Several of ESPN’s NFL shows have hit their stride and experienced positive viewership growth in 2021, according to a press release Tuesday from the network.
Particularly, Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and NFL Live have seen an increase in their respective audiences year-over-year through Week 12 of the 2021 season.
NFL Live saw an average audience of 430,000 viewers each show in November. The network says it’s the program’s best draw in nearly three years. The show peaked at 523,000 viewers for its Nov. 22 episode. Demo wise, ESPN says the show is up 19% in viewers aged 35-49 and 20% among females.
Monday Night Countdown continues to be top draw and bring in plenty of eyeballs. The show is averaging 1.531 million viewers per show. That number is up 26% year-over-year. Its Nov. 8 episode setting the table for the Chicago Bears/Pittsburgh Steelers contest on Monday Night Football brought in its largest audience of November at 1.765 million.
Meanwhile, Sunday NFL Countdown saw audience growth each week in November and is experiencing modest gains in the 25-34 demo.
Something continues to work well for ESPN and its slate of marquee NFL shows, and the numbers are proving that.
Apple Has Up To $200 Billion For Live Sports
“NFL Sunday Ticket is among the big players that could be up for purchase, according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives.”
It’s been an ongoing rumor that Apple is looking to get into the live sports realm, and it appears that’s getting closer to becoming a reality.
MacRumors on Monday reported a recent investor note sent out by the tech giant indicates the company is itching to spend a chunk of its $200 billion on its balance sheet on live sports.
NFL Sunday Ticket is among the big players that could be up for purchase, according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. NASCAR and the NBA also potential areas of interest, in addition to college sports offerings from the Big Ten, Pac 12, Big East and Big 12.
Apple TV+ currently doesn’t have any live TV programming offered, and with the focus on original programming, the service could bring in an influx of new subscribers if it managed to land a top-tier product.
MacRumors also noted that Apple is in talks with Major League Baseball to potentially have rights to games. With baseball in a lockout, there’s no telling where discussions stand.
But at this point, Apple likely feels like they’re a step behind other streaming giants like Amazon. And with cash burning a hole in their wallet, landing Sunday Ticket or the NBA could level the playing field.
Kay Adams Reveals Her NFL Network Contract Expires In May
“Adams was complimentary of Burleson before she dropped the tidbit about her own contract.”
The first “Super Wild Card Weekend” in the NFL has come and gone, and Good Morning Football co-host Kay Adams joined Pat McAfee on Monday afternoon to break down the weekend’s games. But McAfee and company weren’t expecting Adams to hint that she could potentially be on the move by the spring.
Adams and McAfee were talking about Nate Burleson, who recently left Good Morning Football for a role on CBS This Morning. His role has since evolved into Burleson covering more general news than sports. But McAfee asked about NFL Network’s plans for finding a replacement for Burleson.
Adams was complimentary of Burleson before she dropped the tidbit about her own contract.
“My contract is up in May, so we have to work that out and figure that out,” she said. “So the future is all super exciting.”
Adams is a University of Missouri alumna, who got her first start in media in 2011 hosting overnights on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports. That then took her to NBC Sports before she eventually landed on NFL Network.
“I always knew I wanted to do something in media,” she said. “Sports sort of pulled me along, which is great.”
The conversation moved from talking about Aaron Rodgers to what an ideal position for Adams would be. Being as vague as she could be and to not tip her cards, she said she would love to stay in football media.
“It’s no secret the goal is to have the pedigree to have the big boy seat at the table,” she said. “I love visiting stadiums…I like being part of the game day experience and obviously love being on in the morning. We get to set the tone and the agenda for the day.”
McAfee continued to press about her options, and Adams mentioned the rise of sportsbooks, which have recently been on the move in acquiring media personalities, McAfee included.
“It’s a really energizing time right now, that’s all I’ll say,” she said.
‘Saturday Night Live’ Spoofs Yao Ming Replacing Shaq on ‘Inside The NBA’
The entire Kings team was out due to COVID, so a replacement squad of fans and arena support took its place.
Most of the headlines surrounding the 2021-22 NBA season thus far have concerned COVID outbreaks and several teams unable to field competitive rosters because of positive tests and close contacts.
This past weekend, Saturday Night Live joked about the NBA’s COVID difficulties with a sketch spoofing TNT’s Inside the NBA covering a horribly one-sided game between the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings. The entire Kings team was out due to COVID, so a replacement squad of fans and arena support staff took its place.
At halftime, Sacramento trailed 268-1. Nets guard James Harden took advantage of the matchup versus Kings equipment manager Dougie McCormick, outscoring his opponent, 83 points to zero.
“In my opinion, the biggest thing to me is that the Kings don’t have any NBA players, whereas the Nets do,” said analyst Charles Barkley (Kenan Thompson).
Check out the sketch below:
The SNL sketch also made fun of broadcasters who have missed on-air assignments due to COVID. James Brown and Tony Romo are among the names who have been sidelined in recent weeks.
In this sketch, it’s Shaquille O’Neal who can’t join the broadcast. Taking his place is former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming (played by Bowen Yang). At 7-foot-6, he’s a mismatch at the Inside the NBA studio desk with Barkley, Ernie Johnson (Alex Moffat), and Kenny Smith (Chris Redd). Ming also isn’t as polished as most professional broadcasters when explaining why the Kings were losing so badly.
“They’re tiny people,” he said, sounding like Lurch from The Addams Family. “Too small.”
Succinct and right to the point! Maybe we need more of that from studio analysts on sports broadcasts.
What this sketch really needed was Ming racing Smith to the giant TV screen in the TNT studio. Unfortunately, Saturday Night Live‘s Studio 8H really isn’t set up for that sort of visual gag. Plus, the sketch would’ve been ruined by Yang having to stand up. Next time, maybe this can be a digital short instead.