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Rams, Cardinals Deliver Biggest Monday Night Football Audience Of 2021

The franchise is now averaging 13,389,000 viewers season-to-date, up 11% from 2020 and 6% from 2019.

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Monday Night Football on ESPN has been extremely successful to date this year, and this past week’s game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams was no exception.

The game delivered nearly 15.9 million viewers across ESPN Networks (ESPN, ABC, ESPN Deportes), as the franchise continues to drive a successful 2021 campaign.

The 15,895,000 viewers on ESPN and ABC represent MNF’s best audience since the season opener this season and its second best audience in 27 games, dating back to Week 3 of the 2020 season.

The game was the best Week 14 numbers since 2014, and the second best in the ESPN era (2006 – present).  The audience represents an increase of 23% and 35% from 2020 respectively. Similar to Week 14, Monday Night Football aired nationally on both ESPN and ABC twice in December of 2020, and this season’s Rams-Cardinals game topped both of those audiences.

In back-to-back weeks, ESPN’s Monday Night Football has delivered two of its three largest audiences. Week 13’s New England-Buffalo matchup delivered 15 million viewers. 

The franchise is now averaging 13,389,000 viewers season-to-date, up 11% from 2020 and 6% from 2019.

The broadcast was the most-watched telecast of the night among key demos: Men 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 as well as persons 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 on ESPN.

We will see if ESPN can continue to build on these solid ratings this season with a matchup next week between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears.

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David Kaplan Leaving NBC Sports Chicago

“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement.”

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David Kaplan has announced he is departing NBC Sports Chicago. In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Kaplan said a new path opened that he couldn’t turn down.

“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement. You’ll still be able to catch me weekday mornings with Jonathan Hood on the Kap and JHood morning show on ESPN 1000. It will also allow me to provide you with more engaging and outstanding content right here on YouTube.”

Kaplan, who will turn 62 this weekend, accepted a buyout offered by NBCUniversal. He has hosted several different shows for the network during his tenure.

“He’s made enormous contributions to our network, and his passion, opinions and love of Chicago’s teams have made him a beloved and respected figure, not just with fans but also his colleagues,” NBC Sports Chicago Vice President of Content John Schippman told The Chicago Sun-Times. “We wish him the best and look forward to seeing what’s next.”

December 30th will be his final day at NBC Sports Chicago. He called his time with the network “an amazing run”.

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NASCAR Chasing Nearly $1 Billion Annual Rights Fee In Next TV Deal

“We work really closely together, both from a scheduling perspective, but also just in terms of how they monetize the sport.”

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The current media rights deal for NASCAR with FOX Sports and NBC Sports doesn’t end until after the 2024 season, but the organization is currently plotting what it wants its next deal to look like, according to a report from Front Office Sports.

Currently, NASCAR makes $820 million per year from the two networks. In its new rights deal, it is expected to seek a deal in the neighborhood of $900-950 million range.

NASCAR plans to begin negotiating with its current media partners in the early months of 2023, but is currently happy with FOX and NBC.

“We work really closely together, both from a scheduling perspective, but also just in terms of how they monetize the sport. Whether that’s pushing more brands and advertisers to spend on Fox and NBC,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Media and Productions Brian Herbst told FOS. “Fox had their third consecutive year of ad revenue increases in 2022. NBC had their second consecutive year of ad revenue increases in 2022. So it’s working for them — both from a viewership and an ad revenue perspective.”

In February of this year, NASCAR President Steve Phelps told the Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast that broadcast television “has to be a part” of the organization’s next television rights deal.

As its current media partners, FOX and NBC have exclusive negotiating windows with NASCAR.

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NFL Sunday Ticket Negotiations With Apple ‘Have Gotten Silly’

“Apple’s like, ‘OK, we can’t sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can’t sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.’”

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A report from The Athletic details why the NFL has not announced a new partner for the NFL Sunday Ticket package. David Kaplan claims there have been continued hiccups in the negotiations, mentioning the bargaining has gotten sideways between the league and Apple.

“This negotiation has gotten silly. … Clearly, there’s a problem. I think it’s really clear Apple is learning things they didn’t know,” the anonymous NFL source told Kaplan. “What the conversation is, is Apple’s like, ‘OK, we can’t sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can’t sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.’”

The report also details Amazon Prime and YouTube remain in the mix as potential suitors for the service, should talks with Apple and the league fall apart.

The NFL is looking for as much as $3.5 billion annually for rights to the service.

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