01/07/20: the NFL laid claim to a 7% rise in Wild Card viewership

 

 

Tuesday January 7, 2020

Sunday’s NFL Wild Card round concluded with the league laying claim to its highest viewership in four years for the opening act of the post-season, with the four games averaging 30.5 million viewers and up 7% over last year/s 2019 Wild Card average. Sunday’s action was led by NBC Sports’ coverage of the Seahawks’ win over the Eagles, which ranked as TV’s most-watched show since the Super Bowl and reeling in a Total Audience Delivery of 35.8 million viewers across television and digital, according to fast national live plus same day data from Nielsen, and digital data from Adobe Analytics. In addition, the game is the most-watched NFL Wild Card game featuring a West Coast team in six years, averaging 35.1 million TV-only viewers on NBC alone. NBC Sports Digital delivered its best-ever NFL viewership (excluding Super Bowls) for Sunday’s game with an Average Minute Audience (AMA) of 702,000 viewers streaming the game across NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, and NFL Digital platforms – up 32% from last year’s Wild Card game (533,000).

PROGRAMMING

Meanwhile, the Vikings’ OT win over the Saints propelled FOX to its top numbers for the round since 2016, delivering 30,794,000 viewers across FOX, FOX Deportes and its streaming platforms. That is up 17% over last year’s comparable Wild Card window, and up 2% over last year’s Seahawks/Cowboys matchup on FOX. In addition, the contest ranked as the most-streamed NFL Playoffs game ever for the network.

ESPN’s coverage of the 2019 PFL World Championship was a hit on New Year’s Eve out of Madison Square Garden on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, drawing average US viewership of 395,000, with a peak audience surpassing 500,000, both ranking as all-time highs for the league. Live audience growth was up 94% over the 2018 PFL World Championship. For the 2019 season, PFL broadcasts on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes averaged 204,000 viewers. “We are thrilled the 2019 PFL World Championship event delivered such incredible results,” said PFL CEO Peter Murray. “New Year’s Eve is an ownable night in sports, and in just our second season, the PFL Championship is quickly becoming synonymous with the biggest celebration of the year. Before the ball drops in Times Square, six belts are raised, and six millionaires are made. That’s incredible drama unfolding for both avid and casual fight fans, and we’ll continue to deliver in 2020 and beyond.”

For the fourth consecutive year, FOX Sports’ daily studio shows saw year-over-year growth in average viewership, with jumps of 18% for The Herd (142,000 vs. 120,000) and 8% for Undisputed (178,000 vs. 165,000) in 2019. Since adopting its new timeslot and format in September 2018, Speak For Yourself is also up 47% year-over-year (126,000 vs. 86,000).

Victor Cruz is joining a new team, with E! announcing that he will co-host its morning news show, Pop of the Morning at 11a alongside Lilliana Vazquez and Scott Tweedie. “I’m getting ready to embark on a new journey with E! Entertainment on a show called Pop of the Morning, 11a to 12p every single weekday,” Cruz said in a statement. “I’m excited for this new journey in life. I’m excited for you guys to see me in a different way. So just tune in with me!”

Last April, in front of a sold-out room of industry leaders and innovators, The Cynopsis Sports Media Awards honored exceptional initiatives on behalf of networks, leagues and brands. This year, we’re once again saluting the best of the best, from stand-out series to savvy marketing tactics to superior digital content on Thursday, April 23rd in NYC. Entering is simple and done entirely online. Click here to find the right category for you and be sure to enter before January 28!

Olympic hockey officials drew their line in the snow for the NHL’s participating in the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, announcing that they will need to know by late August whether the NHL will take part. International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel stated that the early deadline was set to avoid a repeat of the last Olympic cycle. “Especially the North American teams, the U.S. and Canada, they had some problems to find the players and to build up a good team going to the Olympics,” Fasel said, per the AP. “If there is a no [from the NHL on Olympic participation], these teams should have time to prepare competitive teams to go to the Olympics in 2022.”

