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Big Ratings Continue During Euro 2020 Knockout Rounds

Belgium-Portugal set a new high-ratings mark in the process.

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Courtesy: UEFA

The banner year for ESPN’s broadcast of Euro 2020 doesn’t seem to be slowing down as quarterfinal matches get underway. ESPN announced that Round of 16 matches delivered an average audience of 1,816,000 viewers. That marks a 38 percent increase compared to 1,317,000 viewers for the same matches in 2016.

The matches took place from last Saturday through Tuesday and featured the most-watched event of the whole tournament thus far. Belgium-Portugal featuring the world’s most prolific international scorer in Christiano Ronaldo notched 2,653,000 viewers on ABC. 

Zooming out from this year’s tournament alone, the match was the fifth most-watched European Championship event since the network began airing the games in 2008. The three top matches were championship finals, while the fourth spot belongs to an Italy-England quarterfinal match from EURO 2012. The 1-0 Belgium victory continued a strong overall tournament showing.

Through 44 EURO 2020 matches (Group Stage and Round of 16), the average audience across ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2 is 1,063,000 viewers. That number represents a 29% increase over 822,400 viewers for comparable matches in 2016. 

European club soccer has steadily grown in popularity over the last decade in the United States, plus, this is a prime event to wager on. The tournament owns all of the daytime sports real estate right now, save for a few MLB day games here and there. Succinct matches played three times each day throughout the group stage made it a routine event to open daily gambling.

Across the pond, the beautiful game is still as popular as ever, with 20.6 million viewers tuning in to BBC One’s coverage of England-Germany this week. It’ll be a long time (if ever) before soccer reaches numbers like that in the states, but the tides are rising. ESPN invested over 140 hours of live coverage into this event as the U.S. distributor, and that decision is paying big dividends.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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