It was a very good seven days for Disney-owned networks and the NBA in Nielsen’s latest weekly ratings of TV’s biggest Twitter audiences. Disney outlets held down half the total 20 spots in the top 10s for both series/specials and sports events. And on the opening weekend of the NBA playoffs, programming tied to the league and its still-sort-of-sister the WNBA occupied 11 slots. The ratings are the most recent from Nielsen in its new measurement launched in October, an attempt to quantify how much Twitter activity is going on around TV shows.
At the top of the series and specials list this week was the ESPN NBA documentary Bad Boys, from the 30 For 30 series, followed by ABC’s Scandal. As I wrote last week ahead of the season finale for Scandal, show creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes puts a premium on social media, with many of the show’s stars and other principals tweeting or otherwise posting about the show with fans before, during and after each episode. It’s paid off with strong ratings and stronger fan engagement with the show. Read More »
The NBA‘s five-game Christmas Day marathon on ABC and ESPN was a mixed bag this year, with strong results on ESPN and soft numbers on ABC. The tripleheader on ESPN posted an all-time high for a second consecutive year: It averaged a 2.3 overnight rating, up 10% from 2012. ESPN’s coverage started slower, with the Chicago Bulls-Brooklyn Nets game at 12 PM logging a 2.3 rating, down 15% from last year’s Boston Celtics-Nets matchup. But it picked up speed later in the day with the primetime doubleheader averaging a 2.3 rating — up 21% from last year and the highest-rated NBA Christmas Day primetime doubleheader ever. It was led by the Houston Rockets-San Antonio Spurs game, which scored a 2.4 rating at 8 PM, an all-time best for an NBA Christmas Day primetime game and up 41% from last Christmas’ 8 PM game between the Rockets and Chicago Bulls. The 10:30 face-off between the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors (2.3) was up 15% from last year’s Denver Nuggets-Clippers game.
When the NBA TV schedule was set in the summer, nobody could’ve predicted that both Christmas Day games on ABC would be missing two of the league’s biggest stars. With the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony and the LA Lakers’ Kobe Bryant sidelined with injuries, ratings for ABC’s coverage — which featured the same four teams as last year — took a tumble. The early afternoon game, Oklahoma City’s lopsided victory over the Knicks, posted a 3.7, down 37% from last year’s Lakers-Knicks matchup. The second game, in which the Heat defeated the Bryant-less Lakers, drew a 4.9 rating, down 18% from last year’s Thunder-Miami Heat matchup. It was the lowest rated early game in four years, since 2009, and the lowest rated second game in six, since 2007. Read More »
Chris Broussard became part of the story yesterday with his outspoken comments about NBA player Jason Collins‘ coming-out in a Sports Illustrated column, making the journeyman center America’s first openly gay major sports figure. Broussard, a Christian and a longtime respected NBA beat writer who now works for ESPN The Magazine, called homosexuality a sin during a segment on the network’s newsmagazine OTL discussing Collins’ revelation. Not sure why anyone is surprised that a TV commentator provided commentary — agree or disagree with his take that’s what they pay the guy for, and he won’t be the last to offer an opposing view in this debate — but it prompted an apology from ESPN last night and a clarification by Broussard via Twitter:
Today on OTL, as part of a larger, wide-ranging discussion on today’s news, I offered my personal opinion as it relates to Christianity, a point of view that I have expressed publicly before. I realize that some people disagree with my opinion and I accept and respect that. As has been the case in the past, my beliefs have not and will not impact my ability to report on the NBA. I believe Jason Collins displayed bravery with his announcement today and I have no objection to him or anyone else playing in the NBA.
