How should I report sports TV ratings going forward?

It’s been hard for me to get my mind off of the Sports TV Ratings site since I discovered it last week. Since I raised my concerns about it potentially being shut down by Nielsen, I’ve found out that the site appears to be run by none other than Robert Seidman, co-founder of the TV by the Numbers site, who presumably either has the credentials to avoid being shut down or at least knows how to stay on Nielsen’s good side. But if the site is in it for the long haul, it’s so ridiculously comprehensive that it could completely shake up how I track sports ratings – and affect the necessity for me to do so.

I’ve generally tweeted whatever I’ve found from TVBTN or TV Media Insights (and the Futon Critic before it) each day, and TVMI reported so many more sports numbers than the Futon Critic I ended up putting up a post recapping the weekend, which for the moment got integrated with the Sports Ratings Highlights, but this site blows that system out of the water by giving me access to every single sports event on an English-language all-sports network, pretty close to as soon as the numbers are available. At the very least, if I still wanted to put up daily ratings I’d be putting up blog posts every single day, and that’s not even getting into the possibility of bringing back the Studio Show Scorecard and bringing it to the point I’ve always had in mind for it. But if I were to do that, I’d be leaning so heavily on STVR I can’t help but wonder if my posts would be redundant with its posts. Reorganizing SotB data into a more viewer-friendly format for the first version of the Studio Show Scorecard is one thing, but this would basically be taking STVR posts, one at a time, and shuffling the data around into a new format that might not be much of an improvement over what it already has. Still, just for myself it may be the best way to compile each day’s sports ratings for my own database.

Although doing a full-fledged SSS may not be all that useful in any case. At the bottom of each daily STVR post is a disclaimer that audiences under 100K or so are considered by Nielsen to be a “scratch”, meaning the audience is too small to be all that statistically significant. Considering how widespread audiences of all sizes seem to be reported these days I’m not sure that isn’t Seidman extrapolating from his experiences several years ago, when CNBC would scratch all the time on TVBTN’s own cable news scorecards, to today when Nielsen may or may not still be scratching small audiences, but it makes sense. There are only around 50,000 Nielsen panelists, and each panelist represents around 5,800 people, so a) audiences below 6,000 or so are really just measuring the random fluctuations of people that happen to be dropping in with no more than one or two panelists actually purposely watching the show, and b) in general the thousands place is determined more by those fluctuations than by how many panelists are actually watching, since each panelist that does or does not sit through the whole thing makes a 5-6 thousand person swing in the measured audience, which explains why Sports Media Watch never brings up the thousands place unless I needle him (according to the laws of statistics, the absolute number actually gets less accurate as the audience gets bigger, but slowly).

It’s still somewhat useful as a tiebreaker on the big listings, but until you get to around 22,000 or so there isn’t better than a 95% chance that the three or four panelists watching aren’t the only ones in the entire country watching; a show with an audience of about 5,000 could easily have several times that number and is being measured for less solely through the luck of the Nielsen panelist draw, or conversely an even smaller audience. All that is to set up that the only networks that can consistently attract audiences over 100,000 for their studio shows, or anything other than live sports events, are ESPN, ESPN2, and maybe NFL Network, which is bad news for FS1 and NBCSN, the two networks with the most high-profile studio shows outside the ESPNs but which fall behind multiple sport-specific networks as a matter of course, for whatever those numbers are worth. If I want to report only shows for whom the numbers are actually statistically significant, maybe I should stick to those live sports events, at least for the moment until non-ESPN studio shows can attract a significant audience. (And Douglas Pucci on Awful Announcing may be on to something by just listing weekly averages for studio shows that didn’t crack their networks’ top ten, even if it’s mostly a means to avoid getting shut down by Nielsen again; averages across multiple episodes should be more accurate than just one.)

I have a new Da Blog Poll up to figure out what I should do going forward, which I’m going to run through the end of next week in hopes of catching people coming back from holiday break, but no matter what the utility of every other site I use as a source could be impacted just by bringing STVR into the fold. TV Media Insights is mostly useful for ratings for broadcast networks and the occasional household rating and ratings for Spanish-language networks and other networks not covered by STVR; this last category cuts further enough into TVBTN’s usefulness that it pretty much only becomes useful for daytime events on non-STVR networks. Pucci’s Awful Announcing posts would be useful for household ratings and that’s it, maybe the occasional event on a non-STVR network. Even the weekly averages would only be useful for the yearly comparisons… and even then at some point I could conceivably make those comparisons myself. For that matter, I’m not sure AA would have much use for him once they discovered STVR. The only sources that wouldn’t be appreciably affected would be SportsBusiness Daily and Sports Media Watch for their daytime broadcast ratings, and even though my issues with CBS seem to have been alleviated as the year has gone along, SBD’s continued tendency to drop their posts after holiday-related delays or when Friday is a holiday makes clear that broadcast daytime ratings really are the weak spot when it comes to the reporting of sports ratings, more than ever before.

A slightly belated blog-day.

A year ago, I said that Year Eight would have to be a big year for the future of Da Blog, and to some degree that happened. It certainly wasn’t the wasted year the previous year was; I wrote a lot more of what might be called “classic” posts, for lack of a better term, and got set up for the future when I moved to LA to be with my Dad.

