Idle Notes For ’12

Posted by | January 1, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Predictions for the next year in sports media.

  • The NFL earns big numbers on Wild Card weekend. Lions/Cowboys on FOX earns the best Wild Card rating since 1999 (23.0), while Steelers/Broncos on NBC scores the best Saturday Wild Card rating over that same span (19.3). The Cowboys/Packers Divisional Round game is the highest rated for that round since 1997 (24.9). The Steelers/Patriots and 49ers/Packers Conference Championship games are the highest rated in their respective timeslots since 1997 and 1996, respectively. The Packers/Steelers Super Bowl rematch sets another all-time TV viewership record, with just over 112 million viewers.
  • The BCS is a mixed bag on ESPN. The Rose Bowl (12.1) and Fiesta Bowl (10.9) are both up from last year, with the latter hitting a six-year high. However, the Sugar Bowl (7.3) and Orange Bowl (5.2) are both down, and the National Championship Game ? owing to lingering anger over the controversial LSU/Alabama rematch ? earns a 14.2, the lowest in ten years.
  • Despite the shortened season, ratings for the NBA on ABC (3.1) and TNT (1.6) are either up or flat compared to last year (burdened by an onslaught of Saturday games, ESPN?s 1.1 average is down 15%). While the Lakers and Celtics again make a quick exit from the playoffs, the presence of the Knicks, Heat, Bulls and Mavericks help keep the ratings afloat. In particular, the seven-game Knicks/Heat Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN is the highest rated NBA playoff series (other than the Finals) since 2002, while the Spurs? four-game sweep of the Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals earns decent numbers for TNT. In a flashback to the last lockout-shortened season, the Spurs beat the Knicks in the NBA Finals, with the five-game series averaging a decent 9.0 rating on ABC.
  • FOX sets a new record low for regular season baseball ratings (1.7). In the playoffs, TBS has its best ever Division Series thanks in large part to a five-game battle between the Yankees and Angels, and then its best ever League Championship Series thanks to the Yankees? six-game win over the Red Sox. The Yankees/Giants World Series goes seven games and earns baseball?s best World Series rating (12.6) since 2004.
  • By the end of the year, ESPN will have established itself as the favorite in MLB?s TV rights negotiations.
  • The presence of Danica Patrick lifts Daytona 500 ratings to a record-high (11.3).
  • Gary Bettman flirts with disaster, but the NHL just barely avoids yet another owner-imposed lockout.
  • While the NHL no doubt hopes and prays that the Rangers and Blackhawks (leading their respective conferences as of December 31) meet in the Stanley Cup Final, the league will have to settle for a pretty good consolation prize. The six-game Bruins/Red Wings Stanley Cup Final averages a 3.7 rating in four games on NBC, with the Game 6 clincher earning a 5.3 final rating ? the highest for an NHL game since 1974.
  • With all events available live as they occur, NBC?s tape-delayed primetime coverage of the 2012 London Olympics averages a 15.2 rating ? down 6% from Beijing in 2008.
  • NBC Sports Network?s new studio shows (an 11 PM ET edition of NBC Sports Talk and a new NFL studio show, as recently reported by USA Today) simply cannot compete in the ratings with ESPN.
  • Over the course of the year, sportswriters will complain about ?late? start times for the NBA Finals and World Series that are only late in the Eastern Time Zone, lack of intensity in exhibition games, athletes who are too selfish to play a team game, athletes who can?t win games by themselves, big market teams winning too much, small market teams being too boring, players being too violent, players being too chummy, and the list goes on.
  • Sometime around July, a controversy will erupt involving ESPN, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, or some combination of the three. Sportswriters will pound out articles rife with moral outrage and righteous indignation. They will complain about having to write about the controversy, and then write about it every chance they get. Some will try to connect the controversy to an aspect of society with which they are unfamiliar (?today?s entitled punks,? perhaps). There may even be a Twitter hashtag or two. In short, the controversy will be the most important story ever ? right up until the Olympics and the NFL start.
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrea-Cavalli/757338131 Andrea Cavalli

    “Over the course of the year, sportswriters will complain about
    ‘late’ start times for the NBA Finals and World Series that are only
    late in the Eastern Time Zone, lack of intensity in exhibition games,
    athletes who are too selfish to play a team game, athletes who can’t win
    games by themselves, big market teams winning too much, small market
    teams being too boring, players being too violent, players being too
    chummy, and the list goes on.”

    Hahahahahaha sooooooooo trueeeeeeeeeee. Hypocrisy at its best.

    I agree with your prediction about NBA ratings on TNT and ABC being up or flat and ESPN down during the regular season.

    In the Eastern Conference Finals I say the Bulls beat the Heat in 7 games with the series averaging the highest rating ever since 2002 and the Thunder beat the Mavs (though I’m not so sure about the Mavs part anymore) in 6 in the Western Finals, with ratings being slightly up compared to last year due to the fact there’s a game 6 while last year it ended in 5.

    The Thunder will beat the Bulls in 6 in the NBA Finals….obviously the media will be desperate since they can’t play the whole idiotic good vs. evil angle so, maybe, just maybe, they’ll try their best to either cover the series objectively or they’ll try to create a controversy to make one of the two teams look bad or something like that. The latter wouldn’t really surprise me. How about trying to ask something controversial to Rose or  Durant hoping to get a controversial response, which in turn will result in thousands of hits and comments on sports sites/blogs, most comments filled with hatred, bigotism and just plain ignorance by most, in particular casual fans? Wouldn’t surprise me.

    And ratings will be in the 9 range.

    My 2nd probable matchup in the Finals is Thunder vs. Heat. If that’s the case, I predict a full 7 game series, record ratings not seen in years (in the 12 range with game 7 earning a 20+ overnight) and a whole lot of good vs. evil crap articles, winning the right way vs. the wrong way, which is so ridiculous to me because if you end up winning a 7-game series it means you are the best, period.

    /Rant.