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Sports TV News

First 2 World Series Game Set All-Time Audience Lows

“Before 2020, the record low for a World Series game’s audience came in Game 2 of the 2019 Series. That game scored just under 12 million viewers. The 2020 number represents a 25% drop in audience.”

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FOX is certainly happy with the performance of the first two World Series games compared to other television networks. A look back in history though may damper that joy a bit. Game 1 set an all-time audience low for the World Series. The record went even lower with Game 2.

Game 1 drew 9.15 million viewers. Then Game 2 drew 8.95 million viewers. Overall, the drop in audience continues a recent trend for baseball. The 2019 World Series also suffered from record low audiences, but the drop from 2019 to 2020 is significant.

Before 2020, the record low for a World Series game’s audience came in Game 2 of the 2019 Series. That game scored just under 12 million viewers. The 2020 number represents a 25% drop in audience.

The 2012 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants holds the record for lowest average audience of an entire series with 12.636 million. 2020’s pace is well below that, but the comparison is not a fair one to make yet. The Giants won 2012 in a sweep. The 2020 World Series seems to be competitive, with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays currently even at a game a piece. If things stay close and FOX gets a Game 6 and Game 7, ratings will almost certainly climb for the potential series clinching contests.

All of these numbers and comparisons lead back to the same conclusion. It is one that we have all been talking about since the summer when games across multiple leagues and sports resumed. American audiences are less interested in sports while we’re dealing with a pandemic that is happening in the midst of an election year.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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