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SPONSORSHIP & ACTIVATION

Two-thirds of Americans support college players being allowed to earn money through endorsements according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. As the NCAA mulls new rules about athlete endorsement, the study found that support for the NCAA allowing college athletes to cash in on their names, images and likenesses is particularly high among young adults, as well as black Americans and Hispanics. “The opinions of the public in general are very important because they are reflected in the attitudes of universities, who are the ones that actually make the rules,” NCAA President Mark Emmert told AP.

The USGA teamed up with actor Don Cheadle to boost the value of public golf to golfers, courses and communities throughout the country. Cheadle will also serve as a U.S. Open brand ambassador, lending his voice and stature to the championship. Fox Sports viewers got a glimpse of the USGA’s relationship with the Oscar-nominated Cheadle with a 15-second U.S. Open tune-in advertisement that ran nationally during Sunday’s broadcast of the NFC Playoff game between the Saints and Vikings on Fox. It will continue with projects throughout the year, including the launch of the new U.S. Open brand campaign at the USGA’s Annual Meeting at the Pinehurst Resort in February.

Asics announced sponsorship deals with tennis players Borna Coric, Caroline Garcia and Iga Swiatek ahead of the start of the 2020 tennis season. “I am looking forward to joining the growing Asics Tennis Family. Asics shoes have been recognised by professionals from different sports as probably the best and I can’t be happier to have gotten a chance to play in them. I’m looking forward to the joint successes,” said Coric.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

The XFL announced a multi-year partnership with Genius Sports in a move to protect against threats of improper and illegal betting-related conduct. Genius Sports will enable the XFL to build and launch a comprehensive integrity program to help protect fans, players and officials from potential game-fixing. Genius Sports will provide 24/7 monitoring of all pre-game and live betting markets to give the XFL visibility into wagering on its games, and also provide alerts and analysis of all significant odds movements.

Thuuz Sports announced their Top 10 most exciting games of the decade. Using their custom designed algorithms to measure real-time event excitement, Thuuz provides a unique look into what games have gotten fans the most excited and engaged through the close of 2019. Using the Thuuz excitement measurement platform, the top ten most exciting games of the decade were:
· New England Patriots 34, Atlanta Falcons 28 (NFL): 2/5/2017
· Clemson 35, Alabama 31 (NCAAF): 1/9/2017
· St. Louis Cardinals 10 Texas Rangers 9 (MLB): 10/27/2011
· FC Barcelona 6 PSG 1 (UCL): 3/8/2017
· Chicago Cubs 8, Cleveland Indians 7 (MLB): 11/2/2016:
· Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 (ATP
· Miami Heat 103 San Antonio Spurs 100 (NBA): 6/17/2013:
· New Zealand 241/8 & 15/1, England 241 & 15/0 (Cricket): 7/14/2019
· Los Angeles Kings 5, Chicago Blackhawks 4 (NHL)
· Villanova Wildcats 77, North Carolina Tar Heels 74 (NCAAMB): 4/4/2016

ESPORTS

Overwatch League’s Florida Mayhem are getting a facelift, announcing new team colors, looks and logo for season three of the league. Abandoning the red and gold from the first two seasons, the team will now sport pink, electric blue and black, in addition to its newly-colored pink logo.

INDUSTRY & ROSTER MOVES

ONE Championship locked in a partnership with the Sports Authority of Thailand in a move to develop the sport of Muay Thai on a global scale. The collaboration will see both organizations work together to establish ONE Hero Series Muay Thai in Thailand, which seeks to discover grassroots Muay Thai talent in both the local and international level.

Legends appointed Denise Taylor as President, Global Technology Solutions. Under Taylor’s supervision, Legends will launch Global Technology Solutions, a new division that will serve Legends’ new and existing roster of partners with a focus on a need in the marketplace for future-forward services ranging from technology owner’s representation, data analytics, revenue generation strategies, in-venue technology design, digital and mobile solutions, technology consulting, in addition to an experiential platform that will drive immersive and engaging guest experiences.

Sports Illustrated staffers announced their intention to unionize on Monday, according to reports, representing about 80 staffers in print, digital and video. Sports Illustrated’s magazine staffers were already a part of the NewsGuild of New York, but digital staffers were not, but will now be included

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