There is going to be a lot of baseball on your TV on Wednesday and Thursday. ESPN will leverage its relationship with Major League Baseball and take advantage of all that content with a new show for ESPN+ called Squeeze Play.
Squeeze Play is the Major League Baseball postseason’s answer to the NFL RedZone channel. Jason Benetti, Kyle Peterson and Mike Petriello will serve as hosts for a whip around style show covering all eight games on Wednesday. They will do it all again on Thursday.
The trio of hosts will be connected via video conference. Benetti joked that he would stay comfortable in his home with six screens, his fridge steps away and a strategically placed pizza order.
“Normally I do deep dish, but I’m thinking I might do thin crust because of the heft of the pizza over a nine-hour day,” he told Phil Rosenthall during an interview for the Chicago Tribune. “A food coma is not ideal while doing television.”
Whip-around coverage is nothing new in the sports world. The aforementioned RedZone channel is a staple of Sunday NFL viewing. Before bringing the Turner networks into the fold, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was routinely presented with whip-around coverage anchored from a studio in New York.
This won’t even be the first time Major League Baseball takes advantage of whip-around coverage. The status of MLB Change Up is up in the air over at DAZN. The streaming service signed a deal for “near live rights” over the next three years with MLB in 2019, but the show was shelved for 2020 when the two sides could not agree on a price for rights for a shortened 2020 season.
With the playoffs expanding this season, Major League Baseball had a lot more inventory to offer its media partners. With the two League Championship Series going to FOX and TBS respectively, allowing ESPN to present a digital product that features action from every game seems like the best “extra” the league could offer.
ABC Scores Most Watched NBA Saturday Primetime Game In 4 Years
“The game drew 3.7 million viewers.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.