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TNT Abandons Thursday Night For NBA Doubleheaders

The rating show that the NFL is clearly still king when it comes to live sports in the U.S.

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TNT has decided to make some drastic changes to their NBA coverage for the remainder of the 2021.

According to NBA Insider Mark Stein, TNT has decided to shift its popular Thursday night NBA doubleheader telecast to Tuesday nights until January. The move is reportedly to avoid conflict with the Thursday Night Football matchup that the NFL offers weekly.

“The NBA will not air its usual Thursday night programming on TNT again until January after Mavericks-at-Hawks last Thursday followed by Clippers-at-Warriors.” Stein wrote on Twitter.

“Rather than go head-to-head with Thursday night NFL games, NBA on TNT entered this season having shifted Ernie, Shaq, Kenny and Charles and the weekly doubleheader they present to Tuesday nights for the rest of 2021 for the first time,” added Stein.

On the surface, it is easy to see why Turner Sports has decided to make this move. The ratings show that the NFL is clearly still king when it comes to live sports on television in the USA and the NBA wouldn’t be the first sport or league to defer.

The Thursday night NFL broadcasts are averaging a whopping 14.2 million viewers so far this season, an increase to date over the numbers of 2020.

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NBC Testing Nielsen Competitor for Super Bowl, Olympics

“NBCU is hoping a successful test leads to switching to iSpot.tv’s data going forward.”

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Networks have been unhappy with Nielsen for a while now, a recent issue involving Nielsen admitting to erroneously underreporting viewership numbers has not helped matters.

Most networks, however, have stuck with them due to Nielsen’s hold on the ad sales industry for decades.  NBCUniversal has decided to explore other options, going so far as to plan an upcoming test with an upstart Nielsen competitor during two of the biggest events in television: the Super Bowl and the Olympics.

According to a Los Angeles Times report from Stephen Battaglio, NBCUniversal will use data from iSpot.tv to provide viewing information on the two major events next month. Publicis Media, which owns several major ad-buying companies, has agreed to participate in the test with several of its clients.

NBCUniversal remains a client of Nielsen and will continue to use its ratings for the events. But the test with iSpot.tv — which has a multi-year deal to provide its services to NBCU — will be the most high-profile effort to promote a viable competitor to Nielsen.

The Times report states that this is more than just a bluff, as NBCU is hoping a successful test leads to switching to iSpot.tv’s data going forward. That would certainly mark a major shift, and it’s all tied back to NBC and other networks being dissatisfied with how Nielsen calculates non-traditional viewing. Considering that’s a growing portion of viewership, especially in key demographics, and that it’s only going to be more important going forward.

Obviously, the Super Bowl will pull numbers regardless, on traditional and non-traditional platforms. But NBC pays billions for the Olympics, and this move seems intended at finding more satisfactory tracking data it can present to advertisers.

But NBCU executives are of the mind that consumers have been watching more due to the variety of streaming options.  The network is hoping the data from iSpot.tv will confirm their assumption.

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Nabil Karim To Cover NHL and NBA For Turner

“Karim makes his debut Friday night on NBA TV.”

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Turner Sports and Nabil Karim have agreed on a multi-year deal. Karim will serve as a studio host and reporter for basketball and hockey programming.  An official announcement is expected later today.

Karim makes his debut Friday night on NBA TV. Most recently with ESPN, the British Columbia native was at TSN from 2011-2019, hosting a well-rounded suite of premier events.

He joined The Kyle Koster Show to talk about his new role, what he’s most excited about, and his career journey to this point.

“I think about broadcasters, and I wonder how many of them, their favorite two sports are hockey and basketball,” Nabil Karim said. “Being a Canadian, growing up with hockey, that was 1a and 1b for me. When Turner acquired NHL and this opportunity came up to work in hockey and basketball, it was a no-brainer.”

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Pete Thamel Joins ESPN as College Football Insider

“Richard Deitsch of The Athletic notes that Thamel will become a “major” part of College GameDay.”

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Just like the NFL, the news rarely stops in college football these days. That is why ESPN is hiring someone to cover the sport the way Adam Schefter covers the NFL. That someone will be Yahoo’s Pete Thamel.

Andrew Marchand reported Wednesday night that Thamel is expected to join ESPN in a insider role covering college football.

ESPN already has three reporters that it classifies as “college football insiders.” Those are Heather Dinich, Adam Rittenberg and Mark Schlabach. Thamel appears set to become the face of that operation though.

Richard Deitsch of The Athletic notes that Thamel will become a “major” part of College GameDay.

Thamel’s hire continues something of a trend for ESPN. Marchand points out that whenever the network is in the market for an insider to cover a sport, it tends to go shopping at Yahoo!. Pete Thamel joins Adrian Wojnarowski and Jeff Passan as insiders that left the site for Bristol.

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