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ESPN Owes Upwards of 20 Million For Ratings Shortfalls

Jason Barrett

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Despite the efforts of the College Football Playoff committee and some media outlets downplaying the financial hit ESPN took by being forced to televise the two national championship semi-final games on New Year’s Eve, media buyers say the network owes upwards of $20 million in ad makegoods for ratings shortfalls for the two games.

ESPN may have gotten a bit greedy when setting its ratings estimates and offering higher guarantee levels to advertisers for the two games, knowing audiences might not flock to their TV sets, despite the optimism of the CFP committee. However, advertisers are concerned about next season’s potential audience levels for the games, which will also be televised on New Year’s Eve. Even if the ratings guarantees by ESPN are set lower, advertisers would prefer the games be moved to New Year’s Day or even on consecutive primetime nights, exclusive of New Year’s Eve, when more people would likely watch.

But CFP committee officials are on record as adamantly supporting the continued airing of the playoff series games on New Year’s Eve as scheduled, which will occur in seven of the remaining 10 years of the 12-year original deal. And that position has been taken even after the 36% combined ratings decline for the two games was disclosed.

So ESPN is caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, it has to keep its mouth shut and parrot the CFP’s belief that ratings will get better in subsequent New Year’s Eve telecasts, even though privately they believe that to be nonsense. It can’t been seen criticizing its long-term partner publicly. On the other hand, ESPN has to hear the wrath of its advertisers who saw their ad dollars spent on the severe under-delivery of the guaranteed audience for the two games.

Some media outlets have pointed out that since ESPN sells packages for all the bowl games and a sizable number of advertisers are in all of the games, that the New Year’s Eve ratings shortfalls were considerably mitigated.

One buyer called that analysis “a bunch of spin,” adding that College Football Playoff Committee executive director Bill Hancock’s statement that the New Year’s Eve games’ ratings declines were simply “modest” was “just plain wrong.”

Try selling the “modest” ratings declines to the movie studios that were in those New Year’s Eve games who paid big bucks to reach an audience they wanted to reach immediately that turned out to be more than one-third less than the size that they paid for.

Sure they can get makegoods down the road, but some marketers needed those eyeballs sooner, not later.

ESPN is trying to make things right with its advertisers, although its sales executives will not discuss the situation publicly beyond a general statement issued by a network spokesperson.

“As is standard practice with any sponsored television event, inventory is managed and contingencies are put in place to protect advertisers,” the ESPN statement reads. “The specifics of those deals vary and we work with our advertisers to make them whole in the event of a shortfall.”

 

Media buyers are sympathetic to ESPN’s situation and are also appalled and angry at the attitude of the NCAA and the College Football Playoff committee and the public comments being made by their executives.

The CFP’s Hancock told The New York Times this week, “We don’t make decisions based on television numbers. I don’t have a TV number that influences my measurable for success.”

Talk about a slap in the face to his media partner ESPN which is now some $20 million in the hole because of Hancock’s arrogance, after the network paid the CFP $600 million for the TV rights of the bowl games, including the two New Year’s Eve semi-finals.

 

To read the rest of this article visit Broadcasting Cable who originally published this article

Sports TV News

Peyton Manning Rejected ESPN Proposal To Add To ManningCast Schedule

“ESPN has certainly mentioned going up to 12 games or more, and Eli and I held strong.“

Jordan Bondurant

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There’s no secret based on the last two seasons that NFL fans really do enjoy tuning in to watch Peyton and Eli Manning on Monday nights.

Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli, affectionately known as the ManningCast, has proven to be a ratings success for ESPN. Monday night’s wild card playoff edition drew in an audience of 1.7 million. That’s an increase of 17% compared to last year.

The Mannings spoke to Jeff Beer of Fast Company and Peyton said as much as the fans love watching, the two brothers and legendary quarterbacks love doing the show.

“One thing I think comes through is just how much Eli and I enjoy this,” Peyton said.

