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Blue Jackets Gain on TV, Lose at The Gate

Jason Barrett

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Columbus Blue Jackets fans apparently haven’t wanted to leave their couches amid the team’s woeful start.

Television ratings on Fox Sports Ohio climbed in October from a year earlier, but smaller crowds turned out at Nationwide Arena during the first five home games.

From opening night through Oct. 31, a 23-day stretch in which the Jackets posted a 2-10 record, an average 10,500 households tuned in to watch games on Fox Sports Ohio, according to Nielsen ratings.

The 1.16 household rating over that span was up 54 percent from the first 12 games of the prior season, an increase that the regional sports network attributes to several factors outweighing the team’s poor performance.

“Generally, yes, ratings tend to correlate with team performance,” General Manager François McGillicuddy said in an email. “However, the increase we’ve seen in Blue Jackets ratings are a result of several things – the Jackets’ strong finish last season, the anticipation coming into this season, the great matchups early in the season, and the dedicated fans that remain engaged, passionate and committed to this team.”

The Blue Jackets’ woeful play led to the firing of head coach Todd Richards, and though the team has improved under the leadership of John Tortorella, it remains in last place with a 3-10 record.

Despite the upswing in TV viewers, attendance at Nationwide Arena through five home games hasn’t kept pace.

The Blue Jackets ranked 25th of 30 NHL teams with 14,774 fans per game, down 5 percent from last year’s full-season average 15,511 in 41 home contests, according to ESPN.com.

President Mike Priest said last year that an average of 16,000 fans – of an 18,500 capacity – is one ingredient needed to make the team profitable.

Credit to the Columbus Business Journal who originally published this article

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LIV Golf Nearing TV Deal With The CW Network

“LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.”

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LIV Golf

According to a report from Front Office Sports, LIV Golf has laid out a deal with The CW Network for television carriage in the United States.

The deal is a multi-year agreement that will see the tour own real estate in lesser-viewed time slots on the network. A revenue-sharing relationship between the tour and the television network is expected to be struck.

LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.

After a standup comedy show in West Palm Beach last week, Feherty reportedly told the crowd “Have you heard of CW? I might get fired for this, but…,” according to report from Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post.

Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand had previously reported a deal between the Saudi-backed breakaway golf tour and the network was likely.

Nexstar Media Group — the nation’s largest television owner — is the majority owner of The CW Network. There are around 220 affiliates of the network on over-the-air television stations. Rumors of an acquisition of LIV Golf’s rights come on the heels of The CW Network being linked to the potential launch of a college football bowl game that would air exclusively on the network.

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Stephen A. Smith: ‘I Don’t Feel Obligated To Agree With Black Community’

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Stephen A. Smith is out promoting his new memoir Straight Shooter. He recently sat down for a conversation with Men’s Health magazine.

Interviewer Rachel Epstein covers a wide variety of topics with Smith. Some are about what can be found in the book. Some are about the First Take star’s public perception.

She asked how Smith balances the responsibility of representing the Black community with his brand. On ESPN, Smith is known for being unique and unapologetic for his sometimes over-the-top persona.

“Number one by being fair,” he said. “By trying to gather as much information and educate myself on issues as much as I possibly can.”

He added that he has never felt pressure to think a certain way or say a certain thing. Even if pressure existed, he prides himself on not giving in to it.

“I never feel an obligation to agree with my community. I believe we all have a right to think the way we want to think. But I do feel a responsibility to make sure that the perspective emanating from my community is heard, even if I disagree.”

Stephen A. Smith is one of the highest-paid and most visible employees at ESPN. He said that a certain responsibility comes along with that status. He wants the Black community to know that even if he doesn’t agree, he will make sure people know what he is hearing when he is on TV talking about an important subject.

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Kathryn Tappen Joining NBC’s Big Ten Coverage

“Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.”

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NBC has tabbed Kathryn Tappen as its sideline reporter for the network’s upcoming coverage of Big Ten football, according to a report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

According to Marchand, Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.

Tappen has hosted Notre Dame football’s studio coverage and Peacock Sunday Night Football Final. She also worked as NBC’s lead interviewer for its coverage of the PGA Tour, but left that broadcast team at the end of 2022 as part of the network’s larger shakeup of its golf coverage.

The appointment of Kathryn Tappen conceivably concludes the Big Ten on NBC broadcast crew. Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge are expected to pair as the network’s play-by-play announcer and color analyst, respectively. NBC has yet to officially unveil its coverage plans for the 2023 college football season.

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