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Experts Expect Major Bounce Back For NBA Finals Ratings

“Lewis is bullish on the NBA. He says so much of last year’s decline in viewership for the Finals and the playoffs can be attributed to what Covid-19 did to the league’s schedule. With things closer to normal for 2021, he expects a major bounce back.”

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Richard Deitsch of The Athletic used his Friday column to ask two sports media watchers what they made of recent television ratings for the NFL Draft and the Kentucky Derby. Deitsch is of the opinion that they may signal a turnaround for sports on TV. He asked Sports Media Watch’s Jon Lewis and Sports Business Daily’s Austin Karp to get specific.

Lewis is bullish on the NBA. He says so much of last year’s decline in viewership for the Finals and the playoffs can be attributed to what Covid-19 did to the league’s schedule. With things closer to normal for 2021, he expects a major bounce back.

“It would be absolutely shocking if the ratings of the NBA Finals were not up double digits,” he said.

Timing is the key in Jon Lewis’s mind. He notes that the first round is supposed to tip off on Memorial Day. That is virtually in lock-step with the more normal start that we saw in 2019, when the playoffs started the day after the holiday. He also noted the elephant in the room: given the choice between the NBA Playoffs and any NFL football, America tends to choose the NFL.

“Last year if they had had the Finals out of the way by maybe Week 1 of the NFL season, I think they would have gotten some better numbers,” Lewis said of last year’s disappointing ratings for the NBA Playoffs. “Nothing dramatically better, but still better than what they got. So time of year matters.

Karp added that there is another key advantage the NBA would have in achieving a ratings rebound. The New York Knicks are not just relevant. They are actually good.

“If they can make a run here and make it to maybe the Eastern Conference semifinals or finals, you’re going to see a huge number coming out of the New York market,” he said. “That’s really going to help boost some of those numbers.”

Sports TV News

ESPN Accused Of Data Sharing Without Consent In Class Action Lawsuit

The proposed suit alleges these are violations of the Video Privacy Protection Act.

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According to a potential class action lawsuit, user data from ESPN.com and ESPN+ has been allegedly shared with Meta Platforms without users consent.

Corrado Rizzi of ClassAction.org has proposed the suit, alleging that ESPN “uses a pixel installed on the back end of its website to track when website and app users take certain actions, such as clicking on an ad or viewing video content”. That “pixel” is used by Facebook to capture “a subscriber’s Facebook ID, with which anyone can ‘quickly and easily’ locate, access, and identify a particular Facebook account and a file containing details of a watched video and its corresponding URL.”

Rizzi adds that ESPN.com and ESPN+ subscribers aren’t told their data could be shared. He also shares that while ESPN could create its website to information isn’t immediately shared with Facebook, it benefits financially from utilizing the “pixel” on its website.

The proposed suit alleges these are violations of the Video Privacy Protection Act. The VPAA, according to ClassAction.org, “prohibits ‘video tape service providers’ from knowingly disclosing without consent consumers’ personally identifiable information, including that which identifies someone as having requested or obtained specific video materials”.

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Pat McAfee Feels Good About His College Football MegaCast Debut

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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The College Football MegaCast featuring Pat McAfee and his daily YouTube show’s cast debuted on ESPN2 over the weekend, and McAfee is looking forward to the next edition.

On his show Monday, McAfee told co-host A.J. Hawk that he felt good about how the show went considering it was uncharted territory to be in.

“We had no idea how successful it would be,” McAfee said. “Like this is the first time we’re being judged in a different fashion. I don’t think we marketed it much, you know, because I don’t think we knew how it was gonna go.”

The alternate feed is being produced for ESPN by Omaha Productions, which is also responsible for the ManningCast which runs alongside the traditional Monday Night Football broadcast.

McAfee said this first show turned out to be a learning experience and that they started off on the right foot.

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said. “We had no idea, it was very much of a roll of the dice. Going into the next one I think we’re gonna try and make it even grander and bigger, and I’m very excited for it.”

As for the style in which they covered the Clemson/N.C. State game, McAfee added that the giveaways and guest interactions added a lot of value.

“I think it’s the right way to watch a game, and to be honest I think it’s keeping us all invested as much and even more,” he said.

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LA Clippers Sign New Contract with Bally Sports

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games.

Jordan Bondurant

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The Los Angeles Clippers will continue its relationship with Bally Sports, completing a new deal over the weekend to keep Bally as the team’s regional sports network.

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games. Additionally, 11 games will be carried by KTLA, giving the team some additional viewership reach. The remaining eight games will be broadcast on national television.

Brian Sieman will continue on as the play-by-play broadcaster for games, with Jim Jackson and Mike Fratello swapping the analyst chair. Jamie Maggio and Kristina Pink will be reporting.

According to the Los Angeles Times, all signs pointed to the team and the network hashing out a new contract.

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