NFL Week 15 in the L.A. TV market: Does the NFL still rock (says Rolling Stone), or will the NBA roll over it (says KAJ)?

Maybe this is another reminder why, 50 years into its existence, Rolling Stone still rocks:
A story posted Wednesday under the headline “Why the NFL is Thriving, Not Failing” seems to be in direct contrast to what a certain Twitter account wants you to believe.
It actually backs it up with data rather than observational guesswork.
One section of the story that’s numbers-driven: Ratings.
Week 13’s Eagles-Seahawks matchup on Sunday Night Football showed a ratings increase of 14% from the Week 13 Sunday Night Football game of 2016, a game that also featured the Seahawks. The next night, the Steelers-Bengals Monday Night Football game showed an increase of 30% over the Colts-Jets game of a year earlier. There’s little reason to think that having the rights to show an NFL game is a major burden or concern for these networks. …
“Before you ever count the revenue from a single ticket or Joe Flacco jersey, the league has already pulled in $7 billion per year from their TV deals. Why so much? Because no league does close to the same numbers as the NFL and the 2016-2017 seasons are barely any different in that regard. The Week 9 Sunday Night Football game between the Dolphins and Raiders finished with 16.36 million viewers; Game 1 of the NBA Finals this year between the Warriors and Cavs had 18.7 million viewers. The Raiders and Dolphins are two of the worst and least-watchable teams that professional football has to offer. The Warriors and Cavs are two of the most star-studded basketball teams ever. …
“So NFL teams are doing more than fine in both ratings and attendance and we still have five more seasons under the current TV deal structure. By their next negotiation, with ratings trends still showing progress year-over-year when the games are intriguing or involve well-established brands like the Patriots, Cowboys and Packers, it seems probable that the NFL’s next TV deal will break its own personal records.
“As long as 110 million people are turning into the Super Bowl each year and 25 million people are determined to watch football every Monday night, then future TV and Internet deals are going to far surpass the $7 billion annually that the NFL is already making. We have not yet seen a decline from that peak.”
Now, there’s also a story posted this week by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a social commentator for the U.S. edition of The Guardian, who submits that the NBA, not the NFL, is the league of America’s future.
He also uses ratings as a starting point to his theory:
“The 2017 NBA finals averaged 20.4m viewers (a 20-year record), which is roughly the same as the NFL’s regular Sunday night audience of 20.3m, and nowhere near the 2016 Super Bowl über-audience of 111m. Based on just those numbers, football is still kicking professional basketball, baseball and hockey through the goal posts. But America can be fickle. And the Magic 8-Ball of our cultural zeitgeist says, ‘All signs point to the NBA replacing the NFL as the league of America’s future’. ..
“Although football remains our most popular professional sport, that popularity has been declining over the past five years, from 67% saying they were fans in 2012, to 57% in 2017. Professional baseball has also fallen 2% during that time. However, professional basketball has risen 3%.”
So there you go …

WEEK 14 NUMBERS

The reason Fox was pleased to keep the Rams-Eagles game from the Coliseum in the afternoon Sunday window rather than losing it to NBC in a flex situation:
The Rams-Eagles, broadcast to most of the country, had 23,784,000 viewers and a 13.7 household overall rating according to Nielsen. That made it the second week in a row that Fox’s so-called “America’s Game of the Week” (not to be confused with NBC’s “Sunday Night in America” package) was the most-watched telecast in all of television.
In L.A., the game had a 12.2 rating on Channel 11 and 28 share with an average of 956,000 viewers.
That’s more than four times the audience than what the Chargers drew in a home game against Washington: A 3.0 rating on Channel 2 (opposite Rams-Eagles), with a 7 share and 227,000 average viewers.
NBC’s Baltimore-Steelers game in L.A. on Channel 4 that night (9.4 rating/17 share/722,000 viewers.) and Fox’s Dallas-N.Y. Giants game in the early Sunday window (7.6 rating on Channel 11/20 share and 546,000 viewers) were the other two games.

THIS WEEKEND’S SCHEDULE

THURSDAY
* Denver at Indianapolis:
5:25 p.m., Channel 4 (Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox)
They’re going again with that overhead cable shot as the main camera angle, so fasten your seat belt. SkyCam was the primary viewing angle for the first time on the November 16 Thursday Night Football telecast of Tennessee-Pittsburgh, to many viewers’ chargin.

