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Game 6 Ratings Dwarfed By Sunday Night Football

“Sure, the NBA game had higher stakes, but even in June, when the Finals are usually played, the numbers do not compete with primetime NFL broadcasts.”

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The Los Angeles Lakers were crowned champions of the NBA on Sunday night, but the NFL was still champion of sports television. NBC’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the Minnesota Vikings had more than double the audience of what turned out to be the last game of the 2020 NBA Finals.

An audience of 11.4 million people tuned in to watch football. They were rewarded with a game that came down to a touchdown pass thrown with just 15 seconds left on the clock. By contrast, LeBron James’s fourth NBA title (the Lakers’ 17th) drew just 5.6 million viewers.

Liam McKeone of The Big Lead writes that this isn’t that big of a deal and certainly shouldn’t be a surprise. Ratings are a fun talking point for some, but in reality this isn’t a reason to panic.

“The NFL should not be used as a baseline for any ratings discussion for anything on television, much less the NBA, because it regularly posts outlandishly high numbers,” he says.

McKeone says that the reality is that the NBA has never been the NFL in terms of ratings. Football is engrained as a part of American culture on Sundays. Sure, the NBA game had higher stakes, but even in June, when the Finals are usually played, the numbers do not compete with primetime NFL broadcasts.

Adam Silver and the rest of the League Office is certainly concerned about the decline in ratings, but there are explanations. The NBA was playing during a time of year it usually does not. There is more competition not only from the sports world, but also from other types of broadcasts and streaming services. There is probably at least some people that were turned off by the league’s social justice messaging as the White House and right wing media outlets have suggested. Plus a presidential election and a worldwide pandemic is effecting viewers’ habits.

“So, in summary, yes, SNF blew a championship-clinching NBA Finals game out of the water in terms of viewership,” McKeone concludes. “The NBA is undoubtedly not pleased about that. But that does not mean the ship is sinking and the league may as well disband. It simply means the NFL is still king, and the NBA was negatively affected by COVID-19. Like literally everyone else. It’s as simple as that.”

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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