Each week, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz recaps the funniest thing in sports that they saw over the weekend. Usually, the bit is reserved for Mondays, but with most people getting to enjoy a three-day weekend, the conversation was pushed back to Tuesday this week.
On Friday morning, Brian Windhorst delivered his “what’s going on in Utah” analysis of the Jazz trading Royce O’Neale to the Brooklyn Nets on ESPN’s First Take. By that afternoon, it had spawned memes that had overtaken NBA Twitter.
Le Batard and his crew noticed. Amin Elhassan declared the reaction “the funniest thing in sports” on Tuesday’s show noting that it was very much in line with his own podcast, Basketball Illuminati.
“He won the internet this weekend,” Dan Le Batard said.
The show wasn’t the only media entity to pay tribute to Windhorst and his questions on Monday. USA Today’s For the Win blog gathered up its favorite memes based on the segment.
Billy Gil, producer of The Dan Le Batard Show, said that Windhorst certainly knew how to command the attention of his colleagues on the First Take set, but speculated that just maybe he commanded the attention of decision makers around the NBA too.
“You know, it was about his performance too. He played it so well,” he said. “He had me believing something was going on and then there was. What if there wasn’t something going on and then it just materialized?”
FOX Sports Sees Record-Setting Ratings Weekend
The World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.
FOX Sports has been home to a number of record-setting games in terms of viewership over the last several days.
In addition to FOX Sports setting a new mark for a Thanksgiving and regular season NFL audience, the World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.
The network reported the U.S./England match in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup averaged 15.377 million. It was the most-watched English-language soccer game in the U.S. ever, topping the 1994 World Cup final between Italy and Brazil.
Viewership of the match was up 11% compared to the second group stage contest for the U.S. team in 2014 against Portugal. The audience peaked at 19.646 million from 3:30-3:45 p.m.
FOX Sports also reported the Michigan/Ohio State game on Saturday drew in 17 million, which made it the most-watched regular season college game on the network ever. That figure was also the highest of any regular season contest since 2011. That game also saw the audience peak at 19.6 million.
Viewership for the game was up 3% compared to last year.
ESPN Bowl Plans Could Be Altered By NFL Flex Scheduling
“While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules.”
ESPN could be forced to adjust its upcoming bowl season schedule if the NFL decides to flex a Las Vegas Raiders game a week before Christmas.
ESPN announced its contingency plans for two bowl contests, the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. The Las Vegas Bowl is currently planned to kick off from Allegiant Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on December 17. The Raiders right now are still planning to play in the Sunday night game the next night against the Patriots.
Should the NFL decide to flex the Raiders out of the SNF window, ESPN will swap kickoff times between the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. That would mean the game in sin city will kick off at 11:30 a.m. local time, with the contest in Albuquerque starting at 5:20 p.m. local time that evening.
“The SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl and New Mexico Bowl are both owned and operated by ESPN Events, so this change is a solution that will work for all parties,” ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby said. “While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules. We are more than prepared to move forward with this revised schedule if necessary.”
Kickoff times will be determined well enough ahead that the schools taking part in both games shouldn’t be adversely affected.
NFL Thanksgiving Games Set Ratings Records
FOX Sports added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021.
The Thanksgiving slate of NFL games last week brought in the largest audiences ever. Viewership across all three games averaged 33.5 million.
The game with the largest viewership was Giants/Cowboys in the 4:30 p.m. window. FOX Sports reported that 42 million watched Dallas beat New York 28-20. It is the largest regular season audience ever, surpassing the previous leader set 32 years ago.
The network added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021. FOX carried the Detroit Lions traditional noon Thanksgiving game last year. Compared to the Cowboys turkey day contest on CBS in 2021, viewership was up 3%.
The Bills/Lions game in the early window on CBS averaged 31.627 million, with the audience peaking at 41.981 million. It was the most-watched early Thanksgiving game on record.
Patriots/Vikings on NBC in the nightcap averaged 25.9 million. That figure was up 24% compared to Bills/Saints a year ago, with NBC Sports claiming it’s the second most-watched primetime Thanksgiving game on record. The game was simulcast in Spanish on Telemundo, which averaged 565,000 viewers and made it the most-watched NFL game ever on the network.