But despite that, and much to my own surprise, this is only the 94th post since my last blog-day post, meaning in terms of number of posts, Year Eight on Da Blog was about on par with Year Seven. This despite ditching the Studio Show Scorecard posts and writing a bunch of posts about the future of television and video in general. Part of that has to do with the continued atrophying of webcomics posts (which I think I’m just about ready to abandon entirely, though I should have a review up by the end of the week), part of it has to do with me falling way behind on ratings for much of the year and only putting up a few weekly ratings posts in October and November. There also were long stretches without any posts for parts of the year.

Overall, however, I think this year was a lot bigger in terms of quality of content than last year. More of my posts this year made important points about television and the Internet, including the Nexus of Television and Sports in Transition series; the lack of webcomic and ratings posts meant there were fewer posts that were purely ephemeral, and more posts that had more thought put into it. It was a big year for net neutrality and cord-cutting, and while I can’t say I did a lot of reporting on it per se, I certainly think I introduced a new perspective on it, or at least would have if I had any audience whatsoever outside the Flex Schedule Watch posts. I had very few posts in 2014 that didn’t have something to do with TV in some way, and even fewer that didn’t have something to do with sports or TV. I may also be emphasizing Twitter more as a place to put interesting things, even if only for my own reference.

Next year may or may not see an increase in posting frequency. Right now I’m working on a book about the sports TV wars (a book I always thought should exist but never trusted myself to be the one to write it), partly an expansion of the Nexus of Television and Sports in Transition series, that could take up a lot of my time in the first four months or so of the new year. The hope is that this will provide a solid financial foundation and finally attract more people to the stuff I spew out here; even if that’s a pie-in-the-sky dream, at least it’d serve as an expansion of my #brand. I may try to get a lot of that written this coming week when I head back to Seattle for Christmas (as it turns out, I’m not writing this post from there because I’m not flying there until Christmas Eve and not coming back until New Year’s Eve); circumstances beyond our control have made the past few months less productive than I would have liked and put us in an apartment with no real escape from Dad’s cat, whose every lick and scratch is more than enough distraction for me. Dad and I have also talked about potentially trying to get stuff published in other venues, so look for that as well. What I do post here will probably be more of the same as in 2014: trying to convince people that broadcast television does have a role, however circumscribed, in the video landscape of the future if it’s willing to embrace it and doesn’t sacrifice itself at the altar of retransmission consent revenue, coupled with as much coverage of sports ratings as my sources will allow (to which I may be adding a new one to the list).

I may have said that Year Eight would be a big year for the future of Da Blog, but Year Nine looks to be the real deal. There are concrete plans in place, and this looks to be the year that sets the tone for the rest of Da Blog if not the rest of my life.

Sports TV Scorecard for Friday, December 19

I’m going to say right now that I fully expect SportsTVRatings.com to be shut down or at least be forced to scale back by Nielsen at some point. The About page says that “if you’ve seen this much daily cable sports data posted elsewhere, let us know where – we’ll read that and find another hobby!” Well, there used to be a site nearly as comprehensive as what they have, even though it posted on a weekly and not daily basis – remind me to tell you the story of Son of the Bronx at some point. What may help this site last longer is that it isn’t on a blog-hosting service like Blogger and isn’t giving away their real names, so it might be more difficult for Nielsen to contact them and have much force behind it, but possibly not much so considering they have a link to their e-mail.

This site has viewership (and usually 18-49 data) for every single show on an English-language cable sports network, including beIN Sports which SotB has never covered to the same extent as the others (although it appears to be nearly as devoid of viewers as Fox Sports 2, though its peaks are significantly higher than what FS2 could dream of). It also has the weekly primetime and total day summary numbers for each network, without weekly or yearly comparisons but with 18-49 numbers. Because the data is daily and not weekly, using it to calculate median minute ratings and integrating its 18-49 numbers with SotB/Awful Announcing’s household ratings would be a major pain, and the former problem is exacerbated by Excel not recognizing their tables when creating a web-based data query, and taking forever to select the whole table in IE10 Metro mode.

What I can do is present a proof-of-concept of an idea I had when I first discovered how comprehensive SotB was being, daily scorecards for studio shows and sports events throughout the day similar to what TVNewser does for news networks. This would be even more time-consuming than the Studio Show Scorecards were when I was doing them a year ago, and there are other reasons for me not to want to do this on a regular basis, but I present it as an idea for how the site might be able to avoid the fate of so many sites to face the wrath of Nielsen – even if all it would withhold from publishing are the time periods from noon-3 PM and 3 AM-6 AM ET. Events in bold are live sporting events.

Read moreSports TV Scorecard for Friday, December 19

Sochi 2014 Olympics Ratings Roundup

So, you know those Year in Review Sports Ratings Roundup posts I try to do and in fact did last year? Yeeeaaah, turns out I can only do them in odd-numbered years. While the Olympic primetime windows get all the glamor and attention, NBC’s afternoon and late night windows attract many millions of viewers as well, and SportsBusiness Daily only reports numbers for them for the weekend (and the Friday night late night window). I’d like to think the weekday windows have substantially smaller audiences than the weekend windows, especially in daytime, but I have no idea what numbers are normal for them; at best I could assume they’d do no better than eight million viewers but the ratings declines the Sochi games experienced as they went along makes any sort of estimation difficult, and the real number range could be upwards of 9M. There’s not much point in doing more than the Top Live Events list at that point.

