Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tough Ratings & Revenue For TV Networks

This is far from an All-Star week when it comes to ratings and revenue news for the major networks, especially Fox. You could say that the revenue part is a bitter pill to swallow for Fox, CBS, NBC, and ESPN.

Due to circumstances out of their control, those networks which televise the NFL, face the loss of a major advertiser for at least the coming season. In fact, (which publishes ad spending data) claims that the advertiser spent more than $30 million on NFL telecasts on those networks during the 2016 season alone. (The advertiser is Pfizer, which manufactures Viagra. Advertising has been stopped on that product because of a legal patent issue and the onset of at least one generic drug product.)

It is too early to gauge the impact, since we don't know if or when those millions in revenue would be replaced by other advertisers.

Baseball's All-Star Game made for a most interesting twist in the TV ratings, since the Home Run Derby came in with a more positive return than the actual game telecast.

For all of the complaining among fans that the All-Star Game determining the league home advantage for the World Series, which is no longer the case, the Fox telecast held steady with the 2016 record lows. This year's game was also down roughly 20% in total viewers from 2015, while NBC's "America's Got Talent" show held steady from the previous week's ratings but had millions more viewers than Fox did.

This is another reason for Fox to be very concerned. Many fans don't seem to be aware of the games every Saturday on FS1, while Fox Sports only shows a few Saturday prime time games during the weeks prior to the game. FS1 and FS2 continue to struggle for viewers. They can't say fans were not aware of the All-Star Game either.

Even the Home Run Derby, which aired the night before (7/10) on ESPN, showed a nice ratings increase, being up by more than 35% from last year. Even though the New York market ratings for the Derby were the highest ever (with Aaron Judge competing and winning), they can't use that as the argument, since the Kansas City market had even higher ratings on Monday.

When a batting practice event outshines the actual game telecast, it is cause for concern.

As the games resume on Friday, as it goes, the networks think that everything stops because the Red Sox and Yankees are matched up. However, this time, and perhaps for the remainder of the season, this series actually means something. What's even more amazing is that each of the four games of the series will be shown on a different national network.

The Friday game is on MLB Network, with Saturday's on FS1. (While Fox wonders what's wrong, but puts a showcase game on FS1 instead of Fox Sports on a Saturday.) The Sunday day-night doubleheader will have the afternoon game on TBS, while, of course, on the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game.

Over at Fox Sports, they have added Mark Schlereth as an NFL analyst. No word, as of press time, as to if Schlereth will be used as a game analyst or only in the studio.

With college football only a few weeks away, the SEC Network has finally named its new lead broadcast team. As expected, Tom Hart moves up into the lead play-by-play role. He will now be joined by former QB Jordan Rodgers and lineman Cole Cubelic. This team replaces the retired Brent Musburger and moves analyst Jesse Palmer to another role, possibly with ESPN, for the coming season.

Looks like the boxing people are taking note as to the high monthly costs that millions of sports fans continue to pay just for their cable/satellite service, and overlooking the amount of cord cutting.

Those interested in the upcoming Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor fight are facing a live pay-per-view cost of at least $89.95. The HD version is reportedly set at $99.95.

Although this price will likely make the PPV telecast a financial success, these prices make it less likely for the sport to attract new fans.

SAN DIEGO: The Hacksaw is on the block, so to speak. XETV Channel 6 has eliminated its news operation completely, which put an end to Lee 'Hacksaw' Hamilton as the primary sports anchor there. Hamilton has been a fixture since the mid-80's when he seemingly built XTRA The Mighty 690 as one of the first major market all sports stations.

NEW ORLEANS: WODT 1280 is significantly expanding its "local" programming for weekdays, even though it will have a definite Houston and 'outsider' flavor. Josh Innes, recently moved up to mornings at Houston's KBME, will take over the Noon to 2 PM spot, while KBME's Assistant Program Director, Chris Gordy will take over from 8 to 10 AM. The station is also bringing in Jordy Hultberg (known from his days at LSU and his sideline reporting) for 2 to 4 PM, although Hultberg continues to be based at KLWB 103.7 Lafayette. Now you know why the "local programming" is in quotes. Six hours per weekday with hosts working from another market.

TUSCALOOSA: WFFN 95.3 has a new seven year extension to remain as flagship station for Alabama football and basketball games, as well as the Nick Saban Show and the "Hey Coach" Show.

BLOOMINGTON/NORMAL: WJBC 1230 and 93.7 have a new five year extension to remain the flagship for Illinois State University football and basketball.

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