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Quick Hits on the Past Week and Upcoming Weekend in Sports Broadcasting

Thoughts on the two NFL Conference Championship games and how to watch, stream, or whatever, the Olympics starting this week on NBC. 

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It’s a busy time of year in the world of sports and broadcasting. Here’s a quick recap of the past weekend and a look ahead to the week in sports:

** Not sure if you heard or not, but after much debate and conflicting reports, Tom Brady retired from the NFL… after 22 seasons. It was a week of “He’s retiring, he’s not retiring”… it became official Tuesday. 

Perhaps the best headline out there was provided by NBC New York (@NBCNewYork): 

“#BREAKING: Tom Brady, who lost 2 Super Bowls to the Giants during his legendary 22-year NFL career, retires; see his full message here…”

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the best/worst from the weekend of NFL Conference Championship Games on Fox and CBS…

CBS/AFC Championship Broadcast Highlights

** With the clock stopped at 13 seconds,  Jim Nantz said that the big question of the week has been “What can you do in 13 seconds?’” Of course, he was alluding to how much time the Chiefs needed to get into field goal range to force overtime with the Bills the week before.

Brilliant question by Nantz, it was ironic and eerie that the same amount of time was on the clock at the end of the first half. We were all thinking it and Nantz knew it. 

** The CBS halftime show was an unmitigated disaster. James Brown couldn’t be heard. Walker Hayes had the stage and the airwaves of CBS. The network had major audio problems during the halftime show. The PA announcer drowned out the halftime host and it was a tough listen. It became a concert, featuring halftime stats and graphics.

After all the bragging about the set that was on hydraulics to raise up “two stories,” the CBS halftime crew was really just an opening act for Hayes. By the way, am I the only one that has no idea who Walker Hayes is? He sings something about Applebee’s? 

** I do give Brown a ton of credit for being as professional as he was. I can only imagine how loud it was for the guys on the set, considering they wear IFBs (a way for the producer to talk to the talent in their ears to advise about what is next, etc.). Those gadgets are wedged right into your ear and it had to be unbearable, listening to the amplified sound of the concert. Brown handled the mishap well. Not surprising; he’s a pro. 

** More from Nantz as the Bengals tied the game at the end of the third quarter, the momentum was clearly with Cincinnati. The Chiefs couldn’t do anything on offense or defense. Nantz joked to Tony Romo heading into the commercial break leading to the fourth quarter, asking him, “You thought this game would be tied heading into the fourth, didn’t you?” Again, relevant and well-played, Jim. 

** After the game, Tracy Wolfson was waiting to interview Joe Burrow on the field. The scene on the playing surface was chaotic and every time she thought she had the QB’s attention, a player would come up to Burrow to congratulate him. Wolfson, never breaking stride, maintained the professionalism she’s known for and got the interview. Nice work. 

FOX/NFC Championship Broadcast Highlights

** Troy Aikman was on his game during the Fox broadcast of the NFC Championship game. Most notably when pointing out that on a touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp, the Rams had to go on a silent count, because of the noise in the stadium. He noted that it’s not normal for the home team to have to do that. Fox producers were on it as well, showing the stands filled with red and gold 49ers clad fans seemingly outnumbering Rams fans significantly. Pretty spot-on observation. 

** Aikman also pointed out on several occasions that the Rams defense was pressuring Jimmy Garoppolo, forcing him into bad decisions. Especially on a pass that was nearly intercepted. Aikman observed that the Rams defensive line created pressure on Garoppolo all night making it tough for him, “even without a sack on the night.”

** Perhaps the most poignant moment happened after the game was over. While the Rams were celebrating a trip to the Super Bowl, the first in Odell Beckham Jr.’s career, he shared a moment with 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel on the San Francisco bench. The cameras caught OBJ leaning over a visibly emotional Samuel, giving him some words of encouragement.

The only thing that clouded the moment, was Joe Buck recapping the game over it. I’m not sure if a producer failed to get into his ear to tell them they had the shot, or if it just happened so quickly that the recap couldn’t be avoided. Not assigning blame, but it would have been a much better moment, with no soundtrack.

** People were definitely tuned in for the NFL’s Championship Weekend. According to CBS, the network’s broadcast of the Bengals’ overtime win over the Chiefs averaged 47.9 million viewers, marking the most-watched conference championship game in the early window in six years. (In 2016, the Pats beat the Broncos to an audience of 53.3 million.) The Bengals-Chiefs match-up peaked with just shy of 61 million viewers.

** For Fox, Fox Deportes, and Fox Sports streaming platforms, the Rams-49ers game brought in 50.4 million total viewers. That marks the most-watched NFC Championship face-off since 2014, when the Seattle Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers, in front of an audience of nearly 56 million.

** I really hate the extra week in between the championship games and the Super Bowl. It’s too much. I get that the networks want to build the “hype,” but does a game of this magnitude really need extra hype? Hmm, I wonder if one of the storylines may be that the “Rams are playing the game at home” or “Hey Detroit, look at Matthew Stafford now. Or the friendship between Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, “you know they won a National Championship game together at LSU?”

Ugh. Oh wait, I’m sure we’ll get a “Tom Brady isn’t here” story or two about him winning seven Super Bowls. 

Invented storylines and the need to fill airtime becomes boring. What hasn’t been done already? Kid correspondents, comedians sending out someone to ask a question that makes no sense. Just get on with the game and bring on the commercials.

** This just in, Tom Brady is still retired.

** NBC and its family of networks, including USA Network and, of course, the streaming service Peacock are once again preparing to completely confuse you when it comes to coverage of the Winter Olympics. Beijing is 13 hours ahead of the Eastern time zone in the U.S., which naturally further complicates things. Beginning on Friday, NBC will have full coverage of the Opening Ceremony which starts at 6:30 a.m. ET.

** Some events will be carried live on NBC, which according to its press release will “televise nearly 200 hours of coverage, including 18 nights in prime time,” featuring all the Games’ most high-profile sports including figure skating, alpine skiing, and others.

** Peacock, which famously aired a USA men’s basketball game on a Sunday morning without it being on the network, will give folks the ability to live-stream all 2800 hours of coverage. This will be available on the premium tier only. 

My conclusion: It’s really hard to watch the Olympics anymore, especially when they are halfway across the world from us. My advice, use that Google machine to figure out where/when you’ll be able to watch your favorite sports. Then pull out the credit card, because you’re probably going to have to pay to watch it live. 

** Oh, by the way, NBC will also be the home of Super Bowl LVI. Mike Tirico will host the show after he does a couple of days live in Beijing as host of the Olympics on the Peacock Network. That’s a lot to bite off if you’re NBC. Let’s wait and see how it works out. 

** Also, this weekend, the NHL has its All-Star Game and Skills Competition. I’m curious to see how both events are handled now that they are on a “new” hockey network, ESPN/ABC.  The Skills competition is Friday night on ESPN and the game comes up Saturday on ABC.

It’s been a fun event to watch for NHL fans, some of the skills possessed by the stars in the game are fascinating to watch. I’m still not a huge fan of the 3-on-3 “tournament” for the game. I liked the old conference vs. conference format.

Enjoy your weekend of sports!

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Is Realistic For FOX at the World Cup?

Demetri Ravanos

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On this special holiday edition of Media Noise, Demetri Ravanos dives into the controversy and criticism surrounding FOX’s coverage of the World Cup in Qatar.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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