They won't admit it, but this week figures to go down as one of the worst weeks for ESPN over the past 37 years. Now it is even more than contributing to the number of consumers who are 'cutting the cord' over the high monthly fees which ESPN has forced on consumers by way of all of the cable and satellite providers.
Even the NFL Draft, which ESPN clearly pioneered for live national coverage years ago, produced Round 1 overnight ratings nearly one-half of a ratings point below last year's coverage. They can't simply claim there isn't as much interest, considering that large markets Los Angeles and Philadelphia had the first two picks of the entire draft. Add to it that the ratings on the NFL Network, which provides separate live coverage, showed a ratings increase of more than 20% over last season, although it still trails ESPN in total audience.
Ohio State fans were clearly the most interested, as the major market analysis (for Round 1 only) showed Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton as three of the top five markets for viewers.
Also this week, ESPN lost its voice of Monday Night Football and #2 voice for its NBA telecasts with the resignation of Mike Tirico after 25 years with the network. This move comes as a huge surprise.
At this point in time, there is no other network which can offer Torico a similar opportunity in terms of both NFL and NBA.
Daytime show host Skip Bayless is also leaving ESPN, although this move appears to be the Network's idea. ESPN has determined they will not renew his contract, which technically expires at the end of August. His final day on the air will be in late June on the day after the NBA Finals come to an end.
This past Sunday (4/24), ABC had a problem, although not the fault of ABC/ESPN, when its San Antonio at Memphis NBA Playoffs telecast was interrupted by the power surge which stopped the game for nearly 30 minutes. This forced studio analysts Jalen Rose and Doug Collins to fill the time with an extended analysis of the various playoff series.
Again, this is all from within the past week. However, I'm sure that everything there has come to a complete stop for this weekend. After all, the Yankees and Red Sox are playing, so everything stops until after Sunday Night Baseball.
The Golden State Warriors' regular season made history on the court, but also in terms of TV ratings. Their historic 73rd win on the last night of the regular season finished as the highest regular season rating for an NBA telecast on ANY regional sports network in the nation. The season produced the three highest telecasts ever for CSN Bay Area (any sport).
This season also made it six consecutive seasons during which the Warriors ratings have gone up overall. Sports Business Journal reported that it marks the first time this has happened for an NBA team, and has not happened for any MLB or NHL teams.
Cleveland Cavaliers telecasts finished with the highest regular season ratings in team history, while the San Antonio Spurs telecasts also finished strong in the top three for the Association.
At the same time, the NBA's three largest markets produced poor ratings for at least one of the two local teams. Brooklyn Nets telecasts on YES Network finished as the lowest rated team in the league for the 7th time in nine seasons.
Even Kobe Bryant's final season didn't help the Lakers' ratings on TWC SportsNet, as ratings dropped about 3% while setting an historic low for the team's telecasts.
In Chicago, where the only team there is the Bulls, their ratings on CSN Chicago dropped more than 35% from the prior season, although the team failed to make the post-season for the first time since 2008.
NEW YORK: Russ Salzberg is reducing his duties with Fox TV after this week, with Friday (4/29) being his last scheduled night as sports anchor on Channel 5.
After more than 28 years anchoring sports in NYC, Salzberg will continue his role hosting Giants pre and post game shows on the local Fox stations in the fall.
LOS ANGELES: The Dodgers will finally take a 49% equity of their flagship radio station KLAC 570 by year's end, as the arrangement has now been filed with the FCC. The irony in all of this is that even though roughly 70% of the market cannot get the Dodgers games on TV (due to the high monthly fees demanded by Time Warner Cable), KLAC continues to average less than one ratings point overall each month.