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McKenzie Playing a Key Role in TSN’s Success

Jason Barrett

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When the country’s two sports television networks tear into each other on Monday in the ultimate bit of Canadiana – all-day live coverage of deadline day in the NHL for making trades – the goal of each of them, aside from ratings, is beating the other guy by a few seconds to announce a trade first.

But no matter who wins the intense battle for scoops between TSN and Sportsnet, there is one fact neither network can argue: TSN’s Bob McKenzie is the most trusted source of hockey information on any media platform. He may not always be first with the trade announcements or other news, although he is not often beaten, but he is always right.

There is nothing stylish about McKenzie, 59, who was part of the great migration of print reporters to broadcast outlets that began in earnest in the 1990s. But unlike many of his colleagues, particularly in the United States where current and former print types make up the casts of dozens of sports-talk screamfests, McKenzie stuck with what worked for him from the start, a solid work ethic that developed the widest variety of sources in the sport, from junior scouts to NHL owners.

That means any information he provides, whether to his 1.22 million Twitter followers, on a TSN television panel, a radio appearance or in a written report on TSN.ca, is solid.

The 2015 trade deadline was the first year TSN did not have any national NHL broadcast rights, having lost the package to Rogers Media, which agreed in 2014 to pay $5.2-billion over 12 years for the NHL’s Canadian national broadcast rights. But TSN trounced Rogers’s Sportsnet network on deadline day, drawing an average of 206,000 viewers to its 10 hours of coverage compared with 76,000 for Sportsnet. TSN drew more than double the total viewers to its show, 2.3 million, than Sportsnet (1.1 million).

While this cannot all be attributed to McKenzie, a major share of it can, given that he dominates the hockey discussion on Twitter, where viewership starts. And he is the one looked to by most for confirmation of a trade.

McKenzie, though, will not tell you he is driving the ratings.

“I just get up and do my job every day and make sure I don’t feel like I have to back up to the pay window at the end of the week,” McKenzie said.

To continue reading the full article visit the Toronto Globe and Mail where it was originally published

Sports TV News

ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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NFL Studio

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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Sports TV News

ESPN Assigns Broadcast Teams for MLB Wild Card Round

In preparation for the postseason, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

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Wild Card
David Berding/Getty Images

There are just a few games left in the MLB season and the postseason begins this weekend with the Wild Card round. In preparation, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

Andrew Marchand reports that the team assigned to the presumptive New York Mets Wild Card series will be Karl Ravech, David Cone and Eduardo Perez. The Mets still mathematically can win the NL East but they trail the Braves by two games with three to play.

He also reports that the St. Louis Wild Card series will be called by Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. The Cleveland series will be broadcast by Boog Sciambi and Doug Glanville while the Toronto series will be called by Dave Flemming, Jessica Mendoza and Tim Kurkjian.

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Sports TV News

Stugotz: ‘Sean McDonough Hates The Aaron Judge Cut-Ins’

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

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College football fans are not being shy with how they feel about Aaron Judge. Whether it is private conversations or social media posts, people are making their disdain for the cut-ins to college football games on ESPN networks when the Yankee slugger comes to bat known. On Monday morning, Stugotz added that it isn’t just fans that are unhappy.

The Dan Le Batard Show discussed the second straight week of cut-ins on Monday morning. Stugotz pointed out that one of ESPN’s primary college football voices sounds just as annoyed as fans are.

“Sean McDonough hates the toss to Aaron Judge,” he said. Hates it!”

Last week, ESPN and ABC cut into games when Judge was sitting on 60 home runs. This week, he was sitting on 61. A 62nd home run would be the most in American League history.

Stugotz added that has to be part of McDonough’s frustration.

“In his defense, what are we cutting in for? I have no idea if [Aaron Judge] is breaking a record, what record he’s breaking, if he’s clean. I have no idea!”

Producer Mike Ryan Ruiz said the fact that Judge is yet to deliver is making the cut-ins more frustrating for fans.

“I think what hurts the whole thing is that Aaron Judge has been terrible during these cut-ins,” Ruiz said. “He’s been God awful during these cut-ins. I haven’t seen a single home runs during one of these cut-ins. There was genuine fury at a watch party I was at. Fury! At Aaron Judge.”

A popular criticism of ESPN has been that this kind of attention would not be paid to Aaron Judge if he was chasing a mark that wasn’t the home run record if he played anywhere other than New York. According to Ryan, the mistake is bigger than that. Why would regular season baseball ever interrupt college football?

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

There are four games left in Major League Baseball’s regular season. You can bet college football fans will make plenty of signs for College GameDay if Judge cannot hit number 62 before the playoffs start.

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