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Overtime Elite Adds Ex-Turner Digital Exec As Launch Nears

The league is launching September.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Overtime

Overtime Elite has added a heavy hitter from the TV executive side as they get set to launch their alternative to college basketball in less than three months. Former Turner Sports exec Mark Johnson is serving as OTE’s executive vice president of business operations. Johnson was Turner’s senior vice president of digital. He oversaw NBA and NCAA Digital platforms, like March Madness Live and NBA League Pass.

Johnson is now a key part in getting the elite high school prospect league off of the ground. He will play a role in budgeting, facility management, and strategy decisions for the league.

“We’re going to focus on: How do we grow quickly?” Johnson said in an interview. “We’ve got to get it up and launched, but then quickly move toward a growth plan. This will definitely evolve pretty quickly from year one to year two—maybe even from the first four-to-six months to the second four-to-six months. I think we’re going to learn a lot.”

The league has a groundbreaking plan to not only have high school graduates get paid like professionals, but kids still in high school are welcome to join as well. According to an Overtime press release, OTE consists of 30 players who earn a floor of $100,000 per year, plus bonuses and shares of equity in Overtime. 

Players profit off their name, image, and likeness through custom jersey sales, trading cards, video games, and sneaker deals. Overtime Elite provides health care for players, and those who don’t pursue professional opportunities after playing in the league get up to $100,000 of college tuition covered. The third-ranked prospect in the Class of 2023, Matt Bewley, is one of many “elite” prospects to sign with the league.

One of Johnson’s roles is to make sure these athletes transition into the new environment as seamlessly as possible

“I don’t think any of us are going to figure it all out for years to come,” Johnson said of the NIL opportunities players now have. “We want to make sure we do it right.”

Sports TV News

ABC Scores Most Watched NBA Saturday Primetime Game In 4 Years

“The game drew 3.7 million viewers.”

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The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. While the game’s controversial finish left LeBron James and Patrick Beverly upset, executives at the Walt Disney Company had nothing but smiles thanks to the performance of ABC.

The game drew 3.7 million viewers. That means the Celtics’ win is the most-watched game in the ABC Saturday night prime-time window in the last four years. A February 2019 game between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors drew 4.1 million.

Boston also delivered the highest-rated game of the NBA season so far outside of the league’s stacked Christmas Day slate.

NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC is experiencing a nice uptick in viewership this season. Through the weekend, the Saturday night games are averaging over 3.4 million viewers according to an ESPN press release.

That number represents a 16% jump from last season. The edition of NBA Countdown that airs before the Saturday night game is having a good season as well. It’s average audience is up 3% to just under 1.5 million.

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Sports TV News

NHL Ratings on ESPN, TNT Down in 2nd Year

So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season.

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Viewership totals from ESPN and TNT show NHL ratings have declined heading into the All-Star break, but there are some extenuating circumstances for the nearly 22% drop.

So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season. However, both channels have increased their linear television schedule, doubling from 27 games to 54.

ESPN has aired 18 games with an average of 402,000 viewers. In the same time period last year, the worldwide leader had only aired seven contests, but garnered 622,000 per game. None of ESPN’s games last season had aired on weekends, while the network has broadcast six games on Sunday this year alone. The 12 games ESPN has aired that weren’t on Sunday have averaged 491,000 viewers.

The 2023 NHL All-Star Game will air on ABC Saturday, and the network is hoping for a lift from last season. In 2022, ratings fell 38% from the previous All-Star Game on NBC, and hit the lowest total since 2009. The NHL Skills challenge saw its largest audience in a decade after airing on ESPN in primetime on a Friday evening. Nearly 1.1 million watched the skills challenge, a 30% increase compared to 2020.

At this time last season, TNT had aired 20 games. Through 36 games this season, the network has seen an average of 359,000 viewers. The network is helped by the 2023 Winter Classic, which took place at Fenway Park on Monday, January 2nd. The afternoon contest saw an audience of 1.78 million, up 31% compared to the previous year.

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Sports TV News

AFC Championship Game Delivers New Viewership High For CBS

53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI.

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The AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals drew a massive audience for CBS.

53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs’ controversial victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI. Additionally, the event is the most-watched NFL Conference Championship Game since 2017.

CBS claims the game peaked with 59.3 million viewers and was also the most-streamed live sporting event in the history of Paramount+.

With an audience of 53.1 million, CBS concludes its NFL playoff coverage averaging 40.798 million viewers for each game. That leads all networks thus far. The 2022 NFL season was the most-watched regular season on CBS in the past seven seasons.

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