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With Dodgers Eliminated, MLB Loses Top Postseason Draw

“The eleven games that the Dodgers played prior to Saturday night all ranked in the top 15 broadcasts of the 2021 MLB Playoffs.”

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After the Houston Astros eliminated the Boston Red Sox from the ALCS, there were plenty of reasons to hope the Los Angeles Dodgers would emerge from the NLCS. First, a rematch of the World Series that Dodger fans and many in the sports media contend was stolen from LA would certainly have a storyline to it that could attract casual baseball fans. Also, while Atlanta and Houston are major markets in their own right, Los Angeles is considerably larger than either. Most of all though, the Dodgers have been a proven commodity this postseason according to Sports Media Watch.

When the Atlanta Braves closed punched their ticket to the World Series, the team eliminated the team most of America was tuning in to watch. The Dodgers appeared all over the list of most-watched games in the 2021 Major League Baseball postseason.

The eleven games that the Dodgers played prior to Saturday night all ranked in the top 15 broadcasts of the 2021 MLB Playoffs. Five of those games were amongst the seven most-watched and eight were in the top eleven.

One thing that should be noted here is that viewership for the postseason hit its peak early. The Yankees and Red Sox played the most-watched game of the postseason in the AL Wild Card Game. The second most-watched was the NL Wild Card Game between the Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals. After that, the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants show up for Game 5 of their NLDS matchup.

mlb postseason viewership chart

The World Series matchup may have plenty at FOX and Major League Baseball nervous about whether or not the year-over-year ratings growth will continue. The Houston Astros played in just two of the most-watched games this postseason. The Atlanta Braves played in just four, and none that did not include the Dodgers. Conversley, the two teams that were eliminated in the League Championship Series were involved in all ten.

None of this is to say that the World Series will be a guaranteed ratings failure. It is merely to point out that 2021 is a year we are all looking at as a potential bounceback for sports television and the team most likely to attract the most eyeballs won’t be involved.

Sports TV News

ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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NFL Studio

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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Sports TV News

ESPN Assigns Broadcast Teams for MLB Wild Card Round

In preparation for the postseason, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

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Wild Card
David Berding/Getty Images

There are just a few games left in the MLB season and the postseason begins this weekend with the Wild Card round. In preparation, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

Andrew Marchand reports that the team assigned to the presumptive New York Mets Wild Card series will be Karl Ravech, David Cone and Eduardo Perez. The Mets still mathematically can win the NL East but they trail the Braves by two games with three to play.

He also reports that the St. Louis Wild Card series will be called by Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. The Cleveland series will be broadcast by Boog Sciambi and Doug Glanville while the Toronto series will be called by Dave Flemming, Jessica Mendoza and Tim Kurkjian.

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Sports TV News

Stugotz: ‘Sean McDonough Hates The Aaron Judge Cut-Ins’

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

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College football fans are not being shy with how they feel about Aaron Judge. Whether it is private conversations or social media posts, people are making their disdain for the cut-ins to college football games on ESPN networks when the Yankee slugger comes to bat known. On Monday morning, Stugotz added that it isn’t just fans that are unhappy.

The Dan Le Batard Show discussed the second straight week of cut-ins on Monday morning. Stugotz pointed out that one of ESPN’s primary college football voices sounds just as annoyed as fans are.

“Sean McDonough hates the toss to Aaron Judge,” he said. Hates it!”

Last week, ESPN and ABC cut into games when Judge was sitting on 60 home runs. This week, he was sitting on 61. A 62nd home run would be the most in American League history.

Stugotz added that has to be part of McDonough’s frustration.

“In his defense, what are we cutting in for? I have no idea if [Aaron Judge] is breaking a record, what record he’s breaking, if he’s clean. I have no idea!”

Producer Mike Ryan Ruiz said the fact that Judge is yet to deliver is making the cut-ins more frustrating for fans.

“I think what hurts the whole thing is that Aaron Judge has been terrible during these cut-ins,” Ruiz said. “He’s been God awful during these cut-ins. I haven’t seen a single home runs during one of these cut-ins. There was genuine fury at a watch party I was at. Fury! At Aaron Judge.”

A popular criticism of ESPN has been that this kind of attention would not be paid to Aaron Judge if he was chasing a mark that wasn’t the home run record if he played anywhere other than New York. According to Ryan, the mistake is bigger than that. Why would regular season baseball ever interrupt college football?

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

There are four games left in Major League Baseball’s regular season. You can bet college football fans will make plenty of signs for College GameDay if Judge cannot hit number 62 before the playoffs start.

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