When you think about Mike Breen and Ian Eagle outside of the New York Tri-State area, you know them as NBA broadcasters for ESPN/ABC and TNT respectively. However, the people in the Tri-State have a connection to them as broadcasters for their local NBA teams, the Knicks (Breen on MSG) and the Nets (Eagle on YES).
On the latest episode of the Sports Media With Richard Deitsch podcast, Deitsch asked them why they still call games for teams instead of being solely national.
“I feel a kinship with the organization, the production team,” replied Eagle. “That’s what keeps you going. In addition, I’d love to see the Nets win a championship and feel like you are part of that in some way…. There is this sense of commonality and sense of teamwork and feeling good for people that you have got to know.”
Breen grew up a Knicks fan, so he enjoys calling games at Madison Square Garden. He mentioned that he calls a local and national game the same way and that the MSG broadcast actually helps him with his games for ESPN/ABC. Regular work with the Knicks means more exposure to the league as a whole.
While some broadcasters could view each other as competition, both Breen and Eagle feel that all of the NBA broadcasters have a great friendship and they end up rooting for each other to do well.
“I just know with Kevin Harlan, Brian Anderson, Dave Pasch, Mark Jones, Ryan Ruocco, Spero Dedes, whoever is doing this at the national level, I root for all of them. I want them all to do well. There’s enough to go around in this business,” said Eagle.
“For some reason, our generation has become this close-knit bunch where we are always texting each other, trying to arrange dinners together,” Breen added. “Ian calls a game and I am texting him telling him that was a fantastic call. We go back-and-forth with everybody. I don’t know if the previous generation felt the same way, but there’s enough great jobs to go around that we are all living a dream…It’s like this amazing brotherhood. It’s one of my favorite things about the business.”
While it feels like many people try to compete in different businesses to try to reach the top of their profession, it is refreshing to hear that NBA broadcasters are rooting for each other. Breen and Eagle could always choose to go solely national, but the local connection they like with calling the Knicks and Nets puts them on another level with those fanbases.
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
ABC Scores Most Watched NBA Saturday Primetime Game In 4 Years
“The game drew 3.7 million viewers.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.