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Sports TV News

WWE, AEW Experience Ratings Gains

“WWE NXT and AEW Dynamite enjoyed ratings gains while RAW and Smackdown produced the largest audiences.”

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The wrestling ratings war continued its constant battle as the calendar flipped to the first week of September. Except, as in weeks past where it has been a contest to see which company would win Wednesday night, it flipped to a rising tides lift all boats mentality.

Earlier in the week a rumor surfaced that World Wrestling Entertainment’s brand, “NXT” may be moving nights from Wednesday to Tuesday.

The brand saw a bump in ratings as they ran their “Super Tuesday” show that saw a four-man “Iron Man” match headline the night. The overnight rating came in at 849K and a .26 rating in the 18-49 male demo. The previous week, when the show ran uncontested due to All Elite Wrestling being preempted due to the NBA Playoffs, the show produced a total viewership of 824K and a .24 demo rating.

The rumor of moving to Tuesday Night permanently first came out from the Twitter handle @WrestlerVotes.

Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer newsletter had more news of a possible move from Wednesday to Tuesday adding: “Wrestling Observer Radio reports that Vince McMahon and the USA Network have the same mentality when it comes to AEW. They ultimately don’t want another wrestling company to succeed in attracting a fanbase like AEW has, especially considering that USA’s partnership with WWE is worth $265 million, while AEW and TNT are set at a $40 million deal.” (Wrestling INC.)

AEW’s go-home show before their “All Out” pay-per-view did one of the company’s best rating in their short time as a wrestling promotion. Headlined by the build to the pay-per-view’s main event, Jon Moxley defending his AEW World Title against challenger Maxwell Jacob Friedman, helped the show deliver total viewership of 928K and a .36 rating.

This number was even more impressive since AEW had to return to their normal time slot after previously bouncing around due to the NBA Playoffs. Over the prior two-weeks “Dynamite” had to move to Saturday, then Thursday. However, the promotion never saw a dip in their ratings as Saturday’s 8/22 show did 755K and Thursday’s broadcast did 813K.

On Monday night, WWE’s flagship show “RAW” saw a slight dip in their audience going from 2.02 million viewers to 1.89 million. However, the show still finished fourth for the night; only trailing the NBA playoffs.

RAW, compared to Dynamite and NXT, is a three hour show. Overall the program drew a high rating, however, the show saw a decrease in viewership throughout each hour.

Hour One: 2.10 million

Hour Two: 1.88 million

Hour Three: 1.70 million

Friday Night Smackdown airs tonight, therefore those ratings numbers won’t be available until next week. Last week’s episode which saw Roman Reigns confirm his heel turn and align with Paul Heyman produced an average of 2,181,000 viewers, including a peak during the first hour where 2,210,000 fans tuned in. The show received a 0.6 rating among the key 18-49 demographic.

Wrestling as a whole had a great week. RAW’s large audience on Monday night helped NXT have a solid lead in where viewers didn’t have to wait a day to watch WWE’s NXT show. The same goes for AEW not having to share its audience, helping them come close to eclipsing the one-million total viewer mark.

Wrestling fans love to romanticize about the “Monday Night Wars” where there were more people watching cable television back in 1997-99. However, with more viewers dropping cable for streaming services, the days of flipping the channel back and forth between WWE (back then WWF) and World Championship Wrestling are long gone.

It makes more sense to let each promotion have their own night on prime time cable television. Each company has their chance to captivate the wrestling audience without having to lose a small group of people to the other company.

Rising tides lift all ships, and in this case rising ratings lifts all wrestling promotions.

T.J. McAloon is a freelance writer, Texas High School football journalist, and avid follower of the professional wrestling business. He can be reached on Twitter @TJMcAloon or by email at TMcAloon18@gmail.com.

Sports TV News

Chris Fallica Leaving ESPN for FOX

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

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A prominent sports betting voice featured on ESPN’s College GameDay will be heading to rival FOX and their Big Noon Kickoff show starting in 2023. According to Awful Announcing, Chris Fallica, affectionately known as “The Bear”, will make his last appearance on GameDay will be this weekend.

Fallica has been with ESPN since 1995. Since 2013, Fallica had been featured on GameDay making betting picks with his patented “Bear’s Board”.

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Fallica joins Tom Rinaldi as the second former GameDay voice to jump over to FOX and be featured on Big Noon Kickoff.

Both shows have experienced incredible viewership growth this season. For GameDay, there have been several weeks this season that have seen some of the largest audiences in the show’s history.

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Sports TV News

Tim Brando Believes Executives Look For Familiarity, Not Great Voices For Announcers

“Executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio. As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

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Tim Brando has seen the broadcasting industry has evolved in a lot of ways through the years, but one thing that’s remained constant is how infrequently some of the announcing gigs with major networks open up to younger voices.

That’s mainly because you have veteran talent already occupying those positions with no plans for the immediate future to step aside.

On a recent edition of The Sports Talkers Podcast, FOX Sports broadcaster and host Tim Brando spoke to Stephen Strom about the reality that many broadcasters face.

“Yeah there are a lot more jobs, but there are fewer great jobs,” Brando said. “A lot of guys are getting jobs, but it’s like a dead end.”

But in terms of hiring younger talent for network jobs, he thinks it’s become more about adding faces to broadcast booths rather than voices.

“There’s a tendency I think now in our business to hire more visible and perhaps more popular talent because they’ve been in the studio,” he said. “But they’re not ready to be in the booth. Not everybody can do both well.”

Tim added that there’s a nuance to calling play-by-play versus working studio coverage. Brando said that perhaps it has a lot more to do with young broadcasters bypassing getting their start in radio and going right into TV.

“It seems to me that in some circles anyway in our business, executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio,” he said. “As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Brando did mention some of the younger voices at FOX who have risen to the bigger opportunities in the booth, and how they ultimately worked their way up. He said he’s had the chance to offer advice to a few of them and act as a mentor in a way, because that’s how it was for him breaking into the industry.

“I believe in pouring into the young broadcasters out there, I really do,” he said. “Because Curt Gowdy poured into me. I think there’s a responsibility and a level of accountability for the generation before to help those that are coming up that you really respect.”

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Sports TV News

MLB Network Airing 38 Hours of Winter Meetings Coverage

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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The annual winter meetings for MLB are set to take place in-person for the first time since 2019 next week, and MLB Network is ready to bring viewers all the coverage possible from San Diego.

The network is devoting 38 hours of live programming on-site, with shows like MLB Tonight, Hot Stove, High Heat, MLB Now and Intentional Talk emanating from the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fans tuning in to MLB Network can expect to see Greg Amsinger, Fran Charles, Brian Kenny, Stephen Nelson, Alanna Rizzo, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Lauren Shehadi and Matt Vasgersian hosting their respective shows throughout the week. Sean Casey, Mark DeRosa, Al Leiter, Cameron Maybin, Kevin Millar, Dan O’Dowd, Steve Phillips and Harold Reynolds will contribute coverage as analysts.

MLB Network will also carry coverage of the inaugural draft lottery from the winter meetings on Tuesday, December 6 at 8:30 p.m.

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