Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fox Sports Riding The Cowboys

Many of the NFL nationally televised matchups thus far this season have not been the most appealing, which is the likely reason for the ratings decline one quarter of the way through the regular season. Research shows that NFL viewership among the 18 to 49 age group is down roughly 11% compared with last season.

As has been the case for four of the five weekends, the Dallas Cowboys will again be the featured national game on Sunday (10/16), taking on Green Bay in the Fox doubleheader game. This figures to be a winner for the network. In addition to both teams attracting national interest, viewership figures to be high in Cowboys rival cities such as New York, Washington, and Philadelphia, which will air the game. In fact, the telecast follows the Redskins vs. Eagles game on Fox.

As of press time (on Wednesday), there is the possibility that the Packers vs. Cowboys game could be a lead in to the MLB NLCS game in prime time, which could feature the Washington Nationals playing in Chicago against the Cubs. (Even if only shown on FS1, Joe Buck will call the baseball instead of the NFL game, which will be Thom Brennaman and Troy Aikman.)

This past Sunday (10/9), the Washington D.C. market ratings showed that the Cowboys vs. Ravens telecast on Fox drew nearly five times the total audience as the rescheduled NLDS playoff game between the Nationals and Dodgers.

However, Fox sports will suffer a bit this coming Sunday, as coincidence has both the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears home games being televised locally on CBS.

Speaking of suffering TV fans, Fox Sports is a leader in that category for MLB fans. As of press time, we don't know how many of the NLCS telecasts will be on Fox Sports or hidden away on FS1.

It was with some amusement on Wednesday (10/12) when the overnight ratings for the thrilling NLDS game between the Cubs and Giants showed this epic game as the most watched telecast ever on Fox Sports 1. Both the Chicago and San Francisco markets produced ratings at or above 19.0. The Monday night Game 3, which lasted until 1:45 AM CT, showed that more than 450,000 homes were still tuned in within the Chicago market when the game ended. And this was on a Monday night!

While Fox Sports is boasting about these ratings, they should be furious (like many fans who didn't know where to find the game) that they didn't air these games over the air on Fox Sports. There were plenty of fans who still have no idea where to find these games that would have increased these ratings had they been able to find the game, or even receive it.

FS1 would be fine for overflow (when one game runs into another) and for expanded pre and post-game coverage, but hiding these telecasts is an outrage to baseball fans. The sports suffers with both Fox Sports and TBS not making these games available over the air or having local telecasts, such as the NBA and NHL do for the first round.

It's time to welcome the NHL regular season, and NBCSN has some excellent matchup for the first couple of nights. After showing rivals St. Louis vs. Chicago and Los Angeles vs. San Jose on Wednesday, the network comes back with Pittsburgh raising the Stanley Cup banner and opening against Washington on Thursday. They get a tough break, as it turns out, because the D.C. audience also has the NLDS Game 5 with the Nationals and Dodgers to choose from.

PHILADELPHIA: Although it is from the 6 to 10 PM slot when the games are going on, 97.5 The Fanatic is temporarily without a night time sports talk host. After a year and one-half of hosting nights, Joe DeCamara is out and even removed from the station's web site. No reason given as of press time.

ORLANDO: For the Magic's pre-season game vs. San Antonio on Wednesday (10/12), the team is streaming a telecast via Facebook within a 75 mile radius of the arena as an experiment. This will be the arena feed combined with the radio play-by-play with Dennis Neumann and Richie Adubato. The Atlanta Hawks streamed an open practice on Facebook Live back on October 1st.

WASHINGTON D.C.: It is now definite that there will not be a new "in house" cable channel created for the Capitals and Wizards games. The teams, whose ownership had been considering their own channel and adding other area teams, have taken a deal from NBC Sports Group to partner in Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. As a result, the Caps will reportedly receive around $28 million per season in rights, while the Wizards will receive about $35 million per season through the 2031-32 seasons. For this coming season, this will be roughly double the revenue each team received for last season.

NEW YORK: WABC-TV 7 has hired Ryan Field away from Fox Sports to become its lead sports anchor. Field has been anchoring on Fox Sports 1 for most of the past three years.

DETROIT: Sorry to report that WXYT-FM 97.1 The Ticket host Terry Foster suffered a setback in his recovery from the stroke he suffered in August. Foster had planned to return to co-host along with Mike Valenti last week.

Fox Sports Detroit has confirmed that Mario Impemba and Rod Allen will return to the Tigers telecasts for 2017.

MINNEAPOLIS: Two outlying area stations have dropped their sports programming. WXCX 105.7 (Siren MN) dropped its simulcast of The Fan from Minneapolis, as did WXCE 1260 (Amery MN), which had been airing NBC Sports Radio. Both stations have gone to music formats, as sister station WHSM 910 (Hayward MN) had done earlier following an ownership change of all three of these stations.

ROCHESTER: With 990 AM discontinuing its sports programming Rochester Americans hockey has moved to WROC 950 and 95.7 ESPN in time for the new season. Don Stevens continues as the team's play-by-play voice.

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