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Sports TV News

2 MLB Wild Card Games Draw Less Than a Million Viewers

“The White Sox’s game in Oakland, which started at 3 pm, drew just 953,000 viewers. The 5 pm start between the Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays drew just over 800,000 viewers.”

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To say the Major League Baseball Playoffs stumbled out of the gate might be generous. ESPN can’t possibly be happy with the added playoff inventory if the interest just isn’t there. According to ShowBuzz Daily, it isn’t, at least not in the middle of the day.

Two of the first three games of the MLB Postseason each failed to draw a million viewers. The White Sox’s game in Oakland, which started at 3 pm, drew just 953,000 viewers. The 5 pm start between the Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays drew just over 800,000 viewers.

It isn’t hard to guess what the problem is. These games both started in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday. Even if a lot of people are working from home, it isn’t an ideal time to start a playoff baseball game.

On the plus side, ESPN has to be happy with the Yankees and Indians. That game drew an audience of nearly 2.6 million. Despite the fact that New York won in a blowout, the game was still the only thing not related to the Presidential debate in the top 15 cable programs for Tuesday.

ESPN has not been shy about its desire to acquire more Major League Baseball Playoff inventory in the future. The league recently signed new deals with both Turner and FOX locking in those networks’ commitments to postseason baseball. With these numbers out while the League and ESPN are still in negotiations, it remains to be seen if ESPN loses some enthusiasm or at the very least, demands a price reduction.

Sports TV News

3.72 Million Tune In To See LeBron James Break Scoring Record

Jordan Bondurant

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Lakers star LeBron James surpassed the NBA’s all-time scoring record on Tuesday night, and TNT benefitted from the milestone ratings wise.

According to Sports Media Watch, Tuesday night’s game averaged 2.98 million viewers. That figure made it TNT’s biggest regular season audience in over two years.

The broadcast peaked at 3.72 million around 11:45 p.m. when James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the record.

Reporting also indicated that the game was the number one single-network program on TV in key demographics.

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Sports TV News

Disney Makes ESPN Independent Division In Corporate Restructuring

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN

Disney is in the process of reorganizing and restructuring the company, and details have emerged about the company’s plans for ESPN.

Deadline reported on Wednesday that ESPN will be one of three standalone segments comprising Disney. Entertainment and Parks, Experiences & Products are the other two segments.

The reorganization comes amid the exit of former CEO Bob Chapek and the re-entry of CEO Bob Iger. As one of Iger’s first moves back running Disney, he announced a restructuring of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

It was also reported that Jimmy Pitaro will continue as the president of ESPN.

In total, more than 7,000 jobs will be eliminated after the restructuring.

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Sports TV News

Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

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Thursday Night Football

In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.

During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.

ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.

NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.

Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.

One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.

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