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Busy Sports Day Boosts TV Ratings For Multiple Networks

“One of the NBA’s key TV partners, TNT, emerged victorious among all key adult demos in prime time on all of TV thanks to the NBA Playoffs.”

Douglas Pucci

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Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

May 27 was a busy day in sports. It was also the first day of the summer TV season for 2021. One of the NBA’s key TV partners, TNT, emerged victorious among all key adult demos (especially with males) in prime time on all of TV thanks to the NBA Playoffs. On this night (May 27), TNT earned top honors, punctuated by the third game of the Western Conference first round series between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers (the Lakers went up two games to one). Despite the 10:10 p.m. Eastern start time, the telecast posted 3.724 million viewers, up 12 percent from the comparable late Thursday night playoff game on TNT from two years ago (Warriors-Clippers Game 3 from 4/18/2019: 3.322 million).

Prior to Suns-Lakers, Game 3 of the Milwaukee Bucks-Miami Heat series kicked off the night for TNT with 2.49 million viewers, down 15 percent from 2019 (76ers-Nets Game 3 from 4/18/2019: 2.928 million).

Over on NBA TV, Denver Nuggets-Portland Trail Blazers Game 3 averaged 302,000 viewers, down 9 percent from the NBA TV game that also featured the Nuggets — they played the San Antonio Spurs in their Game 3 on Apr. 18, 2019 (332,000).

Closing the night, TNT’s popular late-night recap show “Inside The NBA” was down a slim 6 percent from Apr. 18, 2019 (1.325 million vs. 1.417 million).

NBCSN’s NHL Stanley Cup first-round playoff doubleheader featured Montreal Canadiens-Toronto Maple Leafs Game 5 (544,000 viewers), followed by Game 6 of Carolina Hurricanes-Nashville Predators (621,000 viewers), down 34 percent (from Capitals-Hurricanes Game 4: 824,000) and down 5 percent (from Golden Knights-Sharks Game 5: 655,000), respectively, from Apr. 18, 2019. Of course, the stark declines of the early evening affair was  due to the all-Canadian matchup.

A couple of Game Ones of the super regionals round of the 2021 College Softball World Series aired on ESPN: Florida State-LSU(566,000 viewers; -14% from Oklahoma State-Florida State 5/23/19) began the night and Virginia Tech-UCLA (490,000 viewers; -26% from Texas Alabama 5/23/19) was the nightcap.

First round of the Charles Schwab Challenge on Golf Channel delivered 422,000 viewers, which represented an impressive 61 percent from the same time two years ago (262,000 on 5/23/19). Contributing to this boost were the Day One leaders — two of the sport’s most prominent golfers: Jordan Spieth and Sergio Garcia.

Out-of-market MLB coverage on MLB Network in prime time drew 283,000 viewers (+24%, from White Sox-Astros or Rays-Indians on 5/23/19). The second game of the Toronto Blue Jays-New York Yankees doubleheader was shown to most of the nation while the New York market got Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals. Earlier in the afternoon, the first Blue Jays-Yankees game (in New York: Kansas City Royals at Tampa Bay Rays) posted 167,000 viewers (-12%, from Braves-Giants or Phillies-Cubs on 5/23/19).

Sports TV News

FOX Doubles Ad Price For Premiere US World Cup Matches

FOX has capitalized by charging $600,000 per 30-second commercial during its coverage of USA/England.

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The 2022 World Cup is underway and the opener received a gigantic ratings increase for FOX Sports. Now, according to a report from Front Office Sports, the network has doubled its ad price for the USA match versus England.

USA/England will air in a lucrative window, at 2:00 PM ET on Black Friday, and FOX has capitalized by charging $600,000 per 30-second commercial during its coverage of the match. That price, according to Front Office Sports reporters Michael McCarthy and Doug Greenberg, is double what the network had asked for from advertisers for other matches.

While the event opener saw a sharp increase, the first match featuring the United States saw a decline from previous World Cup openers for the country. 11.71 million watched the match in the US between FOX Sports and Telemundo. In 2014, 11.1 million watched on ESPN and in 2010 13 million watched the first US match on ABC.

Analysists have predicted FOX Sports could garner nearly $125 million in ad revenue for the duration of the tournament.