Besides those NBC windows, I’m also missing several USA windows, especially from the second week, solely because Son of the Bronx didn’t normally cover that network when his blog was going. He did post a general “ratings recap” post on TV Media Insights, but seemed to abandon it in the second week, and doesn’t seem to have been able to do much to close the NBC gaps. The first chart below contains all the NBC numbers I know about, plus two subsets of the NBCSN coverage NBC broke out in early press releases for context. The second chart contains all the cable windows I know about. Click here to learn more about how to read the charts.

Read moreSochi 2014 Olympics Ratings Roundup

An important announcement on plans for Da Blog and my life going forward

Except for around Christmas (including the annual blog-day post), this is the last post I will make on Da Blog from the Seattle area for the foreseeable future.

In my last blog-day post, I mentioned the possibility that my work on Da Blog would be “directly supported and nurtured”; now I can say a bit more about what that was referring to. Over the Labor Day weekend, I will be moving down to live with my dad in Los Angeles. We’ve been talking for several years about this; the plan is for Dad to support me and allow me to work on Da Blog without being distracted by school, a job, the people I live with, or the school I’ve lived across the street from for the past three years, with Dad as my “boss” to keep me focused and try to actually get an audience going and increase exposure to my writings. (While this is going on, the “Da Blog in LA” category will only be used for LA-specific posts I couldn’t have made if I weren’t there, which is to say it probably won’t be used at all.) At one point we talked about us living together for about two years; I don’t know if that’s still the plan, but I have the site’s hosting locked down through June of 2016, and if we still don’t have anything going by then – if we’re at the same place we’ve always been throughout what will then be nine and a half years of Da Blog – it may be time to give up on actually making anything of Da Blog.

Some things have been settled already, but most of the details will be fleshed out on the drive down. I may have another post after the weekend is over detailing any substantial changes coming to Da Blog in the near term as a direct result of this move.

In the meantime, I’ve updated the lineal titles in preparation for football season. It seems I never actually updated the lineal titles before last year, despite what I said in last year’s post. Both of last year’s new college football lineal titles got merged with others; the BCS title was merged with 2006 Boise State pretty quickly, while Ohio State’s claim was merged with 2009 Boise State at the Rose Bowl. This year starts with three lineal titles; Alabama went undefeated until the Miracle at Jordan-Hare and Auburn went on to the BCS Title Game, so 2006 Boise State starts the year with national champion Florida State. You can see what happened to the NFL lineal title on the history page accessible from the category page.

Demystifying Sports Ratings

It occurs to me that there’s a massive amount of ignorance about how TV ratings actually work among those that pay attention to sports ratings, even among those that should know the most about them. I’ve put up a FAQ that I hope will aid people in reading my ratings posts, as I hope to spew out a whole bunch of them next week, but I want to clear up a few misconceptions here in hopes of elevating the discourse over sports ratings.

The level of ignorance is so bad that this sort of nonsense can spread almost unchecked across social media:

But Paulsen is himself part of the problem here: he regularly posts the overnight ratings from sports events when they come out and compares them to overnight ratings from past years, even though they’re next to useless and most people actually within the industry don’t even pay attention to them anymore. I seem to recall reading that he actually knows better, but still posts overnight ratings because networks – capitalizing on the general ignorance of how ratings actually work – will tout them regularly. But I don’t think that applies to SportsBusiness Daily, which posts overnight ratings for sports events on broadcast every Monday, as though anyone beyond its more ignorant clientele cares.

People who talk about general sports ratings often show a disappointing level of ignorance, but on this front they’re leaps and bounds ahead of the sports world. Overnight ratings, which only reflect viewership within the 56 “metered markets”, are ignored so much that TV Media Insights is pretty much the only general ratings site that regularly reports them, at least on broadcast. Most everyone else is willing to wait the few hours it takes for the fast national ratings to show up around 8 AM ET (which some sites confusingly label “overnight” ratings). Moreover, the fast national ratings aren’t always as accurate as some people would have you believe by referring to “final” ratings “according to Nielsen fast nationals”; there are almost always at least some adjustments from the fast nationals to the final ratings for broadcast primetime shows, and for sports and other live events on broadcast in primetime in particular the fast nationals are next to useless because they incorporate what would be on a given station on the West Coast at the scheduled time, so a sports event at 8 PM ET, which is 5 PM PT, would incorporate whatever aired on a West Coast station at 8 PM PT into the fast nationals.

