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Andres Cantor Used NHL to Warm Up for World Cup

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This week’s “Media Circus” column over at The Athletic features Richard Deitsch’s chat with one of the best known Spanish language broadcasters around. Andrés Cantor talks about being back on TV for Telemundo during the World Cup for the first time since 1998, how broadcasters have been treated in Russia, and how he lost 55 pounds.

The real attention grabber of the piece though comes when Deitsch asks Cantor about the goal Columbia scored against England in the round of 16.

Deitsch said he felt the call was on another level even for Cantor, who is known for his extravagant and drawn out goal calls.

You did. You heard it and sensed it correctly. As I am speaking to you, there had been 25 goals in the World Cup scored from the 85th minute on. If you looked at the clock, there had been five minutes added on and the corner kick (from Colombia) came off at I believe 93:20. So the way it was scored, the drama behind the elimination of Colombia which would have been a minute away and that it was against England, who had been one of the best teams defending against aerial play, it was just incredible. I let it all out because of the importance. I always say the goal call is punctuated and dictated by the importance of the goal. The sixth goal of a 5-0 match is a regular goal call, but a goal of the importance of the Colombia or the Argentina goal against Nigeria three minutes to the end I gave it all out. I called it with passion, with fervor, and all I had left in the tank. Then I thought: Now we go into overtime.

The two also talked about Cantor’s love of the NBA and how NBC/Universal used the NHL to get the Argentine some warmup reps before he was sent to Russia.

Deitsch: How much interest do you have in calling another sport?

Cantor: Telemundo had the NBA Spanish rights and I like the NBA very much. I was involved as the host of the broadcast. That was as close as I got to doing something with the NBA. I’m not sure it would translate. I am a soccer broadcaster. I would like to think I have the flexibility to do other sports, and I have called boxing and tennis for Univision back in the day. I can certainly do them, but soccer is my thing. As much as I would love to be around the NBA, tennis or boxing, I think there would be another role for me like host and leave the play-by-play to specialized talent.

Deitsch: I’d love to hear you call a game-winning basket by LeBron James to win the NBA Finals.

Cantor: Well in the prep to the World Cup, because we are owned by Comcast/NBC, I was invited to do the booth during an NHL game and I called a hockey goal the way I call a soccer goal. That got some attention.

The full interview is terrific and you can read it here!

Sports TV News

ABC Scores Most Watched NBA Saturday Primetime Game In 4 Years

“The game drew 3.7 million viewers.”

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The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. While the game’s controversial finish left LeBron James and Patrick Beverly upset, executives at the Walt Disney Company had nothing but smiles thanks to the performance of ABC.

The game drew 3.7 million viewers. That means the Celtics’ win is the most-watched game in the ABC Saturday night prime-time window in the last four years. A February 2019 game between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors drew 4.1 million.

Boston also delivered the highest-rated game of the NBA season so far outside of the league’s stacked Christmas Day slate.

NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC is experiencing a nice uptick in viewership this season. Through the weekend, the Saturday night games are averaging over 3.4 million viewers according to an ESPN press release.

That number represents a 16% jump from last season. The edition of NBA Countdown that airs before the Saturday night game is having a good season as well. It’s average audience is up 3% to just under 1.5 million.

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Sports TV News

NHL Ratings on ESPN, TNT Down in 2nd Year

So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season.

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Viewership totals from ESPN and TNT show NHL ratings have declined heading into the All-Star break, but there are some extenuating circumstances for the nearly 22% drop.

So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season. However, both channels have increased their linear television schedule, doubling from 27 games to 54.

ESPN has aired 18 games with an average of 402,000 viewers. In the same time period last year, the worldwide leader had only aired seven contests, but garnered 622,000 per game. None of ESPN’s games last season had aired on weekends, while the network has broadcast six games on Sunday this year alone. The 12 games ESPN has aired that weren’t on Sunday have averaged 491,000 viewers.

The 2023 NHL All-Star Game will air on ABC Saturday, and the network is hoping for a lift from last season. In 2022, ratings fell 38% from the previous All-Star Game on NBC, and hit the lowest total since 2009. The NHL Skills challenge saw its largest audience in a decade after airing on ESPN in primetime on a Friday evening. Nearly 1.1 million watched the skills challenge, a 30% increase compared to 2020.

At this time last season, TNT had aired 20 games. Through 36 games this season, the network has seen an average of 359,000 viewers. The network is helped by the 2023 Winter Classic, which took place at Fenway Park on Monday, January 2nd. The afternoon contest saw an audience of 1.78 million, up 31% compared to the previous year.

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Sports TV News

AFC Championship Game Delivers New Viewership High For CBS

53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI.

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The AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals drew a massive audience for CBS.

53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs’ controversial victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI. Additionally, the event is the most-watched NFL Conference Championship Game since 2017.

CBS claims the game peaked with 59.3 million viewers and was also the most-streamed live sporting event in the history of Paramount+.

With an audience of 53.1 million, CBS concludes its NFL playoff coverage averaging 40.798 million viewers for each game. That leads all networks thus far. The 2022 NFL season was the most-watched regular season on CBS in the past seven seasons.

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