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Sports TV News

Telemundo’s Miguel Gurwitz Announcing World Cup, NFL Thanksgiving Games For 18 Straight Hours Thursday

With the game expected to end at 2:00 AM local time, that means Gurwitz will be announcing games for over 18 hours on Thursday.

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With the World Cup happening at an unprecedented time, there were bound to be scheduling conflicts. The conflicts for Telemundo’s Miguel Gurwitz, however, might be the real unprecedented nature of the event being played in November.

Gurwitz works on Telemundo’s coverage of the World Cup while calling matches as the secondary play-by-play announcer. Beginning at 11:00 AM in Doha, Gurwitz will work the network’s coverage of the event.

But as the soccer day turns to tonight, Gurwitz will call Telemundo’s broadcast of the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings game from Qatar. With the game expected to end at 2:00 AM local time, that means Gurwitz will be announcing games for over 18 hours on Thursday.

He will also do the feat again on Sunday, as he’ll broadcast World Cup matches for the network during the day and then announce the Packers and Eagles game for Sunday Night Football.

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Sports TV News

Kevin Burkhardt: ‘Honor To Be In People’s Homes’ During Thanksgiving Broadcast

“There were a couple on the calendar that I thought that it might hit me and be very, very cool.”

Ricky Keeler

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On Thanksgiving, Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen will call their first Thanksgiving Day game for FOX when the New York Giants take on the Dallas Cowboys (4:30 PM ET). It’s been a memorable year for Burkhardt and Olsen in their first year as the A broadcast team for FOX that will end in the duo calling the Super Bowl in February.

Burkhardt was a guest on The Season with Peter Schrager podcast this week and talked about the honor of getting the chance to be on the call for a Thanksgiving Day game.

“The whole job is big and we are doing big games every week. There were a couple on the calendar that I thought that it might hit me and be very, very cool. One of them was Dallas-Green Bay, which turned out to be epic a couple of weeks ago.

“The playoffs and the Super Bowl will be great, but Thanksgiving Day. Growing up in a football family, it was kind of eating around both games. Catch the early game, halftime, go throw the football in the street, eat the meal between games, then the Cowboys game comes on, you watch that. Maybe halftime you watch or maybe you throw the football again. Watch the rest of the game, you have dessert after the game. That was the day.

“It is an honor because you are in a lot of people’s homes every week. I feel like you really are in people’s homes…. You are kind of like hugging everybody. I think it’s beyond awesome, I really do.”

Burkhardt mentioned to Schrager that he and Olsen knew they had big shoes to fill after taking over for Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (both now at ESPN) and it felt like walking in to a new job, but the A crew at FOX helped them and he liked that he and Olsen got to do it together.

“It’s been awesome. It really has. When you go into a situation like this, Joe and Troy were there for 2 decades, that’s a long time. People have long-standing relationships. Even though I’ve been at FOX for 9 years and Greg was there last year, we are the new guys essentially.

“You walk in, you don’t know how they are going to react to you, what they are going to think of you, if they think you are any good and all that stuff. From Day 1, it was like welcome to the family, we love you. I know that sounds kind of cheesy, but it’s been awesome. It felt like we’ve just fit right in. I think there’s been some cool symmetry, the fact that Greg and I got to do it together because we have such a bond.

“The fact that we got to jump in together I think has kind of been fun and helped us both because he knows me really well and I know him really well. Then, it was just getting everyone else to know us and vice versa.”

The one thing that Burkhardt did have to adjust to was a different style of show and that each production team has different viewpoint and creativity.

“The crew I’ve been on my whole life with Pete Macheska and Artie Kempner, they do a different show than Z (Richie Zyontz) and Russo (Rich Russo) do it. It’s not good, bad, or indifferent. Everyone has different viewpoints and creativity. I think it was just getting used to each other in terms of that, but it’s felt like I’ve worked with them for 25 years. It’s felt seamless. It’s felt fun.”

Even though Burkhardt is now the lead NFL play-by-play voice for FOX, that doesn’t mean he is going to change how he does a game.

“I’m not going to change my style or who I am. I’m not saying I’m not open to critiques and wanting to get better and to get coached. The basis of what I do and how I do it, I’m not going to change that now because I’m on the A crew. They liked me enough to put me here, so I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. Maybe tweaks here and there, but if I radically changed now, I’d be a moron.” 

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