Part of the reason no one pays any attention to overnight ratings is that the total viewership and household rating numbers that tend to be the most widely available, the latter of which is all that overnight ratings supply, are themselves pretty much useless for the purposes that actually matter – a beauty pageant, something to tout in a press release, and little more. Nielsen exists to provide a benchmark for networks to sell ad space, and networks in this day and age are in the business of selling demographics, not general viewers – especially the 18-49 demographic everyone knows is valuable but don’t generally grasp how valuable. TVbytheNumbers has been able, for a few years now, to predict the fate of (openly) scripted shows on broadcast television based solely on the 18-49 rating, without any reference to total viewership or household rating, and perhaps as a result it and The Futon Critic report only total viewers and 18-49 rating in their daily ratings posts, not household rating. Of course, different networks target different demographics based on what audiences they’re targeting, but what matters to the broadcast networks is particularly relevant here because broadcast networks at least nominally don’t target any audience in particular (and sports has to compete for space on the broadcast networks with pretty much any other kind of programming), so the hegemony of the 18-49 demographic is determined by the free market alone, and the boom in sports rights fees is precisely (in part) the result of sports’ ability to attract the 18-49 demographic like little else, the hegemony of which – as I explained in my Nexus of Television and Sports in Transition series – is in this day and age the result of the fact that 18-49-year-olds simply watch less television than anyone else. So when Paulsen says this…

…he’s implying the 6.8 isn’t the “real” ratings number for the NBA Finals, when – from the perspective of the actual decision-makers – it might be more “real” than the household rating he’s referring to. As if to underscore the point about the rarity of the 18-49 demographic, that household rating was a 10.3, meaning the 18-49 rating was maybe two-thirds of the household rating – and the NBA is known as a league that disproportionately attracts 18-49-year-olds compared to other properties. But the only sources that regularly report 18-49 ratings are the general ratings sites I referred to earlier, The Futon Critic and TVbytheNumbers. Anything else comes from network press releases. To my knowledge, no site that regularly talks specifically about sports ratings pays any attention to 18-49 ratings.

This also helps explain why people so often tend to overstate the importance of the broadcast/cable distinction, as though it were still the 90s. Yes, any given sports event will have a substantial drop-off when it moves from broadcast to cable, but teams, leagues, and networks have proven time and again since 2008 that this matters little to them, that the dropoff isn’t substantial enough to overcome the ability to collect subscription fees from cable customers. A naïve reading of the ratings for the Stanley Cup Final would look at the total viewer and household numbers – 4.777/3.0, 6.413/3.7, 2.893/1.7, 3.383/2.0, 6.021/3.7 – and conclude that the two games on NBCSN are suffering horribly and should move to broadcast, and the fact that they aren’t on broadcast like all the other big events (except the BCS, college football playoff, Final Four, Monday Night Football, most of the World Cup including quite possibly all the American matches…) reflects poorly on the NHL. But when you look at the 18-49 ratings – 1.90, 2.10, 1.16, 1.32, 2.31 – the dropoff, while still there, isn’t quite as severe, especially if you take Game 1 (which was neither a potential series-ender nor had a Triple Crown attempt in the Belmont Stakes as a lead-in) as the broadcast baseline, and it becomes easier to see why NBC and the NHL would take lower ratings for two games in exchange for keeping people tied to their cable subscription, and keeping NBCSN in demand for cable operators. For a variety of reasons, some obvious some not, the people that advertisers actually want to reach tend disproportionately to be cable subscribers; cord-cutting hasn’t yet caught on enough to change that calculus, and sports fans are disproportionately unlikely to cut the cord precisely because so many sports events are on cable now.

I’m going to try to come up with a formula to try and calculate what rating a sports event on cable would get if it aired on broadcast, but for a number of reasons comparing the popularity of sports events between broadcast and cable directly, or even from one cable network to the other, is in large measure a fool’s errand, and comparisons are best made within one network. (Even on broadcast, observe the trouble Fox has had getting people to watch nominally-marquee college football games.) Just moving from ESPN to ESPN2 results in a pretty substantial dropoff for all but the most can’t-miss sporting events, and NBCSN and Fox Sports 1 are lagging behind both ESPNs substantially despite not really being that far behind in distribution. I’ve observed a trend where, once someone starts watching something, they don’t always turn the set off until a good long while after the event is over; a really popular event like an NFL game can have ripple effects on a network’s ratings for hours afterward. Even middle-of-the-night re-airs on ESPN can beat just about anything on ESPN2 or any other network; NASCAR, college football, and the World Cup are the only things on ESPN2 that can regularly stand up to anything the powers that be decide to put on ESPN. (This becomes really obvious during college basketball season, when there’s no logical reason why games on ESPN should be so consistently far ahead of games on ESPN2, even when they’re both power-conference games with little discernible difference between them.)

TV ratings have become an increasingly watched scoreboard as the financial stakes in the sports TV business continue to ratchet up, but people seem to be unclear on how to read them or what their limitations are. I hope to increase my coverage of sports ratings at least back to the level they were at in mid-to-late 2013 in upcoming weeks (sans the Studio Show Scorecard), and I hope you’re able to recognize what the ratings actually say – and what they don’t – going in.

The Studio Show Scorecard for Week of December 9-15

PT Rnk

TD Rnk

Nov Distr.
(000)
PT Vwr
(000)
LW/LY TD Vwr
(000)
TD HH TD Vwr
LW/LY

1

=

1

=

97370

3463

+1%

1189

0.8

+1%

=

=

84%

3463

+15%

1189

+3%

+5%

2

=

2

+1

72066

1303

+82%

344

0.2

+53%

=

=

62%

1761

+43%

464

+40%

+25%

3

=

3

-1

97407

386

-29%

244

0.2

-15%

=

=

84%

386

-10%

244

-12%

-2%

5

+1

4

+1

78139

169

+13%

83

0.0

+4%

+2

+4

67%

211

+84%

103

+3%

+83%

4

=

5

+1

59078

209

-5%

72

0.0

-3%

+1

+1

51%

344

+67%

119

-17%

+36%

6

-1

6

+1

88556

155

-17%

70

0.0

+0%

=

-1

76%

170

+49%

77

-0%

+9%

7

+1

7

+1

74882

134

+47%

63

0.0

-8%

-3

-3

65%

174

-1%

83

-20%

-2%

9

-3

8

-4

81751

89

-40%

62

0.0

-24%

-1

+1

71%

106

+10%

73

-44%

+66%

8

+1

9

=

74685

118

+49%

58

0.0

-5%

+1

-2

64%

154

+69%

76

-18%

+12%

10

=

10

=

70036

72

+22%

52

0.0

+44%

+1

=

60%

100

+100%

73

 

