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English Premier League Gives Big Boost To NBC

Jason Barrett

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When Comcast paid $950 million to own the rights to air English Premier League games in the United States, they surely could not have envisioned a 150% increase in US audience size.

However, that’s exactly what the American multinational mass media company has seen happen, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, just three months after announcing their new deal in August, with their programming division NBC Sports the beneficiaries of growing cross-pond appeal for the beautiful game.

The investment now looks to be a bargain for Comcast and their entertainment company NBCUniversal –  a concept which is almost unheard of in the red-hot current market for sports rights.

As claimed in the report, the US audience size for ‘EPL’ games on US television via NBC Sports has grown by 150% on average, in comparison to three years ago when the league’s matches games were under FOX Sports and ESPN’s ownership.

While FOX Sports competed with NBC in the most recent bidding process, ESPN did not and they are sure to be ruing that decision given the recent statistics.

Indeed, the English top-division’s games are practically the sole major sports property in North America showing significant, and long-term, growth in audiences.

This rise is no doubt helped by increasing awareness of the game in the US, given the country’s exciting, and thus widely-reported, World Cup campaign in Brazil last year, and the improvement of the country’s own league – Major League Soccer.

Until now in the current campaign, Premier League matches on NBC Sports are averaging 563,000 viewers in total, working out as a 19% increase over last year.

But more staggeringly, viewers have streamed 139m live minutes of NBC Sports digital coverage this term – 44% more than was recorded up until this point in the season in 2014.

And what could be driving this growth is one of the youngest audiences in major televised sports, with the league’s followers on average 38 years old.

NBC Sports’ six-year contract with the Premier League seems to be an extremely lucrative one.

Read more at the Daily Mail which is where this article was originally published

Sports TV News

Scott Hanson Clarifies NFL RedZone Missteps During Raiders/Seahawks

Hanson believed in the moment that CBS was airing the overtime period to a national audience. But due to NFL broadcasting rules, the game was only available on select stations.

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NFL RedZone host Scott Hanson ruffled feathers for many football fans Sunday when he told viewers to switch from the channel to their local CBS affiliates to see the conclusion of the Las Vegas Raiders and Seattle Seahawks game.

Unfortunately, for both viewers and Hanson, the game was only being shown in a small portion of the country, with the rest of the nation’s CBS affiliates already airing 60 Minutes. The game was also available to NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers.

Hanson took to Twitter Sunday evening to explain what happened on the air and to apologize for the miscalculation.

Hanson believed in the moment that CBS was airing the overtime period to a national audience. But due to NFL broadcasting rules, the game was only available to stations in the Las Vegas, Fresno, Sacramento, Reno, Eugene, Portland, Boise, Seattle, and Spokane markets on the west coast. Additionally, the game was available in Chicago, Tampa, Atlanta, and Charlotte.

He apologized for the mistake and said he would have more details at a later date.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Creates ACC/SEC Challenge

The series will begin for the 2023-2024 season, launching with 28 games played between the two sports.

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ESPN, in conjunction with the ACC and SEC, is slated to announce the creation of the ACC/SEC Challenge for men’s and women’s basketball.

The series will begin for the 2023-2024 season, launching with 28 games played between the two sports. That number will grow to 30 contests when the SEC expands for the 2025-2026 season.

Every game in the challenge will be aired on an ESPN platform, with each side hosting the same amount of home games.

The creation of the event comes on the heels of the Big Ten’s new media rights deal with FOX, NBC, and CBS, ending a nearly four-decade relationship with ESPN. The ACC/Big Ten Challenge began in 1999, with the SEC/Big 12 Challenging beginning in 2013. Both events will cease to exist following this season.

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Sports TV News

FOX Sports Sees Record-Setting Ratings Weekend

The World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

Jordan Bondurant

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FOX Sports has been home to a number of record-setting games in terms of viewership over the last several days.

In addition to FOX Sports setting a new mark for a Thanksgiving and regular season NFL audience, the World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

The network reported the U.S./England match in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup averaged 15.377 million. It was the most-watched English-language soccer game in the U.S. ever, topping the 1994 World Cup final between Italy and Brazil.

Viewership of the match was up 11% compared to the second group stage contest for the U.S. team in 2014 against Portugal. The audience peaked at 19.646 million from 3:30-3:45 p.m.

FOX Sports also reported the Michigan/Ohio State game on Saturday drew in 17 million, which made it the most-watched regular season college game on the network ever. That figure was also the highest of any regular season contest since 2011. That game also saw the audience peak at 19.6 million.

Viewership for the game was up 3% compared to last year.

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