Vitale and his broadcast partner Dave O’Brian were getting ready to call the highly anticipated matchup between #1 Gonzaga and #2 UCLA in Las Vegas. Vitale was very emotional during O’Brian’s intro and had a hard timing keeping himself together.
“Dickie, it is so great to see you,” said O’Brien. “I know that you would not miss this. All of you are aware that Dick is battling cancer. The fact that you’ve made it out to Las Vegas for a game that I know you had circled for a long, long time. It’s just awesome. Great to see you.”
“It’s great being here, Dave,” Dick Vitale said fighting back tears. “I didn’t wanna cry! I can’t believe I’m sitting here. It’s just really a big thrill for me. I wanna to thank all you people, sending me so many great messages.
“ESPN, [ESPN President] Jimmy Pitaro, all of my buddies at ESPN. I wanna thank, certainly, my family and all the fans. My, you’ve been unbelievable. On October 12th – I’ll be honest with you – when they walked in and told me I had cancer, they thought it was bile duct cancer and it really was going to be a serious surgery and all.
“I never dreamt at 82 that I’d ever be courtside again. But to be here today, I’m sorry. I hope I don’t cause a problem out there, but I mean, it’s a little emotional.”
“Don’t apologize for anything,” said O’Brien. “Well, and the game is the big thing,” said Vitale. “Let’s get this game going, talk some basketball.”
In the end, Gonzaga pulled away from UCLA, burying the Bruins 83-63. The outcome of the game wasn’t really the headline. Far more people took to Twitter to express their joy in seeing Dick Vitale back on TV.
Reice Shipley is a daily news writer and social media assistant for BSM. He is a graduate of Ithaca University, contributor to the Syracuse Mets, and aspires to work behind the scenes in sports media in the future. He can be found on Twitter @Reice_Shipley18 or you may reach him by email at RShipley@ithaca.edu.
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.