+128%

I’m serious, I’m actually falling further behind on these scorecards, which means I’m also falling behind on the weekly ratings reports. I had said I wasn’t going to do another two-month catch-up post; the next one is going to be three months and is going to include data from October. I want to avoid either having a mass of network roundup tables or contriving a reason to put up tables from interim weeks, and it seems ESPN2 has moved Numbers Never Lie to noon ET full-time which could give me a reason to introduce a new chart, so I’m going to still do a few more weeks of these, but if I don’t see any evidence that they’re attracting any audience – and why would they when they’re so late? – I’m going to be stopping at that point.

So earlier this month Awful Announcing had a piece on how Jay and Dan’s schedules on Fox Sports Live were going to be adjusted from a Sunday-Thursday to a Tuesday-Saturday schedule, and they noted that Friday and Saturday editions of FSL tended to be the highest-rated editions, and they suggested that this was because of the quality of the lead-ins those editions had and that Fox wanted to expose Jay and Dan to those larger lead-in audiences. I was surprised by this because I hadn’t thought the Friday lead-ins were that remarkable and AA’s data was from December, after college football season ended, so I wondered if AA’s data really showed that Jay and Dan’s antics were actively a turn-off.

Lo and behold, I get to this week and the Monday and Tuesday editions of FSL actually improve on their lead-ins, which is something that should be very encouraging to FS1 in and of itself. Now, FSL’s numbers are very volatile, so this doesn’t necessarily represent FSL’s “floor” in any way; Tuesday’s episode doubled Monday’s and Thursday’s episode that actually had a relatively strong lead-in did worse than them both (though it did keep nearly three-quarters of that lead-in), but there does seem to be some evidence in favor of AA’s hypothesis; boxing has been populating Fridays the last two weeks and done well, and UFC and college basketball have been carrying the flag on Saturdays, while Sundays basically have nothing going for them. We’ll see if this move helps give the Jay and Dan-helmed editions of FSL all the more momentum.

All numbers are in thousands of viewers and are from Son of the Bronx.

Read moreThe Studio Show Scorecard for Week of December 9-15

A not-quite-so-belated blog-day.

In many ways, Year Seven of Da Blog was a wasted year for me. This is the 91st post since my last blog-day post, when I didn’t think I would ever have less than 100 again, considering the circumstances when I last had that few. The reasons I’ve had low post output in the past don’t seem to apply this year – for example, neither this post nor last year’s blog-day post were made cowering in a bus stop shelter.

Part of the reason is that, after making a commitment to more webcomic reviews in my first post of the new year, I wound up not doing a single full review this year, in part because the comics I chose to start with on Comic Rocket were uniformly uninspiring at best (though I hope to get one in by the end of 2013). I also haven’t managed to get completely caught up on Homestuck all year, which would have been good for a substantial number of webcomics posts, and OOTS has gotten even slower at post frequency since Rich’s thumb injury. But even webcomics posts are only part of the story. I’ve tried to put more focus on schoolwork (passing one of the two incredibly difficult classes I had to pass), but even that only goes so far towards explaining things.

No, a bigger issue is the thing that has increasingly taken over Da Blog over the past six months-plus, causing me to be ridiculously late on a number of things, including a sports graphics roundup I should have put up by the end of August: the sports ratings posts. The Studio Show Scorecard has been an especially nasty culprit. The only responses I got on the semi-recent Da Blog Poll were supportive of keeping the Scorecard going, but I’m serious, without it going through each week’s ratings would take only 40% of the time it does and it would still come out to over an hour and a half; as it stands it takes almost four hours, and much of the SSS work is really tedious. (And I’m going to add something else to the SSS that’ll make it take even longer when we get to the November 18 post.) Other than the SNF Flex Schedule Watch, which is pretty short and easy for me to do and attracts a considerable amount of traffic to Da Blog, virtually all other posts disappeared once the SSS started, and neither type of ratings post has been all that successful at attracting traffic to Da Blog. Among other things, the final year of the college football rankings ended up being nonexistent as a result.

In some way, shape or form, Year Eight is going to be a big year for Da Blog, whether good or bad. I’ve said that before, but in this case it kind of has to be. I believe I have one class remaining before graduation, meaning I would be effectively taking the spring off, and the way that class is set up for me I might be effectively taking the winter off. I’m probably going to have to get a real job fairly quickly, and by the end of the year I’ll either be working that job – and probably will have figured out how much time I can devote to Da Blog long-term – or in a situation where my work on Da Blog is being directly supported and nurtured.

