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Roger Goodell Not Concerned by TV Ratings Decline

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According to Josh Carpenter of Sports Business Daily, the NFL’s TV ratings decline continued into the start of the playoffs. Each game this past weekend experienced a double digit drop as compared to last season’s wild card round.

The Titans Chiefs matchup on ESPN/ABC drew a 14.7, down 11% from the 16.6 garnered by Texan’s Raiders. NBC’s Falcons Rams broadcast received a 14.9, falling short by 10% when compared to the 16.5 in last year’s Lions-Seahawks game. The rating for Jaguars-Bills on CBS was a 17.2, a 10% dip from Steelers-Dolphins in 2017. The most entertaining game of the weekend, Saints-Panthers on Fox drew a 20.4 rating, down 15% from Packers-Giants which did a 24.

The NFL has had to answer ratings questions for two years now. On Sunday, Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke with reporters and did not express much concern.

“We always want ratings to go up, but we’re 37 of the top 50 shows, which is higher than ever,” said Goodell prior to the Jaguars-Bills playoff game. “We’re likely to be the No. 1 show on Fox — excuse me on all of television, the Fox Sunday afternoon game. Sunday night, prime time is for the seventh year in a row the No. 1 show. Thursday Night Football is No. 2. I think dominance of the NFL in television is still very clear.”

Goodell also discussed the league’s streaming partnerships. “We always want to figure out how to expand our audiences, and that’s why we’re doing things with Verizon, we’re doing things … with Amazon,” he said. “Those types of things are how we’re reaching more consumers and that’s a transition and that’s something that we’re putting a lot of focus on.”

Cord cutting is certainly a cause of the league’s ratings decline and offering accessible streaming options will help reach a larger target audience. Television ratings are down as a whole, but other sports aren’t seeing the same decline.

According to ESPN, while the NFL experienced a double digit drop during their first week of playoff ratings, the college football bowl games had a double digit increase. ESPN does use total audience measurement to determine their ratings, which means streaming numbers are included.

Even with the decline, the NFL still receives ratings other sports and TV programs would love to achieve, but the consistent decline is a trend the league would prefer to reverse. Poor matchups for Wild Card Weekend as well as the upcoming divisional round haven’t helped, but Championship Weekend and the Super Bowl should still be an important measuring stick.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

Joe Buck: ESPN Is Letting Us Set Tone For Monday Night Football

“It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”

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While Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be calling football games on Monday nights for ESPN instead of Sunday afternoons for FOX this year, fans shouldn’t expect the broadcasts to be that much different, if at all, than what they’ve been used to over the last 20 years. 

Buck was recently a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast and said that ESPN knows that he and Aikman have to be comfortable in order for Monday Night Football to be a success.

“I know we are in the honeymoon phase. I’m not dumb. That stuff wears off after a while. They are like ‘however you guys have always done a game, that’s the way we want you to do a game whether it’s with regard to meetings vs. conference calls or when you guys show up, how you like the booth set up. However you want it, we are going to do it your way’ and that’s to their credit. It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”

Buck and Aikman are obviously already very familiar with each other. Buck said that it will be important not to take that for granted or second guess what they already know.

“I think the one thing Troy and I have to avoid is trying to be different than we’ve been. They hired us based on what we’ve done and who we are and how we relate to each other and the way we see a game,” said Buck. 

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Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys

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The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.

Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.

But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.

Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:

Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.

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Sports TV News

Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”

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USA Today

Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.

The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.

Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.

“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”

Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”

He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.

Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.

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