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ViacomCBS Attributes Upfront Ad Sales Boost To Sports

They join other major networks in having great success with 2021 ad sales.

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Courtesy: CBS

ViacomCBS closed its upfront advertising sales this week and has live sports to thank for it. The media conglomerate wrapped the cycle with sports, and particularly the NFL, being big drivers for growth.

Digital streaming options from the company like Paramount Plus and Pluto have made Viacom a strong option in the space. Year-to-year advertising commitments for its linear primetime schedule went up 6% from what it brought home in 2020.

ViacomCBS nailed down between $2.03 billion and $2.66 billion for the linear primetime schedule of its CBS broadcast network. That represents the companies highest-priced inventory.

This upfront cycle has been a banner one for the company, holding firm on their CPM rates, which measures the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers. ViacomCBS successfully pushed their CPM rates up by about 25%. For context, most networks during this cycle have seen CPM hikes of 16% to 22%. Networks took a bath in this arena last year (the average secured increases were between 3% and 4% in 2020), but ViacomCBS held firm in 2021 to great success.

The current climate is a perfect storm for networks to capitalize on. There are fewer terrestrial TV options that can reach a large audience while at the same time advertisers and businesses are recovering from the pandemic and ready to spend. Fox, Disney, and NBCUniversal have all experienced successful upfront cycles this year.

Sports have become the one bit of monoculture left, and that’s why networks still back up the brinks truck, as CBS did with the NFL this year. The Super Bowl is a perfect example of this. CBS carried the game this February, bringing its first-quarter ad revenue to $1.8 billion. That’s a 40% increase from 2020.

The Big Game rotates between the rights holders every year, but the gridiron and sports at large still sell like they always have.

Sports TV News

Cris Collinsworth Wonders If Tom Brady Knows Broadcasting Is a Hard Job

“It’s a seven day a week job. For somebody that has reached where he’s reached in the NFL and made that kind of money, I’m honestly really surprised.”

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Many in the sports media industry were surprised by the news that Tom Brady will join FOX Sports as the lead NFL analyst when he eventually decides to end his playing career. That includes the current lead analyst of NBC’s Sunday Night Football telecasts, Cris Collinsworth. 

“I’m a little surprised,” he said on the latest episode of The Cris Collinsworth Podcast. “There’s no amount of money they could throw at him that would have influenced him. He’s going to still be working weekends for half the year no matter what it is.” 

Collinsworth mentioned that he hears from most people and they ask him what the TV life is like when they are thinking about getting into the industry. Tom Brady was not one of those people. He hopes the GOAT knows what he is in for.

“It’s hard. I’m working on the airplane when I’m flying home from the other game. I’m working on the next game. It’s a seven day a week job. For somebody that has reached where he’s reached in the NFL and made that kind of money, I’m honestly really surprised. I guess the money now has gotten to the point where it’s of interest to everybody.” 

While some might be unsure about how Brady will do in the FOX NFL booth with Kevin Burkhardt, count Collinsworth in as one of those people who think Brady will do a great job.

“I think he’ll be fantastic. Every conversation I have ever had with him about the game of football, you always go oh, I didn’t know. He’s always been pretty open and honest with us. He has a real personal side to the game…He’s got it all, but I’ve got to say I am surprised.”

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Sunday Night Baseball Viewership Up On ESPN

“Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers.”

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The first month of the 2022 MLB regular season has concluded and ESPN is celebrating an uptick in viewership for Sunday Night Baseball.

The network announced on Tuesday that viewership for Sunday Night Baseball is up 4% compared to this time last year. In addition to that, compared to the 2020 full season average, ratings are up 40%.

Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers. The Dodgers/Cubs game on May 8 averaged 1.781 million and peaked at over 2.1 million viewers during the 8-8:15 p.m. window.

Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and David Cone comprise the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast booth, with Buster Olney contributing reports.

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Nickelodeon Gets Christmas Day NFL Game

“This will be the network’s first regular season game.”

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The NFL’s Christmas triple header will include a little slime this year. The afternoon game between the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos will be simulcast on CBS and Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon has ramped up its NFL presence each year since 2020. The network has aired a kid-friendly broadcast of a Wild Card Round playoff game each of the last two seasons. Last year’s tile between the 49ers and Cowboys drew an audience of 41 million.

Before the start of last season, the studio show NFL Slimetime debuted. This will be the network’s first regular season game.

Kickoff is set for 4:30 pm Eastern on Christmas Day. No details of what Nickelodeon’s coverage may include are available yet. Nate Burleson, Noah Eagle and Nickelodeon star Gabrielle Nevaeh Green have been on the call of the network’s previous NFL broadcasts.

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