SBJ Morning Buzzcast

SBJ Morning Buzzcast: September 13, 2022

Episode Summary

Viewership outlook for the NFL; NASCAR and RTA bring on help for upcoming media talks and Dick Ebersol tells his stories in new book.

Episode Notes


Viewership outlook for the NFL; NASCAR and RTA bring on help for upcoming media talks and Dick Ebersol tells his stories in new book.

Episode Transcription

Well, a good night for sports and entertainment at the primetime Emmy awards on Monday night, Ted lasso took home four awards, including best comedy and best actor in a comedy for the second year. So all you Ted lasso fans, certainly reveling in Emmy award wins on Monday night. Meanwhile, game two of the w N B a finals is tonight and more good news around the league. The w N B a headed into its finals with the leagues best playoff viewership since 2002. Yes, the W's best playoff viewership since 2002. So very strong numbers as the w N B a continues its finals. And this is your morning buzz cast for Tuesday, September 13th. Good morning. I'm a mad Corp. Thanks for listening to the buzz cast. Let's start with the NFL. And you had a major capstone to the NFL's thrilling opening week on Monday night as Joe Buck and Troy Aikman made their Monday night football debut amid a wild frenzy scene in Seattle around Russell Wilson's return to that city.

I mean, I almost couldn't take my eyes off the screen last night as the visuals, uh, around Seattle and around the stadium were that compelling. Although I did find myself watching the alternate Manning brothers, uh, broadcast more than the main buck and Aman feed, but an overall very successful weekend for the NFL and the ratings for Sunday night, football on NBC were indicative of that fan interest. NBC drew its best NFL week one Sunday night football viewership since 2015. Yes. Even with that bucks Cowboys low scoring game, the win by the bucks delivered an audience of more than 25 million viewers. Again, that's NBC's best week. One Sunday night since giants Cowboys 2015, the number on Sunday night was up 35% compared to the bears Rams week one in 2021. So a year ago, but this is where the, but, but, but comes in regarding NFL ratings, don't expect the upward trend to continue.

It certainly didn't help that Dak Prescott injured his thumb and will miss several weeks for the top draw Cowboys. But overall, most insiders feel the NFL will have a very tough time keeping pace with last season's television viewership. Remember that was up 10% overall compared to 2020. So this year ratings could see a slight drop and here's why yes, you could have the cowboy struggling without their starting quarterback. And we know how they drive viewership. The Cowboys are the NFL's biggest draw and they were going to anchor CBS's national window. This coming week against the Bengals on week three they're Monday night football against the giants on week five. They're a part of the Fox national window against the Rams. And then in week six, they're on NBC's Sunday night football against the Eagles. So if they struggle without their starting quarterback viewership could suffer.

In addition, Thursday night, footballs move from Fox and NFL network to Amazon. Prime likely means the NFL could lose up to half of its Thursday night audience with that move losing half your audience. That's a very hard number to make up. Who else has pressure when it comes to driving viewership? Well, would you believe the Manning brothers? Yes. Because the Manning cast on 14 of ESPN's 19 Monday night football games last year really helped drive a major viewership increase. Can the Manning brothers keep those audience numbers around this year? We'll have to see. So all in all, a lot of challenges for the NFL to continue to build off last year's 10% viewership increase, but let's remember even with a viewership drop, the NFL's TV audience still will dwarf anything else on television and its games will continue as they have for years to dominate most of the top 100 most watch telecast in the United States for this year.

Let's move on. One of the most interesting stories and closely watched negotiations coming up will be NASCAR's media rights talks. NASCAR wants to keep pace with the market increases. NASCAR wants to capitalize on a strong media market and NASCAR teams want a bigger share of the revenue going forward. And that creates an interesting if tense dynamic currently Fox and NBC pay a combined 820 million a year to NASCAR. And the split is 65% goes to the tracks. 25% goes to the teams. 10% goes to NASCAR. The teams obviously want more soft negotiations between NASCAR and its current rights holders are taking place now, and most believe the talks will heat up later this year and into next year. And many expect those percentage splits of the overall pie to shift. So as they should, both NASCAR and the race team Alliance, which represents NASCAR teams are seeking outside help and consultants with S BJ's Adam stern reporting that NASCAR has enlisted CAA subsidiary evolution, media capital, and the race team Alliance has brought on Waserman to help them analyze the media landscape.

In addition, NASCAR will continue working with Doug Pearlman and his sports media advisors who will consult NASCAR on the digital media space and other future opportunities like web three and gaming NASCAR's current TV deal ends in 2024 with the next cycle beginning in 2025. So again, these negotiations, one of the biggest stories in sports and sports media to watch, you know, if you consume the athletic, which I do, you can start to expect to see advertising on the sports site starting this week. It marks a big step for the athletic and the New York times, which acquired the athletic earlier this year. So you'll see various ad formats. And remember the athletic was purely a subscription model, but now they are adding advertising in an effort to jumpstart monetization around the site. And the overall company Chanel blue will serve as the launch sponsor of the athletic this week.

So while the overwhelming majority of revenue around the athletic was through subscriptions, the athletic has never turned a profit. So under new ownership in the New York times, it hopes to change that an Axios reported New York times executives told investors that the athletic would become profitable in a three year timeframe when it acquired the athletic in January. And certainly advertising was a key driver to that profitability. And let's end with this, I'll offer some recommended reading Dick Ebersol's memoir from Saturday night to Sunday night will be released Tuesday. And if you're not familiar with Dick Ebersol's career, you should be a legendary sports producer and executive who received S BJ's lifetime achievement award. He of course, is a longtime Olympic advocate signing long term deals, making NBC the home of the games. He also created Sunday night football with the late Broncos owner, pat Boland and former commissioner Paul tag LIBO, but it wasn't just sports.

Dick. Eversol also played a key role in the success of Saturday night, live with Lauren Michaels. So in the book Eversol details the level of importance he puts on cultivating relationships throughout his career. He keeps coming back to that and he's been hammering that point during press interviews, promoting the book, including an interview with bill Simmons on the ringer. So I am sure this book has great storytelling and in the New York times, Eversol sounds relieved to be outta broadcasting. And I'm sure he is the Washington post writes. His book is brimming with the thrill of victories and the heartbreak of family tragedy. That of course refers to the Everalls losing their son Teddy in a tragic plane crash in Colorado. Count me among those looking forward to reading Dick Ebersol's book from Saturday night to Sunday night. So that is your morning buzz cast. Remember I will be in Nashville all the rest of this week. Managing editor, David Albright will be bringing you the buzz cast for the next few days. I will talk to you next week. That is your morning buzz cast for Tuesday, September 13th. I made Matt core. Thanks for listening. Stay healthy. Be good to each other. I'll speak to you again down the road.