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Wizards Telecasts Betting On More Numbers

Two sports Telecast trends are coming together as one starting later this week (1/11), with NBC Sports Washington leading the way. Having a duplicate telecast on a separate channel is not new, as evidenced by ESPN showing its college football championship telecast last Monday on several of its channels.

Perhaps a better example is when ESPN did a separate Statcast version of its National League Wild Card telecast this past October, showing a ton of statistics and having a separate broadcast crew talking up the statistical angles.

What NBC Sports Washington is doing on Friday, and on seven other Wizards Telecasts over the remainder of the season, is providing a duplicate telecast with an emphasis on betting and fantasy sports. Although it will show the same basic telecast and have the same announcing crew, its NBC Sports Washington Plus telecast of the Wizards game against Milwaukee will show additional data.
Information such as odds and point spreads, along with fantasy sports updates will appear in layers toward the bottom of the screen. According to Sports Business Journal, the look will be similar to what CNBC does with its daily stock market coverage.

The plan is for these telecasts to also offer contests and sweepstakes, allowing "fans" to guess things such as the number of points scored in a given quarter by both teams and individual players.
From a ratings standpoint, this concept could be the even bigger winner. When a telecast with this feed is a blowout, this is the sort of thing that could keep fans watching longer than they normally would to find out how their "guesses" turned out. The plan is for this alternate telecast to also include the same commercials as the "regular" version. Thus, the potential for 4th quarter advertisers to have more impact over the course of several games.

It will be interesting to see how quickly other NBC Sports regional networks adopt this idea over the next few months. It is possible that parents of younger children may complain about this possibly encouraging gambling. What is even more interesting is that, so far, the NBA is going along with this idea, even though it is very early on. That's a far cry from the days nearly 50 years ago when the NFL publicly did not like Jimmy The Greek on CBS talking about the teams against the point spreads on NFL Today.

Looking back at long term TV ratings from 2018 we see that The Golf Channel showed perhaps the most impressive increase. It was not from a tournament or special programming. The network show an approximately 7% increase in overall audience, which puts it ahead of "average day" viewers of MLB Network for the entire year.

On the other side, NASCAR ratings slumped for the year, as did MLB telecasts on FS1. Although the FS1 viewership grew for the year (which in a way wasn't much of a challenge), a lot of fans still don't know to find their hidden telecasts. Another problem with FS1 and its MLB coverage was inconsistent start times for its Saturday coverage and being locked in to the majority of its telecasts by the start of the season. Starting telecasts anywhere between 1 PM and 10 PM ET on Saturdays, and having no pattern for occasional weeknight telecasts is no way to develop audience habits. Their MLB Whiparound show, even with little to no more competition with ESPN reducing "Baseball Tonight" seemed to have that name because they "whip around" its starting time each night as well.

Speaking of MLB Network, their tendency to keep coming up with innovation and improvements throughout the year seem to have gone the way of the complete game. This network should be able to access an expansive inventory of video from MLB as well as from each team. Instead, all we get for most of three months are the same 20 stale baseball movies and the Ken Burns series they have been airing for most of their 10 years of existence.

Here is an idea, which is actually their own, but needs to be expanded. Just like their "30 Teams In 30 Days" approach during spring training, they could be spending one day out of each off-season month emphasizing one team. Show one of their classic games, a player profile, past season highlights film, and add some discussion about them from their analysts. Give fans of each team a reason to keep track of which day their favorite team will be highlighted. Save the movies for overnight or up against Sunday Night Baseball, and not twice every week.

NBC lucked out with its NFL Wild Card telecast last week (1/6) between the Eagles and Bears. The thrilling end resulted in the best ratings for an NBC Wild Card telecast in 25 years, and its highest rated "non Super Bowl" telecast since regaining NFL telecasts in 2006. The audience ratings for the game were more than double what the network had for its prime time Golden Globes Awards telecast which followed.

Yet, the NFL has another audience statistic to be more proud of. The Green Bay Packers were long gone before the playoffs, but their rivalry against the Bears was very much in evidence. It seems that Milwaukee's ratings for this telecast were higher than those for Dallas, although both markets had the same audience share. What makes this significant is that this game had zero impact on the Packers, while Dallas fans watched because it directly impacted who the Cowboys are playing this coming weekend.

ESPN killed in the ratings with its Colts vs. Texans telecast, being the most watched show of the evening.

Meanwhile, ESPN showed its highest overnight ratings since last January with its college football championship telecast on Monday (1/7). 

However, the most entertaining media story from that game came from Birmingham's WJOX 94.5, which aired the radio broadcast. During its local post game show, following the Alabama blowout loss, the station mistakenly aired a commercial for U. of Alabama championship souvenirs being available at a local sporting goods store.

This post first appeared on THE BROADCAST BOOTH, please read the originial post: here

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Wizards Telecasts Betting On More Numbers


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