But Peyton added that they do care about oversaturating the space, which is why he said they turned down the idea of increasing the number of shows this season from 10 to 12.

“We laugh a lot. If you maybe go to 17 games, maybe we’re not laughing as much, and it starts to get repetitive,” he said. “ESPN has certainly mentioned going up to 12 games or more, and Eli and I held strong. We just feel the show is better if we keep it to the 10.”

“I don’t want to see him every week and get his voice memos of breaking down (game) film,” Eli joked. “There’s something to people wanting more, and if we’re on too much, they might not want more. It keeps me motivated.”

One of the things that people love so much about the show is just how organic the exchanges between Peyton and Eli and Peyton, Eli and their guests can be. Peyton gets the appeal from fans and knows viewers think of it as meeting up with them at a bar to watch the game.

“Football is always more fun when you watch it with friends,” Peyton said. “Eli and I get to sit on our couches and watch it together, and the viewers are all of our friends, and the guest is just right there with us. We’re on the couch, we’re at a bar, let’s have a conversation.”

Eli said they do try to make sure things stay focused on football and the game they’re watching when the time calls for it. But he also admitted that he and his older brother are always going to find ways to have fun with each other when they can as well.

“If there’s great football happening, and it’s a tight game, you want to keep it about football,” he said. “But if it’s a blowout, you have to do something else, maybe tell a story, take a shot at Peyton, you don’t know where that’s going to go. It’s authentic. That’s what would happen if we were sitting on the couch watching the game and it’s a bit boring; I might take a pillow and throw it at my brother’s head.”

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Sports TV News

Expanded NFL Season And Playoffs Could Cost NBC Golden Globes

“The 2023 edition of the show was on NBC after the two sides struck a one-year deal back in September.”

Jordan Bondurant

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There’s no hiding the fact that the NFL reigns supreme in TV ratings. Unfortunately for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Golden Globe Awards, the NFL is too strong to compete against.

Since the NFL expanded the regular season to 17 games over 18 weeks, and added a seventh playoff team in each conference, in 2021-22, NBC’s obligation to football has taken precedent over its obligation to airing the Golden Globes.

The award show this year aired on Tuesday, January 10. On January 8, NBC aired the final regular season game of the year on Sunday Night Football between the Lions and Packers. The game drew an audience of 23.9 million, which NBC said was the highest rating a SNF finale has gotten in six years. NBC carried an AFC wild card playoff game this past Sunday night with the Bengals and Ravens. That game averaged 21.2 million.

Meanwhile the Golden Globes drew in 6.3 million. That number was down 9% compared to the 2021 ceremony. NBC didn’t air the Golden Globes in 2022 amid a Los Angeles Times expose into the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

With the HFPA mired in scandal and waning interest in their award show, NBC could be done with the Golden Globes. The 2023 edition of the show was on NBC after the two sides struck a one-year deal back in September. So there are questions abound about if NBC will continue to air it. However knowing that even with the expanded season and playoffs, the option to shift the award show to later in January on a Sunday night after NBC has fulfilled its obligation to the league is on the table. But that could throw a wrench in the award season schedule as well.

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Sports TV News

LIV Golf Nearing TV Deal With The CW Network

“LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.”

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LIV Golf

According to a report from Front Office Sports, LIV Golf has laid out a deal with The CW Network for television carriage in the United States.

The deal is a multi-year agreement that will see the tour own real estate in lesser-viewed time slots on the network. A revenue-sharing relationship between the tour and the television network is expected to be struck.

LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.

After a standup comedy show in West Palm Beach last week, Feherty reportedly told the crowd “Have you heard of CW? I might get fired for this, but…,” according to report from Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post.

Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand had previously reported a deal between the Saudi-backed breakaway golf tour and the network was likely.

Nexstar Media Group — the nation’s largest television owner — is the majority owner of The CW Network. There are around 220 affiliates of the network on over-the-air television stations. Rumors of an acquisition of LIV Golf’s rights come on the heels of The CW Network being linked to the potential launch of a college football bowl game that would air exclusively on the network.

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