SATURDAY
* Chicago at Detroit:
1:30 p.m., NFL Network (Mike Tirico, Kurt Warner, Heather Cox)
Warner steps in for this early NFL Net-only showing.
* Chargers at Kansas City: 5:25 p.m., NFL Network/Channel 2 (Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jaime Erdahl)

SUNDAY
* Cincinnati at Minnesota:
10 a.m., Channel 2 (Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts)
CBS has the doubleheader this week and will show this one in the early window instead of Miami-Buffalo (with Beth Mowins and Jay Feely), Baltimore-Cleveland or N.Y. Jets-New Orleans. Since Fox has the single game devoted to the Rams, it can’t air in this window Aaron Rodgers’ comeback with Green Bay-Carolina (Joe Buck, Troy Aiiman), Philadelphia-N.Y. Giants, Arizona-Washington or Houston-Jacksonville (moved to Fox from CBS).
* Rams at Seattle: 1:05 p.m., Channel 11 (Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver)
This is Fox’s only afternoon contest of the day.
* New England at Pittsburgh: 1:25 p.m., Channel 2 (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson)
The NFL gets two highly-anticipated games up against each other here, to no one’s full benefit. CBS’ other game in this window is Tennessee-San Francisco.
* Dallas at Oakland: 5:30 p.m., Channel 4 (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya)
As long as the Cowboys still have a playoff shot, they remain in prime time.

MONDAY
* Atlanta at Tampa Bay:
5:30 p.m., ESPN (Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters)

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NFL Week 14 in the L.A. TV market: A Rams-Eagles game fit for a Fox-Coliseum pre-game experience

ESPN showed no interesting in visiting the Coliseum for “College GameDay” prior to the USC-UCLA football game last month.

Fox Sports, on the other hand, sees an opportunity to get some fresh air. Hopefully.

Instead of Sunday’s “Fox NFL Sunday” pregame show emanating from the climate controlled Hollywood Studio 2A on Pico Blvd., they’ve scraped together some quarters and decided that, in light of Sunday’s Rams-Eagles game being a game that will go to about 90 percent of the country in the afternoon window, it’s grand enough to drag the crew — Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Strahan and Curt Menefee — about 10 miles up Exposition Blvd., and do everything live inside the Coliseum’s peristyle end.

The desire is there isn’t a lot of brush-fire smoke in the air still lingering, but the reality is there will be the need to address it as the day goes on.

Fox had hinted but then didn’t follow through on sending the crew to the Coliseum for the Rams’ 2016 season opener against Seattle, the first regular-season NFL game in L.A. since the Rams and Raiders bailed out after 1994.

(Kind of the same thing when Fox had the National League Championship Series between the Dodgers and Chicago Cubs in 2016, as the studio show went to Chicago outside Wrigley Field, but they couldn’t drag it up the freeway to Chavez Ravine for the Dodgers’ home games in that series. This past World Series, however, was enough to warrant having the A-Rod and Friends Fox MLB crew to Dodger Stadium to do its live pre- and post-game game, against all odds.)

So as this is something of a rare event (lately) for Fox in a regular-season affair, we do recall that one strange season — 2006, after James Brown left and before Menefee — when the plan was to have Joe Buck as the studio host as well as A-game play-by-play man. (If ESPN could do it on the college game with Chris Fowler, why not try it NFL style?). So that studio show often made road trips to whatever game Buck was calling.

Nice try.

HEAD TO HEAD AGAIN, HERE AND THERE

The question was posed earlier in the week in the San Diego Union-Tribune: When the Chargers and Rams go head-to-head in San Diego, which team draws more TV viewers in the Chargers’ abandoned home town?

The answer: The Chargers. Still. By far. Despite whatever open wounds may be present, and allegiances challenged.

A 16.3 San Diego rating for the Chargers-Cleveland game from StubHub Center in Carson was about three times the 5.7 rating that the Rams-Arizona game in Glendale, Ariz., got for the two CBS and Fox affiliates in San Diego.

In L.A., that head-to-head measure wasn’t close, either. For all the opposite reasons.

The Rams ran away with a 7.8 rating/20 share (628,000 viewers) for the afternoon game on Channel 11, while the Chargers did a 4.5 rating/11 share (312,000) on Channel 2.

Expect much of the same this Sunday. Or more.

