One of the largest looming free agency storylines in the NFL has nothing to do with a player. The asset in question isn’t on any draft boards, and most casual football fans couldn’t care less where the talent ends up in 2020. America’s top network executives, however, couldn’t be more dialed into the upcoming decision from Tony Romo.
Two years ago, Tony Romo had attention from NBC and FOX when he announced he was leaving the Cowboys and was interested in the booth. NBC reportedly offered the charismatic quarterback part time work during their Thursday Night Football broadcasts with Mike Tirico. FOX promised 17 weeks worth of games, but didn’t want to break up their top team of Buck and Aikman. Against those offers, Romo’s decision to replace Phil Simms as the lead analyst for CBS was relatively easy. Not only would he get the network’s top games week in and week out, he’d work alongside his golf buddy Jim Nantz.
Two years later, Romo has solidified himself as maybe the best television analysts in football – if not all of sports. In his rookie season in the booth, Romo displayed an uncanny knowledge for today’s game and had a knack for predicting offensive plays at the line of scrimmage in real time. In his sophomore year, he found a way to share information while deferring to his veteran partner allowing the broadcasts to sing.
With 3 years under his belt next Spring, assuming CBS doesn’t extend their star analyst in the next 10 months, Romo will almost certainly become the highest paid analyst in the history of the NFL. That honor currently belongs to John Madden, who made $8,000,000 during the 1993 football season. If Romo gets through the year without signing the dotted line for CBS, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports he’ll likely see offers eclipsing the $10M mark.
Marchand laid out several possible scenarios for Romo’s future in his Monday column. Fox, who many believed was Romo’s second choice two years ago, could put Romo opposite Joe Buck and relegate Troy Aikman to the studio show. That move would make Fox younger in the booth and on their pregame show. Aikman could also jump ship to replace Romo at CBS in that scenario.
ESPN/ABC would absolutely have to offer Romo a seat at the Monday Night Football table – a move they might hold out for if they don’t find a sustainable broadcast team in the next year.
NBC is maybe the least likely to land Romo, but if they decide to break up the iconic Michaels-Collinsworth duo they’ll have a shot. It’s no secret Mike Tirico is standing in the wings waiting to take over for Michaels, and NBC decision makers might see the opportunity to make a transition to a younger booth sooner rather than later.
Romo has gone on record discussing how much he loves working with Jim Nantz. It’ll be interesting to see how much that love is worth once the offers start rolling in.
Jack Ferris writes feature stories for BSM and serves as an update anchor for iHeart Radio in San Francisco and as a freelance contributor for the PAC-12 Network. Previously he has worked as a sports anchor for KXLY-TV in Spokane and as the co-host of the Don West Show on KPQ in Central Washington. You can find him on Twitter @JFerris714 or reach him by email at FerrisJack54@gmail.com.
ABC Scores Most Watched NBA Saturday Primetime Game In 4 Years
“The game drew 3.7 million viewers.”
The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. While the game’s controversial finish left LeBron James and Patrick Beverly upset, executives at the Walt Disney Company had nothing but smiles thanks to the performance of ABC.
The game drew 3.7 million viewers. That means the Celtics’ win is the most-watched game in the ABC Saturday night prime-time window in the last four years. A February 2019 game between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors drew 4.1 million.
Boston also delivered the highest-rated game of the NBA season so far outside of the league’s stacked Christmas Day slate.
NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC is experiencing a nice uptick in viewership this season. Through the weekend, the Saturday night games are averaging over 3.4 million viewers according to an ESPN press release.
That number represents a 16% jump from last season. The edition of NBA Countdown that airs before the Saturday night game is having a good season as well. It’s average audience is up 3% to just under 1.5 million.
NHL Ratings on ESPN, TNT Down in 2nd Year
So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season.
Viewership totals from ESPN and TNT show NHL ratings have declined heading into the All-Star break, but there are some extenuating circumstances for the nearly 22% drop.
So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season. However, both channels have increased their linear television schedule, doubling from 27 games to 54.
ESPN has aired 18 games with an average of 402,000 viewers. In the same time period last year, the worldwide leader had only aired seven contests, but garnered 622,000 per game. None of ESPN’s games last season had aired on weekends, while the network has broadcast six games on Sunday this year alone. The 12 games ESPN has aired that weren’t on Sunday have averaged 491,000 viewers.
The 2023 NHL All-Star Game will air on ABC Saturday, and the network is hoping for a lift from last season. In 2022, ratings fell 38% from the previous All-Star Game on NBC, and hit the lowest total since 2009. The NHL Skills challenge saw its largest audience in a decade after airing on ESPN in primetime on a Friday evening. Nearly 1.1 million watched the skills challenge, a 30% increase compared to 2020.
At this time last season, TNT had aired 20 games. Through 36 games this season, the network has seen an average of 359,000 viewers. The network is helped by the 2023 Winter Classic, which took place at Fenway Park on Monday, January 2nd. The afternoon contest saw an audience of 1.78 million, up 31% compared to the previous year.
AFC Championship Game Delivers New Viewership High For CBS
53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI.
The AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals drew a massive audience for CBS.
53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs’ controversial victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI. Additionally, the event is the most-watched NFL Conference Championship Game since 2017.
CBS claims the game peaked with 59.3 million viewers and was also the most-streamed live sporting event in the history of Paramount+.
With an audience of 53.1 million, CBS concludes its NFL playoff coverage averaging 40.798 million viewers for each game. That leads all networks thus far. The 2022 NFL season was the most-watched regular season on CBS in the past seven seasons.