LATEST NEWS

Little Leaguers rule again in Chicago TV ratings: Beat Johnny Manziel and Chris Sale

Score another victory for Chicago’s Little Leaguers. They topped a couple of big stars, Johnny Manziel and Chris Sale, in the local TV ratings Monday night.

Jackie Robinson West’s 8-7 victory over Rhode Island pulled a 3.5 rating on ESPN2 in Chicago. That means the game was seen in an estimated 125,000 homes in the area; 1 local ratings point is worth nearly 36,000 homes.

Jackie Robinson topped the 3.0 local rating for the Manziel show during ESPN’s coverage of the Washington-Cleveland game. Meanwhile, despite Cy Young candidate Sale on the mound, the White Sox-Orioles game only did a 1.0 rating on Comcast SportsNet.

The kids figure to rule again tonight when Jackie Robinson West takes on Texas at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Meanwhile, on the national level, Manziel continued to deliver ratings. The game did a 4.8 overnight … Continue Reading

If local baseball TV ratings are so strong, why are World Series, All-Star Game numbers so low?

My latest column for the National Sports Journalism Center is on local and national TV ratings for baseball. Something doesn’t add up.

From the column:

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You’ve heard the familiar storyline: Sports fans are losing interest in baseball. The game moves too slowly, young viewers are tuning out, even old viewers are drifting elsewhere.

Well, as Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend.”

Last week, Maury Brown did a piece for Forbes.com on local TV ratings for baseball. It suggests that reports of the game’s demise have been grossly exaggerated.

Brown wrote:

Major League Baseball is king during prime time at the regional level thus far this season for regional sports networks (RSNs) winning the key prime time slot in the US markets that Nielsen Media Company tracks.

The data bolsters the position that baseball continues to be

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MORE LATEST NEWS

Little Leaguers rule again in Chicago TV ratings: Beat Johnny Manziel and Chris Sale

Score another victory for Chicago’s Little Leaguers. They topped a couple of big stars, Johnny Manziel and Chris Sale, in the local TV ratings Monday night.

Jackie Robinson West’s 8-7 victory over Rhode Island pulled a 3.5 rating on ESPN2 in Chicago. That means the game was seen in an estimated 125,000 homes in the area; 1 local ratings point is worth nearly 36,000 homes.

Jackie Robinson topped the 3.0 local rating for the Manziel show during ESPN’s coverage of the Washington-Cleveland game. Meanwhile, despite Cy Young candidate Sale on the mound, the White Sox-Orioles game only did a 1.0 rating on Comcast SportsNet.

The kids figure to rule again tonight when Jackie Robinson West takes on Texas at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Meanwhile, on the national level, Manziel continued to deliver ratings. The game did a 4.8 overnight … Continue Reading

Is Phil Simms’ stance on not using Washington nickname a game-changer?

Phil Simms made the most headlines yesterday since his days as the Giants quarterback.

The CBS analyst said he decided he probably won’t use the derogatory nickname for the Washington team when he calls one of their games.

From Barry Wilner’s story in the Associated Press.

“My very first thought is it will be Washington the whole game,” Simms told The Associated Press on Monday.

Simms will work the Thursday night package the network acquired this season and will have Giants-Redskins on Sept. 25. He isn’t taking sides in the debate over whether Washington’s nickname is offensive or racist. But he says he is sensitive to the complaints about the name, and his instincts now are to not use Redskins in his announcing.

“I never really thought about it, and then it came up and it made me think about

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ESPN 30 for 30 beats Jerry Seinfeld in winning Emmy

Jerry Seinfeld probably went, “Newman,” after his Comedians in Cars lost out to ESPN’s 30 for 30.

Congratulations to all the folks at ESPN 30 for 30. Their work is superb and the recognition is deserved.

The official release:

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ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Shorts series took home an Emmy for Outstanding Short-Format Nonfiction Program Saturday night at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmys. This was the first nomination and first win for the documentary series, which is from the creators and producers of ESPN’s critically-acclaimed 30 for 30.