ABC and ESPN did solid ratings business on Christmas Day with a quintet of NBA games, led by the LA Lakers-New York Knicks matchup on ABC. Kicking things off was the Boston Celtics-Brooklyn Nets at 12 PM on ESPN (2.7 overnight rating). That was down from the first Christmas Day game last year between The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks (4.1), but that game aired on TNT and marked the kickoff of the 2011-12 NBA season, which was delayed by a labor dispute. The Celtics-Nets faceoff matched the corresponding 2010 game between Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks. At 3 PM, NY Knicks at LA Lakers on ABC (5.9) was up both from last year’s 2:30 PM ABC game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat (5.6) and the 2010 game between Boston Celtics-Orlando Magic in 2010 (5.3). That was ABC’s best overnight ratings delivery ever for a Christmas Day game in the early window of a doubleheader, proving once again that LA Lakers are probably the biggest audience draw in the NBA. The second part of the ABC doubleheader, Oklahoma City Thunder at Miami Heat at 5:30 PM (6.0) was down from last year’s Lakers-Chicago game (6.5 with the LA Lakers factor). Read More »
ABC is continuing to experiment filling its weekend afternoon time slots with original, primetime-like programming. The network has picked up Bud United Presents: The Big Time, a branded content reality show put together by Budweiser that features adults competing to … Read More »
The NBA’s locked-out players rejected the league’s latest offer for a new collective bargaining agreement today, with union executive director Billy Hunter calling the proposed deal “extremely unfair.” He said the players’ association is beginning the process of disbanding … Read More »
Live Nation sure made it hard to find the good news in its 3Q report. The basic data looks terrible: It had net income from continuing operations of $63M, down 3.1% from last year’s 3Q, on revenues of … Read More »
UPDATED: ABC’s game show Million Dollar Mind Game (formerly The Six) is finally getting its day in the sun after almost a year on the shelf. But there is a twist — ABC is scheduling the series, originally developed and … Read More »
It’s not good news for ABC/ESPN and Turner, who own the lucrative national TV broadcast rights to the league’s games and reaps millions in advertising — even more of late as NBA ratings have grown during the past few years. And it’s no picnic for teams, who have been slashing … Read More »
Recently retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal is about to graduate from the New York Film Academy’s Filmmaking Conservatory. Shaq has received private instruction in directing and cinematography and spent several days filming on the Universal Studios back lot … Read More »
The NFL is shopping an eight-game Thursday primetime TV package, with commissioner Roger Goodell having informal conversations with networks last week, according to the Sports Business Journal, which is reporting that a stake in the league’s NFL Network might be in play for the winning bidder. The talks are expected to gain momentum now that the league-imposed lockout is over. The NFL Network currently has rights to eight late-season Thursday NFL games; the new package will cover the early season. The SBJ says Turner and Comcast would be front-runners, especially since they have cut previous deals that included league-owned assets (Turner pacted with the NBA in 2007; Comcast has a similar deal with the NHL). Fox and ESPN also are expected to be interested in the package. … Read More »
NBA commissioner David Stern was hit with questions today about the league’s upcoming negotiations with players on a new collective bargaining agreement. The bottom line: It doesn’t look good. If this all sounds familiar, it’s because the NFL’s labor talks ended last month with the owners locking out the players and the players suing the league. (The two sides in the NFL dispute finished their second day of court-mandated mediation in Minneapolis today as a judge decides whether to grant the players’ injunction request to halt the lockout.)
By all accounts, an NBA labor standoff could make the NFL’s look like backyard touch football. Whereas the NFL’s main sticking point is how to divide $9 billion in revenue, Stern has said the NBA has been losing more than $300 million a season and offered up today during a press conference that this year’s losses could reach that figure again. (Currently, players receive 57% of the league’s gross revenue, which Stern says is unsustainable going forward.) This shortfall is despite lucrative TV broadcast contracts with ESPN/ABC and TNT that go through the 2015-16 season and pay the league more than $900 million a year. Last year’s NBA Finals and this year’s All-Star Game saw big ratings gains, and more of the same is expected for this year’s playoffs, which begin this weekend. Read More »
After the dramatic American Idol results show last week featuring the elimination of 11 semifinalists, which shot up 15% from the week before and 30% from last year, the show came back to Earth last night with a respectable showing as broadcasters faced big NBA games on TNT. The hourlong … Read More »
Hannah Storm has signed a multi-year extension with ESPN. Storm co-hosts the 9 a.m. to noon ET edition of ESPN’s flagship news program SportsCenter with Josh Elliott. As part of the extension, Storm expands her responsibilities beyond her initial SportsCenter … Read More »
It’s no secret in Hollywood that Peter Guber is really really rich. So, like most rich guys, he’s indulging his sports fantasies. CNBC just broke the news that he’s bought the NBA team with Joe Lacob, managing partner at private equity … Read More »