FOX is giving Major League Soccer a big helping hand on Thanksgiving Day. The network will follow the noon kickoff between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions with an MLS Cup Playoff game.
Major League Soccer’s TV audience is still relatively small compared to the other major American sports leagues, but ratings were up for the league in 2021. Games saw a 3% growth in viewership on traditional television this season. As Sportico’s Anthony Crupi points out, that is especially remarkable when fewer Americans are watching live television and MLS’s fanbase skews younger, into a demo that is more likely to give up linear TV for digital options.
The expected help the NFL can provide is coming at a good time for the MLS. The league has set TV rights discussions to the side until after the December 11th Cup Final. Once that date arrives though, MLS owners will be looking to lock in the most lucrative rights deal the league has ever signed.
“We’ve had numerous and productive discussions about our unique set of rights, but right now we’re most focused on how to build momentum through the playoffs,” Seth Bacon, MLS senior VP of media, said.
While you can bet that there is interest from American soccer club owners in just how much the English Premier League gets in its current round of American TV rights negotiations, the reality is MLS TV rights likely won’t be close.
Thanksgiving football could be the kind of boost that raises some eyebrows amongst the network executives involved in the discussions. 27.1 million people watched the last time the Bears and Lions met on Thanksgiving Day. FOX will be promoting the MLS Cup Playoff contest during the game. If those ads convince just 2% of an audience that size to stick with the network instead of headed to ABC to watch the Cowboys and the Raiders, it will be a huge success and a number that is most certainly brought up during rights negotiations.
2022 Baseball Hall of Fame Election Results Exclusively Revealed On MLB Network Jan. 25
Greg Amsinger, Brian Kenny, and Lauren Shehadi will host MLB Network’s extensive Hall of Fame election coverage.
This Tuesday, Jan. 25, the 2022 National Baseball Hall of Fame election results will be announced exclusively on MLB Network at 6:00 p.m. ET in a four-hour announcement show.
Beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET, National Baseball Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch will reveal the results live from the Hall of Fame Plaque Gallery in Cooperstown, as voted by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). MLB Network’s Hall of Fame program on Tuesday will be simulcast on MLB.com and in the MLB app on connected devices.
Greg Amsinger, Brian Kenny, and Lauren Shehadi will host MLB Network’s extensive Hall of Fame election coverage. This will include analysis from 2018 Ford C. Frick Award winner Bob Costas, MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds, and MLB Network insiders and Hall of Fame voters Jon Morosi, Joel Sherman and Tom Verducci.
During the program, there will be clips from a players-only roundtable discussion on the 2022 BBWAA ballot hosted by Reynolds and featuring MLB Network analyst Yonder Alonso, three-time Gold Glove Award winner Mike Cameron and 2007 Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy.
More of baseball’s elite will also join the programming, including Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona, 2022 BBWAA Career Excellence Award winner Tim Kurkjian, three-time Manager of the Year Award winner Jim Leyland, and longtime baseball journalist and Hall of Fame voter Rob Parker. MLB Network will cover the ballot results across its studio programming, including Hot Stove (9:00 a.m. ET), High Heat (1:00 p.m. ET) and MLB Now (2:00 p.m. ET).
According to MLB Network’s official release, the live pre-announcement show will also feature the following content:
- A Tom Verducci essay on 2022 being the final year on the ballot for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
- A feature by customized piece by hip-hop legend and baseball diehard Chuck D on which questions fans and voters face as this year’s announcement approaches.
- Brian Kenny looks at each of the eight first-year candidates on the Hall of Fame ballot.
- Short videos on the atmosphere surrounding Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown, the Plaque Gallery, and candidates anticipating getting “the call.”
Prior to the Tuesday announcement, Brian Kenny will host MLB Now live from the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday, Jan. 24 at 2:00 p.m. ET. And following the election results on Wednesday, Jan. 26, MLB Network will cover the announcement across its daily studio programming.
MLB Network will also exclusively air the 2022 National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Sunday, July 24.
ESPN, FS1 Morning Studio Shows Drew Big Ratings Monday After Cowboys’ Playoff Loss
Dallas losing a playoff game in embarrassing fashion compelled plenty of viewers to tune in for sports debate shows.
Monday morning following the Dallas Cowboys’ 23-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in their NFL Wild Card playoff game was very good for sports daytime TV. Both ESPN and FS1 boasted big, record-setting ratings for their studio debate shows, with viewers obviously wanting to know what on-air personalities and analysts thought of the Cowboys’ bumbling last-second failure.
On ESPN, Get Up drew 658,045 viewers, a six percent increase from the show’s previous season-high, set a week earlier. First Take attracted 918,386 viewers, the largest audience for that program. That total seven percent higher than the show’s prior best number, set on Dec. 28, 2019.
Fans clearly wanted to see Stephen A. Smith take delight in the Cowboys’ demise, also perhaps knowing that Hall of Fame Dallas receiver Michael Irvin was sitting across the desk from him Monday.
As mentioned, FS1 benefited from the Cowboys losing as well. Skip and Shannon: Undisputed brought in 442,000 viewers, the highest audience that show has ever attracted. Fans surely tuned in to see the reaction from Cowboys fan Skip Bayless and the taunts he’d receive from Shannon Sharpe.
The Herd with Colin Cowherd also earned its best ratings on FS1, drawing 290,000 viewers for Monday’s show. The network would also like you to know that the audience for both programs has gotten a boost year-over-year, with Undisputed enjoying an 89 percent increase and The Herd up 20 percent.
The Cowboys have always been a big ratings draw for the NFL’s television partners. Apparently, Dallas losing a playoff game in embarrassing fashion provides a significant benefit for the shows responding to the weekend’s major sporting events.
Mike Golic Responds to Negative Comments on Drew Brees’ Broadcasting
“Unfortunately, you get judged early and then you get tagged with that.”
Drew Brees made his NFL playoff broadcasting debut in the broadcast booth last weekend. The future Hall of Famer was alongside Mike Tirico, a legend in his own right, for the Raiders-Bengals Wild Card game.
But an NFL playoff game draws a lot more attention than a regular-season contest and Brees received some criticism for being “vanilla” with his color commentary.
Responding to the heavy negative feedback online, former ESPN personality Mike Golic shared his thoughts with The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch on his sports media podcast regarding Brees’ first year in the booth.
Golic stated that it’s harder to make the transition from the field to the broadcast booth in today’s industry than in the past because people are much more hypercritical today.
“When Drew started doing the Notre Dame games, people would tweet at me, ‘What do you think?’ I said listen, I’m not judging a guy when he just starts,” Golic told Deitsch, via Awful Announcing. “He’s a walk-in Hall of Famer. But he’s now in a different world of learning timing and everything that goes with a TV broadcast, which he’ll learn.”
Golic continued on Brees’ upcoming career journey.
“He’ll learn in time… your first and then your hundredth is a different person. But unfortunately, you get judged early and then you get tagged with that. ‘You’re supposed to be great at this.’ Man, that’s unfair but, you know what, unfair or fair, that doesn’t come into play. You’re gonna get that opportunity and you’re gonna be judged immediately on it.”
Brees will no doubt continue to be in the NBC booth for high-level games. But his improvement and overall performance will surely be something to keep an eye on.
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