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Mike Breen Not Sure Gambling Talk Becomes Common On Game Broadcasts

“Neither Eagle nor Breen is a sports bettor.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: David Payne Purdum

Betting content is becoming more and more ingrained within sports broadcasts as the practice gets legalized across the country. The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch caught up with Mike Breen and Ian Eagle to see how the two approach the topic.

Neither Eagle nor Breen is currently a sports bettor, but the former had a great story about a bet he placed years ago and his current job with CBS.

“The last bet I made was on Monday Night Football 1987, the Chargers and the Raiders,” Eagle told Deitsch. “Ironically, Dan Fouts was my partner for CBS and is one of my truly closest friends in the world. I bet on the Chargers, and they took an early lead on the Raiders. It looked like it was going to win $250, which in 1987, I would have lived like a king for the entire semester. The Raiders came back, won the game. The Chargers didn’t cover. 

“Years later when I’m working with Dan, I said, ‘You know, I bet on you in 1987 to win that Monday Night Football game.’ He goes, ‘What are you? An idiot? Like, why would you do that? Who told you to do that? That’s your fault, schmuck.’ So he crushed me. I’m not a gambler. I’ve never had that interest level in it.”

Eagle says that he already puts so much time into every other aspect of a solid broadcast that the gambling lines and over/under don’t cross his radar. Yet, he’d be open to incorporating the information.

“I’m worried enough about the biographical information, the statistics, the storylines, that it doesn’t even enter my train of thought,” Eagle said. “If that’s a variable and I’m told that that’s important to the network and we need to incorporate it, I’ll be open to it. I’ll be a professional. I’ll figure out a way to do it. But to be perfectly frank, it’s not something that’s really on my radar game in and game out.”

Breen is more bearish; he doesn’t think the language will ever be commonplace on national broadcasts because not everyone watching the game gambles.

“We’ll read sponsorships,” Breen said. “This spot is sponsored by DraftKings or whatever it is. But I don’t think they’ll ever have the actual play-by-play and analyst announcers getting involved in point spreads or why a team is favored in terms of that point spread. At least I hope that because I don’t think it belongs. Again, for people that want to do it, more power to them; Like Ian, I’m not a gambler. But I don’t think it’ll ever be part of what we do during the course of the game.”

For the full interview with Eagle and Breen, click here.

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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