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John Canzano: ESPN’s PAC-12 Coverage ‘A Low-Budget’ Disappointment

Multiple sources told Canzano that ESPN used saved money by utilizing “low budget” trucks to carry the signal on Saturday night.

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It appears that the Pac-12 has the disservice of getting stuck with the short end of the stick at ESPN, and John Canzano of The Oregonian and 750 The Game in Portland has had enough of it.

The longtime columnist wrote a piece yesterday about the quality of broadcast that the Pac-12 has been receiving on ESPN compared to Pac-12 Network broadcasts. He says the difference is pretty clear, calling the ESPN broadcast “a fuzzy, low-budget disappointment.”

Jon Wilner of The San Jose Mercury News captured two different screenshots, one from a broadcast on the Pac-12 Network, and one from an ESPN broadcast this Saturday night.

On the left is the Pac-12 Network and on the right is ESPN’s broadcast last weekend. Anyone who knows anything about cameras or production can clearly see that the ESPN broadcast is just not up to par with what should be the standard nowadays of high definition for a nationally televised college football game.

Multiple sources told Canzano that ESPN used saved money by utilizing “low budget” trucks to carry the signal of Oregon’s win over Washington State on Saturday night.

It appears that ESPN did this simply because they knew that they can get away with it. Pac-12 games are on at 10:30 ET which is typically the lowest viewed game on the network on most college football Saturdays. Canzano reached out to ESPN on the production quality and has yet to hear a response back on the matter.

Canzano hosts a syndicated radio show The Bald Truth across Oregon. With the Oregon Ducks in the thick of the College Football Playoff discussion for the first time in years, it makes sense that he was so agitated by the production of the product.

His biggest takeaway is that the PAC-12 has to be a better advocate for its schools and its football product.

“The Pac-12 needs to take note of this and ensure that it doesn’t happen with future TV contracts,” John Canzano wrote. “Raise the number of minimum cameras at the stadiums. Ensure that the crews are staffed and ask that pylon cameras and isolated camera operators who can better follow the action are mandatory. Also, require ESPN to use a truck that will give viewers a quality picture on their television vs. the low-budget rig it sent to Eugene on Saturday.”

Regardless this type of quality should be unacceptable in 2021 for any major network and the Pac-12 may seriously want to consider this when they do their next round of media right negotiations.

Sports TV News

PGA Tour Expects Mic’d Players To Be Common For 2023 TV Broadcasts

“This doesn’t need to be a walk and talk like I did. But we can make it what you want it to be.”

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Following the success with Max Homa last weekend, the PGA Tour is planning to mic a player up this weekend at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

According to Sports Business Journal, the Tour is considering micing up a player on either the 14th or 18th hole at Pebble Beach.

“The point of this is that if you want it to just be, they have an air pod on your caddie and they ask him one question, he could elaborate on something,” Homa said in an interview on the podcast No Laying Up. “That would be an improvement. This doesn’t need to be a walk and talk like I did. But we can make it what you want it to be.”

Homa added that he appreciated that the questions he was asked while taking part in the segment were solely on the task at hand and tackling the hole he was on.

“It wasn’t about how it is being a dad, how it is being in contention, it’s about golf,” he said. “This hole. That’s what we wanted it to be.”

CBS received positive reviews for debuting the new segment in their season debut at Torrey Pines last week.

It will be interesting to see if having players mic’d up for a segment will carry into NBC coverage or if it remains exclusively CBS. Have to think that in April at The Masters, if CBS keeps with it, the segment has the potential to be pretty compelling especially if the interview is with a player in contention or even leading.

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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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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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