NFL weekend TV ratings hold steady
By Michael Hiestand, USA Today - Jan. 7, 2012
Television ratings for the NFL playoff game ratings were predictably huge, and, overall, pretty predictable: They were roughly even with last year.
The drop draw. Fox's Sunday afternoon Seattle-Washington game wasn't particularly suspenseful, but it drew a 23.7 overnight, translating to 23.7% of households in the 56 urban TV markets measured for overnights.
That might end up as one of the year's 10 highest-rated TV shows -- this was, after all, NFL playoff action -- but it was down 8% from comparable coverage of a Denver-Pittsburgh game last year. (Don't forget, Tim Tebow was quite the media sensation when he played for the Broncos in last year's postseason.)
-- NFL ratings roundup. The early game Sunday, CBS' Baltimore-Indianapolis matchup, was not exactly a battle of big-market teams but drew a 19.7 overnight. That was up 4% from comparable coverage of a N.Y. Giants-Atlanta game last year. Pretty good.
NBC's Green Bay-Minnesota game on Saturday night drew a 18.3 overnight, down 5% from New Orleans-Detroit last year. But Saturday was a wash for the network. Its Cincinnati-Houston game drew a 16.2 overnight -- up 6% from comparable coverage of the same teams last year.
Heisman winner delivers: With Heisman winner Johnny Manziel in its Texas A&M-Oklahoma Cotton Bowl Friday night, Fox drew a 7.5 overnight -- up 60% from the bowl's Arkansas-Kansas State game last year.
But Sooners' fans helped ratings too as the two highest-rated local TV markets were Oklahoma City, where 35% of households tuned in, and Tulsa, where 29.2% watched.
L.A. hot for hoops: The surprising success of the Clippers and the continued turbulence for the Lakers produced a great rating for ESPN for a game between two teams Friday night. It drew a 2.7 overnight -- up 145% from comparable coverage of a Portland-Phoenix game last year and ESPN's highest regular-season overnight in two years.
On tap: NBC Sports Radio has named Bobby Valentine, the ex-ESPN analyst fired as Boston Red Sox manager last year, as an analyst. And it would make sense that Valentine, who starts the radio gig this month, would eventually join the NBC Sports Network TV channel as well -- he lives in Stamford, Conn., where NBC Sports is now in the process of relocating to from New York City.
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Tennis players become more like billboards
Want to put your logo on a pro tennis player's hat? Space is freeing up.
The ATP, the governing body of men's pro tennis, has taken a step to allow its players to offer a little more on-body signage for sale.
This season, players can sell space on their hats for brands beyond their apparel or rackets, the two product categories that had previously been allowed.
And new rules also allow players to sell a bit more logo space on the front of their shirts, and on the back of their shirt collars. And players can finally sell ad space to gambling companies, but not ones involved in betting in tennis.
The loosened restrictions, which also dictate size of the on-body ads, will not apply to Grand Slam events.
ATP spokesman Greg Sharko says "there aren't any more changes planned for this season."
Justin Gimelstob, a former player now on ATP's board of directors, tells SportsBusiness Journal that the idea isn't to make players "become walking billboards like NASCAR. ... But we need to let them monetize their brand."