I’m going to be making some effort to make something of Da Blog over the first few months of 2014. I’m working on a series of posts taking a big-picture view of the sports TV wars that should go up in the first few weeks of the new year, I’m going to try and do some bigger things around the sports TV ratings posts, and I have a few more ideas I’m going to try to make something of. 2014 is going to be a transition year for me, one unmatched since the year that saw the launch of Da Blog. Only time will tell if it’s going to be a transition that’s good or bad for Da Blog.

The Studio Show Scorecard for Week of October 21-27

PT Rnk

TD Rnk

Oct Distr.
(000)
PT Vwr
(000)
LW/LY TD Vwr
(000)
TD HH TD Vwr
LW/LY

1

=

1

=

98891

3055

+14%

1295

0.9

+6%

=

=

85%

3055

+14%

1295

+6%

+9%

3

=

2

=

98861

731

+15%

309

0.2

+4%

=

=

85%

731

+10%

309

+3%

+4%

2

=

3

=

72464

762

-17%

238

0.2

-13%

=

=

63%

1040

-6%

325

-12%

-6%

4

=

4

=

90121

177

-34%

111

0.1

-23%

=

=

78%

194

+33%

121

-20%

+3%

5

=

5

=

79145

154

-25%

83

0.0

+5%

+1

+3

68%

192

+40%

104

+22%

+85%

7

+2

6

+3

75603

98

+44%

81

0.0

+60%

n/a

n/a

65%

128

n/a

106

+132%

n/a

8

=

7

-1

82964

94

+25%

75

0.1

+28%

-1

-2

72%

112

-10%

90

+103%

+25%

9

-2

8

-1

75829

85

+6%

61

0.0

+6%

-1

-1

65%

111

+33%

80

+15%

+28%

6

=

9

-1

59950

114

-7%

46

0.0

-12%

-1

-3

52%

188

-3%

76

-16%

-8%

10

=

10

=

71026

42

+27%

45

0.0

+14%

-1

-1

61%

58

+56%

63

+13%

+34%

Okay, look, I’ll level with you. I thought I had found a way to not have this project monopolize all my time when I started it, but that clearly isn’t the case. These posts are really tedious, starting with scrolling through each week’s schedule and making note of any pre-emptions or modifications, continuing as I go through each individual show – something that seems like it goes by pretty breezily as I’m doing it (so long as I’m not doing a repeating nightly highlight show that’s not SportsCenter, especially if it’s leading out of a live sporting event… shudder) but where the sheer quantity of shows causes it to bog down, all for something of tangential importance at best to what I personally am really interested in, which is the ratings for the actual sporting events.

The week-by-week fluctuations in the shows aren’t very important, and any changes are going to occur slowly over a very long term, other than in-season fluctuations for the sport-specific networks, although I am interested in the short-term bump shows on smaller networks (especially Fox Sports 1) get from popular sporting events. The main reason I decided to do this is because I like the concept, but all my data comes from a single site that anyone can check for themselves (and they are), even if I give the same data in a more user-friendly format, and I’m not getting much of any sort of bump for these posts (not that I’m getting any for the main ratings posts either, but I’m playing a long game there). I’ll do next week’s post, but I have a new Da Blog Poll up asking if I should keep doing these.

All numbers are in thousands of viewers and are from Son of the Bronx.

Read moreThe Studio Show Scorecard for Week of October 21-27

The Studio Show Scorecard for Week of September 16-22

PT
Rnk
TD
Rnk
PT Vwr
(000)
PT/
ESPN
TD Vwr
(000)
TD HH TD/
ESPN

1

1

3387

3387

1306

0.9

1306

=

=

-20%

-18%

-16%

0.9

2

2

1393

1920

390

0.3

538

=

=

+6%

+3%

+2%

0.4

3

3

562

562

308

0.2

308

=

=

-11%

-9%

-7%

0.2

7

4

175

208

152

0.1

181

+2

=

+80%

+31%

+37%

0.1

8

5

140

184

98

0.1

129

-2

+2

-8%

+26%

+32%

0.1

5

6

201

220

88

0.0

96

-1

-1

-33%

-19%

-29%

0.1

9

7

64

80

87

0.0

109

-2

+2

-36%

+29%

+30%

0.1

4

8

207

271

83

0.1

109

+4

=

+109%

+17%

-3%

0.1

6

9

196

273

75

0.0

104

-1

-3

-17%

-9%

-14%

0.1

10

10

59

97

26

0.0

43

=

=

+59%

+34%

0.0

Yes, I’m aware I’m a week late with this. Here’s the thing: I’m not sure what role these posts actually have to play in the larger context of the site. I started the Studio Show Scorecard as a sports equivalent of the cable news scorecards regularly put up by TVNewser, and as such I pinned my hopes more on them to actually catch on and become popular. But while I’ve streamlined the process of creating them much more than I did when I first broached the idea, it’s still very tedious; stuff like Quick Pitch and Olbermann in late night are the worst because it’s not always clear what time slot to list them under when they get knocked off sequence.

