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Kansas City Passes St. Louis In MLB TV Ratings

Jason Barrett

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Best baseball town in America?

Well, at least according to the television ratings, St. Louis isn’t even No. 1 in its own state.

According to figures compiled by Nielsen, which measures viewership, Kansas City is rocking St. Louis in ratings for postseason games. That’s when it comes to recent appearances by the home-town team in the league championship round and World Series.

Last year, the Royals were in the Series for the first time since they beat the Cardinals for the 1985 title. And the rating in Kansas City averaged a whopping 50.2 for their loss in seven games to San Francisco. (That means 50.2 percent of homes in the market with a TV tuned in.)

In 2013, the last time the Cards were in the Series, the St. Louis rating was 40.6. The Redbirds lost in six games to Boston that year, with the Red Sox building a big early lead in the final contest and cruising to victory which pulled the rating for that game down to 37.9.

That’s logical. But what is more telling is the time before that when they were in the Series — in 2011, capping their miracle run to the championship after being all but dead in late August. That series, the dramatic seven-game affair in which they had their miraculous comeback to win Game 6, drew a 47.2 rating locally.

And the St. Louis rating then for Game 7 — a winner — was 52.7. The Royals drew a 58.7 number in KC for their Game 7 — a loser — last year.

In the ongoing American League championship series, the rating in Kansas City is 30.5 — and that is with back-to-back weekday afternoon games. The ALCS rating there last year was 31.9. The Cardinals’ last two trips to the National League title series (2014 and 2013) drew ratings in St. Louis of 23.5 and 28.9.

All this comes on the heels of Kansas City leading all U.S. teams this season in ratings for the teams’ local telecasts, with a rating of 12.3. St. Louis was second, at 10.0.

But let’s take a deeper look.

The reason for all of this probably is the bandwagon effect. Postseason baseball is a novelty in KC but has been a way of life in St. Louis. Before last season, the Royals hadn’t been to the playoffs in 29 years, whereas the Cardinals’ appearance this year was their 14th in that span.

And the ratings trend doesn’t translate to the turnstiles. Attendance the last two seasons in St. Louis has been 3.5 million. In Kansas City, it was 1.9 million in 2014 and 2.7 million this year.

And Missouri’s biggest market did do better in the TV ratings than its No. 2 city in the recently completed first round of the playoffs. The St. Louis rating was 25.4, the number in KC was 23.1. But the Cards were playing their biggest rival, the Cubs, for the first time in the postseason. The Royals had a matchup with the Astros, who were completing just their third season in the American League.

A more apt comparison: Last year, for the Cards’ opening-round matchup with the Dodgers, the St. Louis rating was 19.5. The year before, against Pittsburgh, it was 16.4.

To read the rest of this article visit STL Today where it was originally published

Sports TV News

ESPN Sees Larger Than Average Audience For Big City Greens Classic

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ESPN aired Tuesday night’s New York Rangers and Washington Capitals game. DisneyXD and Disney Channel aired an alternate broadcast that included players being 3D animated to resemble the cast of Disney Channel’s popular cartoon Big City Greens. It turned into a ratings win for the networks.

The alternate broadcast featured players animated in real time to mimic what was happening on the Madison Square Garden ice. Players were equipped with special chips in the padding to aid the animation, and special pucks were used to ensure a smooth transition from video to computer-animated graphics.

An average of 589,000 viewers tuned into the game on ESPN. Meanwhile, nearly 175,000 watched the broadcast between Disney Channel and DisneyXD.

The figure for ESPN represents its largest NHL broadcast since a November 1st broadcast featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins.

The combined total for the broadcast — 765,000 — outdrew the World Baseball Classic broadcasts but did not top the NCAA Tournament’s First Four round that was broadcast on truTV.

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Sports TV News

Greg Gumbel: I’m Lucky That I’ve Never Been Fired

“I worked for some people who didn’t like me, I’ve worked for some people I didn’t like. It’s a strange business, there’s no doubt.”

Ricky Keeler

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Greg Gumbel

This week, it was announced that Greg Gumbel will no longer be a play-by-play announcer for the NFL on CBS after working on CBS’s NFL coverage every year since 1998. Gumbel has had an illustrious career and he takes pride in the fact that one thing has never happened to him.

Gumbel was a guest on the Tell Me A Story I Don’t Know podcast with George Ofman (Part 2 from an interview back in September) and he told Ofman that while he has never been fired before, but he doesn’t think broadcasters should be embarrassed when they get fired because of what the business is.

“It’s the nature of the business. I honestly think I’ve been extremely fortunate in that I’ve never been fired in a business that is known for firings. Being fired in this business is no shame, no embarrassment because it’s a subjective business. Because this guy at this network likes my work, it doesn’t mean that this guy at that network does. It’s extremely subjective and if you can buy that and understand it the way it is, then it shouldn’t bother you at all.

“It’s never happened to me. If it had, it would not have surprised me. I worked for some people who didn’t like me, I’ve worked for some people I didn’t like. It’s a strange business, there’s no doubt.”

Gumbel has been the host of CBS’s NCAA Tournament coverage for the last 25 years and he knows it’s a job that he is very grateful to have.

“I know there are people who would give their right arm to be sitting there next to Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis on Selection Sunday or sitting next to Kellogg, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley when the tournament begins to talk about what we’ve just seen or what we are going to see. I am never, ever going to take for granted the fact that I have been very fortunate to be able to do that.”

One thing Gumbel tries to avoid whenever he is on air is the mispronunciation of someone’s name because he knows how it feels to have his name distorted accidentally by some people.

“Pronunciations are important to me. There’s been a lifetime of people who may not completely mispronounce my name, but distorting it a little bit from time to time. I never want to do that to an athlete. If I ever mispronounce an athlete’s name, I hear it from his family, I hear it from the school or the team and I apologize for it as soon as I can. I don’t think that is something light or should be taken for granted.”

Toward the end of the interview, Gumbel was asked by Ofman when he will know it will be time to end his career.

“Other people have given it more thought than I have. I think when that time comes around, it will hit me over the head more than I will think about it. There are people who ask me why I still do what I do. The very bottom line is I love it, I enjoy it.”

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Sports TV News

Diamond Sports Group Misses Arizona Diamondbacks Rights Payment

It is believed that the missed rights payment by Bally Sports Arizona triggers a clause in the contract that reverts the television rights back to the Diamondbacks and Major League Baseball.

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Last week, Diamond Sports Group — operator of the Bally Sports-branded regional sports networks — claimed it had paid every rights fee it was contractually obligated, except for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

At the time, the company said it had a grace period until it needed to make a payment. That payment was due by Thursday, March 16th at 11:59 PM. That time has come and gone, and the company failed to deliver its fee.

It is believed that the missed rights payment by Bally Sports Arizona triggers a clause in the contract that reverts the television rights back to the Diamondbacks and Major League Baseball.

The Diamondbacks are not the only team affected by the situation. Bally Sports — which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this week — has also reportedly entered a grace period with the San Diego Padres. According to a report from Sports Business Journal, that grace period ends on March 30th, baseball’s Opening Day.

Previous reporting claims that contract is one the network hopes to get out from under. The company loses a reported $20 million per season on its television deal with the Padres. The Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Guardians are the other two baseball franchises the network holds the rights to that it hopes to terminate deals for.

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