30 for 30 Shorts was nominated alongside other popular programs “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee,” “COSMOS: A National Geographic Deeper Dive,” “I Was There: Boston Marathon Bombings,”  “Jay Leno’s Garage” and “Park Bench With Steve Buscemi.”

“ESPN Films originally began with the idea of presenting great storytelling as documentary films, but … Continue Reading

Chicago news: Dan McNeil out at WSCR

It’s official.

Dan McNeil’s tenure is done at WSCR-AM 670. His partner Matt Spiegel broke the news at the end of today’s midday show.

McNeil’s departure shouldn’t come as a big surprise. McNeil had been off the air since the end of June, when his contract ended.

The two sides couldn’t agree on a new deal, and they parted ways earlier this week. McNeil had sought a substantial raise from his reported $300,000-plus per year salary. The station, meanwhile, had stuck with McNeil despite two extended absences due substance abuse problems.

Spiegel read a statement on behalf of himself and WSCR. He said the station wanted McNeil back, but “Mac wanted to do some different things.”

“It’s been a great ride for the last five years,” Spiegel said. “I’m confident I will get a great new partner.”

McNeil’s departure leaves … Continue Reading

Readers reply: Fox college football ad is ‘shockingly bad’; stereotypes women

Yesterday, I asked readers to weigh in on new ad for college football on Fox. It portrays “a football widow” lamenting that her husband lies on the couch all day on Saturday watching endless games on Fox.

The notion of the long-suffering football widow seems about as dated as Don Draper’s three martini lunch.

The ad has been criticized as being sexist and cliché. It fails to take into account that women are watching football, college and pro, more than ever.

Also, there has been a glut of college football on Saturday on something called ESPN long before Fox decided to dive in. This is not a new development.

It seems most people agree, judging on some of the responses I received.

Yet despite some of the uproar, Fox could argue the ad is a success. By Friday morning, it … Continue Reading

Don’t give up day job Brandon Marshall; Bears receiver to moonlight on Inside The NFL

As a resident of Chicago, and hence a long-time Bears fan, I am wondering how new Brandon Marshall’s gig is going to work out.

Yesterday, it was announced that the Bears receiver will work as analyst for Inside The NFL on Showtime. He will be the first active player to appear regularly on the show during its 37-year run.

Marshall greeted the announcement with an Instagram that read: “Why not? #trailblaze.”

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Rick Morrissey talked to Marshall about his new assignment. Apparently, Morrissey hit a nerve:

And to think, it started out so well.

I was asking Brandon Marshall about his new role as an analyst on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL,’’ about how he would handle the logistics of being a player and getting to the show’s New York studio every Tuesday during the regular season. He

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It’s show time for SEC Network: What to expect?

The switch gets flipped on the new SEC Network today at 6 p.m. ET

Here’s some of what you need to know:

What is it all about? Think Big Ten Network. The new network will be all SEC, all-the-time.

Naturally, the centerpiece will be games. The network will air 45 SEC games in the fall. They won’t be the A game, which will air on CBS, and in many cases, the second or third best games will be shown on ESPN. However, given the depth of power in the SEC, the network will have plenty of good match-ups.

Of course, there will be all sorts of daily studio shows and all sorts of other programming to fill up a 24/7 network.

Who are the major voices? Tim Tebow. Remember him? The former Heisman Trophy winner will have a major presence … Continue Reading

Talking fame: Veteran NFL writers use Hall of Fame as platform for new radio show

Together, Ron Borges, Clark Judge and Rick Gosselin have more than 110 years combined reporting on the NFL. That covers many classic games and a lot of bad food in the press box.

Yet despite that vast experience, it is incumbent on them (and everyone else) to find ways to “reinvent” themselves in the new media age.

The veteran NFL writers did it by creating a new radio platform, Talk of Fame Sports Network. The weekly two-hour show focuses on the NFL Hall of Fame, using it as a launching point to discuss the past, present and future of the game.

It can be heard via podcasts and on 50 radio stations throughout the U.S. New shows are posted on the site on Friday nights and air on Saturday and Sunday mornings on the radio outlets.

Only two weeks … Continue Reading