Not that I don’t find these posts useful in their own way, but I consider the Sports Ratings Reports more useful just for me, even if a lot of what’s on them is fairly often repeated elsewhere, especially Sports Media Watch; the real payoff for them will come at the end of the year when I have a big blowout of the top-rated sports events that’s more comprehensive and balanced than what SMW will have at the same time. The fact that the SSS comes entirely from a single source, even if Son of the Bronx’s tables are very raw and the scorecards help organize them in a more comprehensible fashion, doesn’t help when sports sites like Awful Announcing discover SotB themselves and do analysis directly off it.

I really want one of these posts to catch on enough that my ad revenue gets boosted enough that I can afford an subscription to Sports Business Daily (at $120 a month!) so I don’t have to wait a month for the Top 20 Most-Watched Sports Events and I can make that the entire Sports Ratings Report, but I’m not sure what’s the best road to get there. In the meantime, I hope to take care of two weeks in a single Sports Ratings Report post later in the week.

Meanwhile, it’s probably not a good sign for Fox Sports Live that none of the three or four times it aired at midnight the first week it was normally bumped at that time for a Fox Football Daily re-air did better than any of the three Fox Football Daily re-airs.

All numbers are in thousands of viewers and are from Son of the Bronx.

Approx. 6-10 AM ET

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

ESPN: SportsCenter (6-9 avg.) 746 715 582 427 578
ESPN2: Mike and Mike 227 270 218 247 281
FS1: Fox Sports Live (6-9 avg.) 22 7 9 8 17
GOLF: Morning Drive (7-9 avg.) 56 28 27 35 65
NFLN: NFLAM 116 108 107 116 226
MLBN: Quick Pitch (6-9 avg.) 27 27 27 38 23

morganwick.com

Approx. 9 AM-Noon ET

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

ESPN:   SportsCenter (9-12 avg.) 697 505 409 449 445
ESPN2: First Take (10-12) 416 378 405 392 381
FS1: Fox Sports Live (9-12 avg.) 21 25 14 16 24
GOLF:   Morning Drive (9-11 avg.) 83‡ 28 51‡ n/a n/a
NBCSN: The Dan Patrick Show 27 26 21 40 28†
ESPNEWS: Mike and Mike (10-1) 41 46 27 46 n/a
ESPNU: The Herd (10-1) 62 41 50 44 65
NFLN: NFLAM (10-2) 166 73 113 99 201
MLBN: Quick Pitch (9-1 avg.) 18 15 49 33* 24

*9-12 average only
†11 AM hour only; 9 AM half-hour before Formula 1 practice had 33,000 viewers
‡9-10 only due to other programming

3 PM ET

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

ESPN: NFL Insiders 564 502† 577 404 532
ESPN2: SportsNation 215 137 169 254 163
ESPNEWS: SportsCenter 48 59 70 47 31
ESPNU: CFB Daily 51 65* 42 55 95
MLBN: The Rundown (2-4) 16 24 32 30‡ 21

*First-run rating for The Experts 1-2:30; 2:30-4 re-air had 50,000 viewers
†Aired from 3-3:30; Mike and Mike’s Best of the NFL 3:30-4 had 560,000 viewers
‡Aired 1-4

4 PM ET

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

ESPN: NFL Live 650 625 627 499 719
ESPN2: DLHQ (4-4:30) 205 206 183 247 167
ESPN2: Outside the Lines (4:30-5) 114 75 136 111 59
FS1: Fox Soccer Daily (4-4:30) 43 138* 149* n/a 31†
FS1: NASCAR Race Hub (4:30-5) 137 152* 158* 145* 291†
ESPNEWS: SportsCenter 60 66 71 56 60
MLBN: MLB Now 43 34 38 40 26

*UEFA Champions League coverage 2:30-5; Race Hub aired at 12 PM
†Fox Soccer Daily aired at 3, Race Hub aired at 1:30

5 PM ET

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

ESPN: Around the Horn (5-5:30) 929 723 624 677 734
ESPN: PTI (5:30-6) 1253 955 860 922 825
ESPN2: College Football Live (5-5:30) 85 94 121 160 95
ESPN2: ESPNFC (5:30-6) 74 66 76 96 92
FS1: Crowd Goes Wild 70 89 76 54 118
NBCSN: The Crossover (5-5:30) 132 n/a n/a n/a n/a
ESPNEWS: SportsCenter 148 95 93 58 82
ESPNU: College Football Live (5:30-6) 86 81 29 50 94
NFLN: NFL Fantasy Live 199 163 109 252 186
MLBN: Intentional Talk 77 68 69 97 80

morganwick.com

6 PM ET

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

ESPN: SportsCenter 1023† 657 674 631 646
ESPN2: Around the Horn (6-6:30) 87 135 100 95 116
ESPN2: PTI (6:30-7) 195 176 156 207 181
FS1: Fox Football Daily 51 43 38 38 78
GOLF: Golf Central (6-6:30) 114* 59 30 326 300
NBCSN: Pro Football Talk (6-6:30) 108^ 37* 19 72 61*
ESPNEWS: SportsNation n/a 59 93 62 99
NFLN: Around the League Live 223 148 205 155‡ 178
MLBN: MLB Tonight 63 83 93~ 101¹ 73

*Aired from 6-7
†Aired from 6-6:30; SportsCenter on ESPNEWS 6:30-7 had 84,000 viewers
‡Aired 2-5; NFL Total Access 6-8 had 811,000 viewers
^Aired 5:30-6:30
~Began at 6:58 after bonus coverage (78,000 viewers)
¹Bonus coverage; no MLB Tonight

