It is a rarity that record ratings highs are nothing to celebrate, but that is the situation ESPN is facing today. Monday night’s game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals was expected to be one of the league’s best games of the year. Instead, it was tragedy and fear that brought viewers to their televisions.
Across ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, and ESPN Deportes, an average audience of 23.6 million people watched as broadcasters tried to make sense of what they were seeing as Bills safety Damar Hamlin had to be revived on the field by first responders during the first quarter. The audience was calculated between 8:28 p.m. and 10:10 p.m. when ESPN went to SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt.
That is the biggest audience for Monday Night Football since it became an ESPN property in 2006. The previous high was 21.8 million viewers for the Packers and Vikings in 2009.
Don’t expect a celebration though. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that a Disney spokesman has said that the network may not include the numbers for Week 17 in its 2022 season average. It may not even consider them a part of the Monday Night Football historical record, given the terrible circumstances.
On Thursday, Dr. Timothy Pritts updated Hamlin’s condition saying that he is awake and following commands.
FOX Sells Out Super Bowl Ad Time
Some advertisements were sold for more than $7 million, while the average price slotted between $6 and $7 million.
FOX Sports has reportedly sold out its allotment of Super Bowl ads, with some fetching $7 million for a 30-second spot.
According to a report from Deadline, the average price per ad was between $6 and $7 million, per FOX Sports Executive Vice President of Ad Sales Mark Evans.
Evans also told Deadline the ad slots for the event sold out two weeks ago. Volatility with some advertisers — like cryptocurrency brand FTX — and economic conditions were listed as reasons for why it took until three weeks before the event to sell out.
“As things have now settled down a bit and people feel better about the economic trajectory, a few of those units that were available picked up in earnest,” Evans said.
FOX claimed in September it had sold 95% of its available ad space for television’s largest event.
The $7 million price-tag for a 30-second commercial is in line with what first-time Super Bowl ad buyers paid for in 2022 when the event aired on NBC. That network’s reported asking price for commercials was between $5.8 and $6.2 million, with 40 advertisers joining the fray for Super Bowl LVI.
Kevin Harvick Joining NASCAR on FOX Booth in 2024
“Getting the chance to step into the booth with Mike and Clint in 2024 is an honor.”
NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick is retiring from the sport after the 2023 season, but he won’t be leaving completely. Sunday, Harvick announced he’ll join the NASCAR on FOX booth next season.
Harvick will join Mike Joy and former teammate Clint Bowyer for FOX’s portion of the NASCAR schedule.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the FOX NASCAR team full-time,” Harvick said. “I’ve enjoyed the experience in the booth the last several years because it has given me valuable insight into what being in the booth is all about. Getting the chance to step into the booth with Mike and Clint in 2024 is an honor and a great way to stay connected to the sport and NASCAR fans.”
Harvick has been a regular contributor to the network’s coverage of NASCAR’s lower series’ — the Craftsman Truck Series and the Xfinity Series — since 2015. He’ll make appearances in the FOX booth for select races in both of those series’ telecasts during the 2023 season in preparation for his full-time role in 2024.
“I can’t overstate how thrilled we are for Kevin to be an official member of the FOX Sports family,” FOX Sports President of Productions and Executive Producer Brad Zager said. “This is a marriage eight years in the making — since he first stepped into our NASCAR Xfinity Series booth with more presence and poise than most newcomers dream of. It has been fun to watch Kevin learn the TV ropes, and we cannot wait to hear him, Mike (Joy) and Clint (Bowyer) call their first race together.”
Harvick has raced in NASCAR’s top series since 2001, having the unenviable task of replacing legend Dale Earnhardt after his death during the 2001 Daytona 500.
The 47-year-old Harvick has won 60 races during his career. He won all four of what would be considered NASCAR’s “crown jewel events”, the Daytona 500 (once), the Coca-Cola 600 (twice), the Southern 500 (twice), and the Brickyard 400 (three times). He also took home the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series Championship, in addition to two Xfinity Series Championships.
Carlos Beltran Leaving YES Network For Mets Front Office
Beltran was preparing to shift from a game analyst to a studio analyst for the 2023 season at YES Network.
Carlos Beltran will leave his broadcasting position with YES Network to return to the New York Mets organization, a report from The New York Post reveals.
Beltran was preparing to shift from a game analyst to a studio analyst for the 2023 season at YES Network, but will instead be rejoining the Mets organization in a yet-to-be-announced front office position.
The Mets hired Beltran in 2019 to serve as the team’s manager, but fired him before the season after he was named as one of the leaders of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scheme during the 2017 season. In the report from MLB, Beltran was the only Astros player implicated as a conspirator behind the plot to steal opposing teams’ signs and relay them to batters by banging on trash cans.
The 45-year-old played for the New York Mets for seven of his 20 Major League seasons.
YES Network has now experienced several changes to its Yankees coverage this offseason. Cameron Maybin was not retained for the 2023 season. He has subsequently joined the television booth of the Detroit Tigers, where he’ll announce select games. Meanwhile, YES Network strongly courted Don Mattingly this offseason before the Yankee legend ultimately decided to join the coaching staff of the Toronto Blue Jays. The network reportedly continues to chase after Yankee legend Derek Jeter for a broadcasting role, as well.