Sports TV News
ESPN2’s Marvel Broadcast Tops Network’s Other Alternate Feeds
The alternate broadcast brought in 274,000 viewers on ESPN2.
ESPN teamed up with Marvel this past Monday for their ‘Arena of Heroes’ special broadcast to produce successful ratings. ESPN2 carried the superhero-themed broadcast, notching 274,000 viewers for the Marvel telecast. That’s a jump from the audience for ESPN’s ‘Statcast’ broadcast of an April 25 Padres-Dodgers game, and it outdrew ratings for a gambling-themed telecast of the April 14 Nets-Sixers game with the ‘Daily Wager’ crew.
Ryan Ruocco, Richard Jefferson, and Angelique Roche called the event from a separate studio. The broadcast pitted three of each team’s best players against each other to be the inaugural Marvel Champion. Draymond Green won the title by amassing 48 ‘Hero Points.’
“This is incredible. I was excited about this game,” Green said in a postgame interview on ESPN. “I’ve got three kids, two that understand Marvel, and they’re watching. I was really excited about this game, and I’m happy I won this.”
The ESPN traditional game broadcast still dominated its little brother in the ratings with 1.12 million viewers. On ESPN2, Ruocco and his colleagues had their fun weaving Marvel-themed references into the show.
Another addition was the graphics package, which followed all six key players on the court with their ‘Hero Points’ and had shot-specific visuals. Dunks were hammered home by a ‘HULK SMASH,’ while each team had their emblem pop above the rim after a made basket. The assigned Marvel heroes weren’t hard to find cheering their team on virtually throughout the arena as well.
The broadcast even looped in an interview with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier star Anthony Mackie. He is a well-known New Orleans sports fan who lives in the city. A ten-minute conversation with a movie star during a crucial late-season NBA game showed how ESPN tried to set this telecast apart.
Plans for another Marvel-themed broadcast have not been announced.
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
Sports TV News
ESPN Setting Viewership Records With 2023 NCAA Women’s Tournament
“Of the top five most watched games of the first round, Tennessee’s first round game against Saint Louis and UConn/Vermont led the way.”
The first round of the NCAA men’s tournament had some of the best viewership in several years, and first round coverage of the women’s tournament has followed suit.
According to ESPN, which released some data from the first round on Tuesday, first round viewership of their exclusive coverage of the women’s tournament was up 27% compared to 2022.
Of the top five most watched games of the first round, Tennessee’s first round game against Saint Louis and UConn/Vermont led the way. The Tennessee game averaged 639,000 viewers, while UConn’s contest averaged 636,000. Both games aired on ABC.
The network also said 875 million minutes of first round tournament action were consumed, the most on record.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Sports TV News
Bomani Jones: Cancellation of High Noon ‘Had Zero To Do With Me’
“I could have the greatest version of ‘High Noon’ that was possible [but] there’s not a place in [ESPN’s] line-up for that right now.”
Bomani Jones still has a presence at ESPN. He may not be on TV regularly, but he still hosts The Right Time podcast three times a week. That is different from ten years ago when he was on the network regularly on shows like Around the Horn, Highly Questionable, and High Noon.
In a new interview with Fortune, Jones reflected on the ups and downs of his personal and professional life. He was asked about High Noon, the show featuring himself and Pablo Torre and was billed as a more nuanced approach to sports debate.
It was canceled after less than two years on the air. Jones says he does not view it as a failure and he does not view it as a television audience rejecting him. It was the result of ESPN bosses deciding to go in a different direction with their afternoon programming.
“I could have the greatest version of ‘High Noon’ that was possible [but] there’s not a place in [ESPN’s] line-up for that right now,” he said. “That’s just not what they do, and that has zero to do with me.”
Bomani Jones is now on HBO each week as host of Game Theory. He said that the show feels like the first time he has been able to execute something close to his original vision on television. That is the key to building long-term audience loyalty.
“You want to do your work in the place where it gets the most visibility so long as you can stay true to what it is that you’re doing. Because once people can sniff that you’re not being true to yourself and what you’re doing, then they don’t care about anything else. It doesn’t matter. Your credibility is gone once they don’t believe that you’re being true to you.”
Sports TV News
NBC Sports Washington to Drop Commanders Programming
“Where the studio shows and shoulder programming goes in the future remains unclear.”
The contract between the Washington Commanders and NBC Sports Washington comes to an end this month. That will be the end of shows centered on the team airing on the regional sports network.
NBC Sports Washington and the Washington NFL franchise have been in business together for years. Where the studio shows and shoulder programming goes in the future remains unclear.
Monumental Sports, which owns the Washington Capitals, Mystics, and Wizards, bought the network last year. While much of the network’s future programming is expected to center on those teams, John Ourand of Sports Business Journal writes that Monumental did make an effort to extend the partnership with the Commanders.
“Monumental started to negotiate a new deal, but I’m told that the two sides did not get close to a deal,” he wrote.
With the team up for sale, so much of the future of the franchise remains in question. It is very likely that a new ownership group would be in place before a new local media rights deal for the Commanders is done.