Wednesday, September 14, 2016

L.A. & St. Louis Viewers Stuck With The Rams

Makes us wonder how many sales of Sunday Ticket there have been and will be this week in the Los Angeles area. With the Rams having played late on Monday Night Football to open their season, the impact of their Sunday schedule isn't being felt until this coming weekend.

On Sunday (9/18) the Rams are home against Seattle, and the game is sold out. As a result, viewers in L.A. will get that telecast as the only Fox telecast of the day. Thus, fans do not get an early game on Fox. The folks at Fox Sports are taking this telecast seriously, assigning Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to this game even though it will go to less than 25% of the country.

As a result, however, L.A. (over the air) viewers cannot get the CBS doubleheader game of Indianapolis at Denver because of home team restrictions, which L.A. hasn't had in all of the years since the Rams left. They do get the early primary regional game on CBS, which is the highly anticipated first meeting of Pittsburgh and Cincinnati since last season's memorable post-season battle between those two teams. All of this also prevents both the Raiders and Chargers games from being shown in that market.

However, it is possible that (over the air) viewers in the St. Louis area will feel even more screwed on Sunday. The local Fox station will also air the Rams vs. Seattle game as its only Fox telecast that day. Those fans do have another option, as the St. Louis market gets both ends of the CBS doubleheader. Have to believe that Indy at Denver will draw a bigger audience than the departed Rams vs. Seattle.
Denver's opening night win over Carolina last Thursday (9/8) was the lowest rated (nationally) since 2013. The Denver ratings rocked with a 74% share of the local audience, while the Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh/Durham, and Greenville markets were each among the top seven highest local markets.

For the Sunday (9/11) season openers, the Fox telecast of the NYG vs. Dallas game was up about 15% from last year's doubleheader telecast opener. It also had a larger audience than NBC's Sunday Night Football season opener with New England and Arizona, which was down 11% from last year's.
For this Thursday (9/15) the Buffalo vs. NY Jets telecast will also be the first to be streamed live via Twitter. The service has added Chris Carter as an analyst only for its feed. Carter, who is no longer with ESPN, will host a Twitter-only pre-game show about 90 minutes prior to kickoff, along with a half time and post-game presentation. He will also reportedly be Tweeting comments and possibly taking viewer questions during the games.

On the college side, Fox Sports is adding a "virtual reality" broadcast feed via its Fox Sports app for mobile devices for its Ohio State vs. Oklahoma telecast this Saturday (9/17). This feature will allow users to choose among multiple camera views as well as having access to stats and rosters.

ESPN/ABC continues to try and find a better studio presentation surrounding its NBA telecasts for the upcoming season. The struggle to find the right studio host for the pre-game, half time, and post-game show continues as Michelle Beadle is being brought in to be the main host on Wednesday and Friday nights. Sage Steele will continue as the main host on Saturdays (prime time) and on Sundays.

This takes Doris Burke out of her occasional hosting role (which she did on some Wednesdays last season), although Burke remains with the show as an analyst.

Back at Fox Sports, struggling Fox Sports 1 continues its push to grow an audience. It is getting to the point where more and more fans know it exists, but is finding out the hard way that content rules.

After spending a lot of money to bring Skip Bayless over for its daily show, which began last week, the ratings dipped by 45% from the day one premiere to day two. Even with stronger first day ratings, the total audience was well under half of what ESPN2 drew at the same time (not even counting ESPN).

At CBS Sports, the network, along with Westwood One, has expanded The Jim Rome Show to a daily podcast, which is a condensed version of his radio show. The Network is actually promoting this feature in an effort to create additional advertiser opportunities.

As an old school radio person, I will once again raise the point that promoting this also promotes time spent NOT listening to the radio (especially CBS) since they could instead hear the podcast and save time in the process. Of course, this points fans in the direction of getting used to podcasts, where they can EASILY find other sports podcasts which have nothing to do with CBS or any other radio outlet.

I'll bet many of the same executives that signed off on this are also wondering why CBS Radio is close to being sold and downgraded from its once lofty status.

LOS ANGELES: KSPN ESPN 710 is finally expanding its local programming starting next Wednesday (9/21). The new local morning show, from 6 to 9 AM, will be hosted by Israel Gutierrez along with (former NFL receiver) Keyshawn Johnson. LZ Granderson will also participate in the show. (Johnson will remain as an ESPN NFL analyst from L.A.)

The Mychal Thompson and Mike Trudell show will expand by one hour and air from 9 AM to Noon. Local programming continues each weekday until 9 PM, now including Kelvin Washington moving to afternoons to co-host with Marcellus Wiley from 3 to 7 PM.

KSPN will, of course, continue to air the Angels, USC and Rams football, and the Lakers, along with ESPN Radio play-by-play when there are no conflicts.

Sister station KLAA 830 will air ESPN Radio national programming including Mike & Mike airing live at 3 AM.

DALLAS: Although local interest is solid in the Rangers as they close in on the MLB post-season, the Metroplex is still a football town when it comes to TV viewing. This past Sunday (9/11), as expected, the Cowboys opener vs. the Giants had a local Nielsen rating of 32.7. No one will question that, although the Rangers vs. Angels telecast that afternoon had a rating of 1.4. Yet, the other three NFL telecasts on Sunday (including Sunday Night Football) all had at least five times larger than the Rangers audience.

AUSTIN: KLGO 1260 and KTXX 104.9 will remain as the flagship stations for Texas Longhorn broadcasts, despite the pending sale of those stations.

CHICAGO: And finally, this week, it's "ooops" time. On Monday late afternoon (9/12), Comcast SportsNet Chicago was, as usual showing the scroll of the upcoming night's sports schedule. Several times, when it was time for the NFL scoreboard, their scroll showed the late NFL game as "St. Louis at San Francisco". You would think that, for all of the time and effort they spend on Chicago Bears and NFL related programming, they would notice that the Rams no longer play in St. Louis. Even more amazing that no one caught it after multiple airings.

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