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To Be Frank, It's A Big Loss For Detroit Sports Radio

It's looking more like watching football on TV during the pandemic is not the golden goose for Ratings and advertising revenue the major networks were expecting. This past weekend, the impact (actually the lack thereof) was felt on both the NFL and college football scene.

The NFL Wild Card Weekend (Jan. 9 & 10) featured six telecasts for the first time ever. Although the Chicago vs. New Orleans game on 1/10 was the most watched NFL game since last year's Super Bowl, the ratings were actually down roughly 15% over the same playoff  window last year. It did become CBS' most watched Wild Card game since San Diego vs. Cincinnati in 2014.

The ESPN/ABC telecast of the Baltimore vs. Tennessee game was down from last year in both ratings and viewership, although the ABC simulcast was up from last year's. Over at NBC, the Sunday night Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh telecast did well, but its Saturday prime time game with Tampa Bay vs. Washington was down more than 30% in both ratings and viewership from the same window last year.

The Fox telecast of L.A. vs. Seattle on Saturday wound up as its lowest rated Wild Card telecast since 1998.

However, the lower viewership is not a result of expanded playoffs and having consecutive days with triple headers. The NFL's combined regular season ratings were down roughly 7% from the previous season and about 2% from the 2018 regular season. While Fox led the overall ratings, they showed an overall decrease of more than 5% from 2019. The CBS telecasts were down roughly 4% from 2019, with its lowest average since 2017. NBC's Sunday Night Football had its "least watched" season since 2008, dropping around 18% overall. One positive for NBC is that SNF did finished as the night's highest rated prime time program, which could be due to the increased amount of reruns and one-time specials due to the pandemic.

It wasn't just the NFL suffering from lower viewership. The Alabama vs. Ohio State college championship game on Monday (1/11) is now the lowest rated and least watched of the national title games. The decline was roughly 28% in ratings compared with last year. In this case, there are other likely contributing factors. The game itself was a blowout, and came on the heels of the six NFL playoff telecasts over the previous two days. This point is bolstered by the fact that both the Alabama and Ohio State New Year's Day bowl game wins to reach the championship each had higher ratings than their championship match.

These viewership and ratings declines are not only happening with football. During the pandemic, the recent World Series ratings were  down roughly 30% from 2019, the NBA Finals down about 49%, and the Stanley Cup Finals were down by more than 60%. Both the NBA and NHL Finals were held more than three months later than traditionally scheduled.


Meanwhile, as the NHL season gets underway, NBC made it official that analyst Mike Milbury is gone after 14 seasons in his role with the network. This could be due to politically incorrect comments made during a telecast from the bubble. Jeremy Roenick is also gone from his NBC analyst role as a result of comments made on a podcast.

Although John Forslund called play-by-play of NBCSN's featured opening night game between Chicago and Tampa Bay with Eddie Olczyk, the network has yet to proclaim a #1 announcer to fully replace the partially retired Doc Emrick. Brendan Burke and Kenny Albert will share in the spotlight for the time being.


DETROIT: It's hard to imagine Detroit sports without Frank Beckmann, but after 48 years with WJR 760 fans are going to have to start getting used to it. Beckmann remains the only person to have broadcast games for the Tigers, Red Wings, Lions, and Pistons. In addition, he also called U. of Michigan football for 33 seasons upon succeeding Bob Ufer for the 1981 season.

Beckmann's last show is currently scheduled for March 26th. He has hosted the 9 AM to Noon spot on WJR for the past 18 years. Best wishes to Frank!


CHICAGO: White Sox TV play-by-play voice Jason Benetti has been named Illinois Sportscaster of the Year. Over on the radio side, with the broadcasts moving back to WMVP ESPN 1000 for the coming season, Connor McKnight has been named as the studio host. He will also fill in on play-by-play, which will be a first for him, for approximately 25 games. Those will be the games that new radio voice Len Kasper will shift to the TV booth and fill in for Benetti, who continues assignments for ESPN.



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

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To Be Frank, It's A Big Loss For Detroit Sports Radio

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