The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is complete after a historic two rounds filled with unprecedented upsets including 16 seed UMBC knocking off one seed Virginia.
According to CBS and Turner the tournament has averaged 8.2 million viewers across all platforms, a 4% increase from the 7.9 million views last year. Through Friday, their digital platform March Madness Live, totaled 9.4 million hours of programming consumed, a 7% increase from last year.
Many casual fans root for upsets, which they received a surprising amount of during the tournament’s first weekend, but the big schools draw ratings as March Madness heads toward the later rounds. As more ratings details are released, it will be interesting to see if next weekend’s viewership numbers decline from recent years with less of the top programs remaining.
After the conclusion of Sunday night’s games, CBS and Turner released the tip times and announcers for the Regional Semifinal games beginning Thursday March 22nd. The commentator schedule for Saturday’s Regional Finals will be announced Thursday night; Sunday’s Regional Finals announcers will be released Friday night.
Thursday, March 22
7:07 p.m. ET (CBS): (11) Loyola (IL) vs. (7) Nevada — Brian Anderson, Chris Webber and Lisa Byington
7:37 p.m. ET (TBS): (7) Texas A&M vs. (3) Michigan — Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner and Dana Jacobson
After Loyola/Nevada (CBS): (9) Kansas State vs. (5) Kentucky — Anderson, Webber and Byington
After A&M/Michigan (TBS): (9) Florida State vs. (4) Gonzaga — Harlan, Miller, Bonner and Jacobson
Friday, March 23
7:07 p.m. ET (CBS): (5) Clemson vs. (1) Kansas — Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson
7:37 p.m. ET (TBS): (5) West Virginia vs. (1) Villanova — Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel and Allie LaForce
After Clemson/Kansas (CBS): (11) Syracuse vs. (2) Duke — Nantz, Hill, Raftery and Wolfson
After WVU/Nova (TBS): (3) Texas Tech vs. (2) Purdue — Eagle, Spanarkel, LaForce
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
David Kaplan Leaving NBC Sports Chicago
“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement.”
David Kaplan has announced he is departing NBC Sports Chicago. In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Kaplan said a new path opened that he couldn’t turn down.
“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement. You’ll still be able to catch me weekday mornings with Jonathan Hood on the Kap and JHood morning show on ESPN 1000. It will also allow me to provide you with more engaging and outstanding content right here on YouTube.”
Kaplan, who will turn 62 this weekend, accepted a buyout offered by NBCUniversal. He has hosted several different shows for the network during his tenure.
“He’s made enormous contributions to our network, and his passion, opinions and love of Chicago’s teams have made him a beloved and respected figure, not just with fans but also his colleagues,” NBC Sports Chicago Vice President of Content John Schippman told The Chicago Sun-Times. “We wish him the best and look forward to seeing what’s next.”
December 30th will be his final day at NBC Sports Chicago. He called his time with the network “an amazing run”.
NASCAR Chasing Nearly $1 Billion Annual Rights Fee In Next TV Deal
“We work really closely together, both from a scheduling perspective, but also just in terms of how they monetize the sport.”
The current media rights deal for NASCAR with FOX Sports and NBC Sports doesn’t end until after the 2024 season, but the organization is currently plotting what it wants its next deal to look like, according to a report from Front Office Sports.
Currently, NASCAR makes $820 million per year from the two networks. In its new rights deal, it is expected to seek a deal in the neighborhood of $900-950 million range.
NASCAR plans to begin negotiating with its current media partners in the early months of 2023, but is currently happy with FOX and NBC.
“We work really closely together, both from a scheduling perspective, but also just in terms of how they monetize the sport. Whether that’s pushing more brands and advertisers to spend on Fox and NBC,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Media and Productions Brian Herbst told FOS. “Fox had their third consecutive year of ad revenue increases in 2022. NBC had their second consecutive year of ad revenue increases in 2022. So it’s working for them — both from a viewership and an ad revenue perspective.”
In February of this year, NASCAR President Steve Phelps told the Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast that broadcast television “has to be a part” of the organization’s next television rights deal.
As its current media partners, FOX and NBC have exclusive negotiating windows with NASCAR.
NFL Sunday Ticket Negotiations With Apple ‘Have Gotten Silly’
“Apple’s like, ‘OK, we can’t sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can’t sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.’”
A report from The Athletic details why the NFL has not announced a new partner for the NFL Sunday Ticket package. David Kaplan claims there have been continued hiccups in the negotiations, mentioning the bargaining has gotten sideways between the league and Apple.
“This negotiation has gotten silly. … Clearly, there’s a problem. I think it’s really clear Apple is learning things they didn’t know,” the anonymous NFL source told Kaplan. “What the conversation is, is Apple’s like, ‘OK, we can’t sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can’t sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.’”
The report also details Amazon Prime and YouTube remain in the mix as potential suitors for the service, should talks with Apple and the league fall apart.
The NFL is looking for as much as $3.5 billion annually for rights to the service.