11 PM ET

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

ESPN: SportsCenter 114† 592 225‡ 1311 237‡ 2615
ESPN2: Olbermann 152† 163 117~ 45~ 69~ n/a
FS1: Fox Sports Live 37 35 107 n/a 33 69^
NFLN: NFL Total Access 61* 225 231 3378* 189 82

*Aired 11:30-12
†SportsCenter aired on ESPN2 11-11:45, with Olbermann following
‡Aired on ESPN2
^10 PM airing after UFC had 167,000 viewers
~Aired on ESPNEWS

Midnight   ET

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

ESPN: SportsCenter 4405 558 144† 1029 1691 1942
ESPN2: Olbermann n/a 104 138 114 122 n/a
FS1: Fox Football Daily 27* 60 96 29* 64 56*

*Fox Sports Live
†Aired on ESPNEWS

1 AM ET

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

ESPN: SportsCenter 178* 629 398 758 826 1154
ESPN2: Baseball Tonight 137* 60 96 86 102 263†
FS1: Fox Sports Live 28 18 47 28 38 62
NFLN: NFL Fantasy Live 137 160 146 666 154 n/a
MLBN: Quick Pitch 78 94 76 51 147 71

*Baseball Tonight aired 12:42-1, followed by SportsCenter on ESPN2 at 1; NFL Primetime had 1.926 million viewers
†Aired 2:30-3:30; College Football Final 1:30-2:30 had 617,000 viewers
‡Aired 1:30-2:30

2 AM ET

Mon

Tue

Wed

Thu

Fri

Sat

ESPN: SportsCenter 1437 453 319 449 586 910
ESPN2: NASCAR Now (2-2:30) n/a 43* 84 67 n/a n/a
FS1: Fox Sports Live 14 11 n/a 10 6 55
NFLN: NFL Total Access 99 121 141 520 119 125
MLBN: Quick Pitch 27 45 65 20 99 39

*Aired at 2:30

Saturday Morning
ESPN: SportsCenter 8 ET 742
ESPN2: NFL Matchup 8:30 ET 193
FS1: Fox Sports Live 8-10 avg. 82
GOLF: Morning Drive 7-9 avg. 44
MLBN: Quick Pitch 8-12 avg. 59
ESPN: College Gameday 9 ET 1828
ESPN2: SportsCenter 9-12 avg. 363
ESPNU: Dari and Mel 9 ET 44
FS1: Fox College Saturday 10 ET 50
ESPNU: First Take CFB 10 ET 9
ESPNU: Film Room 10:30 ET 9
ESPNU: Whiparound 11 ET 43

morganwick.com

Sun 7 AM 8 AM 9 AM 10 AM 11 AM Noon

SportsCenter

SportsCenter

SportsCenter

Sunday NFL Countdown

633K/.5

941K/.8

1.140M/.9

2.235M/1.6

CFB Final

OTL

SR

Colin on FB

SportsCenter

Fantasy FB Now

325K/.3

266

274

318K/.3

344K/.3

443K/.3

Fox Sports Live

Fox Sports Live

NASCAR RaceDay

Fox NFL Kickoff

46K</.05

52K/<.05

329K/.2

227K/.2

Morning Drive

54K/<.05

CFB Final

OTL

SR

Colin on FB

SportsCenter

SportsCenter

99K/.1

84K

74K

61K/<.05

73K/.1

65K/.1

NFL Gameday First

NFL Gameday Morning

159K/.1

577K/.4

Quick Pitch

Quick Pitch

Quick Pitch

Quick Pitch

Quick Pitch

Quick Pitch

23K/<.05

40K/<.05

50K/<.05

44K/<.05

54K/<.05

54K/<.05

*Aired to 8:30

Afternoon   Post/SNF Bridge
NBC: Hyundai Sunday Night Kickoff (8-8:30) 11.31M
ESPN: SportsCenter (7-8) 789
NFLN: NFL Gameday Highlights (7:30-8:30) 431

morganwick.com

Sunday   Night
ESPN:   SportsCenter 11 844
ESPN:   SportsCenter 12:30 814
ESPN2: NASCAR Now 11:30 214
ESPN2: ESPNFC 12:30 112
FS1: Fox Sports Live 11 33
FS1: Fox Sports Live 12:30 43
NFLN: NFL Gameday Overtime 11:30 252
NFLN: NFL Gameday Final 12 471

morganwick.com

Top 10   Weekly Shows Not Otherwise On Chart
NFLN: Lexus Prekick Show Thu 8p 4810
ESPN: Monday Night Countdown Mon 6:30p 2728
ESPN: NASCAR Countdown (NSCS) Sun 1p 1269
ESPN: E:60 Tue 7p 691
ESPN: Top NFL Matchup Airing Sat/Sun 4a 559
ESPNEWS: NASCAR Countdown (NNS) Sat 7p 334
NFLN: A Football Life Tue 9p 327
NFLN: NFL Gameday Scoreboard Sun 4p 291
ESPN2: Baseball Tonight SNB Pregame Sun 7p 285
NFLN: Playbook NFC Fri 10p 230
ESPN2: NFL Kickoff Fri 7p 224
NFLN: Playbook AFC Fri 9p 199