while one-third of the league ranked #1 across all networks during the season in prime time, making baseball the key summer content for advertisers.

Leading the way were the Kansas City Royals with a whopping 12.98 ratings average on FOX Sports Kansas City for the season, up 82% from the 7.15 average they posted last season. It is the highest local ratings in baseball over the past 13 seasons. Ratings increase were driven by their World Series appearance last year, and following up with an outstanding 2015 regular season going 95-67. They were followed by the St. Louis Cardinals who saw a 10.86 average rating on FOX Sports Midwest up 32% from last year when they ranked 3rd in all the league. Coming in third were the Pittsburgh Pirates who finished with the 3rd best record in all of baseball. They posted a 9.15 on ROOT Sports, up 8% from the 8.49 in 2014.

The largest increase in ratings came by way of the NL Wild Card winning Chicago Cubs who saw a 3.6 ratings average, up from 1.54 last season on CSN Chicago.

On the downside, the disappointing season by the Detroit Tigers were reflective in the ratings. The club held the top ratings at the local level last season but dropped to 4th in the league posting a 6.42 rating on FOX Sports Detroit down 25% from the 8.58 rating last year.

Putting the most significant drag on substantial ratings increases for the league was the Chicago White Sox. The club from the South Side of Chicago rated last in the ratings in 2014 and did so again this season, just in more dramatic fashion. Ratings on CSN Chicago were down 28%, making them the only club to see ratings below a 1 household rating. That’s saying something considering the Dodgers pulled a 1.03 with carriage only on Time Warner and Charter in the Los Angeles area. The White Sox could only muster the 7th highest ratings on cable in the Chicago area for CSN Chicago, and 17th across all of television.

Other highlights:

    • Despite a lackluster season in the standings, the San Diego Padres saw ratings increase 24% on FOX Sports San Diego.
    • While they continue to be abysmal with their attendance, the Tampa Bay Rays ranked 11th in the ratings.
    • The New York Yankees made the playoffs after missing them for two consecutive seasons. The Bronx Bombers were competitive most of the season, and yet ratings dropped on YES Network from a 3.41 in 2014 to 3.06 in 2015.
    • The Mets stormed the NL East after the trade deadline and ran away with the Division. If fans were less impressed with the Yankees that certainly wasn’t the case for the Mets. Ratings were up a whopping 63% over last season pulling a 2.84 rating on SNY compared to a 1.74 last season.
    • While we didn’t have ratings for last season for the Houston Astros on CSN Houston, getting their TV deal sorted out on ROOT Sports has helped them as the team won the AL Wild Card. While the Astros ranked 23 in the league by U.S. clubs, they posted a 2.42 HH rating. That was ahead of the Atlanta Braves who saw a 37% drop in the ratings.

To see the ratings for each market, visit Forbes where this article was originally published

Sports TV News

Kentucky Derby Rebounds With 16 Million Viewers

“The Derby saw its best numbers since 2019 on Saturday. The audience peaked at 19 million.”

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The Kentucky Derby has now eclipsed 15 million viewers in each of the last eight years that the event was not effected by the Covid-19 Pandemic. An average audience of 16 million tuned in Saturday to see longshot Rich Strike win the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

The Derby saw its best numbers since 2019 on Saturday. The audience peaked at 19 million.

During the weekend, the event kept finding new life on social media. According to an NBC Sports press release, the overhead shot of the final call drew big audiences across a number of the network’s digital platforms, having been viewed in total more than 36 million times.

Peacock also cashed in on the event’s success. The streaming platform posted an average minute audience of over 247,000 viewers during the Kentucky Derby.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Releases Details For Joe Buck’s PGA Championship Broadcast

“Michael Collins will serve as Buck’s co-host.”

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Omaha Productions and ESPN are getting ready for the PGA Championship. News broke last week that Joe Buck would make his ESPN debut at the center of alternative coverage of the event. Now the network is sharing a few details of the broadcast.

Michael Collins will serve as Buck’s co-host. ESPN’s senior golf analyst will bring the perspective of a former caddie to the broadcast as well as the humor of a former comedian.

The duo will welcome plenty of guests too. The lineup suggests that while the broadcast will be built around golf, the conversations could go anywhere. Troy Aikman, Josh Allen, Charles Barkley, Doris Burke, Fred Couples, Jon Hamm, and Peyton & Eli Manning are all scheduled to make appearances.

“We loved doing Monday Night Football with ESPN and the entire Omaha team has been looking forward to producing alternate telecasts that celebrate other sports,” Peyton Manning said in a press release. “As one of golf’s majors, the PGA Championship is a perfect place to do our first one for golf and we look forward to working with Joe, Michael and everyone in ESPN’s golf team.”

Joe Buck and Michael Collins will be on TV for all four days of the PGA Championship. They will be on for four hours each day. The broadcast will alternate between ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+ depending on where the traditional coverage of the event is airing.

The PGA Championship with Joe Buck & Michael Collins is the latest offering from ESPN’s deal with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions. The company has also committed to produce alternate coverage of MMA and college football broadcasts in the future.

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Sports TV News

Tom Brady To Join FOX At End Of Career

“Whether or not Tom Brady is great on TV remains to be seen. What is certain is that the network just added star power that is unmatched amongst other networks that carry NFL games.”

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Tom Brady won’t be in the booth this season for FOX, but he will be there eventually. The network’s PR account tweeted that as soon as Brady is ready to call it a career, he will join Kevin Burkhardt to call the biggest game on the network’s slate each week.

“We are delighted that Tom has committed to joining the Fox team and wish him all the best during this upcoming season,” FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.

FOX has made no secret of its desire to bring Brady aboard. The network has been courting him ever since he announced his retirement in February. The desire to pair him with Burkhardt was first reported in March by Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

This news raises questions about the future for a lot of the parties involved. First, who will be Burkhardt’s partner this season? Tom Brady has committed to play for the Buccaneers. Next, what does this mean for the quarterback’s future? Does this guarantee that 2022 will be his final season in the NFL? Finally, what now for Greg Olsen? He had been Burkhardt’s partner last season and has expressed interest in continuing to work together.

All of those answers will be addressed in time. Right now, FOX is busy celebrating.

Whether or not Tom Brady is great on TV remains to be seen. What is certain is that the network just added star power that is unmatched amongst other networks that carry NFL games.

That is going to cost them too. Andrew Marchand of The New York Post has a full salary breakdown for Brady. He will get $375 million over the course of ten years. Troy Aikman and Joe Buck, FOX’s former top NFL play-by-play team, will make a combined $33 million per year at ESPN. Brady’s annual salary will top that number on its own.

FOX’s deal with Tom Brady is similar to the one NBC made with Drew Brees before his final season in New Orleans. It allowed the quarterback one more season and promised him a nice landing spot in the media when his playing days are done. We will have to wait and see whether or not FOX will end up waiting longer than the one season NBC did.

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