Seattle’s win over Philadelphia on NBC in prime-time last Sunday had the best marks in L.A.: 12.7 rating/22 share with 1.025 million average viewers. The Minnesota-Atlanta game in the early Fox window was still crushing the Chargers-Browns with a 7.2 rating/20 share and 570,000 average viewers.

SOMETHING ESPN THOUGHT WAS WORTH EXPOSING

AND NOW, THE WEEKEND SCHEDULE AS WE KNOW IT:

THURSDAY

* New Orleans at Atlanta: 5:25 p.m., Channel 4/NFL Network (Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox)

SUNDAY

* Dallas at N.Y. Giants: 10 a.m., Channel 11 (Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis)
This is the pick Fox has for almost every available region in America except where it has to show Chicago-Cincinnati, Green Bay-Cleveland, Detroit-Tampa Bay and San Francisco-Houston.

* Chargers vs. Washington: At StubHub Center in Carson, 1:05 p.m. Channel 2 (Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn)
CBS has only one game this weekend, so L.A. gets it. Meaning, no Oakland-Kansas City (Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon), Minnesota-Carolina (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo) or Indianapolis-Buffalo in the early window (the Vikings were cross-flexed) or N.Y. Jets-Denver and Tennessee-Arizona in this afternoon window. Chargers-Washington also goes to the markets in Dallas, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Green Bay.

* Rams vs. Philadelphia: At the Coliseum, 1:25 p.m., Channel 11 (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews)
Unless one in L.A. has DirecTV Sunday Ticket, Rams fans can’t check in on Seattle’s game at home against Jacksonville, also on at this time (and they now get stuck with Chris Myers and Daryl Johnston for a change). The Denver and Phoenix markets also don’t get this game.

* Baltimore at Pittsburgh: 5:30 p.m., Channel 4 (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya)

MONDAY

* New England at Miami: 5:30 p.m., ESPN (Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden)

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Vin Scully turns 90: Our top nine quotable story and column memories

On the occasion of Vin Scully’s 90th birthday Wednesday — he says he’ll spend it honoring Jackie Robinson in a Rose Bowl statue ceremony — we go back through the archives to find the nine most memorable columns and stories we have done about or with him over the last 30 years:

== Nov. 28, 2014: On the occasion of his 87th birthday and his reservations about retiring as a broadcaster:

“Remember the book by James Hilton called ‘Shangri-La (a 1933 novel that was made into a Frank Capra movie a short time later called ‘Lost Horizon’ starring Ronald Coleman and Margo Albert)? This plane crashes into the Himalayas of Nepal, and the survivors are met by Sherpa guides who take them off the mountain, during a terrible blizzard. The next thing you know they’re in the most beautiful valley in the whole world, absolutely magnificent — it’s Shangri-La.

“So now one of the survivors falls in love with this gorgeous girl in the valley. Finally, there comes a point when the survivors are restless and want to be rescued. So when they are rescued, this man decides to leave but he wants to take this woman back to civilization.

“When he announces his plan, the High Lama says that he can’t take her away from Shangri-La. He warns him that she is a lot older than she looks. She has only managed to stay her youthful age because she has lived in this valley for so long, and if she leaves, she’ll revert to her real age.

“But the man takes her anyway. And in the movie, there’s the scene where they’re leaving the valley, all dressed in winter clothes. The man is carrying the woman out on his shoulder. And then the camera zooms in on her. From under her hood, you can now see her face — and she looks to be 150 years old.

“I’ve often thought that when the time comes to leave baseball, I’ll have lived this sheltered, lovely existence where grown men leave a child’s game. It’s like Shangri-La. You leave it, and your real age catches up with you.”

== Oct. 2, 2016: His final goodbye during his final broadcast in San Francisco: Continue reading “Vin Scully turns 90: Our top nine quotable story and column memories” »

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College football Week 14 in the L.A. TV market: Saturday may be great, but Pac-12 title game a TGIF solo act

The story posted Wednesday on NCAA.com: “How Alabama, Georgia, Miami and Ohio State can make the playoff.”

It arrived two days after the site also posted the story calling this “the greatest Saturday in college football history.” Well, not exactly. It quoted itself in the headline, but also prefaced it by saying “you could call it …”

There’s also the disclaimer at the end of every NCAA.com story: The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NCAA or its member institutions.

Especially USC.

More at this link …

 

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