The pattern is alive and well for new spring football leagues. Their debuts are strong as people rush to see what this is all about and then in week 2, ratings drop in a big way. The USFL is not immune.
Week 1 games drew an average audience of more than 1.5 million viewers. In week 2, the USFL saw that number fall by 58% as the four games on the schedule averaged 658,000 viewers. The high point came Saturday afternoon on FOX with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia drawing just over 1 million to the broadcast.
Pat McAfee declared the league “so dead” earlier this week, but also pointed out that there was a lot of competition for the sports audience. The NBA Playoffs ran throughout the weekend, NASCAR was at Talladega, and the PGA played its Zurich Classic. All of those events dwarfed the USFL.
Spring football has a lot of disadvantages. The biggest is, of course, that it is a lower level of pro football with players that are not stars. However, the abundance of competition on television cannot be overlooked when we discuss why none of these leagues have had staying power.
This weekend will be no different. On Friday and Saturday, the USFL will face competition from the NFL, who will hold the final two days of its 2022 Draft over the weekend.
Miami Marlins Continue Broadcast Changes, Drop J.P. Arencibia
The former big league catcher worked the club’s opening road series and more than 60 games for Bally Sports Florida.
After announcing last week that Miami Marlins play-by-play announcer Glenn Geffner wouldn’t return to the booth next year, the club continues to make changes. J.P. Arencibia won’t return as an analyst for the club in 2023.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Arencibia was informed he will no longer work on either the team’s television or radio broadcasts next season. The former big league catcher worked the club’s opening road series and more than 60 games for Bally Sports Florida. It was his first season as a television analyst. According to Jackson, the reason for Arencibia’s departure is “unclear”, adding a reason “was not offered”.
The club will continue to use a rotation of analysts in 2023, with Jeff Nelson, Gaby Sanchez, Rod Allen, and Tommy Hutton working in the booth.
Arencibia was brought on for the 2022 season after the Marlins dropped former Rookie of the Year Todd Hollandsworth from the clubs televisions broadcasts after the previous season concluded.
Rebecca Lobo Signs Extension With ESPN
She has served as the analyst for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and the National Championship Game.
ESPN and Rebecca Lobo have signed an extension to keep the women’s basketball legend with the network.
Lobo joined ESPN in 2004 as a WNBA and women’s college basketball analyst. She has served as the analyst for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and the National Championship Game.
“I am thrilled to continue doing what I love, calling women’s basketball games,” said Lobo. “It is an honor to be a part of the soundtrack for the games played by these incredible female athletes.”
Lobo had a storied career at UConn before winning an Olympic Gold Medal. She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.
“Rebecca is one of the best in the business. She excels on both game coverage and studio coverage,” said Patricia Lowry, ESPN Vice President, Production. “Her knowledge, history, and passion for the game and its growth continue to make us better. She is a true asset and a highly valued member of our team.”
ESPN Reaches Extension To Remain Home of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
“It’s a sports calendar and Fourth of July staple, one of those classic, timeless events we know fans look forward to every year.”
ESPN and the International Federation of Competitive Eating have agreed to a deal that will see the network remain the home of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on the 4th of July.
The Major League Eating contest has aired on the network since 2004. The new contract will see the event take place on ESPN through the 2029 event.
“You can’t beat the spectacle that is the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest,” said ESPN Director of Programming & Acquisitions John Suchenski. “It’s a sports calendar and Fourth of July staple, one of those classic, timeless events we know fans look forward to every year. It has had memorable moments over the years, and we’re ecstatic that many more will be on our platforms for the foreseeable future.”
The event has risen to prominence during its tenure with the Disney-owned network, seeing the rivalry between Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut grow into one of national prominence. The rivalry even sparked an ESPN documentary on the subject. Chestnut has grown into an American celebrity for his performance during the contest, winning his 15th mustard-yellow belt in 2022.
“We’re thrilled to extend our agreement with ESPN and ensure that viewers will continue to join in this great July Fourth tradition. ESPN is a fantastic broadcast partner and they capture the spirit of the event perfectly.”